The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Obligation of Theological Study

My wife, Kelly and I have begun reading John L. Dagg's Manual of Theology. Dagg, writing in the late 1800s, produced the first systematic theology by a Southern Baptist. Tom Nettles perhaps overstates his applause for Dagg, but says, "For clairty, cogency, and sincerity of expression, no theological writer of the 19th century surpasses John L. Dagg. . . . He died in June of 1884, as one of the most respected men in Baptist life and remains one of the most profound thinkers produced by his denomination." Here is the opening quote from his Manual. The study of religious truth ought to be undertaken and prosecuted from a sense of duty, and with a view to the improvement of the heart. When learned, it ought not to be laid on the shelf, as an object of speculation; but it should be deposited deep in the heart, where its sanctifying power ought to be felt. To study theology, for the purpose of gratifying curiosity, or preparing for a profession, is an abuse and profanation of what ought to be regarded as most holy. To learn things pertaining to God, merely for the sake of amusement, or secular advantage, or to gratify the mere love of knowledge, is to treat the Most High with contempt.

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