So, judge me if you will, but I love the song “No Time” by The Guess Who. One of my earliest memories is when my dad took me to one of their concerts. He had me hoisted up on his shoulders so that I could see. Later, my grandfather asked me who we went to see. I answered him, “The Guess Who.” He replied, “I give up, who?” And we went back and forth for a while. Anyway, this song sums up how I feel about modern popular “theologians.” The first words of the song are: “No time left for you, on my way to better things.” Of course, the writer isn’t referring to theological “eggheads.” But seriously, I cannot think of a better way to express my lack of interest in anything that modern popularizers have to say.
First, most of these popularizers have nothing of real value to say. They thrive on stirring up contention and debate, usually on topics of minor importance. Listen, theonomy does not matter in the light of the Incarnation. Eschatology (as commonly used, not the essential doctrines of the resurrection and second coming) is inconsequential in comparison to the Satisfaction of Christ. Yet, for some reason, these are the themes of the popularizers. The plain fact of the matter is that I am tired of settling for looking at a cup of water when the ocean is readily available for my perusal.
Second, have you ever noticed how many of the popularizers have built their empires around waging idealogical warfare? I’m reminded of what Tony Stark said in the first Iron Man movie: “Peace? Yeah, I love peace. If we had peace I’d be out of a job.” It seems like the mantra of the couch-burning man is to shoot first and ask questions later. Instead of attempting to live with all men peaceably as far as it is in our power, the rule of thumb is to fight all men as far as it is in our power. I know, I know: “That’s what apologetics is!” Sorry to disappoint anyone, but that’s actually not what apologetics is. If you read 1 Pet. 3:15, you may notice that our answer should be given to those who ask us for the reason for the hope within us. It does not say to go out and slay cultural dragons. It says when men ask you, be ready to give a defense. Apologetics is not offensive (you know what I mean), it is defensive.
Third, we all have a remarkably short time to live on this earth. At best, many of us will only get between 75-90 years. I am assuming that I have less than that: all of my immediate family that have passed did so before the age of 70. So why on earth would I spend my days reading and watching and listening to men who have yet to die? I do not know how the couch-burning man is going to finish his race. And let’s take a lesson from the aftermath of Ravi Zacharias’ passing: we don’t know what skeletons will come out of the closet after a man dies. The simple truth is that these men we watch on YouTube are utter strangers to us; we do not who they truly are. But we know how John Owen finished. We know that Spurgeon remained faithful to the end. We know that Edwards lived a life worthy of the gospel. Do you see what I’m saying? Why would I spend the limited amount that I have on second-rate goods? It’s like cigars. If I know I have only a week to live, you can put money on the fact that I’m not smoking a cheap cigar. Or eating a McDonald’s hamburger. I’m going to get a Montecristo and eat a steak. The men of old were much closer to God than many of the popularizers of today. Why would I use the small time that I have on anything other than the best of what the Lord has preserved for our learning?
Don’t get me wrong: there are good men alive today who preach faithfully. But those men are not the popularizers. They are the pastors who fill pulpits in small congregations without any fanfare. Let me give you an example. I have grown up a Baptist. I grew up in a small SBC church with extensive ties to THE SEMINARY. Not only that, I grew up a Calvinistic Baptist. All things considered, I had a fantastic theological education growing up. But I had never heard the name Al Garard. Pastor Garard is the pastor of Great Light Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. He is one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard. I do not know the man. I have never spoken to him. But I have benefited from his sermons.
This may seem like a harsh post, but I truly do not mean it to be. Honestly, this has been somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness post. These thoughts have been percolating in my brain for a while, and they were finally ready to drip out into the pot. So, take it for what’s it worth, which, granted, is not much.