Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wisdom or Foolishness?

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?...We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! (1 Corinthians 4:6-7, 10 NIV emphasis added)

(seems I cannot add my foot note here, so I will use a preface instead...I am making a presupposition that I am speaking to Evangelical Christians from within the reformed traditions--and within what is generally understood as "Orthodoxy"--and I know even there we can get pretty flakey)

You know that as we faithfully follow our Lord Jesus Christ, we will find that in study of the Word of God our minds will become “renewed” ( see Romans 12:2). We will have the Spirit of God reveal knowledge to us. But here is the tricky part—as we move in our circles in the kingdom of God on earth—where the vast majority (sad to say) do not read their Bibles—you will have, possibly, deeper insight into scripture than most Christians.

The immediate prideful temptation is to start thinking you are “something”, because the “special” knowledge that God is giving you.

This is a trap—and sad to say, I see some “teachers” of the Word of God, Christian Philosophy and Theology--falling into it. I see in reading some books the taint of arrogance. I understand if you are presenting a scholarly paper/book where your research has led you to a new conclusion or an interesting and important insight into the bible, you are excited to share your point of view—but not to the exclusion of all others . When I read commentaries, text books, or scholarly paper and see the attitude that, “My answer is the only answer—all others are wrong” or the other is “Only my university/seminary is teaching the classed that you need”; this is the most deadly trap of all. This prevents any growth, development or discussion—and causes stagnation. Then, as entertaining as debate can be, it quickly can slide down hill into name calling (heretic seems to be the most favorite choice). See this great blog by C. Michael Patton on “old school” advice on how dissention within the body of Christ should be handled.

This is the same trap that is going on right now in the scientific community over Intelligent Design. Because of the lack of real discussion, the actual scientific method is stymied, and possibly the next great break-through in medicine could be blocked—all because of a lack of discussion and openness to new ideas.

As all of us work hard to study, and develop our knowledge; we must always remember where all this ability between our ears comes from! IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD. If we give in to prideful arrogance, we become the stumbling blocks to others—ether by people seeking more knowledge and giving up, either by thinking they will never understand—or people who will put those of us with this knowledge on a “pedestal” that ONLY God should be on. You need to remember that it doesn’t matter how many books you have written, or debates won, papers peer reviewed, what university you teach at, how big your church is…Remember this…We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we are all nothing but dust in the end…we will be gone and even the ground will not remember us. We are here to build up the Kingdom of God—not our own kingdoms.

If we are in any teaching position—we need to encourage and build up the confidence of our students with the express purpose that they can develop the wisdom from God for themselves through the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

We need to teach the sheep to become shepherds!

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every on of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

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