Friday, July 20, 2012

The Power of One - Part 1

Every now and then, an everyday experience leads me to think more deeply on the truths and doctrines of God's Word. Those times are wonderful opportunities for growing in my beliefs - when things make sense for me, not in a theoretical sense, but in a real, day-to-day sort of way. Anyway, one thing that has been on my heart lately is the Bible itself, and I'd like to share why....

A few weeks ago, I attended a piano recital for one of my piano teacher's students. Although I didn't know the pianist, I was excited just for the chance to hear classical music performed live, not on a radio (a rare treat in rural Maine :) The recital was held at the Universal Unitarian "Church". Having been a Baptist my whole life, I had no clue what to expect. Walking in the door, I was immediately very glad that I was there for a recital, not a service! I was quite happy when a Christian friend of mine walked in. You see, this "church" had a very interesting way of looking at things. They tried to make witchcraft, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and all other "religions" work together.

Before and after the recital, and in between several other conversations, my friend and I spent some time noting the inconsistencies of this church. For me, one of the biggest problems was this: "How can religions which have nothing in common be unified?" Obviously, this "church" had no foundation at all.  Do you know why? Because there is only one God. There is only one Truth.  Ephesians 4:4-6 states,   "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

God is a God of order, and not of confusion. Therefore, rather than creating hundreds of "rivers that lead to the sea", He created one path to salvation, plain and simple. I don't think I've lost anybody yet - this is all pretty basic Christian stuff, right?

Well, here's where things get tough...because this is a topic that we don't all agree on. I'm going to try to approach this with a spirit of grace, so please, just read and think about the information, ok? You don't have to agree - just give it a fair chance.  :)

As Christians, we can agree on one Lord (Jesus Christ). We can agree on one faith (salvation by grace through faith, not by works). We can even (usually) agree on one baptism ( by immersion, for believers, as a testimony, not for salvation). But unfortunately, in the modern "church", we have no foundation for any of these agreements. Why? Because we can't even agree on what God said. The large majority of American Christians simply don't believe in "absolute truth" where God's Word is concerned. They believe that we can have the "idea" of what God was saying, but we can't have His exact words.

May I respectfully explain why this is a wrong and dangerous doctrine?

First, we need to understand why it is so important to have the Word of God, and to know that it is true. Matthew 4:4 says, " But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Did you catch that? By Every Word. God's words are important, every one of them. I think we can agree on this, right? In the last several years, I have heard about some pretty silly "translations", because people are concerned with their own ideas rather than with God's words. So of course, one of the first steps in discerning the true Word of God in the midst of the confusion is to eliminate "thought" translations, and look at word-for-word translations.

Second, by nature we can see that the explosion of "Bible versions" is not of God. Remember, I Corinthians 14:33 says that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. If having hundreds of "the same" Book is not confusion, I really couldn't tell you what is. Especially when each of those versions is vastly different from the rest.

Before I go on to explain a little more in the next post, I want to take a quick break. Do you agree that every word of God is important? Do you believe that God is the creator of the great array of "Bible versions" available today? If so, which ones did He write, and which ones are man-made?

This will be a mini-series, as, obviously it's too large a subject for one post. My prayer is that it will be simply a starting point for your own study in this area. What could be more important than knowing that the Bible you hold is absolute truth?

If you have a specific question, feel free to ask it in the comments, and I'll be more than happy to address it in a future post. Again, I want to say that I don't think I know more than any of you - in fact, from many of my readers, I have been instructed in so many ways and been drawn closer to Christ. I am only writing this because God has consistently put it on my heart for several weeks, and I feel that I would be in disobedience to His Spirit if I refused.

Humbly yours,


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