I wrote an article a few years ago speaking about the danger of gullible Christians believing everything and anything they hear or read. How much more is that a reality with the accessibility of teachings from different schools of thought through the Internet, podcasts and many other publications?
As leaders we need to guard our flock against false teaching and disciple them into maturity so that they are not tossed around by every wave of doctrine. (2 Peter 2:1-3 , 1 Timothy 1:3-7 & 6:3-5, Ephesians 4: 13 -15)
However, we need to be teachable and continue, as we grow, to have an attitude of learning. As Spirit-filled Christ-followers who ‘have the mind of Christ, we need to spiritually discern spiritual things’. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 )
Tony Fitzgerald in his introduction to The Glorious Church DVD series said of Church of the Nations; “We’re not an organisation… we’re a family… we also feel a real call to serve as much as the body of Christ as we can, and also learn from the wider body of Christ.”
One of the people I’m learning from, in this season, is Ps. Steven Furtick, who we were introduced to at the Global Leadership Summit 2011, with his inspiring teaching about audacious faith. One of their core values as a church is a quote I’ve heard Tony Fitzgerald, John Scholtz and other Church of the Nations leaders use; ‘We Eat the Fish and Leave the Bones’. Furtick says, “We will always maintain a posture of learning. We seek to learn from everyone and incorporate a variety of influences into our methodology”.
There are healthy tensions in our walk as Christ-followers, a tension as we commit ourselves to learning and discerning. There is a tension as we are guided in spirit and in truth, in the Word and Spirit of God. Reading scripture without spiritual discernment leads to destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 & Luke 24: 25a)
One of my favourite scriptures, frustrating and yet filled with hope is Acts 1:3 ; ‘He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God’.
Full stop. For forty days Jesus spoke to His disciples about the Kingdom of God, and the Bible doesn’t tell us what He said. Or maybe in some way it does? The verses that follow give us hope that we may be able to know these mysteries, through ‘the promise of the Father, the baptism with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 1:4-5 ).
As flesh and bones, spiritual discernment is impossible and our learning dangerously destructive. But as Spirit-filled Christ-followers we are able to have the mind of Christ, to eat the flesh and spit out the bones.
Who are you learning from?
Originally Posted on CotN Voices in 2012.