Head Theology Versus Heart Theology

In the Preface to The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer talks about head theology, heart theology, and ministers who teach yet leave the flock starving. Following are some highlighted portions along with a discussion on my thoughts regarding what's shared.

Reading Notes on the Preface to The Pursuit of God
A. "There are persons whose religious lives are marked
by a growing hunger after God Himself.
They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words,
nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth.
They are athirst for God,
and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep
at the Fountain of Living Water."

Church doors find different types of people coming in for different reasons.
1. Some crave to feed their minds. To know more. To increase learning. The highlight is the preaching of the word. Good preaching equals great worship.

2. Some crave to feed their hearts. To feel more. To connect on an emotional level. The highlight is the worship singing. Good worship singing equals great worship.

3. Some crave for spiritual realities as A.W. Tozer mentions. I think this is the balance between 1 and 2. They welcome correct interpretations of truth but understand that, that is not the end goal. They enjoy the worship singing but understand that, that is not the primary focus.

They don’t confine God-encounters within the church walls or within the pages of the Holy Book. They look for Him in their everyday life and everyday world.

They live out the Word. They dare themselves to move past the knowing and feeling to the testing and proving part. Staying on the lookout, waiting on God to leap out from the pages of the Holy Word (or song text) and prove Himself real and true. To show up and do life with them.

To be athirst for God is to meet with Him in our everyday. In the normal. In our highs. In our lows. Connecting with Him not just in the written pages. Not just in the “program of worship”. But in the realm of everyday life.

You are not meant to experience God only within the church walls or your prayer closet. God-encounters wait for you as you step out and launch yourself into the outside world, where you face the unknown and the unseen, and where you walk by faith, not by sight.

B. "This is the only real harbinger of revival.

C. It can result in a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day."

Desire for God always revives when the Christian acts upon this thirst and hunger for Him. The pursuit of God will recapture all those conditions descriptive of new Christians who’ve just come to the faith:

Anticipation, excitement for God’s plans and will. Insatiability when it comes to learning and growing. Childlike trust and radiant wonder. Eagerness to serve. Feasting in His presence.

It is normal to be all fired up, like a big, uncontrollable, surging flame But years into the Christian life, this fire, should normalize to a steady, strong flame. Never dim, never extinguished. Steadily on fire for God.

D. There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly
the principles of the doctrines of Christ,
but too many of these seem satisfied to teach
the fundamentals of the faith year after year,
strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence,
nor anything unusual in their personal lives.

E. They minister constantly to believers who feel…
a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.

F. The lack in our pulpits is real.
(John) Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day … 
“The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.”
It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom,
to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.

This is unfortunate, and sadly, a current situation among churches and ministers today. The church can so easily deviate from its purpose and modify its genetic code to suit the agenda of its leaders or congregation.

The church must be careful to keep following after God. Else, it will cease to be the church. It will turn into a plain establishment. A club. An association. A performing group. A civic organization.

The main mission of the church is not to become big or popular. It’s not to become rich or successful.
- The Lord Jesus mobilized the church to make disciples.
- The Lord Jesus instructed the Apostle Peter to feed His flock.
- The Lord Jesus chose the Apostle Paul to make Him known to all people: Jews, non-Jews, and authorities.
- The Lord Jesus also appointed Him to experience heavy testing.

The business of the church (the body of believers) is to make disciples, to provide spiritual feeding, to be a testimony for God, and to glorify and shine for Him in the midst of trials and sufferings.
- Are churches fulfilling these today?
- Is it God that they’re promoting?
- Is it His agenda that they are pushing?
- Are the believers fulfilling their heavenly calling?
- Or are we too busy making a comfortable, secure life here on earth?

As for the pastors and leaders, the lack or absence of intimacy with God shows. It shows in one’s speech and actions. It shows in the preaching. It shows in their relationships with the members, fellow-ministers, and their own families. You cannot hide a backslidden heart. It will show.

There are pastors who’ve gotten so good and used to publicly delivering God’s word and doing ministry that they can go on without touching base with God yet able to display effectivity, power, and fruitfulness. But one thing they can’t try to “replicate” is the authenticity of God’s manifest presence in their ministry and in their own lives.

And that’s when people starve. Ministers are unable to feed and equip the flock in areas of need because they are so out of touch. They could not perceive their own needful spiritual condition. And so they are unable to speak from need or experience, unable to speak of Biblical truths and experiences that will highlight and resolve those needs.

More can be said about these but let me end this portion with Paul talking about the balance between head theology and heart theology.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
"and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.

Philippians Chapter 3 (marked:8-12)
I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…
I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
I want to know Christ-
yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings…
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me

Scriptures are there for our learning. And Scriptures are there to bring us to Christ. God wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. The pursuit is God.

photo credit to: https://pixabay.com/users/darkworkx-1664300/


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