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Summary: The Theology of the Empty Tomb is Foundational to All Christian Theology

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Resurrection Sunday 2014

“Theology Matters”

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

QUOTE: RC Sproul “Theology is the queen of the sciences and all other disciplines are her handmaidens.”

Throughout history, some of the greatest minds have devoted themselves to the study of theology.

Many of them believed that this field of study allowed the human intellect to reach its highest level of thought and comprehension.

However, in more recent years, the study of theology has seen a dramatic decline.

Some would even scoff at the idea of calling theology a “Science”.

The decline in the study of theology has not only been within the secular realm, but also within the realm of the church as well.

The study of theology has been replaced with emotionalism, pragmatism and minimalism.

Emotionalism = Whatever makes me feel good is right.

Pragmatism = Whatever works is right.

Minimalism = The minimum amount of knowledge is needed is all I want.

As Sproul also said, we now have “a religion without theology and a

theology without God” (Grace Unknown)

The results of this have been disastrous.

There is widespread ignorance within the Christian community in regard to the nature of God, the person of Jesus Christ, and the definition of the Gospel.

Churches have become “entertainment centers” rather than the “centers for higher learning” that we have been called to be.

The church has reached the point prophesied about by the Apostle Paul...

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Because the church has - in many ways - abandoned its call to be an institute for theological instruction, the way society thinks and talks about God has changed dramatically.

In 2005, a book came out entitled “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.”

It was based on the work of two sociologists, Christian Smith and Melinda Denton.

In the research, they found a common trend in the theological beliefs of American teenagers.

They labeled this belief “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, and it consists of the following five beliefs:

A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.

The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

Good people go to heaven when they die.

Beloved, this is not just the theology of the modern teenager.

This is the theology which is held by the vast majority of Americans; even those who call themselves Christians.

And it is BAD THEOLOGY.

Its not an attempt to understand God’s nature, His character, His attributes, or His commands.

It is simply a salve people put over their consciences which help them deal with things like personal tragedy and death.

The title of the message today is “THEOLOGY MATTERS”.

This is a phrase I picked up from various teachers, including Dr. James White, and I have become ever-increasingly committed to its truth.

But WHY???

Why does theology matter?

Because God cares what we believe and what we think.

Theology (theos-God, logos-word) is to have the right idea - the right words - about God.

There are many things in this world which we can afford to be wrong about, which we can afford to be ignorant of...

But theology is NOT one of those things.

Knowing the truth about God is the most important thing that any person can aspire towards in this life.

This morning, we are going to look at a passage from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. In this passage, Paul demonstrates why having a right theology is so important.

READ: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

John Dominic Crossan is the Co-Founder of a group called “The Jesus Seminar”.

The Jesus seminar is a group of liberal scholars who attempt to determine the “historical Jesus” apart from what they consider to be the “myths” of the Bible.

Crossan is very famous for his denial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He teaches that it is unlikely Jesus was ever buried in a tomb, but more likely he was left unburied and his corpse eaten by feral animals.

Likewise, he dismissed the resurrection as “tales” and “wishful thinking”.

Now, it is not as if Crossan and his Jesus Seminar compatriots are a small band of unknowns out in a basement somewhere.

The Jesus seminar is made up of 150 scholars, and is highly popular in liberal circles.

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