I recently read an article titled “The Death of Expertise.” In the past, we consulted teachers, lawyers, doctors, or those who held degrees for information. Now we Google our questions and pay little attention to the credentials of those who give us answers or advice. Taking advice from some people could endanger our life or our financial stability.
In much the same way, resources for Continuing Spiritual Education can come from those who have never studied either the Scriptures or theological doctrines, and who have little idea of what God’s Word truly says. This isn’t to say that only scholars should teach and preach because the apostles Peter and John were called “unlearned and ignorant men.” Their teachings, though, came from their walk with Christ and knowledge of God’s Word. The best teachers and preachers are still those who walk with Christ, have a knowledge of God’s Word, and have studied basic theological doctrines of the Bible.
I once heard a minister say “I believe what this man said, because he wrote a book. I figure if he wrote a book, he must be smart.” Dumb people and heretics have published books; smart people and heretics also publish books. With the advent of widespread self-publishing many “inspirational and religious” books never go through the hands of an editor who would question some doctrines being promoted. Furthermore, TV programs, movies, internet websites, blogs, and Utube videos deluge us with ideas on “spirituality.” With no accountability or oversight to sift out error, seekers wander like sheep without a shepherd.
How then, do we determine what is sound doctrine and what isn’t? I believe a knowledge of the Apostle’s Creed is a good starting point. I would advise you to steer clear: shut the book, change the channel, or exit the web page if the message conflicts with the Apostle’s Creed.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic* Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
Martha Hawn VanCise ©2017 www.signpostsonhightrails.com
Graphic: Clip Art Ron Leishman
*The word "catholic" in the Apostles' Creed refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.