Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Unlearned and Ignorant Men


Did I ever tell you that my dad's life verse was Matthew 17:15? OK, it says, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water." I'm joking, so stop smirking. And because I'm joking that means that I am not a lunatick, no matter what you've heard from someone else. If I were one, I wouldn't be proud of it.

Sometimes, however, I think that many independent Baptists have taken Acts 4:13 as their life verse: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." I like the boldness and I like that they had been with Jesus. I'm sure that almost none of you think that pivotal to this evaluation is that they "perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men." Is this the proof text for anti-intellectualism? I agree that we should not "lean on our own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). I also agree that we should avoid "profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20). I also know that "knowledge puffeth up" (1 Corinthians 8:1). I guess all of these combined would tell us never to attend a cemetery, ooops, I mean a seminary; you know, where they teach you Hebrew and Greek so that you can correct the King James. If English was good enough for Paul, then it is good enough for me!

But what about when Paul said this? "The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13). The parchments were Scripture, but what were the books? Was Paul reading more than just the Bible? Was he studying something, even in the day before the printing press, something other than his Bible? Or what about this? "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). If we are sanctified by the truth, we must know the truth. We are not sanctified by truth that we do not know. We are not sanctified by man's opinions, by human techniques, or by the writings or seminars of a "successful" church growth guru. We aren't even sanctified by the pastor. In order to know the truth, we must study it. We must know more than just the words, but their meaning. To know their meaning, we must understand how the people would have understood them in that day. We should know how those words are used in other places in the Bible, comparing Scripture with Scripture, comprehending how words are used in other locations in the Old or New Testaments.

A lot of men in independent Baptist churches like to quote Spurgeon and even would say that they emulate him, but do they study like Spurgeon did? Do they have a devotion to the Word of God like the men in and before his era to the Word of God? About sixteen years ago, I remember attending the ordination questioning of a young man whose church was recognizing God's ordaining of him to the office of the pastor. Someone asked him, "Do you have a Strong's concordance?" He paused, looked upward, connected with the creative side of his brain, strained, and with a very doubtful disposition he answered: "I don't know." The Strong's concordance is a great tool for a beginning Bible student, but for someone ordained to pastoring, not even knowing what one was showed an unacceptable lack of seriousness about the study of the Word of God. That didn't matter to the questioners that day. They were not about to cross the pastor of that church, so they just let it go.

I recommend graduate school training for any pastoral candidate with few exceptions. I think the seminary ought to be under the authority of a local church and should expect the students to preach the gospel every week and make disciples of the converted. I encourage Biblical languages, thorough study in history and theology, apologetics, logic, hermeneutics, and homoletics. So, are you or will you continue to be an unlearned and ignorant man?

23 comments:

Jerry Bouey said...

Nope, not me - I will keep learning and studying God's Word (and related materials) until the day I die. I think I would rather go to Heaven early if I was ever forced to stop studying and learning!

Acts 4:13 "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

Can we really say we have been with Jesus if we don't take the time necessary to dig into God's Word (including using the resources He has given us to compare spiritual things with spiritual)?

On the topic of digging deeper, if you like types, you might appreciate the two I just posted in my Blog (also, I could use critiques of them, to determine if they are as clear as they could be).

P.S. I do love your picture (well, not yours, but the one you posted), and your dad's life verse. Okay, okay, I will try to stop smiling... ;)

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Uhh,

I

IS

INLEARND

IN

IGNORANT;

IN-INTELLECTUAL

IGNORAMUUS.

Some say I'm

ILLITERATE

But I say I can

ILLITERATE

ILLUSTRATE in

thAT gives me

ITHORITY!!!!

(that and my Ithorized I6II)

;-)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, however, I think that many independent Baptists have taken Acts 4:13 as their life verse: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

Yet, Peter and John were NOT "baptists" (and never were); Instead, they wore the name divine in origin (rooted in the Bible) which honors Christ: Christian (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).

Whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17).

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, it's "lunatic" not to be mistaken for the "luna tick" which is a nocturnal bloodsucking parasite. (smiling)

Bobby Mitchell said...

Doesn't the description of "unlearned and ignorant" simply mean that they did not have degrees from the approved schools of the day? If that is the case, then I fit the bill. I do not have degrees from the "approved" schools of "fundamentalism." Those "approved" schools would be BJU, Northland, Maranatha, DBTS, CBTS, etc. The same idea is found in John 7:15 concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned."

One of my favorite passages is Acts 6 where we see the seminarians from Alexandria and other areas attempting to debate Stephen. They were armed with "letters" but could not resist "the wisdom and spirit" that he had. When they couldn't win the debate they just suborned men, slandered him, stirred up the people, stoned him, and slew him. While they did this he stood up and spoke up about the Saviour, the Scriptures, and their sin. Of course, one of those seminary-types was convicted and later converted. Looks like God used him a little too!

I'd better stop blogging on your blog . . .

Dave Mallinak said...

