Old Preachers Pulling Rank

By Paul K. Williams

In about 1958 when I was 27 years old the church I was preaching for split. The main doctrinal issue involved (as with most church messes there were plenty of personal issues as well) was the subject of church discipline. A few months after the split a respected older preacher was scheduled to preach a meeting for the church where I had been preaching. In the hope that he could succeed in teaching the truth where I had failed, I wrote to him and asked him to preach on the subject of church discipline. I told him that if he would preach what he had written on the subject that I thought his influence could help the situation very much. His reply to me was, “I have been preaching more years than you have been living. I don’t need you to tell me what to preach.”

I then and there resolved that when I became old I would never pull rank because of age! Now that I am old, I am more resolved than ever. Age helps to bring wisdom, but wisdom is not confined to the old. Meeting an argument by saying, “I am older than you, therefore I know better” is nearly the same as saying, “You have the better argument, but I am not going to admit it.” If I have wisdom, I should be able to demonstrate that wisdom by calm, reasoned, scriptural argument.

These thoughts were triggered by the good article, “Thinking Too Highly of Men” by Robert Wayne LaCoste (GOT, July 18, 1991). His point was that we should not think so highly of older men that we take what they say uncritically. My point is that we older men must not think so highly of ourselves that we will not receive the criticism of younger men. Such sinful pride can take us to hell just as surely as any other sin.

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 24, p. 741
December 19, 1991