The pastor said, “No, we don’t believe the Bible.”

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)  “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

Show us what you do and we can decide for ourselves whether you believe the Bible.

My friend Kristin was commenting on meaningless questions some of our Facebook friends suggested should be put before pastor search committees (our previous article). Most, she said, are useless because they presuppose the answer.

Asking a search committee “Does your church believe the Bible?” is meaningless, because they’re all going to answer in the affirmative, and you’re no better off than had you not asked it.

“Wait a minute,” Kristin said, interrupting herself. “I just remembered a time when my pastor answered that differently.”

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Let us not add to the Word of God

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy City, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19). 

Someone says, “I’ve had a revelation from the Lord, something Scripture doesn’t address.”

Run, as fast as you can.

Scripture calls it “adding to the Word,” and it’s clearly verboten throughout the Bible, off limits to all who take seriously their devotion to the Lord and His Word. Deuteronomy 4:2 reads, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Need more?  Try these: Deuteronomy 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6. The Father is consistent on this point.)

Let’s not go beyond what the Lord says through His Word.  After all, Scripture teaches that Scripture is sufficient.  Some would call that circular reasoning.   That’s a possibility, but a better plan is that Scripture is Holy Spirit inspired. God knew what He was doing.

The church down the street was having some kind of special meeting.  The eminent speaker, a professor or something, preached that we should add an additional book to the Bible, this one addressing the subject of nuclear weapons.  If anyone objected, I never heard.  But I could not help thinking, “Oh yeah.  In the Middle Ages, they would have addressed gunpowder.  In the mid-19th century, it would have been gatling guns. And the process would never end.”  So foolish.

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Fifteen lies Satan tells you about Scripture

“(The devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

If I were the devil, I would do everything in my power to keep you from the Word of God.  I would say anything I could think of, anything I thought you would believe, anything that works, to get you to read other things.

As Paul said, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).  We know how he works.  And here are some of the lies we have noticed pouring out of his factory, all geared toward destroying confidence in God’s Word.

One. “You already know it, so don’t read it.”

He’s lying to you. You do not know it. I’ve studied the Bible all my life and in no way could I say I “know” it. I know a great deal about it, but there is so much more.  For the typical church member to shun the Bible because “I’ve been there and done that” is laughable.

Two: “No one can understand it, so don’t read it.”

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Jesus did indeed claim to be God. Why that matters.

“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe.  The works that I do in my Father’s name, these bear witness of me.  But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me….” (John 10:24-27).

If Jesus Christ is not the God-man, then we’re out of business and the universe is in the dark.

Nothing is more basic to the Christian faith and everyone’s hope than His deity.

Theological liberals like to say Jesus never claimed to be God, that this claim was put in HIs mouth by Christians who came later.

What fun they have with the story of Jesus.

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I encourage you to write in your Bible

“This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people who shall be created shall praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).

Please go to the front of your Bible and write in it.

Start by putting your own name.

Often, when I pick up the Bibles of friends to see what they have written in them, I’m chagrined to see they don’t even have their names.

Write in your Bible, friend. Please.

At Christmas 1973, my aunt Eren gave to her mother, my wonderful grandmother Bessie Lowery McKeever, a Bible.  Grandma died in 1982, but not before marking up that Bible.

I now own it.  It is a treasure beyond price.

This morning, I read something I had never seen before, that made the tears flow.  (I was looking up the text above, and Grandma’s Bible was handy.)

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The worst possible advice to young preachers

Okay, I’m not sure what is the “worst possible advice” to young preachers–there is so much to choose from! But what follows has to be among the sorriest counsel ever administered to young proclaimers of the Word…

I was looking up “preach Jesus” and came upon a website which proposes to teach people to “preach sermons and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.”  I read a short way into the first article.  My mind was frozen by a bullet point which read: “Throw away the concordance.”

