Luke 10:21; In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said,"I thank You ,Father, Lord of Heaven and earth; that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight"
Seventy disciples had just returned from a missionary tour of the surrounding region.They had been sent out with the mandate to heal the sick, cast out demons and preach the Kingdom of God . They returned full of joy at the power that had been revealed as they simply obeyed the Lord.
Jesus reminded them that the fact their names were written in heaven was even greater reason to rejoice than the demonstrations of God's power they had witnessed and then He makes the statement about God revealing to babes what He hides from the wise and prudent.
Now ,I'm someone who's wired up in such a way that I lean towards teaching and apologetics (an unfortunate name for defending the faith I think) and so I have great respect for knowledge of the truth.I believe what the prophet said that God's people often perish for lack of knowledge and I know ignorance is not bliss ;it's deadly...and yet the Lord reminds us here that knowing God;I mean to really KNOW Him is not an intellectual exercise of men but a revelational exercise of God.
We can know the great doctrines of our faith we can have tremendous wisdom and insight we can be intellectual giants ..and yet be unsaved and on the road to damnation.
As I look around the internet gleaning truth from many fine web-sites where courageous men and women hold up the word of God and hold church leaders accountable to the scriptures I find on occasion the unfortunate tendency to condemn those who may not have the same precise doctrinal understanding as themselves.
Hear what I'm saying now. Doctrine is hugely important. Theology is after all the study of the knowledge of God...but how much does one need to know to be saved? To hear some you would think it an essential for salvation to be able to articulate the finer points of Calvinism or to understand the precise order of end-time events to call yourself a Christian ..and yet Jesus says truth is revealed to babes.
History is filled with examples of religionists who understood the great doctrines of the faith and yet had not experienced the light that comes with the new birth. Whitefield ,the Wesley brothers and Spurgeon all knew doctrine before they knew the One the doctrines point to .And many a Christian was granted saving faith when they knew little more than their own wretchedness and the provision made at Calvary on their behalf.
Holy Spirit revelation leads to Holy Spirit education which is light and life..But education without revelation is darkness and death.
Many of the problems in the visible church in our day ,I suspect are not so much that the wayward preachers and teachers don't know doctrine for it's obvious that many of them do .No ; the problem is they don't know the Lord!
A wolf does not necessarily choose to be a wolf but he is one by nature ;he is a different species to a sheep and tragically the church at large has had the unfortunate tendency to appoint theologically educated wolves to care for the sheep. In a sense it's not the wolves fault that they do so much damage to the flock. The sheep by nature follow the Shepherd ;the wolf by nature avoids the Shepherd and destroys the sheep.The churches task is to discern and not appoint to leadership a wolf who can simply recite the creeds; but under shepherds who recognize the voice of the Great Shepherd.
Part of the fault for the prevalence of wolves lies with the sheep. We need to know not only what the pastor teaches but why he teaches it. Has he a story of God's dealings in his life . Can he articulate how he became a born-again follower of Christ and explain his call to leadership.If not, avoid him, no matter how likable,how educated or how well he can speak.
I think it is also wise to find out his associations. Birds of a feather as they say.That's not to say that he should spend no time with the unsaved (in fact it's imperative that he does) but what are his alliances.If the preacher is a Freemason for example, avoid him at all costs ,what has Christ to do with idolatry? The same goes with any interfaith or ecumenical connections.
The truth is I would rather listen and learn from someone who doesn't know his Calvin from his Arminius but has been truly regenerated than a theological and philosophical giant that has not the light of Christ within.
Whitefield was once asked "Why are you constantly saying ,'You must be born again?'" To which he replied "Because...You must be born-again"