We like to point out to Roman Catholics that Jesus says call no man “father.” We think that’s a good criticism of their praxis (and it is). But I’ve seen something even more troubling: this problem is infinitely worse in the subcultures of American evangelicalism. We rally behind our favorite teachers and allow no criticism, not even dissent, of them. Roman Catholics and EO really don’t have that problem. Here is how a discussion goes. Some of us will say that many aspects of Christian Reconstruction went off the rails and Rushdoony was wrong on a number of issues (denying the 3-fold distinction of the law, food laws, 2nd Commandment, Paedocommunion, denying the covenant of works, separating himself from the church for 8 years, etc). Notice we didn’t say anything about his character. I like Rushdoony, actually. I think he is a fine teacher and his series on So here is the conversation:
Recon1: Show from Scripture where Rushdoony is wrong?
Me: He held to the ongoing food laws.
Recon1: Like I said, show one verse where he is wrong on the food laws.
Me: Seriously? (Eventually I quote 1 Timothy 4)
And this train wreck went on for about 100 more posts. Obviously, you can see what’s going on here. No criticism of “our venerated teacher” is allowed.
And I am grateful that God brought me out of this. I used to be the world’s worst. I used to rally behind different teachers. I don’t want to sound overly pious, but I think I now understand what Jesus meant by not calling any man teacher. I have a lot of sermons and lectures on my iPod, but it’ so scrambled I often don’t know who is saying what.