I am a pastor: please help me with ‘theology’

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Is theology important? I mean to say: Is it important to discuss theological matters or to study theology? Is theology of any concern to pastors in today’s world?

I have heard people commenting: “I am only a pastor or I am only a Christian and I am not practicing theology.” Sometimes the impression is created that you are a more God-orientated Christian when you are NOT practicing theology. This confuses me for, as a pastor, I am serious about God and doing His will.


Forgive me for attempting to discuss such a rich topic as theology in this short post. The word theology comes from two words: “Theos” (God) and “logos” (word), which means “words of God” or “talking about God”.

The truth is that every Christian who is talking or thinking about God, is busy with theology. All rational people think and talk, and therefore, it would be very strange for a Christian not to think and talk about God. When my little grandson of three years heard that God created everything and that the devil is responsible for all evil, he was practicing theology when he asked: “Who created the devil?”

Karl Barth (Swiss Theologian) was correct when he said there is no such thing as a Christian not practicing theology, it is merely a case of practicing bad or good theology. Therefore we must be serious in carrying out sound and God-motivated theology. We need to talk and think more about God and engage in meaningful theology.

Pentecostal theology

What then about Pentecostal theology? Is there such a thing as Pentecostal theology?

Do the Pentecostals have a different experience with God that influences their thinking and talking about God? If so, is there not a need for a theology that reflects this uniqueness?

Do Pentecostals understand the Old Testament differently when: God’s Spirit was moving over the dark waters and God said: “Let there be Light!” and when His Spirit came over David and the prophets?

Do they understand the New Testament differently to a person who has not experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Is there a different dimension for them when they read about the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit working in the life of Jesus, and the work and power of the Holy Spirit in the Acts church?

Do they experience preaching, caring for people and facing the challenges of life differently, because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Are they not supposed to experience Jesus, the resurrected Christ, through the baptism – and the working of the Holy Spirit in a more direct, intensive and personal way in their lives?

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit brings about: love, faith, wisdom to know God’s will, and holiness, in a Spirit filled Christian.

Are these above mentioned truths not supposed to change our thinking and talking about God, and for that reason, our practice of theology? Surely the Pentecostals’ experience with the Holy Spirit must bring something new and exciting!

We seriously need a good Pentecostal theology. We need to think anew and to constantly understand the Triune God coming to us through the Holy Spirit, and the power of the resurrected Christ working in us.

Pentecostals need a theology that confronts and changes them but also brings God’s answer for the needs of people in these confused and deceived end-times.

Your friend,

Jan Hattingh

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  1. Thank you Professor Jan Hattingh! I can just say AMEN!

  2. Henry Saltun Olkers

    November 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I want God’s miracle powers

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