I guess my first experiences with Religious experts came in the Navy, shortly after I became a Christian.
It became evident real quick that the many chaplains on my ship, which was was almost all of them had a New Age
view of things.
Most all of them believed the Bible to be a good book but not the ultimate owner's manual.
A few months before my tour of duty was over, we visited places like Puerto Rico, Cuba, Martinique, St. Thomas
Virgin Islands, Sweden, Germany and a whole bunch of other places.
My friend and I found that in all our Navy travels, the Christians in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas Virgin Islands
seemed to be the most exited about Jesus.
Most of these Christians did not have formal training but you could tell that, 'They had been with Jesus' (Acts
During this last voyage we had three chaplains on board at the same time. One a Protestant, a Catholic and the
last one a Jewish Chaplain.
Well, I was on the bridge one evening. The bridge is where we steer the ship. I hadn't been a Christian for very
long and the Jewish Chaplain came on the bridge to present a prayer for the crew, over the announcing system. I was compelled
to ask him a question. Keep in mind that I was a new Christian and tact was not my strong point.
I asked this officer whether he believed he was talking to God. He answered, 'No, I present it for the crew
to think about'.
I called him a hypocrite, which made him red in the face. The other officers on the bridge saw that he was about
to grab me around the neck and had to restrain him right there. Well, news of this went through the whole ship, especially
since an enlisted man said this to an officer.
This same chaplain would have bible studies in the library while stating to me again that he didn't believe the
words of the Bible.
Then before we got back, the Catholic, Protestant and this Jewish chaplain got together and had a televised forum
for the crew, where they allegedly answered the questions of the faith. They also took call ins from the crew.
Anything I presented over the phone they quickly rejected with, 'That is out of context.' This forum was
nothing more than a New Age forum where they tried to blend everything into an acceptable package.
This was my first experience as a Christian with the so-called experts that had trained in formal institutions.
The Christian I hung out with, mentioned in my previous message, 'On a Mission from God' was well versed in the
scripture and to this day I haven't met any mere man with a better understanding of scripture. He didn't have a degree, wasn't
officially recognized, but could sit down with anyone and intelligently discuss the bible. I learned a lot from this man.
He was humble and obedient as well.
He introduced me to Christian Coffeehouses and showed me a part of Christianity that I didn't even know existed.
Over the years I tried to be more tactful, without compromising the truth.
When I got out of the Navy and in my first year of Bible college I had my next experiences with experts.
I had picked a bible college that would leave me with some money leftover from my GI Bill.
In my first year, I found out that I was learning more extrabiblical (other than the bible) stuff than I was the
bible. I was taking World History, English, Missions. I was also going through a class called the 'Life and Epistles of Paul'
and I took a year of Greek.
Well, the teacher in the 'Life and epistles of Paul' class, was the wife of the President of this college. She
was a nice lady.
However, her debating skills lacked a little bit. One day while teaching a class, the star student started questioning
her on something. I don't even remember what it was about, except that it was about the Bible. Well, his questions were some
pretty good ones, and right in the middle of what became a debate, the teacher started crying. That was when I really felt
bad for the teacher, because this guy though knowledgeable was a pit bull.
I don't know whether it was before or after this event that this student and a friend invited me over to their
home and explained what they believed about the Bible. I really didn't understand anything they were saying but they gave
me a book called, 'Things That Differ', which is about Dispensationalism. I read that book several times, even agreed with
most of it. Then I put it down for years and did my own objective study and did some study on the Mysteries of the NT, and
what I discovered changed my life.
Well, I quickly found out that I was learning more from the bible and associated books than I ever did in this
Bible college, though I am grateful for the Greek and the Paul class.
The missions class in this college consisted of the teacher reading the book to the class. Now i understand that
not all bible colleges are like this, but this college was all I could afford.
If this is what these Bible college experts had to offer I certainly choose to learn on my own.
I left after one year of Bible college.
Over the twenty five years since those experiences, I have studied the bible, the cults, and become thoroughly
acquainted with Dispensationalism and am glad that I withdrew from this college.
During those years I have invited JW's, Mormons to my house, visited Krishna Temples, and helped run a inner city
Christian Coffeehouse for over a decade.
I listen to the so-called religious experts on Television and am amazed that many of them have not come to a better
understanding of scripture.
While I continue to applaud Christian institutions of learning and ministry, I also realize that 'God hath chosen
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.' , and though all Christians can be considered foolish in the eyes of
the world, many employ worldly methods of ministry and views.
Another kind of ministry that I got involved with and was the result of many so-called experts developing a ministry
strategy that I now call 'Specialized Christianity'.
This is a modern strategy of many churches to more efficiently reach out to the diversity of hurting people groups
in the world. While this approach might prove to be more efficient, overall it is proving to be more divisive than helpful.
Many of my experiences with churches that used this approach were that a kind of Cliquishness, Group Think and Fortress Mentality
were present. The result being that while they might have helped some, they also have alienated and harmed others that did
not fit their narrow, specialized and cliquish standards. How can we still hang onto our segregated and specialized fortress
philosophies in light of who Christ is and what He did on the cross? It is ironic that Jesus Christ died on the cross to break
down the barriers between Jew and Gentile and the subgroups. Then the modern church creates all kinds of programs, philosophies
and strategies that divide and segregate these groups again.
