Knowledge and Trusting Jesus for Leadership


Over the last fifty years, our perception of the nature of knowledge has changed. Religious knowledge about the soul is no longer on the same level as knowledge about the solar system or genetics. Scientists and other scholars often limit knowledge to what can be proved in a scientific laboratory.[1] Knowledge gained in controlled environments is considered higher and firmer than the knowledge of persons. This split in knowledge is a Faustian deal for the religious world. The university and other societal keepers of knowledge have said, "We will take knowledge," and told the church, "You take faith." And by obediently stepping aside, we Christians have sold our collective soul for a place, albeit a benign place, at the table. It is the chaplain's syndrome—the religious "expert" asked to open or close meetings with prayer or priest on the team sideline who is little more than a good-luck charm.

Clearly, it is not the non-Christian world alone that needs to be convinced that Jesus is competent as a world-class leader; Christians also need convincing. There is a great gulf between honoring Jesus as God and Savior of the world and seeing him as someone who is competent to help with tough decisions. I see this split in a good friend of mine who is a judge. His first prayer in the courtroom as a Christian lawyer was I love you, Lord, but I would appreciate it if you would just stay out of this legal proceeding. I've got this. My friend's attitude is common. Many Christians think that Jesus is qualified to help them in their spiritual lives, but question whether he understands or would even bother to take an interest in the rest of their lives, whether in a courtroom or office or kitchen. Peter had to make this decision when Jesus asked him to cast the fishing nets out again after he and his fellow fishermen had failed to catch any fish all night long. Peter decided that this out-of-work carpenter had knowledge about fishing because of who he was (see John 21:4-9). Jesus had capacities that made him an expert on everything.

The question for the church and its people is this: Are we going to settle for marginalization and allow Jesus to live in the margins with us? Let's not forget that Jesus can be marginalized only in his official capacity as the head of the visible church; he will insist on continuing his work among world leaders, even if he must do so unaccompanied by his own people. Let's follow him into the fray and learn from him about how to lead others. After all, Jesus is the only person who can be completely trusted and followed as a leader.

[1] It is worth saying that science is not fixed knowledge; it continues to grow, and new findings often disprove some previous theory. There is little said about the limits of scientific knowledge. Charles Darwin said that scientific observation's purpose is to test a theory. Science is a theory that is tested and a certain knowledge is attained. This kind of "truth" changes. Religious knowledge is proved in a different way but can be just as true and more unchangeable. There are different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Written by Bill Hull

Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan.