The Weekly Feeding – Part Three

Following up on the previous two blogs…

Certainly, God communicates through His written Word, but He can also speak to us in other ways. He speaks through His indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:18). He speaks through dreams (Matthew 1:20-21) and visions (Acts 16:9-10). He speaks through angels (Luke 1:26-38). He speaks through other people (Acts 21:8-14). And there’s no reason to think that He can’t speak to us in an audible voice if He so desires (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). He has spoken in all of these ways – numerous times – in the Bible we study with such veneration. Why then are we so afraid to let Him speak to us in other ways today?

The Bible we hold with such reverence describes all these ways of communicating and never once says that God is no longer able to communicate in these ways. He is fully capable of leading us beyond written instruction. He even spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-34). He led people with a pillar of fire and smoke (Exodus 13:21-22), a star (Matthew 2:1-10), and teleportation (Acts 8:39-40). And if the need arises, even rocks can begin to speak (Luke 19:40).

None of this diminishes in any way the truth found in our Bibles. It is divine revelation that is inspired, complete and cannot be replaced. Everything God says to us outside of Scripture will always be verified by Scripture, not contradict it. But if our faith is solely an exercise in studying a book and modifying our behaviour to the commands of the laws we find there, we are no better off than the Pharisees (John 5:39).

Because we often evaluate teachers based on their accumulated knowledge, rather than by what they actually do with the knowledge, immature teachers who are able to communicate well are able to advance quickly in our current church culture, even if they are not well advanced in character and humility. Age and experience are not necessarily good indicators, because immature teachers can accumulate knowledge and sit in some pretty influential places, even through their character and their ability to equip others (the real task of the teacher) are not as advanced as their learning.

In academic circles, a teaching gift can thrive, but it is also easy for the authority of the teacher to reside in degrees, published works, and academic credentials, rather than in application of the Word of God. Teachers who expect people to submit to their authority simply because of their credentials or academic accolades will undermine the health of the body and can even corrupt the church environment. A secondary side effect is that gifted and sound teachers who lack the same academic credentials may be undervalued or even disregarded entirely. Humility is a necessary requirement for those with degrees and those without. It is a matter of character in the teacher…

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