I want to get you thinking seriously about something, if I may. But first let me say that I know that some will probably read this and get offended and some may act indifferent; but maybe, just maybe, some will actually take the time to contemplate this and go to God about it.
I also need to preface this by saying that I am by no means trying to make myself out to be better than anybody else or that I have all of the answers. I am a sinner saved by the grace of God and nothing more. But to be truthful, I am not here to make you feel good; I am here to challenge you in your Christian walk and hopefully help you to grow in Christlikeness.
You see, in our everyday lives, we consider someone that has been in their profession for 10 – 15 – 20 years to be an expert in their field, competent in their duties and able to speak intelligently in the area of their profession. For instance, you would trust and expect someone who has been a doctor for that many years to be able to take care of whatever medical condition that you may be experiencing. Also, you would expect someone who has been a home builder for that many years to be able to build you a home that would be solid and able to stand for many years to come. We wouldn’t accept anything less than this, would we?
Well what about those who profess to be Christian? Why do we accept it when someone professes to be a Christian for many years but cannot seem to answer questions about the faith they profess? Why do we accept it when someone uses the old excuse “well I am not a theologian,” as if that is reason enough to remain ignorant of the Scriptures?
As a matter of fact, Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers about their inability to handle or comprehend areas of the faith even after they had been Christians for only a couple of years. The writer of the book of Hebrews also addresses the area of spiritual immaturity to those who were unable to handle a more solid spiritual food and remained as “infants” when it came to the things of God.
I do not see anywhere in Scripture where it is only those who are called to be pastors who are to be able to explain the Word of God. I do not see anywhere in Scripture where only “theologians” are to understand the Word of God.
On the contrary, I see that true believers are given the Holy Spirit, and that He will teach them and guide them in truth. God tells us in His Word that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it. But it also takes effort on our part to actually get into God’s Word and study it on our knees.
Sadly however, many have become lazy in the things of God and are comfortable in their minimal maturity in His Word.
They even use that excuse of not being a theologian to refrain from getting into conversations about the faith where they may need to correct a wrong doctrine or belief.
They want to leave it to the “experts.” Well let me say this; everyone who professes to be Christian should be able to defend the faith they profess, and they need to become “experts.”
I don’t say these things to be hard for the sake of being hard, but that it may challenge you to get up and take your faith seriously, that you would be able to “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB).
We all need to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJB).
May God grow us all in Christlikeness for his glory.
The Rev. James Cole is pastor of Sovereign Grace Community Church in Grovetown.