It is quite common to hear Christians badmouth theological education. In fact, for the russian generation that grew up in heavy religious persecution, it is inevitable. They lived and (tragically) died for the cause of Christ, never once having a theological book, system, or in many cases their own bible!
Then the USSR was disbanded and we entered the world arena where the availability of Christian education has exploded exponentially, bringing with it many streams of teachings, some merely distasteful, others plainly heretical, and so it is very understandable why some people have such hostility towards foreigners and their theology.
In addition looking at the widespread disease of liberalism in theological seminaries and the wide array of so called biblical criticism, striking a dagger into the very heart of historic Christian beliefs, I understand the aggressive stance towards all biblical knowledge that is concerned with more than just memorizing verses.
That said I want to emphasize that in todays world WE MUST embrace rigorous, scholarly, theological education and study. It is inevitable that any and all holes in our understanding WILL be exploited by this world, which is constantly seeking a for a weak spot to strike. Yet, as vital as theology is, we must be careful as to what we put our trust in.
I have a little bit of personal testimony and maybe even public confession. A few years ago God started challenging my beliefs, and leading me to see my foundation was not laid in Christ but in myself. Many things in which I trusted and sought after were not of Christ. To borrow a phrase from an ancient manuscript purporting to be biblical prophecy, I bought from deceptive merchants shouting “truth! we have truth!” I trusted in men and movements that cleverly twisted scripture and imprisoned me to trust in humanity.
By Gods grace I finally realized I was walking on shifting sands and I left.
By Gods providence I found the answers in Scripture and good sound theologians to supplement my learning. And I will say sound theology is great! I am overjoyed that God provides all the answers required by us and that His word when allowed to explain itself outside of religious context is incredible. I cannot begin to express the freedom that one feels when all of the bible fits and makes sense, it is astounding!
Yet lately I have found myself at times placing my trust in the very thing that God used to free me from the snare of people pleasing charlatans, knowledge. I have yet again found myself straying; every so often in debates and conversations I find myself fighting first for the cause of good theology(something that indeed MUST be done), yet only secondly for the cause of Christ. How frail we humans are; how wicked out thoughts, and how corrupted our character! We must always repent and reform, me foremost.
By Gods Grace, I have embraced systems that I wholeheartedly believe represent the very finest in human understanding of God, yet systems and knowledge were only created by God as a means to an end.
He is the end..
All knowledge is a creation of God.
All emphasis on creation over Creator is idolatry.
Closing thought: While pursuing sound theology can become an idol if the focus is incorrect, being immersed in BAD theology will always ensure idolatry, so this is never an excuse to be lazy and embrace things just based on their emotional appeal.
.As for knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Cor 13:8