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Opinions of Saturday, 20 July 2019

Columnist: James Quansah

The dangers of ignorance

IGNORANCE IS not just a societal problem; it is a big issue God does not tolerate. Indeed, lack of knowledge or unawareness can lead Christian men and women to eternal death. That is why God warns Christians about ignorance, knowing the dangers it poses to His children. Scripture warns that, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent…” (Acts 17: 30).

We cannot be children of God and remain ignorant about the love of God, will of God, ways of God, acts of God, promises of God, principles of God, commandments of God, statutes of God, precepts of God, warnings of God, wisdom of God, salvation of God and other things which God wants us to be informed about.

The creator of the cosmos alone is the repository of knowledge. He is omniscient. It is written of God: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” (Romans 11: 33). And being aware of the dangers of ignorance, God desires that people who believe in Him and walk with Him become knowledgeable.

Thus God promised to give the congregation of Israel pastors after His own heart, who would feed them with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3: 15). It is no wonder Malachi 2: 7 states that “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

The word “guard” means “preserve” or “keep”. This means servants of God including all Christians who are priests to God should be knowledgeable in the Word of God and be ready and willing to teach others about the ways, acts, precepts and commandments of God. You cannot be a Christian and be ignorant of Scriptures.

The Bible is full of words such as teaching, knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Almost every minister God appoints teaches. It is rare to see a messenger of God who never taught the people of God. From Noah to Bishop Antipas of Pergamum to all genuine ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, everyone was and is given the innate desire and passion to teach the oracles of God.

Jesus Christ is the world’s greatest Teacher. No one else’s words have greatly influenced the world than the words of Jesus Christ. Teaching is necessary for imparting knowledge, wisdom, understanding and eventually changing lives. Teaching and learning remove ignorance. But a Christian who will not want to be taught will be a danger to himself or herself, her community and the world as a whole.

More dangerous is the pastor who is ignorant. He will teach and feed people with errors, untruths and lies thereby lead them astray to suffer eternal destruction. Yes, an ignorant pastor will churn out ignorant Christians. This is why most Christians are ignorant today. A scripturally uninformed pastor will hurt himself and others. As a blind pastor, he and his congregants will fall into a ditch.

Therefore, as an educated Christian, you have a duty to personally read and meditate on the Word of God in order to receive knowledge. And you have a duty to teach others especially those who cannot read the Bible for truths you have been exposed to by the grace of God with all humility and patience. Today, we live in a complex world where many people teach the Word of God via myriad media outlets.

However, the apostle Paul warned that, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (1Timothy 6: 3- 4).

This means a servant of Christ cannot just get up and teach anything he or she likes. And even if he teaches what he likes, he cannot escape condemnation from the Lord who knows everything. A pastor is required to be led by the Spirit of Christ to feed believers with messages that agree with the teachings of Christ Jesus and the foundational apostles.

But a pastor who teaches different doctrines is just proud and lacks knowledge. His erroneous teachings result in controversies and quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction among people who are deprived of the truth… (1 Timothy 6: 4- 5).

This is the dangerous situation in which many Christians find themselves today. What is the fate of people who are trapped in the sins aforementioned? They may be plunged into eternal ruin and destruction. So, now, for us to avoid falling into destruction, we must repent of our ignorance and seek knowledge of the Bible through diligent Bible studies both at home and church meetings.