Is It Just Me?

IS IT ME OR IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?

I can’t find a Bible school in the country or a seminary  in our nation that enforces (I know it’s not a great word) their students to spend time reading their Bibles.   Here is what is amazing, they will make them read books about the Bible but not the Bible.  They have lost confidence in the Holy Spirit that He can help interpret but we have given ourselves more to the help of men, commentaries, textbooks on exegesis then on hearing the voice of the Spirit. I wonder what the percentage would be if we were to ask every graduate at the commencement and as we are handing them their diplomas to preach….”have you read the Bible through?”

Is that too crazy?
Would we dare?
Has any gown clad doctor ventured in that territory?

Don’t get me wrong, I have over 6,000 books in my library and am grateful for hearing what God has shown men and women around the world and throughout the centuries.  But let’s be honest….do you know of a seminary that is training young ministers and readying our new credentialed pastors to read the Word an hour a day and pray an hour a day?  They have passed homiletics, church history and Greek but they are leaving our schools without a prayer closet.

Show me and please tell me the name of the Seminary that says unless you are praying you cannot graduate.

Am I foolish to want to see this happen?

Why can’t some Bible college president or some seminary executive wake up to the fact that we have students that know their tools better than the treasure.  It would be like taking a gold digger or a diamond hunter and teaching them so much about their tools and their excavating devices that they fall in love with them and forget about the diamonds.
The real diamond is meeting God on your knees.  The real gold is the Bible itself.  It’s not books on the Bible or books on prayer.

No one at any seminary I went to or from the denomination ever asked me “tell me about your prayer life?”  No one ever questioned me whether I have read the ENTIRE Book that I am committing my life to preach.

What I am afraid of is that we are ASSUMING WAY TOO MUCH!
I ask those questions on the road and the answers are not encouraging. In fact, they are downright terrifying.

I was even told by a young preacher that I need to learn to be a communicator and stop being a preacher because those days are gone.

God help us!

I think if our schools don’t wake up to the fact of prayer and the Word that God will start raising up preachers despite them.  They will be uncredentialed, undiploma-ed and ungraduated powerhouses that will shake nations with no association to any person but God.

Or how about asking the question to our next generation pastors…

“Have you led someone to Christ in the last year and discipled them?”

I can’t even go there.
That will be for another time, another place and another blog.

7 thoughts on “Is It Just Me?”

  1. Thank you for writing (“preaching”) the truth and pointing out the REAL need, Pastor Tim. I think you may be right on the stats — but you are also right on the core issue. Thanks for speaking the truth.

  2. Very convicting, Ps. Tim. I remember Frieda Lindsey (Christ for the Nations) said this when she was preaching: “No prayer, no power. Little prayer, little power. Much prayer, much power.” May we respond to the need for a powerful church led by powerful (prayerful word-full) leaders.

  3. I read the blog post and, to be fair, I suspect that it might be you after all. Although there are certainly cases where college and seminary curriculums fail their students at the level of spiritual formation, my experience has been quite different.

    Although I certainly wouldn’t pretend to universalize from my personal experience, I am the product of three different schools (Central Bible College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Saint Louis University) and have taught myself as a professor at two others (SLU and Anglican School of Ministry).

    Private Bible reading for purposes of devotion (lectio, oratio, meditatio, etc), the reading of the Bible in settings of corporate prayer and worship (at the Eucharist or daily prayer) and Biblical exegesis for scholarly or homletic purposes are integrally related but they are, in the end, different things. It would be hard to “enforce” the former except by assigning a spiritual director to every student, but this is not unheard of in Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox settings. The middle option would be quite common in schools where daily prayer and/or chapel include a lectionary cycle exposing the faithful to the entirety of the Bible. The latter, in particular, is the most common with both undergraduate and graduate students often required to read the Scriptures and/or translate them from the Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic original prior to making recourse to supplementary commentaries and studies. I can’t imagine an institution (undergraduate or graduate) worth its salt that doesn’t build this requirement into the rubrics for their courses and most follow this up with an entrance/exit examination designed to measure outcomes in Bible knowledge specifically.

    Even my freshman and sophomore-year university undergraduates were required to spend half a semester reading the Bible as part of our department’s Theological Foundations course–and that was a course designed for students who were not exclusively Christian and who were preparing for secular vocations.

    So, I’d ease up. Clerical formation ain’t easy and we always have room to improve, but caricatures tend to diminish the value of education rather than improving it.

    Peace.

    MJGP+

  4. Pastor Tim, I can’t agree with you more. There’s not much in the tank when there is a lack of prayer (what is the Spirit saying to the church?). I don’t care how much time I have spent in reading books and commentaries about a passage or subject. In prayer, I find that direction, if just a burning idea. Good stuff, brother!

  5. Thanks for speaking so frankly about issues that are prevalent in many of our churches. I greatly appreciate your use of scripture to support your thoughts. I agree with your commentary. Stay strong in the Lord!

  6. There is nothing that will change this generation like the word of God. It is the most powerful gift that God has given us to understand who He is and who we are in relation to him to each other and the purpose and plan for this world and the next. Truth changes people and the Bible is the source of all truth. God bless you Pastor Tim!

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