Who Says… We Should Place Men On Pedestals?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Beth Wiens, published on 2015-03-30.

This week, my guest blogger will challenge our natural tendency to follow men rather than God.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: Gal. 1:8

Last week I discussed the pitfalls of sending our children to Greek philosophers to gain wisdom, but what about the “Christian” classics? Many assume that if an author is revered by leading Christians, then his books are worthy of our trust. While we do have a heritage of excellent literature to draw from, it still takes discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. Just because an author is highly acclaimed within the Christian community, does not mean we lower our guard and accept his words without filtering them through Scripture. Any time a man is placed on a pedestal, it becomes increasingly unacceptable to question his teachings, no matter how unbiblical some of his doctrine might be. Whether it be John Calvin, C.S. Lewis or Billy Graham, no man can claim inerrancy beyond the inspired Word of God.

That is why it is crucial that we hold onto the Bible as the source of all truth, instead of relying on the works of man to determine our theology. While there is great value in reading carefully selected literature and apologetic resources, too often we take the systematic theology and philosophies of men as our foundation to build upon, and then we reinterpret and trim Scripture to fit. If we are not reading critically and analyzing the faulty premises and unbiblical worldview the authors may be incorporating into their stories and commentary, we may not even realize that we have adapted their errors into our worldview as well. Doing so will affect our decisions, the way we live and how we interpret the world around us, without us even being conscious of the fact that our thinking has shifted from what is biblical.

Some men, though their books are found on the shelves of Christian bookstores, have based much of their thinking on worldly philosophy, psychology and personal experience. Though they might weave some biblical ideas throughout their books, giving the impression of spiritual insight, when taken as a whole their words can seriously undermine the core gospel message. If these men use minimal to zero Bible references to back up their theological claims, or take verses out of context to apply them, that should be a warning sign.

Ultimately we must know our Bibles, and if we read something we aren’t sure about, we must seek for the answers in God’s Word as the final authority. Remember, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:16,17. There is danger when we unwittingly place any man on a pedestal and quote him as though his words are on par with Scripture. Sure some of these authors have written some very insightful things that are true, but are they true because famous men said them or because these men have studied God’s Word and are applying the wisdom gained there? The same men may also write some things which go profoundly against God’s Word. If we are not well acquainted with Scripture, and are not reading critically, we probably won’t even notice. No matter how well known the author is, we need to be discerning and refrain from elevating them to icon status, for no man belongs on that pedestal!

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