The teaching ministry of the church is a vital ministry that needs much more attention. The church, in Matthew 28:18-20, was asked to make disciples and teach them to observe or to obey all that Jesus has commanded us to do. This in essence reveals that, the church exists for ‘a supreme being’ and all that the church can teach or stand for should be what the triune God teaches and instructs. Matthew 28:20 also reveals something special about the teaching ministry of the church; it says, “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. This means the teaching ministry of the church is not one that is only informed about something, but one that causes a transformation in the person. The teaching ministry affects and influences one's life and whole personality and that is what Christian education seeks to do. Also, we can see in the verse that, we are teaching what we have been commanded, hence, what we are teaching is not from us but from someone Greater than us.
According to Octavio J. Esqueda, “when God teaches us, He looks forward to our compliance with His desires. The result of His instruction is not information but action and a change of lifestyle.” This shows that, it is God’s will to see us fulfill His desires and not just know it. A teaching ministry that only seeks to reveal mysteries to the body of Christ without living according to what the teaching say - does not fulfill God’s desire for the church. It is therefore important for us to establish that, the teaching ministry of the church exists because of what the Triune God wants to reveal to us in His word and in His creations. He reveals to us things we do not know and even the things we claim to know, He gives us a better understanding of it. In view of this, every revelation or knowledge of the church that does not come from God is very dangerous to the body of Christ, and this is why Christian education exists, to help pass on the values of the church from one generation to another and that, this special education will transform the lives of people. It is on this background that I write to discuss the topic, “God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the only Teachers of the Church”.
As Christians we must understand that the one who called us is a teacher, His son is a teacher and The Spirit He left with us is a teacher. Teachers possess the gift to be positive influencers on their students. The best teachers are those who help their students to discover the answer on their own. Agreeing with Slocum, I quote Proverbs 25:2NIV, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings". The bible also shows us that, the church is the Kingdom of priests and every day, we try to search for God and we do find him everywhere and with everything around us. For example, the Sun shines everywhere in the world and God is teaching us that He sees whatever we do no matter where we are. God as a teacher teaches the church and the world at large through General revelation and special revelation. The word revelation means a disclosure or an unveiling. God reveals himself to us in a general way and also in a special way. He reveals His great love to us by the way he teaches us. Every Teacher knows his student well and God as a teacher knows us very well. He knows the best time to teach us because He is a great teacher. He takes us through the process so that our lives will be transformed. He expects our obedience in love. He knows when we understand Him and when we do not. He trains and teaches us based on the level at which we will understand. Interestingly, He reveals his special revelation mostly to those who diligently seek him. God expects us to read the bible, understand it and allow it to transform our lives. God does not teach us based on our curiosity or need but His teachings awaken in us a curiosity to seek Him more and if we do, we find Him. David says in the Psalms that the heaven and earth declares the Glory of God, which tells us God reveals himself in his creations. God’s general revelation is His revelation of Himself principally through nature and also through history, through the ministry of His providence to His people, and through His works of creation.
Another Cardinal person who is a teacher is our Lord Jesus. Everything about the church and Christians worldwide should be about God, and this is what Jesus came to reveal to us. The teachings of Jesus revealed the love of God; He spoke about God in a way that we never knew. The bible records that His hearers were astonished at His teachings and wondered where he got his wisdom from since He had no educational background. The church which has the foundation of God’s truth must accept the testimony of Jesus about God, because He is Himself God. Interestingly, Jesus being a teacher can be found forty-five times in the gospels. Based on something I read from Wikipedia, there are people who claim to be Christian atheist and they draw their beliefs and practices from Jesus’ life and teachings as recorded in the New Testament Gospels and other sources but reject supernatural claims of Christianity. It shows there are people even outside the church who accept the teachings of Jesus Christ. This proves the fact that Jesus was and is a great teacher. Teachers of the Law like Nicodemus, referred to him as a teacher that has come from God and scriptures and even history proves the fact that He is the greatest teacher of all time. However, one remarkable thing we should acquaint ourselves with is what he taught. The teachings of Jesus revealed God to us and He always connected Himself to God (John 12:49-50; 14:10). In effect, I agree with Rick Yount when he calls Jesus, God the teacher in Flesh. Jesus is an example and model for the church and we are where we are today as a church because of the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ. He taught his students (disciples) all they needed to know and how to find answers to what they do not know when He walked with them on the surface of this earth. The disciples, being taught and educated by the great teacher, became great Christian educators who passed all that values Jesus taught them to the next generations. In the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ we can identify some key things:
- He taught with authority- He was a teacher who had control of all that He taught. He taught as one who owned what He taught, as one who is the source of wisdom and knowledge. One remarkable thing about this can be seen when He taught in Mathew 5. He said , “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43,44). This is a man who spoke with authority.
- He taught as a witness- A witness recounts what he has seen and heard with his own eyes and ears. In his teachings, He revealed to us that, He is teaching us what He has seen the Father do and say
- He taught out of love and patience for sinners. When he saw the great crowd, he was moved with compassion (Mark 6:34) and he taught them. The teachings of the church cannot contradict what Jesus has taught because He is the Teacher of the Church.
When Jesus was done with his ministry on earth, He gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things (John 14:26). This shows the importance or relevance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. God collaborates with Christian teachers through the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish His purpose. We can only be good teachers in the church, if we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us and train us- this training can be done through establishing a relationship with the Spirit. We often pray for our pastors and preachers, that the Holy Spirit will speak through them to us. This shows the belief of the church that the Holy Spirit is the one that teaches us through many earthly vessels – man. The role of the Holy Spirit is essential in the supernatural transformation of learners through Christian education. Christian teaching without the Holy Spirit is meaningless. It is important to note that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and hence will teach us all that the Father seeks to teach us and will remind us of all that Jesus taught us. Because He is the Spirit of truth and God Himself, we know that He will not lie to us because He is not a man that should lie; that means the Holy Spirit will never teach us something that is opposite of what God and Jesus teaches us. The Holy Spirit is a special teacher who lives inside of us and His teachings brings us conviction.
We all know there are ministers of God who are called into the teaching ministry. However, as explained above, I believe you will agree with me that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the only teachers of the church. The teachers of the Gospel we know are only able to teach because the Holy Spirit enables them to. This brings us to the conclusion that, the triune God is the teacher of the church. If they do not teach the teachers, the teachers can not teach the church and the Bible is the guide or learning material for the church from which we are being taught.
By: Edmund Kyei Baffour (Koby Rhema)
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