Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Commentary on Job 32:9

Elihu, a man of youth, waits his turn after the discourse of Job and his three friends and makes a statement in verse nine that we should all heed in this present day.  Elihu realized that great men are not always wise.  This can be a two-fold meaning for us: 1) Great men are not always wise and 2) Men that are great are not wise all the time.

Great Men Are Not Always Wise
This statement is somewhat obvious and needs no real explanation.  Just because a man is great does not automatically mean he is wise.  We can think of all kinds of men that are great: by substance, by popularity, by position, by education, etc.  And we know lots of these men are not wise at all.  We must not fall for for the simplicity that so many Christians fall for as was said by Gamaliel in Acts 5:38 ...for if this work be of men, it will come to nought...  We cannot be so naive that we believe just because a work is great it is of God.  If this were true, we should all become Roman Catholic today.

Men That Are Great Are Not Wise All the Time
This second one is where we need to be careful.  We have become so lazy in this Laodicean age of the church that we have fallen into the trap that Paul warned against in 1 Tim 6:5 ...supposing that gain is godliness...  We often look at certain men and ministries and hold their opinions up as the standard as which the rest of us should believe because they have a huge bus ministry, or their church has such large membership and a college.  But we must remember that man at his best is vanity (Ps 39:5, Eccl 3:19).  And while these great men are often right and are doing great things for God, they may not be wise in all areas of ministry or life.  For instance: John R. Rice is held up as great example in Fundamental circles; but did you know John R. Rice was a supporter of the ASV over the AV?  The ASV is a translation that even liberal scholars agree today was a terrible translation.  Does this mean that we should disregard everything he said?  Absolutely not: Mr. Rice has preached and taught many things of value that are truth that we can heed.  What about Schofield: how many times was he married, but how people have a Schofield Bible on their shelf and have been blessed by it?  And Spurgeon, a Calvinist (although I'm not sure you can really be a Calvinist and not believe all five points of the TULIP); how many times as he been quoted from the pulpit of Independent Baptist churches?  What about Dr. Ruckman: married three times, yet Dr. Ruckman has probably forgotten more Bible than most preachers alive right now even know.

At the end of the day, we are told in scripture to, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good." (1 Thess 5:21).  This is what we must do; let the scriptures truly be our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  While we all say this, too often we hold to a position because, "we are fundamental Baptists, and that's what fundamental Baptists believe," or "the traditional position is..." or even "my Bible college professor said..."  While all three of these statements could actually lead to truth, we ought not to believe it because of that; otherwise we are no better than a Catholic that refers to "the Church" as the authority of what they believe.  We ought to always ask what saith the scriptures?  This is the only source of truth (John 17:17).

So regardless of how well we esteem a man or their works as righteous and sincere as they may be, we should always fall back on Romans 3:4 ...let God be true, but every man a liar...



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