There was a time in our country when everyone accepted the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Doctrinal disagreements could be settled by simply supplying passages that supported or contradicted a particular teaching. Nearly all people (whether their lives reflected it or not) refused to question the simple teachings found without Scripture.
That much has changed drastically in America. I’m not simply referring to the increasing number of Atheists/Agnostics, I’m talking about within organized “Christianity.” Prominent Methodist scholar, Dr. Gregory Neal once said:
“While Methodists certainly affirm that God had an essential role in the writing of the Bible, we do the Scriptures an injustice when we fail to recognize that they are a collection of Divinely inspired, and yet still utterly human, reflections upon the human encounter with god, as well as human reflections and opinions upon what we, as a people of faith, should be doing in response to God’s offer of a relationship of grace and peace in Jesus Christ.”
Sadly Dr. Neal’s view of inspiration is actually the predominant view of most “pastors” today in every denomination today. Even within the Lord’s church, people are starting to view the Bible more along the lines of “wise sayings” or “divine suggestions.” This humanistic, subjective view of the Bible is not a new problem at all. In fact, the first century Christians dealt with a very similar attitude. It’s this false view of Scripture that prompts the prophet Jude to write his stern warning to the early church:
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3)
“The Faith” here refers not to our personal faith in God, but the entire body of doctrine that makes up the Christian religion. The Christian faith was “once for all” handed down to us, and so there’s never going to be a “new” teaching that people need to know about in order to grow closer to God. Our job as Christians is not to sit idly by as people try to categorize clear Bible teachings as “Paul’s opinion” or “culturally out-dated.” If we want to remain true to the grace of God, it’s every Christian’s responsibility to “contend” (literally “fight hard”) to maintain the purity of Christian doctrine. Our only guide in this life is what we read in the Bible, we must be diligent to protect and preserve it’s holy, God-given nature. The alternative is bleak indeed. If we allow people in/outside the church to ignore or twist God’s original teachings we too will find ourselves “denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
Learn more at Alive with Christ
Last month Stephanie Decker, made a decision that would change her life forever. While getting her children ready for school one morning, a tornado suddenly touched down near her Indiana home. Rushing her two young sons to the basement, Stephanie barely had time to seek cover before the house’s windows shattered. It was during that terrifying moment that she made the split-second decision to protect her children. Stephanie wrapped both of her children in a heavy blanket and threw her body on top of them to shield them from the storm. As the storm worsened, all kinds of furniture, and wooden beams struck Stephanie as she covered her children. When the tornado subsided, Stephanie had suffered massive damage to her legs and would later have both of them partially amputated. Amazingly neither of her children experienced any injuries thanks to their mother’s bravery in the face of death.
Unlike Stephanie, many people freeze in a moment of panic such as this. Often when we’re faced with an intimidating situation our fear paralyzes us, and we do absolutely nothing. This is the very problem that Timothy faced in Ephesus. CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE
Everyone has certain expectations for etiquette when someone enters their house as a guest. For some, their house rules are quite strict. They expect everyone to remove their shoes at the door, and guests had better not put their feet up on any furniture. On the other hand, others enjoy a home environment where guests can “crash” anywhere they can find a spot that’s not covered in their dirty laundry. After all, since it’s their house they alone are in position to make the rules. As far as they’re concerned, if you don’t like it you can leave. House rules can vary greatly from culture to culture. For instance in America we’re very time-oriented. If someone shows up late for dinner at our house, it comes across as inconsiderate. However if you’re invited to dinner in India, you’d better show up at least 15 to 30 minutes late. If you show up on time, your gesture is considered quite rude. We may not understand, or even like the rules of other people’s houses, but that’s irrelevant. As guests we don’t get to pick and choose which rules we want to follow. Otherwise, we won’t be welcome to stay in their house.
Paul writes to the young evangelist Timothy concerning the issues facing the church at Ephesus where Timothy preaches. His entire purpose for this letter is to instruct Timothy on how God requires people to behave in His house, the church (1 Timothy 3:15). However there’s a huge obstacle in Timothy’s way CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE