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PROFESSIONALISM



PROFESSIONALISM



Professor P. V. Ntintili, Ph.D.; Th.D.



Copyright © 2018 Professor P. V. Ntintili


Published by Professor P. V. Ntintili Publishing at Smashwords


First edition 2018


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the copyright holder.


The Author has made every effort to trace and acknowledge sources/resources/individuals. In the event that any images/information have been incorrectly attributed or credited, the Author will be pleased to rectify these omissions at the earliest opportunity.


Published by Author using Reach Publishers’ services,

P O Box 1384, Wandsbeck, South Africa, 3631


Edited by Tony van der Watt for Reach Publishers

Cover designed by Reach Publishers

Website: www.reachpublishers.co.za

E-mail: reach@webstorm.co.za



CONTENTS



Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Chapter 1: Some professionals in the Bible

Chapter 2: The contribution of professionals in the Bible

Chapter 3: Shirking of responsibility

Chapter 4: Education versus professionalism

Chapter 5: Qualities of professionals

Chapter 6: Performance-related qualities of professionals

Chapter 7: Values of professionals

The value of knowing

The value of learning

The value of helping

The value of accountability

The value of respect

The value of cooperation

The value of self-directedness

Chapter 8: The Concept of autonomy

Chapter 9: Other important concepts in professionalism

Chapter 10: Characteristics of professionalism

Defining professionalism

Competent and proficient

High standards of performance

An enabler meeting the needs of others

An Advisor to Clients

High work ethic

Chapter 11: Don’ts of professionalism

Chapter 12: The accountability of privilege

Chapter 13: Christian professionals and responsibility

The responsibility of caring

Adherence to the love ethic

Exhibition of good neighbourliness to others

Elimination of world hunger

The concept of meliorism

Salt and light of the world

Getting rid of an escapist view of life

The need for courage

Chapter 14: Preparation for Christian professionalism

Spiritual preparation

Intellectual preparation

Educational preparation

Health education

Professional preparation

Preparation in time management

Socio-political preparation

The need for professional discipleship

Chapter 15: Who is a Christian professional?

Chapter 16: God’s charge to Christian professionals

Christian professionals must arise

Be concerned

Get involved!

Be holistic

Utilise your platform

Take-over of your arena of operation

Labour for revival

Chapter 17: Professionalism and discipleship

Defining Discipleship

The Focus of Discipleship

The Outcome of Discipleship

Epilogue

Bibliography

Recommended reading



Preface



There are four unforgettable experiences that prompted me to become a professional. The first one was the visit by a Nigerian theologian, Byang Kato, in 1971, to the school where I was studying in South Africa. He had a Th.D from one of the prestigious schools in America. When he came to our institution, the respect he was accorded by the principal and teachers of the school, all of whom came from America, impressed me. I quietly resolved that I was going to be a doctor one day, although I did not know how. What made this resolve even stronger was when I read his book, Theological Pitfalls in Africa, in which he courageously and cogently defended the faith once entrusted to the saints (Jude 1:3). In this book Dr. Byang Kato was refuting heretical presuppositions on which theology was being premised by the authors he was discussing. I had a quiet desire to, one day, author a book that would be a humble contribution to my generation.

The second incident was a conference I attended that was organised by Africa Enterprise and it was called SACLA – South African Christian Leadership Assembly. Several critical issues were discussed at this conference. What irked me was the fact that most of the speakers were liberal theologians who were invited on the basis of their educational credentials. They had no life at all. As I listened to their presentations, I thought that there were brothers who could have made better presentations that were based on the Word of God, but they could not be featured on the programme because they did not have degrees, which seemed to be the criterion for inclusion. The invited speakers distorted the Bible and presented arguments with convoluted logic. I again quietly resolved that one day I would stand on such platforms and present papers that honoured Christ and were faithful to the Word of God. Again, I had not the faintest idea how this could be achieved.

The third experience was the conference I attended in 1976 in Kenya which was called PACLA – Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly. It was there that I met African giants like Godfrey Osamensah, Festo Kivengere, Rev. Wilson from Uganda and many others. There were also one or two theologians whose theology was questionable. It is a pity that by then Dr. Byang Kato had died. He had also been invited before his untimely death. Some presenters at this assembly greatly impressed me with their love for Christ, their commitment to world evangelisation, their concern for the social plights that plagued the masses of Africa, their faithfulness to the Word of God and their erudite scholarship. I once more had a strong desire to further my education so that I too could make my humble contribution to my country and the continent.

