Someone said this to me a few weeks back:
First, and I’m not being funny, make sure that you’re always reading the New Testament. And, instead of reading primarily for theology or soteriology, ask what the writers are saying about the church. Many times the theology or soteriology is assumed, but the writers say a lot specifically about how to live relationally with others as a result of the gospel
It only push me further out of the circles of those I agree with theologically. Let me explain. Today we are encouraged to read, but those who encourage us encourage us to read what they like. For example someone once gave me a quote by Spurgeon and said “any men who won’t read another men’s work is a fool”. I actually like that quote. The only problem is decoded it says this “only read the works of men that my prized theologians enjoy”. So if Piper reads it then it must be good, and if Carson speaks against it then it must be bad. You see we become carbon copies of our prized theologians (nothing against either of the two men just popular theologians).
Not to mention I see people fighting to get their books prefaced by certain theologians it is like a place of arrival. No I am not attempting to be a Maverick or some isolated Christian, what I want to say is that God has spread His truth through many individuals and I want to be able to dine with each of them because each of them are my brothers and sisters, I may like some more than others but they are still my brothers and sisters.
Today though there are invincible theologians and whoever gets in good is in good and whoever makes the naughty lists well they are ostracized and whatever they say or do is either labeled bad or ignored though the Spirit may be speaking through them equally. I guess in my struggle for theological truth I have ignored what is clearly written. Because of theological alignments I have said mean things to the family of God and have not given an equal ear because my favorite theologian didn’t accept them.
We see that huge in the Emerging movement. Since a theologian disagrees pretty much all of what they have to say is “post-modern”. Which is the new “heretic”. Not to mention we feel it is our job to play the role of the Holy Spirit in peoples live and if the person questions these gentleman they are “trying to do something new” and one of the favorite quotes is “ignoring 2000 years of Church History”. These are the same individuals who applaud Calvin and Luther for their work. Did God stop working at the Reformation? Was the Reformation the end point of God’s dealing with His people? If not why are we not open to critique and refocusing on the scriptures? Oh, that’s right because Sola Scriptura (the Reformation way) is the final authority of truth.
It is funny that Doctrine was developed 1500 years later. Though many will say “no it was always there just articulated then”. Okay I am off my soapbox, I am just saying we need to be careful that’s all. I think it is good to read the works of our great theologians today, but it is better for you to study the scriptures and pray for clarity. It seems that we have given up on what made Luther challenge the papacy. I have no desire for people to follow me or my leanings, I do however ask that ALL BELIEVERS have an equal voice and that we abstain from name calling with people who disagree with us. Just because someone has not read the latest book recommend by your favorite theologian and would rather read their bible doesn’t make them any less theologically astute.