The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XX
Teaching is not just dispensing information but more importantly the application of that information. You can teach grammar, but if you don’t apply it to editing in the writing process, it doesn’t make sense. Often students gripe, “Why do we have to learn this?” Until the learner buys into the application of a principle, it is difficult to teach that principle for them to apply. This also applies also to the Church. Why learn all these Biblical principles if one is not willing to apply them? If you just “study” them, it becomes “religion”; if you “apply” them, it becomes “life”.
“Book work” produces theory and theology, not necessarily application. In science class, one can read and memorize science facts, but applying them in a laboratory situation is far more effective. We, the Church, have fallen into this trap of “book work” in teaching the Bible as a book to research, memorize, and analyze through literary criticism, producing theology. In many churches, men’s & women’s group, small groups, share groups, etc. base their gathering on “studying” a how-to live a Christian life/principle book, often learning about a topic, but not necessarily actually applying it. Educational degrees are based on theology. Walking out one’s faith is based on application.
Don’t get me wrong, or misread me; the Bible is the core, the basis of everything the Christian teacher teaches. My emphasis is on “application” of those Biblical truths. In the gospels, Jesus “applies” the Word when battling satan in the wilderness, as Jesus refutes, but “the Word says….” Satan knows the word too, but theologically twists it, and, of course, never applies but opposes its principles. Jesus wins the battle because Jesus IS the Word made flesh, the Living Word, the Rhema Word. When you “live it”, you “apply it”. Jesus IS the “Living Word”, the “Applied Word”.
In the Gospels, you don’t see Jesus leading weekly Bible studies, but walks with his disciples showing applications of the Kingdom of God principles as he goes. He is not in a classroom setting, but a real world setting. Because He had not yet “fulfilled” the Word, he often taught in parables that were only understood by his disciples after his fulfillment or after the Holy Spirit was released by Jesus to teach the understanding of his kingdom of God principles and parables.
If the 21st Century Church is to be retooled, it has to recognize who “The Teacher” is. Of course, Jesus is “The Teacher”, but upon his ascension to heaven, he sent His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, to earth to teach the truth of the gospel so it can be an applied, living gospel. Instead of Theologians being the teacher, the 21st Century Church has to recognize the Holy Spirit as the teacher, for the Holy Spirit lives in the heart, the life of each and every believer in Jesus Christ. Revelation comes through the Holy Spirit to every believer making the Logos Word, the written word, the Rhema, or living word.