I try to keep my posts relatively short because I know people are busy and don’t have time to read a book every day. Sometimes however, I just have to let it flow.
Rodney Smith was an evangelist in the late 1800s who became known as “Gypsy” Smith because he traveled so much. He traveled all over the world for 70 years preaching the Gospel. In fact, it is said he crossed the Atlantic 45 times. Wow! Can you imagine? 45 trips by ship across the Atlantic, all for the Gospel’s sake.
I think I would have liked Bro. Smith. He once said, “I didn’t go through your colleges and seminaries. They wouldn’t have me…but I have been to the feet of Jesus where the only true scholarship is learned.”
I say a double “Amen” to that. I have been to seminary. I have graduated from a genuine, certified Baptist seminary. Do you know what that means?
First let me tell you what it does not mean.
It does not mean that just because you go to seminary that you are saved. I know a man personally who graduated from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth Texas and was in the ministry. He was raised in church and thought it was the right and good thing to do, until he realized years later at a revival service that he had never been actually repented of his sin, asked forgiveness, and asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life. He had never really been saved. (Good news, he was saved that night!)
It does not mean that you are called to preach. Many a young person have gone to seminary thinking that they would go into the ministry as their vocation. Let me be very clear, it is not a vocation, it is a calling.
It does not mean that you love people, that you are merciful, patient, kind, forgiving, or on fire for Jesus. And probably of most importance, it does not mean that you are filled with the Holy Ghost, which actually empowers you to have all those things I just mentioned in the first place.
What it does mean is that I have been educated in the wisdom of man. It means I have learned what people think, what college professors opinions are, and what Dr. Smell Fungus THINKS the Bible says.
My wife had a conversation with a lady not long ago and this lady was saying the church she attends is looking for a pastor. This lady made the comment that she just hoped they could find someone with a doctorate.
Really? Is that your criteria for a pastor? That he has a doctorate?
I would rather have a man who has never even finished high school but who is filled with the Holy Ghost than a man with 10 doctorates and no Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:25-29, Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Is this where we are in America? Do we place more importance on a degree than we do the power and presence of God? Do we value higher education more than a higher calling?
Some would say it should be a mixture of both. Okay, I’ll go along with that, IF salvation, regeneration, being rooted in the Scriptures, and being filled with the Holy Spirit comes first.
“Well, Bro. Kyle, if that’s the way you feel, why did you go to seminary?” Because the Holy Spirit of God led me to go so that I could get into churches that THINK you NEED seminary so that I could get in and preach the truth.
We need real revival.
Why did I bring up Gypsy Smith? Let me tell you. During one of his meetings, Smith was approached by a young man. The young man asked Gypsy how to have revival. Smith asked the young man, “Do you have a place where you can pray?” The young man said yes. So Gypsy said, “Tell you what to do, you go to that place, and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle all around you – and pray for God to send revival to everything inside of the circle. Stay there until He answers – and you will have revival.”
That piece of chalk represents a turning point, a moment of surrender, a moment of admittance for the need for revival, a change of heart. It marks the difference between those who would pray, “Lord, change them,” and those with the humility to plead, “Lord, change me.”
What does God have for you…just around the corner?