A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Dialogue & Intellect

"O Timothy, guard the Deposit, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and
oppositions of falsely-named science, which some professing have erred
concerning the faith..." (1Tm6:20-21)

When I graduated from high school, and was leaving home to go off to
Bible school, I was given a brand new Bible. These verses were notated
in the accompanying card. Going off to get an "education". The words
given to a similarly 'young' Timothy.

What is the favorite pastime of young scholars? Flexing their mental,
philosophical 'muscles'. There were times I felt like some
fellow-students were more into the intellect, for intellect's sake,
than actually learning something useful. Some of them could show how
much 'more' they knew than everybody else. They actually knew the
writings of Kant, and a whole host of other names I could care less
about; and they made sure the rest of us were duly impressed by their
knowledge.  And actually, during the era when I was going to college,
at the height of the hippy culture, a person didn't have to actually
KNOW -anything-.  Just sit around and "..you know, I mean, you know.."
...and if you did that enough, it indicated some 'hidden' wisdom that
everybody in hearing distance was supposed to know, I suppose, by
intuition.  Perhaps it was the 'joint' spirit of the occasion... (pun
intended) But, soooo vast, it was "far-out, man!"

Seminarians do the same sorts of things, only, their topics are much 
more 'earth-shattering'. My elders always spoke of "how many angels can 
dance on the head of a pin?" Well, then, the 'deeper' ones read tons of 
books, and they come up with all sorts of unpronouncable words (and 
even less 'spellable'), not found in Scripture, to label their ideas of
doctrine. They read Calvin, Luther, Walvoord, C.S.Lewis, Chaffer,
you-name-it. Sitting around, they discuss -this- man's ideas compared
to -that- man's.  -This- man is pretty good in -these- ideas, but he's
weak in -those-.

Sorry for another personal experience to share here. Yes... another 
'customer'. (You see, that's where I meet the most people. Often, 
conversations get going with customers across the counter.) Several
years ago a new youth director for one of the local churches came in
for some signage needs.  He was fairly fresh out of seminary. All gung
ho on a lot of things, as any 'good' youth director "should" be. After
all, he needs to be "vibrant" and "enthusiastic" you know. And these
characteristics spilled over into his ideas of "theology" as well.

As our (good-natured) conversation was winding down, having covered all
sorts of things, as he was ready to head out the door, he asked me,
"What kind of books do you read?" Well, by now, you've probably figured
out that I'm -not- one of these intellectual types. And, truthfully,
I've never been much of a 'reader', either. And so, I let this be
known, and suggested that, since I'm not really much of a reader, the
reading I do, I do "mostly in the Scriptures."

Oooh! the 'concern'. "That's how -error- creeps in, you know!" 

Error creeps in by reading the Scriptures??? Paul reminds Timothy in
the next letter, "All Scripture is...profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man
of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work."
(2Tm3:16-17)

"Doctrine" covers all those points of 'theology'. "Reproof" and
"correction" steers us -AWAY-FROM- error. "Instruction in
righteousness" then tells us, as was prophesied for Israel once they
have been turned away from error, "And your ears shall hear a word
behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the
right hand and when you turn to the left." (Is30:21)

If Scripture cannot keep us in a right direction before God, how is 
reading the writings of the "great men of God" going to do it?? Many of
them were not even Believers!! And what about the poor individuals who
lived -before- those "great men" wrote their 'wisdom'? Is God's hand
"shortened so that it cannot save"? (Is59:1) When He said that His Word
"accomplishes" what He "pleases" (Is55:11), did He lie??

Paul, after stirring Timothy back up into the ministry to which God had
called him, from which it appears he may have been lagging (2Tm1:6), he
reminds him again to not be "[disputing] about words to no profit, to
the subverting of the hearers. [Give diligence] to present yourself
approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the... what??  WORD OF TRUTH. (2Tm2:14-15)

But... what? Being focused in God's Word, now.. "shun profane, vain
babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. (vs16) Yes, the
intelligensia wants to wrangle about words, ideas, philosophies,
theologies. "But avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that
they give birth to strifes." (vs23)

No. Being in God's Word is -NOT- the source of "error". But following
man's wisdom will lead us away from God's righteousness.

"With what shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according
to Your Word...I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not
sin against You." (Ps119:9,11)

Amen!