What About Education
by Mark L. Williams
C

hristians through the ages have not always agreed about the attitude God’s people should have toward education.

On the one hand, proponents of learning quote verses like “If you seek her [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hid- den treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:4-5)*; and “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)— urging believers on the basis of these verses and other similar ones to pursue study and learning.

Conversely, others quote Jesus’ words, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes’” (Luke 10:21); and “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:20)—admonishing those who love God to avoid anything that smacks of intellectualism.

What must we think?

I stand with those who take the position that a man or woman needs both disciplined study and a strong dependence on the revelation that comes from the Holy Spirit. We must embrace the anointing of the Spirit, and we must realize He will anoint what we bring to Him. I think of education and training as the wires along which electricity runs. Wires do not illuminate light bulbs or power appliance motors; electricity does that. But electricity does not arrive without wires on which to travel. Thinking, pondering, studying, knowing, ordering—education—erects the wires on which spiritual truth can be transmitted.

The Bible elevates the importance of the mind that is surrendered to God. Jesus tells us we are to love God with all our mind. He has chosen to reveal Himself in the pages of a book, and to understand that book, we must read and think about what we read. The thinking, when it is anointed by the Spirit, produces a spiritual result. “My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue” (Ps. 39:3).

Education is not an assurance that people will know God. It is possible to be educated in the ways of the world and be a fool in the things pertaining to God. First Corinthians 1:21 declares, “The world through wisdom did not know God.” Who among us has not heard Ph.D.s make foolish and ridiculous statements? No one can defend and recommend education without adding caveats. It is not enough to advocate that people study, without emphasizing where and from whom they learn. All schools are not created equal. It is well known that many colleges and seminaries originally founded upon Christian values have strayed far. They have become environments hostile to faith. The great majority of secular and state schools have taken this direction.

Seek to learn, but do so in the right places. We have decided it is prudent in
the Church of God to concentrate our residential (and distance learning) educational efforts in Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, to provide quality instruction founded on a deep commitment to the truths of Scripture. Other quality schools exist that are built on similar foundations.

A college advocacy group advertises, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This is doubly true for a Christian. Education— rightly done—prepares believers to face life and accomplish God’s will. Its aim, in the words of Romans 8:29, is to conform us to the image of the Son. Finally, as Beth Moore teaches, “Satan never wastes a fiery dart on an area covered by armor.”