Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Olanchito Bible Institute: Day 1

We started the Olanchito Bible Institute today. World Hope Bible Institute does an amazing thing all over the world. They take pastors who have a Master's degree and send them to places where theological education is hard to accomplish or out right unattainable and provide free theological training for pastors and church leaders. We were anticipating around 35 students today. We had 62!! I started teaching "Introduction to Orthodoxy" which is a short Systematic Theology. Today I essentiall taught three introductory thoughts, what is theology, who can be a theologian, and where do we get theology.

In brief, I taught that theology, simply stated, is discussion about God. In a broader sense, we discussed Anselm's statement, "faith seeking understanding"; the idea the our faith and love of God drives us to want to know more about him, which IS theology. Additionally, i taught that only believers can "do" theology because they are the only ones who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and non-Christians will not and cannot accept the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14).

However, we really camped on sources of theology. We discussed how there can be many different sources we use, such as church tradition, church history, personal experience, reasoning. But we nailed down that scripture is not just a source for is THE source for theology. I taught the necessity for the pastor and ministry leader to know true doctrine so that they will be stable (Eph 4:11-16), and can confidently preach God's word. I think the most sobering verse we read about this was Deuteronomy 18:20:

But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

How many times have I, or numerous other pastors, deacons, Sunday School teachers, ministry leaders, church leaders been presumptuous when speaking to God's people. Manipulating the meaning of the Word of God to make it say something it really does not say. Even teaching today, after reading that verse, a somberness, and serious reality came down one me. Teaching theology to church leaders is an incredibly important and needed discipline.

If you are a pastor (especially of the Baptist persuasion) and reading this post and would like to experience the joy of teaching eager pastors how to be even more effective in their ministry, contact World Hope Ministries International, who conduct these Bible institutes. They have them all over the world and it would be definitely worth your time.