I have some academic qualifications. My parents saw to it that I gained a quality education. I have been able to benefit from the wisdom of others because I have sought it out. I have an aversion to humbug and a passion to drink the water of life. My hunger for life is who I am more than any degree or status I have gained. Education and the ability to understand are valuable when they are subsumed in the life of Jesus. A hindrance when they are not.
There are intelligent and well educated theologians who are gifted apostolic teachers. They are apostolic teachers because of their passion for Jesus. The insights of theologians steeped in scripture, church history and theology are deeper, more penetrating and more insightful than the ‘God told me so’ pronouncements of zealots with a Bible and a ‘a word.’
They are more sagacious and informed by context and humility. The wisdom and revelation they funnel into the Body of Christ is just as much a manifestation of the Spirit as is any gift of healing or raising folks from the dead. Indeed sound doctrine does raise people from the dead. Apostolic teaching heals our separation from God. It draws us in to wear God has positioned us already.
Early in the Christian era Believers were told to look to people who were full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit.
‘This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words’ 1 Cor 2.13 NIV.
They go together – humility, wisdom, revelation and spiritual discernment. The soil is a genuine curiosity about life and a the search for security in truth rather than in long-held beliefs that might give them an identity. Humility is the a fertiliser. It makes one wise rather than opinionated.
REAL SELF/FALSE SELF
Truth is multiplied to set people free from those who are situated in their real self.
Richard Rohr writes, “Who is telling us about the false self today? Who is even equipped tell us? Many clergy have not figured this out for themselves, since even ministry can be a career decision or an attraction to "religion" more than the result of an encounter with God or themselves.
Formal religious status can maintain the false self rather effectively, especially if there are a lot of social payoffs like special respect, titles, salaries, a good self-image, or nice costumes.” (1) This is why some people have a following even though they are not spiritual leaders.
FALSE TRUTH (!)
I once heard a sermon delivered by an intelligent and reasonably educated man. He reasoned that the “Obey and Live” bargain struck with Israel was similar to many of the deals struck between kings and their subjects at that time in history. It was. It was the custom then was still in place when it became the basis of the feudal system with its allotment of lands for loyalty.
The system is related to capitalism with its hierarchies and similar features in the Christian Industry.
It is implicit in its honour of the survival of the fittest, supporting notions of entitlement and reward for ‘sacrifice.’ Often the sacrifice of religious consumers and the sacrifice of one’s real self on the altar of ‘Getting ahead.’
Not all who have made a ‘name’ for themselves are greed mongers. But many, even as Believers have gained a kind of status that denies who they really are in terms of being son of God. It locates one’s identity in things that are not the self; that disguise the real self and insulate us from both God and our authentic self. This is why Jesus said that we must lose ourselves to find our real selves.
WHEAT AND TARES
We can be a tare – a son of the evil one - without an attachment to false doctrine. All we need to do is construct a self from externalities instead of making Jesus our life. This is the cancer of the law. It distorts God and warps us. Like a tumour the false self, saps life from the real self.
The truth of the vicarious humanity of Jesus denotes that we become our real selves individually in Him, just as we become the real church in Him.
God’s grace is realised in the new covenant. It is the new covenant. It is the gift of union with God and it is not earned, at least not by us. There’s no contract or deal.
Christ is our life. He is our eternal life, our moral life and our genuine self. We know our real selves by being immersed in God. God is not religion or Christianity or a regime of behaviors. God is three in one and we are one in God. God is the trinity with whom we have fellowship through the person of Jesus Christ.
Stephen Crosby writes, “The distinctive feature of the promise of the new covenant is the absence of human contingency in the covenantal relationship. It is a monopleuric covenant! There are no "if you" clauses in the new covenant, but rather eight "I will" oaths of God spoken for us! This is the language of God showing His own initiative to secure His own interests on behalf of people who cannot do it for themselves!” (2)
The illusion that we can do it for ourselves or even a little of it for ourselves, never comes from God and we should be aware that versions of Christianity that assume that we can – even with the assistance of Jesus – did not come from God.
Cultures based on an unfinished at-one-ment are a production of the anti-christ spirit. Rather than making us members of the body of Christ they blur and even sever our relationship with Life by interposing ourselves as an insulating layer between ourselves and The Christ.