Posts Tagged ‘College’
Much has been written about Acts 4:13. Some contend that Acts 4:13 is proof that we don’t need seminary education to accomplish the work of the Lord. I would agree. Men such as A.W. Tozer did much for the kingdom of God without ever attending Bible colleges. On the other hand, we mustn’t down play the fact that the disciples walked with Jesus for three years. Nicodemus called Jesus a rabbi in John 3:2 and so we must conclude that Jesus taught His disciples (Luke 11:1). Jesus would have been the greatest teacher in the history of humanity as He was God manifested in the flesh (John 1:14). Jesus would have been able to speak of the things of God with authority and not as the scribes or Pharisees (Matthew 7:28-29). To sit at the feet of Jesus would have been greater than any seminary teaching ever. So we must not downplay the education that the Twelve received from Jesus. They had earned their degrees at the feet of the Lord.
In our day it is amusing to see men and women gloating over their education. I too have been there. When I was fresh out of college, I thought I was the gift of God to the world. I saw myself as a reformational teacher who would change the church for the better. I entered into my first ministry experience and quickly realized that no one cared what the Greek says, no one cared that I could biblically explain this or that, and no one cared that I had a degree in Bible. My first experience with a fellow pastor was dismal. He had grown so weary with ministry that the often preached sermons that he received “from the Spirit” that were poorly put together and often read into the Bible what was not there. When I confronted him with my sound exegesis skills, he mocked me and said that he was hearing the Spirit and I was not. He pointed to Acts 4:13 and claimed that the Spirit taught the disciples and He would teach us. I saw him as an ignorant soul who would fail.
My point here is that education can cut us both ways. We can become prideful because of our learning. However, we can also be prideful for our lack of education. We must guard against both. Knowledge can puff up (1 Corinthians 8:1). Knowledge can become an idol. The lack of education while serving the Lord can also become an idol. I have known a street preacher who boasted about his “service” to God while having no college degree. He boasts that he is doing more than college grads are for the kingdom. Perhaps but he is also full of pride.
In KJV only churches, I have found over the years many who call themselves “Doctor” so and so while having no true degree. Many of them are given doctorate degrees from unapproved “Bible colleges” that are found in church basements or meeting in Sunday school rooms. There are a few independent fundamentalists who do have true doctorate degrees from recognized seminaries but many are from unknown sources.
Let me offer a few examples. Dr. Gail Riplinger is a prominent KJV only advocate. She has written a book that has been the basis for many KJV only disciples called, New Age Bible Versions. The doctorate that Riplinger has was conferred on her by a local church. It is not an earned Ph.D. She has not attended any prominent seminaries. Her doctorate is simply a title that was given to her by First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN.
First Baptist was pastored by the late Dr. Jack Hyles. Much has been made known about this man since his death including his sexual immorality. Dr. Jack Hyles did not have an earned doctorate either. He was conferred the doctorate by Midwestern Bible College that was started by one of his followers.
There are others as well. Dr. Oliver Greene. Dr. Harold Sightler. Dr. Larry Brown. Dr. Joe Arthur.
Let me state here with what I began with, a degree does not prove nor disprove anything. A.W. Tozer was known as “Dr. A.W. Tozer” because he was awarded a doctorate by a legitimate seminary (Wheaton Seminary). Tozer did not prefer this title and did not use it. Others called him Dr. Tozer but he always preferred to be known as A.W. Tozer. He was not against a degree but Tozer understood that he did not earn that degree. It was awarded to him.
Degrees do not prove that we are either serving God nor do they prove we are truly educated. I once heard a doctor preach who had earned his degree but he was not a good preacher. He had the education but lacked the knowledge to preach a simple Bible teaching. On the other hand, I have heard godly men preach who had not even set foot in a Bible college but they had studied the Word for hours and the were truly taught by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13). After hours in their prayer closets with the Lord and after hours of studying from their Bibles, they had heard from heaven and were used by God for His glory.
Education should not be looked down upon nor used to exalt flesh. Our biblical education should draw us closer to Jesus. However, I am troubled that many in the KJV only camp use “Doctor” titles while not truly earning them. Many of the “doctors” I have heard over the years from KJV only preaching offer nothing theologically to us. They claim to be “evangelists” and some of them have medium-sized churches (in the traditional sense) but again, offer nothing theologically to show why they deserve an unearned doctorate.
My advice to us all is this: press into Jesus. Make the gospel your passion. Jesus, the Person, and not facts about Jesus is who saves us. Jesus is very much real. He is very much a real person who lives forever (1 Corinthians 15:3-9). Jesus is our salvation. Not facts about Him found in a book. Jesus is the One that I worship and adore. Not my education or lack thereof. I want to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11). I pray that is the heart of you who read this and of the KJV only proponents as well. May we love Jesus and who He is.
