Apologetics 16: Able to Teach

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 19, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

A servant of the Lord must be able to teach. Voddie Baucham addresses an absurdity in the church today. According to Baucham, in the average American church, any form of teaching or instructing or guiding is relegated to the preacher, not the layman. His examples: when the next generation asks to be discipled and asks those who have been Christians for 20, 30, 40 years, the response tends to be “I’m no preacher.” Then when a young man gets that fire and studies church history, reads his Bible, prays, that church will say “You must be called to preach,” rather than use that as the model for what ANY Christian should be doing. He then compares Christianity to any field or career to showcase how anyone who does a job for 20, 30, 40 years should be able to teach a newbie how to do the job, and yet in Christianity this idea is rejected. It’s ludicrous to allow such mediocrity in the church.

There is too high view of credentials in society today (see this article by Biblical Creationist “Piltdown Superman” about this issue) and not enough training of the congregant on how to train and disciple just their own family. Show me the church that actually teaches their fathers how to train their children in spiritual things. Where is it? The church I attend did it this spring, and it’s the only one I can think of. Most churches instead tell parents, even the staff, that their kids need to be in youth group. I’m not against having ministries towards youth, but I am against having a church “ministry” usurp and steal the duties of parents.

The servant of the Lord has to be able to teach. He has to be able to show others what he believes and why he believes it. This is not a command to pastors and apologists and scientists. This is a command to ALL believers. We must be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. We must also make disciples of all nations. How can we make disciples if we don’t even know our own doctrine? I’m not attacking those with that simple child-like faith but never had the academic drive to study all the theories and such. Some of those are more genuine believers the highly educated ones. There are some laymen in the church who couldn’t spell “aseity” (God’s self-existence) or “omnipotence” (all-powerfulness), let alone teach it, but they have a far more genuine faith in Christ than even I do. But those with that genuine faith believe nothing contradictory to what the proper systematic theologies teach. My dad is an example of that. He is one of the least academically inclined people I know. He is a hands-on guy, but he has a simple trust in God. He knows enough to smell heresy though not enough to refute it, but sometimes that’s all you need. My dad is not an academic, and he has a low view of himself being able to teach, but those around him have all said he is a great teacher.

If we are to be able to correct those in error, we have to know the truth to correct them to that. I tend to point toward a perfect standard. I know far and well that I don’t meet it. But how could I know that I don’t meet it? The answer is simple: I know what perfect is supposed to be like. I am a teacher. How do my students know if they got an exam correct? They compare it to the rubric. I know what the rubric is for life. How? I’ve read the Bible and believe the record. And by believing it, I know I fall short of that standard.

So who am I to teach someone else that which I can’t follow? That’s the joy of Christianity. God chooses the foolish things to shame the wise, the poor to shame the rich. Despite my academic nature, what I believe is outright foolish to the “educated” world. Many of my hecklers can tell very quickly that I am an educated and intelligent man, yet they are baffled that I can believe what I believe. Yet, according to this passage, my job as a servant of the Lord, as an ambassador who represents God, is that I am to correct them, teaching them with gentleness, patience, and humility so that God may grant them repentance. I know I fall short of this all the time, yet God still uses me.

Now a word of warning. There are many who are very gifted teachers but are not submitted to Christ. There is a steep warning for those who seek to be teachers and leaders in the church. Not many should seek that position because they are held to a higher standard. There are many who are charismatic and have an agenda to not only pervert the Gospel but corrupt the church. Second John warns us of these folks because one elect lady seems to have welcomed a false teacher into her home under the expectation of hospitality. We are NOT to welcome false teachers. The only reason I have a collection of bad books around is so I have first hand knowledge on how to refute them. I don’t get those books to “expand my horizons.” I get them to test them to see if the reports about them are valid or not. I’ve had some I thought were good that turned out to be not so good, often because they proclaim Christianity but have no Christ in them. We have to be able to teach Christ and point to the true Christ. There are many false Christs in this world, and we have to know who the true one is. Only the true Christ saves, not any Jesus we make up that suits our preferences.

The servant of the Lord needs to be able to teach. He must know the truth, speak only the truth, never adding nor taking anything away, giving the message as it was given. He must never waiver from the truth, and that frequently requires drawing a hard line. Truth doesn’t give you options for any other interpretation; you take it or leave it. If you take it, your life will be blessed (though not necessarily in terms of physical/temporal things). If you leave it, you will be under a curse. We must know the truth so that we can point people to the truth. I despise the notion of compromises where you temporarily embrace a false worldview, saying you agree with them, all so you can point them to the truth; how is that even sane? The Gospel requires man to completely abandon his previous way of thinking and lifestyle which is rooted in sin and take on the new life which is submission to Christ. We must be able to teach that change, and while we will never be perfect at this, we must be in practice of this in word and in deed. Next week we will look at patience.

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