You may be wondering why I quote men who lived a century of more before us. It’s certainly not to bore you stiff! There are numerous reasons I could give you about why it’s worth the effort to read authors who use a different language style and unfamiliar words. I could say it’s because I love history or because Christian insight didn’t jump from the early days of the church to our day, or I could mention because you can find many of their works online to read for yourself. None of those are my main reasons. So why do I quote men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Owen, John Bunyan, Charles Hodge, B. B. Warfield or Charles Spurgeon? Because of who these men were and what they gave to the Christian church.
While not perfect by any means, they were faithful to Christ, many of them in the midst of great personal difficulties, while some lived in persecution and peril and stood firm in their Christian faith, bearing up under adversity and proven true in the tempering of affliction. Their lives, not only their words, speak of their love for Christ and their love for others as they labored to teach the Bible in their efforts to help believers. You can see the shepherding care of those who were pastors.
Their insight and scholarship are unsurpassed. They were not shallow men, but those who dug deep into the Bible. They thoroughly and exhaustively explained the text. Their discernment into the heresies of their day teaches us, for there are no new lies about God, only recycled ones with different names and different formats.
As I go into bookstores and look around, the fluff and foam of shallow thinking overwhelms the shelves. I need those who will help me be faithful to God through all the circumstances of the reality of my life, not those who will tickle my ears and lull me to a sense of false safety or give me band-aids. I want help and comfort to be founded on the rock of God’s Word so that my reliance is on Him and not a false promise or a false image. God spoke the following words about the prophets and priests of Jeremiah’s time; they describe so much of the teaching prevalent today.
“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.”
In the next chapter He tells Judah, “Do not trust in deceptive words.” We must test words against the Word of God.
There are pastors and teachers today who are faithful, and I certainly quote them, but I wanted you to know why I reach back into the past to pull out words to sustain us in the present. These men were faithful to the Lord Jesus, come the wind, come the weather of their times. They have much to teach us by their words and by their example.
Wenceslas Hollar – The Psalms, 1668: Public Domain.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter