When the ordinary, Bible-believing Christian hears the radically unorthodox pronouncements of some clergymen, he is perplexed. He finds it hard to understand how men whose ordination vows bind them to defending the faith have embarked upon a course of attacking it, and he is saddened and amazed. “Why do these men say these things? he asks. “What can they be thinking of? What they say flatly contradicts the teaching of Christ and the Bible.”

But he may also have the disturbing feeling that perhaps he is wrong in his own thinking. He reasons: “These men are well educated; they must know what they are talking about. Have we been wrong all these years? Are we really justified in taking the Bible as it is, and believing its promises as though they were addressed to us today and not just to people of many centuries ago?”

And then reflection and prayer convince him that he is not wrong. For he has learned to live by the Bible, seeking guidance in times of crisis, finding consolation in sorrow, molding his whole life on its teachings. Moreover, he has found that its promises are true. Scores of times he has “stepped out” on them and found them trustworthy. Never once has God’s truth failed. One or two answers to prayer might be taken as mere coincidence; but when answers have come repeatedly through the years, he knows that more than mere chance is involved, that God lives and keeps watch over his own.

I myself have argued like this, and one day I found what seemed to me to be the answer to the attitude of these reckless iconoclasts: They may have knowledge, but they lack wisdom. Paul put the distinction like this:

We do, of course, speak “wisdom” among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, ...
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