Religious Education Does Not:
Greetings and welcome once more to the Age of Ornan Blog! Today I would like to talk about education as I am now about halfway through my final semester with Liberty University. I would like to make several posts dealing with what a religious education does do and what it does not do. Throughout the years of being in church I have found some gross understanding of the purpose of education for Christian leaders and with that said let us begin with what a religious education does not do.
A Religious Education Does Not Cause Godly Character
Many of the people that congregate in our churches today act as if a preacher or teacher who has an education must walk on water. They act as if he can say or do no wrong, but this is simply not the case. People who are educated are as much if not more susceptible to sin than anyone else.
We know from 1 Corinthians 8:1 that, “Knowledge puffeth up.” It is sad but true that some of the most arrogant and high minded Christians I have ever met are those who are well educated. Satan knows that one of the best ways to bring a man down is through puffing him up for he knows that “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
It is also important to remember that whoever is in leadership will receive more spiritual attack from Satan. While Satan and his demons are mostly overlooked in our churches today he is alive and well and attacking leaders. We should pray for our leaders not only for this but also because James says that teachers will be held to a higher level of accountability.
A Religious Education Does Not Perfect One’s Understanding of God’s Word
This is very similar to the first point. We often assume in our churches that because a man has more education he is more qualified to teach. Perhaps this is true from a human standpoint but is not truly the case.
Unfortunately from my experience I am learning that a religious education is often one of the most detrimental things to a young church leader. While I think that the school I attend is a solid church I also understand that Liberty University is one of the rare exceptions today. It seems that most Seminaries are breeding grounds for liberal, heretical theology.
In light of this we should remember what Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)” What Jesus is saying is that when a man is trained by another by the end of the training he will become like his teacher. That is why governments throughout the history of mankind wanted to control schools because it gives them the power to shape the minds of the next generation to their mold.
With this thought in mind it is better in most cases for a young leader not to be seminary trained. In most cases it will be harmful to him. It is only advisable if he finds a Bible believing college where the truth of God’s word is taught. This would also rule out getting a religious education from a secular school. There is no such thing as neutrality. Secular is simply another word for humanism and a secular school will teach humanistic theology.
While I have learned some good things from my time at Liberty University I can say whole heartedly that I do not think every religious leader ought to be seminary trained. While for brevities sake I will not list them here I think there are many ways to learn that are superior to our modern college system.
Religious Education Does Not Qualify One to Preach
This final point more than any other fills me with righteous indignation. There is a powerful heresy straight from Satan that is growing in our protestant Churches that says that a person is not qualified to teach on a subject unless he has a degree in that area.
This is a scheme of the devil that has been affective from the very beginning. Satan cause Adam and Eve to sin because he promised them knowledge. Years down the road pagan priests came along telling the common man not to think about religious things. That was the job of the religious experts and all the people had to do was allow those leaders to dominate and govern them. This led to the common man offering their children to Molech and other heinous sins against God. But by the grace of God he sent Israel, a nation of priests, to demonstrate that every man is to learn the ways of God through his word.
Many years later the Pharisees used their education and “knowledge” of the scriptures to lord over the rest of the people. While they were not able to keep the Jews ignorant about the scriputres they bogged them down with so many of their own rules that they were more or less clueless. By the grace of God Jesus came in the flesh and set things straight and chose twelve unlearned men who would have been seen as religious rejects by the Pharisees to lead the early church. Once more the understanding of scripture was in the common man’s hand.
Down the road in 313 A.D. Emperor Constantine converted Christianity into what became the Catholic Church. In this system the Bible was left in a dead language so that the common man could have no chance of learning the word of God for themselves and once more the “enlightened” clergy oppressed the common man. But by the grace of God the reformation came and the common man received the word again.
As can be seen it has always been Satan’s plan to set up religious elite, especially in the church, to keep the laity ignorant. This is becoming more common in our churches today. I heard of a story in a conservative church where a lady wanted to play some DVDs on a biblical topic to her class at church. She told one of the leaders in the church about it and he told her that she could not as the man did not have a degree in the field he was speaking on. This is becoming common. This is sin. This is Paganism. This is of the devil.
A seminary is nothing more than a group of men, albeit well learned men trying to groom the next generation but nothing they do will ever qualify a person to teach or preach. I would rather see a man spend his life dedicated to reading the word than four to ten years studying at a university.
On one particular Sunday morning at my church I was feeling rather proud of my educational accomplishments and was waiting for an opportunity in my Sunday School, which my dad was teaching, to show off what I had learned. He was teaching in John chapter fourteen which is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I had taken several classes and read many books on John and I waited for the moment to spew forth my knowledge. By the grace of God that opportunity never came as my father, who is not “trained” and several member of the church explained the passage and the contextual and historical background as well if not better than I could. They already from their own studies had learned more about the scriptures than my masters level education ever did. I was force fed a large dose of humble pie.
In light of this I have become very righteously angry. Why? This is because throughout the years my dad has struggled to get churches. He has never preached in a church that regularly held over one hundred on a Sunday morning. Why is this the case? This is so because whenever churches larger than one hundred seek a pastor they require at least a masters level education or more. Ironically if my dad is ever allowed to fill in at a larger church they want him as their pastor. Why is this?
The simple answer is this, my father is called of God to preach. It is a gift. It is a calling. He may not be educated but that is alright because God has given him by that calling all of the qualifications he could ever need. Unfortunately most churches will not give him the opportunity to use his God given calling because he has not been to one of their schools.
This troubles me greatly as I know that I have not been called to preach. Yet I could get many churches that my father never would even though in God’s eyes he is qualified and I am not. The simple fact is that churches are lazy. They look for something like a lack of education as a reason to throw out an application without prayerfully seeking whether God would have that person preach or not. In other cases it is because they are prideful and they want to brag that they have a pastor who has a Dr. before his name.
So in conclusion God’s calling is greater than an education. A lack of formal education should never disqualify a person from teaching. There are many other legitimate ways to learn and simply holding a high degree of some sort does not make someone a more qualified teacher. More often than not it is a hindrance.