Knowledge and Experience
Paul encourages us to “study to show ourselves approved”, and also “to know Him and His resurrection”. This creates a dual goal for our lives that is not mutually in opposition. It’s a simple thing to understand that they more we get to know a person the greater the love we can feel for them as we identify with their life experiences as being similar to our own.
Christ was tempted in life in all points in the same way we are yet without sin. Meaning he experienced all the human emotions and the experiences that bring on those emotion. The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept”, at the tomb of Lazarus. He overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple in Righteous anger. Which is not permission to go to a church bookstore and tear it up because they are making money.
The point is simple: as we become passionate about our relationship with Jesus we should become jealous against people or anything that seeks to tear that relationship down. Including those arguments against ’emotions” in worship. If there is one place where we express our passion for him is when we are in his presence. I’m not concerned how a person judges my expression and words to him by how I lift my hands to him or not. I simple allow myself to express how I feel toward him for what he has done in my life. Like the sinner who fell on his knees and beat his chest and cried out to God to be merciful to him as a sinner. He was the one who walked away justified.
So those with passion at times condemn those who have the head knowledge. We often assume the Educated Theologian has no passion because of their stoic mannerisms. It is true that head knowledge does replace heartfelt emotion at time and for some, as we reason away why we need to express ourselves physically or emotionally. It is also true that head knowledge for the sake of the pursuit of knowledge without knowing him who we are learning about creates a major disconnect and actually creates “dysfunctional christians”.
The balance is always found when we balance worship with learning, hence what sunday morning worship is suppose to be. We need both, to be fed the word and stand in his presence, and neither is more important than the other but yes there are some teachers, who do not see the direct correlation in having balance and being sound in life. The teaching becomes more important than the worship and so they believe, “if they just know enough it will keep them safe”. The worship person thinks “we don’t need all that head knowledge to become intimate with Jesus”, and both ideas are paths to failure.
In Bible college I had several teachers that were so passionate, and it was reflected in their prayers, it made you feel like being with them was like hanging out with a “celebrity’s brother” your just so close to the real thing and yet could teach with such soundness and consistency that their lessons are still with me more than any two or three sermons.
Dr leslie Eno would tell us in preparation for a theology test in Romans; “If you don’t know the answer just write, “by the Blood of Jesus”, and your probably half correct.”
If I could be just half the men they were in their passion and yet understanding of God I think that maybe one day I will hear those words from my savior.
“Well done good and faithful servant.”