“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Lk. 11:13).
Some preachers and theologians teach that the average church-goer can only benefit fully from Bible Study if they attend a Bible College to learn how to interpret scripture. Most of us have accepted such logic because we recognize that many of the professors from whom we pay to learn have spent un-tolled hours in Biblical study. However, what we tend to overlook is the fact that compromise and hypocrisy, “spiritual wickedness” and “rulers of darkness” are no less active in today’s “Christian” circles than they were in Paul’s time. Does the devil sleep, or is it possible that Christians are willingly unaware of the satanic devices within their very midst? Let’s ask some questions about today’s “Christian” seminaries and colleges.
Do theologians have special insight from the Holy Spirit that the average Bible-believing Christian does not? Considering the access that Christians now have to Bible search engines and various scriptural interpretations available online, can’t any Christian – educated or not – search the scriptures and thereby labour in the Word and in doctrine with guidance from the Holy Spirit on their own? Why must anyone pay hard-earned money to learn from a theologian what the Holy Spirit leads them to learn by the power of God – for free?
In seminary, how much time is spent in direct Bible study versus time spent studying what someone else says about the Bible? Are all the teachers in a Christian college Christian? If two professors teach opposing views, and they both claim to be Spirit-led, which one is of them is mistaken, or lying? What Biblical authority or Biblical example justifies a corporate institution to “monopolize” the Holy Spirit and charge exorbitant amounts of money to laypersons to learn from them? Doesn’t Jesus say, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” (Mt. 23:8)? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit is more “indwelt” in one saved Christian than another? Did God ever intend a financial cost to be imposed on anyone that wanted to understand His Word better or was that the work of the Pharisees, as identified in Matthew 23? Do Christian institutions have any Biblical merit or did husband/wife teams such as Aquila and Priscilla take people into their own homes to expound “the way of God more perfectly” to those who needed it (Acts 18:26)?
Let’s make a concerted effort to question that which we take for granted in a society that is inundated with the so-called virtues of individualism, relativism, and humanism.
Paul claimed in 1 Corinthians 9 and 1 Thessalonians 2 that although he was eligible to charge a legitimate (not excessive) fee for his work teaching and preaching the gospel, he took money from no one (1 Thess. 2:9). His motivation, unlike that of the Pharisees, was neither greed nor glory (1 Thess. 2:5-6). He laboured without guile or flattery (1 Thess. 2:3), “not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4). Paul taught them with the love of a father for his children and withheld nothing from them, saying “for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Cor. 12:14).
Why then, do theologians prosper while their students, in pursuit of God’s wisdom, incur a significant debt? If the Holy Spirit resides within all sincere Christians, what can the seminary offer them that the Holy Spirit cannot? The seminary offers the following: they teach people how to maintain intellectual superiority over their congregation, how to manipulate the board, how to keep unbelievers in the church as paying members, and how to use eloquence and flattery to increase numbers. They exploit your love for Christ and profit from your passion. What is Christ-like about that?
I contend that vanity, arrogance, elitism, exclusionism, and false doctrine are the predominant characteristics of many of today’s seminaries. This is not wholly a consequence of the innate evil of men’s hearts, but a consequence of the spiritual wickedness that has wrought havoc on the “good men of the church”. Their “best interest” can no longer be defined by their sincere desire to equip you to follow Christ with truth and boldness. Their “best interest” is to protect what they hold most dear: their prestigious status and income.
The evidence of this is rampant. Seminaries allow women to preach even though it is contrary to the Word of God. Seminaries allow practising homosexuals to preach even though the Bible contends that church leaders must be the “husband of one wife” with “faithful children” in a well-ruled home (Tit. 1:6, 1 Tim. 3:12). Seminaries allow liberal doctrine and nominal Christianity to be legitimized as “sincere Christianity” when it is, in fact, a corruption of the Biblical standard. Seminaries teach from bastardized versions of the Bible calling them “relevant” and “insightful” when in fact, they are fraudulent counterfeits. Why do they do this? You know why.
I call out all seminaries who charge money for what they presently have the monopoly on. Good Bible teaching was free in Bible times because it was based on a sincere love for Christ, a dedication to feed His sheep, a passionate readiness to spread the gospel of peace, and a desire to labour for the “meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (Jn. 6:27). Theologians in that day travelled, were billeted by students, taught the Word, were “instant in season, out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2), and charged nothing beyond what they could earn for themselves on the side. They did this all for one all-consuming and selfless purpose; to serve God by spreading the Gospel. They accomplished this not by greed, but by the fear of the Lord. None withheld information until they got paid. None but the Pharisees puffed up their chests in pride and condescension while claiming themselves to be more righteous and privileged than others.
Where have the humble and grateful men of God gone? Where are the labourers who love the Lord with sincerity? A few good ones entered seminary with good intentions, but over years of study they are stripped of their humility, stripped of their gratitude, and filled up with a form of entitlement that is rooted in the vanity of men. They are seduced by vain philosophies, the traditions of men, and the wisdom of this world that is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (Jas. 3:15). Their passion for Christ is buried beneath their more pressing desire to bloat their egos and get paid for it.
My plea to you today is this: stop looking to Bible “scholars” or “preachers” to tell you what the Bible says. Read it for yourself. God has given you His guide and, if you are truly saved, indwelt you with His Spirit in order to give you His truth and His insight. Look for it, in fear and trembling, because if you ask for His wisdom in faith, He will give it to you “liberally” (Jas. 1:5). Remember who you are in Christ; you are the temple that is not built with hands, but with the power of God. You are holy; with Him you are fully equipped to learn righteousness from the study of the Word. A preacher or seminary who tells you otherwise is a liar. And remember, even sincere people can spread a lie if they mistake it for truth.
Out of love for the God who saved you from satanic darkness and blindness, bringing you into His marvellous light, see the truth. Stop throwing your money, your faith, and your worship at the feet of mere men; throw them at the feet of the Almighty God where they belong. A seminary that hijacks the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is no different from the Pope, Priest, and Pharisee who sell you a perverted version of the truth for monetary gain. The Dark Ages resulted from their pride and greed and dark ages are returning. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be free.
As a post script, I must add this. Godly men and women of integrity exist in the seminary (although no godly woman is on the pulpit) and do what they can to uphold the truth and authority of the Word of God. They do so despite a growing climate of faithlessness and hostility toward it. They do so despite the persecution and false accusations that come from liberal and nominal “Christians”. Good men are being forced out of the pulpit over purported “personality conflicts” because they stand on God’s Word with an uncompromising and ardent faith in the Lord. “Yea and all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Like Christian teachers in a public school, these good men and women of faith do what they can within the confines of a corrupt system. Please do not jump on the bandwagon of compromise, unwittingly making of yourself a persecutor of the truth-bearers. Instead, pray for them. Pray for them fervently.