By John Miltenberger 2/24/2017
And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. [Mark 1:22; NKJV]
There are certain buzzwords that when used, always cause me to cringe inside. I’ve never understood why I have the reaction, but I always do. One of these buzzwords is “Brainstorm”.
When I was growing up in St. Louis County, Missouri, I vividly remember seeing a billboard on the south side of old Highway 40, coming out of downtown. It was a billboard advertisement for some product long forgotten, but the hook line said, “Ten million Americans Can’t Be Wrong!” Even at my young age, I realized it was a lie. It still is. In fact, ten million Americans can often be wrong – in ten million varieties of it.
Now I understand the earthly wisdom of brainstorming, but that’s the problem. Unless we’re confined to earthly issues and earthly solutions, brainstorming is counter-productive, and it limits us to the sum of our collective OPINIONS, and the resulting sum of our collective human wisdom. Apparently, Jesus didn’t teach eternal truths that way, and I’d like to see us teach them the way He did.
If someone came to me and told me I had to teach a class on the topic of Redemption, I would think it wise for me to know the subject pretty well myself, before presuming to teach others. While I could fill up the allotted time by asking everyone to discuss what they thought about Redemption, in effect teaching themselves, at the end of that time, I would only have the sum of their collective opinions. Ten million Americans are often wrong….and that’s just as true of ten million American Christians. Brainstorming can often lead us into a morass of humanism, and where is God in that mess?
Brainstorming must be a Greek invention, and I think it’s what the Apostle Paul ran into at Athens (Acts 17:22,23). In verse 23, Paul does not give the Athenians his opinion, or the benefit of his limited understanding; he clearly taught them with authority, and I’m betting they were astonished at how he taught. Paul did not provide a forum for discussion, he taught the one truth, with his God given authority. How I wish the Church would rise up and teach from the same firm foundation and with the evident authority of God.
While I’m sure that Paul stirred up a hornet’s nest of debate, he did not sacrifice his authority. The recorded result was that some received his message and some did not. A good day for the apostle…at least he didn’t get beat up for a change!
We Americans cherish our opinions a bit too highly, (in my opinion), and we’ll fight to maintain them. Some families are known for never having opinions they don’t share – (I speak from experience), but opinions, while sometimes being beneficial stepping stones to the truth, are never necessarily completely true. And if they don’t lead us to God’s Wisdom, they can only lead us away from it.
In contrast, when God gives us His knowledge about something, the commensurate authority to share it comes with the revelation, and enables us to teach like Jesus taught. We really don’t try this method very often in our churches, (in my opinion!).
Seeking to understand God’s Word as He meant it to be understood, is the same as seeking God. He promised in Jeremiah 29:13,14 that if we seek Him with our whole hearts, He will be found.
That’s His promise; not my opinion.
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