Why Do We Need Authority?
Why Do We Need Authority?
The Deliverance from Human Wisdom
When the popular talk shows, like Donahue, came into our culture, the content of these shows really demonstrated the inability of mere human wisdom to come to a definite conclusion concerning very important issues. Apart from the Bible, human wisdom will argue perpetually in circles concerning such issues as abortion, homosexuality, suicide, fornication, adultery, and so on. Concerning one period of history, God said, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). The inability of unaided human wisdom to discover the truth is dramatically illustrated through Paul in 1 Corinthians: "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God" (1:21). In the First Century, the people who had the reputation for being real wise, learned and intelligent, completely rejected the gospel message and considered it outright foolishness (1:23,26-27). Hence, we should not be shocked that much of modern society can’t accept what the Bible teaches.
Deliverance From Trusting In Ourselves
Many people are under the impression that the truth should sound good or endorse all their preconceived ideas. But let us remember that when a person first hears the truth, they are a sinner, in darkness and in bondage to Satan (Ephesians 2:1-3; Titus 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:26 "and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil"). Even what people call "common sense" can’t be very helpful if our senses have been deluded and dulled because we were living in sin, "just as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding" (Ephesians 4:17-19). The Bible warns us concerning the temptation of thinking that we will just inherently be able to feel the difference between right and wrong (Hebrews 5:14), or we have some inner light that guides us, or, our heart is so good that whatever we want to do and whatever we want to believe just has to be the truth (Proverbs 3:5; 16:25; 28:26; Jeremiah 10:23).A clear example of the above is that most people feel that God will save just about everyone, while the Bible says the complete opposite(Matthew 7:13-14). Respecting Bible Authority enables us to avoid of pitfall of rejecting the truth, because it goes against a cherished preconceived idea, or, because it demands tremendous change in our lives. Many people have rejected the Bible and their final statement was, "I just can’t accept that…"
Sadly, people often blame the Bible for the religious divisiveness found in the world. Such an accusation accuses God of being a very poor author, of being unable to have a book written to which all honest and good hearts could agree. This accusation accuses God of being the cause of all the religious division in the world and thus accuses Him of sin. Some say that the way to unity is simply to agree to disagree, but much of the religious world practices this and yet is still very divided. In addition, such a philosophy is never applied consistently. Recently, presidential candidate Bush found himself on the hot seat for visiting Bob Jones University, because this college is very outspoken concerning the errors in Catholicism. Since God commands Christians, "that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10); then such unity must be possible. The basis for unity, is the Word of God, "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me" (John 17:20-21). Since Jesus is the head of the Church, and Christians compose the body of Christ, we are to submit to His will in our attitude, doctrine and practice (Ephesians 5:24). Peter said that God, "has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us" (2 Peter 1:3); Paul said the Scriptures are, "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Clearly, being united is a "good work". We have everything in the Scriptures that we need for remaining united and working together. The Bible contains a standard to which all men can agree, that is, God’s view, God’s perspective.
Protection From Apostasy
Being led into error is a very real threat that always surrounds Christians or any local congregation. The entire Old Testament record is a record of human apostasy. Cain departed from God, the entire human race during Noah’s lifetime, except one family departed from God(Genesis 6:5-8), added to this, is the continual apostasy of successive generations of God’s own people, the nation of Israel (Judges 2:10-23; 1 Corinthians 10:5 "Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased"). In the New Testament there are many warnings about being led astray and deceived (Matthew 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing"; 24:24 "so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect"; 24:5 "and will mislead many"; "24:10 "many will fall away"; Acts 20:28-30; Romans 16:18 "by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting"; 1 Corinthians 6:9 "Do not be deceived"; 2 Corinthians 11:113-15; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:4,8 "that no one may delude you with persuasive argument…See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men"; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 6:3,20-21; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; Titus 1:10-11; 2 Peter 2:2 "and many will follow their sensuality"; 2 John 9-11; Jude 3-4 "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness").
- Some have argued that when Paul wrote Ephesians 5:19, that using this verse against instrumental music was the farthest thing from his mind. People forget, that while Paul wrote this passage, God was the actual author. The Bible was written by a God who can see all that will happen in the future, God certainly knew that eventually man would seek to add instrumental music to the worship service.
- Is it just a coincidence that we have so many passages that perfectly address modern false doctrines?
Man Says The Bible Says
"Saved by faith alone" "Man is justified by works, and not by faith alone" (James 2:24)
"Baptism doesn’t save you" "Baptism now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21)
"Bishop must be single" "Bishop must be the husband of one wife"
(1 Timothy 3:2)
"Can’t fall from grace" "You have fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4)
"Married in heaven" "In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are
given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30)
"Inherit sins of parents" "The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity" (Ezekiel 18:20).
"Stress love not commands" "If you love Me you will keep My
commandments" (John 14:15)
"Many people going to heaven" "Few" (Matthew 7:13-14)
"As long as you are sincere" "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will
enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father" (Matthew 7:21)
"All faiths lead to heaven" "There is… one faith" (Ephesians 4:5)
"God will save unbelievers" "dealing out retribution to those who do not
God and those who do not obey the gospel"
(2 Thessalonians 1:8).
"Hell isn’t eternal" "eternal destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
Protection From Self-Pity
There is always the temptation among Christians to become tired to standing for the truth. The devil tries to convince us that trying to bring people out of error just isn’t worth it, and we should just take the easy way out and accept everybody just as they are. Jesus said some very pointed things about the temptation to just to go along to get along: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:34,37); "For whosoever is ashamed of Me and My words.." (Mark 8:38); "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own… he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26); "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world…the world hates you" (John 15:19); "you will be hated by all nations on account of My name" (Matt. 24:9). Many people, have suffered far more than any of us in holding to the truth, can we do any less? (Acts 14:22; Hebrews 10:32-12:1-4).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/(503)644-9017