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Posts Tagged ‘Authority of Scripture

How To Know If Your Bible Teacher Is Truly Biblical?

There is a simple way to know if your Bible teacher is focused on teaching the Bible or not.  These simple rules are easy to use.

1.  Expository Preaching.

Does your Bible teacher preach the text?  Does your Bible teacher take their text and deal with it?

2.  Points Back To the Bible.

Does your Bible teacher point back to the Bible over and over again?  Do they build their points directly from the Bible?

3.  Focused on the Text Above Stories.

Does your Bible teacher stay focused on teaching the text of Scripture or do they tell more stories?  Stories are not bad but should never take away from the authority nor focus of the text.

4.  Your Learn the Text Above Stories.

Does your Bible teacher help you to understand the text of Scripture or do you just remember their stories?  Again, the text of Scripture should be our focus.

5.  Is Jesus exalted?

And finally, do you sense that Jesus is being exalted from the text?  Charles Spurgeon said that he always took his text and then makes a bee line to the cross.  The Lord Jesus is the One that all faithful Bible teachers should seek to exalt.  Do you remember the Lord Jesus above the teacher?  Does the teacher exalt Jesus or themselves in their teaching?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/03/2015 at 10:44 AM

The Absolute Authority of Scripture

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  This is true because the Bible comes from God who is the absolute authority and He has said that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2).  Because God is the absolute authority and He is perfection, His Word is both absolute in its authority and inerrant because it comes from God (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  Any denial of the authority of the Word of God will always lead to the elevation of the individual to the judge of what is true and not God Himself.

For example, some claim that they follow Christ but they deny the inerrant of the Bible.  They claim that such a view is outdated and not supported by modern science or some other claim.  Either way, they have placed science or a theologian or a creed or a person to the judge of God.  God is glorious and He will not be judged by fallible humans (Job 40:2).  God is exalted above all His creation and He will not lay down on a table for us to dissect and examine.  He has given us evidence both within and without of who He is (Romans 1:20) and He will not be judged by sinful people (Romans 11:33-35).  Who are we to judge the Lord of Glory?  Who are we to question His ways?  Who are we to say that we don’t believe God could create in six days or that He could rescue Noah and his family from the worldwide flood?  Who are we to question the miracles of Scripture when in fact God can do whatever He wants to do?

The reality is that the Bible flows from Him who is truth (John 14:6).  The absolute truth is found only in God.  It is not found in religion.  It is not found in human philosophy.  It is not found in our meager attempts at knowledge.  In fact, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The Bible, because it has come from a perfect God who created all things, is perfect and infallible.

Everything must then submit to the authority of the Bible since the Bible comes from the One who created all things and who is the source of absolute truth.  When we reject the Bible, we reject our standard for truth and we become the standard for truth.  This only leads to insanity as we humans are so full of wickedness are easily swayed by our emotions and sins.  The standard for truth is God alone.  Any other claim of truth without God has no standing.  God is the foundation for knowledge and truth.  If you begin with any truth claim apart from God and His revelation, we have already erred.

The liberal churches give us a picture of what happens with the Bible is rejected.  Certainly liberal churches such as the PCUSA, many Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches show us what happens when the Bible is only held up as an example but not the inerrant and infallible truth.  The gospel is reduced to nothing but a social cause.  Lost is the forgiveness of sins (because sin no longer can be defined since the Word of God has been rejected and man is now the judge of sin).  Lost is the authority to warn sinners to repent.  Lost is the authority to call evil as evil and good as good.  Lost is the authority to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).  All is lost and these liberal churches become nothing but social causes  and fighting for rights of sinful people without any authority.  Their authority becomes them and they sit as judges of God.  Yet God is not to be judged by us.  We will be judged by God (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).

All of us approach the Bible with certain presuppositions.  I approach the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God because that is what the Bible says.  Someone will argue, “But that is circular reasoning.”  Yet if I told you I was the strongest man in the world, you wouldn’t reply, “Okay, prove that but don’t use your muscles.”  My muscles are my authority to prove I am the strongest man in the world.  Why deny me my guns (see what I did there)?  The Bible claims to be from God and by definition God would be superior to us and He would be judge of us.  He would not be like us and He is not (Isaiah 40:25).  God gave us His perfect Word because it flows from Him who is perfect.

