The Danger of Depending on the Wisdom of the Masses

The second test with respect to the wrong way of testing the false prophets is the fallacy of always assuming that if the teaching is popular it must be right. ‘Many shall follow their pernicious ways,’ says Peter. False teachers are going to arise amongst you, he says, and they will attract a crowd…Surely this fallacy hardly merits any prolonged attention, but I have to refer to it because one still hears the glib phrases, “Everybody believes it’, or to put it negatively, ‘No one any longer believes the Bible; no cultured, educated person believers; look at the masses outside the church.’…What is the lesson of the New Testament and of the Bible on this matter? Go back to the Flood for an answer – you will find the whole world was wrong and only eight people right. The many were against God at the time of the flood; only eight people were saved. Is a thing true because everybody says and believes it? Then go on to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah – what do you find? Exactly the same thing; the many, the mass, were all on the wrong side. Lot and his family alone were rescued. That is the teaching of the Bible. It has always taught the doctrine of the remnant – the many, the popular, the crowd all going in the wrong direction and just the small remnant remaining true. To me one of the saddest features , even of modern religious life, is the tendency to estimate truth in terms of results, popularity, crowds, movements. It is an utter denial of the biblical teaching. You cannot estimate spiritual truth by polls; the counting of heads is not a biblical way of discovering whether teaching is right or wrong. You do not take a census and ask people to fill in certain details. ‘To the law and the testimony’! Popularity and numbers are a very false test of truth.

– Lloyd-Jones, Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, pp. 127-128 (emphasis added).

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