Common Sense and Wisdom - The Rarest of Commodities.
Creation's Testimony of Christ Constantly Impacts Everyone's Life.
Arrogance Has Replaced Humility Based Wisdom.
Recently, I came across a quote by John Wesley which struck me as being absolutely foundational to the wisdom that should mark every true mature believer. We do need to acknowledge that one does NOT become a mature believer upon conversion: we must give room for another's learning curve. Sadly, many give NO quarter, and go for the kill toward any whose understanding does not agree with their arrogant "immature" position. The quote is as follows:
When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me." John Wesley
One has to wonder if these self-proclaimed know-it-alls which proliferate the pulpits, the airways and the social media actually believe they have never made a mistake nor are they capable of being wrong concerning anything doctrinal. Perhaps, it is just that they have "arrived" at their current level of perfection and must defend their position to prove to themselves and all who will listen, they are not vulnerable to error. In a word they have become "unteachable"; a dangerous place to occupy this side of heaven.
Why Are The Educated So Rarely Wise?
Worldly Wisdom vs Godly Wisdom.
Yes, there is wisdom to be found from the worldly and from some of the strangest sources. One of my favorites to cite is Rene Descartes; the French revolutionary spurred on by his hatred of the "church" and anything pertaining to God. This did not keep him from incredible insight into the character of the human spirit.
On common sense with a humorous bent:
Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has. Rene Descartes
When you think about it, there is a reason that common sense is so uncommon.
On meditation, something so needed within the Church:
In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate. Rene Descartes
When Christians find themselves relying on a daily devotional or reading for their spiritual input and neglect meditation; it is no wonder that the Church is so illiterate and doctrinally weak. One must read Joshua 1:8-9 to understand that there is only one way to keep oneself unspotted from the world and that is to continually meditate on the Word.
How about a quote from a strange source with great biblical implications:
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. Alexander the Great
Worldly wisdom is born from the experiences of life; through pain, suffering, trials, mistakes and even successes being allowed to be one's teacher. Recently, Charles Krauthammer, a man who lived through much personal adversity, passed away; he will be missed. He was respected on both sides of the political spectrum because of his wisdom in addressing the pressing issues of the day. When Charles spoke, people would listen whether they agreed with him or not. When either side of an issue try to out shout the other, only a few listen; however when one is wise in their speech, many more ears will stay tuned.
Whence Cometh Godly Wisdom
Why Is Godly Wisdom So Rare Within The Church?
My simple definition of godly wisdom: worldly wisdom filtered by the Word of God.
A pastor / teacher may be smarter than you or I, but wisdom will never come via the seminary, for life must produce world begotten wisdom measured against the Scriptures. This takes TIME and involves EXPERIENCEs in both the GOOD and EVIL of our days. Why do you think 1 Timothy 3:6 admonishes the Church against ordaining a "novice"? Sadly, pride is a very real side effect and equates it to the condemnation of the devil. (Note: 1 Timothy 5:12 translates condemnation as damnation.) The arrogance (pride) found in so many pulpits and ministries these days must be a stench in the nostrils of God. Per James 3:1, there is a price to pay, whether you are saved or not. Sadly, so many want to be teachers, yet so few have the gift of teaching.
So, what is the difference between a gifted teacher and a non-gifted teacher?
Per 1 Timothy 3:2, an believing elder (pastor, teacher, etc.) is one who is "apt" to teach, not gifted:
- Good communication skills
- Organized, well-read, knows the material
- Able to make a point and get it across
- Needed in every place where two or more are gathered for the building up of the body of Christ
A gifted teacher (Remember: a "gift" is something one has never before possessed) is definitely different:
- One who is teachable - when is the last time you have heard from the pulpit or your favorite pastor: "I was mistaken, I am now convinced of a doctrinal error or I learned something I never before realized"?
- The believing ears will know the difference; will taste the meat and hunger for more. (No vegans allowed)
- Will raise more questions that need answering and personal life issues to be directly addressed
- The faux believer hears "too" much detail and looks for more palatable teaching.
- The avowed unbeliever/heretic understands nothing: hates the message and the messenger.
- The gifted one is "hungry" to be correct and will re-visit doctrine over and over, fine tuning their teaching via study, experience and CORRECTION.
- Finds themselves meditating at all hours of the day
- Has a godly fear of being wrong
Max Headroom - The Original A.I. Talking Head.
The Pulpit Has Gone The Way Of The World - Talking Heads.
Talking heads with the "gift" of gab now fill our pulpits, the airways and social media. So much talking and so little said.
- Preach or teach topical vs doctrine or word for word - easy to find books on hot topics, easy to adapt to their personal style and their perceived desires of the captive audience.
- A little study of the Word is all that is required - eschew Greek and Hebrew - mock the laity who love to study to find themselves approved.
- Use multiple versions to find the "correct" wording to support their thesis.
- Do not cross set denomination doctrinal lines.
- Tone down the message so as not to chase away the unbelievers or to make them uncomfortable.
- Be sure to have "warm-ups" and "entertainment" (music?) to set the spiritual mood.
- Avoid sin, heaven and hell.
- Make it comfortable to feel good about your "religion" and not to overly disturb one on cruise-control to hell.
- Most important - do NOT offend anyone - (Caveat: it is the true believers that are both wronged and offended, IF they are not asleep)
One thing I have learned while writing on Hubpages, is that there are so many really great students of the Word that don't necessarily agree my position(s). That in itself is OK - we all have a right to be wrong - on occasion. i.e. When the rapture does occur, those who don't believe in the rapture will not be complaining when we all get to heaven. Likewise, the a-, mid-, post-, pre-wrath rapturites won't complain when it turns out to be pre-; the correct doctrine. I will complain if it is one of the others though. A little humor to lighten a very troubling subject.
A final admonition:
Be a Berean, read the Word to develop your doctrine, and never use your personal doctrine as the filter of Scripture. When you disagree with another's doctrinal position, study to prove them correct: it is a win-win situation. If you should prove them to be correct, you have gained valuable insight into the Word. If you should not prove them correct, you will have strengthened your personal doctrine and be able to give additional reasons for the Hope that lives within you. This was the wise counsel of an older pastor friend of mine years ago when I was confronted with an issue of infant baptism. I worked hard to take their scriptural logic and prove that I was wrong. Voila, I was NOT wrong and I was the stronger in my belief for the effort.