I know Christians who give the impression that higher education is an evil or, at best, a hindrance to holiness.
To hear them talk, college, grad school, seminary are unnecessary. If you love God, you don’t need education. “God qualifies the called.”
I’m bothered by this attitude for two reasons:
- Education is unrelated to salvation or holiness.
- Ignorant Christians don’t bring any particular glory to God.
Education has an important role in life. It can create opportunities. When soldiers came home from World War II, many enrolled in college on the GI Bill, earned degrees and gained access to jobs in business, healthcare and education instead of doing menial factory or farm work.
I grew up in a Deep South textile town where generations of unschooled workers labored in dust-filled Bibb, Swift, Phoenix and Fieldcrest mills. Many were family members. Without education, I might have followed them into a future of hard work and low pay.
The benefits of education aren’t just temporal. Education can create opportunities for ministry, too. The apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of Christians, was a learned man trained by one of the great minds of his day.
Education didn’t bring him to God. But God later used Paul’s background for His purposes. Paul’s command of Scripture enabled him to prove to fellow Jews that Jesus is the Christ. God chose Paul to bring the Gospel to non-Jews, even before kings, and to pen much of the New Testament.
The same God who called Paul to Christian service also called Peter, an unschooled fisherman. My point is this: Education is spiritually neutral. It’s not a tool of satan. It won’t save you. It won’t give you favor with God. But if you have it, God can use it.
I like what Abraham Lincoln said: “I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.”