A Confession...

People who know me know that I have a fairly long fuse, and that I've learned to control my "passion" about a subject to a certain extent before reaching my breaking point. Rarely is the threshold met, but on certain occasions the stars line up and I go kamikaze on something that has been cooking for a while. I get irritated about things on a regular basis (hence this blog), but rarely do I go over the edge from irritation to explosion. But I almost got there last night.

I was sitting in class listening to a pretty good lecture on the book of Daniel, specifically Daniel 9, when the professor asked a rhetorical question about the overall theme of Scripture. Now, rhetorical questions by definition don't expect an answer, but the guy in the back row decided to give it a shot anyway. He responded with some gobbledygook about the "antithesis of the contrast of the realities of redemptive history and reprobation." Don't rub your eyes - it didn't make sense when he said it either.

The story isn't over, but I feel the need to make clarification.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. In every class, there's some genius who feels the need to either (1) Demonstrate his brilliance in front of the entire class by reading "Word Power" in Readers' Digest before coming to class, and figuring out a way to incorporate every word in their questions. Or, he feels the need to correct the professor in matters of theology. This is especially comical when 25 year old seminarians attempt to correct a 70 year old professor on matters of theology over which the 70 year old professor has written three books.

Back to last night, the professor asked the back row scholar to clarify his answer. The guy replied back that God's ultimate plan for humanity was heaven or hell. Disagreeing, (heaven and hell are not eternal... God's plan for believers is and eternal state that includes a New Heavens and New Earth, and a lake of fire for unbelievers) the professor responded with another question.

This is where the story goes from making me mad to making me profoundly sad.

Looking directly at the know-it-all student, the professor asked him, "Where will you go when you die?"

"Heaven, I hope. Day by day I hope," replied Mr. Know-it-all, who suddenly didn't know at all.

"You hope?" asked the professor. "This is something you should know."

And he proceeded to share the Gospel with this guy, who has been in seminary nearly 4 1/2 years.

For 4 1/2 years this guy has been attending a conservative evangelical seminary dedicated to teaching believers to "Preach the Word." And somehow this guy missed the most simple and profound truth of all. "Jesus loves me, this I know."

I'm not blogging about this guy in order to give him a hard time. I'm blogging about this story because late into the night last night I was bothered by two lessons this story taught me.

1. It is entirely possible to worship the idol of black and white (and red) words on a page, and altogether miss the God they represent. The study of God's word is vastly important, but can't supercede a relationship with the God of which they speak which comes through faith in Christ.

2. We can't take peoples' individual stories for granted. I was fuming at this know-it-all guy trying to stump the professor with the student's infinite knowledge. Now, my response is compassion and sorrow for a guy who probably isn't even a believer. He can't help it. "The natural man can't receive the things of the Spirit because they're foolishness to him. He can't understand them because they're Spiritually appraised" (1 Corinthians 2:14).