Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               October 15, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 31



When I think of faultfinding, I think of Judas Iscariot in Jn.12:1-8, who complained that Mary wasted the perfume she poured on Jesus' feet.  A much better use of it, he reasoned, would have been to sell it, and give the proceeds to the poor.  Or I think of the Jews in Jesus' day, who found fault with John the Baptizer because of his ascetic lifestyle, and yet were able to find fault with Jesus, even though they perceived Him to be exactly the opposite (Lk.7:31-35). Or I think of Naaman, who, not content to have found a prophet who could cure his leprosy, was outraged that he didn't do it his way (2 Kings 5:9-12).

Some people seem born with nitpicking complaints on their lips.  There is no way to please them.  But in truth, faultfinding is a learned trait that Christ- ians must unlearn.  "These are grumblers, finding fault," reads Jude 16. This supercritical behavior can be devastating when leveled against a fellow believer.  It crushes initiative, hurts feelings, wounds relation-ships, and tempts sensitive disciples to think, 'I'll never try again.' It is a sin. The Golden Rule and the motivating principle of love (I Cor. 13) show it to be wrong.  And Christians, of all people, should stop it.

Remember the motive behind Judas' faultfinding? "Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it" (Jn.12:6). Many faultfinders today are driven by envy, greed, or some other ignoble cause. Don't be a harsh, petty critic of your brethren. To do so is to make sure that God will find fault with you.

—Allan Turner

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Someone who was about to move into a new community happened to mention that they were giving consideration to attending a particular congregation in that area. Certain brethren warned, "Don't go there, they're too conservative!" What is meant by such an accusation?

Is it so that the brethren at that congregation have begun to teach things that are not found in the Bible?  Are they binding certain traditions that are not in the Word of God? Are they insisting that others follow their own personal opinions in areas where they cannot find specific scriptural authority? If so, those brethren aren't really "conservative" at all! They are not "abiding in the doctrine of Christ" (2 Jn. 9). In a sense, they are actually "liberal" in their approach because they have ceased to produce "book, chapter, and verse" for their practices.  Let their errors be fully exposed, and let brethren be rightfully warned about attending such a congregation.

In reality, it is far more likely that the church that was described as "too conservative" is actually a congregation that stresses strict adherence to Biblical authority. They probably insist that folks "do Bible things in Bible ways." There is most likely a strong emphasis on personal purity and morality.  Constant reference is made to the Bible and its teachings, and members are encouraged to "come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Cor. 6:17). And while the positive, "feel good" aspects of Christianity are no doubt taught, the so-called "negative" themes - the warnings of the Scripture - are also included. False doctrines and false teachers are sometimes - by necessity – called by name just as in the first century (1 Tim. 1:18-20). Such an approach is not popular in the world today.  Therefore some dismiss a congregation like this with the charge that they are "too conservative." What we are saying is that this accusation most often comes from weak, compromising Christians who themselves refuse to take a stand for the truth.

It is really impossible to be "too conservative." The moment a church violates scriptural authority - by either failing to uphold and practice the truth, or by binding what God has not bound - they have become "liberal" in God's eyes. Instead of throwing out prejudicial ‘labels’, give the evidence that a congregation is violating scriptural authority (Col. 3:17) and be ready to prove your allegations.  Otherwise, we suggest you keep your opinions to yourself!  Think!

—Greg Gwin

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The doctrine that the Holy Spirit in the Christian directly guides his steps or directly “speaks to his heart” on a day to day basis is becoming more and more popular among professed Christians. By “directly” I mean other than indirectly that is that of getting the Spirit’s word through a study the Scriptures. It is a false doctrine, not taught in the Bible. It is also a very CONVENIENT doctrine. 

1. It takes away the need to diligently search the Scripture for guidance – just listen to what the Spirit is saying to the heart. 

2. It provides one with the assurance(?) that about anything he really wishes to do is right – after all, that urge that he feels must be coming from the Holy Spirit.

3. It relieves one of the burden of having to wrestle with making the right choices – the Holy Spirit will guide him to the right way.

4. It relieves one of having to give objective evidence to his critics for his course of action – he can just claim that he doesn’t need objective evidence because he has the Spirit in his heart guiding him.

5. It give him an “out” in explaining any weird thing that he might do – he was just following the urging of the Spirit.

6. It can give one an excuse for “unity in diversity” – after all the Spirit in each one will surely guide him in the best course for HIM. 

Without a common objective standard, then who is to say that another is wrong when he is following what the Spirit in HIM is saying. This can also explain why different people claiming to be directly guided by the Holy Spirit can contradict one another and still be right.

Yes, convenient, indeed. But it is not right. The Scriptures, inspired of God (Holy Spirit) comprises the complete guide for the Christian (2 Tim. 3:16-17), completely furnishing him unto every good work. He needs to look to the apostles doctrine (N.T. Scriptures) for guidance and not to feelings, hunches, etc. that he can attribute to the Spirit’s guidance in his heart.

—Edward O Bragwell, Sr.

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