Contend Earnestly: Pursue, Not Only Knowledge, But Also Wisdom

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pursue, Not Only Knowledge, But Also Wisdom

It's pretty interesting these days to speak to and listen to pastors. What I have noticed is that, for the most part, they regurgitate what they've heard. They seem to not know how to make decisions or logical conclusions for themselves. What they seem to do is merely memorize what they have read or have been taught from others and never truly test their conclusions in the "real world."

Of course, I have seen this most clearly lately with the study of Islam. Most Christian pastors not only have never had any Muslim friends, but haven't even read anything by Muslim scholars to try and understand what they believe and why. Instead, they have read Western apologetics so that they can attack that evil religion and go on their own personal 21st century crusade against their character and culture. But, it doesn't stop at Islam. It seems to go much farther than that. It seems as though most just regurgitate Calvin, Edwards, Piper, Driscoll, Sproul, etc. and think that means that they have wisdom on subjects. What they then do, is desire their flocks to do the same. It becomes memorization of knowledge, instead of the pursuit of wisdom.

There is a difference.

I was explaining to a friend of mine, who reads this blog, my intent from the very beginning with this blog. The intent isn't for people to agree with me. That would be close to impossible with my differing ideas on systematic theology and how I live it out. It is very hard to put me in a box. I am Calvinistic, Reformed, Very Missional & Contextual, Intentional, Slightly Ecumenical, Baptistic, Amillelianial (kind of) and I lean heavy on the 5 Solas yet love logic.

What I want from this blog is for people to come alongside and learn what it means to try and live out Sola Scriptura and Semper Reformanda (Scripture alone & Always Reforming). The hardest part for anyone reading this blog is to see my growth. I write what I am learning. If you want to freak yourself out, go back to when I first started this blog and look at how moralistic my posts were. I have hopefully been reforming towards God, instead of self. It didn't make my last church leadership too happy when I kept reforming instead of just taking people's word for what I should believe. I always ask, "why?" and then I read differing view points on the subject to hopefully get a very wide range of learning to make my own decisions on subjects. That is what I hope for everyone who reads this blog. I just want people to learn how to defend biblically what they believe, and if it doesn't line up with Scripture, learn to move on and reform. People hate that last I could care less. Who do I have to impress besides Jesus?

Back to wisdom and knowledge.

I believe that many pastors have a ton of knowledge. I believe they have this because they are good at memorizing and reading Christian stuff. There is a reason that Paul said that knowledge puffs up and he didn't say "wisdom puffs up." Knowledge of something or someone is knowing facts about it or someone. Wisdom is more personal. Wisdom comes through living in light of something or with someone. Knowledge isn't bad, it is actually very good, but it just shouldn't be the end game, knowledge along with wisdom should be.

Wisdom comes from experience, knowledge comes from study.

The easiest example of this comes from Job. Job knew of God, actually knew a lot about God and was righteous. But, what is interesting is what Job says after he goes through a ton of tribulations and quite the diatribe from God. It would seem Job is saying, "I used to have only knowledge, but know I have true wisdom along with my knowledge."

Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
“Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:1-6

Today, what I have noticed is that pastors, and from them their flocks, stop at knowledge. They don't desire to truly go after wisdom. They don't want to come into actual contact and fellowship with sinners, with other religions, with other ideas. Because of this, their conclusions are never tested and in the end, they are never truly their conclusions, but just regurgitated from their heroes of the faith.

Notice how wisdom begins by experiencing God...(although this also starts with knowledge, it doesn't end by just knowing stuff about God):

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10

To fear God only comes from your own wisdom and knowledge of who God is...interpersonally.

If we want to truly have wisdom, we should truly interact with people who think differently than we do. And, if we are Calvinists, we should know that we won't conform to their views of Jesus or his work, but we will understand more fully those around us and their conflictions of the mind.

I challenge you to read books and interact with those and truly befriend those you know you won't agree with. I believe this will show you more of who God is, because they have the Imago Dei.

Pursue, not only knowledge...but also wisdom.

Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
“Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
“They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
“But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

Proverbs 1:20-33


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