Unschooled, Ordinary Men

greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

One of the things I love about my pastor is his willingness to engage with anyone who's vision is the same as his. This means he is closer friends with pastors outside his denomination sometimes than those within it. He's looking for the Kingdom wherever it may be found, not a label.

We hosted a Charismatic pastor recently who is headed for the mission field in Eastern Europe, whom we'll support financially. This brother was used by the Holy Spirit to bring a message that impacted us in a mighty way. The presence of the Lord was extremely strong. Interestingly, he has had little formal training in Bible schools. He is a high school football coach who simply has a mighty annointing upon him. He's been with Jesus.

We were directed to Acts 4:13. Peter and John had been arrested and were given the Spirit's eloquence to defend themselves before the elders. Vs 13 says, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."

God is taking unschooled, ordinary people and hiding them away for a season with Him. Our speaker said that most of what he'd learned he learned in his bedroom in quiet time with the Lord. The Lord gave him some principles we can all use, so that someday people will note that we too have been with Jesus.

1. Stop looking at devotional time as a task to be accomplished. Look at it as an opportunity to know God better. When you enter your prayer closet for time in the Word and prayer, don't go in with your agenda. You may have a basic plan, but God may tell you to toss it aside. He wants to speak to you. He wants to you feel the weight of His Presence. God shares His heart at times like this. Revelation comes.

2. Stop reading the Word simply to learn the Scriptures. Knowlege alone leads to Phariseeism. Read the Scriptures to be pointed to God. Again, the goal should be communion with Him.

Those who simply study and go to school can become prideful, trusting in their own scholarship. But those who dwell in God's presence are changed. They learn to hear God's voice. As I look at the great people of the Bible I only see a few scholars. Paul was one. What I see more of though, are people like David, Amos, Mary, Mary Magdeline, Peter, John, Joshua, the list goes on. They were ordinary, unschooled people who knew God in a way most never do. God used them in tremendous ways.

Next time, more principles from the Book of Proverbs.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2002


I couldn't agree more with point 2!!! Theologians are not the repositories of Divine Knowledge and Inspiration. QED

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2002

RP, I was just reading today one of Dr. Gardner C. Taylor's lectures entitled "The Preacher's Trinity of Needs: The Preacher's Authority". His central point is that the preacher's authority comes from nothing else and nothing less than an "encounter" with God. He says, "The preacher's authority is aided and undergirded by the believing community's endorsement, by ordination, and by the preaching book, the Bible, but one who preaches needs an authority which grows out of personhood confronted by the Person of God". Dr. Taylor does not diminish the value of education but rather puts it in the perspective that the function of scholarship is to help the preacher "to scrutinize more drastically the mandate by which one dares to see oneself as a herald, a proclaimer of the Word of God". But without first the "encounter" there is not much worth scrutinizing or refining. "..they were astonished that these men had been with Jesus!" What a powerful passage of scripture and it raises a scray and tricky question for the Church, and for all of us as individuals, namely "Who have you been with?!" Sometimes we avoid that question by pretending that an easier question, "Where have you been?" is an adequate substitute. It is not. Our authority as witnesses, teachers, preachers is premised on the encounter of having been with Jesus. Without it we are merely fraudulent freelancers.

-- Anonymous, July 29, 2002

Watchman Nee said something similar Brother Byrd. He said that God's delegated authority, anyone in leadership but especially pastors, represents God. His own ideas and opinions have no more value than anyone else's. It's only what he or she passes on from God that has value.

One in authority actually should keep their own opinions to themselves. As God's representative authority, only what they receive from God should be passed on. He likened it to a representative of a company negotiating a contract, who would never sign up to anything without first consulting the head office.

He told us to beware the leader who puts forth his or her own views. The best leaders are those who give us only what they've received from the Lord. Nothing more, nothing less. To do that they need to have heard from God.

-- Anonymous, July 30, 2002

Other than Amos, (Amos 7:14),there is no such significant person in the 'Bible' who is considered to be 'unschooled.' The King James translation of Acts 4:13 is a very clear translation that speaks to what Luke, the writer of Acts, sees as a response of the Sanhedrin council.

It is important that the persons mentioned in Acts 4:13 be clearly identified before drawing any theological conclusions. First of all, when Luke writes in verse 13, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John," it must be noted that the 'they,' is the Sanhedrin Council, and no one else. 'They,' being the Sanhedrin Council, according to the Kings James translation, "perceived that" Peter and John "were unlearned and ignorant men."

It was the Sanhedrin Council, not God nor Luke, that perceived that Peter and John were unschooled, unlearned and ignorant persons.

But it is worth noting that even the Sanhedrin council acknowledged that Peter and John were schooled by somebody. Because it was not Peter and John's extraordinary fishing skills that caused them to be before them, it was there preaching and soul winning skills that resulted in them being dragged before the Sanhedrin Council.

Even the Sanhedrin Council acknowledged that Peter and John did not learn these skills on their own, for "they marvelled, and they took knowledge of them, THAT THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS." It is extremely important to note that Peter and John, along with many other disciples had sat at the feet of Jesus for a minimum of three years. They were not 'unschooled,' but well schooled, because THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.

These were not 'unschooled' persons who stood before the Sanhedrin Council. These were ex fishermen who dropped their nets when Jesus said "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men and of women." Through much schooling, Jesus made them into fishers of men and of women. Actually, at the point in time of Acts 4:13, there were at least five thousand saved souls as a result of them having been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13 must be read with the clear knowledge that Peter and John did not just showed up on the Day of Pentecost. They were ready for what took place on the Day of Pentecost because "THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS." And having been with Jesus, they were in a position to receive the full benefit of the Holy Spirit.

-- Anonymous, August 03, 2002

Oh Boy:

I have no argument with those who believe that a preacher of the gospel needs to have a divine appointment. However, the presence of a divine appointment does not diminish the need to seek solid theological education. There should be and there is room for both in the kingdom of God. Don't give me a jack leg who totally misinterprets the Word of God under the "inspiration" of a spirit. Or who uses proof texting in a manner that reveals laziness and ignorance. I will not accept that under any circumstances.

Harold Gibson

-- Anonymous, August 05, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