I want to interact here with some of the commentary that appeared after my second post on the call to shepherd the flock of God. My goal in the second post was to demonstrate that a mark of the ministry is a true zeal to make the truths of Scripture known to the people of God in order to obey the command of Christ to make them disciples. Certainly, our hope is that through this teaching and proclamation that the Holy Spirit will draw others to the cross and birth them into the family.
Here are a couple of comments that I believe are worth discussing:
Jim wrote: (You can check out more of his stuff here.)
I would also suggest that you get some feedback on how practical the application really is..
Jim is right about the practical application of doctrine, but not the way most folks think of it. When the average pew-sitter thinks of practical application, what they mean is they want a quick fix for a marital, monetary, job problem. Doctrine does not always work that way. Instead of taking away our problems, right doctrine helps us to endure them in a Christ-like manner.
For example, let's say you are teaching from Hebrews 1, and you labor to make the point that Jesus Christ is fully God as per verse 8. At the end of the class, you are well satisfied that you have made the point, that you have warded off heresy, and that the average class member can now take any Jehovah's Witness to task if they show up spreading Christ-dishonoring lies. Just as you are ready to pray and dismiss, some guy in the back says, "Yeah, so Jesus is God. How is this going to help me deal with my jerk-face boss? What is the practical application of all of this theological talk anyway?"
Is the deity of Christ impractical? Can this doctrine help this man deal with his boss? How about laboring to teach that God is holy? Or that He is just? How do these things connect with "real" life?
My answer to the question is this, "Well, that is a good question, let me answer briefly before we dismiss. If Jesus is God, then your fate and destiny lie in His hands. He is the Master and Lord of everything you have, hope to have, and everything that you will lose. He gave you your job, and He put your boss in charge. Further, Christ, the God of the Universe and the King of Glory, will bring to account everything that you do in your office. The Lord has commanded you to respect your boss, and that when your boss gives you a job to do, it is as if the God of the Universe Himself has told you to do that job. When you complain and call him a "jerkface", you dishonor your Lord, you trample His mercy in giving you gainful employment, and you question His wisdom in giving you such a leader. Check out Ephesians 6:5-8 and see what the Lord would have you do at the office. If you cannot remain at you place of employment and honor your boss, then quit immediately."
That, I believe, is what Jim is talking about when he mentions "practical application". There is no doctrine found in Scripture that is not imminently practical and life-changing. The job of the teacher is to connect the dots.
I want to continue later with the idea that teaching Scripture to God's people may do nothing but stoke pride, or that any real preacher could do so for the sake of Scripture knowledge only.
We Must Do the Impossible
4 years ago