Scholars vs. Laity

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Amy.G, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. Amy.G

    Amy.G
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    From another thread:

    What do you think of this quote?


    Do scholars receive more from the Holy Spirit than the average person in the pew?

    Is the Bible not enough for the average Christian? Must we rely on the scholars to receive maximum revelation from God's word?

    Are we "arrogant" to think that God reveals His word to us even though we may not have been to Seminary or we are not scholars?
     
    #1 Amy.G, Dec 4, 2010
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  2. Winman

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    I am not against scholarship. I would certainly prefer a pastor who has attended a good seminary. That said, I have known people who have no formal training that understand the scriptures far more than many pastors.

    If a person is saved, they have the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit will guide them into truth.

    John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    The Holy Spirit will guide us into truth, but it is not automatic. We are told to study. My pastor teaches a college course on the scriptures with other pastors and encourages us to sign up for classes.

    I have always felt that if you sincerely want to understand the scriptures, that you can ask God and he will give you the answers. You don't always get them as fast as you want them, but if you diligently seek he will provide them. This is not just a theory of mine, it is a promise made by God himself.

    James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
    6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
    7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.


    All this said, I liken it to playing a musical instrument. I have been playing guitar over 40 years and never had a lesson. I can play, but it was a long difficult process. Those who take lessons do learn more quickly.

    But even here there are pros to being self taught. The self taught musician tends to be a better improvisor who can play what he hears in his head. Learned musicians often tend to be locked in a box creatively. If it's on paper, they can play it, if it's not, they can't.

    And this is true of higher education as well. Thus we hear people speak of "thinking outside the box". Some folks can't do this, because their mind has been literally programmed to see from one perspective only. That is good if that perspective is true, but very bad if it is error.
     
    #2 Winman, Dec 4, 2010
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  3. Amy.G

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    This is the part that I find offensive.


    It is arrogant for anybody to claim they know more than another about the Bible whether they're a Sunday school student or a scholar.
     
  4. Havensdad

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    The problem here, is that you take a quote of Scripture, "He will teach you all things," and then you just jump to the ends as an explanation of HOW it happened. You cannot skip steps...

    The scriptures you quoted, say that God will teach us. That is all. NOW you have to ask "HOW will He teach us?" Does he give us teachers to instruct us, or does He just "poof" knowledge into our head? The scriptures never tell us that God gives us knowledge outside of #1 Teachers (primary means) or #2 DILIGENT study of an individual under the guidance of a teacher.

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,


    The scriptures declare, unanimously, that you are in one of two camps; teacher, or student. It is human arrogance that ignores the God given teachers that God has gifted, through His Holy Spirit, and say "The guy who does not have the gift of teaching, granted by the Holy Spirit of God, can understand scriptures just as well as the person who does have this gift."
     
  5. menageriekeeper

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    Ah, but there comes a time when the student must step out into independence.

    How long and how much study it takes for an individual to become independent and mature in their beliefs is peculiar to each person. For Paul it was a matter of days. (think about it. Paul understood traditional Jewish culture from his youth, but learned of, accepted and began teaching Christ in only days)

    It was this same Paul who complained that he was still feeding milk to Christian that ought to be eating meat.

    There is nothing wrong with education, even higher education, but we should not allow our education to rank higher than the leading of the Holy Spirit within a mature Christian.
     
  6. Old Union Brother

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    What type of men did Jesus call to be his apostles? I contend that the original apostles were common men; some were fisherman and one was a tax collector. Not one of the original was a scholar. A scholar did not come on the scene until Paul and he wrote the following in 1 Corinthians:

    1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

    1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

    1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    And then in Galatians he wrote:
    1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

    1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
    Paul was showing that for all his scholarship preaching had to come by and through the spirit Christ.

    I have seen education get in the way of some people’s faith. I believe that God reveals his word to whoever he will regardless of education. I am not downing education; I am a high school teacher that has a master’s degree plus 30 additional hours of graduate school. When it comes to the preaching the Gospel of the Son of God education cannot do it comes from a revelation from on high.
     
  7. Havensdad

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    Only if they have the gift of teaching. The sheep are to be under a shepherd for the rest of their lives. If you don't have a pastor, and you are not a pastor yourself, you are committing sin.

    Actually, that's not exactly true. Paul proclaimed the gospel, yes. But Paul went away for several years before beginning his teaching ministry.

    False dichotomy. Being educated by men with the gift of teaching IS the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some feeling based "burning in your bosom" is Moromonism, not Christianity.
     
  8. menageriekeeper

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    Yeah, okay. Show the scripture that says a Christian MUST have a pastor/elder or they are in sin.

    It can be, but then again we are told to "try the spirits" to see if they are of God. Do we try them against our education or by the Word of God Himself? Are we to be led by the preacher/teacher or by the Holy Spirit?

    I think that in this thread and the other there is way to much worrying about "who will be greatest" and not enough worrying about what Paul did immediately upon his conversion:

    Act 9:20 And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God.