The fourth experience happened in 1977 and I was in prison – in solitary confinement because of my political involvement. It was the statements that I had made at Fort Hare University and other institutions of higher learning where I had been invited to speak. By this time I was a public figure and had many speaking engagements. I was the general secretary of the Bible Society. I also contributed many articles to the daily newspaper that circulated in our province, the Daily Dispatch. Now in prison, the prison warden asked me how many degrees I had. When I told him that I only had diplomas and some credits towards a BA degree, he was visibly shocked and confessed that he thought I had two or three degrees. Instead of being embarrassed by this, it strengthened my resolve to be educated. Fortunately three years later I had the privilege to be admitted at the same school where Dr. Byang Kato had studied. It was unbelievably exhilarating.

I am relating these stories to underscore the urgent need for genuine and born again Christians to attain high professional training. If we do not, we are creating a vacuum which will be ineluctably filled by non-Christian professionals who do not believe in Christ, nor in the Bible and who do not espouse kingdom values. The only way to effectively serve one’s generation, nation and the world is to become a professional. Please do not misconstrue me to be saying that if you are not a professional you can’t serve your community, nation and the world. What I am saying, though, is that to be effective and produce incredible results you have to be a professional. So I am encouraging young people to be serious about attaining education. Nigerians are exemplary in this regard. Our nation of South Africa is full of many Nigerians who are pursuing their doctoral and post-doctoral studies. They are found in high positions all over the world and those who know Christ are able to lead many to Him while executing their professional responsibilities. There are many stories I could tell in this regard. This is what prompted me to have an unquenchable desire for further education so that I could contribute professionally to my generation. This book is a feeble attempt to do just that. With all its weaknesses and shortcomings, I pray that it will nevertheless make that contribution.

The target of this book is the young African up-and-coming intelligentsia. I plead with you to ignore whatever flaws you encounter in the book and take the good, however little it might be, and use it to best effect. Even more importantly, resolve to write a better book than this one which will compensate for all the shortcomings you may have spotted in it.

The book is targeting professionals and the language used is one that is suitable for this class of people. If God wills it, there will be another book or books that that will target people in general. Please do not begrudge the style of writing and the language used in this one. They are germane to the target group. Even the message is meant for them. The intent is to incite them into action. There is so much they can do for their communities and nations, and the time to do it is now. May they rise up and be counted in a time such as this. Please arise! God has invested so much in you, and your community and nation need you. Above all, God needs you. To whom much is given, much is expected. You are indebted to God and to your nation. Be the best Christian professional you can be. Find out your mandate from God and execute it with singleness of purpose. If you do, your works will speak many years after your death.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



For a project such as this, there are many people who deserve to be thanked and whose invaluable contributions must be acknowledged. The first Person I want to profusely thank is God who, in His immeasurable grace, sponsored my educational pursuits. It is not hyperbolic to say that He sponsored my education. He literally provided me with the resources I needed to pursue further studies. I thank God also for endowing me with the capacity for academic pursuit. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to God for His mercies and grace in this regard. Secondly, it is proper for me to thank all the institutions that gave me financial assistance for my graduate studies. Among these are Dallas Theological Seminary, Drew University, the Ford Foundation, Mont Clair Congregational Church, and Lakeside Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Graduate studies are very costly, and without bursaries and financial help they are inaccessible for most people. Thirdly, I want to thank my wife, Felicia, for all the support she gave me in my graduate studies. After obtaining a diploma in ophthalmology, she was granted a scholarship to study optometry in the UK and at the same time I was given a scholarship to do graduate studies in the US. She had to forgo her opportunity to do optometry so that she could come with me. For that sacrifice, I thank her so much. She has always been exceptionally supportive of my every endeavour in God’s work. Fourthly, I thank God for all the support in prayer and many other ways which I have received from Peace House South Africa, particularly Miss Nontle Gama for her electronic research. Mrs. Nombulelo Socikwa was also outstanding in helping me with internet research. Finally, I want to thank Brother Gbile Akanni for all his incredible input into my life. The Lord has used him greatly in shaping my life and conforming it to that of Christ. My wife is the only person who can attest to this acknowledgement. He has also graciously but firmly prodded and encouraged me to put something into writing. His example of a very high work ethic and undistracted focus is a source of inspiration to most of us who are his team mates. What a blessing to have a team leader of his calibre. All the honour and glory goes to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for brother Gbile’s life.

