Theologians; January 4, 2019

Luke 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.”

“Politically correct” is hardly a term you could use to describe Jesus! That’s another indication that the whole political correctness movement is of the devil and not of God, however “considerate of people’s feelings” it might pretend to be. This particular accusation on His part is of great interest because “experts in the law” would today be called theologians, since it was the Levitical law that was involved. There was something of an explosion of false theology from the late 19th Century up to WWII, largely centered in Austria and Germany. One of the results was preparing the German people to accept, or at least not resist, Hitler, and we know how that turned out. Since WWII the devil hasn’t been resting, and today there are honored, historic seminaries where you can get a degree without ever encountering Jesus Christ the Lord. Such people, with letters after their name, go on to insist that they are the experts, so someone with a genuinely Biblical devotion to Jesus Christ is “misguided.” Frankly, it makes me sick. Then there are the splinter groups that latch onto a particular doctrine and make it a test of purity, sometimes not even accepting as Christian someone who disagrees on the importance of that doctrine. That too breaks the heart of God. Any time we erect human systems between people and God’s Word we are doing the devil’s work. The same goes for the whole clergy/laity divide. God does assign different tasks in the Body of Christ and gifts people accordingly, but that doesn’t change the fundamental truth that God loves us equally and individually, so an unknown from Podunk has as much access to the throne room of God as any Church leader. Anything we do that clouds that reality is a deception of the devil.

This is obviously something I feel pretty strongly about! I come from a family of theologians, but I honestly think they were the good kind. (Grin!) However, that made me sensitive to theological issues from a fairly young age. In seminary, one of the things that grated on me was the the requirement in Preaching class that we quote commentaries, and they had specific “approved” ones that got you better grades. Having read through the Bible for the first time at a young age and having already done so several times by the time I was in Seminary, I had a pretty good grasp of how the Old and New Testaments illuminate each other, and I couldn’t see why I needed anything other than the Bible and the Holy Spirit to deliver messages from the Lord. I still feel that way! Other people’s insights can be illuminating, and knowledge of the culture and language at the time the particular passage was written can certainly be helpful, but I believe in putting as little as possible between people and the Word. In Japan that can have its difficulties, since there is very little cultural understanding of a Biblical worldview, but the Holy Spirit is still trustworthy, and I must never forget it. Teaching Speech Therapy I tell my students that it does little good that they can speak beautifully if they can’t help others speak better. They might be an example, but not a therapist. The same thing applies to me as a pastor. It is vital that I myself am a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ, but my calling is to lead others to become disciples, just as Jesus said in the Great Commission. (Matthew 29:18-20)

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for the disciples who have come out of my ministry. I pray that there would be many more, and that each of them would in turn raise up disciples for You, so that we ourselves would enter in, and would not hinder anyone else from doing so. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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