The Best Education

The Apostle Paul always impressed me with his skill in communicating the Gospel in simply terms as well as in complex theological truths.  Of course he learned from the best.  In addition to being taught by the revered Pharisee Doctor of Jewish Law Gamaliel the Elder (Acts 22:3), he learned the complete and real truth directly from Jesus (Gal. 1:12).  He even held his own with the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22ff).  Paul was an educated man of his time.

Paul represents the Christian ideal of great learning and great faith.  Giant men and women of God who had this complete package have replicated it down through the ages.  Of course one important truth is that one can have “a maximum amount of salvation with a minimum amount of knowledge.”  Paul thought so.  In Acts 3:7ff, he expresses it beautifully, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”  He then gives an appraisal of all he possessed before his conversion by stating, “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” One translation uses “dung” in place of rubbish, and you know how that translates into the vernacular.

[Hold in abeyance this information:  A current leader known worldwide has an interesting background.  He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering, and a Ph.D. in material science from the University of Southern California.  He has been an assistant professor at California State University at Northridge, and head of the engineering department at a university in Egypt.  This is a highly educated man of superior intellect, but more about him later].

The world places great emphases on formal education.  And everyone, Christian or pagan, should recommend that anyone get as thorough an education as possible, depending on skills, opportunity and desire.  The big difference between Paul and the pagans is, however, Paul would give it all up for the greater worth of knowing Christ.  The pagans, on the other hand, believe that education is the key to better humanity, even to producing a moral person.  Maybe more accurately, since pagans don’t believe in moral absolutes, they believe education produces an enlightened person.  Enlightened, that is, unless you are an educated person and a Christian.  Then you become an educated, superstitious, irrational person.

Now to shift gears slightly.  Sharia law, as most people are coming to understand, is the Islamic system of forcing barbaric practices on anyone living under it’s rule.  It dictates every facet of daily life even worse than the old Soviet Union.  The most egregious is the treatment of females.  Sharia treats females as though they are less than human and worse than animals.  From child brides to the honor killing of a daughter or any woman for, say, talking to a non-relative male, illustrates the darkened minds of these pagans that knows no limit to depravity.

The current president of Egypt who represents the Muslim Brotherhood, and plans to institute Sharia law in Egypt if he can pull it off, is Mohammed Morsi.  He is the man mentioned above who graduated from the University of Southern California with a Ph.D. degree.  Despite having a superior intellect and the discipline to achieve such a high level of difficult education, he yet remains in a state of moral degradation.  His mental capabilities have nothing to do with him viewing the world through a prism of distortion that baffles the normal person.  He is not very different from that of say, Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton who promotes the selective killing of babies, after they are born, if they are discovered to be flawed in some way.  Both men are brilliant, both are depraved.  By the way, Singer also supports bestiality.  According to Singer, we are all animals (so what’s the big deal, I guess).

All this to point out that the best education is to know Christ.  If one begins with that “complete education,” then there is no limit to the amount of “human,” (or “worldly”) education that can be attained for whatever purpose.  That human education will then be viewed through the lens of God’s truth and can be used correctly to glorify God.  However, without a Biblical worldview, no amount of education will produce a person of Godly character.  In fact, there is a good case for arguing that the better educated the pagan, the more dangerous.  No one is more dangerous than the educated “Christian” who does not know God and assumes a position of power within the church.  They worship their mind and intelligence and lead many astray.  They will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment.

Once upon a time an important university administrator, knowing that I was a Christian, voiced his surprise that I was honored, one year during my studies, with the award of “Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology” (about a hundred years ago, it seems).  He knew that I disagreed with just about everything being taught in the department that was without a Biblical basis.  I explained that my efforts at scholarship in psychology (or anything for that matter) were filtered always through the Word of God.  Many students came away with a lifetime of embracing a seeming “religion of psychology,” as did he, it seemed.  I went in and came out embracing Christ.

The Bible is filled with teachings, commentary and truths about “knowledge,” “knowing,” “known” and similar derivatives.  But it is clear that the only knowledge worth gaining is that of knowing God, without which all other learning is folly.  So much so that, again, Paul, an educated man of his day, would give it all up in order “to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10a).  That’s the best education possible, and it’s free.  Praise be to God.







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