The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
God Is Not Interested In Your Credentials
If you’re going to be a teacher, lawyer, a brain surgeon, or a rocket scientist, you’re going to need some formal training. In this day and time, when education seems to be paramount, there is still at least one line of work where no formal training is required. That is the work of ministry.
There is no education, certification, title, or training that qualifies one for the work of spreading the gospel. There is no school required for learning the scriptures. Yes, seminary can be a great help to those who feel called to pastor a church, or do some other type of ministry, but at the end of the day, a seminary degree is just a piece of paper, given by man, that says you knew the right answers on the test. It means nothing without the call of God, and the Holy Spirit playing an active role in a person’s life.
When Jesus asked the disciples “Who do you say that I am?” in Matthew 16:15, Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded by saying, “Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven.” Peter didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God because of anything anybody taught him. He believed because God revealed it to him.
This is not to say that it’s not important to study the scriptures. Studying the word of God and praying for God to reveal the meaning to us is the most important thing we can do as believers. This is not anti-seminary, or anti-ordination. Those things all have their place. This is only to say that God can use anybody, regardless of education or experience, for the purpose of spreading his gospel.
When we see Jesus in Matthew 4, “recruiting” his disciples, what we don’t see is a hiring process. He didn’t ask for a resume, references, level of education, or experience. He didn’t even ask, “Have any of ya’ll ever done anything like this before?” He just went down to the docks and grabbed some fishermen. Some rednecks. Just regular folks like me and you. When we see Peter and James again just a few years later, their relationship with Jesus is so evident that it keeps them out of jail.
In Acts chapter 4, they were arrested for healing a blind man in the name of Jesus, and were forced to stand trial before the high priest. Verse 13 says, “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. ” Just as an extra tidbit, the word “ignorant” used in the King James is translated from the Greek word “idiotes” which is where we also get the word idiot. The high priest thought Peter and James were idiots. The important part of this passage is that they got off the hook because it was evident that they had been with Jesus. The things they were doing, and saying were obviously inspired by God, and that was because they had a relationship with Jesus.
It’s true that they knew the “real,” physical Jesus, that walked this earth as a man. That’s a relationship that we won’t know in this life. What we can have is a relationship with the Jesus that lives inside us, and because of that, we can do the same things that we see the disciples doing that literally walked with him.
I’ve done a lot of things in ministry. Things I felt compelled by God to do. No one ever stops me in the middle of what I am doing to ask for my credentials. They don’t ask if I’m ordained before wading into flood waters to help a stranger. They don’t ask which seminary I went to before I pray with someone who has lost everything to a tornado. I just have to show evidence that I’ve been with Jesus, and none of that seems to matter. It’s the same for you. Don’t worry about your qualifications. There is kingdom work to do, and it’s not waiting for someone to tell you you’re ready.
Danny will go live on the Rally For Christ Facebook page tonight at 8pm to dig deeper into this subject. Just follow the link below!
Danny Burnham Religion Contributor