I’m Not a Theologian…

I said a couple days ago that I would include my other observation on the whole “Jesus Tomb” deal. This isn’t necessarily something that is isolated just to this event, but something that I have been hearing more and more, and I’ve begun to wonder why. I keep hearing people say, “Well, I’m not a theologian” or “I haven’t gone to Bible School or Seminary”.

These statements have been made in the context of not saying what the implications of the tomb of Jesus being found. The people say that they aren’t theologians so they can’t make that conclusion. They feel they can take a jack hammer to the foundation of a building, but say, “Well, I’m not a structural engineer or anything, so I couldn’t make any conclusions about this.”

My question is this: At what point did “theologian” become an office or occupation? I think part of it is the professionalizing of Christian thinkers. It is seen that unless you have some cool letters before or after your name, then your obervations are not valid or that you are incapable of understanding theology. Bible Colleges and Seminaries are obviously great, but I think they are creating this false sense of insufficiency in the life of those that don’t attend those colleges or seminaries.

An unintended side effect of these schools is that people think that unless you go there, then you can’t be a student of theology. I began thinking last year about the responsibility of the local church when it comes to equipping and training the average layman. At the “Together for the Gospel” conference last year, Al Mohler gave a plead to the pastors to see to it that they just don’t pass off this training to them.

I don’t necessarily know why churches have failed to train and equip their members. I don’t know if it is because they have given too much of their time and efforts to more inconsequential activities. I don’t know if it is the church attempting to appeal to a greater group and putting the proverbial cookies on the lower shelf. Maybe its because the church leaders themselves do not feel trained to do the training. Or it could be just that they see the colleges and seminaries doing it, so they don’t need to do that heavy lifting.

Maybe its one of those, maybe its all of those. Or maybe its none of those. But either way, way too many people inside the church see theology as being a professional pursuit, making themselves unqualified for forming views and making statements. I know it can be a difficult task to equip the average layman, but it is the job of the church, nonetheless. And the college and the seminary are not the church.

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4 comments on “I’m Not a Theologian…

  1. BethsMomToo says:

    Good point. This won’t come as news to any of you, but I think people have just gotten lazy and distracted by the world. It’s HARD to prepare to teach – if you do it properly. It takes time and effort. I think too many have gone the route of teaching a book ABOUT the Bible instead of the Bible itself, because the author has done all the work for them. I see it as a deadly downward cycle – people become less and less able to rightly divide the Word as they use it less and less. And many of those books are so light and fluffy and full of sheer speculation they end up teaching you nothing at all.

    We also need more men who are both gifted and willing to teach. Men who are spritually mature. Men who are willing to make it a priority in their life. Men who are willing to study and be taught themselves. Everybody wants to be a teacher, but few want to study. That’s not good. Let’s be praying for men who want to glorify God and His Word and are serious about any teaching they do.

  2. ehudadams says:

    what i wonder is what came first. sort of a chicken or the egg debate. did the people lose interest over time, or did the church changes its focus and rely on colleges and seminaries? Obviously, there is a little of both, but I think we need to be careful and not just sit back and tell people they’re lazy (and I’m not saying that’s what you did), but we also need to look at our churches and see that they take responsibility, too.

  3. beth says:

    Using the reasoning that layman couldn’t interpret the Bible was the same tool the Catholic church used- and we’ve seen how that went. Elders who are not interested in training and equipping their flock are falling into the same trap.

  4. BethsMomToo says:

    It’s true that my chuch experience has been limited. I have only attended two assemblies, related to each other. But I sense an almost “anti-education” feeling among believers. It’s the idea that , “I can learn the Bible for myself.” An attitude of “I can think for myself, I don’t want to be brainwashed by Bible teachers” – at a Bible school, college or Seminary. Perhaps I am giving weight to just a few – because they are the more vocal…or the ones most likely to make me grind my teeth. đŸ˜‰ Or maybe this is more of an East Coast mentality, because we don’t have a lot of schools nearby. I wish I had a dollar for everytime I have mentioned taking a class or attending Bible school/college/seminary and the immediate response is, “You can know all about the Bible, but be a terrible Christian.” Well of course you can… but it’s not an either/or proposition! Submitting to teaching doesn’t MAKE you a bad Christian. And there are certainly plenty of “untaught” people who are bad Christians.

    Chicken or the egg? “… like people, like priest….[Hosea 4:9]. “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher…” [Lk.6:39-40] “The character and effectiveness of any church is directly related to the quality of its leadership.” [MacArthur] Believers are influenced by their leadership. If leadership doesn’t put priority on training, most of the congregation will suffer for it.
    Combine that with our human tendancy to laziness [yes…I DID intend to use that word, though I don’t think it is the only factor involved] and our being easily distracted by the world…

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