So I came across this article by John MacArthur this morning (by way of this post by Arthur) and I struggle with an assumption that is made in it, an assumption that I have seen a lot of places when discussing the role of historical Christianity in the development of one’s theology. MacArthur quotes a passage and makes an assumption (an almost Catholic sounding assumption). Here are his words:
“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The goal certainly should not be to encourage young pastors to distrust or remodel what they have learned from faithful men.
So really there are two assumptions:
- That what Paul says to Timothy extends beyond “what you have heard from me” to “what you hear from faithful men”
- That one’s theological heroes are faithful men
I won’t get hung up on the first assumption although I think it may be worth discussing, but the second assumption I have a difficult time with. Who are the Faithful Men? How do we know? By testing their theology? But at that point aren’t we already “distrusting” them as MacArthur would put it? If we are not to call them into question then how are we to determine whether they are faithful men or not? Are we to base it on popular opinion? Historical opinion? Our own opinion? It just seems difficult to me when someone makes a statement that implies we should blindly trust someone else. I just don’t know how there can be a middle ground: either we trust people’s opinions blindly, or we question their opinions based on our own understanding. What else is there?