2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)
I was concluding a course I was taking on preaching the Word of God when I was asked two questions: (1) Do you agree that there is theological illiteracy in the church today? and (2) Do you think a distinctive theological (not technical!) vocabulary is important to maintain in our church communities? I responded quite simply "Yes" to each.
Why do I think it is important for me to present these questions today? I feel that, even in many of our churches, there are people who are starving to hear the Word of God preached, and in some depth, with no holds barred. It is not popular today to venture into areas like the existence of hell, and the issue that we are all sinners and need salvation to inherit eternal life.
We need, we need, we need to hear the good news that Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins, and we need to spread that good news as we are commanded to do, just by talking to one another, and by being a friend to one another, especially to visitors that come to our churches.
This all came together today when I read today's Scripture from 2 Timothy. This confirms that we need to know and be able to communicate the theological doctrines of our churches, using words that God has given to us, that we might not drift into false teachings that Satan longs for our ears to itch for — words that suit his evil desires born in each one of us since the time of the fall of man.
In such situations, Christians would be wise to follow John's counsel:
1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)
Prayer: Most gracious heavenly Father, we come to You, praying for all Christians to be able to talk in the common language that is of You. May we be fed the solid Word that comes from You, and never stray when Satan tries to destroy us. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.