Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Learning from the Old Men First: Driscoll, Keller, and Marriage Books

Having read parts of Tim Keller’s and Mark Driscoll’s new books on marriage, I have been struck by one thought.  A man ought usually to wait until he is older before he offers his wisdom to others.

When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, began his reign, the Scriptures tell of how he consulted first with the old men, then with “the young men who had grown up with him” on how he ought to rule. This was a matter of wisdom – the application of truth to a certain situation. There were specific principles for the kings of Israel to follow, but Rehoboam’s question was more in the line of ethos or style. What would his reign feel and look like. 1 Kings 12 goes to rather extensive pains to show that Rehoboam’s folly was in listening to the young men, rather than the old men. And this notion holds true in general.

I recall an old pastor telling me once, “You may want to wait a few years before you preach on parenting.” That was good advice since my kids were 5 and 2 I pretty much thought I knew all there was to raising children – everybody’s children! I also tended to think the Bible had much more to say about parenting than it really does. Thankfully, I mostly kept my mouth shut other than to say specifically what the Bible said on the topic.  That has enabled a few less regrets at this stage of my ministry.

This has been one of my fears for Pastor Driscoll through the years. I think he has tended to write “too close to the lesson.” Even this latest book, if I read the chronology right, seems to say that all the good things he is directing us to do are things he has really only applied in his marriage in the last 3-4 years. I am glad where Biblical truth is changing any marriage, but I think it is not wise to speak of seeing huge long-term results so close to their application.

In comparison, Pastor Keller purposefully waited until he was older in years and experience to write a book on marriage. Frankly, I think he has a lot more to say not only because of the manner in which he approaches the subject, but because he has lived through 37 years of applying this Truth in marriage. His own and others.

In a fast-paced culture like ours, we do well to remember that God has created things in such a way that our older folks ought to be sought out for their opinions first. And if you are a young man, you do well to work out your salvation in fear and trembling and a certain level of quietness now. Your day to impart wisdom to others will come soon enough, and you may find that the humbling of years gives you far less to say.