I am aware that I may anger some with this post and expose myself to attacks, but this is a burning issue on my heart and I want to know the truth.
I know that many godly men have attended bible school or a preacher seminary and God blessed their ministry. I personally benefit from some of these ministries.
However, did Jesus ever commend anyone to go to bible school? I often wondered if it is actually necessary to have Doctors and Professors to teach us the Christian faith.
In the Old Testament the law had to be taught and told, it was inscribed in tablets of stone resembling the Israelites dull hearts that rarely ever changed from the days of Moses until Malachi. Now we have regenerated hearts and the Holy Spirit who leads us into some, sorry all truth. Where is then the New Testament equivalent of a bible school? Did not the 12 fishermen learn from being with Jesus and confounded the wisdom of the Pharisees? Did not Jesus burst out in joy:
"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.
Did not Timothy follow the faith of his mother and did he not sit on his grandmothers lap to listen to Jesus parables? Are not Pauls private instructions to Timothy in jail more worth then 20 years in Bible School?
Is bible school or seminary better than an environment of real work life with its trials and temptations in a godly Church with good teaching and a functioning eldership?
Paul sat under Gemayel and I believe he benefited by being taught the law. However, he considered it all dung. Where and how should one called to preach receive his training? Did not Jesus call us to be disciples and make disciples? Is the task of discipling not given to the church, the body of believers? Are not apostles godly elders in the local church entrusted with this task?
Why then do we still secretly uphold the catholic distinction between clergy and laity and send people to places separated from their local churches to learn Greek, Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Exegesis and Apologetics? These became scholastic disciplines in keeping with secular education. These disciplines are can become crutches and substitutes for the Holy Spirit.
They come back to the local church as supposed experts in their field. Does a pastors diploma in anyway give us evidence about their walk with Christ? How do we know even that they are called?
Zac Poonen never attended bible school yet I see that he has been given revelation about the kingdom of God that I rarely find in those who studied the subject in seminary or by reading books.
Jesus warned us clearly not to call anyone on earth rabbi, teacher or father but we still do it in disguise. We give them titles such as Doctors, Professors, Reverend and sometimes even Pastor with a capital P. I think it is commendable that John Piper does not show off his doctorate, but still many call him Dr. John Piper. It sounds honouring but it is really against Jesus words and we are in danger of flattering him and make him fall. How can we call anyone Dr. Rev. Soandso when Jesus referred to himself as the son of man?
Jesus gave a sevenfold warning in Matthew 23. Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. I am not saying that everyone who went to seminar is a scribe, but many scribes come out of seminaries teaching dead religion to the unconverted.
Now, some may of you may say, well that was then, we are not scribes. Many who are called to the ministry of the word would probably never get recognized by churches without a diploma in their pocket.
Thank God for those seminars where true dicipling takes place. May be many churches are not in the position to raise their own preachers or do not have the resources for it and send their preachers to in to seminaries.
Nevertheless, I think this is only second best. I think churches should seek God to raise their own preachers. This calls for the apostolic ministry. An important aspect of an apostolic ministry should be to look for leaders, disciple them and install them in churches. A local pastor may not have this scope in his ministry. We see this in Titus and Timothy who fulfilled this ministry under Pauls caring guidance. They were raised by Paul and they in turn raised other elders and preachers. We should follow this example!
Doctrine can be taught in books and lectures, but life in the spirit can only come from Jesus himself and can only be cultivated in true discipleship.
It is a such petty that the true apostolic ministry is so neglected, misunderstood and attacked. Those few who are in fact true apostles would be immediately marked as false merely on the bases of their claim to be an apostle. Who dares to self proclaim that he is an apostle? Well Paul did, but he paid the price:
1 Cor 4; 9For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all,(J) like men sentenced to death, because we(K) have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10(L) We are fools for Christs sake, but(M) you are wise in Christ.(N) We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11To the present hour(O) we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and(P) buffeted and(Q) homeless, 12and we(R) labor, working with our own hands.(S) When reviled, we bless;(T) when persecuted, we endure; 13when slandered, we entreat.(U) We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world,(V) the refuse of all things.
We need such apostles right now to prepare the church for the calamity to come and for our blessed bridegroom.
We feel safer to lock them up in seminaries and stuff them with theology hoping they will make our church grow and thrive.
I personally always ask God to bring man across my path who are godlier and more experienced then I who can disciple me. I grab their coattail to see what they can teach me.
It is time to go back to biblical patterns.