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Will the Theologians Please Sit Down
 
 

Will the Theologians Please Sit Down [Kindle Edition]

David Bercot
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

When Christianity was young, the focus was on Jesus Christ and His kingdom, not theology. To be sure, there are foundational doctrines that Christians have always considered essential to the faith. But somehow the things considered essential have grown from a few sentences to a long list of theological tenets, many of which were unknown to the early Christians.

In the beginning, Christians understood that the essence of Christianity was an obedient love-faith relationship with Jesus Christ. This was not just any relationship, but a relationship that produced genuine kingdom fruit.

But then something happened: Theologians took over the church. Once they took over, the emphasis soon changed from godly fruit to orthodox theology. Christianity became Doctrianity. In this provocative work, Bercot argues that it is time to let Jesus speak through the pages of the Gospels without filtering His teachings through the denials and mental gymnastics of the theologians. It is time for the children of the kingdom to stand up for Jesus and the gospel He preached and for the theologians to sit down.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 370 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Scroll Publishing Co. (15 Oct 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HKIPZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! I Started it and I Couldn't Put it Down 10 Jun 2010
Format:Perfect Paperback
Wow! I started and I couldn't put it down. I read it in four days. I could have read it in one or two days if I didn't have four young children who need my attention! I feel this is an important book for all Christians to read no matter what persuasion they may be.

My only issue was something that a friend pointed out, but that I had had little naggings about as I read. David Bercot seems to be an anti-intellectual in this book, yet he is very intellectual. He seems to be writing against serious deep study, yet he has spent his entire adult life in just that. David would not be writing this book if he had not been studying the doctrine and lifestyle of the early church for the past 20+ years.

I also have been studying deeply the lives and beliefs of the early church; the church left behind by the Apostles and have realised many of my most dear doctrines are wrong.

Study is important for us today, but this should never take the place of a holy, obedient walk with Jesus Christ. The other problem with doctrine is it can lead us away from Jesus. Not just the study of it, but also false doctrine can lead us away from God's truth.

Overall the book is an important one to read. David is not advocating brainless Christianity, the type that seemed to prevail during the middle ages. I believe he is advocating a Christianity of simple and serious obedience to the Scriptures.

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Here's the review from the back of the book:

When Christianity was young, the focus was on Jesus Christ and His kingdom--not theology. To be sure, there are foundational doctrines that Christians have always considered essential to the faith.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Take note please - these are the views of an unregenerate Gentile.

Regarding DIPLOMADOLATRY:

As a rule, Western congregations have swapped the water of life for cisterns of distortion (i.e. cistermatic theology!); signs and wonders for seminaries and blunders; apostolic doctrine established by agape, for Augustinian doctrine established by violence; TRUTH and TENOR for Trent or TULIP; unsalaried TEAMS of elders and deacons for salaried, "head-honcho-CEO" priests and pastors; around 800,000 God-breathed words built on rock, for tens of millions of man-breathed words built on sand (in the case of Trent and TULIP, on BLOODY sand).

Yes, there is a place for serious, intellectual (but OBJECTIVE!) discussion of different aspects of the narrow Way. For instance, knowledge of Bible languages is tremendously beneficial to the Body if OBJECTIVELY used. (Indeed; without linguists there would be no English Bibles!) One such expert being servant-teacher Michael L Brown: a Jewish disciple of Messiah Jesus; an expert in Semitic languages; a man steeped in Holy Scripture; a man who has penned very weighty and EDIFYING works on Israel, as well as on 24/7, rudder-hits-the-road PRACTICAL purity/holiness.

Problem is, AS A RULE, untold millions of words have been penned by "scholars" (and/or "doctors") over the centuries, which has all been built upon Trent or TULIP (Or in the last two hundred years, on PRE-Trib. Or even on Wesleyanism/Arminianism; which while perhaps being the noblest of the various Second Covenant Wineskins, was, is, and always will be, a multi-million worded WINESKIN nonetheless.); "scholars" have NOT been building on the TENOR of Holy Writ (if only!).
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who are the real theologians? 13 Mar 2010
By L. Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
In this recent book, David Bercot, argues that, "Its time for the children of the kingdom to stand up for Jesus and the gospel he preached - and for the theologians to sit down." (pg 188) But who are the children of the kingdom, and who are the theologians that he is asking to sit down? And why exactly do the theologians need to sit down?

