We live in a day and hour when success is often measured by scholastic achievement. We are told that science and education is changing the world for the better. Which of the Apostles gave direction to a rigorous philosophical approach to presenting the Gospel to the world?
RICH INTELLECTUALLY but POOR SPIRITUALLY
I must set the record strait, I have nothing against study and the reading of books. I love to read and constantly desire more time to do so. The Christian who would disciple others, as is Jesus’s command to us, Matthew 28:18-20, must be properly informed as to the deeper things of the Christian life. This takes time, experience, and a great knowledge of the scriptures. I repeat, a great knowledge of the scriptures.
I’m not a historian, so with that disclaimer, there are many that could be sited as the educated elite within the walls of the Christian Church. Some will say Origen of Alexandria (185—254 C.E.) started it all. Others will look to Saint Augustine of Hippo; (November 354 – August 430 AD). Many scholars could be named, so that the Church is riddled with highly learned men, whose pursuit has been to contend for the gospel intellectually
It is not my intent to criticize any of these men of God. Some were godly to be sure, others proclaimed a message that was not the gospel at all. So it is we can cringe at the Apostle Paul’s words to the Galatians when he wrote. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9)
The word that the Apostle Paul uses to describe a false teacher is anathema or “a man accursed, devoted to the direst woes.” Accordingly, such men are cursed by God. Origen and Augustine were godly men and certainly not cursed. Can you discern which men are cursed liars, and which men are blessed as preachers of the truth?
Concerning the Church at Corinth Paul wrote this, encouraging, endorsing, and blessing their gifted faithfulness in proclaiming the truth. “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).
Just four chapters later he sent them this warning. “Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:18-20)
The power of which the Apostle speaks in the preceding verses is the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ to transform a wretched sinner into a God glorifying, God obeying, and self humbling saint. Furthermore, such truly saved and sanctified saints are gifted by God through the work of the Holy Spirit to carry out their ministry in the church. Sometimes I get the feeling that such gifting is seen as only belonging to the ranks of leadership. A reality that cannot be found in the text of the New Testament.
Are you a self humbling saint, who does not idolize the possession of a well ordered and studied mind, but seeks the humility and love that comes from knowing and loving the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.
IMPERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OR INTIMATE LOVE
A PRAYER QUOTE FROM THE VALLEY OF VISION
O FATHER OF JESUS,
Help me to approach you with deepest reverence, not with presumption, not with servile fear, but with holy boldness.
You are beyond the grasp of my understanding, but not beyond that of my love. You know that I love You supremely, for You are supremely adorable, good, perfect.
My heart melts at the love of Jesus my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his, given to me as well as for me;
I am never so much mine as when I am his, or so much lost to myself until lost in Him; then I find my true manhood. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow; let His love warm me, lighten my burden, be my heaven;
May it be more revealed to me in all its influences that my love to Him may be more fervent and glowing; Let the mighty tide of His everlasting love cover the rocks of my sin and care; Then let my spirit float above those things which had else wrecked my life.
Make me fruitful by living to that love, my character becoming more beautiful every day. If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me, may He work on with His divine brush until the complete image be obtained and I be made a perfect copy of Him, my Master.
O Lord Jesus, come to me, O Divine Spirit, rest upon me, O Holy Father, look on me in mercy for the sake of the well-beloved.
COULD INTELLECTUAL PROWESS EVER BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST? COULD A DEGREE REPLACE JESUS’S SUFFERINGS ON OUR BEHALF? MAY IT NEVER BE!