We have to evaluate the books that we read and consider the author’s viewpoint and whether or not it is consistent with the Scriptures. However, we must never get into this mentality that we’re the only Christians in the world and that we are not going to listen to these “other guys.” Often times God has taught them truth way beyond us.
In all of these books, especially in the theological books but you’re gonna get it in every area; you have to realize that you’re going to be reading things that are from different perspectives. Some of these biographies I’ve mentioned are wonderful, but you have to evaluate and weigh the view point. You have to think, “What direction is this person coming from?”
I had a brother write to me I had spoken at a church for a series of meetings and we had a bunch of these books, and he wrote to me afterward he said, “Do you realize that that Hudson Taylor book, ‘Spiritual Secret’ is presenting some Keswick views of sanctification?” And I said, “Yes, I realize that. But since you’re hearing sound preaching every Sunday. I figured that you’re gonna be able to sort it out.”
You know, we’re so afraid of anything that’s not just right exactly down the line, that we’re missing out on godly men from church history. And so we’ve got to take things, no matter who it is. Martin Lloyd Jones: one of my all-time favorite authors, but I don’t take everything Martin Lloyd Jones says as the Gospel neither should you, nobody should. But as you begin to learn these different streams of thought: The Wesleyan ideas, and how they were affected. Different ideas about the sovereignty of God and so on. Leonard Ravenhill was Arminian, but he had a tremendous impact on my life.
I feel that it’s really a sad time if you’ve only been subjected to men from one theological tradition, because it means that you’re gonna miss out on a lot. I remember one time, when I had just graduated from college and I totally differ from Leonard Ravenhill about the sovereignty in salvation. But I remember thinking: “Lord, put me with men of the burning heart. Not cold, carnal, doctrinarian guys that are maybe even lost but they love to discuss doctrine.”
So, I’m very big on the importance of doctrine and true doctrine. And I can’t explain how much that means, but on the other hand never do we get into this mentality that we’re the only Christians in the world and we’re not gonna listen to these other guys. A lot of times God has taught them stuff that is way beyond us.