Yesterday our post, “Cherry Picking” The Scripture, was in response to a question asked by Stephen, one of our regular readers. Today we continue answering more of his questisons.
Stephen asks, “In trying to understand God’s Will on so many social (not so much individual responsibility) issues, how do you know who’s right and who’s wrong?”
Our questioner further opines, “If we go into a more liberal Church (such as a Methodist), what is taught, practiced, and what people believe is much different than more conservative Churches (such as Southern Baptist or Church of Christ).”
“Differences in opinion have always existed in the Church — isn’t a key question how not to make these differences so divisive as to split Christians apart?”
These and other questions remind me of the one of the great Bible verses, Proverbs 14:12. “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
We live an age where people want to be guided by human reasoning instead of divine revelation; feelings instead of Faith; or tradition instead of Truth. The way of man seems sensible. Right. Fair. And just. Yet, it’s way is dangerous. Spiritually. And sometimes physically, mentally or emotionally.
“Who is right and who is wrong?” The apostle Paul wrote, “Let God be true and every man a liar!” (Rom. 3:4). God is the Creator; we are the creature. God is infallible; we are fallible. God is all knowing; we are limited in our knowledge. God’s way is best; man’s way often lead to failure and destruction.
“How do you know who’s right and who’s wrong?” It’s not by comparing the methods of the Methodist Confession of Faith with the Hiscox Baptist manual! Nor is it by contrasting either one with practices of the churches of Christ! It is by comparing one’s religious beliefs to God’s Word. The inspired Scripture.
Human creeds, religious traditions and changing church bylaws with modern culture may seem right, but they violate Scripture, and become wrong! And lead us down a destructive path.
One of our nation’s great founders, Thomas Jefferson, was a Deist. He acknowledged belief in God and devotion to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Yet, he disagreed with the Gospel writers on some matters. He rejected specific passages because he felt they were “contrary to reason.” Guess what he did?
Thomas Jefferson created his own personalized Bible! The Smithsonian website says he took a penknife and cut up copies of the New Testament and pasted them together to fashion a Bible that he liked!
While people may not literally be doing what Jefferson did, many seem to think they can create their own Bible. Ignore parts they don’t like. Cut away that which is contrary to today’s culture and philosophy. And then paste in their personal preferences. That won’t work!
Yes, we may have “difference of opinion.” However, when opinion violates Divine doctrine, we are in trouble. How can we find religious unity? It is simple. Yet, at the same time difficult for folks to accept. But here’s a good beginning place.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3
Paul’s plea for unity is possible, but only if we’re willing to put aside our way, and accept God’s way. Religious unity is based on these 7 basic beliefs:
“There is one body and one Spirit —just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4-6).
To quote my friend, Edwin Crozier, “God’s way works!” Try it!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacheman