Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

how shall they hear?



Romans 10:14 seems to suggest that the dissemination of the Gospel requires a human spokesman or instructor. That same thought seems to be borne out by the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. Both these passages point to a human intermediary as essential in receiving the divine revelation.


One thing I believe we know is that human instructors and communicators introduce into the salvation process an element of extreme uncertainty. For one thing, if different instructors disagree with each other about the proper instruction, then the hearer is left in a quandary, how to determine true instruction from false. If, as many Christians contend, the Bible settles that issue, then we are led to believe that the written word of the divine text trumps the spoken word of the teacher. If that is so, then the preacher or instructor becomes superfluous, i.e. not necessary. But then what do we make of Romans 10? Are human preachers essential or is the written word sufficient to instruct? Do the written words vet the preacher or does the preacher vet the book? Am I the only one confused here?


Furthermore, we know that effective instruction is difficult. When we talk about instructions in spiritual matters which must be transmitted across language and cultural barriers, the challenge is magnified a hundred fold. No one I have encountered has ever attempted to explain why such a haphazard method should apply to disseminating essential divine knowledge. One would be justified in assuming that ineffectiveness was the plan, a strange and troubling conclusion given what is supposedly at stake.


My conclusion is this: if hearing is essential, then everyone has to hear the same message from the same source, That will never be another human's interpretation of the Bible. The message logically must transmit directly from the mind of God to mind of each individual, just like indicated in Hebrews 8:10-11. The problem with the church and its interpretation of Romans 10:14 is that the situation today is not that of the NT times. The necessary instruction of the NT was completed long ago (Romans 16:26 and Colossians 1:23), so there is no need to assume that human instruction remains essential to mankind's spiritual well being.