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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Columnist: Jeremiah Appiah

Zealous erroneous knowledge

The author urges the reader to hunger for knowledge of truth and not just the knowledge The author urges the reader to hunger for knowledge of truth and not just the knowledge

Having knowledge does not always means you are smart or you are on the right path. This is because what you may have learnt, may be erroneous. Jesus said, "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John8:32)".

Meaning the only thing that can set you free is not just any kind of knowledge but knowledge of the truth. You will agree with me how dangerous it will be to know the wrong thing so well.

Looking back in our lives, there were things that we erroneously learnt so well, knowing and believing them to be true, only to encounter the truth from a credible source and then we came to the realization that we have been walking about for years carrying a misconception or false knowledge of a subject matter.

One of the dangerous human beings you will ever meet is one who has zealous error; people with zeal who are wrong and are not open to critique the kind of knowledge they have. The most dangerous thing for a person to have is knowledge that is erroneous and they believe it is true. It is the cause of great tragedy in our humanity and the history of man.

Most of the problems of our past were as a result of our contact with people who had wrong information and they believed it was right, were zealous about it and out of our ignorance we believed it, learnt it and also taught others erroneously.

The scripture says, ‘‘buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction and understanding (Proverbs 23:23)’’. Our only way of rescue is to seek knowledge; buy the truth, be eager to know more, be more and do more. We also need to understand that buying knowledge or information doesn’t give you a revelation.

In order to lead in any field of endeavour, you have to read; in other words, study. Every time you bypass a library or you fail to seek knowledge from a credible source, knowledge in a way ‘incriminates’ you.

A look at history reveals how people with zealous erroneous knowledge caused great tragedy to our humanity. The Crusaders (1095 -1271), which some historians restrict it to only armed pilgrimages to Jerusalem whiles others include all Catholic military campaigns with a promise of spiritual benefits; all Catholic holy wars or those with a characteristic of religious fervour, were as a result of zealous erroneous knowledge.

The Crusaders killed thousands of people all over Europe because they had a theological error and as a result, they tried to force people to come to Jesus with a sword.

To Hitler, God himself had, in fact, created the Aryans as the most perfect men both spiritually and physically. He believed that Aryan superiority was being threatened particularly by the Jews. As a result of his believe, he saw everyone else as sub-human and the Aryan race as the only true human race. This error made him massacre millions of people.

It is amazing what we will do with error, if we defend it vehemently. I remember how ignorant I felt when I first submitted a draft copy of one of my books for theological review. I realized there was more for me to learn. One of the erudite Bible scholars on the review board in my church denomination said, "you have to temper your passion with patience".

I took his council in good faith and like Aquila and Priscilla did to Apollos, I asked that he explain the word of God to me more accurately and I was willing to let go off my ignorance and seek knowledge of the truth concerning the subject matter.

Paul said, "brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2)".

Because Paul erroneously persecuted the disciples out of ignorance, he understood what it meant to have knowledge that was erroneous, believe that it is true and vehemently defend it.

Let’s hunger and thirst for the not just any knowledge but the knowledge of the truth concerning every subject matter.