Sacred Cows

"There will be general lamentation, tearing of garments, and wailing, at the following statement, but it must be made. Spurgeon was not infallible. I will pause so that those currently experiencing shock, dismay and hopelessness, may recover their senses. Second amazing statement coming up. You can actually gain great edification from someone with whom you have disagreements. Again, a brief pause. It is a sign of maturity, in my opinion, to be able to analyze a writer of the past, thank God for his insights and testimony, while at the same time, recognizing differences of viewpoint and even belief. No one could turn a phrase like Spurgeon. The term "wordsmith" does not do him justice. The prince of preachers indeed. But I risk much to add that quite often the prince of preachers' exegesis of a particular text suffered in the service of over-all sermonic excellence. We all know that there are some great sermons out there that are exegetically atrocious. They seem to get recycled all the time. And there are times when anyone who has turned to Spurgeon for comments on a particular passage has come away with significantly less than they may have expected. I do not believe this is even a disputable assertion. Spurgeon was a fallen human being, like all the rest of us." (Emphasis in bold is my own.)

The preceding was a quote from apologist, Dr. James White. I've pulled it from its context to share here because it stands well on its own and speaks to one of the most valuable lessons I've learned over the last few months. Dr. White uses Spurgeon for the sake of his own point, but you could easily substitute any individual whom you hold in very high esteem - with John Calvin, C.S. Lewis, John MacArthur, John Piper, J.I. Packer, G.K. Chesterton, and Martin Luther, just to name a few. We quote them as though their words are the authority which should bring an end to all argument, and God forbid anyone should dare disagree with them. We fallen humans have a long history of turning those we admire into sacred cows.

Comments

Betsy Markman said…
Amen! We humans are so prone to idolatry. It's good to be reminded of just how dangerous this tendency is.
barrywallace said…
We all need to be reminded of that from time to time. Thanks, Laurie.
David Porter said…
Agree!

PS - Hello to the Mathers family.
Andy C said…
Yes, it does come down to placing our trust in Jesus Christ only.

While others may earn the right to teach us, only One deserves our trust and faith.
WhiteStone said…
I quite agree. It is good to sit under good teachers, but it is also good to recognize that none are perfect. Still...thank God for those good teachers.
Hi Laurie,
I put my thoughts on this at http://couragetotremble.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/settling-for-heroes-and-sacred-cows/
:)
-n-
jeri said…
(Maybe Abraham read your article!)
Laurie M. said…
Not likely he read mine, more likely he read James White. I'm glad, though that the church is being reminded of this in these days of celebrity. But I've got a funny story. A few months back, my husband joked on his blog that since he wasn't happy with any of the candidates he was going to write in Robert Krulwich (the host of Radio Lab on NPR) for President in the big election.

Robert Krulwich actually left him a comment thanking him for thinking of him but encouraging him to vote for someone who actually wanted the job. We were flabbergasted. Turns out Krulwich's daughter happened upon Paul's blog somehow and brought it to her dad's attention. The world keeps getting smaller.
jeri said…
Fun. I need to catch up on Paul's posts.

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