As a pastor in a local church, I have met many people over the years who did not grow up going to church and have never studied Scripture or the theology of Scripture. I have also met people who grew up going to church but were never taught how to study Scripture and its theology. Nevertheless, as Dr. R.C. Sproul has said, everyone is a theologian—the question is whether or not we are good theologians. The fundamental problem in our day is that many professing Christians don’t think they need to study theology, while many others don’t seem to care about theology or are simply too lazy to study it. Christians, however, ought to care about theology. How could we not, when it tells us about the One who saves our souls?
Many Christians, particularly young Christians and recent converts, do not know where to begin in their study of theology, and they don’t know how to go about it. I have found that some Christians think theology is only for pastors and scholars, and, what’s worse, some pastors and scholars make laypeople think that they can really only study theology if they work toward advanced theological degrees. I have also found that some Christians think they need to develop their own theology. But God doesn’t call us to develop our own theology—it’s already developed in Scripture. We’re called to study it, understand it, and be doers of it, not hearers only. Furthermore, it’s not our own theology; it is the theology of the one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic church. When people develop their own theology, they inevitably develop their own heresy.