THE WORD: The pastor’s perspective
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11
A friend and colleague in the ministry shared with me a vision he received from God: to use Facebook to answer questions for those struggling with understanding scripture and how it impacts everyday life. It is part of what a Pastor does according to Ephesians 4:11-12 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
We are to “equip” the saints for the work of the ministry. And that strengthens the body of Christ.
Some saints don’t feel comfortable considering themselves theologians. But every follower of Jesus should be a theologian, regardless of academic prowess. The very definition of the word “theology’ demonstrates that fact. “Theo” is the Greek word for God. And the suffix -logy means “the study of,” so theology literally means “the study of god,” but we usually expand it to mean those who are experts or teachers of religion. And we apply it to those who have risen academically with advanced degrees. But you are a theologian!
Paul’s prayer for the church at Colossae in Colossians 1:9-14 is a catalog of the blessings he wants God to give them: knowledge, spiritual wisdom, understanding, a worthy walk, eagerness to please God, fruitfulness, growth in knowledge, strength, endurance, patience and joy
. With all of that going on in the prayer, I still think it’s safe to say that the dominant theme in the prayer (and in the epistle) is of knowledge. Paul wants the Colossian believers to have knowledge, wisdom and an understanding of God. Among the other things he’s asking God for, he’s asking God to give the Colossians the gift of theology.
It is a gift and not something to be shunned or avoided. So, let’s not think theologians are something they are not.
Karl Barth, a renowned theologian and pastor was once asked how he would summarize the essence of the millions of words he had published. What was his greatest lesson from a lifetime of theology? He replied, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
I say this not to minimize the importance of theology, but to highlight the end result. Yes, we are all theologians, regardless of the depth of our study. So, why, then do we need a Facebook program entitled “The Pastor’s Perspective” to answer questions of the faith?
Yes, we are all theologians. And the church proclaims its theological stance through the ages. But I suggest that on our journeys we need to hear an answer from the heart of a pastor. And even on Facebook there is the Pastor’s Perspective.
PASTOR JOHN MOXLEY can be reached at Jmoxley1@juno.com