Honour men of God but never before the Word of God
I recently shared with a friend that now in my old age I particular value faithfulness and kindness. As I come to write this article, I could add putting God’s thoughts before what men have to say.
Earlier today, a friend shared with me his concern that “George Verwer’s talk “7 reasons to get vaccinated” has been put into print as a glossy leaflet. O how the mighty have fallen!”. For those who don’t know, George Verwer is a well known and highly respected international mission leader, who both my friend and I had earlier taken to task (seemingly without affect) on his views on being jabbed against Covid-19. While disappointed with this latest action given the esteem in which I and others hold him, as one I have looked up to in the past as a holy and learned man of God, who has influenced me a lot, but recognising like us all, he has his own prejudices and axioms, which no doubt has influenced his views.
Like George, another influential man of God, who I highly respect, who like George is also well into his eighties, but is imho taking a wrong stand, is R.T.Kendall. It concerns his views on a category of modern-day prophets I identify as political prophets. I won’t elaborate as I have given my views already in my recent “Prophetic Integrity” article (named after the book RT wrote), where I take RT to task for dismissing political prophets, like those prophesying a Trump second term. Both George and RT, with their significantly important ministries, are two examples of people I would have once deferred to, come what may, although I continue to highly respect them both and despite erring in their twilight years on subjects I deem to be important, have done much to advance the Kingdom.
When it comes to modern day prophecy, I am of the view it is for today, and have argued this to be the case in my book “Prophets of the Bible” (see here), although concerned (like RT) some who go under the label “prophet” may be or are false prophets. I recently wrote an article titled ““Is Kat Kerr a true prophet” revisited” where I cast doubt whether Kat is a true prophet and that Elijah Streams and its host, Steve Shultz, are unwise when pushing Kat’s prophecies, as he does with prophets who I believe are the real deal, who I contend have important messages for today’s Church. Even so, we must not given anyone who claims to prophesy in the name of the Lord or pronounce on this or that issue, a free pass, however much we honour them, but test and weigh everything.
Also today, a friend bent my ear concerning some recent teaching coming out of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, a church the “Prince of Preachers”, C.H.Spurgeon began, whose Reformed / Puritan leaning teachings (I am in broad agreement) are influencing some of the more thoughtful members of my own church. I refer readers to the page in Metropolitan Tabernacle’s website under the title: “The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism – School of Theology 2022 took the form of a Day of Special Studies on Saturday 2nd July, followed by a Pastors’ Fraternal on Monday 4th July”. Also, I refer to two of the teaching sessions by the two main teachers on that occasion: Pastor Michael Beasley – “Flawed Foundations of ‘Continuationism’” and Dr Peter Masters – “Abandoning the Old Paths in Theology”. I don’t propose to dissect what the two men taught, which I mostly agreed with and found helpful, making necessary points few are making about false teaching, e.g. white guilt as taught by Tim Keller, another popular teacher. I note that notwithstanding they are probably teachers today I can identify with theologically, they both spent time critiquing Professor Wayne Grudem a theologian and prolific writer who is highly regarded by many among thinking evangelicals I come across, and going a lot further than RT in dismissing prophecy. (There is more I would take issue with, besides both of their cessationalist beliefs, e.g. Dr Masters telling his flock to go along with Corona Lockdown).
My point is, I have cited a number of examples of men of God, who happen to be close to my own theological camp and have failed to get it right on certain important points. It would be worse if I looked further afield. While there remains traditional points of difference with Catholics and Liberals, I haven’t, for example, addressed the new Evangelical wokeism. While this doesn’t bode well if we are seeking to find men we can follow, we are not called to follow men but rather the Lord and neither are we called to come to view on every point of doctrine or what is going on in the world. As I was once again reminded earlier, God does not reveal ALL His truth to any one group and neither are we beholden to agree with all that is taught in whatever theological group we happen to align with. While every one I have identified, I have a degree of respect for, that does not mean they are always right (clearly). We need to distinguish primary and secondary truth. Not doing so is often a sad factor in church division. If I can make a suggestion – read what Paul wrote, noting, for example, He uses the foolish things of the world (i.e. people like us) and we should be ever glorying in the Lord: