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BIBLE COLLEGES are NOT in the Bible
-by Andrew Strom.

You know, since I began this series on "The 9 Lies of Today's
church" I have had many people questioning my motives for
writing it. They ask, "Why should a Revival and Repentance
preacher get embroiled in such 'OUTWARD' matters?" After
all, some of these issues are not really "Heart" issues at all.
Things like the 'One-man Pastor' system and "Church
Buildings" seem like such EXTERNAL matters. (And this
issue of 'Bible Colleges' is not much different). So why bother
with them?

Well, the thing I have noticed about these old traditions and
deceptions (-which we have treated as "normal" for years), is
that they all add to the little "prison" that we have built for
ourselves in the church today. In their own way, each of them
builds a little "wall" of untruth around itself, and when you add
them all together you have a virtual "prison" of untruths that
is holding us back from being what we are meant to be. The
TRUTH sets us free, remember. And we are a long way from
the Book of Acts today - often because of this great 'wall' of
traditions that we adhere to.

Of course, personal Revival and deep repentance and deep
seeking of God are the most important things. -These are
the real 'Heart' issues. But it is a fact that God needs a 'New
Wineskin' for His new move. And we need to know what
belongs to the "Old" and why we need to leave it behind, or we
are bound to try and include it in the "New". Then our children
will have to have another Reformation to correct what we have
left undone. Do you see what I am saying?

The coming move of God will be a REFORMATION as well as a
Revival. There will be a new wineskin. So we must be aware of
the things we need to leave behind. These little "walls" have got
to go. The church has to break out of this 'prison' of 1700-year-
old traditions if it is ever to look like the early church again. And
yes, some of this does involve "outward" things.

BIBLE COLLEGE is a good example. The fact is, the early
church had no such thing. And they had more power with God
than any group of people that has ever lived. There is simply
NOTHING LIKE a Bible College in the Book of Acts, and you
would have to conclude that they were better off without it!
-More miracles, more anointing, more prayer, more depth of
communion with God. So who needs a Bible College?

As we have already discussed, the early apostles were mostly
not "educated" men at all. They were fishermen and tax
collectors! It was the Scribes and Pharisees who were the
learned Bible-scholars of their day. These were the "professional
clergy" of that time. "And when they saw the boldness of Peter
and John, and perceived that they were UNLEARNED and
IGNORANT men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of
them, that they had BEEN WITH JESUS." (Acts 4:13).

So there it is, in black and white. These apostles were
"unlearned and ignorant" in the eyes of the religious leaders
of their day. But because they had BEEN WITH JESUS they
would shake the world.

But what damage do Bible Colleges and Seminaries actually
do? Are they really that harmful?

There are several ways in which they do great harm. Think
about these points for a moment:

(1)  Bible Colleges are the linchpin of the false divide between
the "clergy" and the "laity" (-which God hates). In other words,
this is where the doctrine of the "Priesthood of ALL believers"
is trodden underfoot by the church. As soon as you have certain
people who go away to a University or College to become
"qualified" professional ministers, then you have lost New
Testament Christianity. These people are allowed to 'minister'
because they have a Bible College degree or diploma, while
other people aren't, because they do not have the 'piece of
paper'. It does not matter what their gifts or callings may be.
Often the church will put people on a shelf if they do not have
the right academic "qualification". They may get to minister in
a limited way, but in many cases this is very restricted.

Now, don't you think this is SICK? What on earth would
'unlearned' fishermen like Peter and John do in such a world?
Would they even pass the entrance exams? Naturally, they
would NEVER be allowed to lead the church without a Bible
College degree today! The Day of Pentecost would have to
wait until they got themselves properly "qualified".

As I said, the Bible College is the 'linchpin' of this whole set-up.
It is the place where you go to become a "professional". It is
the place where the "divide" happens. You go there as a mere
"lay-person" and you come out as "clergy" - with all the rights
and privileges which stem from that in today's world. And then
the whole church is trained to sit back and let you do most of
the work. The concept of the "whole Body ministering" is totally
lost - mostly through this ONE ERROR.

(2) Charles Finney said: "I am still solemnly impressed with
the conviction, that the schools are to a great extent spoiling
[or ruining] the ministers."  Today we are all aware of many
Bible Schools where a lot of time is spent questioning the
validity and sources of many books of the Bible, questioning
whether events in Scripture really happened that way, etc.
Human reasoning and man's wisdom naturally tends to come
to the fore in such "mind"-oriented and intellectual places.
And a lot of young, zealous preachers are indeed "ruined" by
attending such schools. Their head is filled with doubts and
their heart quickly loses it's fire. Some of them are ruined for
life. But what about the so-called "good" schools? -Where
there is a solid belief in Scripture and many Spirit-filled tutors?

Well, the fact is, the whole CONCEPT of Bible Colleges is in
error. The whole idea of having to study theories, sit exams,
and gain a piece of paper that "qualifies" you for the ministry
is a serious deception. And even the "good" Bible Schools are
often simply churning out "systemized" men to keep the church
'machine' churning along. They are taught how to keep the
system well-oiled - how to get the 'programs' running efficiently
and so-on. All of this is the very opposite of the early church.

So what are the TRUE "qualifications" for ministry that we need
to take heed of? Well, firstly, we must have mature spiritual
gifts and a calling from God. And we need to be someone who
has spent much time ALONE WITH GOD in prayer. Also, to be
a leader in the church we need to fulfill the requirements of
1 Tim 3:1-13. "If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he
desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach,
the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled,
respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness,
not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He
must manage his own family well and see that his children obey
him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to
manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited...
He must also have a good reputation with outsiders..."

The failure to stick to the above guidelines in choosing leaders
in today's church has resulted in all kinds of disasters.

So is there any place for "training" in the church? Certainly! But
it clearly needs to be 'PRACTICAL' training, rather than mainly
academic or intellectual training. And I believe we need to avoid
the whole "degrees and diplomas" syndrome altogether.

There are many short-term training camps and practical
courses that are very practical and helpful for Christians. I see
nothing wrong with many of these. YWAM has run "Discipleship
Training Schools" for years, which I understand are 3-month
practical discipleship courses ending with a missions trip to
minister to the poor and needy, etc. A lot of these kinds of
things are excellent. But NOTHING can take the place of simply
spending MUCH TIME alone with God. -This is the major
qualification that the early apostles had, after all. And it should
be no different today.

It is also possible to find the occasional Bible School that is
deeply spiritual and practical. Often these are small and
little-known. Charles Finney himself became a tutor at a new
Bible School called 'Oberlin College' in the 1830's. A lot of
his lectures amounted to full-on "Revival" preaching! But of
course, now Oberlin is far removed from being a center of
Revival. And that is the problem. It is usually in the second
or third generation after they are founded that most of
these colleges become stale and institutionalised. And it is
then that they usually start doing much more harm than good.

A number of people wrote to me asking about our domain
name "www.revivalschool.com". Why did we choose such a
name if we did not believe in Bible Schools? Well, we are yet
to get any kind of "Online Revival School" going at all, which
is what I want to do someday. But rest assured, it will be a
very "practical" thing aimed at teaching people the secrets of
"personal" Revival and then "corporate" Revival as well. One
day we will get it happening!

Like many things, I have to put it off because there are so many
other things that need attention.