Uneducated and Untrained, But with Jesus
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men. In this way they are almost the exact opposite of the kind of people we would prefer to serve our churches or share the Gospel. We like people to be educated and trained–we believe they are better to lead and to guide others. Instead, Peter and John were the construction worker, the pizza delivery guy, or the car salesman of their day.
The difference was that these two men had been with Jesus. They had both trained underneath of Him as followers while He was here on Earth and by the presence of the Holy Spirit, they had been with Jesus in an ongoing way since Pentecost. It was the fact that they had been with Jesus that made these guys different from the other unlearned and untrained men that the rulers and Elders were used to.
Often in Christianity, we do this backwards. We select workers who are trained and educated but haven’t been with Jesus. We’re content with well-trained men who know theology and how to teach, but don’t bear the marks of having been with Christ.
On the other hand, we cannot just look to people who are untrained and uneducated to serve and proclaim the good news apart from Jesus. We have to teach people, trained or untrained, to be with Christ. They have to understand the vitality of a life lived close to the resurrected Jesus.
The sweet spot…the place where Christianity becomes alive and infectious and reproducible…is where we can equip normal, everyday people who many would look at and call untrained and uneducated to be with Jesus. If we can put the Gospel and the truth of Christianity in the hands of a common man who knows how to be with Christ, we are that much closer to turning the world upside down.
Travis: I agree totally. I have known people who rely on their internal promptings of the Spirit as more important than the written word. I have known people who think that their intellectual grasp of scripture and doctrine will preserve them from error. Both are equally deceived. What we need is to know Jesus and to have a humble heart and accountability to brothers who can disciple us and a desire to know God’s word. There is no sin in getting seminary training — but without careful discipleship — helping him grow in humility and character and the knowledge of Christ, a seminary-trained person is just a loose cannon — no more and no less than an untrained person who has not humbly embraced discipleship to help him grow in character and the knowledge of Christ. I would love to have the money and time to invest in learning all that I could learn in a seminary, but I think that time is better spent walking with brothers, devoting myself to learning the scriptures, knowing Jesus, reaching out to others, and spending the money on the poor. And, to be honest, I think that it is very difficult to go to seminary and not be caught up in the lie that you know something just because you know doctrine and church history and Greek.
This is not a recommendation to send out people filled with zeal but lacking knowledge — and I don’t think that you are at all recommending that. What is in my heart, and, I believe, is in your heart, is to see people come to know Jesus, and walk and minister freely in the fulness of the Spirit, all the while walking with them and discipling them as they learn and grow in knowledge and character. Gunnar