Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Christian minister is not infallible

(J.C. Ryle, 1884)

"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong!" Galatians 2:11

One lesson we learn from this verse, is that great ministers may make great mistakes. The best of men are weak and fallible. Unless the grace of God holds them up, any one of them may go astray at any time. Let us learn not to put implicit confidence in any man's opinion, merely because he is a minister. Peter was one of the very chief Apostles--and yet he could err. What are the best of ministers but men--dust, ashes, and clay--men of like passions with ourselves, men exposed to temptations, men liable to weaknesses and infirmities?

We all naturally love to have a pope of our own. We are far too ready to think, that because some great minister or some learned man says a thing; or because our own minister, whom we love, says a thing--that it must be right, 
without examining whether it is in Scripture or not.

It is absurd to suppose that ordained men cannot go wrong. We should follow them so far as they teach according to the Bible, but no further. We should believe them so long as they can say, "Thus it is written! Thus says the Lord!" but further than this, we are not to go. Infallibility is not to be found in ordained men, but in the Bible alone!

Let us take care that we do not place implicit confidence on our own minister's opinion, however godly he may be. Peter was a man of mighty grace, and yet he could err. Your minister may be a man of God indeed, and worthy of all honor for his preaching and example; but do not make a popeof him! Do not place his word on the same level with the Word of God.

The Christian minister is not infallible! The vulgar notion that a clergyman is not likely to hold or teach erroneous doctrines, and that we seldom need to doubt the truth of anything he tells us in the pulpit--is one of the most mischievous errors which has been bequeathed by the Church of Rome. It is a complete delusion! Ordination confers no immunity from error! Ministers, like Churches--may err both in living and matters of faith.

The Apostle Peter erred greatly at Antioch, where Paul withstood him to the face. Many of the church Fathers and Reformers and Puritans made great mistakes. The greatest errors have been begun by ministers!

The teaching of all ministers ought to be constantly compared with the Scriptures--and when it contradicts the Scriptures, it ought not to be believed. However high a clergyman's office may be, and however learned and devout he may appear--he is still only an uninspired man, and can make mistakes. His opinion must never be set above the Word of God!

Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing--which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible. Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching, be the written Word of God alone! 

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true!" Acts 17:11


Sheryl said...

Yes, this was a mistake I made, accepting as truth what I was taught and not questioning it, thinking ministers to be wiser, only to discover that I had been taught error all my life. Thank God He revealed His truth to me and straightened me out. I've learned to be much more cautious and discerning, listening with a critical ear.

John Macarthur comes to mind. People staunchly defend him - even when he gets it wrong. It's hard to persuade them otherwise, because he is the source of the teaching.

This can also apply to traditions of men as well - such as Christmas - that are promoted as truth by ministers and are accepted and are not questioned because that's the way it has always been done. And, besides, its fun.

Now try telling family members you don't celebrate Christmas anymore because its a pagan holiday and you don't believe in man's free will to choose salvation - and your message will be rejected and you will most likely stand alone. But to know the truth is worth it! And what freedom it brings to be out from under the burden of Christmas, I might add!

Darrel said...

The Word does not spare a man of God from exposing his faults; that in itself should renew a healthy fear of God in our hearts. Nathan confronted David with his sins and David immediately fell guilty before God, repented, and sought forgiveness---he did not try to excuse his adultery or murder, rather threw himself upon the mercy of God. Not so with today's crop of hirelings. Multiple 'reasons' (excuses) are given for erroneous doctrine and hedonistic living and the pew sitter loves and defends their fearless leader (who has no fear of God) to the death! Case in point is Pope John------------MacArthur. The list of heretical teachings coming from this man's mouth only grows. His defenders are probably the most angry and defiant, on par with those that defend the WoF heretics. These defenders of heretics claim to be "saved" but their uncontrollable mouth betrays their claim as they defend the enemies of the Lord Jesus. If indeed they are "saved" their anger should be directed toward those who blaspheme, curse, and mock the One who supposedly "saved" them; but it is not, thus revealing their true self, a hypocrite and pretender. Some of them are so evil that they attempt to pit wife against husband, and husband against wife all in order to establish their "rule" over one or both of them, all the while defending their false doctrines and ecumenism.

May the Lord see fit to swiftly deliver His own from the clutches of evil men.

Brenda said...

I agree with what you have said. We have to always go back to that Word to see if what is being spoken by all men lines up with it. As my dad used to say:-'Let's see what the Lord says.'

lyn said...

It's easy to assume men are without error, and to get 'lazy' and believe their writings are infallible. Even the best of men like Spurgeon, Calvin, etc. were not perfect in all their teachings. For example, Calvin held to infant baptism, a holdover from Rome. We must always compare what is taught with what God's word says. I like that saying, 'let's see what the Lord says' --- amen and amen