Smart, Educated People Are Always Right … Until They Aren’t
Pluto and eggs. Once again, I am confused by what scientists are telling me. I want to be clear here and explain that I am not all that smart. And I am certainly not well educated, especially in things like planets and healthy eating. So I depend on smart, educated people to explain those things to me. After all, they should certainly know what is true and correct in their field.
I grew up with smart people telling me that Pluto was a planet. But my grandkids tell me that now it is not. Except last year, some scientists began pushing for another look at Pluto. They believe it should be classified as a planet. So what is changing? Is Pluto different somehow over the years? Does the definition of what a planet is change? And does Pluto even care?
I also heard better news last year about eggs. I grew up eating eggs because a healthy breakfast was important. Then some well educated people took another look at eggs and decided they were not healthy. But last year scientists decided they were not harmful at all, and you could up to a dozen eggs per week. So what happened? Were scientists right, then wrong, then right again? Have eggs changed? Did the definition of healthy change?
What happens for my great-grandkids someday? Will they list Pluto as a planet or not? Will they feel guilty if they eat eggs?
And does any of this have anything to do with following Jesus or helping others become followers? I have been preaching for so long that I have seen these same kinds of changes in church circles. The educated professors I had in school are evidently now thought to be in error on some things they taught me. The professors who are teaching things differently are at the same university where I studied. So did the Bible change? Or do we have a better understanding of Scripture? And what about two generations from now?
Of course smart, well educated people know a lot. They sometimes help us see and understand things in better ways. They are often right. Sometimes they are wrong. So be careful about assuming that smart makes right.
After all, two of the greatest leaders in the early church were seen as ordinary, uneducated men, yet they helped the whole world learn the story of Jesus. So maybe I should not worry too much about the latest pronouncement from exceptional thinkers with terminal degrees. I appreciate their thinking and how they help me learn, but they are not truth.
Jesus is. The Bible is. I can learn those truths. Just like anyone can.
I don’t have to be real smart or educated to learn that or to teach someone else.
Even more importantly, the key for telling our world about Jesus is not to be exceptional or highly educated. It is to be with Jesus. That is what stood out about Peter and John.
And that truth will never change.