Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 5
Expose to Others to Provide Balance
I want to ask you to think back to your childhood. Can you remember a classmate or neighbor who always had to be right, and could never be told he was wrong? Maybe if you dared tell him that he was wrong, you would face his unrestrained wrath. Hopefully you were not that kind of child, but if you were, that was a very natural thing. The fact is that it is human nature to want to be right, and to believe that your way is the only right and best way. The fact is, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how a hard we study, we cannot get everything right. Some issues are complicated, and the answer is not always clear or simple. Think back just five years. Are there things that you see differently today than you did just five years ago? Are there messages you preached as a young man, that you look at today and cringe at the thought of the way you presented
certain concepts or passages? No man is infallible. We will always bring a “pair of glasses” to the Scriptures, and sadly we often interpret Scripture to fit our presupposed conclusions or theological perspective.
This aspect of fallen humanity is the foundation for the following passages in Proverbs. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Proverbs 24:6 says, “in multitude of counselors there is safety.” Please do not miss the emphasis in these passages. Solomon’s emphasis is not just the importance of “counselors,” but
he is also emphasizing the importance of the “multitude of counselors.” One counselor is not enough! Now please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I do not advocate doing an opinion poll in order to make decisions, nor am I advocating the common practice of getting counselors who will tell you what you want to hear when Scripture speaks clearly on a matter. I am simply saying as was Solomon, that balance and safety come when several wise counselors are consulted. The counsel of several wise counselors is necessary, because human wisdom of even the greatest sages is limited. Every man has his quirks, as well as his areas of weakness and even blindness. May I challenge you to mentor your preacher boy wisely, by not become his idol or only source of counsel. You as every other man are limited. Give him good books. Encourage him to be as well read and grounded as possible. The cream will rise to the top, when a man is wisely evaluating the things he reads and hears. Realize that you do not have to agree with a man all the time to learn from him. Perhaps you would have serious disagreements with a man in a particular issue, yet he can give you tremendous help in another area. I encourage you to help your preacher boy be balanced by exposing him to others who will help him. I most certainly am not encouraging you to throw caution to the wind, yet I am encourage you to use the resources that are available to you. On issues of
disagreement, careful study of the word of God will help you stay on track.
I think a powerful illustration of this humble recognition of human
limitation was evidenced in the approach of the translators of the Authorized Version printed in 1611. I am not going to go into all the details of the translation process, however it was quite elaborate. There were teams that worked together on various sections of the translation. Each teams work was submitted to the critiques of other groups. Even after this elaborate check and balance system, notice the words of the translators to the reader in their preface. “Some peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of controversies by that show of uncertainty, should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be sound in this point…doth not a margin
do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity,
to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption…so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded…They that are wise, had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.” Even with all the checks and balances put into place, there was a careful humble approach to their final product. The translators realized and emphasized their limitations. Rather than dogmatizing what was not clear to the team, they where
honest with their limitation. My Cambridge wide margin Bible contains over 8,400 translation notes covering a variety of translation issues, from text reading, alternate translations, or more literal rendering. These men chose to be honest and humbly recognizing their human limitations. My point is not to teach a lecture on the philosophy of these men and their outstanding product, but to show you by means of illustration the manner in which we should mentor those under our care. Those who mentor as if they have a monopoly on the truth stand in grave danger of crippling those whom they mentor by the very nature of human limitation. Men will be far more biblical and balanced in their practice if they are exposed to a multitude of counselors, rather than one dogmatic counselor. I encourage each man involved in the mentoring process to keep in mind this humbling principle of the relationship between human limitation and mentoring.