How does the average Christian know what to believe?
One of my favorite bloggers Dan has a post critical of John Piper and fundamentalist biblical interpretation.
Piper's advice: Ignore the experts and their research, and just read the bible and believe whatever you think it says.
Dan's response: Following carefully the expert opinions is of great importance in understanding the bible. In no other field would we dismiss expert advice: 'If one were to take [Piper's] advice with other experts, like one's doctor for example, the results could well be tragic.'
Commenter asks: What then is the average Christian to do, who has neither the time nor ability to follow carefully the expert opinions?
Another commenter responds: 'If it were any other subject, the only proper response would be "tough cookies." If you don't have the time or the ability or can't make the effort, then you'll be left out in the cold. Knowledge isn't egalitarian.'
So what is the correct answer? How should the average Christian with neither much time nor ability know what to believe?