We are writing this article to answer questions about our (George Smith and Janet Weaver Smith’s and Garden Ministries) position on end time’s (i.e., eschatological) teachings. We feel we would better serve the question by describing our position on excellent Bible teachers who hold differing eschatological (end-time teaching) views and then direct you toward their teachings.
The Biblical calling of Teacher (I Corinthians 12:27) has strict accountability (James 3:1) and thus requires Bible teachers to have a certain spiritual keenness and corresponding humility, i.e., the teacher must have a passion for and discernment of sound doctrine, while possessing in himself or herself, a teachable spirit.
That means that whoever is called to teach theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind, (i.e. eschatological or end times teaching), understands their important role and great responsibility to the Body of Jesus Christ. Equally, it is critical that those of us being taught also consider it our Acts 17:11 “Berean” responsibility to “receive the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what [the Bible Teacher] said was true.”
In John 14:26, Jesus told his Disciples that the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” As we daily abide and grow in relationship with the Holy Spirit, we are taught by him. “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” I John 2:27
In other words, at the same time we are listening to Bible teachers teach, we are also engaging the Holy Spirit within us and looking for his “tuning fork” of truth to resonate with what we are hearing. By “tuning fork” resonance, we mean that we can spiritually recognize and receive truth through the power of the Holy Spirit who is guiding us and bearing his testifying fruits of peace, joy, wisdom, counsel, and understanding as we hear his Word spoken through men and women of God. As you listen, ask yourself: Does this teaching resonate? Does my spirit “bear witness” to the truth of it? If not, why not? If so, how does it fit with other resonant Bible teachings on the same subject?
George and Janet personally believe (but do not say that others should agree with them) that God has purpose in placing teachers of the Bible in the Body of Christ who hold differing eschatological views. It places equal responsibility on the teacher and on those being taught, to depend upon the Holy Spirit to “resonate” with what is from him, while we humbly love and accept each other in our process of learning.
George and Janet also believe that when the Holy Spirit releases greater revelation on a particular subject, greater clarity happens which leads to greater integration and unity. We believe that a good Bible Teacher may hold strongly to their eschatological view while their godly character humbly accepts that because we “know in part,” (I Corinthians 13:12), we may be “further taught” on any subject in the Bible. When spiritual revelation occurs that is scripturally grounded, and the teaching of this revelation resonates with our spirit and causes a change of our current view, we are willing to adjust our teaching curriculum to reflect our “growth” in this area.
Over the years, George and Janet have recognized that the character quality of Bible teachers directly affects the quality of fruit produced in their teaching. Good, godly character releases sound doctrine that the Holy Spirit blesses with his fruits of peace, joy, love, gentleness, etc. Conversely, immature Christian character, not rooted and grounded in faith, hope, and love, will presumptuously release teachings that promote self-centeredness, fear, and division rather than God-centeredness, love, peace, and the unifying effects of a servant heart that prefers others to themselves and “lays down their life for a friend” (John 15:13). “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought themâ€”bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1.
As of the date of this article, 2/22/2012, Americans enjoy the right to religious freedom. When the Harlot religion comes to America, religious freedom will not be the law of the land. So right now, it is extremely important that we utilize the vast teaching resources that are freely available to us and learn all that we can from these hard-working teachers of the Word.
May God bless you as you hear his Word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
Yours in the faith, hope, and love of Jesus Christ,
George Smith and Janet Weaver Smith, Â©gardenministries.org