The underlying assumption behind all of these things is that one cannot claim authority unless one has experienced it. Pretty sensible right? You don't want someone who is a statistics major telling a surgeon how to operate. Of course that surgeon should only listen to other surgeons, as they've done the research and so on.
Unfortunately, the issue isn't like that when we discuss some of the topics referenced above. Why? Because the person speaking isn't speaking on their own authority, saying that “I know about this” but instead the person is speaking on God's authority. “This is what God says.” Of course, those speaking up should always keep in mind the command not to use the Lord's name in vain. When invoking God's authority, one better be sure that God's authority is correctly being invoked. But when a Christian has done his research, looked at the relevant Bible passages, and is able to answer objections, then when they speak on the topic, they speak as a mouthpiece for God.
A person doesn't need to be married in order to counsel married couples. A person doesn't need to be working in order to counsel working young adults. Doesn't need to be female in order to take a stance on abortion. A person need only to know the Word of God and how it applies, as it speaks to all such situations.
6And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:
"I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
7I said, 'Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.'
8But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
9It is not the old[a] who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
10Therefore I say, 'Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.'
It is the breath of the Almighty that makes him understand. It is not experience automatically gained through age (though sometimes it is through age that God grants wisdom), but the grace of God.
When we prize experience on topics that Scripture addresses (and Scripture addresses a lot ), we are using “you don't know” to excuse our own sins or the sins of others. But God does know and God is not silent. We who have been given the Holy Scriptures also do know, and we cannot be silent.
Labels: Christian Living