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Our generation has experienced incredible advances in technology, science, mathematics and other disciplines. Accordingly, we have been culturally conditioned to place our trust in other people who have been formally educated in specialized disciplines. As we can all testify, placing our trust in trained professionals within secular disciplines is typically very wise and beneficial; but, as we are about to learn from Jesus and the Apostles, placing that same trust in professionals who have been trained in the spiritual disciplines by institutions of men (seminaries) can be dangerous because of the denominational ‘traditions’ and ‘doctrines of men’ that are inherently adopted into most of the textbooks and lectures of today’s denominational seminaries.
As surprising as it may sound, false and divisive denominational doctrines are typically accepted and taught at the Seminary and University level to our pastors and teachers, before being taught to, and accepted by the broader, corporate church body. I suspect the reason is, at least in part, that many seminary and college professors tend to teach the spiritual disciplines in the same manner as the secular disciplines of technology, law, science, etc.—primarily relying on precedent, tradition and doctrines--that were handed down from their professors, for instruction, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures to them.
I am reminded of a time many years ago when I signed up for a Bible class in college titled “Old Testament Survey,” and I recall thinking how odd it was that I was “required” to purchase a text book from the campus book store for the class. Even more thought provoking; I later discovered that the class was taught almost entirely from the textbook--rather than from the Bible.
Sadly, in perfect lockstep harmony with the mistakes of previous centuries, our twenty-first century American Christian culture continues to train our future pastors and lay believers in institutions of men to shorten the hard and tedious, life-long work of true biblical discipleship.
Historical evidence demonstrates that most of the Israelites committed this same error in the first century. They refused to accept Jesus’ wisdom and teachings because He had NOT been educated by the man-made institutional seminaries of His day—as the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees had been. Some even accused Jesus of being divisive--leading people astray.
John 7:11-20: So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, "Where is He?" There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, "He is a good man"; others were saying, "No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray." Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews.
14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" 16 So Jesus answered them and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
19 "Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" The crowd answered, "You have a demon!
Therefore, please be prayerfully patient with me as I too as I attempt to communicate truth from God’s Word without offense. And in accordance with Jesus’ teachings of truth, this biblically focused series will also challenge many of today’s existing, popular, man-made, denominational doctrines, protocols and practices. And, for what it is worth, in accordance with Jesus, His prophets and most of the Apostles—I too was taught God’s Word by the Holy Spirit alone over the slow course of a lifetime of seeking His truth and not by denominational institutions of men (seminaries).
As a child, I grew up attending a denominational church of which I became an elder and deacon, but the more I began to prayerfully study the Bible on my own, I discovered more and more Scriptures that simply did not align with the denominational doctrines I was being taught on Sunday mornings. In search of God's truth, I later attended and studied several different varieties of denominational churches. Over time, I have become non-denominational for reasons you will discover in this series. I have spent most of my 56 years prayerfully studying God's Word and I will now share with you many of the spiritual insights I feel the Lord has asked me to share with you!