I do not see Jesus clearer because I have a degree in biblical and theological studies. I see Jesus because His Spirit opens my eyes every moment to see.
I can sit here and discuss the differences between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism; atonement theories; ecclesiological and eschatological distinctions; church polity; covenant theology vs. dispensationalism; or the helpful systematic categories given by men like John Calvin, Herman Bavinck and (the late) John Webster; the influences of Friedrich Schleiermacher and how his liberal theology has developed severe theological implications; or J. Gresham Machen’s helpful writings which combated Schleiermacher.
Many may not understand these terms or know who these people are (and that’s okay). That does not mean you do not love Jesus any less than I do, on the contrary you may love and see Jesus more than I do. What I mean is that simply because I went to a school to study the bible does not mean I see Jesus better than everyone. I am not (nor anyone who goes to a bible college or Seminary) a super–saint. We are humans who are prone to sin and (just like everyone else) we need a big Savior to save us. An education is of value (such as reading Calvin, Bavinck, and Webster). However, the end of all theological studies is godliness (1 Tim. 4:8). The discipline of studying theology and doctrine helps our hearts grow bigger to see God clearer.
Some people think higher of those who are pursuing full–time ministry. On the one hand, it is important that vocational ministry is not a “normal vocation.” Not everyone can nor should do it (that does not mean people ought to disregard the Great Commission because it is binding on all Christians [Matt. 28:1–20]). But those in vocational ministry should not be considered as holier than others. As one who aspires to be an elder, I do not stop sinning or become independent of God’s grace and mercy. I do not become untouchable. On the contrary, I realize more and more how hard it is for me to trust God by my struggles in reading the bible; praying; singing; and loving my neighbor. And I can tell you that I have not lived the perfect life. I have failed countless times to love my God and my neighbor.
And this is where Jesus meets us. God calls Christians to live in a manner worthy of the his calling over our lives, namely to look to Jesus (Eph. 1:18, 4:1). We are not to look around and say “I want to be like this person,” but corporately looking up saying “we want to be like you, Jesus.”
Photo Credit: Flickr.com