What is Thideology™?
Upon seeing a previously unknown word many people will retreat to a dictionary for help. Such a course of action will be of no help in this case. You see, “thideology™” does not appear in the dictionary – and for good reason…
It’s made up.
However, if “thideology™” did appear in the dictionary it would be found between the words “thickwitted” and “thief” and it’s entry would look very much like this:
Thideology™: (noun, combination of “theology” and “ideology”) – 1. The study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially the study of God and of God’s relation to the world combined with the study of the systematic body of concepts about human life or culture and the integrated assertions, theories, and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program. 2. The study of authentic, biblical Christianity. 3. Applying the whole counsel of God’s Word to every aspect of life. 4. Endeavoring to live life “by the Book.” 5. Daring to comment on the single, most dreaded of all subjects: politics and religion.
Essentially thideology™ is the combined study of theology (the study of God) and ideology (concepts about human life and culture). It’s goal is to take a look at our ideology – the way we look at the world, our beliefs on government, law, culture, and human behavior – and see if it is consistent with orthodox Christian theology. The idea is simply to hold our beliefs up to the scrutiny of Scripture.
Now, upon embarking on an in-depth study in any field you are bound to discover two universal truths. 1) There are a great many really smart people who know much, much more about the subject matter than you and 2) they like to use big words a lot.
Thideology™ is a course of study created by Chip Bayer (you can read more about him here) and is little more than Chip’s transparent attempt to concoct a field of study in which he could be the world’s foremost authority. He coined his very own big word in the hope of passing himself off as one of those really smart people — and the results have been dramatic: Not only is he not the world’s foremost authority on the subject but he actually ranks way down the list. And his made-up big word is fooling no one. Nevertheless, the idea of conforming one’s beliefs and worldview to the teachings of Scripture has merit and, therefore, proves the old adage – a blind hog does occasionally find an acorn.
So what, exactly, made Chip consider the creation of a new field of study? Let’s hear from the blind pig himself:
“I began to consider the combination of these two schools of thought when I looked at the state of the modern church and saw a developing polarization among believers. On one hand there are believers who look at theology as dry, useless theory. They view the study of biblical concepts as a waste of time and those who engage in it as eggheads or bookworms. They often say things like, ‘Just give me something I can use in my everyday life,’ or ‘I just need the practical application,’ or ‘I don’t want to get bogged down with doctrine, I just want a relationship with God.’
On the other hand there are those who have allowed their love of theology and doctrine to overshadow their love of God. They spend all of their time reading systematic theology books and Gospel harmonies and never take the time to put what they’ve learned into practice. For them the knowledge of God has become an end in itself. They view people who neglect the deeper study of Scripture as lazy and spiritually immature.
The interesting thing is this: both groups are right and both groups are wrong.
The ‘practical’ crowd is correct in placing an emphasis on Christian living. But they are dead wrong for overlooking the study of theology as something dry, boring, or useless. It is anything but. This is where the ‘theological’ crowd gets it right.
Our world – and everything in it – is nothing more than the creation of God. He spoke it into existence. He has also revealed to us in Scripture a great many truths about His nature, our nature, and the nature of the world around us. The study of these things is of vital importance to the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. We best understand creation when we learn about the Creator. It is only after we learn to view God’s world through the lens of His Word that we may have ‘life, and have it more abundantly.’
The best Christian life is lived when both orthodoxy (correct belief) and orthopraxy (correct practice) are both embraced. It is true that the study of theology is only the first step in the life lived for Christ. But it is an absolutely necessary first step.
Without a sound foundation in solid biblical theology one is in danger of traipsing off into false teaching and heresy in search of something ‘practical.’ Remember, a lot of ‘practical’ lessons can be learned from a lot of religious groups whose theology is not biblical Christianity and will ultimately lead to destruction. Practicality does not save.
Spending time in God’s Word, contemplating the things of God and understanding our place before a Holy God is absolutely vital. But if we stop with study and never ‘go and make disciples’ or minister in Jesus’ name then we have a dead faith. If theology is vital then it is equally vital to put that knowledge to work.
The goal, then, of thideology is to help Christians develop a sound biblical worldview and apply that worldview to their lives so that God may be glorified.”
A third universal truth about people who engage in in-depth studies is they rarely use one word when 40 will do. Let’s see if we can’t sum this up a little more concisely…
In a nutshell: In 1 Peter the Bible tells us to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”
A primary principle of the study of thideology™ is this: What you believe about God (theology) should be clearly evident in the way you live your life (ideology). If we, as believers in Christ, look and act no different than the world then we either are ignoring the teachings of Scripture or we are ignorant of the teachings of Scripture.
It is therefore extremely important to take seriously the study of proper theology and apply what we learn to how we live (thideology).
Note: The above discourse may have left a few questions unanswered — but Thideology is a full-service website whose administrators have endeavored to anticipate some of those questions. Follow the links below for the answers to some of the questions you may yet still have: