My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
In First Corinthians chapter 2, as Paul was writing to the church in that city, we was warning about people who were wandering away from true faith in Jesus and toward what would come to be known as Gnosticism. The leaders of the believing church over the centuries have long spoken as if Paul, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, wrote this chapter in such a way that he was unknowingly speaking of many other groups that would claim to be Christian, but were nowhere close to genuine. Within the past century, Nazism and the KuKluxKlan are most pronounced.
There are also groups which, while correct in their teaching 90 plus percent of the time, hold a certain one or few positions which do not align with the historic faith. Of some, there is general agreement between true believers in Jesus that such groups are cults. On some other groups, there is honest disagreement, which is fortunately covered by our knowing that God knows men’s hearts.
There is one disturbing piece of our fallen human nature that most believers do not struggle with because most are unaware of its existence. That is the private ethical struggles of institutional church leaders when a leader finds that there is a gap between what he or she has come to see is the teaching of the Bible and what is socially expected of him or her, particularly if the socially expected thing is tied to the person’s paycheck and that person has no other marketable skills. This doesn’t just affect church leaders who truly believe; in the traditional churches in which the training institutes have been taken over by unbelievers, that unbelieving leader knows that if the person listening to him or her knew their unbelief, enough would leave as to leave him or her without a job. Recently, a writer for a major national newspaper predicted that some of those churches will close due to the weight of their payroll and real estate maintenance, and we have begun to see that.
I appreciate knowledge of the Bible and all the fields that help us understand it and communicate it to a watching world. We must note that, in the Word, leadership emphasizes practical knowledge in relating to those around us, not cut and dried degrees and titles.