Now when a person approaches the Bible and says, “I believe in Jesus Christ but I reject the parts in the Bible about the flood or about creation or about an ax head floating or about Daniel in the lion’s den or about Jonah and the great fish.”  Who is now the judge of Scripture?  Who now judges God?  Yet I may not understand some things about the Bible but I submit to a holy and perfect God.  I believe that He is certainly more than able to do even above what I could imagine or think (Ephesians 3:20).

It is nothing for God to raise the dead or for Him to feed 5000 people.  It is nothing for God to calm the seas or to bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices.  It is nothing for God to become a man and make His dwelling among us (John 1:14).  This is the greatest example of God revealing who He is to us (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In the end, there is no reason to reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Any claim otherwise is to set ourselves up as the judge of the Bible and we lose our authority and answer for truth.  From here we have no truth to stand on and our standard for truth will be our feelings, our emotions, our culture, our reasoning.  And all of this is sinful and flawed.  However, God is not sinful nor is He flawed.  He is perfect in every way possible.

When We Deny Inerrancy, We Become the Judge of Scripture

Does the Bible judge you or do you judge the Bible?  This is fundamental to the authority of the believer.  How can we speak for God?  How can we preach that Jesus rose from the dead?  How can we speak that God will forgive sinners of their sins?  How can we bring comfort to the dying?  How can we offer help in marriage?  How can we address cultural issues?  How can we know what God deems as necessary for salvation, what God calls sinful or not?  How can we know God?

All of these begin with a worldview, a fundamental position by which we judge all things.  Every human being has been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and thus we are able to reason, to think.  We have a worldview and we judge things based on that presupposition.  That we are able to reason assumes that there is a God.  That we judge assumes that there is truth or error.

For the disciple of Christ, the Bible is the presupposition that we always begin with.  If a truthful God wrote the Bible (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) then what He wrote is truthful (John 17:17) and cannot lie (John 10:35).  God wrote the Bible using people but He guided them by His Spirit so that they wrote using their own thoughts but guided by the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).  All that they said was truthful in that it was given to them by the Spirit of God so that all that is recorded in the original autographs comes from God and His will.  The Bible records truth even if he truth goes against the character of God for example the sins of the people in the Bible or the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By God’s providence, He guarded His Word and protected it from error because it reveals Him who cannot lie.

Yet when people reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God, they do so because they want to be a god.  They want to judge even God Himself.  They despise the authority of God.  They want to set themselves up before a holy and pure God so that they can live their lives of sin and rebellion against God (Romans 1:18-32).  Even people who claim to be Christians often will reject many parts of the Bible because they simply don’t like them.  They want to feel comfortable in their sins.

The reality is that the Bible judges us (Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Bible cuts us deeply and exposes our sinful hearts and minds.  The Bible destroys our fleshly world views.  The Bible shatters our utter depravity and shows we are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-20).  The Bible faithfully reveals the salvation of the Lord that we reject.  The true disciple of Jesus should spend time daily in the Word of God (John 8:31-32).  The disciple should faithfully preach the Bible to the lost exposing their faulty world views in light of God’s truth (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The Bible should be our focus in evangelism (2 Timothy 4:1-5).  The Bible should be our focus in apologetics (Psalm 19:7-11).  The Bible should be our focus in conversion of sinners (1 Peter 1:18-25).  The Bible should be our focus in our teaching (James 1:21).  The Bible glorifies the work of Christ Jesus (1 John 5:13).

I believe the consistent response from the Church should be: the Bible says.  No matter what the question, the answer is the Bible says.  Creation: the Bible says.  Marriage: the Bible says.  Child raising: the Bible says.  Money:  the Bible says.  Salvation:  the Bible says.  Cults: the Bible says.  The end of the world: the Bible says.  Doctrine: the Bible says.  Holiness: the Bible says.  Prayer: the Bible says.

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It has never failed and never will fail (Isaiah 40:8).  Every movement that rejected the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God has failed.  We would do well to learn from history and not reject the Word of God.  To do so will only bring the judgment of God.  Let us stand firmly upon the foundation of Church History and know that God is faithful to glorify His name when His people preach His Word.

