I originally posted this in a forum for leaders, but I feel it applies to all believers in some ways.
When Copernicus first asserted that the world moved, he was derided by the secular and condemned by the sacred. Luther is reported to have called him a fool (whether he actually went quite that far is sometimes disputed) and Calvin, along with many others, dismissed him as heretical.
Yet, Copernicus was right and they were wrong. As ministers (and Christians in general), there will always be the temptation to speak to matters beyond our expertise. The vast majority of us are not scientists, doctors, political scientists, or legal experts. Even more so, most of us do not possess beyond a rudimentary knowledge of these disciplines. Thus, we risk much when we speak in these areas.
Additionally, we risk even more when we, in our limited understanding, begin to apply scriptural interpretation to these other areas. Theologians felt that the scriptures had shown them a earth-centric view of the universe. So, they applied their Biblical interpretation to science and they were utterly wrong.
When we misapply the text, we create the danger of making the text, and our interpretations thereof, to be unreliable. Now, simply because we were compelled to speak to a matter that was outside of our expertise, we have endangered our ability to do our main work, spreading the gospel.
Let us endeavor to not fall into this trap. In the world of social media, we may feel a burning desire to speak into every issue. But, simply put, the world does not need our opinion on everything. Furthermore, we may be premiere in our field, but should we risk our credibility and influence by speaking to other fields, which we do not know?I repeat, the preacher’s opinion is not needed on every political, scientific, medical, and legal question. And, it is an incredible risk to offer it when we extend beyond our scope of knowledge. In addition, our hubris can often convince us that we are experts where we are not. Beware of that as well.
We are needed at our post, with our influence, reputation, and reliability intact. The best way to preserve such, is to stay in our lane.
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