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Reformed Churches and the Wisdom of Man

Fellow Bible-believing disciples of Jesus Christ, if you spend any time at all around members of so-called Reformed (Protestant) churches — whether because you read their writings, watch their videos, or listen to their sermons (and I would advise you do none of these things, except to observe for yourself what I am about to say) — one thing will quickly rise to the surface; that is, Reformed church members’ perpetual elevation of man and his “wisdom”, particularly the “wisdom” of theologians and so-called church fathers (contrast Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:9), as well as the “wisdom” of established church tradition as necessary supplements to God’s Word (if not elevated to being the main course! And, yes, the Catholic Church does exactly likewise).

Never mind that God, in His Spirit-filled Word, repeatedly rebukes those who seek after man’s “wisdom” and those who choose to follow the traditions of men. God in His true and infinite wisdom knows that such pursuits tend to lead to idolatry, whether idolatry of self (in the form of pride, the sin which led to the downfall of Satan himself) or idolatry of mankind generally as against God and His sufficiency.

These same Reformed church folk tend to likewise cast aspersions upon anyone who says the sort of thing I’ve just shared above. They tend to think that there are two camps of Christians — Catholics and those who emanate from the Reformed (Protestant) tradition. And they tend to likewise cast aspersions upon those who simply believe God and His Word, who recognize that not only do we not need to study theology nor the “wisdom” of the church “fathers” nor prominent theologians, but who know that those who do follow after the things of man tend to fall into apostasy, often leading to heresy, and which, thereafter, can easily turn to outright blasphemy. They disdain those who simply believe in God and His Word; and, yet, that is exactly what God commands of us.

No less than King Solomon — whom the Bible tells us had more wisdom than any other man — came to realize in old age that all the time and energy he’d invested in seeking after knowledge and the “wisdom” of man was vanity of vanities and vexation of spirit.

Needless to say, I’m no King Solomon. But I likewise invested years of my life seeking after man’s “wisdom”, and along the way earned two U.S. master’s degrees in philosophy, theology and classics — one in the Western traditions, the other in the Eastern traditions of India, China and Japan. And while I thereafter held all of my resulting knowledge and bookshelves worth of beautiful books in high regard, once I’d come to the truth of God’s true Word, I quickly realized that all that I’d learned, and all the books that I’d spent a small fortune on, were as dust. Truly, it was vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit. I no longer own a single one of those books. I own only the King James Bible.

And God’s true Word is more than sufficient.

Matthew 4:4
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After living an extraordinary life, King Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes, in which he describes how he pursued the best of what man — and woman — had to offer, but which he found, time and time again, to be lacking, to say the least. After coming fully to his senses again, here’s how he concluded Ecclesiastes, the final verses of the final chapter of the book:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Remember, this is not the “wisdom” of man — which Solomon learned, firsthand, is vanity of vanities and vexation of spirit — but, rather, true Spirit-filled wisdom emanating from God himself.

All to say, the next time you find yourself being looked upon in a patronizing fashion by a member of the Reformed tradition for being an assumed simpleton, remember what God himself speaks through Solomon: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”. And rebuke the Reformed person in your midst for falling into the very same sin that the Pharisees and Sadducees, et al. fell into, that is, the elevating of man and his “wisdom” above that of their one and only Creator, God himself.

An Afterword: I was raised and confirmed in a Reformed church which, as above, promotes the “wisdom” of man and holds God’s true Word in disdain, seeking, always, to minimize its import and to undermine His irrefutable teachings. Not surprisingly, a few years after my confirmation I became an ardent atheist. Thereafter, I largely wasted 3.5 decades of my life. I only came to Christ, in truth, as a 49-year-old, after hearing for the first time the true faith-based gospel that, immediately thereafter, forever altered the remainder of my days in this world and, most importantly, my eternal existence in the next. Nearly the whole of the United Kingdom has fallen prey to this same phenomenon, with the Church of England — to say nothing of the Anglican communion, worldwide — having deliberately kept the truth of the simple yet everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ from its flock across a great many generations. As God’s Word tells us in Matthew 7:16: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”. The fruits of the Church of England (and the worldwide Anglican communion, as well as the Reformed tradition generally) are thoroughly rotten, leaving the vast majority of the British population as God-denying atheists who can scarcely tolerate any mention of His existence, let alone their fearing Him or following His commandments.