文:Edwin Yip;譯:Julia Lee

It has almost been a year since I took up “extra” (non-work related) study, enrolling at Carey Baptist College, picking up one theology paper per semester. The first paper I selected was an introduction to theology, and the second on the Gospel of John. I admit – I was hesitant to consider studying theology initially. Somehow, I think most of us have this impression that theology is reserved for the elite few such as pastors and missionaries.

Two papers later, I can tell you I almost wish I had studied theology sooner, not because I have any intention of entering a specific ministry nor do I desire the qualification but simply out of interest!

The best part about it is that it broadens your perspective or breath of view. It is akin to travelling overseas and experiencing something different, something interesting, and something unexpected. You know, and you can tell, God is at work then (>2000 years ago) and now. God is at work here (where you live) and there (where others live). God is alive, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is above time and above space. How cool is it to hear and learn that other Christians from a different era or a different culture have gone through similar experiences. Our doubts, our challenges, our struggles, our highlights, our successes etc. We are never alone in the Body of Christ so we should never act like so. The danger is when certain churches, certain denominations, certain theologians, certain scholars, certain “_____ (you can input anything here)” claim to have a monopoly on what the correct theology is. Even with the Holy Spirit indwelling within Christians, none of us can possibly get it right all the time nor across all types of situations.

As history has shown, sometimes we mess up badly. Think of the schisms that existed between various denominations/churches, especially in the past. Think of the Crusades and anti-Semitism (anti-Jews), and all the violence/persecution condoned in the name of religion. Think of slavery or gender inequalities or colonisation. Of course, Christians have also shaped the world positively in more ways than we can count. Examples include abolishing slavery and racial segregation, caring for the sick, vulnerable and marginalised.

I am diverging a bit here, but my point is that humans have a tendency to be narrow-minded and tend to see their own views as more likely to be correct while others are not. Pride is a sin after all. Theology exposes Christians to many different views across many different regions of the world and across many different eras in history. That alone, I think, is a good enough reason to recommend giving theology a go. With the right attitude, and the desire to draw closer to God, theology will only grow your faith (both head and heart knowledge) and teach you humility.



讀神學最大的益處是擴展了我的視野,就好像往國外旅遊,經歷一些不同的、有趣的和意想不到的事情。學習時,你會認識到上帝在二千年前和如今都在作工,祂在你居住的地方和世界各處都在作工。上帝是昔在、今在、以後永在的永活神並且超越時空。當你認識到不同年代、不同文化的基督徒都有與我們類似的經歷時 — 感到疑惑、面對挑戰、不斷奮鬥、獲得成功、活出精采等等 — 那真的很酷!在基督的身體裡我們永遠不孤單,更加不應有這樣的表現。當某些教會、宗派、神學家、學者、或任何你想到的或遇到的人聲稱他們持有的觀點才是唯一正確的神學,危機就會出現。雖然基督徒都有聖靈內住他們心裡,沒有任何一個人是永遠正確的,更不可能在任何情況下都是對的。

歷史告訴我們,有時我們會將事情弄得非常糟。試想想以下情況:過去的教會/宗派的分裂、十字軍東征、反猶太主義 (反猶太人)、以宗教名義縱容的所有暴力/迫害、奴隸制度、性別不平等、殖民主義等等。當然基督徒亦曾以無法計算的方式積極地塑造這世界: 這包括了廢除奴隸制度和種族隔離、照顧病人、弱勢社群和邊緣化群體。