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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Legendary Error

I was given a paper to read a few weeks back that was written by a man for whom I have a great deal of respect.  I honor him for his foundational role in a number of Christian works.  I was given the paper to evaluate as a possible tool for use in training leaders for another ministry.
Those whom we respect can be wrong.  We are responsible to check what they say against Scripture.
Having heard this author speak previously, I was eager to read the paper and looked forward to seeing how his thoughts would help the target audience for the training that was under development.  As I read through the paper I was stunned.  This man whom I respect and admire had throughout the article mangled, distorted, and misused Scripture.  We will not be using the paper.  But more difficult for me was dealing with the disconnect between what I know to be true about this man’s heart, vision, and impact and his handling of the Word of God.

It is a reminder to me that I do not understand God.  I do not understand His honoring and using those who mangle His words so badly and by extension teach others to do the same.  I do know that pattern happened in the emerging Church.  Apollos came to Ephesus and taught in the synagogue.  His message was not quite on target.  Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and corrected him, Acts 18:24 – 28.  Paul confronted Peter in Galatia, Galatians 2:11 – 21.  Error existed in the teaching of the early church.  Error made by men with good hearts.  They were corrected.

There are two take aways for me here.  First, just because I revere a person, I am required to check what they say against the Word of God, and if they seem to be mistaken to engage with them if that is appropriate and God grants opportunity.  Second, God can use men who are flawed with flawed messages to expand His kingdom.  So I need to look at these messages with that grace in mind.

There is probably a third.  We are all flawed.