Saturday, June 6, 2009

Men i'll quote but not blindly endorse

Without a doubt, no man is flawless and no man's doctrine is flawless. Yet that doesn't mean we all equally share in weaknesses or a lack of doctrinal clarity. Naturally there are many things that can be quite confusing, and some things that will always be confusing; which are things which men should be more careful trying to define (doctrines which aren't really doctrines because they aren't clear).

Like many of my family in Christ, I have been benefited by many dead people. Usually we start learning from the most popular (radio or tv) and then we begin to learn from what we stumble upon at our local bookstores, and after we've had all that cotton candy, we finally begin to find something of substance and we follow different trails of people and books quoted from.
There are men like David Wilkerson, Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, Nicky Cruz, Steve Hill and many more that were incredible blessings to me. BUT to be honest they ALSO crippled me, because I lacked a proper grasp of grace: how it was lavished on me and how it worked in me. So like many of my peers (mostly young adults) I tried to preach 'hard', became on the one hand rightly dissatisfied but on the otherhand very critical and impatient with 'true' believers, judging them by the standards of these men (it's very easy now to spot this in others).
Of course the guys that are still living are less quoted and used as examples even though they are contemporaries of these men, which is quite interesting. If I can use the dead then I should be consistent enough to use the living. I can say now that the men I listed and some others like Paris Reidhead, Wesley, and so on would be my last recommended to read. I say this because to go back and even read Tozer, sure there's an amazing exaltation of God (Piper would be better) but a lot of the things he's said were flat out legalistic. Tozers' mysticism was always a red flag to me (even while I attended a Pentecostal church), of course reading some of his recommended mystics didn't help, yet it must be said that unlike Edwards, Tozer's 'devotion' to God led him to neglect his family and his flock (which i first caught glimpse of in his biography and was reminded in Voddie Bauchams 'What he must be....').
With each of these men we could point out the inconsistencies, the legalistic quotes and the like. Yet to read them now, I have to read them through the interpretation of the gospel of grace, the God of grace; to read or listen to such men require a solid grasp of the doctrines of the gospel, the doctrines of grace, of God's workings, of God's love towards His saints and then there may be much that can be learned. I wish with every quote preachers had the time to warn others about things to be careful of but that might be too much, but i would hope that every believer would realize that a quote doesn't mean 'full' endorsement and that some preachers, some authors are for mature audiences only.
We all have blind spots or memory lapses and quite often we make too many allowances for dead preachers, and so we have our picks for who we will or won't quote. I for one can't stomach to quote a heretic like Charles Finney, nor do I think I could quote Billy Graham favorably (due to his leading role in the mess of today's gospel and evangelicalism), nor can I get out of my mind the inconsistencies in the beliefs of C.S. Lewis and so I don't quote him either; like I said those are just some of mine and i guess we all have our own. I guess I'm seeking to beg my family in Christ to use discernment in what and who you read; and for the mature, be especially careful in who you recommend (analyze their teachings as you would others) (at least give a little warning).


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