A local pastor/author wrote a book quite a while back about unleashing Christians into different ministries. His
explanation of this strategy was quite exciting to me until I read a particular chapter in his book. This chapter spoke of
a house ministry that I was living in at the time. When I read this I could tell that this pastor/author must have been taking
the word of the man that actually ran the ministry. When preaching one Sunday this pastor/author gave the location of the
house ministry that was completely inaccurate. When he asked the alleged leader of this ministry to come up front and describe
this ministry to the congregation, it was also clear that even this leader did not really know or want to know what was going
on in his own outreach. He spoke of a particular woman as his best example, we will call her Mary. A friend and I that actually
lived at this house looked at each other in disbelief while he shared how this woman had changed so dramatically.
The pastor/author has truly been a great inspiration to me over the years. However, there was one MAJOR and MISSING
link to his unleashing philosophy that MUST be addressed. It is the issue of accountability and communication and the interrelation
of ministries. We are NOT Just talking about accountability to God and to the Leaders but the accountability of these leaders
as well. How can these leaders expect anything but confusion and rebellion if they do not teach accountability and communication
The reason this pastor/author and the leader/loose cannon of this particular ministry did not want to talk too
much about accountability was probably that they would then have to lead by example. The leader of this house ministry would
minister ALONE with some of the unstable women from the house until the wee hours of the morning. This showed me that accountability
was not in his so called strategy and avoiding the appearance of evil was not too important to him either.
The pastor/author he was allegedly accountable to was exposed several years later for having an adulterous affair
with a woman for eight years and was defrocked with his picture and sad story in a local Christian Newspaper. This also in
my opinion demonstrates an inherent weakness in segregated and specialized parachurch ministry, and exalting the so-called
experts to the point of no accountability. If a leader is not able or willing to actively and consistently encourage and insist
on cross communication, interrelation and accountability from those he sends out into all these separate ministries, and is
not willing to lead by example he can expect more confusion and alienation than he can fruit.
"For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins,
led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3ff)
Many Christians simply have missed the point concerning ministry.
In the story about the Good Samaritan, the Priest and Levite (the experts) pass by on the OTHER SIDE when they
see a man beaten and laying by the road. Who knows where they were headed. They could have been going to their particular
target ministry or it could have been after ministry hours.
This approach can be even worse than the Priest and Levite approach. In the priest and Levite approach they pass
by on the other side. In the Specialized approach the Christian runs roughshod over the wounded and hurting man on the way
to his specialized ministry at church across town. This is missing the forest for the trees across town.
Jesus ministered in everday and ordinary places. He did not turn off his light while on the way to his official
ministry at the synagogue across town.
"...Jesus ministered in ordinary everyday places and didn't build or even suggest the necessity to build special
centers or headquarters...The setting for the development of true discipleship as we see it worked out in the New Testament
is not in large numbers. The making of a disciple is a costly personal process feasible only in small groupings where the
right kind of attention can be given" (Cells For Life, pg. 18,19 Trudinger)
Participating in Target Group Ministries creates a myopia and tunnel vision that ignores the needs of those we
cross paths with in our daily lives. I have seen this over and over in these kind of ministries. One guy I know is always
on his way to a ministry across town or is recovering or preparing for it. He literally misses multitudes of opportunities
right in front of him. This astounds me how many miss the people that God puts in their path in the name of being official
across town. This modern approach is not Love at all.
I don't think this is what God had in mind because this is not how he did it.
I just love to read how Christ confounded the religious experts of his time on earth.
Real ministry is through the foolish that know that what the world or religious ones or institutions have to offer
pales in comparison to 'Studying to show ourselves approved, ..rightly interpreting the Word of truth, and letting God lead
us and instruct us.
This is relational knowledge first, that comes through knowing Jesus not just knowing about
Whatever we learn from that point on, be it doctrine, training in righteousness, or how to understand and communicate
the gospel is a result of having God's spirit in us 'working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians
I don't object to learning and reading books, other than the Bible. But we should do so with a
I have over seven hundred books in my library collected over a twenty five year period, but I read them checking
everything with the scripture.
What is my primary reason for knowing that the scriptures can provide what I need to be thoroughly furnished unto
every good work?
Because I have experienced it through letting the Word of God work in my life.
I like to read commentaries but they never equal the scripture.
How do I know that Jesus is all sufficient and that his cross makes purgatory, the Catholic version of Mary, and
other silly doctrines unnecessary.
Because I have a relationship with Christ and his cross first and know what the scriptures say on the subject.
In November, this group will have been going for a year. This has not been long, but in that time this group has
had over ten thousand messages.
Nothing can compare to learning through being in the actual battle.
Paul, Cynthia and I have done our best to be faithful with God's word and we have let the Holy Spirit teach us.
This is the best teacher anyone can have.
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: NOT WITH WISDOM OF WORDS, lest the cross of Christ
should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, and will bring to nothing the understanding
of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish
the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world BY WISDOM KNEW NOT GOD, it pleased God by the FOOLISHNESS
OF PREACHING to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach
Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD IS WISER THAN MEN; and
the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that NOT MANY WISE MEN AFTER THE FLESH,
NOT MANY MIGHTY, NOT MANY NOBLE, ARE CALLED: 27 BUT GOD HATH CHOSEN THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO CONFOUND THE WISE;
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world,
and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 THAT
NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us WISDOM and righteousness,
and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, HE THAT GLORIETH, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD. " (1
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they
marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing
with them, they could say nothing against it." (Acts 4)