Children of the kingdom are defined as: "Those Christians who focus on the lifestyle teachings of Jesus, recognizing that God's kingdom is in no way connected to the kingdoms of this world. Such Christians realize that the kingdom of God is a present reality, and they recognize that the essence of Christianity is an obedient love-faith relationship with Jesus Christ." (pg 9)

In this provocative book Bercot's defines theologians as: "The elite class of scholars and their disciples who have set themselves up as the official interpreters of Scripture." (pg 8) He states that his, "criticism is aimed at those elitists who claim for themselves the right to interpret scripture, but deny that right to others." (pg 9) He also claims to aim his criticism at "the arrogant academics and ecclesiastical authorities who imagine that they understand the New Testament better than the very Christians who lived close to the time of the apostles." (pg 9)

With the definitions provided by the author early in the book, I can agree that theologians of this sort should sit down and that the children of the kingdom should stand up for the gospel of Jesus. Unfortunately, Bercot's definition of theologian is more narrow than the way he seems to use the word in the rest of the book and more narrow than the commonly understood and accepted definition which is: "A person versed in or engaged in the study of theology, especially Christian theology." A commonly accepted definition of theology according to Merriam Webster being: "The study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God's relation to the world." By these more broad definitions, all Christians, and especially so called "children of the kingdom" should be theologians and they most certainly should not sit down.

Bercot carefully traces the history of the theologians that he calls the "elite class of scholars and arrogant ecclesiastical authorities" from the time of the Pharisees and the early church, through the middle ages, the reformation period, and into the present day. In the process Bercot makes many broad and sweeping statements such as the following:
"There are no famous theologians connected to kingdom Christianity, and there never will be." (pg 172)
"Jesus didn't talk much about theology because that wasn't particularly important to Him." (pg 38)
"Theologians will inevitably end up corrupting God's message. They will always place head knowledge above fruit." (pg 29)
"Theological schooling is of no help in matters pertaining to the kingdom. If anything, it's a hindrance." (pg 30)
Speaking of those who write doctrinal textbooks and works of systematic theology, Bercot writes: "The theologians of today still imagine that theology is the essence of Christianity rather than relationship and the fruit it produces." (pg 112)

By these statements and others, Bercot seems to go beyond his own stated definitions. He paints with a very broad brush and ends up sounding like he opposes the serious study of God's word and the development of the Christian mind. In the process Bercot seems to contradict himself.

One example of this would be Bercot's criticism of the study of the original languages of scripture. He insinuates that it is not necessary or helpful to study the original languages in order to better understand the scripture, rather all we need to do is follow Jesus. He even accuses theologians of using linguistics to bully the children of the kingdom, yet in this book, Bercot himself explains the meanings of certain Hebrew and Greek words in an effort to help the reader better understand the meaning of scripture (pg 23 and 43). He also states that, "Whatever Jesus' words meant to His original hearers is exactly what they mean today." (pg 47) Yet how are we to know what Jesus words meant to the original hearers, unless we understand the context of the language in which they were spoken? And how are we to follow Jesus unless we understand what he said and meant? Certainly, linguistics has been misused throughout the history of the church and Bercot gives many illustrations of that. However, in my opinion, the answer is not to do away with the serious study of the original languages, but rather to raise up kingdom Christians who know and understand the text of scripture well enough to refute the errors and misuses of scripture.

Another example would be the sense I get from the book, that Christianity is better suited for the ignorant and uneducated than for the thinking and educated. In fact, Bercot himself is highly educated and an accomplished historian. He has used that education and knowledge of history to write this book and many others. He quotes many obviously educated authors and early church writers in order to make his points. He also uses his superior knowledge of early church history and his own perspectives and interpretations of scripture to criticize and condemn many people. By writing this book and using the techniques that he does, Bercot potentially puts himself in the categories he criticizes in this book. Quote: "The people who have done the most harm to Christianity have invariably been people who were actually trying to help the cause of Christ." (pg 58)

This book does provide some very legitimate and worthwhile instruction especially to those who would put their trust in men and education rather than trusting God. Indeed there are many dangers inherent in the pursuit of education and knowledge. But there are also many dangers in ignorance and the lack of knowledge especially when it comes to the knowledge of God or theology - by the dictionary definition. Hosea 4:6a says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me." Colossians 1:9-10 "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." In this book, Bercot is quick to point out the deficiency of Godly fruit in the lives of some famous theologians. I would argue that the reason for lack of fruit wasn't that they were theologians, but that they didn't yet truly know God well enough. I believe the right response is not, will the theologians please sit down, but rather, will the kingdom Christians please stand up as true theologians.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite the Whole Story 28 Oct 2013
By Akreios-Doulos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
Mr. Bercot's aim is certainly noble. But Jesus Himself said, "I will send you my SCRIBES" Mt 23:34 and then warned that killing, crucifying, scourging and persecuting them was not the way. Bibles are not translated by non-scribes or non-theologians. The early church was not pure and made huge mistakes. Christians praised themselves as the best soldiers and at least one author hated war involvement by Christians; not as Bercot presents one side. They did traffic in the Attributes of God, the Trinity, Virgin Birth, dealt with Greek Mythology in a scholarly way. In fact some praised scholarship and criticized sloppiness in addressing the things of God. Bercot's book on the early church teachings presented an imbalanced approach. If two views on war, he presented only one and claimed that was the only view. The early Church is not the snow white Church that some might believe. They were working out their systems of theology, coining terms never used before (i.e. being scholarly), etc. I am a back-yard-mechanic, but I do not believe that that means all real mechanics are fools because they believe real mechanics need more than common tools. Theology is the same. Anyone may be able to do it, but they will need tools to do so. Luke was a doctor and wrote like one in his greek. Hebrews was written bo those familiar with Hebrew. Paul at times waxes very educated in his writings. These are educated men and theologians. Luke claims in chapter 1 that great research went into his project. Abuse in the scholarly field is no greater wrong than abuse among laymen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tearing down old idols 3 Sep 2013
By KmVictorian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For anyone who's been deeply invested in Christian tradition, "Will the Theologians Please Sit Down" could be a bold and possibly scary book. David Bercot uses some famous theologians' own words to show how far they have strayed from early Christian theology.

Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin are among the revered scholars whose errors, the author says, have been perpetuated by tradition. Their un-Christlike positions have found their way into "study Bibles," even though they do not line up with the words and thoughts of Jesus Christ himself. And the author says that "if a continuity of belief can't be traced back to the end of the first century, we can hardly claim that it's the historic faith."

Bercot also makes the point that no early Jewish secular books now exist to show what kind of cultural milieu surrounded early Jewish Christians. As an example, Bercot cites the controversial passage from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians about women needing to wear a veil in church. He shows the inconsistency among scholars as to why Jewish women wore veils, or whether the veils are even what we might think them to be. Subject after subject, Bercot dissects Bible passages to show why they have been misconstrued by highly regarded church leaders.

Although the author finds nearly everyone except himself to be in the wrong, his somewhat arrogant position is not totally offensive, because his logic is so rational and well thought out. He may actually be right most of the time!

This book is fascinating, and I recommend it to open-minded readers who are interested in church history and doctrine. (If you get the Kindle edition, you will find a few typographical errors, but they are not overly distracting.)
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Bercot Makes a Worthy Point 26 Nov 2011
By Timothy Mott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book that every Christian should read and interact with, even if you do not agree with it in totality

As a person who went through years of theological training (5 years of Greek, 2 years of Hebrew), culminating in a ThM from Dallas Seminary, I thoroughly get David Bercot's point. The study of theology was interesting to a point, but ultimately I found it to be quite empty. In doing careful study and teaching of the book of Acts and now teaching and studying Matthew, I have come to the conclusion that there is precious little common ground between the teachings and practice of Jesus and the teaching and practice of the contemporary church.

Kudos to the author for standing up and making this point. Is he the only one that sees the problem? Can everyone be that blind? Or is it simply much easier for the career theologians and religionists to simply "go along to get along." Might that be the wide path that leads to destruction? But I digress . . .

The author's key issue is right on target. Instead of finding meaning in putting the basic teachings of Jesus into practice, these "scholars" have tried to find meaning and significance in drawing finer and finer lines of theology, as if theology is an end to itself. Theologians tend to speak without basis and tend to like to stay with the herd. Conservatives like to decry the lack of free expression in the liberal institutions of learning, but the truth is that political correctness has become an absolute art form within the institutional church and its related organizations and denominations.

It is difficult to be the one who stands up and points out how far the church has strayed from the original teachings of Jesus. There is a definite price to be paid for not going along with the crowd.

One area where I was not satisfied was the explanation of the relationship between fruit/works and salvation, and truly this is a difficult area to explain. The author makes it sound as if we are going to be ultimately judged by our works, and there are verses to demonstrate this point, but ultimately we are all unworthy and fall short as the Bible also teaches very clearly. In the end, we are only saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, his Son. The evidence of fruit is simply demonstrative of a changed life, and there will be varying levels of fruit. It is the 'no fruit' life that is condemned.

I am also left with questions of "what now?" What do we do with this knowledge? What does a true New Testament church look like? Where do we go from here? Maybe one of his other books will delve into this in greater detail. I hope so. I am reading the other books now.

God bless you Mr. Bercot for the courage to speak the truth.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good challenge to the conventional Evangelical approach 8 July 2014
By AJ/DJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Perfect Paperback
A very interesting book. Before reading this book, I read "Will the real heretics please stand up". In a way, this book continues the theme. The author is very critical of theologians, and tries to prove that they cause a lot of damage throughout Church history, while showing that the early Christians had a much more simple understanding of their faith. He is especially critical of Luther, and with good reason. It was still strange to see an essentially Evangelical writer harbor so much dislike for the "father of the Reformation", but truth of the matter is, Luther gets usually praised a lot more than he should, so this provides a good balance to that approach. The book is short and easy to read, and it's sure to challenge many people's views.
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