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Reformed Theology has had a strong wave of growth in the last twenty years within American Evangelicalism. From seminary classrooms to the pews, it has had a massive impact on the evangelical landscape. This is evident in the many Christian college students who have embraced Reformed Theology and Puritan thought. It is no surprise now to meet a Bible College student who cites a Puritan writer as a top influence in their lives.

Balancing Theology and Wisdom

Healthy theology is a good thing. I completely believe that and I am thankful to see many churches that have begun to ask themselves hard theological questions. It is good to see. But there is a danger in all of this that we must be careful of.

There are churches and pastors who can testify about a difficult situation that arises from this large movement. The problem is the trend of young, reformed but heady college students who can talk theological circles around most layman, and even many pastors. Because of this theological depth they may request or receive authoritative positions they are completely unqualified for. This trend produces young people who are reformed and ready to have a microphone. The problem is that, because of their age, many of these guys—myself included—can be lacking in some serious wisdom.

The reason I am writing about this danger is because it is real. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says it best: “Knowledge puffs up.” Just because you have learned the Doctrines of Grace and can quote Luther and Piper, doesn’t mean you are qualified or ready to teach Sunday school. Praise God for your growth in theological understanding, but let wisdom also be what you are seeking after.

Going through Proverbs is a delight because it is really humbling. In it, we find an interesting contrast between knowledge and wisdom. While knowing the truths of God is good, we should also be seeking to live for him. We should be praying for wisdom and discernment on how to bring glory to God, not just simply talking about God’s glory.

3 Challenges for the Young and Reformed

1) Seek discipleship.

Though you may be gifted and have knowledge, take time to learn from other people. Find a wise man or woman who can help show you how to live the Christian life. You don’t want to be the reformed pastor who has never worked a 9-5 or paid a bill. You don’t want to be the reformed rapper who is being sought out for counseling, yet have never experienced biblical counseling yourself. Find someone who can show you life. Find someone who can exemplify how to raise children; how to love a spouse; how to buy a car; how to get a job. Discipleship should teach spiritual growth, as well as maturity.

2) Know that though you have grown in theology, you have need for growth in many other areas.

Allow yourself time and space to mature as a man or woman of God. The best answer you may get at this point in your life is “not right now.” Many times we may think that we are capable and ready to teach, preach, and/or lead because we see others doing it. But there are years ahead of you for God to use you. Allow yourself to grow and develop in maturity as a man or woman of God.

3) Come under the authority of a healthy church where you can spend time allowing God to shape your theology, while living life in community.

Fully commit your time and energy to a specific body of believers that can hold you accountable. I cannot emphasize how good this will be for your walk; to have pastors speaking into your life; to have deacons serving you and spending time with you; to be corrected in your theology and other areas of life; that is great for growth. My wife and I have been blessed to have had great churches that have walked us through our marriage. It’s amazing to be able to go through a difficult thing like marriage while being a part of a body of believers. It is great for our marriage, our individual growth, and our family to be under the authority of a healthy church.

While living in community, let your theology be shaped and molded as you’re seeing it worked out in a local church. As a point of emphasis, I suggest this be a local church. One. Don’t be the church-hopping person who is a little everywhere, but not completely somewhere. Put value in not just growing your theological knowledge, but seeking wisdom as well.

What are some other challenges that can be helpful for the young and reformed to not become reckless?

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