Know Your Bible
May 2005

Tuning To The Standard

I was a musician for several years. In Junior High School and High School I enjoyed some achievement playing a trumpet. I played in the Fort Smith Symphony for two seasons, then served in the Army Band for about three years. In those days, musicians would tune with a device called a tuning fork (the predecessor of the pitch pipe and the new digital devices). The conductor of the orchestra or band would strike the tuning fo rk with his hand, and let a clarinet player or violin player tune to that standard. Once the musician tuned his instrument to the tuning fork, the rest of us would listen to that note and tune our instruments accordingly. Today, if you attend an orchestral performance (and you get there a little early), you may hear the piano player striking a note like "C," and all the musicians listening, then tuning to that note (up or down). In this process, do you realize the tuning fork was the standard of authority and therefore unity?

Can you imagine the unmusical results if the conductor said to his musicians: "For tonight's performance, we will not be using a tuning fork. It will be our purpose to illustrate the beauty of individuality and diversity. You find your own "C" according to your own desires, or tune to a neighbor if you like. We do not want anyone to be stifled or limited by the authority of a single standard. We will perform tonight without tuning to a standard." What do you think the performance would sound like? What would the reviews say? But why not take it further (this suppression of authority and exaltation of individualism)? The conductor says, "each one of you can play your favorite piece; ready, 1, 2, 3..."

But you know what? The very presence of a conductor requires submission to leadership. Fire the conductor. Let the musicians show up whenever they want to, play whatever instrument they want, whatever piece they like, in tune or out of tune; and let them start and finish whenever they desire. Let individualism prevail and authority die. What has happened? You have nothing left of any musical value. No authority, just unattractive chaos that nobody would wants to hear. It would sound awful!

Yet this is exactly what we observe in modern religion today. There is resistance to Bible authority, praise for human plurality, unity in diversity, and the growing deception that this is what God wants! "We ought to obey God rather than men," (Acts 5:29).

---Warren E. Berkley

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Let's Just Do What God Says

Religious division is a result of failing to do what the Lord says. It reflects an earthly mind-set. The apostle Paul told the factious Corinthians: "for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealously and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3-4).

Look around. Hundreds of denominations exist. They call themselves after men or peculiar doctrines. They engage in a plethora of unauthorized activities because this is what they want. Focus is put upon the social or political. All of this is done supposedly in the name of Christ. However, the Lord says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

Religion has become so feeling and emotion oriented that to suggest that there are those who are practicing lawlessness "in the name of Christ" is to be mean spirited and unkind. There is no such thing as false worship in today's society. "Tolerance" for all the various ways of "serving God" is the call of today. Shame on us for suggesting that there is a pattern of authority for the worship and work of God's people. Frankly, with an attitude like this, we might as well write our own Bible.

God's will is unity. We are to endeavor for it by following His plan in the Scriptures (Ephesians 4:1-6). We are not at liberty to toss aside any of the teachings of the Bible. Yet, in order for division and denominationalism to exist, tossing aside what God says is exactly what is being done. It's no wonder that the world has responded with disbelief (see John 17:20-21).

Let's just do what God says. That may sound simplistic, but it is still the key to pleasing God and maintaining unity among believers. Let's be just Christians. It can be done - it must be done if we are to please God. May we all examine ourselves, our practices, and our doctrines, and see if we are following God's will. It's in the Book.

---T. Doy Moyer

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Two Mandatory Appointments

There are very few things in life that we absolutely must do. A person does not even absolutely have to eat. A person, of course, must eat if he wants to live, but he can quit eating and die if he really wanted to.

However, there are two future events that we cannot avoid. They are death and the Judgment. Hebrews 9:27 says, "and as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." These are two "appointments" that all of us must keep.

First, consider death. Our life here on this earth is, at the longest, very short. In James 4:14 it is referred to as a vapor "that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." To live is to eventually die. Since it is true that we all must die, the second mandatory appointment (the Judgment) should concern us all. All of us must face the Judgment which will occur after the second coming of Christ. According to 2 Corinthians 5:10, we will be judged according to the "things done in the body." The Judgment cannot be avoided, so we should certainly prepare ourselves for it.

If you are not a Christian, you need to become one. The Bible teaches that a person must believe (Heb. 11:6), repent (Acts 2:38), confess Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized (Acts 2:38). After a person becomes a Christian, he must remain faithful (1 Cor. 15:58).

---Mike Johnson

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