Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Call No Man Master

A selection from a letter by John Newton to John Campbell, a friend in Scotland. Newton spoke of the danger of making too much of great men, especially of their writings. Better search the Scriptures ourselves than be dependent solely on man’s authority. Such a word needs to be heard today given the tendency by some to make idols out of learned theologians and powerful preachers. The letter was written in 1803.

Study the text of the good word of God. Beware of leaning too hard on human authority, even the best; you may get useful hints from sound divines, but call no man master. There are mixtures of infirmity, and the prejudices of education or party, in the best of writers. What is good in them they obtained from the fountain of truth, the scriptures; and you have as good a right to go to the fountain head yourself.

Heroes, Iain H. Murray, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009, p. 111. Mr. Murray takes this portion of Newton’s letter from Letters and Occasional Remarks by John Newton, edited by John Campbell, published in 1809.

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