Why is this so scary?

I saw this statement in the comments section of a blog last week?

“Not having had any formal biblical training, I cannot exegete anything, so I’ll leave that to the likes of Lyndon.”

(Lyndon is the owner of the blog where I saw the comment)

This kind of situation is heartbreaking and frustrating. It highlights what I see is one of the biggest problems affecting the wider church today. People are not confident (or willing?) enough to search the scriptures for themselves or to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding scripture.

They think others are more qualified and therefore they place their trust in men (who they don’t necessarily know) who they assume are better equipped to explain scripture to them.

As a result they open themselves to all kinds of false teaching.


11 thoughts on “DANGER, DANGER!!!

  1. Oh I SO disagree with you! I have impeccable qualifications from a highly respected University. You can ask me any question you want and breathlessly await my infallible answers! My Greek, may I remind you, has been examined at Post Grad level and found First Class! I henceforth expect you to call me Sir. Or Pope. Pope Christopher the First. Has a nice RING to it.

  2. Sorry, Chris, that “nice RING” is your alarm clock – it’s time to wake up from that dream.

    Actually, if I were you I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a simple “Sir Pope Christopher”.
    “The first” sounds a bit temporary, as if there could be a second or a third etc?

  3. Very much agree, Tim. This idea: that what God says to ordinary believers is somehow so difficult to understand that only highly-trained specialists can get it right: is the enemy’s deceit. Many are thereby convinced they are INCAPABLE of knowing what God says, unless they rely on the interpretations of the current scribes and Pharisees.

    We (the Church) are very much remiss in not requiring believers (and not new believers only) to take a formal class in the commonsense skill of reading scripture honestly. To that purpose, I once floated the idea at my church of a class on R. C. Sproull’s “Knowing Scripture” (the best I’ve seen, but there may well be others).

    I seriously think we also need to require believers (and not new believers only) to formally study the skill of prayer…and/or meditation (“practicing the Presence of God”).

    I say “require” advisedly: our faith-life is a discipline. We’ve been remiss in treating its skills as something that believers will simply “get” by church-attendance and listening to sermons. A discipline requires directed intentionality.

    In Jesus, Steve

  4. My view of reading/studying scripture is very simple.
    1) Ask God for the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding
    2) read what scripture says without trying to figure out (interpret) what it means. If something isn’t clear in meaning, don’t worry about it and don’t go seeking the views of others about its meaning. I have found most often that questions are ususally answered at a later stage. The reason I don’t understand something is usually because I need to learn something else first. I use the illustration of needing to learn basic arithmentic before we can hope to understand more complex mathematical problems. Trust the Holy Spirit to give understanding WHEN we are ready for it.
    3) Expect confirmation or correction of any understanding we think we’ve received. Through fellowship with Spirit led believers, the Lord will let us know whether we are on the right track.

    Of course their is a genuine role for teachers within the church, most notably for setting new believers on the right track.
    The younger someone is in the faith, the more they will rely on others for understanding and teaching. The most vital part of any Christian teaching should be the aim to equip a student to be less dependant on the teacher. However the most common church approach is to KEEP people dependant on an “ordained ministry” who have (allegedly) been trained to bring understanding of the word to those of us who aren’t suitably trained.

  5. Quite agree the Spirit is the sovereign, and first, interpreter of scripture. Who better knows its meaning than He who breathed it ?

    But I think the commonsense rules of interpretation (heuristics) are more a guard against OUR human propensity to interpret scripture in self-flattering ways. In that regard, probably the first rule-of-thumb is that “scripture interprets scripture.” That rule seems quite easily within the ability of any honest student of scripture.

    It also seems the prime rule violated by the “cessationist” interpretation of I Corinthians 13: where “the perfect” quite clearly means Love, yet is interpreted as “the completed canon of scripture.” Whatever our stand on the inerrancy of scripture: even if we consider it perfect: that’s pulling an interpretation out of thin air. And an interpretation that is never, in that exact term, attested by scripture itself.

    In Jesus, Steve

  6. Not all cessationists take the view that the “perfect” is the canon of scripture. Those I was in contact with saw the “perfect” as being the return of Jesus, which makes their view even more strange and in my opinion untenable.

    The main blogger I’ve been discussing this with (who recently banned me from his blog because I kept asking him for clear biblical evidence for cessationism) saw that tongues and prophecy are withdrawn at different times. He gets to that view because the wording in 1 Cor 13 is different when the ceasing of tongues and prophecy are mentioned.

    For example, he sees that the condition of when the perfect comes is not applied to tongues. Therefore tongues could cease at any time, and therefore must have ceased already because he sees no evidence of it continuing (at least in the form he assumes it should take – which is always an existing, human language unlearned by the speaker, but known by hearers: primarily for proclaiming the gospel).

    From what I’ve seen in the many arguments offered in support of cessationism – their whole case is in fact based on experience (or lack of it). They don’t see it so they don’t believe it.
    I was going to say they then do their best to find scripture to support their view – but in reality they offfer NO biblical evidence at all.

  7. This is quite interesting. Came from a charismatic church, and went to a baptist church. I must say the difference was overwhelming, in the charismatic church I was fully dependent on the ‘apostle’ , and I truly believed he had a relationship with God so much more than anybody else and it got to a point where I felt I had to ask him to pray to God for me since He hears him and talks to Him and not to us directly. Then coming to the Baptist church, it was all about God and doctrine. I must say though that the teachings there are so equipping in seeking truth in scripture. Certainly the need of a teacher is there, but this has somewhat opened up my eyes to a longing for such a submission to God that He would send His holy spirit to teach me.

    Great blog. Loving it.

  8. Hi smilinghope,
    Chris is a very good friend of mine. He has a sense of humour that I appreciate, but that many people don’t always understand.

  9. Hi smiling hope, there are two very different attitudes that have the same effect. 1) the charismatic idea of the “anointed” leader who has a special relationship with God and therefore has an understanding of God and His ways that we lack. 2) the more traditional view of the trained and ordained minister who has learned how to interpret and understand scripture in a way that we aren’t equipped to do.

    Both make it easy for the “everday” believer to put more trust in those leaders than they should, and not take enough responsibility for their own relationship with God.

  10. One thing I have long (from childhood, so for at least 40 years) appreciated about teachers who are educated is what they can say about the fact our Bible wasn’t originally written in English. And I still largely respect this. However, while growing up in churches, this was mainly if not totally about Greek… or at least Greek and then Hebrew or Aramaic as completely separate [true to an extent] from Greek for our understanding. But this can be somewhat misleading when there was a Greek form of the Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures at the time the “New Testament” was written. So, if we ONLY go by Greek cultural meaning and don’t compare scripture in terms of [Greek vocabulary and innovation] use in the Septuagint for Hebrew [and Aramaic, etcetera] words and concepts, we can get off-track. An example of this is the great emphasis that has been put on the different “loves” in Greek as if they shall never meet. In fact, though, we can find example in the “Old Testament” of the Greek for top-shelf love (agape) used as translation for that which our pastors (especially in the few centuries before now) said just isn’t that. So we tried for much of our lives to make sense of this as good followers, which is dangerous. I think most of us grasped intuitively or with the nudging of the Holy Spirit the reality in the long run.

    On a completely different note {as in not the reason I wrote what I did in the previous paragraph}:
    Hi, Hope (smiling)! I think it’s awesome you are finding yourself motivated
    for a submission to God in His sending the Holy Spirit for your understanding.

    It sounds like you’ve been motivated most of your life in what you perceive God wants.

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