I grew up in a subculture of knowledge.
It was deeply ingrained in all of us to learn. To learn what the right beliefs are. To learn what the best arguments are to defend the faith. To learn why everyone else is wrong.
We spent hours in classes, conferences, and seminars learning from educated men who we were assured had all of the answers.
We faithfully studied all of the books that would teach us how to separate truth from lie
The books on my shelves carried the names of men I was told had special discernment: Dave Hunt, Ravi Zacharias, John Piper, John MacArthur. Among many others.
Even my father, I was told, carried with him a special anointing to discern. I was told by my parents that I, too, had this gift. And I was encouraged to speak with authority because God had great plans for me.
In my complementarian churches, I was often told that I had a gift for teaching and that God would speak through me to reach women and children.
I was a good and faithful student.
The knowledge that I had soaked up and parroted back to the choir told them that I was an approved child of God. I had found the key to life buried amongst my books and conference notes that I had diligently scribbled as I sought to expand my understanding of God and the gospel.
I was the picture of a saved and anointed woman.
Until the truth that I began to speak broke from what was permissible for us.
At that point, I became a cautionary tale to always study to show yourself approved (2 Tim 2:15): I had fallen into error. I asked the wrong questions. I listened to the wrong teachers. I uttered the wrong words. I failed to be a good gatekeeper and dared to imagine a heaven where the “uneducated” sinner could enter in.
My knowledge couldn’t save me because I followed in Eve’s footsteps and believed lies thinking they would save me.
How else could I be viewed by those still living under that system? The gospel in which we grew up was centred around knowledge; Learn, fill yourself up with precious truth. What we knew or believed would mean the difference between salvation and damnation.
But knowledge is not what Jesus spoke of when He was asked about how one could be saved:
‘Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”’
When asked how to gain eternal life, Jesus did not tell this expert of the law that he needed to learn more.
Jesus did not tell him to gain more knowledge.
Jesus did not tell him to learn from the best of the best in theology or apologetics.
Jesus did not tell him to read more books, attend more conferences, or find the right pastors to mentor him.
Jesus told him to love.
I guess the Beatles were right after all.