Wednesday, July 19, 2006

High Degree But Cold as Ice

When did this happen?

I've met too many seminary-trained people who don't believe in God, let alone the theology they espouse. Doesn't anybody care? People still see these guys as especially close to God, because of their training and position. Yet, they don't believe.

Since when did a degree in Bible or Theology mean that a person is to be considered close to God? I know not everyone who pursues a degree in some Christian endeavor is doing so to be perceived as being especially close to God. But in our culture, it has become more and more difficult to tell the difference. In fact, the general public normally see those who graduate from some seminary as having a special authority.

Again, I am not criticizing those who pursue degrees in Christian thought. I am just beginning to find it odd that it has become a pass to maturity. Yes, it is natural to expect leaders to be trained in the ways of Christ, and in how to think about the Christian faith. But sometimes in the Christian community we expect people to be trained in a manner that is no different than the world.

What I mean is that Christian degrees are often seen more as an entryway into employment, success, and popularity doing Christian stuff. (Get it all, plus God!) There are those who are proud of being called "Father" everywhere they go. They love the most important seats, and the honor that is obviously due them.

Conversely, churches receive resumes from these people with varying levels of skill, training, and degrees. And to some extent, I suppose that it is necessary, given we often don't know who we are hiring. (Do we really hire ministers?) But think about it. People typically assume that those who pursue degrees in Christian thought are close to God — not just trained in some way. Does that strike you as odd? It does to me.

When did this begin to be the norm?

Are men who are led by the Spirit to become janitors, or computer tech support people not as close to God as someone pursuing a degree in theology? Is a stay-at-home mom spiritual? Is the person who pursues a degree in mathematics qualified to lead others in the Christian faith? Is being a good single-father less noble than preaching sermons or writing (yet another) book?

I know everyone who reads this thinks that this issue is not important. After all, everyone serves in different ways and God is the God of all. But what is our practical attitude? Is this issue more important to God than to us?

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