In preparation for this session of Theologic Foundations, God – in his blessed mercy and sovereignty – had pastor Jason (February 9th sermon) repeat a common refrain among Reformed pastors. He stated emphatically that “all theology must produce doxology.” This is such an important reminder, and warning, for those of us gathering to study systematic theology. It is possible to become disoriented, misguided, proud, and cold in our theologic studies. And it would be profoundly unbiblical.
Paul reminds Timothy of this, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a clean conscience and a sincere faith.” I Tim. 1:5
John Piper affirmed this in 1987, in a message from II Thessalonians:
“From a biblical standpoint studying and thinking and knowing are never ends in themselves; they always stand in service of the heart. Knowledge exists for the sake of love. And all theology worth its salt produces doxology.”
An important clarification is needed, and is implicit in pastor John’s paragraph above. The object of “love” in I Timothy is unstated. Is it our ability to love each other in the church that is implied here? That would not be a wrong assertion. We are certainly commanded to love each other throughout scripture. But the context of I Timothy strongly suggests that Paul means love for Jesus Christ – who “came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” And pastor Jason and John Piper point us to doxology — that is praise for God as the ultimate aim of our theologic study.
So, students, as you open your Bibles, Grudem’s textbook and the curriculum pray each time that God would grant you love for the Savior and doxology for the Triune God. Then this intense time of study will be rewarded with a pure heart, a clean conscience and a sincere faith. Our study will be grounded in worship, gospel and God honoring praise.