William, not Charles.
William Barclay is the author of the Daily Study Bible, a classic collection of New Testament commentaries. Though he writes from the perspective of mid-20th century neo-orthodoxy, his reflections on biblical passages often have singular insight.
So it was recently as I was studying up on Matthew 23 in preparation for a message. Here’s what Barclay says that caught my attention:
“The gravest danger which any teacher or preacher encounters is that he should erect his own prejudices into universal principles and substitute his own ideas for the truth of God.”
Making personal prejudices into universal principles. Man. I’m no doubt guilty of that.
Does my prejudice for Wesleyan-Arminian free will and my prejudice against Calvinism lead me to underemphasize the sovereignty of God? Probably.
Does my prejudice for modern worship style and my prejudice against traditional Methodist liturgy lead me to neglect some of the treasures of the faith? Certainly.
Does my prejudice for charismatic expression and my prejudice against cessationist theology lead me to bypass a more measured approach to what the Holy Spirit is doing today? Perhaps.
Does my prejudice for amillenialism and my prejudice against dispensationalsim lead my to overlook what Scripture says about a unique role for Israel in God’s future? Sometimes.
Those of us who preach, teach, and lead should ask these questions of ourselves with great frequency.
Thanks to Mr. Barclay, today is one of those days.