A nice sounding word for puking. I have thought about this word for some time and have come to dispise its significance. And yet, I am so very prone to it.
I may not be hurling in the crass sense, but I do regurgitate those things that I have partially digested. I have read a lot of books…a lot of books in a short amount of time. Rather than spending the time and sweat to come to my own conclusions, I repeat what I have read. I have a tendency to repeat what a professor said one day back when. I have a tendency to put quotation marks around what I say rather than it being my own thought and work.
Don’t get me wrong.There’s nothing lazy with a pithy quote. There’s no problem with appreciating the work of someone else – with them saying something so concise and eloquently so as to not improve on it.
What I am talking about is the proclivity to sound as though you are a theologian, but you are a two-bit copy cat. How many times have I listened to a sermon where there was quote after quote from a John Piper, or JI Packer, or RC Sproul, or John Calvin, or Hodge, or…you get the point. I appreciate the work these men have done and pray that God would so bless my ministry. However, I do not believe blessings will flow into the life of the one who repeats what he has heard without labor.
Not only this, I fear that so many of us who quote certain individuals are doing so just to prove that we align ourselves with a certain theological bent. Or perhaps we quote a certain person so as to give what we say validity. Might I suggest that the power behind your words will not be granted by a quote from Dr. _____. Rather, it will be done when you lay down your life for the sheep. It will be done when you reason and show through solid Bible exposition why you believe what you do.
Paul spoke of yearning and working until Christ was formed in his people. This is the kind of labor that is needed in the pulpit. THis is the kind of labor that is needed on our knees in the study. What kind of labor is it to merely copy and paste half your sermon. Was the same amount of time spent parsing verbs, analyzing verse relationships, asking questions that probe more than the surface meanign of the text?
I have to chuckle when I talk with some folks that say the following regarding a tough passage or doctrine: “It seems spurious for Dr. So-and-So to claim that from the biblical evidence.” What?!?! “I just don’t see that in the biblical text from the many uses of such a word” Really?!?! Does this not seem silly? How old are you? How much exegesis have you done?
Truly, a student of 21 years could have done a substantial amount of exegesis. The thing that is astounding to me is that this student seems so sure of himself. How can you be so sure when you have done so little by way of study (in comparison to so many who disagree with you). Yes, we can be sure of many things, but on other issues we need to exhibit a sense of humility in the way we speak. To be so surefire about your take on a passage is fine. It’s another thing when you have heard a fine sounding argument and cop it off as your very own.
For so many of us, may we extend charity to those who disagree with us (after all this is a mark of a Christian)…and let us read more Bible than commentaries.