We are clearly told by the Lord through the pen of Paul to:
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15.
Paul then studied under Gamaliel one of the great teachers of his era, but he did not seek the approval or commendation of the world’s institutions! This then is a very important point and totally overlooked by most today within the Church.
We have copied the pattern of the world when we are told not to!
We have looked to their institutions for accreditation to validate our ministry before the Lord!
We are therefore leavened by academic ways and not The Way!
We are full of pride and prejudice!
The Concise Oxford dictionary defines the words –
Pride – an overweening opinion of one’s own qualities and merits. A deadly sin producing an arrogant bearing or conduct before and towards others.
Prejudice – a preconceived opinion or a bias against a person or thing. To therefore prejudge the validity of a claim, cause, action and so pass judgment.
On the other hand we live in a day of phoney certification and internet awards that cheapen the grace and knowledge of God before the Body of Messiah and a watching world.
But when we have some who live on controversy, who have a judgmental character and see themselves as an authority on all matters, going into print and pre-judging others without going to their brother first, then they are heaping up judgment on themselves. There is a Bema Seat to come!
‘But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.
The Church has from its Hebraic origins developed within Theology (the Study of God’s Word) a system of exegetical rules (to divide properly through the study of word meanings and the grammar of the text) within the art of Hermeneutics (the study and interpretation of the Holy Bible) that serves us all well.
The method in which the Truth is taught and to what level is not the concern of others. Other teachers or academics have therefore no God given right to interfere with other ministries or ministers or to judge them by their own fallible standards. In many instances that I see, the self appointed judge needs to take the plank out of his own eye first as our Lord taught. There is a biblical way in which we are to deal with things internally. Again until anyone has followed the procedure of Matthew chapter 18:15-17 they are under the condemnation of 1 Corinthians 3:3. There are those amongst us who need to re-read and meditate upon Romans 2:1-11 and James 3:1.
It is recognised that there are some amongst us who have a greater knowledge than others but we should not see the pride of learning or of knowledge puffing up the flesh. It has also been noted how the flesh is so adept at justifying itself when criticising others.
1) I personally have been blessed and supported in being able to study under a Professor of some stature who is a recognised figure within Theological circles but many of the saints cannot afford the fees that are being charged by some Bible Colleges and so then no one should judge those who make it easier for these saints to study at their level and financial capacity. This is particularly seen with third world students who generally don’t have the financial resources that we have in the western world.
2) Others can only find the time for distance learning as they have a family and a job and so they cannot attend a college full time.
3) We should show grace and look at each case financially, for freely we have received and so freely we can give to help build or extend the Kingdom of God. The Lord is our supplier and counting the cost towards others will be eternally rewarded.
4) There are those who can only study to a certain level within their capabilities and so we should say ‘well done, you have done your best.’
Sadly, there are human worldly standards and ways leavening us.
5) The Apostle Peter never went to any Rabbinic School, he was a simple fisherman that wrote two letters of instruction and insight with prophecies from the Lord. He had but One teacher, the Lord God Almighty. The Lord Jesus never gave him a certificate for others to accept him in their midst! We know one another by our fruits and ministry gifting that has been bestowed upon us.
It is therefore the pride of learning and of the flesh to elevate oneself and to judge between one Bible School and the next, between one professor and the next, between one certificate and the next.
I know of Bible Colleges who teach Replacement Theology or who are indifferent to God’s Covenant promises towards His ancient people Israel. There are Bible Colleges teaching the doctrines of men that don’t match up with the Scriptures. It has been stated that some seminaries are cemeteries!
I personally believe it matters not to the Lord whether the world recognises or validates any diploma/degrees of theology within His Church. What matters is that you have studied to the best of your ability. I personally have one diploma and two degrees but I haven’t ever needed to show them to teach in other churches or colleges. I don’t trade on bits of paper or peddle the Word of God for profit. I didn’t need theological accreditation to start a work in God towards the Jews of Manchester, Liverpool and Southport. God called me, chose me and He has shown His power in and through me. My Lord has stated, “that which is not planted of My Father shall be uprooted.” I am still well planted and being watered and others should take encouragement from my testimony and this little teaching article.
The outcome of true study and being diligent with the Word of God is:
1) To equip yourself and to then be able to give a reason for the hope within.
Philippians 2:16. 1 Peter 3:15.
2) To teach others by passing on the baton of truth. 2 Timothy 2:2.
3) To correct, rebuke and admonish and to defend when necessary.
2 Timothy 4:2. Titus 1:13. Jude 3.
4) To give the good news to the unsaved. Romans 1:16. 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Vanity and the pride of position or learning does not impress the Lord or others within the Household of Faith.
God takes the weak of the world to confound the wise and so His ways are not our ways and so the worlds ways and its academic ways should not be ours within the House of God.
Let us then study diligently and search the Scriptures and above all apply them to ourselves and then to others.
The Day will reveal all as we stand before Him. 1 Corinthians 3:13.
Date : 30/11/-0001