What's Your Authoritative Source? (Part 3)
What is your authority source? The Church or the Bible? After the last two months, I'd be surprised if you still think of the Church as the authority. "But what about Matthew 16:18, where it tells us that Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom? And what about the Church Fathers and all the apostolic succession since then? And then what about your church, 50 years old? No thank you, I'm going to stick with the one that Christ started." Satan indeed has the generation of non-believers so deceived today that perhaps it truly is the generation referred to as, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24) Why is this? Simply because, as Jesus said, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures." (Matthew 22:29)
Yes, these are some formidable obstacles to get pass, but Satan's obstacles aren't impossible to get by. Take Matthew 16:18 - "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ in the previous verse. And when we use Scripture to define Scripture, we see that "Christ is the rock" (1 Corinthians 10:4) upon which Jesus will build His church, not Peter. Neither was Peter declared infallible, as Scriptures also point out here (verses 22+23) and elsewhere. (Galatians 2:11) And then we see that in Matthew 18:18, that others were likewise given the same ability to bind and loose, that Peter was given.
The church fathers, although this is a tough one, we must remember what Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8-9, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have reached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Even from the earliest of times, we are warned of the dangers of deceptions as can be seen in the Bible itself in "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:3) Surely the church fathers can be studied, but in regards to what is to be believed, we must stick to the pages of Scriptures as the authoritative source, just as it says, "... that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." (1 Corinthians 4:6)
Staying with the church that Jesus Christ started? But that is what we are doing. By taking the Bible as our authority, we can follow it to the letter. The name of our Church may be only 50 years old, but the teaching is the same. Just as Elias thought that he was alone, but God had saved 7000 other men, so is it likewise that although our church has been around, fairly new in name, we actually have been around much longer. (check Romans 11:2-4 out) Scriptures, in Psalms 19 and 119, plus Proverbs 30:5-6, make powerful statements about God's Word which set it apart from any other religious instruction ever known in the history of mankind. God's Word declares that it is inerrant and infallible. In other words, it is true and trustworthy. All of these qualities are dependent upon the fact that the Scriptures are God-given, which guarantees its quality at the source and its original writing. In Scriptures, the person of God and the word of God are everywhere interrelated, so much so that whatever is true about the character of God is true about the nature of God's word. God is true, impeccable and reliable, therefore so is His Word. What a person thinks about God's Word, in reality, reflects what a person thinks about God.
In closing this portion of the "What's your authority," we at Gospel Light Ministries hope that we made it clear just how important it is to have God's Word, the Bible, as your authority. When certain churches use catechisms, it is their way by which they add to Scriptures, something forbidden in Revelation 22:18- "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book..." Therefore we give you two verses, hopefully to show just how complete and sufficient Scriptures are. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night," (Psalms 1:1-2) and "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)