An incident that significantly impacted my spiritual life occurred when I was eight years old. My “twin” cousin Ezzard Charles Robinson and I were engaged in a game of marbles called “holesies”. The pastor of the church that Ezzard and his family attended sauntered up in the middle of our game. We paused our game and respectfully returned his greeting. He then sternly, but lovingly stated: “You know boys, the Bible says to ‘marble’ not.” At these words we quickly gathered up our marbles and went on to our next boyhood backyard adventure. The pastor continued to the house where he visited my aunt and uncle.
THEOLOGY AT 8 YEARS OLD
Ezzard and I had the first theological discussion of our young lives, while the pastor visited with my aunt and uncle. Ezzard was familiar with the passage and quickly pointed out the discrepancy: Jesus had told Nicodemus “marvel not” that He had said he must be born again. I’d heard the passage (John 3:7) and picked up on the mistake as well. I was more concerned about continuing our game knowing that we would not be indulging in sin. After agreeing that playing marbles was not going to condemn us to hell, we resumed our game. (The pastor had left the premises and continued his sojourn visiting other members in the neighborhood.)
SMALL PROBLEM/BIG ANSWER
Furthermore, this true story is a microcosm of the macrocosm of theology. This example shows lack of training and how easily and unsuspectingly misinformation can spread. It is a humorous story about a very serious problem. But, what can be done to remedy this problem? How can we minimize the likelihood of episodes such as this?
Often I’ve looked back over this episode and laughed out loud! Moreover, the pastor was guilty of misinterpreting scripture, while doing his due diligence visiting his members. He was also the source that provided the sensible conclusion we came to. Furthermore, what would have happened if we had taken his words at face value? We might not have believed that playing a game of marbles would have been our beginning on the road to perdition?
When we are faced with ethical choices, a good foundation in theology is a good weapon to have in your arsenal. An intentional study of God and His purpose for us in this life can be invaluable. When we face a crossroad in our lives a seminary education is a great way to discover answers. A seminary education is not only for those who are looking to work in ministry. Theology is considered by some to be the queen of sciences, as it explores the greatest questions that man must wrestle with.
Jesus said “marvel not” to Nicodemus concerns about being born again. I say to you “marvel not”, a good seminary education can lead to answers to spiritual questions that anyone may have…, even to, two 8-year-old boys playing marbles!
For such an education I recommend Good News Seminary and Bible College.
Rev. Dr. Dennis L. Moore