It is not a little disturbing that casting doubt on the veracity of the Holy Scriptures and Bible characters has in the past few years become quite in vogue. I read tweets and posts on Facebook, and many blogs, and there are more and more young preachers and others who are fascinated with those well trained graduates of institutions of higher learning who have reached the conclusion that the Bible is not really true after all, at least not all of it.
I have heard it said that history repeats itself and that there nothing new under the sun. How very true! Decades before most of those who are most admired, and those who admire them, were born I was living in a time when theological liberals, called “modernists” back in the day, were busy with higher criticism, discovering extra-biblical writings and other evidences which according to them proved the Bible is not really reliable. I’ll perhaps never forget when a few years ago I learned first hand that in our churches of Christ we had some preachers who did not believe the resurrection of Jesus, believed Jesus was just a man, although admittedly a better man than others. And more recently there is a host of men whose sport is to cast doubt on the truth and authority of Holy Writ.
My observation is that most of these guys are more impressed with themselves than anyone or anything else. It is very difficult to shroud pride isn’t it? I have always been a skeptic. There…my admission! With that said, I am a bit reluctant to trust a man who spends hours every day promoting himself, what he knows, and what he does, and what he has done, and …. Well, you get the picture.
(Just to get it off my chest… A person with a British accent, or whatever that Geico salamander has, is not necessarily more brilliant than those who don’t have it.)
So, why in the wide wide world would anyone believe that God hates sin? Further, why in the age of enlightenment we live in would someone believe those who refuse to believe God’s truth are objects of His coming wrath? I’ll admit it, I don’t understand much of the last book of the Bible. And, I’m not the one to ask about final punishment. But I am sure that the same Holy Spirit who by revelation gave the great Apostle Paul the mysterious gospel of the grace of God to be preached to the Gentiles also revealed the truth to him about the sure wrath of a Holy God against sin. I don’t claim for a second to know what all that means, but rest assured it is not good.
The aged and experienced apostle Paul had some words of instruction and warning for a young preacher.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Of course it was happening in the first century just as it is today and it is still a real danger. It seems to come in waves, waves of unbelief couched in church talk and verified with seminary degrees and best-selling books. Paul’s warning to young Timothy was “Be sober-minded…” Good advice in 2011 I’d say.
I fear that for many of our people there is more value in reading what someone said about God and the Bible than to really know God and actually read the Bible! One of the “markers” or indicators of a true Christian is that he loves the “teaching”. That is the body of truth the apostles taught.
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
(1 John 4:6)
Clearly, the “us” in the above verse is the apostles. This is not a difficult concept. One way you can tell a believer from a make-believer is by observing how he receives the Word of God. If a fellow has lots of problems with Paul and Peter and John…you had better watch him! And, we have lots of people leading people away from the apostles teaching rather than to the apostles teachings. I didn’t write either of these Bible passages but both are true and good advice for today.
Be careful! Everyone who looks like a sheep is not. I would go so far as to say any preacher who does not major on Jesus and what He accomplished for ungodly sinners should be taken in small bites at best. Instead, many of our unknowing people are taking them down a leg at a time.
If the Bible is not dependable we have no hope. Those who are making the case for moral improvement as a way to be fit for heaven and to avoid final punishment are deceitful liars, they are from the evil one and not from God.
Unbelief by any other name is still a recipe for perishing without God.