DEFINING THE WORTHY: Qualifying Clergy, Church, and Ministry Donations (2)

         “How in the world did Paul learn directly from the Lord since the Lord had already died, was resurrected, and went to heaven? How was it that Paul appropriated the Lord Jesus as his new and only Rabbi?”

.     .     .

         Most official ministers are not aware of how the Lord Jesus financed His ministry, and there is a very good reason for that. Actually two reasons. The first is a basic lack of knowledge, which is completely understandable in that most members of the clergy are taught by other clergyites in official Bible schools, seminaries, and colleges. Very few of these people learn spiritual truths as did the apostles and even Paul—directly from the Lord.

         This method is actually the New Testament model. One may learn the basics as a rookie in churches and Bible Studies from any number of sermons and teachings but at some point must graduate to higher spiritual learning. The apostles were certainly well-versed in Scripture prior to joining the Lord’s school, and the apostle Paul was likely the most well-versed, but these men had no knowledge of the spiritual things the Lord Jesus must teach them. It is why they were often such hard cases and gave off the appearance of being clueless though good-hearted Forrest Gumps. If it had been any of us it would have been the same.

         That’s why the general Christian clergy attitude is so defeating and backwards regarding higher Christian education. It is far too controlling, egg-headed, and dogmatic. It leaves little room for free thought. In case you may think I’m starting to drift here, I must remind all that the apostle Paul learned the Gospel directly from the Lord out in the desert somewhere. He never went to any official New Testament school. And in case one may think he was the exception, this was actually not the case. The Lord Jesus made it clear that He must be our only teacher:

         “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.” [Matthew 23:8]

         Regarding this fact, how in the world did Paul learn directly from the Lord since the Lord had already died, was resurrected, and went to heaven? How was it that Paul appropriated the Lord Jesus as his new and only Rabbi?

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

         But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:11-17]

         Official Bible schools, seminaries, Christian colleges, and churches are not as open and transparent as they purport to be. They are each agenda-based though this fact is often played down or concealed. Each of these institutions has their respective, unique, and exclusive teaching agenda. They each have their own distinctive curriculum and teaching format. Thus, one establishment will frequently disagree completely with another regarding doctrine, liturgy, or ecclesiastical infrastructure, which makes them contradictory!

          Because they are agenda-based and not purely New Testament-based, they will be lacking in some of the Lord’s teachings, will have introduced some of their own dogma which is not representative of the Lord’s teachings, and will thus not fulfill the Lord’s directive that He must be the only Teacher.

         Let me put it this way: Elementary school prepares us for junior high, which prepares us for high school, which prepares us for college or university if we get that far. Some go beyond this. A university degree thus prepares some students for master’s or doctoral programs. Therefore, as disciples of the Lord, it is understandable to learn the basics through lesser and general means.

         I know in my experience, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, I had an insatiable appetite for the Word of God. I was attending church services four times a week but was also doing the bulk of my reading and study on my own. It didn’t take me long to read the entire Bible. I was also engaged in much interaction with many different believers. I got familiar with different denominational beliefs. All of this served as great background and foundational learning. During that early time I also did what I could to buy books and slowly start building my library. All of this set the tone and served as vital prerequisites for greater learning directly from the Lord.

         This is where things get interesting. A disciple starts receiving revelation and learning that goes beyond the received education of most, simply because most Christians do one of the following:

  1. They do very little if any Bible reading or study on their own.
  2. They depend far too heavily on whatever preachers or teachers they submit to and rarely go beyond that agenda.
  3. They develop an attitude of suspicion and eventual criticism toward anything and anyone that is not fully ensconced within their own little Christian world.

         Regarding the latter, Christian schools of higher learning do exactly the same. Generally speaking, this does not mean that much good cannot be learned in such institutions or even in churches. The key is being led of the Lord Jesus. What is vitally necessary, then, if one is to progress as an effective and mature disciple and learn directly from the Lord, is that one must move on from basic convention at some point to arrive at that place of higher spiritual learning the Lord has for each of us.

         “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.” [Proverbs 8:17] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on August 5, 2016, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I was hitchhiking in Idaho a few years ago and this Christian picked me up. He said that A.W. Tozer was once invited to speak at a Bible college somewhere in the United States. During his address to the Bible college, Tozer said that half the students there were not even saved.

    I love Tozer’s boldness and bluntness.

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    • Thanks. Great comment. It’s good to see the PC culture getting smashed up lately, but Religious Correctness is far worse. Christians have been taught that politeness must always come before possibly offending someone over their spiritual state or lack thereof. Most of the time people get offended when Christians mean no harm whatsoever. By the way, I just read something yesterday about a Christian getting, in his words, “insulted” because someone was witnessing to him about a higher walk. They were coming on too strong possibly, but I was struck by that word “insulted.” Denotes the presence of pride. Didn’t seem to matter to A.W. Tozer, but these were unsaved “Bible students.” Go figure. People will never repent until they are convicted of their sin and they will never be convicted unless someone teaches the real Word of God which defines sin and outs it. Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know a lot about higher Ed as I never went to college except for a short semester. I’ve never been keen on college and always have been self taught and college always seemed like it stifled my ability to think and learn. How is learning actually learning if someone is telling you how to think? As a mom, I took the homeschool route and even among other homeschoolers I feel like I just don’t jive. For instance, most of them put their kids every sport and require them to learn all the higher maths and sciences. This is great for a child who loves math and science and probably wants to be a chemist or engineer but it is torture for the girl who wants to be a graphic designer or artist. People are not one size fits all. Even homeschoolers try to box their kids in. I also find it odd they shove their children into these things and then force them to do church ministry as if that will save them! I’m not saying any of it is awful or wrong but faith is simple. I agree most people just wait for their pastors to give them the bible. How sad when the holy spirit is here to guide us and we have shelves of bibles at our fingertips.

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    • I agree, Elle. Thanks for the comment.

      I noticed this problem right away but it took years to find a solution and apply it. People are not “one size fits all,” but such an approach is much more convenient for those in charge. People are incredibly diverse in so many ways. When people become Christians this dynamic does not change.

      It is why I became so interested when I first learned about spiritual gifting tests so long ago. Like personality tests, every believer has specific gifts and talents granted by the Lord through which they are meant to become specialists in particular fields. Having no knowledge or care about this dynamic by the general Christian leadership forces all believers (or people in general, or students of any age level) into large homogenized units which makes their differences of no value, but which strives for general common denominators, which essentially robs people of their inherent strengths and gifting and rewards those who make the decision to fit into a generic culture. Present social media, for example, has greatly contributed to this.

      Regarding ministry, only very few are regarded as “official” or socially acceptable according to this cultural dynamic. The Lord’s perfect example is lost within this dominant culture, as is the vast and far-reaching purpose so many rejected Christians could live out if they were allowed to participate according to their true callings. When I became a Christian, for example, the only ministerial choices were essentially church pastor or traveling evangelist. I was not gifted for either one. The bulk of Christian ministry was either unknown or rejected.

      I don’t know how much you know on the subject, but I suggest Romans chapter 12 as a starting point, which lists the seven gifts. These may be termed motivational gifts. They are the core giftings of which each Christian believer possesses one that is dominant. By identifying which gift we possess, we become cognizant of the type of ministry we are being called to in that our gifting reflects our purpose. You can also study the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians which also delves deeply into the subject of diversity within ministry.

      Great to hear from you! Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have felt that way at church. They have a list of places where the church needs help or volunteers and they suggest you help even if you don’t have those specific gifts. It’s easier to see where the church needs help rather than to see how the individual might best serve. I still haven’t found a church that thinks differently on that topic. So now I put boundaries up so I don’t end up burning out. If something is asked of me and I have a sense of dread, I say no.

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        • Yes. I remember coming up with a mathematical equation that states: “The more one operates in one’s gifting the less effort it takes, the less it costs, and the more energy is released, while operating outside of one’s gifting by forcing work one is not gifted for takes much effort, costs much, and releases little or no energy.” In other words, operating according to one’s gifting actually charges one’s battery, while operating outside of it drains it completely in a relatively very short period of time.

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