Immature Christians

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Heb 5:12 KJV) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

One of the chief accusations which the writer to the Hebrews makes is that the people he is writing to seem to be stuck in a learning rut and for the length of time that they have been saved, there seems to be no evidence of growth. He is not accusing them of being unsaved or even being caught up in some type of group sin. What he is saying is that by this particular time, there should have been some among them which should have increased in their knowledge of spiritual things and should have progressed enough to the point that they should be teachers. It seems that this group had remained at the level they were when they first became saved. This is a shame because even a physical child while growing physically, will learn things as they grow.

These Christians were obviously stunted in their spiritual growth and either were not growing by choice or ability. It is obvious the scenario in view is one of choice. A person who is incapable of learning because of physical impairments would never be chided by another for their inability to learn. God is bringing an accusation against these Christians for their impeded growth. He is telling them that they have not even progressed past the point of the milk of the word, which is the most basic of all Biblical understanding. In verse 14, the Bible speaks of “meat” for those who are of full age. The difference between milk and meat is obvious, one is liquid and is for babies, and the other is solid which is needed for sustaining life and for continued growth.

Milk has to be fed to the baby while those of adult age can prepare the food and eat for themselves. This is the problem that we face today in Christianity. People become saved and never grow. Let me tell you plainly, that a Christian does not grow by reading books about the Bible and then adopting the author’s message. Increased extra-biblical knowledge does not constitute biblical maturity. The problem in the churches today is that the leadership in many congregations are simply putting aside the Bible and reading the works of man. This is why when a problem arises in the church, most leaders are unqualified to deal with them, simply because they have to rely on the works of man and fit those teachings they are familiar with into the problem at hand.

The problem with doing that is the works of man are severely finite and limited in scope. A person writes a book and normally uses some personal experiences they have encountered. The problem is that what works in one church may not work in another but may exacerbate the problem at hand. When the leadership of a church studies the Bible according to the Bible, they are then learning the infinite insights of God Himself and will be qualified to deal with situations that crop up in a church. Why? Because the word of God knows no depth. It cannot be exhausted as the works of man can. When a Christian faces a problem in their life and then goes to some written work by man and bypasses the Bible, they will fail and go deeper into sin, this is a guarantee.

The reason why so many bypass the Bible is its objectivity and straightforwardness. For example, a husband is cheating on his wife and then wants to know why he did it. So he goes to a well-respected Christian psycho-babbler and reads that his behavior is learned through the “affair” his father had with his secretary. He is following his father by the bad example set by his father. So the man comes away with an “idiot’s understanding” of his “problem” and then does nothing to rectify it because it is a learned way of life. The real reason that people avoid the Bible is because they fear what it says. This man was not having an “affair.” The Bible calls it adultery, lust, and fornication and tells the man that he is probably not saved and that he should stop his SIN and seek the Lord, and reconcile with his wife. This is why people would rather stay ignorant of the Bible, because it calls them exactly what they really are.

The writings of man soften things like adultery and does not make the guilty party feel true biblical remorse for their sin, which includes repentance. This is why Christians cannot grow in the faith because of the neglect of Biblical understanding. If the man who committed adultery would get his life back into Biblical concert, he would overcome the sin and grow in the faith. As long as man’s weak words usurps the powerful and healing word of God, Christians will remain weak and open to all kinds of sin.

This is why there is so much division in the church. Those whom the Lord grows in the faith are always the ones thrown out or chided simply because the milk drinkers are normally in charge of the church, so when the strong Christian comes along, they are normally castigated and sent packing. This is because strong Christians ALWAYS threaten the ignorant masses in the churches. If strong Christians had a good deal of say in the churches, can one honestly think that the churches would be in the condition they are, accepting anything as doctrine? I have known church leaders that were as dumb as rocks, yet they were in charge and you could openly see the degenerative practices in the church which were unbiblical. Maybe this is why more Christians do not want to grow stronger in the faith, simply because they don’t want to be thrown out of their church.

The sorry situation is that one of the biblical qualifications of church leadership is the ability to teach. Teaching is not taking a twelve chapter book written by some author and going over it one chapter at a time. Teaching is the ability to take the word of God, teach it authoritatively, interpret it, apply it, and make no excuses for it. The writer to the Hebrews was concerned because baby Christians who remain babies will be tossed around by every wind of doctrine and will become deceived, as many are today, who think they are mature because their head is filled with 50 authors instead of Scripture. When the Book of Hebrews was written, the Talmud was around but the writer to the Hebrews does not tell these people to go to the commentaries, instead, he wants them to use the word of God to grow because outside of the word of God, there is no spiritual growth. God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Where is truth found? It is found in the preserved Scriptures of our King James Bible.

Some years ago I knew a Christian who was saved since the 1940’s, the Bible he used to bring to Bible conferences was a shirt pocket edition of the New Testament. He was in trouble if the speaker went to the Old Testament, yet this person could tell you the prices and specials at all the surrounding restaurants. The biblical principle is as much alive today as it was when Hebrews was penned, growth comes through the Scriptures and not any para-biblical writings, as faithful as they may seem to be, they are all fallible and if we lean on them in times of trouble, we will be disappointed. Go take an objective look at your library and see how many different authors you are influenced by. Then, as the Prodigal Son, when you come to your senses, you will do as I did, I dumped off 2/3 of my library and kept only reference books. To study the Bible, according to the Bible, will yield much more spiritual fruit and a stronger, non-compromising ministry. Make today your beginning of spiritual growth according to the Scriptures. Soon you will be ordering steak!

(Heb 13:7 KJV) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.   (12/12/03)