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Friday, 27 September 2013

Churches are built by preaching

Forget the academy and qualifications....
If you have read this blog before, you will know how hostile (or at least apathetic) I am to the encroachment of worldly academic training and qualifications into the Kingdom of Christ.

One reason for this attitude is that there is no connection between qualifications and day to day practical godliness: example: I read the biography of a Christian convert from Sikhism this week, who "drops it in" that she has an MA (for the wise but unlettered, an MA is a Master of Arts degree: it's one step up from a BA and one step down from a PhD). The thing is this - she is supposed to have a good education.  And yet the book reveals a woeful lack of  spiritual understanding. She may have used her mind to learn some secular subject but she certainly hasn't used her mind to understand God and his ways from the Scriptures since her conversion. Having qualifications may actually prevent a man or woman from growing in Christ, because they might proudly think they don't need to learn, because they got a what-not after their name, and the posher the what-not the less they are inclined to be learners.

Every unlettered Christian ought to be encouraged: you do not need any kind of academic training to follow Christ and to be useful in his kingdom.

...but don't forget the mind or forget godly knowledge
A profound apathy and  hostility to a worldly attitude to the academy, however, must not be misinterpreted as an apathy or hostility to the use of the God-given mind or godly knowledge. God has given us wonderful minds and we are called to love God with them. One of the most repeated accusations of bad shepherds of God's people in the Old Testament is that they lacked understanding - they didn't have the knowledge required to shepherd. We are called to grow not only in grace but in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The very title 'disciple' means learner.

You can't grow as a Christian without knowledge and using your mind. And a major way godly knowledge is imparted is through preaching.

No church will be built without solid regular, consistent preaching
No church which puts preaching on the back-burner as a low priority activity will ever grow New Testament shaped Christians. Look at all the preaching in Acts. Look at all the teaching-letters of the rest of the NT. The NT church was built on teaching and preaching.

A church which does not value and esteem preaching will end up looking like the world. Uncorrected by the Word of God, those Christians will simply find themselves untransformed in their minds, squeezed into the world's mould.

Why have so many churches drifted towards women pastors and "even bishops"? Because the Word has not been taught and the feminism of the world has simply shaped their thinking. Why have some even drifted towards approving homosexual relationships (the very mention of such a drift should make a Christian want to throw up, because such acts are an abomination to the male-female creating God)? Because churches do not preach the Bible.

Forget a worldly attitude to knowledge, but you can't grow a church without knowledge and a church won't mature without consistent labour-intensive preaching.

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