Petrified Intellects by Thomas S. Buchanan

Petrified Intellects

I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.
—Romans 16:17–18

I recently was presented an opportunity to hear a notorious churchman give a lecture at the school where I teach. He is a rather famous man (or I should say infamous), a retired bishop who is renowned for his heretical teachings and now consults for a pornographic magazine. I can understand the curiosity of wishing to hear a popular and gifted speaker, but at the same time I could not avail myself of the opportunity to go and hear this man. I could not imagine what he could possibly say of interest that would not be offensive, nor could I imagine him who has so strongly denied the most fundamental elements of our faith being willing to listen to my feeble voice of reason. Paul’s admonition to avoid such people clung to my mind.

While our Lord was often criticized for spending time with sinners, the Apostle Paul tells us to avoid people of ill repute. Of course, the sinners Jesus spent time with were tax collectors, prostitutes, and such. They were people who had led impure lives and whom Jesus called back to lives of purity. However, had they told Jesus that he was wrong and gone about teaching another message about salvation, I am sure Jesus would have avoided them and told his disciples to do likewise.

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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

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