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Summary: Where does your faith stand and where does the faith of those you witness to stand after you leave them?

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1Co 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Having spent many years in ministry and learning all I could via colleges and self-study I have come to the conclusion that we need more “in demonstration of the Spirit and power” and less of man's wisdom in our preaching. While education in nearly all disciplines is wise and we are to go into the world and teach all nations making disciples, we seemed to have become obsessed to the point of near idolatry over degrees. It is extremely difficult for an Amos to serve in a realm where three degrees are required as much as three points and a poem in homiletics or expository preaching class.

Frankly, it seems clear that our method of preaching/teaching to make disciples is inferior to that of Christ's since He only took three years to train the 12 disciples and the 13th audited the course since he was not of the original 12. Paul's one on one training was also only three years and Paul only had three weeks to plant a vibrant church. While Mormons can field missionaries with a very brief training period we send men to school for many years. Some programs from ThB to ThD can take up to 15 years. Then the man may have great knowledge and eloquent speech but still have a status quo church that declines as he and his church ages. It would appear that we are missing something much like Apollos, who was a gifted preacher and well versed in the Law, yet lacked the basic understanding of the Gospel and had to be schooled by a couple who never went to bible college let alone seminary.

We are well versed in the wisdom and theologies of men, but that is not what Paul used in his ministry though he had more of that kind of wisdom than folks today with several degrees in various disciplines. Indeed, he counted all that he had as dung and stayed away from it as much as possible except when the situations warranted it to gain a hearing. His focus was Christ and Him crucified and the power of the Spirit who worked powerfully in Paul.

I fear that much of our infatuation with degrees is to impress men, both saved and unsaved. I appreciate what one local notable preacher said that all his degrees did for him was to get him an interview at the church where he now serves. I was told by a local seminary that a man cannot pastor in Texas without some form of doctorate. While it is difficult because churches have been trained by the theologians that they need a doctor, it is very possible to pastor quite well without a degree let alone a doctorate.

Many have stopped getting ThDs and now seek PhDs. The world respects those more and if ministry fails the chances of getting a teaching job or some other job is better with a PhD versus a ThD. A PhD might even generate a larger salary in a church ministry as well as a secular job. A church that has a pastor with a doctorate of any kind can bring in more affluent members and maybe a PhD does ever better. I cannot judge everyone's motive, but it would be interesting to know what caused that shift.


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