I came out to Fuller Seminary several years ago to study for my M.Div. Literally, the degree means Mastering the Divine. I hope you understand my reservation in saying that I have mastered the Divine. Seminary covers a vast array of topics, including Church History, Hebrew, Greek, and proper biblical study and analysis. Even as I stand on the cusp of earning my M. Div., I remain steadfast in my belief that we cannot possibly master one who is unmasterable (I made that word up).
On that same note, I believe that we’ve attempted to turn churches into spiritual seminaries. We teach the parishioners some church history, a little Greek, make them sound “deep” in their theology and we’re doing kingdom work. Big problem! Paul addresses this in Colossians.
We can, at times, get so caught up in studying the subject of the Divine that we forget that living every day for Him and communing with Him is more desirable.
James put this way in his epistle: “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). I spoke with an assimilation director of a large church recently. He is in charge of new membership. Alarmingly, out of the nearly 1200 people that joined the church last year, the retention rate was less than 10%. 10%!!!
An old adage: If you find someone that’s hungry, which is better, feeding them or teaching them to fish? Of course teaching them to fish will keep them fed longer. The same applies with new converts and believers.
The key isn’t to teach folks scripture memorization, but scripture utilization.
How might they apply it practically in their lives every day? We need to stop making everyone a biblical scholar and start making folks biblical walkers. Paul calls these people living epistles, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of God (See 2 Corinthians 3:3).
Every Sunday morning a nationwide bell rings. School’s out. Churches let their parishioners go and live the rest of their week outside of the four walls. The question that God asks: Who actually goes out and lives what they hear? How many folks have those same notes in their Bible in the same place the next week when they open it in church? The devil doesn’t care that we go to church/school. It’s our application of the truths that we learn that are a threat to his kingdom.
What about you? Trying to master the divine or master a lifestyle that reflects Him directly? As for me, I try to let my legs do all the talkin’ I need to do.
“School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it” (Colossians 2:6-7 The Message)