There was a contrast to the greatness I experienced at church yesterday. It was on the radio on the way home. Somehow I got on a station that was asking questions about a certain branch of the Christian tree. The questions were to a couple of leaders who were, I suppose, experts or leaders in this branch of the tree. Mostly the questions were asking for help answering objections about that branch of Christianity from those in other branches. So at some level it was apologetics and focused and centered on we have everything figured out and everyone else is wrong, or at best second class, and they really should be on our branch anyway.
The Vacuous Answers
The interesting thing to me was that in the 10 or 15 minutes I listened to the broadcast there were several questions that I found interesting, frankly, questions that I would have asked and have asked about that branch of the faith. In answering the questions, the radio hosts gave answers that were based in the dogma of that branch of the faith. None of their answers referred to a single passage of Scripture. The answers were at some level given with a strong hint of superiority.
They Could Have Been Better, But…
On one of the answers I started talking to the radio – I know that is not all that effective, pretty sure they could not hear me. I was giving them chapter and verse to answer one of the questions they had been asked. Apparently they were more interested in sharing what their branch of the faith taught than what the Bible says. Part of that may be that there is no way that they could support their positions Biblically.
Doctrines of Men
Matthew 15:8 – 9 leaps to mind. These men were more interested in what they had to say about the questions that were asked than what the Bible had to say. In John 17:17, Christ is praying for the 11 and by extension us. He says that we are sanctified by the Word because it is truth. The shepherds, leaders of Israel and Judah, abandoned the Word of God and began to teach their ideas. Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 are strong indications that God is not pleased with that type of ministry.
The Most Awful…
The biggest problem with this is that in every case I have been exposed to this branch of the faith the centrality of the Bible has not been emphasized. On the contrary, the positions of the branch have been elevated over the Bible or at least put on equal footing. So we have a great number of people who have been told that the Bible is essentially secondary to the ideas and positions of their leaders. Seems to be a perfect fit with Matthew 15:8 – 9.
The Bottom Line
None of us are immune from this type of teaching, regardless of the branch of Christianity which we occupy. It is easy to elevate personalities, good authors, great speakers, wonderful counselors above our time in the Word of God. We become dependent on their study, their ideas, their understanding of the Word. They may have done great study and exegesis of the passages, they my walk us through their study. But it is still theirs. We will not be held responsible for their faith. We will be held responsible for ours. We are to abide in the Word, John 5:38; 15:7; 1 John 2:14. Not pay others to do that for us.