    Actually, you are splitting hairs. Paul may not have begun his missionary journeys until later on but he began teaching right away:

    Act 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.
     
  9. Iconoclast

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    Winman,
    You give an example right here that shows how quickly one can go off course. You quote this and comment;
    THe quote of jn 16:13 is that the apostles would be guided into all truth...not us. Through the apostles we are given truth. You do mention that it is not automatic...and this to your credit. Most who quote this verse try to claim that we will get the same guidance that the apostles were promised.
    They then claim the annointing of 1 jn2:27.....and need no teacher or pastor.
     
  10. menageriekeeper

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    So you think we should just disregard every part of the Bible that doesn't directly apply to us today? Wouldn't that mean none of it applied? :confused:
     
  11. jbh28

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    Have you been guided to all truth? I haven't. I make mistakes all the time. This was a specific command given tot he apostles during their time after Christ. This is how they were able to write the Scriptures. This is also how we know that Peter per se wasn't in error when he is being quoted in his preaching.

    Now, the principle of the Spirit guiding us is true, but nobody is guided to all truth today.
     
  12. Steven2006

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    Here is the first thought that came to my mind when I read this OP.

    Overall when speaking about large numbers of people, then yes, scholars would know more about, and should have a better understanding of scripture than layman.

    Take that to the next logical step, and most scholars would most likely be correct if they believed that they understood scripture better than the majority of the layman they spoke about it with.

    However if they would take it to the next step that some might take it to, and feel that they knew more about, and understood scripture better than any one individual layman they were speaking with they could very well be very wrong in this assumption because they have know knowledge themselves of how much knowledge that individual layman might have. They would have no knowledge of how much knowledge of scripture the Holy Spirit has revealed to that layman.

    Furthermore, any scholar taking that last step would be the very definition of arrogance, because for him to believe he must know more than any one specific layman, this would mean he believed that he must know more than every layman on this earth.
     
    #12 Steven2006, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2010
  13. Dr. Bob

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    I am against wallowing in ignorance or thinking we know the meaning of a word or phrase or verse or doctrine. The best part of studying God's Word in the Greek has been to open the eyes to the horrendous misconceptions floating around in evangelical Christianity.

    Worse yet, I cannot conceive of stumbling into a pseudo-piety of thinking that little education is laudable. I want my MD to have a degree. I want my architect to be educated. I want even my mechanic to be certified. Why would I want something less for my pastor?

    I cannot imagine settling for ignorance when we have so many tools at our fingertips (literally, with the computer age) that can help us understand and grow and comprehend the breadth of God's truth.

    I am amazed at churches shortchanging themselves by hiring unqualified and functionally illiterate preachers who do not study and think and apply, but rather regurgitate homilies learned from some guru.

    Do I GLORY in education and LORD over those without a degree or such? No. But I've lived long enough to see the benefits to the preacher and to the congregation of education. And from posts I've read on the BB in the past nearly 11 years, I can tell people who truly know the Word and those who don't; those who have a real life education (again, not talking a PhD) and those novices that make shipwreck when they reply.

    "Get all the education you can, even if you're just going to drive a mule. It makes all the difference between you and the mule." ~Sam Jones, Methodist Evangelist
     
  14. Luke2427

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    Yea, I agree with this. But no one is talking about a scholar who says he knows more about the bible than any layman on earth. We don't even know that there is such a Bible scholar.

    We used words like "tend to know more about the Bible than layman" to keep down on this confusion.

    I think a failure to recognize your first point is arrogance.
     
  15. Luke2427

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    Excellent post. Not surprising from such a well educated man! :smilewinkgrin::smilewinkgrin:
     
  16. Iconoclast

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    No...... not dis-regard it,How about just understand it correctly.It is not a poem that we put our own meanings to.
     
  17. Luke2427

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    Really??? Are you serious??

    Would it be arrogant for Jonathan Edwards to say to some 13 year old atheist- "Young man, I tell you that when you attack the Bible as untrue and full of contradictions that I know it far better than you and you are wrong."

    I think the reason we don't like to think that anybody knows more than anyone else is because of personal arrogance- it means we have to admit that there are many who know more than us. But if we can force the intellectual ground level then NO ONE IS WISER THAN I AM!!!

    I think that is arrogance. I think true humility means we admit the truth that many are smarter and wiser and better than ourselves.
     
  18. jbh28

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    No
    The Bible is sufficient, but we do benefit greatly from others.
    Being in seminary or a scholar only means you have have many hours in study of the Scripture. It doesn't mean you are going to have more spirit than somebody else. Usually they know the Bible better only because they have had more time in study.
     
  19. Steven2006

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    I think you missed my point. The scholar that thinks he must know more than the one layman he is talking to, because he is a scholar and the other is only a layman, he would be guilty of believing that he must know more than every layman on this earth, regardless of if he ever consciously thought of it that way or not.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    Exactly. Great point.
     
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