I just finished reading an R.C. Sproul book at rapid pace, and as good as it was, all the Latin words and theological terms (even if I grasp them) have sent my head reeling, especially with all the other not-so-theological things running around in my mind lately. Even rather than eating up the words of my own pastor this past Sunday, I felt my mind wandering. I suppose I am in theological burnout, because I feel that if I have to endure reading any more speculative or systematic theology for a while I will scream. So as encouraging as it is, I’m putting down the book of Phillipians in favor of John’s Gospel, and figuratively exchanging the exchanges of Romans for some meditative Psalms….. for now anyway.

So it was with a bit of hesitancy that I took down J.I. Packers Knowing God from the bookshelf to tear into.  I was hoping it to be more pastoral and encouraging than anything else. I love Packer’s endearing writing style, and something he said in the first couple dozen pages really spoke to me:

“We need to ask ourselves: what is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things (theology)? What do I intend to do with my knowledge about God, once I have got it? For the fact that we have to face is this: that if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate, and dismiss them as very poor specimens. To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception….. there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard.”

 

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