A friend of mine shared this article by Donald Miller via Facebook.  After reading it, I wrote a response long enough to fit a blog post, so I decided to copy and paste it here:

There are so many problems with this article that I do not know where to start. Miller provides those in scholarly endeavor as a paper tiger and creates an “us vs. them” mentality that splits the church even more. This is a huge problem because if one disagrees with him, then they are a product of the age.

The facts do not support his thesis. Every court prophet was a scholar of their time including Nathan, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Ecclesiastes and Proverbs were written by politicians – which meant they had fulfilled a level of scholarship. Moses was raised in the Egyptian royal court and knew how to read and write which was more uncommon then than now. The major writer of the New Testament, Paul, was one of the most decorated scholars in church history. The people of God have almost always had scholars in their midst. Miller also dismisses the fact that the Levites were scholars and that we are told by Paul, and others, to guard ourselves against false doctrines. How do we know if they are false doctrines? The New Testament has yet to be canonized for another 275 years. Not everyone was allowed to teach in the New Testament church.

Then take account that until about 125 years ago, reading and writing were generally the result of being raised in a privileged family. To be a doctor or lawyer was to be a scholar… which is one reason why pastors in the 18th and 19th century served several roles – they were the only ones educated enough in their communities. John Wesley was a scholar and was able to bring reform to a whole nation (England).

Has scholarship ever hurt the church? Sure… but what hasn’t? Until about 300 years ago, scholars were required to participate in practical ways as well as teaching. I know not everyone has shared my experience, but all of my theology professors at SNU were either pastors, associate pastors, or in church leadership at their local churches. They were not in an ivory tower. Granted, Miller is not a Nazarene, but his words seem to resonate with several.

I have seen churches split over type of music and color of carpet. Who were the ones arguing about it? Not the scholars. This is also just a slap into the face for anyone who has been called into Christian ministry. Most of the people that swim in the same thinking circles as Miller have no problem sniping at the church’s faults but spend no time trying to be the church. This includes Miller himself. Miller has done some really cool things, but he refuses to participate except in giving lectures, whether written or spoken. Oh, the irony that the church is lectures and discussion and Miller is making a handsome income off of lectures and discussions.

Miller lives in a fantasy world. He is very keen in his observations, but despite all of his schooling (pun intended), he comes to horrible and inaccurate conclusions. His advice is to give the church to the non-theologically trained. And yet we wonder why the church is so dumbed down? Maybe if he would have taken the path that we spend too much time educating the church and not enough time discipling and mentoring, his words would sink deeper than cotton candy.

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