True Power

True Power

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Education has its price

This is the last night before I face having an empty nest. My husband and I knew this day would come, but it seems to have come too soon.

The last couple of months we have been reminicing about when our kids were small. Once, while visiting a Baptist church with my three year old child, the minister hit the point of his sermon in which the climax was to begin. Organs started as he began to wipe the sweat from his brow and his voice became volumous. With a shout he began launching into the "Amen-hallelujah" part of his sermon, when my daughter sat straight up in her father's lap and shouted: "THAT'S THE MAN WHO KILLED JESUS!!!"

To say the least, we had to get her out of there because she was yelling for everyone to hear that she found the man who killed Jesus. We reassured her in the parking lot that the preacher had not killed Jesus to her satisfaction. Why she believed that we do not know accept for the fact that that was her first time at a Baptist church and she was not use to the dramatic flare of a Baptist preacher.

The other day while attending a funeral, the young well groomed preacher took the pulpit and asked the congregation to bow their heads as he prayed. I bowed my head and as I have done for the past five years, began to pray my own silent prayer:

"Dear Lord allow my ears and heart to receive a word from you today. May I not critque the minister's words but be open to learning something new. Let not me be of those who count themselves too righteous, but allow me to submit with a humble heart to the words of your servant and my fellow laborer. Amen."

With an open heart and mind I began to listen attentively to the young preacher. Without fail I began to run his sermon through my mind: how I would have begun, how I would have approached the theme, which Scriptures I would have used, what background information he should have left out, and of course to know, unlike him, when enough was enough.

I exited the church feeling a little crummy. Why did I continue to do that? Why can't I just sit in the pew and enjoy whatever the minister is delivering? It is as if I cannot control myself no matter how I try.

I discussed it with my family and answered my own questions finally.

When a doctor watches a medical program on t.v. he knows when the writers gets things wrong. This is the reason so many doctors refuse to watch medical shows, because they go on and on about this or that not being right.

When a musician listens to another musician, they recognize every missed note by a performer where the not so musically inclined has the freedom to just listen to the music being played and enjoy.

I have gone to college many years to study God and the Bible and invested countless hours in study, so there should be no surprise that my mind kicks into overdrive when I listen to a sermon. My education in the field of religion has made it impossible for me not to notice a mistake. I am thankful to God it has nothing to do with my character.

I honor any minister that enters the pulpit. He is standing there saying I am responsible for the care of souls. What I tell you and what I do not tell you will be counted for or against me by God. That is a major undertaking and I have to acknowledge it and I owe the minister my attention.

I do not believe there are too many ministers who completely stand in the pulpit with the intention of misleading others. Each minister and denomination believes that their beliefs are correct and others have it wrong. With all this said, I have heard the most ridiculous ramblings in the pulpit.

Education has its price. Once you know better you are expected to do better. Religion has been opposed to the education of its ministers due to the fact that they are afraid that the guidance of the Holy Spirit will become irrelevant. But we see in the book of John Jesus promising the Holy Spirit: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26). This Counselor, Jesus said would be with us forever as the Spirit of truth (v.15).

To be put in remembrance of what Jesus said, you first have to KNOW what Jesus said and this can only be accomplished through deligent study of his word. This of course can be accomplished in or out of school. But if you are serious about knowing God and his will, school will not be abhorrent to a minister.

So back to my three year old and her exclaimation of "THAT'S THE MAN THAT KILLED JESUS." There are many ministers unknowingly killing the word of Jesus. Some sermons are based on style and flare, others on control and ego trips. But, for these few who refuse to study and grow in their knowledge of Jesus, they may or may not be committing murder but they are guilty of malpractice.

For such a serious job of caring for souls, we require no proof of compentency. Doctors and lawyers have to pass tests to prove they are knowledgeable and competent. Ministers do not. No man can approve another man's calling as a servant of God. But the servant should take it upon himself to make every effort and use every available tool to ensure that he/she is teaching sound doctrine.


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