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Pastor's Commentary

"And this is Eternal Life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."

John 17:3


Louis A. Burgess is the Pastor-Teacher of

East Newport Baptist Church

East Newport Blog

Do We Possess Knowledge or Information?

July 5th, 2017

     In an era which allows us geometric access to information, we are often deluded into the presumption that access to information is equivalent to having the knowledge and understanding that are requisite to applying said information.

     Sadly, some presuppose that access without critical scrutiny is to be preferred because the bliss and comfort of ignorance are more palatable than the rigor and responsibility of understanding. It is both shocking and amazing that many acquire advanced degrees, advanced employment and advanced positions of influence without having gained an authentic knowledge within their area of "expertise."

     This brings me to the group of persons who are most indicative and therefore most culpable of the above commentary: Pastor-Teachers.

There is a tendency in "theological circles" to place great emphasis on "systems of theology" (such as Seminaries, Denominations, Commentaries, Statements of Faith, Creeds, etc.) This emphasis is often to the detriment of notionally de-emphasizing or delegitimizing Scripture. I am reminded of a dialogue I was having with some of my pastoral associates about the nature of the Godhead. I asked one of them to render an exegetical interpretation of a biblical reference that I presented and he in turn referred me to the Creed of Nicaea (an ancient Statement of Faith written around a.d. 325). I informed him that, while I believe the ancient Creeds of Christendom to be historically informative, such creeds are not God-breathed or "inspired" and cannot be equated to Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). He then proceeded to recommend a book on the Creeds that might inform my perspective of Scripture.

     The problem that this pastor has (in addition to a number of other pastors, academicians and scholars) is an undue love of theology. Theology is the study of God. More accurately, Theology is man's study of God. We all have a theology. Even the atheist has a theology: "There is no God." However, theologies are no more God-breathed or "inspired" than the persons who espouse them. While theologies aren't God-breathed or "inspired," they can possess either legitimacy or illegitimacy, contingent on whether or not they are consistent with the inerrant, infallible, imperishable, God-breathed text of Scripture.

     Many of these leaders are well meaning, even though their teachings will have Scriptural inconsistencies. Yet, the greater concern for me is whether or not I am willing to chance a Scriptural inconsistency, which misrepresents the LORD of Scripture, so that I might elevate MY OWN THEOLOGY. At present, I AM NOT willing to do so!

Beloved of God, consider the gravity of notionally placing one's own theology on a par above Scripture, via the stern imperative of the Apostle Paul who wrote God-breathed Scripture:

     "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9)."

Grace and Peace!