Thank you, thank you for making the case. Deep or shallow, we fundamentalists must develop a greater love for study. The anti-intellectuals swim fine in the kiddie pool. But they really ought to learn to swim. It seems that knowledge puffs up, but ignorance puffs up even more. And on a personal note, Pastor Brandenburg, some of my people have commented to me that your use of the Greek language makes them want to dig deeper. It seems that the further you go beneath the surface, the more the Bible opens up. Great literature also opens up new depths of understanding for us. A part of the all things that work together for our good. Again, thank you.

Bill H. said...

To Mr. Anonymous,
I think it is neat that the New Testament Believers (by the way, they had strong ties to their churches) were called "Christians" by their enemies, although it is a wonderful title. NT believers have been called "Baptists" by their enemies also. Funny, they were called that because they would not give in to the pressure from Catholics and Protestants to abandon what we now call "Believer's Baptism (Immersion)", among other doctrines and practices.
I think Peter and John could be labeled 'Baptists' today since they too practiced and taught immersion after Salvation.

Now about the blog...
Amen! I agree with the Dr. - I think we should sharpen whatever aparatus God has given us in order to faithfully proclaim God's Word.

Dave Mallinak said...

Anonymous, I missed where Pastor Brandenburg called Peter and John "Baptists". Of course, they were, but this post doesn't discuss that. They were not denominational Baptists, as there were no denominations. But they were confessing Baptists, as they believed and practiced baptism by immersion upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ alone. They preached and taught the eternal security of the believer. They gave us the distinctives that have defined Baptists historically. They were not content with mere Christianity. They had a full, rich theology. And they gave us ours. (We Baptists, that is).

Dave Mallinak said...

Anonymous, I missed where Pastor Brandenburg called Peter and John "Baptists". Of course, they were, but this post doesn't discuss that. They were not denominational Baptists, as there were no denominations. But they were confessing Baptists, as they believed and practiced baptism by immersion upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ alone. They preached and taught the eternal security of the believer. They gave us the distinctives that have defined Baptists historically. They were not content with mere Christianity. They had a full, rich theology. And they gave us ours. (We Baptists, that is).

MattBrasel said...

Hey I know what a "Strongs" is.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Brother Mitchell,

I think you've got it right, and very funny too. Blog on the blog any time.

Anonymous,

Very funny on the luna tick. I might use that sometime, and I'll say that anonymous wrote it. I've noticed some great pieces of literature written by anonymous. Now, is that you?

Pastor Mallinack,

In the middle of snorkling I wanted to say thanks.

Bill H.,

Hello,

Anonymous COC member,

Did you know that Church of Christ doesn't actually appear in the Bible? And when it was written it was Kkklesia Christou. To be technical, you should use the Greek term if having a certain name is what is most important.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Ekklesia (typo)

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bro.Brasel,

You must be ordained if you know what a Strong's is. Dr. Cedarholm always said: Young's for the young, Cruden's for the crude, and Strong's for the strong.

Yes.

Jerry Bouey said...

I think my previous comment must have been lost in cyberspace, so I wanted to post another one.

I truly think that I would die of boredom if I ever had to stop learning. I love digging in the Bible, studying passages and words out, reading related study materials and commentaries, good Christian biographies and histories.

I love how there is ALWAYS something to learn when we come to God's Word with a humble, searching attitude (ie. looking for what God will teach us today and what we can apply to our lives, answers for problems and questions that have come up during the course of our day to day lives and conversations with others) - even when it is the same passage we have read 100 times already and think we know it. I think it might have been Spurgeon that used an illustration about how the Bible is like a pool of water, simple enough for a child to wade in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in.

There is always something more to learn when we put precept upon precept, line upon line, and compare spiritual things with spiritual.

Anonymous said...

bill h wrote, "NT believers have been called "Baptists" by their enemies also."

bill h, Please provide book/chapter/verse that says so.

Thank you!

Disciples of Christ were called Christians (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) and that is no derogatory name.

The "body" is the "church" (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), and the body is of Christ for it is His (Mt. 16:18). The Bible repeatedly refers to the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12; 1 Cor. 12:27) which is the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). In Acts 20:28, we read "church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood" (that is Christ).

This is not a name for the church, but simply shows possession and ownership. Similarly, in Acts 16:15 and 40, we read of Lydia identifying her house as "my house" and the Biblical language then says "the house of Lydia". All that refers to is her house. It is not a name, but what it is.

Similarly, Jesus said "my church" (Mt. 16:18), thus it is the "church of Christ" or "body of Christ" (1 Cor. 12:27; Romans 16:16). For there is just one body (Eph. 4:4), and it is the Lord's.

However, nowhere on the pages of God's holy writ do we find disciples of Christ identified as catholics, baptists, lutherans, mormons, episcopilians, methodists, pentecostals, etc.

Indeed, John the baptist was identified as such for that is what he did. He was the baptizer, and more accurately the immerser.

