Teaching All the Wrong Things To Get All the Right Results

I talked to Austin Park this morning. He’s 20 years old, and he’s going off from Rose Creek Village to join ITEC and be taught by Steve Saint and friends how to help spread the Gospel to the whole world. He was raised at Rose Creek Village, and we devoted ourselves to teaching him how to follow Christ.

We forgot, however, to teach him how to be a Christian.

So he called today to ask. "What church do I go to?" "Is it okay to go to church?" "Do I have to care about end times?" "Why are Christians so condemning toward Jehovah’s Witnesses."

Now that was an enjoyable conversation!

I want to talk, though, about only one of his questions: "Why did Steve Saint make an exception for me and know so quickly he should?"

Diligently Preserve the Unity of the Spirit

Austin didn’t exactly ask that question. It was more a topic we discussed. I thought, however, you’d appreciate it if I didn’t type out our whole phone conversation, but reduced it to a question and answer.

Austin told me that Steve Saint knew within half an hour that Austin was sent to meet a need of theirs. He also told Austin that Austin has the spiritual maturity of a much older man.

I haven’t met Steve Saint. He’s the son of Nate Saint, who was martyred in Ecuador with Jim Elliott, a story which was covered in the movie, End of the Spear. I’ve only heard him speak, and I’ve talked to others who are now meeting and talking to him. Steve Saint is a spiritual man.

Austin has spiritual maturity, and Steve Saint could see into Austin’s heart quickly … both are true for the same reason.

Austin has spiritual maturity, not because of what we’ve taught him, but because of what we haven’t taught him.

Austin told me that concerning many of the subjects he’s discussed with Christians he’s met, his answer has repeatedly been, "I don’t really care."

Christians today think that unity comes from doctrine. We have all these doctrines we care about. We honor the Scriptures, most of the time more than we honor God. God might lead us astray, most Christians think, but the Scriptures won’t. We’re safer if we have good, solid, black-and-white Scriptural guidance for what we believe and how we live than if we lean on invisible, possibly emotional Spiritual guidance.

That’s ridiculous, and if it doesn’t kill you spiritually, it will make you deathly ill.

It will certainly hide your heart and stunt your spiritual growth.

Spiritual men have learned what to care about and what not to care about. Spiritual men are capable of preserving the unity of the Spirit because they’re not covering up spiritual unity with all sorts of brilliant, insightful—and even Scriptural—theological ideas.

Steve Saint and Austin touched hearts quickly because we’ve never clogged up Austin’s spirit with good Christian ideas. We just left him to God.

Good Christian Ideas and Spiritual Power

Sometimes that’s embarrassing. He doesn’t know all the Bible stories that the Sunday school kids know. He doesn’t know all the right Scriptures. He may never have paid much attention to "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Instead, he learned verses like "warn the unruly and comfort the fainthearted," so he’d know how to talk to friends.

But it’s never embarrassing when the battles come. No one ever regrets having Austin alongside them on the spiritual front lines. You turn, and he’s still there. Provisions and supplies run low, and people are collapsing everywhere, and you turn, and Austin is saying, "I’m still here; we’ll win in the end."

When the battle’s not raging, you may find our kids sitting in the theater watching Harry Potter, or worse, the latest Matt Damon movie.

Sometimes it may be appropriate to be embarrassed about things like that; however, what’s never embarrassing is that every one of them knows that the ultimate sin is to talk about the movie afterward without including every one of their friends, or to ignore the lonely stranger sitting in the corner, or to be too busy to open a door for a lady or to help someone in need.

No one left out, no one lonely, always have time for people, and always serve them.

That ought to be a Scripture or something.

"They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another."

"If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of everyone."

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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8 Responses to Teaching All the Wrong Things To Get All the Right Results

  1. jeremiahbriggs says:

    Austin is living proof thet knowledge puffs up but love edifies

  2. David Servant says:

    What great news about Austin! He's in a good place that I once visited when we were dreaming about buying an experimental plane from Steve Saint! Barry Trotter, father of Jeff (on HF's staff), a former Eastern Airlines pilot, has been very involved with ITEC and the producing of the "End of the Spear" movie.

    If RCV has any young people interested in a video internship, I'm looking for someone like that to join us at HF. Blessings, David

  3. Rebecca Milam says:

    I love this post! We are all very proud of Austin and I doubt anyone is suprised by this recent turn of events. Our God is Faithful! I'm so excited to see what will happen next and I fully expect that those coming up under him will do even more. The investment we pour out on these kids will not return void.

    • shammahbn says:

      The investment is well worth it. Those folks you live with are "our kids." They just don't look like kids anymore. I'm just as proud of them!

  4. Channah says:

    I LOVED this post! It made me cry. Thank you so much for what you do every day. God gives you an ability to slice and dice and easily get to the good stuff and write clearly about it because of those choices you make every day!

  5. Dassi says:

    I can amen that. I've been through a million battles with him at my side. 🙂 He's totally awesome.

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