Now, Contending for the Faith, with this week’s question: My church seems to believe that one must be a scholar or theologian to be a pastor or a credible Christian author or Bible teacher. It even seems to be implied that those without such degrees are not competent to question what those holding theological and now even psychological degrees teach from the Bible. What is your opinion?
Tom: Well it’s an interesting question. We’re not against somebody really seeking out through study earning a degree. Is there anything inherently wrong with that Dave?
Dave: Well it depends what the degree is in, of course.
Tom: That’s true.
Dave: Education isn’t going to harm you, but what we need is a little common sense. But as far as needing some special education to be able to tell what the Bible says, I think a little common sense tells you that isn’t true. Certainly, Paul didn’t have that special education. I don’t even know what education Paul had. Certainly Peter, a fisherman you know, and James and John didn’t have it.
Tom: The Galileans stunned them didn’t they? With what they understood and what they knew.
Dave: That is elitism. And of course, that’s how cults are formed. That’s religion really. That’s how religious leaders keep their followers in bondage. Well you can’t understand, you don’t know, you don’t have my degree. And of course, Christian psychology is the ultimate in that. Because not only do they know theology, now they know psychology and because the ordinary person doesn’t have a comprehension of that then you can’t check them out. I mean I hope most of the listeners know by now our ministry is called The Berean Call. And we use that title because of Acts:17:11. And there it says the Bereans checked Paul, the great Apostle Paul. These are ordinary people in Berea, the town north of Greece. And they checked the great Apostle Paul out from the Bible to see whether what he said was true. So that tells me the Bible must have been available to them. It must have been understandable to them in that there is no one, not even the Apostle Paul who we look up to as the great authority in interpreting the Bible. And Paul himself said that in writing to the Corinthians. Paul writes to Timothy for example, 2 Timothy:3:15, “From a child you have known the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation.” Psalm:119:9, we probably quote these many times.
Tom: Well they’re important.
Dave: They are. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” It doesn’t say anything about a young man going to a rabbi, consulting him. And Jesus quoted to Satan in the temptation of the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
So that brings us back to the Kabbalah you know. If there are secrets in there—or the Bible code today—if you’ve got to have a sophisticated software program to find out what the Bible—or some secret message in the Bible, then it wouldn’t be available to any human being, any normal person or a child.
Dave: So that’s not it. The Bible is available to us. It’s not that anybody has an exclusive franchise on explaining the Word of God, the meaning of the Word of God. And Paul writes to the Corinthians and he says, “Let the prophets speak two or three by course, and let the others judge.” You must judge. Anyone out there listening right now, you must judge what I say. You must judge what Tom is saying. Not from your own, well you have to have some common sense, but from the Word of God. Okay? So for some elitist to say that he has a degree that you don’t have, therefore you’ve got to believe what he says, no! That is contrary to the Word of God and common sense.
Tom: Yes, and the other side of this is some people like it that way. They just want people with the credentials so they can be confident, so really they don’t have to search the scriptures themselves. That’s sad.
Dave: Okay, that is not only sad Tom, but you’ll never be able to stand before the Lord. God says why did you do this? And you say well, Dave and Tom, I mean they explained it and it sounded like they knew what they were talking about. God says look, I’ve given you common sense and I’ve given you my word. I’ve given you the Holy Spirit, if you are a Christian and you cannot abdicate your own moral responsibility to know what is right and put it off on somebody else and say well, they were the experts and so I followed them. That won’t go with God.