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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

An Awesome Responsibility

The blog, As Bereans Did, has posted an excellent article entitled Willful Ignorance. The thesis of the post is that some folks think that they have the truth, and that anyone who disagrees with them is just plain wrong! In the article, xHWA pointed out that these folks often use prooftexts to defend their beliefs, and that they intentionally ignore or dismiss anything which might contradict their "truth." The author went on to relate that "it was giving myself permission to question and to be wrong that turned my life around." This humility is what distinguishes all of us seekers of real TRUTH from those who have wrongly assumed that they already have it all figured out. For them, truth is a neat little package of beliefs that has only to be absorbed by each person familiarizing themselves with the prooftexts provided by their betters.

In my former religious culture, the "betters" were the ministers and elders of the Armstrong Churches of God. These men were trained at Ambassador College or by a local minister in the "truths" revealed by Herbert Armstrong. There was no independent research or thought involved in that process. They weren't permitted to deviate from what Mr. Armstrong had taught. In the exact reverse of the Torah test of whether someone was speaking God's truth (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), the minister was NOT evaluated by his fidelity to Scripture or Jesus Christ. Instead, he was evaluated by how faithful he was to what Herbert had taught.

Of course, we know that the passage in Torah which immediately preceded the passage quoted above, pointed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate source of God's TRUTH (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Indeed, we read in the Gospel of John, that Christ proclaimed: "I am the way, and THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, ESV) Moreover, in his general epistle, James declared that "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." (James 3:1, ESV) He also went on to say that the tongue (as the representation of speaking) has the potential to inflict great harm (James 3:2-12). He also instructed Christians to NOT allow selfish ambition to motivate them - like wanting to be the leader or group spokesman (James 3:13-16). James went on to conclude that "the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere," and that it leads to a harvest of righteousness (James 3:17-18, ESV).

Yes, we should all strive to follow the example of the Bereans and searching the Scriptures every day to see if what some minister or preacher is teaching us is consistent with what we read therein (Acts 17:11). That does NOT, however, change the fact that those who would presume to be ministers, preachers, and teachers are held to a higher standard than their audiences. In short, it is an awesome responsibility to presume to speak or teach in the Lord's name! Hence, it is incumbent upon all of those who would presume to speak or teach to be open to reason, impartial, humble, and to be practicing what they preach!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I am glad God sent you a blessing through my post.

    Excellent point in quoting that Jesus is the truth. Avoiding the truth is avoiding Jesus. I hadn't thought of it that way.