Neither do we find a Roman Catholic Church, a Baptist Church, a Pentecostal Church, etc. in the Bible. Divisions devised by men are condemned (1 Cor. 1:10) for every plant which God hath not planted shall be uprooted (Mt. 15:13).

We can sidestep Scripture, or we can identify things as God's word does. We all have that choice.

"whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord" (Col. 3:17) for he who abides not in the doctrine of Christ has not God (2 John 1:9). If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).

We all can be just Christians: http://ascoc.homestead.com/justchristian.html

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous,

You keep saying that "Church of Christ" is in the Bible, and you reference Romans 16:16. You put "Church of Christ" in quotes, like that is quoted. The text says "Churches of Christ," so you still are not in the Bible. If you are truly talking about ownership; in other words, of what church is Jesus Lord, it would be the ones that hear His voice and follow Him. The churches of Revelation 2 and 3 are His churches and they aren't called the churches of Christ. They are called the church at Ephesus, etc. If they keep hearing Him and following Him, they continue, each of them, to be His church. The COC has departed from the orthodox doctrine of the church. Therefore, you are not the church of Christ. More accurately, you are Campbellites, because your doctrine comes from Thomas Campbell in the early 19th century.

Jerry Bouey said...

Neither do we find a Roman Catholic Church, a Baptist Church, a Pentecostal Church, etc. in the Bible. Divisions devised by men are condemned (1 Cor. 1:10)

The word sect is used in the Bible and means "denomination." There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians (though that was more a political group), there were the Christians (other terms used were disciples, followers of the way, the sect of the Nazarene, etc.) - it is certainly not unbiblical to have a name other than "Christian." Our name should identify ourselves - and the name Baptist historically has stood for certain doctrines and practices - which are clearly Bible based (of course, today not everyone using that name is standing where the Baptists have stood historically, but that is part of the endtimes apostasy and is to be expected).

There is a big difference, though, between a denomination (which is or was a Christian sect) and a false religion or cult - which never were Christians. Catholicism, church of Christ, Mormonism, JWs, SDA's, and such like were never Christian to begin with - despite what they (and the lost world) attempt to now call themselves.

Bill H. said...

Dear Anonymous Friend,
I checked out the link to the site you recommend. And I must say, that you need to turn from the false teaching of Baptismal Regeneration. "Christians" who do not truly repent or their sins, and trust Christ alone for their salvation will not go to heaven.

Anonymous said...

God is NOT the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), but the teachings I have read on this website certainly are nothing but confusion!

Brandenburg claims he has no sin in his life (for, according to his teaching, if he did -- he was never saved in the 1st place!); Bill H claims salvation is possible without the blood of Christ (for one must enter into Christ, per Rom. 6:3-6; Gal 3:27, to be in Christ), etc.

Yes, gentlemen, I disagree with you both.

Respond as you will, but I don't plan to return much to this site since traditions of men seem to trump the word of God here.

There comes a point in time to realize when discussion of God and His word is vain with the one with whom you discuss. Casting pearls before swine certainly is a sound principle to follow and avoid.

Kent Brandenburg said...

What a bunch of garbage, anonymous. People who live a lifestyle of sin, have it as their practice, those who are not new creatures in Christ, those are the ones who were never saved in the first place. Read two verses in the WORD OF GOD, anonymous, 1 John 2:19 and 3:6. Your man Hafley himself said that 3:6 was continuous sinning, not point-action, but then you have this odd, unscriptural, man-made view that the person who sins once is just an "erring brother." How could he be unsaved and a brother?

You can see how your faulty human logic leads you and not the Word of God. The blood of Christ does cleanse, not the waters of baptism, like the COC believes. I guess you're going to run now though.

Dave Mallinak said...

Anonymous, like it or not, God is the author of you, and you are obviously confused. Your tactic is an old one. If you can't beat their argument, change it into something else, and then attack that. It must be tough, being so weak. But there is hope. You could toughen up. You could come out from the world of anonymity and face reality. Maybe...

Anonymous said...

Saul's sins were washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16), for the blood of Christ washes away sin (Rev. 1:5). Water is simply the mode for burial (Romans 6:3-16; Col. 2:12), immersed into Christ's death (His blood was shed in His death), rising to walk in newness of life (born again, the new birth).

"Sinner's Prayer" and "Just Ask Jesus Into Your Heart" salvation sounds like a good concept -- if only it were found in the Bible! Yes, the blood remits sins (Mt. 26:28; Acts 2:38) but one must contact the blood of His death, for ye are yet in your sins without contacting His blood.

Trust God over man (Romans 3:4).

Cathy McNabb said...

Jerry stated he thinks he would die of bordem if he ever stopped learning. Can I say ditto to that?

I will be the first to admit I graduated college and all I learned was how dumb I really am. I am like a sponge I want to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

My biggest fear when I wasn't in a good church, was that I would fall for some false doctrine out there.
That is why I was so dead set about going back to Fairhaven, been in to many ecumenical churches out there, they aren't worth spit. The books they read, don't stand up to my preserved KJV Bible.