Careful students

perry“Perry Mason,” the hit television program of the 1950s and 1960s is having a resurgence in re-runs.

Raymond Burr, the title actor, does a masterful job bringing Erle Stanley Gardner’s character to life. The short one-hour programs try to strike a balance between murder crimes and Mason’s ultimate victory in the courts.

After watching for a few days (I record the program from a television station in Nashville, Tennessee). Lt. Arthur Tragg, the L.A. police investigator, is not very good at what he does. He’s just not a very careful investigator. Tragg basically finds fingerprints on the gun, at the crime scene and then he goes and gets a warrant.

Mason, on the contrary, seeks out all the pertinent facts and details of the case and wears down witnesses until the murderer confesses. Usually, the culprit is sitting in the witness gallery and is worn down by the tension in the courtroom.

If “Perry Mason” was the real world, Tragg (and his subsequent investigator Andy Anderson whose record was just as dismal) would have been fired for incompetence. Investigators, as other professionals, must be careful students and not careless ones.

This brings us to another popular type of person — the careless preacher or teacher of the Bible. This person has some flaws when it comes to steering people the right way of biblical interpretation.

Some of these careless preachers are too proud of themselves. There are some whose education has given them an air of proficiency with the Bible they do not possess. When they are corrected, instead of meekness and humility, they become proud and arrogant denying any mistakes at all. Like the Pope, these think they are infallible. No one is.

Some of these careless preachers were once careless students. In school, they defended their mistaken interpretations of the Bible against all comers. They, too, have a problem with pride. Instead of taking time to go back to the Bible and find the truth, they refuse to consider anyone else may be right.

Some of these careless preachers defend doctrines that are just not taught in the Bible. Their traditions, however, prevent them from honestly studying the Bible carefully.

As students of the scriptures, we must ever watch our teachers carefully. Why? Because our eternal souls are in their hands. Before we engage in a spirited defense of these careless preachers, we need to ask if the Bible actually teaches what they’re talking about, or are they simply deceived into thinking that it does.