Monday, May 4, 2009

Humility and Truth

Several years ago I learned, from one of my favorite teachers (Marva Dawn) that, though there IS absolute truth (from God), no person or pastor or Christian teacher can ever know that truth perfectly or absolutely themselves. Therefore, everything that a Christian leader says needs to be said with a bit of humility, realizing that other Christ-followers might see things a bit differently.

Here are two examples I've run into recently where humility was either absent or present:
  1. On Saturday evening I spent some time at the Cokato Elementary school hearing a preacher that spoke to about 100 people who weren't at "DC's Got Talent" (a.k.a. "Faculty Follies"). The preacher (Joel Crumpton) said quite forcefully that whereas other pastors give their "opinions" that he was going to give us truth direct from God. I think that is presumptuous. Everyone who proclaims God's Word gives interpretations, and every preacher is fallible and will mix in their opinions with God's absolute truth. It's the believer's job to do some discerning work, separating the wheat from the chaff.

  2. Tonight our "Crown Financial Bible Study" meets. I was behind on my homework and was getting caught up when I ran into a section where the study refers to "wives working outside the home." I am very glad that the authors add the words "in our opinion" before saying they think it's wise for women "during their children's early formative years" to "be home while the children are home." Though I absolutely agree that having a parent available to the children is really good and helpful, I don't think its important which parent that is. They base this teaching Titus 2:4-5 which really doesn't have to do with raising children at all but instead is based on a culture where women outside the home didn't have a place.
Humility is needed as we teach and preach. We do have truth, but it's God's and it doesn't belong to us. We will always need to be humble in our teaching--while, at the same time, boldly proclaiming the center of the faith, the amazing grace of God given through Jesus Christ. Otherwise, teaching and preaching can be a blunt weapon that is more harmful than helpful.

For a bit more on this topic, read "Fill in the ___."

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