Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Confident or Arrogant?

Should a Christian be confident of the truth of the gospel and the truth of the Word, and communicate these truths with confidence? What level of confidence in doctrines and truths is appropriate for a teacher of the Bible? At what point does confidence cross over into arrogance? These are questions that have been floating around in my head, and which I think the modern church struggles with greatly.

Let's start with the first topic. If I am a Christian, then I have believed the gospel and received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The term believe is a consistent one in the NT for receiving Christ. It is the objective of much of the writings of the NT. For example, John 20:31 states a purpose for his gospel: "but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." To believe is to trust, to place confidence in. Therefore if we have truly believed in the gospel and in Christ, then we have placed our confidence in the truth of the gospel and the person of Christ. Therefore, is it not logical that if we have sufficient confidence in these truths for our eternal destiny, that we should also express and communicate them to others with at least equal confidence?

So how about a teacher or preacher? I have seen and heard some teachers of the Word that seem to spend more time qualifying their statements and giving disclaimers for their positions than actually proclaiming truth. They do so in many cases as an expression of humility. But is this appropriate. I think it is false humility. As a teacher of the Word, I must be fully convinced of the truths and doctrines and interpretations if I am to effectively communicate them. And if I am not so convinced, why would I be teaching these things? Yes, I must always exercise humility in my approach to God's Word and the communication of it, but lack of confidence in the message is not humility. And confidence in the message is not arrogance.

To some extent I think this is an error of the emerging movement, labeling as arrogant those that would express with certainty any type of truth claim. In reality, this is exactly what a minister of the gospel of a teacher of the Bible must do. Certainty, tempered with humility, is a mark of the well-prepared and properly motivated communicator of Biblical truth. To be otherwise is to be disqualified as a teacher.

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