Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Who Can We Trust To Teach Us?
In the Bible, a teacher is one of the five-fold ministers or ministries; this is generally the call of an ordained elder (Ephesians 5:11). Elders are to be able to teach (I Timothy 3:3). The most important matter is that we choose elder-teachers whose character is proven. Titus describes the role in these terms, "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it" (Titus 1:9).
One key aspect of humility is proper and balanced submission to authority. Elder-teachers are not self-appointed. The Titus text we have referenced was written to Timothy who, as an apostle, was to appoint elders. The qualifications for eldership are given in both the Timothy and the Titus text. The ability to teach is only one of the qualifications. The character qualifications take up most of the chapter! A true elder-teacher does not only exercise authority, but is submitted to authority. His marriage and family are in basic good order. The meaning of his life is not in his status but in his relationships.
Some degree of scholarship is helpful because scholarship familiarizes us with cultural context and provides a more accurate understanding of the biblical text. While many teachers claim to know some Hebrew and Greek, many of these same teachers make serious mistakes when they seek to work in the original languages. It takes years to do this well, but there are language tools that can be used with much less training. When I believe that the Holy Spirit has revealed a more accurate meaning of a text (and I do deeply believe in depending on the Spirit for understanding), I then check to see if the new insight is supported by good Bible scholars. The fact that that the most significant aberrations from the Messianic Jewish movement have no significant scholarly support is extremely important. I do not know of one peer reviewed scholar who teaches that the New Covenant intends that Gentiles in general are called to keep the whole Torah. I do not know of any such scholars that believe the Bible teaches that true Christians are Ephraim (the Lost Tribes). On the other hand, there is great scholarly support for a basic Messianic Jewish understanding of the Bible.
In summary, ordained elder-teachers have biblical character qualifications, are accountable to authority, are healed from past wounds, and find their meaning in relationships rather than in ministry. They are able to teach and to refute error, and can incorporate a basic level of scholarship in order to stand as bulwarks against deception and imbalanced teaching.
This excerpt was taken from my article.