I thought, “What?”  (For those unacquainted with a concordance, it’s a staple in the preacher’s arsenal. A concordance is a book of subjects with every (or selected) scripture verses listed where you may find that word used.  The back of most Bibles will have a brief concordance.  And yes, these days, the internet has almost made it obsolete.  I type a line from a verse into the search blank and hit “go,” and instantly, I’m told where to find the verse I was looking for. It’s a wonderful help.)

Here is the paragraph, verbatim:

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Seven questions about “Once Saved Always Safe”

…and they shall never perish….” (John 10:28)

(What follows is not Baptist doctrine.  This has nothing to do with denominationalism.  This is about the Bible.  It’s about the clear teaching of Jesus.  Thank you.)

Can you unfry an egg?  Can you uncook a casserole? Return a house to the trees it once was? Can you be unborn and stop being your father’s child?

After being saved, coming to know Christ and being genuinely forgiven and accepted and transformed by the Holy Spirit of God into something far different from what you were, you cannot undo that.

Once saved, always.

Once saved, always that.  Once saved, always safe.

To say otherwise, and to preach it as gospel, might be something akin to insulting the Holy Spirit.

It might be. Certainly, it’s worth giving this some serious thought.

My friend and her husband have been trying to find the church where the Lord wants them.  She sent me a message.

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Getting rid of some statues is biblical

The Bible endorses monuments of some kinds and condemns others.

They erected a pile of stones a day’s journey from the Jordan as a reminder of God’s leadership during the Exodus.  In fact, they even set up a similar pile in the middle of the Jordan so that, in times of drouth when the water level dropped, everyone would see that as a reminder that God led them through those dark days.

They set up a stone memorial and called it Ebenezer, “stone of help,” as a testimony to God’s provisions.  They had no “graven images,” of course, but they had plenty of other memorials.

They tore down altars to false gods, statues of false gods, and relics used in worshiping those gods.

And they sometimes destroyed something that had been good and noble and holy.  Yep.  Sometimes, they destroyed a good thing.

Please read on.

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What lazy preachers and other Bible students do

“Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1749. Yet because of opposition from local clergymen–man should not dare ‘avert the stroke of heaven’–the lighthouse did not receive protection from God’s thunderbolts for more than two decades.” –The New York Review, May 26, 2016

Imagine the thinking of some people: We shouldn’t protect ourselves from lightning, lest we interfere with God’s judgment.

Abandoning their responsibility, criticizing those trying to help, and blaming their warped thinking on God.

“This is how God set things up.”

Interesting theology, I think we can say.

If we carried that reasoning to its natural lengths, no one should wear seat belts or repair the brakes on cars just in case the Father in Heaven had planned to kill us that morning.

God should always be given a free hand in these things.

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Biblical ignorance and spiritual immaturity: How to tell

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the sayings of God.  You have come to need milk and not solid food.  (Hebrews 5:12)

By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one–baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! (paraphrased from The Message)

What I’m about to do here is no fun.

I’m about to accuse some Christian friends of spiritual ignorance.

Earlier today I was looking over my wife’s textbook on effective writing for college classes.  Bertha has been teaching English (literature, composition, etc) all her adult life, either in high school or on the college level.  And I was struck by something…

The authors of the textbook, both college professors, gave examples of essays written by students and then subjected to intense editing and improvement by teachers.  They showed the first draft, how a professor critiqued it, the second article, and so forth.  The final results were excellent examples of effective communication.  The point being…

Editing and rewriting is painful. But editing and rewriting are necessary. (Case in point: This little article of mine.  I’ve worked on it several days–deleting, adding, changing, pasting.)

Editing and grading are hard work for the teacher and sometimes offensive to the student.  Those who “know” point out the errors in those who are learning and suggest ways to improve.  This is basic education. We do it from kindergarten and up.

Why then do we shy away from that in church?  When is the last time you heard a veteran teacher or preacher pointing out the errors in a young Sunday School teacher’s presentations, a young believer’s prayers, a young warrior’s witnessing?  I know the answer:  You’ve never seen it.

It does not happen.

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