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Ligon Duncan

How do we deal with unbiblical theology?

By Ligon Duncan

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
(Excerpt from an interview):

 Well, I don’t think it’s wrong for a man to be concerned, especially if he’s in a connectional denomination like mine where we do have things like boards of missions and such.  I don’t think it’s wrong for a minister to be concerned about those things.  But I suspect in evangelicalism, especially during the years of the wars with the liberals, that conservative ministers overestimated the power of denominational agencies and boards to reach indirectly and impact local congregations and they underestimated the importance of dealing with the practical pastoral issues that we’re facing in the local congregation.  I think that we probably did a good job of convincing our people that the doctrine of Scripture ought to entail the belief that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, but while we were in our pulpits beating up on the liberals, our people, while professing belief in the authority of Scripture, were rapidly becoming more and more like the culture around them with regard to divorce and abortion and every other social ill that you can name today.  So I think we did a good job of beating up on the bad guys while not addressing the things that were happening, the radical changes that were going on in our own congregations.  So, and if I had it to do again, I think that there would be a way, in the context of that battle, which was bravely and rightly fought by many good men that you and I would both honor and revere today, I think that there is a way to draw attention to the importance of the local church that was perhaps overlooked in that time, because we were enamored of things large, things that had big budgets, things that had high profiles, but things which only have access to a local congregation if the minister and the officers allow it.