Advice – Who Needs It?

By Ken Osborne

Up to this time I have let older, wiser, more experienced preachers of the Gospel fill the pages of this paper, and others like it, because I felt they could and would do a far better job than 1. However, there has now appeared a problem which I think needs to be written about by a younger person for the most good to be accomplished. This problem is the younger generation’s acceptance of advice.

Refusing to accept advice is certainly not a problem confined to the young of this generation; rather it is one we can see exemplified throughout the ages. Rehoboam refused to listen to older, wiser men and turned instead to those of his own generation for advice. The consequence of his action is seen in the split of the Jewish Kingdom. Throughout the ages the young have been convinced that they had the answers only to find out, with the”passing of time, that the “old man” knew what he was talking about.

The danger involved in this problem is not, however, slackened simply because the young have always suffered from it. Some have . gone through this period of time relatively unscathed, emerging to find out, as did Samuel Clemens, how much the “old man” had learned over a period of a few years. Others, however, have plunged themselves into grave situations while blinded by the “know it all” syndrome, By not listening to advice given them by older men many have wound up in prisons, in regrettable marriages, and even in cemeteries. Still worse than these, however, are those who have put themselves in spiritual danger by rejecting the counsel of older, wiser men in regards to spiritual matters and plunged bare-handed into the forest in search of truth in total disregard of paths blazed years ago. Some by so doing have convinced themselves that there is no God because of their “superior” knowledge. Some with whom I am acquainted and with whom I spent several years at Florida College, setting out blindly on a quest of their own with total disregard for any advice given them by older preachers, have departed from the truth in nearly every conceivable direction. Some have gone almost to the point of accepting predestination, some have gone into the camps of the institutional brethren, and still others have been led away by the teachings of Carl Ketcherside.

A large percentage of these, I feel, had determined to search out truth for themselves with total disregard for the advice of others; this is the end of their road. It is the end which Solomon foretold time and time again in the book of Proverbs. Indeed, one of the main purposes in writing The Proverbs was to give advice to the young (1:4). Time and time again Solomon instructs the young to -listen to the words of the older. I am not saying that young preachers and -young people in general should not study the Bible on their own, for this is the only way true knowledge and understanding may come. What I am saying is that when in their studies they come up with ideas contrary to those they ,have been taught, that they should talk to older preachers and teachers and see if they can answer the questions raised. I, myself, have found this approach to be invaluable in my studies. Usually these older men have been down the same road you are on and can point out your errors, if indeed they are errors. Many however, turn to those their own age and suffer the consequences of Rehoboam.

In seeking advice it should go without saying that you should seek one who can give it, for as the Bible says, “If the blind lead the blind, then both shall fall into the ditch.” In seeking advice, seek greater wisdom than your own, by seeking the counsel of those older than yourself. It is not a disgrace to ask for advice; it is using common sense. It could very well be a matter of spiritual life or death – yours.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:40, p. 13-14
August 15, 1974