- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 493 KB
- Print Length: 210 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 092472224X
- Publisher: Scroll Publishing Co. (15 Oct. 2009)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004HKIPZG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #852,789 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Will the Theologians Please Sit Down Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
As an example, there is a special section on the headcovering passage, 1 Corinthians 11, with many quotations that show the "commentaries" are all over the map in their supposed "interpretations" that explain away the Scripture. Which gives this book a secondary use in the assessment of the many who claim 1 Cor 11 is purely a "cultural" issue.
Cannot recommend this book highly enough. Almost every other Christian book I have read has something or other where the author gets off track (including some of Bercot's other books). This one does not. I highly recommend it as an encouragement to go back to the Scriptures, see what they say, and don't depend on the opinions of men, however famous they may be.
For example, people hardly know a thing about Luther, but will rant about just how great he is! Or any of the reformers really. However, if you were to quote some of the things they say, if you didn't identify the person saying it, these same individuals would condemn the points of view.
I only gave this four out of five because I felt like a lot of good points were made, and could have kept being made but didn't. I felt like the ending of the book was sort of "the beginning" so to speak, because there's just so much content we can go into. However, I personally enjoy reading lots and lots about church history and church fathers, seeing if there were worldly influences popping into the church. W
Anyway, it's a good book. Not difficult to understand, brings up good points and covers a good amount of ground/topics. It opened my eyes to things I haven't noticed before, and makes you realize you don't need someone with a title above you in order to understand truth.
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