This past week, I have had a number of interesting thoughts concerning the issue of theological study. I have been warned to maintain a separation between Scripture and the Academe. I have also been questioned concerning the fate of my salvation as I study God’s Word in the midst of an advanced degree program. What I find shocking is the approach many Christians have to advanced theological study. This is an approach I would dare say they would never want in any other area of their lives.
- Would you go to a doctor who has not remained up to date on the medical practices of the time?
- Would you go to a dentist who has not kept up with his or her field?
- Would you hire a lawyer who doesn’t know anything about cases that have happened in the past ten years?
I would dare say the answer to all these questions is a resounding “NO!” So why do we criticize, question, and challenge those who seek to continue their education in this one area? Why is it that the pulpit is the one place we seem willing to settle for ignorance? Please do not misunderstand me, I am NOT saying that those who do not continue their formal education are ignorant. What I am saying is that it seems extremely shocking that we would expect for people in other fields to continue their education, yet when it comes to what many would consider the most important issue in their lives, their faith, they discourage such education.
If we are truly one body and able to function for the edification of the Church, we should be able to accept the diversity of gifts God has placed within the Church and embrace the role of each. As I have thought about this topic, I remember my own commencement response from when I graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Having had classes with people training for different types of ministry (I believe in the priesthood of all believers), I believe that a false bifurcation between biblical scholastic study and ministry MUST be obliterated if we are to reach a lost and dying world.
For those who may be interested I have included my 2010 Commencement Response. It is approximately 5 minutes. If you have a moment, please take time and listen to it, as it will serve as the launching pad for my next post.
Grace and Peace,