Whenever I talk about the church teaching one another (as opposed to one person or a small group of leaders doing all the teaching), I’m usually asked about false teaching. I’ve found that “teaching one another” has served to work against false teaching instead of encourage false teaching.
I like the balance that Gavin presents between the importance of teachers and the importance of the whole church teaching one another. Both are found in Scripture, and both are necessary to the growth and maturity of the church.
I especially enjoyed the end of his article where Gavin offers some unhealthy patterns to watch out for:
Please hear me, gifted teachers help us understand scripture. However, we all have a great privilege and responsibility to bring our questions to God, diligently seek Truth in His Word, and listen to the Holy Spirit as He teaches us. In simple church gatherings, we can zero in on truth together as we are living this way individually. Simply being involved with simple church offers no guarantee to find and walk in the Truth. Just as in any church, false teaching can find a home in simple church. Here are some unhealthy patterns to watch out for:
* Simple churches become to homogenous only consisting of believers who all think alike.
* One person dominating discussion/teaching
* Failing to “weigh carefully” what is said.
* Failure of believers to learn to “feed themselves” on God’s word, with Holy Spirit as teacher, throughout the week. (This is why we encourage Life Transformation Groups that focus on reading lots of scripture)
* We find ourselves talking more about what a particular author or teacher has to say about God Word than God’s Word itself.
* An unwillingness to be challenged in our view of truth or challenge others (in love) on theirs.
* Intentionally or unintentionally avoiding others who do not think or believe like you.
* A sense of discouragement from simple church gatherings rather than peace (see verse above).
* Simple church relationships become primarily about policing behavior and theology rather than fulfilling the Great Commission.
* We have a need to be right, fail to give grace, lack of humility, and we fail to obey Romans 14.
I agree with Gavin that having the whole church take part in teaching is a great way to filter out false teaching. Of course, those gifted at teaching are part of that “whole church,” so they are to take part as well.
I think that one of the things that I’m most excited about is that in the last few years I’ve noticed more and more churches recognizing the need for “teaching one another.” Of course, in most churches, there is still too much of an emphasis on a single or small group of teachers. But, the trend seems to be toward encouraging input and interaction and teaching from the whole church.