Lord give us more men like William Tyndale or John Knox who will defend Your Word even unto death.

The Type of Preaching/Teaching I Enjoy

I enjoy hearing good solid Bible preaching and teaching.  On my iPhone are several podcasts of all different types of preachers.  Some are better speakers than others but the type of preaching/teaching that I am attracted to is one that is full of the Word of God.  I enjoy hearing Bible teachers who fill their teachings with the Word of God.  I prefer expository preaching/teaching mixed with allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture and pointing to other passages of Scripture that are relevant to the text.

Most preaching/teaching today is full of stories.  Lots of illustrations.  While there is certainly nothing wrong with an illustration, too often in modern Bible teaching, the illustration becomes what is remembered or focused on.  This happens when video illustrations are used or drama skits.  The focus is not then on the Word of God (no matter what the Bible teacher may say).  The focus is on the skit or the vivid illustration.  The Word of God becomes just part of the show.  The Bible is certainly quoted and referred to but the illustration is the focus.  This should not be.

The focus of the true Bible preacher/teacher is the Word of God for the Word of God is what God uses to lift up His name and to save sinners (1 Peter 1:23).  The Word of God cuts deep into our hearts and exposes our true selves (Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Word of God sanctifies the people of God (John 17:17).  The Word of God is the agency by which God draws the lost unto Himself (Romans 10:17).  The Word of God alone is the inerrant and infallible truth of God (Psalm 119:89; 2 Peter 1:16-21) and the Word of God makes the servant of God “competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).  The Bible alone is the breathed out Book of God (2 Timothy 3:16).  Jesus said the Word of God cannot be broken (John 10:35).

The focus then must be on the Word of God.  When illustrations or skits or movie scenes are the focus, the Word of God is lost.  There is no denying that even still the Word is powerful (Isaiah 55:11) but the heart of the Bible preacher/teacher is on explaining Scripture.  This is our heart and passion.

I urge you, if you teach the Bible, to do just that: preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  The Bible gives us our authority to speak for God (Titus 2:14).  This authority is lost when you make your illustrations, your funny stories, your personal experiences, or skits the focus.  Fill your teaching with the Word.  Let Scripture dominate.  When people walk away from hearing you teach the Word, let them remember the Word and may you fill their minds with the Word.  Let them accuse you, if they must, of being too biblical, of spending too much time in the Word.  When people hear you speak, let them learn how to study the Bible.  Teach them how to interpret Scripture, how to exegete the passages, how to apply the texts, and fill them with the Word of God (Matthew 4:4).  May they remember the Word above all else and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through faithfulness to His Word (John 14:23-24).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/03/2014 at 3:08 PM

The Major Problem With Some Evangelistic Methods

I rejoice that there are people who desire to share the gospel with the lost.  I was introduced just this evening to one method that I will not share here but will critique from afar.  Let me state up front that I have no doubt that the heart of the brother who “invented” this method has a heart for the lost.  His desire appears genuine in his appeal to disciples of Christ to obey Christ and go and preach the gospel to the lost as He commanded in Matthew 28:19.  I have no doubt that the method was invented to provide a useful way for disciples to share the gospel with sinners in a quick and easy way.

Yet with this method (and many other methods I see these days), I see a major flaw.  In this case the emphasis on your own personal story of how you came to Christ.  It is designed to help you share Jesus quickly by using your own testimony to point the sinner to the hope that is found in Christ.

But the problem is that testimonies often are very subjected.  The major flaw is the lack of biblical content.  The Bible is what we should be quoting (even quickly) to sinners.  While I rejoice that each of us who are disciples of Jesus have testimonies of His grace and His mercy, each of us are different and often we don’t quote Scripture while sharing our testimony and thus it becomes our subjective view of Christ compared to the sinners view of Christ.  The Bible is the revealed Word of God that the Holy Spirit has given to His Church to preach the gospel with (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Notice that Paul the Apostle didn’t tell Timothy to share his testimony in 2 Timothy 4:2 but to preach the Word.  The Word of God is what brings conviction as it cuts both believers and unbelievers to the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Paul further preached in Romans 10:14-17 that it is the supernatural revelation of the Word of God that produces saving faith.  Notice his words by the Spirit (NASB):

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

It is the divine revelation of the Word of God that produces saving faith.  It is not our testimony or pointing to natural (or general) revelation that saves.  It is the power of God’s Word that points sinners to the Savior and to their salvation (Psalm 19:7).

I believe then that what is needed is more quoting from the Word of God when witnessing to the lost.  If the Word of God is effective for destroying the lies of Satan (Matthew 4:1-13), how much more is it useful for destroying the lies of the world and the flesh (Romans 3:19-20).  The Law of God (the Word of God) is our tutor (NASB) to bring us to Christ so that the Law shows us our sins and reveals to us our need for justification by faith in Christ alone (Galatians 3:24).  1 Peter 1:23 (NASB) reads:

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

It is the preaching of the supernatural, inerrant, infallible Word of God that brings true salvation.  I pray that I would quote the Word of God more and more in my own witnessing and you would as well.  Let us preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).

Three Issues Facing the Assemblies of God (And Others As Well)

I had the opportunity to speak with a theology professor from Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL).  I asked him what major issues did he see facing the Assemblies of God over the next few years.  I had previously asked him if he felt that the issue of inerrancy or the rise of Calvinism were already issues facing the Assemblies of God.  He acknowledged that inerrancy would be an issue perhaps in the next ten years but that was not the major issues facing the Assemblies of God theologically.

The three theology issues facing the Assemblies of God (in his mind) currently are:

  • The initial, physical evidence teaching.
  • Same-sex “marriage.”
  • Abstinence from alcohol.

In brief, the Assemblies of God has taught, since its founding in 1914, that the initial, physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues according to Acts 2:4.  Having grown up in the AG’s, I know firsthand that speaking in tongues was preached as the first sign that one was truly baptized in the Spirit.  One could be saved apart from this experience (Romans 8:9) but one could not claim to be baptized in the Spirit apart from speaking in tongues.  While speaking in tongues was not the end all of the Spirit-filled life, it was the doorway to the Spirit-filled life.  This doctrine, I feel, was a reactionary doctrine rather than a biblically based doctrine.  In other words, the early Pentecostals were reacting mainly to the Holiness Movement over whether they were baptized in the Spirit.  The early Pentecostals contended that only they were truly Spirit-filled since they spoke in tongues like the Apostles in Acts 2.  Many younger Assemblies of God ministers now reject such a position though the AG’s maintain the doctrine as essential.

The second issue is facing all of biblical Christianity and that is over same-sex “marriage.”  For me, the issue is not an issue other than going against the culture on this one.  It will be unpopular to oppose same-sex “marriage” but we must stand firm and if we hold to the authority of the Word of God, we will stand firm.  I predict the seeker churches, the pragmatic churches, those who are soft on the issue of biblical authority, topical preachers, etc. will cave in most cases to the culture and will allow (or tolerate) same-sex “marriage.”  However, those who hold to inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible and who preach expository sermons will face persecution.  We must stand firm for the truth of God no matter what it costs us.

The last issue about abstinence from alcohol is because the new cultural norm in the United States is following Europe on this one.  The AG’s has preached abstinence for many years and requires all their ministers to abstain from all alcohol.  With alcohol now being a normal part of American life, the AG pastors are beginning to question whether the abstinence doctrine is a cultural doctrine and not found in the Bible.  Personally, I have long preached against drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and I do believe that alcohol is dangerous but I also don’t believe that an air-tight case can be made for abstinence.

I fear that the AG’s must deal with the issue of inerrancy.  The Assemblies of God has, in their Sixteen Fundamental Truths, affirmed the Bible as the Word of God but nothing is said about inerrancy.  I fear that as the Church of the Nazarene has now gone astray in many ways and has adapted to postmodernism in their churches and seminaries, the Assemblies of God will face this if they don’t preach and proclaim the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word (John 17:17).  When a church is facing a culture that no longer regards Christianity and has no concept of absolute truth, the loss of biblical authority will spell their doom.  A movement that does not preach the absolute authority of the Bible will fail and will become nothing more than a social movement that deals with social issues but will not preach the gospel and will see no lasting results because God will not be in it.

Just my thoughts on these issues.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/21/2014 at 10:10 AM

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