A. W. Tozer has famously asserted that: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

This bold assertion is based on three huge assumptions: first, that everyone is a theologian in the sense that they can’t help but have ideas about God bouncing around in their heads (even the atheist and agnostic are thinking about God); second, a person’s theology will greatly influence every aspect of his or her life; and third, that real knowledge of God is possible.

The first two of Tozer’s three assumptions are probably givens: yes, everyone is a theologian in the manner described above; yes, most folks would likely concede that what we believe to be true about whether God exists and, if so, what he is like, and how it is that we are to live before him will (and should) greatly impact just about everything having to do with our daily existence.

It’s the third of Tozer’s assumptions—that there is such a thing as orthodoxy in the sense of right belief about God—that proves to be controversial in the contemporary era. Those who have drunk deeply (too deeply I would suggest) from the well of postmodernism would aver that there is no “right” way to think of God. Since God is ineffable (beyond human description), any sort of real or accurate knowledge of him is impossible. All anyone has is a hopelessly subjective, historically and culturally conditioned view of God. So the argument runs.

On the other hand, what the hard postmodern position fails to take seriously is the idea that a triune God has taken pains, through the sending of his Son into the world, to reveal himself to people created in his own image (see John 1:1, 14-18; 2 Cor. 4:6; Heb. 1:1-3), and that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to make it possible for finite human beings to gain real knowledge of an otherwise ineffable divine being (see John 14:26; 15:16; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:6-16).

Furthermore, the following verses seem to go on to suggest that gaining, maintaining and growing in our knowledge of God (and his Son, Jesus Christ) is a very, very important thing to do:

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:28)

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 (Corinthians 2:14)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

… until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Colossians 1:10) 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. [3] His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:2-3)

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8)

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [18] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18)

At the same time, it’s important for those of us who embrace a soft version of postmodernism to point out to our brothers and sisters in Christ that, given what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:9 and 12 about our present knowledge of God being less than perfect, we should never, ever conclude that we have the truth about God in our back pockets, becoming spiritually arrogant, overly dogmatic, and annoyingly argumentative in the process (the worst aspects of Christian fundamentalism)!

The bottom line is that there is such a thing as orthodoxy in the sense of right belief about God. While it’s true that none of us should assume that we have it wired, neither should we ever give up on the goal of gaining, maintaining and growing in our knowledge of the holy.

Tozer was right: what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. So remember, everyone is a theologian and … our theology influences everything!

Something to think about.