Not all higher education is good. In fact, some of it can be dangerously hurtful, especially among Gods people. Thats the kind Im opposed to.
I am opposed to the kind of higher education which becomes an end in itself; the kind without point or purpose. Most elective higher education presupposes its employment in some way. Prospective preachers, for instance, can learn much in subjects such as English and Speech that will improve their effectiveness as public speakers and writers — but only if they employ what is learned. However, to become a professional student who is ever learning with little intention of ever doing is to waste precious time that ought to be redeemed (Eph. 5:16).
I am opposed to the kind of higher education that promotes pride–that subtle kind of pride that self rarely recognizes or confesses. Such pride is almost limitless in its expression. It may lack patience with the ignorant and uneducated brethren. It may even be critical of them for being unable to fathom and appreciate the great instruction and instructor with which they have been blessed (?). (How opposite the truly educated instructor who accommodates his instruction to the level of his listeners in bite-size and digestible chunks — the way Jesus did.) When higher education lowers our esteem for brethren and hinders our association with them, it has been a hurtful education. Care must be taken to insure that higher education is not attained at the expense of humility.
I am opposed to the kind of higher education among Bible teachers that complicates and confuses the gospel message. For instance, the use of a vocabulary that is intended to enhance the speaker more than the message edifies no one (1 Cor. 12:26b). Learning and being edified are impossible without understanding; understanding is impossible when the language is not common to teacher and learner. Even humble men of higher education can unwittingly use expressions that are natural with them but not understood by their audience — it may sound good, but who is profited? Paul did not come with excellency of speech (1 Cor. 2:1), neither should we! The gospel needs no embellishment. Its persuading power does not lie in the wit and wisdom of its proclaimers, much less in their ability to quote from the Greek.
I am opposed to the kind of higher education that causes less appreciation for first principle Bible subjects. Such milk is ever appropriate in the spiritual diet of every Christian and they should rejoice to know that others may be hearing it for the first time. Whether teacher or learner, highly educated or less, such truths are worthy of our hearing and repeating again and again with thanksgiving and appreciation.
I am opposed to the kind of higher education that promotes party spirit between the alumni or other educated peers; the kind that causes discrimination between brethren and destroys equality among believers. Seek it? Yes, if you will use it. Label it, handle with care.
Dan S. Shipley