Monday, May 21, 2007

Walter Martin on the responsibility of teachers:

"For my sighing comes before I eat, And my groanings pour out like water. For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes." Job 3:24-26

Some preachers today are set on misinterpreting Job’s words, “What I feared has come upon me....” I wish they would take the time to read the first chapter of Job, where it says that Satan was the cause of Job’s trouble. Satan came into the presence of God and said, “Give him to me and he’ll curse you to your face.” (Job 1:11) That was before anything happened to Job. They don’t know what they’re talking about when they try to blame this on Job’s fear. That is not what the passage says.

In addition to this misinterpretation, they try to say that Job was continually offering burnt sacrifices because he expected all this to happen to him. (Job 1:22, 2:10). This error is what occurs when you don’t have any theological education. Burnt offerings were part of sacrifices made to God for the express purpose of taking care of sin. Job offered a burnt offering for his children’s sins as well as his own, just in case the kids forgot to confess to God. If you read it in English or Hebrew, you couldn’t miss it. The problem is, these people superimpose their own theories on Scripture and they end up with this kind of nonsense.

People sometimes say to me, “Why do you get so irritated when this happens?” Because when you are teaching theology and biblical studies, you are responsible for the souls of the people who listen to you. I am responsible to God, as a teacher, for what I teach you because he set me in Church as a teacher. I do not have any right to give you my pet theories, without identifying them as such. I don’t have any right to give you far out, off the wall theological garbage, just because it happens to be something I think is true. I have a responsibility to teach you what the text says, and with the best scholarship I can get my hands on, to give you a well-rounded picture. You’re supposed to take what I teach you and apply it in your life, after you have tested it by the Word of God to find out if what I say is true. That’s the methodology the teaching arm of the Church has always used.

Not so, today. Today, you have a bunch of evangelists with virtually no education, teaching theology to people who know even less than they do. It’s the uninformed teaching the ignorant—sharing the abundance of their ignorance. And then what happens? Disaster! People need to speak out against this. People need to sit down and write letters. They need to get on the phone and say, “I won’t send you another dime.” Money is a powerful incentive for change.

Somebody needs to say something! When you’re teaching theology and biblical studies, you are responsible for the souls of the people who listen to you. Job’s fear did not bring on disaster. God allowed him to be tested, and in the end, he blessed him greatly for his faithfulness.


Renee said...

Thank you thank you thank you!
I am not a Biblical scholar with seminary training. I am an English major who takes my Bible study seriously. I often wondered how ministers and others teaching from the text had managed to twist the meaning so badly. Sorry for the poor joke, but in my Bible the reason behind Job's misfortune is stated in plain English. It had nothing to do with his 'fear' and everything to do with his righteousness and faithfulness to God.

9:51 PM  
JohnD said...

Job's crisis is an example of living life for the good does not necessitate the reaping of good things. In fact, it is indicative of a bigger plan in the grand scheme of things. Something we mortals tend to forget when the going gets rough.

Job's reward is also an example that it is not a sin to have wealth and that the Lord can and does reward his faithful people... that it's not all about suffering (though it can be if called upon).

God's message is that faith through all (good and bad) is what he seks in us. He did not hammer Job for being a tad bit off on his theology here and there (like his friends who were way off a lot of the time). In fact, God used Job as a prophet in places like chapter 19:23-27 <-- an eye opening read on latter revelation in an ancient time since Job was among the oldest books if not the oldest book of the Bible.

You will notice also in Job that God did not even hammer Job for having doubts nor grudges against God. "Why was I born?" etc.

God is a big God who can take our feeble minded quirks. Just don't let go of his hand. He holds it out in the person of Jesus Christ and says "My child, take my hand and never let go."

Not that this keeps us saved, for actually we are n the hands of the Father and of the Son (John 10:28-29). This metaphor refers only to our faith.

9:22 AM  

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