I have been working on this post in my mind for some time.
What really sparked it was something that happened in my small-group (really just another word for Sunday School) last Sunday. We came into the class in the middle of a series by Charles Stanley called, Developing a Servants Heart or something like that.
After someone read this week’s passage and the study question was asked, I was the first one to speak up. I simply asked if everyone agreed with what was posited. I certainly didn’t. There were a couple of others who spoke up and that really started the discussion.
Therein, I think, is the issue I want to address. Until I asked the question, it was assumed that we all agreed on what was read and we would build on that. I, for one, am over simply hearing something taught in church, be it a sermon or small-group (i.e. “official” teaching) and taking what was said as true purely because it was taught in church or written by a so-called Man of God.
Just because Charles Stanley wrote it, doesn’t make it true. I am done with blind loyalty to any man.
(The lesson had something to do with preserving your reputation in order to be an effective servant, or some such nonsense. It said NOTHING about Christ as the sole source of our service. As a matter of fact, it never even mentioned the One from which all life flows).
I believe that is one of the main problems with the modern Church – no one questions teaching. If it is said from the authority of the Pulpit (does ANYONE stop and think about that phrase? Where does it mention the pulpit in the Bible and what give it its authority?), then in the eyes of most evangelicals, it has the same authority as ex cathedra does for Catholics (no offense meant here to my Catholic brothers and sisters).
The Pastor/Preacher has too much authority in the modern church. If you will notice in Paul’s letters, when he went to Jerusalem after the church had been around for almost 20 years, he met with people who “appeared” to be leaders. We are talking about Peter, James, and John! “Appeared” to be leaders? That means that there was no clear Bishop/Pastor/Preacher – AND, apparently, no jealousy.
And this brings me to something that Bino was kind enough to share with me. It has to do with my post about Biblicism and the fact that the Bible has become the “god” that the fundamental/evangelical church worships today. Bino provided a link to this site (christinyou) that has some great quotes about this subject.
Here is a sampling of some:
"The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts." (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God. Christian Publications. 1948. pg. 10).
"One of the dangers from which the Church should pray to be delivered is idolatry of the letter of Scripture. The letter exists for the spirit, not the spirit for the letter. Literalism is the grave in which spiritual religion is buried. The New Testament is a book which is to be spiritually interpreted. It has no greater enemy than the thorough-going literalist who would fetter its free thought by confining it within obsolete forms. It has no greater friend than the teacher who can give to its time-worn metaphors freshness and power by translating them into the language of the present." (James M. Campbell - The Heart of the Gospel: A Popular Exposition of the Doctrine of the Atonement. Fleming H. Revell Co. 1907. pg. 19)
This one will rattle the cage:
"The purpose of all Scripture is to bear witness to Christ (John 5:39; 20:31). The Bible in itself is not the Word of God. The Word of God is a person (John 1:1). Neither does the Bible have life, power or light in itself any more than did the Jewish Torah. These attributes may be ascribed to the Bible only by virtue of its relationship to Him who is Word, Life, Power and Light. Life is not in the book, as the Pharisees supposed, but only in the Man of the book (John 5:39) (Brinsmead, Robert D., "A Freedom from Biblicism" in The Christian Verdict, Essay 14, 1984. Fallbrook: Verdict Publications. Pg. 12).
Grace and Peace to all
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