Thanks Bud, and others for any, and all input on this, and you are right psimmond that some will continue to believe what they want, and try to persuade others. My quote sounds rough but I’ve given this alot of thought and unfortunately had to experience this exact thing:
Objection! “You would have false teachers and ill equipped teachers running amok throughout the church!”
If a pastor does have that problem, well it just proves the pastors preaching hasn’t been very effective.
This objection was almost verbatim from two different persons I have already encountered, one a pastor. My first ‘apologetic’ response to this objection was; “it seems rather we have false teachers and ill equipped teachers standing in pulpits and running amok throughout the church
” probably not the most tactful way to respond, but it is true. A pulpit does not seem to keep bad teaching from pouring forth on a congregation
. In fact the whole congregation is effected when this continues, and most in the audience accept this bad teaching as having authority ‘because‘ it is coming from the preacher or pulpit. It is really hard to check a pastor on this stuff, I have learned why some pastors ‘do not’ allow open discussion when they are leading a smaller group, because they can get checked on their doctrine and become exposed for their lack of knowledge on a subject (I think a lot of college professors have the same method of operation, but that’s another story).
I agree that despite ongoing lecturing some will continue to believe what they want, and try to persuade others. Boy do I have experience and stories about this happening in small groups.
So is the solution is:
Don’t let the members of the body speak to one another about spiritual matters.
This is the approach the Catholic Church has taken for at least 17 Centuries. Step back for a moment and observe what Catholicism is all about: all authority for discernment is taken from the Laity and laid solely in the hands of the clergy. Most every spiritual presentation of the gospel with a Catholic will get you a “well why don’t you go speak to a priest (or nun) about that, I don’t really know much about the bible”
The devil doesn’t want us to know Gods Word, talk about His Word, or feel we are qualified to learn or talk about the Bible. The authority to read or teach Gods Word was taken away from the laity, and when the reformation came along not much really changed. You have to have balance
, yet as we see within Catholicism the balance is clearly wrong and ‘all’ teaching authority is in the clergy, the laity possessing none. The reformation removed the Pope, and ‘endorsed’ the authority of God’s Word over man, but the impression left by the clerical authority and priesthood was toned down only by putting this ‘authority’ on pastors, and even preachers
. The authority to teach (or at a minimum, the qualifications to speak Gods word) can be argued and debated but at the end of the day we will come to realize that: God destroyed the priesthood, “no longer shall any man teach His brother, but they shall all know me”, the ‘Holy Spirit was given to all believers’, “You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going”, ‘this authority was given to His Word, and to all who would believe in His Word’.
Satan wants to distort Gods Word, but the Word wants to be known
by everyone. Satan teaches error, but Gods Word is Truth. God wants His Word known by all. The error is in squelching the Holy Spirit and squelching a person who can read with a bible in their hand. The error is proclaiming people should 'not' be able to talk amongst themselves over the bible.
I am an extremely zealous advocate for correct doctrine, extremely dogmatic about the dangers of false doctrine, I am well acquainted with apologetics and as a bible teacher myself I often find myself having to defend the need to have ‘qualified’ teachers in teaching roles, even small groups. But I have toned down abit since I am getting older and after leading small groups for years I have learned that the ‘goal’ is to get a group reading and studying the bible together
– even if it means any biblical topic or chapter they want to read – Gods Word will come alive for them. God’s Word will be present with us in the room as we remember God does the work, not that I don’t ‘want’ to lead the group, or remind them that the subject I 'prepared' was on 2nd Samuel, or 1st John, or Angels, or Baptism, or Repentance, or something else, I have to remember Who is in charge – the Holy Spirit – not me
I am dogmatic about having prepared questions or an outline of scriptures to study ready, but I am happy if one can just read and let the Spirit lead a Godly meaningful conversation also. My main objective is to get people to learn how to study
(hermeneutics), to love His Word, to enjoy the study, to ‘know’ they can study, to gain confidence, to learn to disciple by actually conversing, and to learn ‘they’ can share the bible with others. Engage and model with them a Godly discussion around Gods Word
, and when we all become comfortable with Gods Word in our hand we see God’s growth and work in our life and in the group, as we grow together in this one purpose. This is the purpose: for all of us to be one in Him
I am approaching this from a biblical, theological and spiritual perspective (not because: I’m lonely, as at least one person argued as being my motive (?). l have attended, I don’t know I never counted before, but at 30 per year for 20 years that’s maybe 600 at least small group Bible type meetings. I’m estimating I have walked in on at least 5 false teachers, and had at least five disruptive people in my own groups over the years, but nothing that wasn’t easily enough handled. Although difficult at times, and sometimes someone will leave, it usually resulted in a practical lesson for everyone in growth and maturity. Most groups have grownups who are smart and can think for themselves. We thank God for the freedom to reason amongst ourselves and come to a solution (rather than appeal a priest). This is what creates a family, and this is what happens in a real family
. Groups are generally stronger as a result, and having learned to work together through difficulties grows the 'together bond'. This sure seems to be what God intended by giving ‘us’ His word, His Spirit, telling us ‘we’ should love one another, and be one as He and the Father are One.
Thanks for not making this about baptisms, you are a good table leader.