Statistics tell us that many of the young people now attending church while in high school will drop out of attending church when they head off to college. You can read various approaches to why this is the case. For the seeker churches, it’s because church is boring. For the emergents, it’s because church is too doctrinal. For the fundamentalist churches, it’s because the church was too liberal. For the charismatics, the church lacked the presence of God. For the reformed churches, the young people failed to be taught the doctrines of grace. For the Arminian churches, the young people fell away from the faith.
On and on the analysis could go. Let me give my two cents worth here at my lowly blog.
I read this morning from a liberal “Christian” blog about why the blogger feels young people are leaving the church. He felt that the reason is hypocrisy. Of course while saying that he was not “into politics,” he took aim at conservatives making church all about the Republican party and about how conservatives don’t care for the poor (which is a lie) and how the Church has made the enemy the world and thus turned the battle into an us versus them mentality. But the blogger lacked much in his post.
The liberal blogger never mentions Satan. I don’t expect him too. He probably doesn’t believe in Satan. Satan would love that. Satan is real. Satan is called the “tempter” in Matthew 4:3. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read that the god of this world (Satan according to John 12:31) blinds the minds of unbelievers. Satan does this to many people whether young people heading off to college or old people in their idolatry.
In Matthew 13:19 we read that the evil one comes and snatches away the seed of the Word. I believe that Satan does this all the time. He wants to destroy the Word of God that is in people’s hearts. I have seen him do this many times to friends of mine who appeared to be walking with God and then Satan comes and snatches away the Word in their hearts. They quickly fall away.
2. False Conversions
How many people are sitting in evangelical churches week after week but are not true disciples of Jesus? So many people are false converts. They are lost. They are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). They do not love the truth of God (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). They do not abide in Christ’s teachings (John 8:31-32; 2 John 9). They are those in Matthew 7:21-23 or 13:20-21 who are not truly following Jesus.
So many young people have been raised on a Christless Christianity. They have not heard the true gospel. They have heard that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. They accept this and head off to a secular university full of false teachings and sin. Because they have not heard the true gospel of God’s Law, His judgment, and His grace, they take their “positive and encouraging” Christianity into a university where they are hit with false ideology, temptation, and Christianity is mocked. Like those in Matthew 13:21, they have no root in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7) and their “best life now” Christianity fails to keep them during the hour of temptation. They succumb to their flesh and abide in sin (1 John 3:6-9). They were raised on a false gospel that never preached the truth of God’s righteousness nor did they understand the truth of the cross.
3. No Accountability
One of the drawbacks of the traditional church is that so many people gather together in edifices but never know each other by name, never interact with one another, and never truly apply the “one another” passages. Because the traditional church has become a “show” instead of the Body of Christ, relationships are lacking. When a young person heads off to college, they don’t come back to church because the show is old. They are not truly saved because they never heard the true gospel and those who did were never held accountable through discipleship. Yes they attended Sunday School but one on one discipleship was missing.
In the house church movement we strongly believe in accountability. We are not a cult. We will not be in all your business but we don’t want to help people maintain a real faith in Jesus that is always growing. When we put our hands to the plow, we must not look back (Luke 9:57-62). We want to help people fight to keep their faith in Christ (Hebrews 3:12-13). We all face temptation at various levels but we all need to help each other overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). When was the last time you saw James 5:16 applied? When was the last time you saw church discipline in operation at all? People fall through the cracks in the traditional church all the time (unless they are big givers to the church and then they are missed) but in the house churches, we should care for one another deeply and pray for one another to overcome sin and temptation. A young person should feel comfortable confessing their struggles with their brothers and sisters in Christ who understand the temptations of our flesh.
Lastly, the seeker church has set itself up for many to fall away because what you win them with is what you win them to. In this case, teenagers come to your kicking church to jam to the latest worship fad songs but they never hear the hard gospel (Luke 14:25-35). They never repent of their sins (Acts 2:38). They come because a girl or guy is there they like. They come because the young pastor is cool. They come because it’s much better than the small church they came from. Soon they are there not because of Jesus or His grace or the Word but because they are being entertained.
That gets old fast. The bars near the college campuses are competing for the souls of teenagers too. They offer what the seeker church offers and more. Cool music. Cool atmosphere. Pretty girls. And oh yes, beer. The seeker church offers all these too but they try to disguise in religious tones and soon the young people are bored with your games. It’s far easier to hit the bar scene, have some drinks, meet some guys or girls and fool around. They find church boring.
The answer to this is not to become like the bars. The answer to this is to preach true salvation and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. If we will stay faithful, preach the truth, He will save sinners. The life above in the bars is empty. The life above is defeating and hopeless. We must preach the Law of God and show these young people their sins (Romans 7:7). The answer is not to become a “bar church” but to preach the gospel. The gospel will save sinners (Romans 1:16-17). The gospel will deliver people from sin. The gospel will draw sinners to the Savior (John 6:44). Sin is fun for a season but we all fear death but praise God that we disciples of Jesus have the answer for that (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus bore our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21) and we need to preach that truth on the rooftops of every building we can find.