INTRODUCTION



What prompted me to write this small book is what God is doing in the world today in preparation for the imminent return of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. We are convinced that before Christ returns there will be a sweeping revival – the last one – which will usher into the kingdom millions of people. It is our deep conviction that professionals will play a pivotal role in this revival which will transform communities and nations. The influence which almost all professionals wield in society will make it relatively easy for them to play this role. For most people, what professionals say seem to be the ‘gospel truth’ and they often do not bother to verify its authenticity and plausibility.

However, before professionals can play this critical role for the kingdom of God, there are certain things they need to be aware of. First, they need to realise that the professional training they have is actually a gift from God. If God had not given them intellectual acuity, access to institutions of learning, and finances to do so, they would not have been educated. There was a reason why God granted them the education they have. Second, their placement into where they currently serve may also have been, by and large, divinely determined. There is something God wants to achieve through them where He has strategically placed them. Third, they need to realise that they wield great influence in society. With most professionals, when they speak, other people listen, including people in very high positions in government and in business. Professionals that belong to the kingdom of darkness use this intellectual power and authority which they have for the advancement of the purposes of the king of darkness. They are able to do so because of the abdication of responsibility by those professionals that belong to the kingdom of light. Fourth, they need to realise that their profession is their platform for serving God. They must never undermine that platform. Through it they can reach out to people in high places and this could expedite the transformation of society and nations. They have a very powerful pulpit which they need to use for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Fifth, they need to be well versed with biblical principles and values so that in their academic and scholarly pursuits they do not knowingly or inadvertently flout these principles. That is why they need to be well acquainted with the teachings of the Word of God and of good Christian books. Sixth, they cannot do this in isolation. There must be collaboration amongst professionals from the different professional disciplines. Few of our problems can be solved by input from one profession. The challenges we face today need input from various professional disciplines. This makes it imperative for professionals to collaborate their efforts for the common good of us all. Seventh, professionals must have a deep-seated conviction that they have a significant contribution to make towards national transformation and revival. They need to regard, and rightfully so, their professions as a calling from God for which they will give an account to God at the end of their lives here on earth. They should, thus, pour their lives into their work and know that they are actually serving God. Finally, they need to know that God is immensely interested in helping them in their professional pursuits. It was Isaac Newton who is quoted as having said that science was the garden that God had given to him to cultivate for Him. Every professional must have this sense of labouring with God. This will make it easy for them to seek the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit in their work. When they do, they will have an incredible competitive advantage over their colleagues who do not know the Lord.

I will be semi-scholarly in this writing. This means that I will cite some people who have something important to say on the subject. Where I have misplaced the sources, I will not hesitate to cite important statements made by those whose sources cannot be cited. I will simply mention the name of the person concerned and what he or she says. If you are interested to pursue what they say, it will not be difficult to trace them and their works on the topic.

I have decided to use the Turabian style of footnoting because it is easy to read a citation or elaboration at the bottom of the page. I will follow this style in writing references at the end of the book. In the bibliography, I will list not only books cited in the text but also books that might be helpful for further investigation of the various subjects discussed in this book.

This book is directed to Christian professionals and it is hoped that they will rise and be counted in the end-time move of God. They have a critical role to play in this upcoming revival and in the transformation of society for which we are arduously working.

CHAPTER ONE
SOME PROFESSIONALS IN THE BIBLE



I do not intend to be elaborate in discussing this topic because it is not the focus of this book. All I want to do is to show that there are people who are highly educated and professionals. that are mentioned in the Bible. Most used their professions in the service of the Lord and in the extension of His kingdom. We want to refer to certain professions that are mentioned in the Bible. We do know that their training, in some cases, drastically differed from ours and ours differs from that of our great-grandparents. Education takes place in the context in which it occurs and is influenced by the social, religious, cultural, political and economic milieu in which it is carried out. In this chapter, we simply want to point out that there are several professions mentioned in the Bible. We do not have time to be elaborate on the various professions mentioned and these occupations had the same connotation we attach to them today. The main point, though, is that those who occupied these professions used them for God and His kingdom. Today’s professionals must take a cue from that which emboldens them to do the same where God has placed us, and to impact our generations.

