I had an interesting discussion this weekend at a fellowship taking place at the house of an elder of the church we were visiting. It was a wonderful time that took place after the worship service; and which included the taking of the Lord’s Supper and the baptism of a new believer. It certainly looked more interrelational than anything that I have experienced within the last couple of years.
An interesting topic arose during the conversation that took place outside in this man’s back yard. I was trying to explain the idea of bringing more interrelation into the worship service format when one of the men asked a very poignant question. He asked something to the effect of, “Are you suggesting that it would be more likely that an interactive discussion taking place between a group of unlearned new believers and one seasoned believer would be more spiritually enlightening than a circumstance where the seasoned believer was lecturing the new believers on the meaning of a text?” I thought for a second and then assuredly answered, “Yes, I am saying that.” Then the man gave a seemingly logical critique. He wondered how it could be more edifying for the unlearned new believers to keep asking questions and critiquing what the Biblically seasoned believer had to say when all that would do is interrupt the wise expository interpretation that could be flowing from the elder’s lips. He brought up the fact that no truly wise counsel on the meaning of the Word could come from those who had not yet read and exposited it. The lack of knowledge of the new believers required that they submit to the lectures given by the Biblically sound teacher and only when well educated would they be able to sit as the instructor rather than the instructed.
Does this man raise a relevant question? Can the principle of interrelation make a difference in the worship service proper, or is it designated only to the realm of small groups and special workshops? Is there room for student to question the teacher? A more theologically ambiguous question might be: Can the new Christian who has not heard the Word offer any spiritual insight to the wise teacher who has studied the Word thoroughly? Let me know what you think.