It has always amazed me how people can switch religious beliefs so easily, and accept everything taught to them on the other side as absolute truth, when they once believed they were absolute lies!!! Why are we so fickle? Why is it that we are so desperate to belong that we have to buy everything we are told, and drop our true convictions and our ability to reason?
I see it with all faiths, but I’m especially dumbfounded when I see it with Atheists, who insist upon evidence before they can proclaim anything to be true! Funny how there is absolutely NO evidence for the theory of evolution (hence it is still called a theory), but everyone who moves to the other side of faith in God adopts this theory as golden and goes to great lengths to defend and promote it.
As Christians, we do the same thing. I know why there’s a need to define statutes. Not least so that we can know those who believe exactly what we believe, and label those who don’t accept everything we believe as heretics to be avoided. We’ve been warned of the many false prophets and teachers teaching false doctrines, so we agreed on the truth, and are unable to tolerate alternative understanding of these beliefs or even new revelations! This is why there are so many denominations, sects and cults, because we switch off our spiritual gauge and depend on others to tell us what to believe.
One of those things we have been taught to accept without question is the infallibility of the Bible, as the Word of God. However, if the first Christians (Acts 11:26) didn’t have the Bible, and didn’t even have a holy Book, just the gospel that they received from the Apostles, do you think they would call what we now know to be the Bible as the complete inerrant word of God? Consider also that when the converted Jews were trying to impose circumcision and other Jewish laws on the Gentiles who had believed the Gospel (and were now just as Christian as the converted Jews), the Believers had their very first meeting on the matter of what every Christian should hold dear, and what we should not be burdened with. This meeting is recorded in Acts 15.
At this meeting, this was what they concluded as applicable to all Believers:
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well” (Acts 15:28-29).
It is reasonable to say that even this list was reconsidered by the Church, as they grew in understanding of what was clean and unclean. Consider Paul’s teaching in Romans 14 about strong and weak faith, and how we are free to eat anything (as long as we do not cause others, who believe they’ve been sacrificed to idols or are unclean, to stumble). But his teaching about sexual immortality should also show that that is not a weak or strong faith issue, but a fundamental principle to be upheld by all believers (1 Cor 6:18).
Christians were not compelled to abide by the Torah, as many of the converted Pharisees pushed for. Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles saw him continually fighting this battle of renewing the minds of his Jewish brothers and sisters (Read Galatians 3). But he did say to Timothy that all scriptures are inspired by God and profitable for instruction (2 Tim 3:16), so he wasn’t advocating that it be disregarded…just understood in light of the Gospel and teachings of Jesus. As you can imagine, Paul never dreamed that his writings would become part of a collection that would later be termed “the Word of God”.
Who does the Bible say the Word of God is? JESUS and no other (1 John 1:1). To say that the Bible is the infallible word of God is the heresy (but I won’t stone or reject you for believing that). The Bible compiles the testimonies of others who were inspired by God to write for the edification of Believers, and to carry on and protect the Jewish history and tradition. The Roman Catholic Church felt the need to seal the Bible’s authority to teach Christians our faith in Jesus by canonizing it (rejecting what they believed to be false testimonies). I see the wisdom in this, and uphold the Bible as sacred.
The Bible’s authority is built on the authority of the Church. But the Word of God is a living Being that once became flesh. This is the Biblically sound doctrine.
Believing that Jesus is the Word of God and not the Bible has never caused me to reject the Bible. It has only allowed me to better understand it and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth as Jesus said He would (John 16:13).
This teaching about the Bible and several other teachings that have been passed on by tradition (and do not even have Biblical support) are accepted by Christians, depending on their particular denomination as the Gospel Truth! The Gospel Truth is the message that Jesus preached, that His disciples were sent forth to preach, so that all who believe may be filled with the Spirit of God – and would need no man to teach them (I John 2:27).
To all who believe the Gospel, which is that God sent His beloved Son to die on a Cross to save them from eternal death, this is what Jesus says:
“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:15).
Photo credit: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org
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