"Nice dictators exist, at least in the leadership sense. I refer to these types of leaders in the church as amiable autocrats. Friendly church dictators rule from their positional authority. They order everyone around because their title enables them to do so, and they do it with a smile." - Sam Rainer
This past Sunday, I spoke in a small church in northeast Wisconsin. Knowing of the love that many in that congregation have for Bible prophecy, I shared that Dr. Jimmy DeYoung had been announced as the featured speaker for this fall’s IFCA Wisconsin Regional meetings in October.
I did not realize until that evening that—by the time I gave that announcement—Dr. DeYoung was already experiencing that which the Apostle Paul described in Phil. 1:21:
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.1
And, as Paul also wrote in 2 Cor. 5:8:
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
I first learned of Dr. DeYoung in the 1990s, when he became a regular part of the Day of Discovery television program from Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries). Those episodes were filmed in Israel and the Middle East, and I learned much from watching as I prepared for church on Sunday mornings.
Dr. DeYoung’s influence continued to grow steadily on Christian radio and television. He was often found on The John Ankerberg Show, and his own Prophecy Today ministry attracted a growing audience to various programs.
“This is relevant to us even in our circles, because many GARBC pastors and church leaders were deeply enamored with Driscoll during the peak of his popularity. With the accessibility of YouTube sermons and MP3s back in the day, the invention of podcasts, and the availability of conferences, scores of pastors within our own circles had become loyal listeners of Driscoll.” - Mike Hess
"Silence is often a way out. Silence is a way to neglect our responsibilities as a mentor or boss. Silence is an excuse not to fulfill what Scripture says about the older teaching the younger....The opposite is also true.... So how do we know when we should or should not respond?" - Treg Spicer
Scripture is clear—Proverbs in particular—that there are such things as fools and these individuals are nothing but trouble. We shouldn’t be in their company more than necessary—much less, put important responsibilities in their hands.
Though the English word “fool” appears 60 to 65 times in most English versions of Proverbs, the book doesn’t offer a concise definition. That leaves us with some ambiguity. How many of the traits of fools does someone have to have to be rightly classified as a fool? Are we supposed to take the qualities of fools only as way to gauge the degree of foolishness?
Though we’re all foolish at times, the fool is consistently spoken of in Proverbs as belonging to a distinct category. There may be degrees of severity, but either someone is a fool, or he isn’t.
It’s probably best to approach the question of who’s a fool sort of like a disease: how many symptoms do you have to have in order to be diagnosed as having, say, rabies? Though I’m often a little photo-phobic, cranky, and confused, the probability remains low that I’m rabid. On the other hand, if somebody has six of the usual symptoms of rabies but is not oversensitive to light, probability remains high that they’re infected.
The more symptoms, the more confident the diagnosis, and you don’t need all of them to be pronounced a fool.
A high-level summary of Proverbs’ take on fools: