Most Christians will readily agree that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).
In the course of laboring among a number of diverse churches over the years, I’ve encountered a vast disparity within their respective beliefs. Why, if we are using essentially the same Bible(s) in our various churches should this even occur?
The reason I’ve heard most often is, it attributes to differences to the manner in which Scripture is interpreted. To be certain, this in fact does occur. However, over the years I’ve concluded, along with other students of Scripture, it is not the primary reason.
Most of the variations in church doctrines are not the result of interpretation or the translation; rather it is a result of refusing to believe and obey what the Bible DOES say. The “interpretation” becomes a most convenient vehicle to cleverly promote alternative beliefs that are in conflict from what contextual Scripture teaches. Now, before you grab a hanging rope and find the nearest tall tree, consider the following…
Presupposition with regard to the Bible, is the highly refined art of determining what we want a “truth/doctrine” to convey, then presuming to grant ourselves the creative license to support that viewpoint. As the ever-growing number of churches spanning a broad range of opposing beliefs, the Word of God is increasingly subject to being redefined, edited, thus rendering it to become an “elective” database.
Predictably, the original, God inspired context is summarily sacrificed for the sake of pressing convenience.
Many will discount, or entirely reject the statements above, however, before doing that, please consider that the Holy Spirt revealed to the apostle Paul that this grievous practice would indeed literally occur! Paul references his anguish in not one, but TWO of his letters to Timothy. Examine the powerful statements in these brief passages:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Peter 2:1-3).
Obviously, I could give many more Scriptures, but these clear passages confirm my earlier statements. Paul’s warning is strikingly clear: Whether you choose to accept, ignore, or reject his warning, is your decision to make. An ever-growing number of professing Christians have abandoned a “literal” understanding of Scripture. Many have now bought into the popular, trendy myth that the Bible supports all relative truths; whatever you deem to be “truth.”
This prefaces the title I chose for this article.
Before which God will you appear? There are many proverbial “robes” our Lord will require if we actually believe the supposition that all denominational/religious systems of belief are equally valid. Will He “change” to the appropriate robe as the myriad of denomination/religious people stand before Him?
Seriously…you’d have the Baptist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Emergent, Pentecostal, Seeker-Friendly, Assembly of God, and literally dozens more.
Can we not see the absurdity in our refusal to read and apply God’s Word literally, just as it was authored by the Spirit of God? Are you naïve enough to believe the God of Creation will set aside His inerrant Word, and instead bow to the myriad of conflicting humanistic versions instead? Consider the following alternative:
What would happen if we surrendered our religious/denominational pre-conceptions and instead as believers we began to read, trust, and then obey the actual, literal Bible the Holy Spirit gave to us?
You know what would result from this… It would TRANSFORM US into the Bride we were created to become!
“For we must all appear before the judgment [Bema] seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
(FYI: “things done in the body” refers to our earthly labors of service within the Body of Christ.)
Think about that, precious one!
All Scripture is quoted from the New King James Bible (NKLV).