THE WISDOM OF GOD ENABLES AND EMPOWERS TRUE EDUCATION Stephen G. Brown, Ph. D. Shasta Bible College and Graduate School TRACS Annual Meeting, Chicago November 8, 2012 Theme: Meeting a Higher Standard WESLEY M. PINKHAM, “EMPOWERING YOUR TEACHING MINISTRY,” SLIDE 167. DEFINITION OF WISDOM Wisdom is knowledge applied. A response to what is actual and ultimately real. It gives our lives significance and meaning. It produces something good that maintains and upholds what is ideally perfect. If something is broken, wisdom repairs it. If something is needed, wisdom invents it. If something is created, wisdom designs it. Wisdom adheres to what is innately perfect, to a pristine state—ultimately, what God ordained in a perfect world that He created. DEFINITION OF WISDOM Though the perfection of the world is tarnished by the sin of man now, God created life and existence as we know it by means of wisdom with a purpose and design. To speak of wisdom presupposes theism, the belief in a transcendent God who established a world that reflects His glory in its beauty and perfection. DEFINITION OF WISDOM This recognition of an ultimate reality in a realm of absolute truth urges the apostle Paul to urge us to reflect on what is true, honorable, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, and what is of good report (Phil. 4:9). THE DEFINITION OF TRUE EDUCATION By definition, true education is the only valid education, because it corresponds to the purpose and intent of the only wise God who seeks the benefit and well-being of His creation and of all the creatures who dwell therein, especially the human race whom he created in His own image and likeness. THE ROLE OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION True education is defined as leading others to see and know what is true, what is real and actual. Without knowing the truth, there is no progress to a goal, no purpose for a skill, no value to an education. True education recognizes that the ability to work wisely in the world presumes a knowledge and engagement of the One who created it. THE ROLE OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION True education requires the wisdom of the all-wise Creator to be effective, a wisdom that comes from knowing God and His Word. The understanding and application of the Word of God makes Christian education true and incomparably unique. Hence, we come to our title: “The wisdom of God enables and empowers true education.” THE NEED OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION True education requires the acknowledgement that God has the answers for our journey through life. For our potential to be recognized and realized in our vocation and service, we must depend on God for the necessary understanding and ability to fulfill that potential. As a result, those who are educators can only be effective if they possess the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is required to enable and empower us in our endeavors to both learn and teach. This is the challenge we face in “Meeting a Higher Standard.” THE THREE DEFINITIVE QUESTIONS In order to meet a higher standard, we will investigate the metaphysical question of what is real wisdom, the epistemological question of how to know wisdom, and the ethical question of its application and use. 1. 2. 3. The Identity of Wisdom: This presents the metaphysical challenge. What is wisdom? What is its source? What is its nature or essence? The Source of Wisdom: That is, the epistemological challenge. Can we know and understand it? Where is it located? The Use of Wisdom: This is the ethical challenge. How do we implement and apply it? THE CONFLICT OF WORLDVIEW The answers to these questions hinge on one’s world view. Opposing ideologies produce conflicting interpretations and solutions. The Bible presents a platform of theism, revelation, and spirituality in opposition to the humanistic platform in academia which follows Max Weber’s vision for a metaphysics of naturalism, an epistemology of rationalism, and an ethics of scientism (Naugle, 110). BIBLICAL VS. HUMANISTIC WISDOM In order to meet a higher standard in education, Christian educators must resolve these answers in order to understand what true education is. The following chart presents the differences between a biblical worldview and a humanistic worldview: BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW THEISM REVELATION SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION HUMANISTIC WORLDVIEW NATURALISM RATIONALISM SCIENTIFIC EMPIRICISM 1. THE IDENTITY OF WISDOM First, there is a need to identify wisdom—what is it? In order to answer the question of what wisdom is, it is necessary to recognize that theism and naturalism hold contrary definitions of wisdom. There are two types of wisdom: the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 1-3, Paul addresses this intellectual and spiritual conflict. He saw the danger of compromising the message of the cross by those culturally sophisticated believers who searched after human wisdom (1:22). HUMAN WISDOM IS INADEQUATE 1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20 Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12; 10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 1:19 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside. [see Isa. 29:14 quote; cp. 44:25cd] 8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. 