Since we live in an age where college degrees are more common, and information is accessible, does it matter if someone has been trained to teach God’s Word? The easy answer is no. Yet, should someone who teaches God’s Word be trained theologically, have an understanding of the original text, and be familiar with Church history?
It is obvious that God uses those who do not have this type of training. On the other hand, it is obvious that God doesn’t use many either. In fact, there are many who have had this type of training that fail to allow God to use them. I’m always amazed at how people are so quick to follow someone who regularly misinterprets Scripture. The Bible calls these people “false teachers.”
What is good about denominations is that most expect their ministers to be trained in rightly dividing the Word of God. In fact, the Wesleyan Church offers those who believe that God called them into ministry the opportunity to receive training through various types of education. What is more, Wesleyans also have supervised ministry in place so that ministers can be trained practically while being supervised. New ministers are held accountable for various things, and also whether or not they are able to rightly divide the Word.
I write this post not to sound arrogant. My goal is not establish some type of hierarchy. Neither am I putting down autonomous churches. I believe that today it is important that people can depend on the minister to have a good grasp for dividing God’s Word.
Here is the rule of thumb: if the person who is teaches God’s Word has no accountability, then when is no accountability a good thing? Furthermore, Jesus said that we would know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). This is a biblical truth that continues to be the best deterrent from being misled.
My advice is be aware of who you agree with, because you may be misled intentionally, or unintentionally. The person who teaches me the Word must be formally trained and be accountable. This person’s teaching must be in line with historical understanding, along with accepted orthodox theology.