I want to refer to a few examples of some professions we find in the Bible. For example, the Bible speaks of physicians. Cruden’s Complete Concordance to the Bible explains:

These were not like our physicians, as the science had not progressed far. But they were healers, according to their ability. The word is also used of healers of the mind, comforters, and also embalmers, as having to do with the human body.

Perhaps the earliest recorded physician in history was Imhotep of Egypt. He lived and practised medicine nearly 3000 B.C., and was so highly regarded by the Egyptians that they worshipped him as a god. As time went by, Egyptian know7ledge of medicine increased. Some of the physicians became specialists in surgery, embalming (Gen. 50:2), and obstetrics. The first recorded female obstetricians were the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah (Ex. 1:15).

Among the Greeks, Aesculapius, who lived in around 1200 B.C., was a physician regarded as a miracle worker. He was very thorough in his treatment of his patients. Hippocrates (about 460 B.C.) is considered the founder of scientific medicine. Around 300 B.C. a famous school of medicine was started in Alexandria, Egypt. The faculty had the benefit of considerable medical knowledge from the Greek, Roman, Babylonian and Indian sources. It is well for Bible students to remember this. Now in Colossians 4:14 Luke is referred to as the ‘beloved physician’. R.H. Pousma says about Luke’s medical training:

If Luke was trained at the Alexandrian school, or by graduates of that school, his medical knowledge had considerable scientific basis. Some of this appears in his gospel when he gives details concerning the diseases of people Jesus healed.

He goes on to say: “What a comfort it must have been for Paul to have Luke as his personal physician; and what a privilege it must have been for Luke to be closely associated with such an intense and devoted Christian Leader as Paul.” What we should note is that there is the profession of a physician in the Bible. In the following chapter, we will note the contribution of Luke and other professionals in advancing the kingdom of God.

Secondly, we also find lawyers in the Bible. In Greek a lawyer is called nomikos from the Greek word nomos, meaning ‘law’. In the New Testament it is used adjectivally in Titus 3:9 in the context of disputes concerning the law. It is also used of Zenas in Titus 3:13, probably in the normally secular sense of ‘lawyer’ or ‘notary’. In many instances in the New Testament (e.g. Matt. 22:35; Luke 7:30; 10:25; 11:45f., 52; and 14:3) the word ‘lawyer’ refers to the Jewish leader with the responsibility of preserving, studying and applying the law to the situations of everyday life. The lawyer combined the function of religious teacher with that of civil magistrate or judge in Israel. The term ‘lawyer’ is used synonymously with that of ‘teacher of law’ or ‘doctor of law’. J.L. Kelso observes:

Since every detail of Jewish life was expected to be regulated by the law, and since it was impossible for an ordinary Jew to become familiar with the multitude of legal requirements and to apply them in the new situations of daily life, it was absolutely necessary for some men to devote themselves to a study of the law. Those who did were lawyers.

This shows us how absolutely necessary the profession of law was in the Jewish context to help individuals to know how to conduct themselves in society. Those who infringed the law were executed, some of them in the most cruel manner. But in Titus 3:13 we are told that Zenas was a lawyer and in this verse scholars concur that the term is used in its Roman or/and Greek secular sense, which would be equivalent to our use today. The point I am merely raising is that lawyers also were found in Bible times and their help in interpreting law for citizens was critical.

If you carefully search the Bible you will find that there were many other professions that existed in Bible times. There were governors, administrators, scribes, state secretaries, midwives, teachers, tax collectors, construction engineers, engravers, artists and designers. Their contribution to society was indispensable. The Bible does not look down upon one’s professional background. That is why, when these people are mentioned, their professional background is also included. This shows that a professional has an important role to play in society and if he or she does not play it, society is extremely disadvantaged and deprived.


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