An Open Letter to Preachers
In the nearly 20 years I have spent preaching or training to do so, I have seen countless instances of squabbling over whether a preacher should get an education.
Those on both sides have fired volleys across the library barricades and too many injuries have occurred.
I call for a ceasefire!
We must raise the white flag before any more brethren suffer. This ridiculous fighting is too childish for honorable, godly men.
Too many preachers who are self-taught have monstrous chips on their shoulders, and their words are venomous towards the issue of an education.
On the other hand, too many preachers who have an education see themselves as being better than everyone else.
STOP! It’s time for a reality check.
While preaching is a calling, it is still basically a trade. Meaning, it is something you learn to do well through training from someone more experienced and practical application learned in the pew and in the pulpit.
From the beginning of time, apprenticeships have helped men and women learn trades. They have taken place in the fields, the office, the classroom, etc.
Training serves a variety of purposes and none are superior or inferior since they all serve different functions. Rating them as to levels of importance is juvenile. There are innumerable factors that go into one’s training and abilities. We are all different so one size will never fit all.
Peter, Andrew, James and John were uneducated fisherman while Paul had the equivalent of an advanced university degree (Acts 22:3). Would they have fought over who was better if they were all in the same place? If so, Jesus would likely have told them to hush because they were completely missing the point.
If you are knowledgeable and teaching the gospel without an education, do so with all of your energy. Insecurity requires too much time and energy and Satan can use that to distract you from your mission.
If you do have an education, be humble and do not allow Satan to turn that against you. Anyone who does have a degree needs to spend a few dollars and read the slim volume, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke. It is a brilliant parody of what can happen when an advanced education begins to corrupt your brain and vision.
For the most part, an education doesn’t corrupt people but it can expose weaknesses that are already there ready for the picking.
Never in the history of the world do we have greater opportunities to learn than we do right now. Technologies have given us a universe of study tools. Anyone who is self-taught today and doesn’t use these tools [thousands of which are free] has greater issues than a lack of a formal education!
We all need to relax and stop spending so much time sizing each other up like children on the playground. We need to be men and not scared little boys. The Lord needs better than we are offering.