A good illustration of our present predicament in these times would prove our point. For example, it is sometimes the case that when a Bible student in these days of the institutional church seeks to go into all the world as a missionary, supporting churches require that the would-be missionary receive a degree in missions from some accepted school that offers a degree in “missology”—the word itself even sounds professional. In order to receive this degree in missions, the student must go into financial debt for thousands of dollars that he has received from a government student loan. Graduated students from all secular educational institutions across America now owe more than two trillion dollars in student loans. This is all because of the corporate educational establishment of America. This is the case with secular educated graduates, but also with those who have graduated from an institutional Bible school.
Once the corporate educational institution has received its tuition of borrowed government money from the student, and then handed the student a piece of paper with a “degree” stamped on it, the educational corporation has its money and is happy. The student then goes forth after graduation with a debt that often takes ten years to pay back to the government. In reference to those who graduate with a degree in missions, the student does not enter the business world in order to pay back his debt of thousands of dollars. As a marginally supported evangelist, his family simply suffers until the debt is paid. Nevertheless, after graduation, the student debt is no longer the concern of the corporate Bible educational institution. Their corporate institution of education has received the tuition money, and the graduate walks away with a decade of government debt hanging over his head.
We have heard of more than one student asking a possible supporting church to help him pay off his debt in order to be sent forth as a missionary to preach the gospel. If the church is not willing, then usually the hopeful missionary simply does not go into all the world to preach the gospel. There is something wrong with this picture. Nevertheless, this is true in many cases because so many institutional churches now require a degree in missions from a corporate educational Bible institution before they will send the graduated student into all the world in order to preach the gospel.
The coronavirus that has plagued the world may change our attitudes concerning the supposed necessity of corporate education in a classroom. Throughout the lookdown to control the virus, schools have closed and universities have been shut down. Thousands of students have been sent back home and moved into their bedroom classrooms. The Internet has now become the medium of bringing education to the student, instead of sending the student off to the classroom of some corporate educational institution.
The world is discovering what Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, discovered years ago. After graduating from other schools, he determined that he had set long enough in a classroom. So he spent only two days in a classroom at Stanford University before he walked out. He reasoned, “Why am I sitting here listening to this teacher when I could get the same information in a book.” So Musk dropped out of Stanford, bought the books, and then educated himself in all that he needed to know about any subject. In 1999 he founded X.com, which later became PayPal. In 2002 he founded SpaceX, and in 2003 he founded the electric Tesla car company. Christians need to remember this example. In order to preach the gospel, all that is needed is a knowledge of one Book. Spend sometime in study of this Book and one will be qualified to preach the gospel. No professional classrooms needed.
If every disciple did this, then there would be a system of mutual checks and balances in reference to conclusions that each member draws from his or her personal studies. But when we send one of our number off to a Bible school, we are tempted to submit to the graduates personal conclusions when he frames and hangs his Bible diploma on the wall of our classroom.
The Holy Spirit knew that all we needed was a Book. If we love the word of God, then we will personally study the Book. For two thousand years, the Spirit has depended on this system of Bible education. As long as one has the Book of all the gospel prophecies and fulfillments that connect all the prophecies to Jesus, then one can learn the gospel message and go forth to preach the gospel. No Bible diplomas or degrees needed.
Today, if one has a computer, he or she has access to thousands of books that have been written on any Bible subject. One can receive in the bedroom classroom studies in any Bible subject that one can imagine. In these times of school closings, people are learning, as Musk, that paying thousands of dollars in tuition to a corporate educational institution is not necessary, especially in reference to studying the Bible. Every church of Christians should be an educational medium through which every member can have in-depth studies in the word of God. This was the way it was by the end of the first century. It is the way it should be today.
But we must be clear on this point. In the secular world the guarantee that one is qualified for a particular work for which he is hired is a degree in studies that relate to that work. But in reference to gospel matters, it is the degree by which one lives the gospel that qualifies him for the work of the ministry. The faithful worker for the Lord has his or her entire life to study the Book. There will be only one graduation for the faithful. Death will terminate our studies on earth, and the graduation ceremony will take place on the last day when the Teacher says, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).
The preceding thoughts compose the picture that we read in Acts 8:4: “Those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” When we speak of gospel restoration, we must not rely on the corporate educational system, as well as the corporate church that depends to much on such in order to provide those who would go forth to preach the gospel. These institutions often hinder the preaching of the gospel, especially in the underdeveloped world. It is corporate institutional churchianity at is best when we allow only the professionals who have Bible diplomas and degrees to be our “official” representatives to preach the gospel. It is a system of religion that Satan has done well in preparing throughout the last century in order to greatly limit the preaching of the gospel to all the world in this century. Preachers in the developing world need to base their confidence on the gospel, not on a Bible diploma or degree from some Bible school. The gospel-living disciple who has only one Book often knows more about the gospel than the Bible degree graduate from a corporate Bible educational institution.
[End of series]