I have been privileged to be able to talk to a woman at work about the things of God recently. She is a professing believer and it has been a blast being able to answer questions or just talk about how good God is when the opportunity arises. I feel more fellowship with her when we talk in such a way than I have at church in a while.
Well, a question came up that just put a little smirk on my face. I didn’t smirk because it was funny or cute, but because I have had to deal with such stupidity in the past. (Don’t get me wrong – not stupidity because she asked the question, but because such small, non-important things have become big issues in the Church.)
The question: Something to the effect of, “Are people supposed to get baptized the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in Jesus name only?”
Unfortunately, this is just one of many, many issues that people like to pull from the Bible and make a huge doctrinal issue over. There are churches that split over silly little things like this. There are also those who are weak in the faith who, like little children, gravitate to every word that a “leader” says. However, if the “leader” can’t rightly divide the Word of God, those under him (or, nowadays, her) won’t be able to either.
So what to we do with topics like:
Communion: Wine or grape juice?
Music: Hymns or modern?
Marriage: Requirement of God or stay single?
Wives: Submit to husband?
Speaking in tongues: Prayer language, just a sign, for today or not?
The Bible: KJV only, NIV, ESV, ABC, and 123?
This is no doubt something the enemy loves – Christians who will argue constantly about tiny trivial things. When they do so, they are not doing what they are called to do. The enemy is winning.
If I took the time, I could probably list a whole lot more. My purpose is not to answer all of them because I am right. No, God is right and He is the One who inspired His own Word. Ask Him what is right. Does not the scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit will teach us? (John 14:26)
My point is this: The Bible is not a mystical, magical puzzle that only the elite can understand. We have the privilege of having it so widespread in our country. Yet, we seem to be so scatter-brained with it. Ask God for wisdom in understanding it. He is the author. He is THE BEST one to tell you what it means.
Also, while you are called to honor your Pastor, Bishop, etc., he is also not all knowing. God is. You job is not to take what your Pastor says for granted. He is a human and not God. It is God’s Word and you need to line what he says with God’s Word, not the other way around.
Imagine the Apostle Paul for a moment – major conversion, missionary, building churches, preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit, writing most of the New Testament, used by God in a might way. He comes to a place where he preaches the gospel. He is using the Old Testament as the New Testament is now a work in progress. He preaches, but the people don’t take his word for granted. No, they take what he says and line it up with the Scriptures. Maybe you’ve read about them in Acts 17. They were from Berea and were considered more noble because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul was saying was true.
So what about those that bring up such trivial issues? Look at what the Bible says. Take the arguments and line it up with the Bible. Are their arguments what is really being said in the texts they bring up? Was that the purpose of what was written? Look at it for yourself. If they are right, then you need to change. If they are wrong, let them know. If they will not listen to what the Word says, you just need to let them go into their merry delusion. You cannot change them, only God can.
In the end, you need to know the Word for yourself. Don’t follow me, your church, your Pastor, or anyone who seems to know the Bible better than you. Because…
Jesus said to follow HIM.