8 “The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have? THERE IS NO WISE MAN; ONLY GOD IS WISE 1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20 Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12; 10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 9:12 Who is the wise man that may understand this? And he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it 10:7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like Thee. GOD SETS THE STANDARD 1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20 Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12; 10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44 3:18 “Let no man deceive himself. 10:12 It is He who made the earth If any man among you thinks that by His power, who established he is wise in this age, he must the world by His wisdom; become foolish, so that he may and by His understanding He has become wise. stretched out the heavens. [Note: Jer. 10:12-16 = 51:15-19] SUMMATION: WORLDLY WISDOM IS FOOLISHNESS 1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20 Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12; 10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44 3:19 For the wisdom of this world Isa 44:25b Turning wise men is foolishness before God. For it is back and making their written, “He is the One who knowledge foolish catches the wise in their craftiness” [see Job 5:13] 3:20 and again, “The LORD knows Jer 4:22 They are wise to do evil, the reasonings of the wise, that but to do good they do not they are useless.” [see Ps. 94:11] know 1. THE TEACHING OF JAMES James talks of a wisdom that comes down from above, that exceeds the light of earthly wisdom like high noon exceeds midnight. There is a wisdom that is “earthly, natural, demonic” (Js. 3:15), but there is also a wisdom from above that is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (3:17). Jesus alludes to these two types of wisdom in the gospel of Luke. THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS In Luke 16:8, Jesus describes the unrighteous steward about to lose his job, but who saved it by taking partial payment from debtors to satisfy their debts so that he could get enough money to satisfy his master. So he got off the hook, “And his master praised the unrighteous steward because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their kind than the sons of light.” Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (The Republic, Book VII, 514a–520a) provides a striking illustration of two such types of wisdom. THE SOURCE OF TRUE WISDOM Is not God Himself the source of this “wisdom from above”? James 1:17 states, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow of turning.” THE STANDARD OF TRUE WISDOM Does not this “wisdom from above” of the “Father of lights” answer the problem of reaching a higher standard? God does not short-change his people. The very God who supplies all the wisdom needed to accomplish his will is also the one who determines the standard. His wisdom circumscribes and fulfills the standard He sets. THE SUFFICIENCY OF TRUE WISDOM We don’t set the standard, but we are to determine and articulate what it is by the wisdom that He gives us, and He promises to give it to us in abundance: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given him” (1:5). Ultimately, if God supplies the wisdom to accomplish His will, then His wisdom is sufficient to meet the standard He requires. THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM Paul prays for his readers to have this spirit of wisdom and of revelation so that they can consciously apprehend, so that they can know and experience, having as Paul says, “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in a full knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened” (Eph. 1:17-18). HUMAN VS. DIVINE WISDOM There are two types of wisdom: the wisdom of God from above and the wisdom of man from below. The wisdom of God is perfectly true and the wisdom of man is corrupted by sin. Paul speaks of this spirit of wisdom and knowledge as a gift from God that enlightens the mind through the revelation of Himself. Wrought by God, such transformation flows from the Spirit-formation model (i.e., the Personal) proposed by Wesley Pinkham over against the Ministry-formation model (i.e., the Thingafied). WHAT IS HIGHER EDUCATION? What is higher education? Is it too high to reach? Is it in our power to accomplish? Is it to be measured by competition within a social context, on a horizontal plane of relative values? Or is it to be measured on a vertical plane that points to a metaphysical realm of absolute truth? In other words, is it about what is true and lasting or is it about what is hypothetical and transitory? ACADEMIA IN AMERICA Academic culture in America today operates with a Corinthian spirit that is competitive, critical and selfrighteous. The apostle Paul states in 2 Cor. 10:12, “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” JESUS AND ACADEMIA Are we trying to measure ourselves against each other? Whose standard are we following? Did Jesus compete? Was he even in the game? He grew, he learned, he ministered, he suffered, he died. Did he measure himself by the rules of the Sanhedrin? Did he care about his credentials or qualifications? THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS To hear Him talk, one might say He was inadequate. He said, “The Son can do nothing by himself” (John 5:19) and later, “I can do nothing by myself (5:30; 8:28). Why? Because He was following a standard from above? Because he was unique in his mission, role, and purpose. By knowing Himself and staying true to the mission and purpose of His life, He set the example for us all. FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS Higher standards are not measured by what we have or by what we do, as much as by who we follow. They are based on a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Christian educators follow God and Scripture, not national norms or custom. REACHING A HIGHER STANDARD As a result, Christian education is separated by a great gulf from secularists and humanists. Both sides may have similar goals, but Christians derive their convictions and principles from the Word of God, not from the world. How are we to assess ourselves? Not by the measure of the world, but by the Word of God! God answers all the metaphysical questions. How do we reach a higher standard? The Answer—with the wisdom of God. Now we go to the second point. 