Knowing Our Stuff

by Rev. Jefferson Vann

If there is anything worse than ignorance, it is planned ignorance. When a store hires employees who know nothing about the products they sell, the customers feel frustrated.  When people come to church and are left feeling that its members know nothing about God or the Christian faith, they feel justified in walking away from God. We Advent Christians should be impressing others with our knowledge of biblical and spiritual things.

I was overseeing an elder’s training class this morning. One of the students was leading the discussion, and the others were quite familiar with the subject, so I did not need to do much talking. But a few times the class looked my way when they needed to clarify the meaning of words in the original biblical languages, which were mentioned in the class workbook. Of the eight men at the study, I was the only one with a knowledge of the biblical languages. The others really appreciated having someone present who could verify or clarify what they were reading in their textbook.

Churches should have experts, too. All too often, our churches put down spiritual knowledge and expertise as an evil thing. Those who dare to learn some special skill in the area of exegesis or a little theology are branded as prideful Pharisees. But when a church prides itself on its ignorance, it is in no shape to witness to the world of God’s truth.

The world is looking for that truth. Society today is filled with people who know nothing, and dare not suggest that they know anything. Our churches need to be made up of believers who know things and have the courage to testify of what they know.

The apostle Paul criticized the leaders of his own people because their theological ignorance had kept them from seeking Christ. He said “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”[1]  The Jews had refused to learn beyond what they already knew. Their understanding of righteousness ended at the Law of Moses. They refused to allow the person and teachings of Christ to inform them.

Paul invested in the Gentile believers, and they listened to his teaching. As a result, they were “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”[2] That is how Christians and Christian churches should be. We should know our stuff. Knowledge of the faith is not all that being a Christian is about, but lack of knowledge is not a virtue.

[1] Romans 10:2-4 ESV.

[2] Romans 15:14 ESV.

Jefferson Vann is an elder at McAlpin Advent Christian Church in Florida and Relevant Church in Virgina.He and His wife, Penny, serve the ACGC Department of World Outreach as Asia-Pacific Area Directors and Global Training Coordinators. 

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