Stud Muffin and I have been discussing truth and whose truth is more true and who gets to teach truth and when does enough untruth creep in that a teacher should be called a heretic, a bad shepherd, or a false teacher.
If we start with the premise that we live in a fallen world and the only thing/person that is perfect is the Trinity and their creation until Adam and Eve decided to snack on the forbidden fruit, then everything has an element of unperfection inherent in it.
No church is perfect.
No family is perfect.
No life is perfect.
No cupcake is perfect.
Maybe somethings are perfect … no. Never mind. Nothing (not even a cupcake) is perfect.
So if no church is perfect, it follows that no speaker/teacher/pastor/person/staff member/elder/deacon/mother/son/barista/candlestick maker/farmer/baker is perfect.
I’ve decided on a sliding scale. Not for truth. Truth is truth. Our perceptions of truth may differ, but they don’t change the trueness of the truth.
I may see God as loving and kind. You may see Him as having an impossible standard and being judgmental.
Both views are true. It depends on our perception as to which view we build our life around.
My sliding scale is for those who identify themselves as handlers of the Word of God.
Those who teach doctrine and theology have the highest threshold. I expect my theologians to handle God’s Word with integrity and to thoroughly research any stand they take, particularly if it is different from most (though not all) evangelical theologians.
Next would be Bible teachers. Bible study leaders, teachers, and writers fall into this category. These people have the gift of teaching and God has given them insight into His Word and they communicate what they’ve learned. I have to be wise enough in God’s Word to recognize if they teach something that’s not purely Scriptural, but if I do hear something a bit off, I don’t throw out everything they say because they do have lots of good teaching. It’s been said that you should read and listen to teachers like you eat a fish. You swallow the meat and spit out the bones. You must have a certain level of knowledge though to recognize the bones.
If you’re being fed more bones that meat, then there’s a problem. That’s where we get into false teaching, heresy, bad shepherds and so on. That’s when it’s appropriate to walk away, or point out the problems.
So that’s my sliding scale. Theologians are held to the highest standard. Teachers are next. Then it’s the rest of the voices clambering for attention.
What do you think? Do you give more credence to some teachers over others?