Experts - Lifesavers from A Sinking Ship
If you have not read the introduction and previous pages, please click here.
With whom do they associate?
Who do they
recommend or use as
22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt
not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
We become like the people we associate with. Therefore, it is of great importance to pick our friends and teachers carefully. We ourselves must not follow experts that are going to rub mud and lice on us and make us into something dishonoring to the name of Jesus Christ. But, we also should examine the people that the experts associate with and recommend because, they also will become like their friends. If they are glorifying heretics and compromisers, they will probably become the same soon if they are not already.
Incidentally, for the sake of those who will separate from the unseparate, I am not talking about "second degree separation" here. I'm talking about bad company. I'm talking about experts that hobnob with the spiritually derelict. As the old poem says: "One evening in October, when I was one-third sober, An' taking home a ‘load' with manly pride; My poor feet began to stutter, so I lay down in the gutter, And a pig came up an' lay down by my side; Then we sang 'It's all fair weather when good fellows get together,' Till a lady passing by was heard to say: 'You can tell a man who "boozes" by the company he chooses' And the pig got up and slowly walked away."1 Some folks ain't fit to sleep with the pigs.
Elisabeth "Elliot", in her July 2, 1998 broadcast (Series Title: The Trivial Round; "Oblation"), used a monk to teach the "spiritual" lesson that she was trying to give. She quoted from a book titled Brother Lawrence, or The Practice of the Presence of God by Quaker Hannah Whitall Smith. Mrs. Elliot (should be Mrs. Gren) quotes from the book, "A kitchen and an altar were as one to him. To pick up a straw from the ground was as grand a service as to preach to multitudes. 'The time of business,' said he, 'does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.'" Elliot is openly exalting a Roman Catholic, and the mass to make her point. We do not have a "blessed sacrament" to kneel before! She continues to quote Smith, the author of the book, "The woman at the washtub or the stone breaker on the road can carry on the practice here taught with as much ease and as much assurance of success as the priest at his altar or the missionary in his field of work." So, Elliot is comparing a faithful housewife to a priest performing the blasphemy of the mass! This is most loathsome!
C.S. Lewis called Plato "an overwhelming theological genius." Plato was a rank, pagan phliosopher from Greece. His "theology" was purely heathenism.
Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Being a "friend of sinners" as the Lord Jesus Christ was is not the same thing. Jesus was (and is) the friend of sinners because He came to call sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:13). But, as we see above, the spiritually elite could not and would not understand it, but rather saw it as an accusation.
We should have unsaved friends for the Gospel's sake, people that we desire to see born again. We read in 1Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. We cannot reach sinners if we never go around them. Rather we are admonished not to keep company with those that are professing Christians who practice these sins.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. With some experts it is not enough to simply break fellowship with them. Their works need to be reproved. Their error should be exposed. Remember we are to mark and avoid. Marking has an idea of identifying someone so that others will also know that the person is wicked. We should mark those who follow the Lord (Php. 3:17), and those who fit Rom. 16:17-18. Others need to know that someone is divisive and offensive contrary to the doctrine of Christ. This does not mean that we should start smear campaigns carelessly and simply for personal justification. But, certainly we should warn others who are familiar with the expert, especially when the expert is more widely known and sought after.
Good associations and recommendations are important too. If an expert has good associations and recommends good people, there is cause for more confidence in their information. When someone is headed in the right direction, when they are drawing closer to the narrow way, that is encouraging. Nobody has it all together yet. Nobody is perfect. But they should have some good friends and some "good" enemies.
You can tell a lot about someone by their friends and their enemies. A good person will have some good friends and some appropriate enemies. When someone claims to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet the enemies of the cross of Christ love, kindly tolerate or accept them, something is wrong. When they are noted by the worldlings as a good "christian" and an admirable person, "there is death in the pot" (2 Kings 4:39-40).
However, beware of those that use Bible believers, those on the narrow way, or "conservative Christians" for credibility. Just because someone says they know "so-and-so" or that they are a "such-and-such" does not make it so. Remember what it says in Revelation 2:9, I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. There are people that will claim to be something purely for the credibility it will gain them.
1. "The Pig Got Up and Slowly Walked Away", 1933 song by Benjamin Hapgood Burt