Friday, July 10, 2020

The Dreadful Burden of Teaching Untruth

A long time ago, Pastor Daniel asked me to consider reading D. A. Carson's book, Exegetical Fallacies. He mentioned this book again a few weeks ago in our hermeneutics study. The following question really challenged me to consider the weightiness of words in a believer's life. We often say counsel is simply giving advice, offering an opinion, or even something as subtle as body language or silence itself. Every counsel, beginning with self-counsel, we are constantly offering counsel. In this statement, Carson describes a sobering description of what we all do, many times without forethought, that of "laying on the conscience".
When you engage in the ministry of discipleship and/or biblical counsel, you are weighing doctrinal principles on the conscience of another person. Perhaps to people who literally are hanging on your every word.
Carson warns about the seriousness of handling and interpreting the Word of God accurately when he says,
"The sensitive student may ask, “If there are so many exegetical traps, so many hermeneutical pitfalls, how can I ever be confident that I am rightly interpreting and preaching the Scriptures? How can I avoid the dreadful burden of teaching untruth, of laying on the consciences of Christ’s people things Christ does not himself impose, or removing what he insists should be borne? How much damage might I do by my ignorance and exegetical clumsiness?" Exegetical Fallacies, D.A. Carson, page 22

I want to pass on this challenge so that it becomes a shared burden with all of us in this worthy ministry, that we all take seriously our responsibility to read, know, understand and interpret God's Word as He intended that we help ourselves and each other apply it appropriately and effectively. Carson's warning here is poignant, don't add to God's commands and don't require people what God does not require.
Don't minimize or overlook what God calls each of us to aspire to.
Any distortion or misrepresentation of His Word is a distortion of the Person of Christ, who is our only hope.
You and I can avoid the dreadful burden of teaching untruth by careful, diligent growth in knowing how to rightly divide the Word of Truth. D.A. Carson’s book, Exegetical Fallacies is a great help in avoiding this great burden.

1 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.

Kent Kloter

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