Friday, February 11, 2011

Fallen Man’s Love Affair
with Knowledge
Eph.4:12-14For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
From science to literature to philosophy, man is enamored with knowledge and acquiring more and more. And without exception, this quest for more knowledge has at its core a desire to enhance his life and surroundings as well as provide a platform for his own adulation from within and without. We have become imprisoned by knowledge and information regardless of its worth, to say nothing of its eternal value. And along with this obsession for knowledge is a penchant for voyeurism.
The gossip columns and the exposés of people’s sins and the reality television combine to provide a colossal waste of time designed to titillate our senses and entertain our basest instincts. And they are intrinsically addicting as well. We have spent trillions of dollars just to watch a skateboard roam the Martian surface and take wonderful pictures of large rocks hurdling through the void of space. Being an amateur astronomer I must admit I have enjoyed the Hubble pictorials, but at the same time I realize that most people gaze at creation as if it appeared on its own.
Even the church now considers knowledge the sign of discipleship and Christian maturity. One of the most overrated elements of the believer’s portfolio is a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. Long ago men have translated the Hebrew and Greek for the “common man”, and I am sure God does not require original language credentials to be like Jesus. But that knowledge usually adds to the spiritual hubris of those who consider such things as a sign of spirituality. I have known many an original language aficionado who was not anything like Jesus, and I have known many a believer who does not have a good grasp of English who is a humble servant of Christ.
In these later years the “how to” classifications of the Christian experience have become very popular. How to be successful, how to be prosperous, how to be healed, how to walk in the Spirit, and the entire laundry list of how to’s are considered discipleship tools. The entire thing is designed to learn how to get God to do things for you and it is completely man centered. Picture a flock of sheep. In the corner are some sheep who are learning how to get the shepherd to take care of them. Absurd.
The Christian pilgrimage is not about God serving man but it is about man serving God. Listen as believers argue over the 24 hour creation day as if that was a central element of walking in His steps. All kinds of end time chronologies are sifted through as well as date setting and attempts to either mesh science with Scripture or disprove science with Scripture. Humility and brokenness are lost disciplines, and prayer is a perfunctory exercise that continues to be shallow if practiced at all.. We display an arrogance that shouts how little we need God since we know so much and have books and CDs and DVDs on ever subject known to man. Advertise a Christian conference with a popular speaker and the place will be packed. Hold a prayer meeting with nothing scheduled but prayer and you will attract a corporal’s guard. Knowledge has replaced the deeper life and people come to have their emotions stirred and be “blessed”.
Systematic theology is studied like microbiology and those who have a working knowledge of all the “ologies” are teachers. But the knowledge spoken of in the Scriptures is the knowledge of the holy, the knowledge of God. We can get information about God from the Scriptures that provides a foundation of truth, but in order to gain an intimate knowledge of Christ we must spend time with Him. That, my friends, is the zenith of all indictments of the modern day church that has volumes of knowledge but cares little for seeking Him.
The church has all kinds of helps for marriages and singles and children and yet divorce, adultery, substance abuse, promiscuity, and sin in general run rampant through the church as well as the pulpit. And people believe that with more knowledge and workshops we can overcome these issues. But only through a deeper like of prayer, fasting, and spiritual meditation can we walk into greater realms of commitment and Christlikeness. But that takes time and sacrifice which are in short supply in this fast paced world. Even the church gatherings are orchestrated in order to move like clockwork so everyone can be through at a “reasonable” hour.
Again, we have a love affair with knowledge and not so much with Jesus. In high school you cannot take algebra II unless you have passed algebra I. But in the church you can read all sorts of books and move on to the next one even if you haven’t even begun to implement what you have read already. The small groups “discuss” topics or even “go through” a book of the Bible but have little interest in becoming living sacrifices that overtly reflect what was “discussed”. And the smallest group of all, God and His child in the prayer closet, is an historical curiosity that has long since become extinct.
The most sacred knowledge of all is the knowledge of Jesus that has become so intimate and so dynamic that it observably affects the life of the one who gains such knowledge because the inward man has been and continues to be transformed. And the things of this world have become so strangely dim that the light of Jesus Christ shines unmistakably through his lips and life. God’s heart beats within him and the knowledge that moves and motivates him is in knowing Him through His death and resurrection. Sounds so archaic and out of touch.
What we need are people who are not as interested in knowing about God
as they are in knowing God, and therein lies the eternal difference.


Ron said...

Great piece Rick, I am always so convicted with a sprinkle of inspiration when I read your entries.

Mans quest for knowledge in his fallen state in and without the church is indeed a sorrowful endeavor.

Rick Frueh said...

And the ultimate deception will be when some "man" has the "how to" to world peace.

Ron said...

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Some Bible versions state "forced".
I believe the word causeth is more appropriate when applied to being deceived. As if the masses are willingly going along with the institution of the mark.