Tuesday, May 16, 2023

You should be a teacher by now, but are you?

Hebrews 5:12 tells Christians who were much more disadvantaged in life than we are in a lot of ways, "by this time you ought to be teachers". That's even more applicable to immature Christians in our day. People should be expected to grow as Christians and become increasingly self-reliant and increasingly productive. That includes intellectual contexts (1 Corinthians 14:20). What do you have to show for the opportunities you've had?

The Hebrews 5 passage isn't referring to teachers in a formal sense, but rather an informal one. It's about people being teachers without holding a position of being a teacher in a church, a career, or some other context like that. But look at how few Christians speak up about issues of theology, apologetics, ethics, and such, let alone do so with the knowledge of a teacher rather than just stating their belief without arguing for it.

I've addressed the common excuses offered in these contexts many times before, and you can find those discussions by looking up our posts on the state of the culture, time management, etc. The fact that some people behave more responsibly than the individuals I'm criticizing doesn't change the fact that the large majority of people behave in the irresponsible way under consideration, including the large majority of conservative Evangelicals. You can't just point to exceptions to prove that the rule doesn't exist. And don't claim that people don't have time to do more, that it's unloving to bring these things up, etc. We've been there before, and none of the excuses work.

In a typical YouTube thread, ninety-some percent of the viewers of the video haven't even clicked the like button, even if the video is of high quality. Few post any comments, even when there's a lot that could and should be said. Somebody who posts a joke or makes a comment of a personal nature (e.g., how much you like the demeanor of the channel's host) will get far more of a response than somebody who posts something far more substantive. Then there are all of the comments asking the host of the channel to also address issues X, Y, and Z and respond to individuals A, B, and C. But the large majority of viewers don't lift a single finger to do anything substantive themselves. They don't click the like button, link anything, take the time and effort to interact in a significant way with people in the comments section, etc. YouTube threads on Christian channels have too much of a resemblance to a daycare center. And before YouTube came along, it was commonplace for a debate that somebody like William Lane Craig or James White participated in to be met with a response of "Here's a list of other people I think you should debate." Always looking for the strongman to fight their battles for them, so that they don't have to grow up and fight themselves. Even if they shouldn't be participating in a debate the way somebody like Craig or White does, there's a lot of other, related work they (the audiences of Craig and White) could and should be doing, but aren't. When somebody like Craig or White does it, the large majority of the audience does little or nothing to disseminate that material, incorporate it into their interactions with other people (largely because they aren't interacting with other people in any relevant way), etc.

I've brought up some internet examples here, since that's where we are and that's typically where people have the most opportunity to do the relevant work, but much the same is occurring in families, in workplaces, on the radio, and in other contexts. There's a need for more laborers, not placing heavier and heavier burdens on the shoulders of a small number of laborers who are already being expected to do too much (Matthew 9:37).

There's a lot of work for Christians to do in a lot of contexts. How often have you said "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8) instead of looking around for a strongman to fight your battles for you? The people who have been working to bring you to maturity as a Christian have been doing it so that you can be a teacher and go out and make disciples as well, not for you to be a perpetual child.

1 comment:

  1. "In a typical YouTube thread, ninety-some percent of the viewers of the video haven't even clicked the like button, even if the video is of high quality. Few post any comments, even when there's a lot that could and should be said."

    Keeps going on about people not hitting the "like" button!!! You've got to be kidding me!

    The man's an idiot.