- Written by Dr Tim Brown
This can be a Tall Order
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. 1 Corinthians 318-19a NIV
This bible passage has come to me on significant occasions in the past one or two years as I have been asking the Lord how I should be wrestling between two or more different schools of thought or indeed asking the Lord how he wants to shape my discipline. For the academic this passage draws a firm line, Paul is saying we should start off as "fools" to become wise and many other translations of this passage don't put the word fool in quotes. Thus as an academic should I really always assume I know very little or nothing, yet still at the same time be thankful for the education I am so fortunate to have as well as the opportunity to educate and contribute new knowledge?
Earlier in the same chapter in verse 3, Paul is saying that the brothers in the church are still living in worldly ways, quarrelling amongst each other with regards to teachings they have heard from different leaders. Paul, however, is addressing in verses 11-12 how we should stand on the one true foundation, Jesus Christ, not laying one for ourselves. Thus to my mind, to become like “fools” is first to deny any authority in our own knowledge, seek Jesus Christ, then look at what we do know and keep asking the Lord what we are missing, by which we can testify to his shaping of our knowledge in order to use it wisely. This can be a tall order, but I do believe the Lord is saying to academics in C-A-N- that he wants us to hold the Gospel of Jesus Christ in esteem as the centre of what we do in our career, rather than being about how we can “compatibilise” our faith and our career, which would have a very different outcome. For me this brings value and purpose to the work I want to help C-A-N- with now and in the future and a way in which I seek to be changed as an academic.