2. THE SOURCE OF WISDOM So we turn to the epistemological questions: Where is wisdom? What is its location? How can I know it? And what assurance do I have that it is really true? Can it be verified? Again, we must choose a premise to answer these questions. Do we figure it out on our own through reason? Or do we receive it freely as a gift by revelation? THE SEARCH FOR WISDOM From a historical perspective, people continue to search for knowledge that will give them peace and satisfaction. Daniel 12:4 speaks of the end of time when “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” Here we are in Chicago, hundreds, thousands of miles from home, seeking more knowledge…and hopefully, more wisdom. THE EXPLOSION OF WISDOM The Industrial Age began in the 19th c., the Technological Age in the 20th and now we have the Information Age in the 21st, but where have the ages of industry, technology, and information taken us, besides overwhelming us? Knowledge is exploding and growing exponentially. From the press, from the screen, from publishers—it is virtually impossible to keep up, much less compete. We cannot know it all, much less use it all. It is a smorgasbord; you cannot consume it all. THE QUESTION OF A HIGHER STANDARD How does a small, Christian school keep up when there is such disparity with larger schools? How do we measure our schools with others? By our property and assets? By our reputation, size or personnel? The answer to these questions enables us not only to achieve a “higher standard,” but the vision to press on toward the “highest possible standard.” JESUS SETS THE STANDARD For Christians serving in education, Christ should become the embodiment of all Wisdom to enable them to reach a higher standard that conforms to the norms and values of heaven over against those of society. Jesus Christ sets the standard and we follow Him, even though we may be misunderstood and maligned for it. We hear his voice, which the world cannot hear or understand because it does not know Him. We are His sheep and we follow Him, because we hear His voice. We will have tribulation in this world…but we follow Him. Again, we look to Paul for help to unravel an epistemology in the search for the highest possible standard. Did Paul seek the approval of the Pharisees, the teachers of the law? On the contrary, Paul proclaimed that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ’s physical body (Col. 2:9), the death of which brought us redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life (1:14; 2:10-14). It is no wonder that Paul passionately proclaimed, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). PAUL’S STANDARD: CHRIST CRUCIFIED “Christ crucified” begins and ends the next section of 1 Corinthians 1:22-2:2, framing it like a door in verses 1:23 and 2:2. The phrase “Christ crucified” becomes the key to unlock the door of knowledge and truth: “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1:23-24). 1 COR 1:22-31 & JEREMIAH 9 Continuing on into the next paragraph of 1 Corinthians 1:22-31, Paul cites Jeremiah 9:23-24 to show how pride in human wisdom, strength, and riches prohibits one from knowing the wisdom of God: 1 Corinthians 1:22-31 Jeremiah 9:23-24 26-27 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise 26-27 not many mighty…but God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong 23 Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, Let not the mighty man boast of his might, 1 Corinthians 1:22-31 26, 28 not many noble…the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen 30-31 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that just as it is written, “Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 Let not the rich man boast of his riches; 24 But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the LORD JESUS AS THE WISDOM OF GOD How did the apostle Paul and the early church come to equate Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God? The role of wisdom in the Old Testament will lead to the answer of this question. THE DESIRE FOR WISDOM Wisdom has always been sought as highly important; data has never been enough. The information age is upon us and we are being deluged, actually smothered, by the choices. As Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 7:29, “Man has sought out many devices.” But where is wisdom, that elusive intangible, without which our knowledge becomes merely encyclopedic? Wisdom is a rare quality indeed and it was highly prized from the earliest days of man. WISDOM IN THE GARDEN Wisdom was desired in the garden soon after creation, but that to our harm, because mankind fell prey to the tempter. In Adam, the human race lost access to wisdom because it was sought without God’s permission and in direct disobedience to Him. It is only by God’s providential grace that man has any knowledge and wisdom to live within God’s protective care. THE RARITY OF WISDOM After the sin of man spoiled his relationship with God, wisdom became elusive, slippery and replaced by shrewdness and self-concern. It is scarcely mentioned in the narrative of Scripture except in the case of that rare individual that God endowed with the spirit of wisdom to accomplish His will, such as Joseph in Genesis 41, Bezalel in Exodus 28, the wise woman of Tekoa in 2 Samuel 14, and of course Solomon in 1 Kings 2 and 2 Chronicles 1, to name a few. The Torah and the historical books of the Old Testament are filled with standards of the law and the failure of men to keep them, but they don’t give us much explanation about the nature of wisdom. Turning to the Writings of the Old Testament, we find wisdom elevated to the most enviable position in the world of men in the first wisdom book of the Bible, where Job is cast as the archetypical wise man. JOB’S DISCOURSE ON WISDOM Job comments in Job 28 that wisdom is unfathomable, unreachable, inaccessible, and dare I say, unassessable. Man, through great ingenuity and effort can find precious metal, but not wisdom. It’s not in the deep (v. 14). It’s not in the grave (v. 22). It’s only available from God himself: “God understands its way; and He knows its place” or “source” (v. 23, JPS). Neither an object nor an element in our genetic makeup, we are unable to find it, locate it, isolate it, or conjure it up. Often we know the facts, but are unable to recall and apply them when the need arises. How high is the price of wisdom! SOLOMON FINDS WISDOM Wisdom distinguishes itself in the moment, in the crisis, when solutions and answers are demanded, amidst the pressures of life that come unexpectedly and often. Solomon demonstrated such wisdom for two reasons. First, he knew he did not have it (I Kings 3:5-12). Secondly, He asked God for it, and when he did, God gave it to him in abundance. James 1:5 proffers the same promise to us all: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” SOLOMON’S DISCOURSE ON WISDOM Existentially, Solomon knew he was inadequate. It was impossible to be wise. It was not in him. Eccl. 7:23-29 says, “I will be wise, but it was far from me. What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious, who can discover it?” Verse 29 indicates the problem: man was made upright, but became flawed, separate from God, and now he needs God’s wisdom to avoid or solve the problems he faces. Wisdom is only found in God. He is the source of all wisdom. THE PERSONIFICATION OF WISDOM In Proverbs 8:22-31, wisdom is personified as participating with God in creation itself, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world, the world that He had made, saying, “My delight is in the sons of men.” GOD’S RELATION TO WISDOM This personified wisdom is with God in the very creation of the world. God and wisdom share a relationship; together they delight in humanity, and together they anticipate a relationship with mankind. This wisdom is not just an abstraction, just some imagined force or attribute. It is a separate entity with its own identity. It possesses a self-conscious reason, operating as a selfexistent being in conjunction with God. JESUS’ RELATION TO WISDOM It is no wonder that when early Christians considered the claims and works of Jesus Christ, they identified Him as the wisdom of Proverbs, chapter 8. In the Old Testament, wisdom is personified; in the New Testament, wisdom becomes incarnate. The Being of wisdom in the Old Testament has become a person. WISDOM AND LAW ARE ALSO THE LOGOS According to Jay Eldon Epp’s well documented article “Wisdom, Torah, Word,” this personification of wisdom is interchangeable with the Torah, the law of God. Epp also demonstrates how both Wisdom and Law are identified with the Greek word logos (meaning “word”), the term used for Jesus Christ in John 1:1-18 where John states that the Logos or Word became incarnate in human flesh. THE LOGOS FULFILLS THE LAW As the Logos of John 1, Jesus Christ reveals the perfection of the Law in human form, and by His Incarnation He completes and fulfills the divine role of the Law: “For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). Paul restates the same idea in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end [or goal] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” As Epp indicates, Jesus Christ is the perfect, exact, and unmediated revelation of God the Father, since He has “superannuated, superseded and displaced” the Torah (Epp, 135-136, 140-141). THE LOGOS OF JOHN IS THE CREATOR As the Logos, Jesus was already with God the Father at the very beginning (1:1-2). Verse 3 says he was the creator of all things: “All things came into being through Him; apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3). THE CHRIST OF PAUL IS THE CREATOR Paul makes the same point in Col. 1:15-17, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” JESUS CHRIST AS THE WISDOM OF GOD Paul goes on to say, “In him dwells all the fullness of the deity in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). As the embodiment of divine wisdom who created all things, Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God in the flesh. Jesus alludes to Himself as the Wisdom of God in Luke 7:35 and 11:49 (cp. Mt. 23:34-36). He is the one who said, “All authority [or power] has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18), the one who also said, “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). JESUS IN JOHN 14:6 Because He is Wisdom Incarnate, Jesus Christ is the source of all wisdom. He is the complete expression of the Life, the Truth, and the Way (Jn. 14:6). As Life itself, He answers the metaphysical question about who we are and why we exist; as Truth He solves the epistemological question and opens the way to know the all-wise and loving, personal God; as the only Way He exemplifies the ethical ideals of true goodness and ultimate value, thereby showing us how to live. THE INCARNATE WORD BRINGS FREEDOM As Truth Itself, Jesus made the claim that all who know Him will be totally free of the chains that have bound and kept them from fulfilling their potential and from experiencing the life of joy that God intended for them. To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (8:31-32). “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (8:34, 36). THE IMPACT OF CHRIST ON EDUCATION Gene Fant points out the tremendous opportunity and impact that the message of the cross holds for Christian educators to transform their teaching and their students’ lives. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION IS TRANSFORMING “Truth is not worldly but rather is tied, particularly in the Christian tradition, to the person of Christ. Likewise, freedom is not found in this world but is effected by the divine rescue of persons from their selfish fallen natures, a rescue that is part of the priestly ministry of Christ. Freedom, genuine freedom that transcends the created order, may be found solely within the context of Christ-centered education rather than self-centered training.” JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF TRUE WISDOM As the Word of God and the Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ answers all the epistemological questions: What is true wisdom? Where do I find this wisdom? Now we turn to the third and final point: Does this wisdom have value—is it useful to me? This last question has ethical dimensions that affect our choices and lifestyle, to which we now turn. 3. THE USE OF WISDOM This is the ethical question. What is wisdom’s value and use? How do we apply it? What is right and good to do? These questions are answered on the basis of the first two points. As wisdom belongs to God and is incarnated in His Son Jesus Christ, their wisdom is imparted by God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to all who follow Christ as their Lord and Savior. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT God the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers a believer, regenerating and reforming the heart. In concert with God the Father and God the Son (John 14:23), God the Holy Spirit abides in and teaches the believer, providing instruction, opportunity and power in all areas of their lives (John 14:17-26; I John 2:27). THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is affirmed by Paul as he proceeds into 1 Corinthians 2. In 1 Cor. 1:24 Paul declares that “the power of God and the wisdom of God” are conjoined in Christ. Now, in 2:45, the Holy Spirit becomes the conjunction of the power of God and the wisdom of God in those who believe. As Keith Goad states, the Holy Spirit complements the work of the Son and completes it, blowing “where he wills, but never apart from the Son” (Goad, 3). THE HOLY SPIRIT ENABLES AND EMPOWERS True power and true wisdom are not acquired or given by man, but by the Holy Spirit who enables and empowers the believer to participate in the work of God. Hence, all praise and glory go to God for the privilege of obeying and serving Him. Believers cannot boast in themselves. They recognize they are adequate in Christ (John 15:5), but inadequate in themselves. THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL As Paul testifies, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me…when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10). This power in weakness is on display in 1 Cor. 2:1-16 after the manner of Christ in I Cor. 1:22-31. 1 Cor. 1:22-31 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God 1 Cor. 2:1-16 2 I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 4 And my word and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 1 Cor. 1:22-31 1 Cor. 2:1-16 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 1 Cor. 1:22-31 1 Cor. 2:1-16 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 1 Cor. 1:22-31 1 Cor. 2:1-16 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. WE MUST RECOGNIZE OUR INADEQUACY For the wisdom of God to enable and empower true education, Christian educators must depend on God the Holy Spirit to succeed. Just as Solomon acknowledged his inadequacy to serve as king over all Israel and was rewarded by God when he asked for a “listening heart” so that he might judge the nation and be able to discern between good and evil, so Paul made no claims of adequacy or sufficiency apart from God. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 2:16, “And who is sufficient [or adequate] for these things?” OUR SUFFICIENCY IS FOUND IN THE SPIRIT Further down in 3:5-6, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy [our sufficiency] is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This sufficiency is only realized and active when we boast in the Lord while acknowledging our own inadequacy. BOASTING IN THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST We can boast in the Lord or in ourselves, but not both. The Corinthian church had a problem with boasting— Paul undercut all that by eliminating all comparison; the focus was off himself. He knows only one thing: Jesus Christ and him crucified. THE CROSS BRINGS RECONCILIATION On the cross Christ Jesus reconciled all things unto Himself just as His Father intended—all the world, all the universe, within an oikonomia (“economy”), a stewardship, an administration, a dispensation, which is “suitable to the fullness of the times, the summing up of all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10). CHRIST RECONCILES ALL THINGS This reconciliation brought all things under His dominion. In Christ all things were subsumed and subjugated under Him. All truth rests in Christ and all reality revolves around Christ and is consolidated under His rule. This reconciliation brought unity to all existence and solved the problem of the One and the Many, which the worldly wise and the philosophers have never been able to solve throughout the centuries. RECONCILIATION EMPOWERS BELIEVERS As Archimedes once said, “give me a place to stand and I can move the world,” so Jesus Christ can say, “Give me a cross to die on, and I can reconcile the world by making you alive together with Me and by triumphing over all rulers and authorities” (Col. 2:10-15). For this reason, Christians can say, “When I abide in Christ, I can change the world.” Christian educators, if you rest in the merits of Jesus Christ, you will change the world! THE LORD IS OUR GOD, CHRIST IS ONE There is one standard, one canon—the measuring rod is Jesus Christ, who unifies everything in heaven and earth unto Himself. In the context of Christian unity and faith, Paul says there is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Eph 4:4-6). ALL IS ONE IN GOD All these “ones” are not changed through addition or multiplication, but are interconnected and compounded through interaction with each other. They are all one, reflecting each other, holding together because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All is one in God. He is infinite and immeasurable. He is Being Itself and by Him all things exist (Acts 17:24-24), including us. Can the value of a soul be measured? Can spirituality be measured? Not by man, but by the Spirit. ONENESS SIGNIFIES UNION AND COMMUNION This is what Dr. Pinkham means by Spirit-Formation wherein the Holy Spirit enables our being to experience oneness with God (Jn. 14:20, 23; 17:21, 23), a oneness or union that enjoys the communion and care of Christ (Eph. 5:30-32). Communion with Christ represents the ultimate standard by which Christian educators are to live and work. Communion with Christ supplies Christian educators with the wisdom and power to do His will. Other ways to reach the highest standards include: 1) Serving in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter (Rom. 7:6); 2) Being an aroma of death to those who perish and the aroma of the spirit to those who are saved (2 Cor. 2:16); 3) Walking by the Spirit…not carrying out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16); 4) “You lay aside the old man...and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22, 24); 5) “You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 6:8). TRUE EDUCATION EMULATES THE HIGHEST STANDARD Christian educators are to emulate the highest standard, serving in newness of the Spirit, walking by the Spirit as children of light. As Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Education is a task, but the intangible key is God the Holy Spirit. He is the true Educator who makes possible a true education by empowering Christian educators to shine as lights in the darkness. “THE WISDOM OF GOD ENABLES AND EMPOWERS TRUE EDUCATION” It is not arrogant to define Christian Education as true education. Such a definition seeks to honor the God who knows all and who creates all things. Christian educators are not superior, but they know that honoring God as the source of knowledge and wisdom enables and empowers them to teach with wisdom and compassion by incarnating the love of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS All truth and power belong to God and are only found in Him. Wisdom reflects the oneness of all things in God and requires a single-minded focus on the One who is the source of all truth: “And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4-5). To tap that source requires a singular focus on God with all of one’s heart, mind and soul. ON THE METAPHYSICS OF BEING James 1:6-8 goes on to stress that the one who doubts or is double-minded cannot expect to receive anything from the LORD. The Scriptures call us to be single minded in love and devotion if we expect God to help and empower our work. David desires single-mindedness, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in the Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Thy name” (Ps. 84:11-12). ON THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF KNOWING God’s plan for you requires single-mindedness: “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart’” (Jer. 29:11-13). God promises knowledge and wisdom if you ask: “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know’” (Jer. 33:2-3). ON DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23)—Union “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20)—Communion ACKNOWLEGEMENTS Epp, Jay Eldon. “Wisdom, Torah, Word: The Johannine Prologue and the Purpose of the Fourth Gospel,” 128-146, in Current Issues in biblical and Patristic Interpretation, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne (Williams B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975). Fant Jr., Gene C. The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012; Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series, ed. David S. Dockery). Goad, Keith. “A Theological Model for Spirituality.” Presented at the Southeast Regional Evangelical Theological Society, March, 2010. Naugle, David K. Philosophy: A Student’s Guide (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012; Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series, ed. David S. Dockery). Pinkham, Wesley M. "Empowering Your Teaching Ministry," PowerPoint Presentation, The King's University. 2010, Slide 167.