Attitudes Of Bible Authority
In every phase of our lives, we see the importance of Authority. This is necessary in the form of government, in the schools and in the home. A society without authority is a society without controls. Man has always recognized the need for authority whether it was used in a good way or a dictatorial manner. The use of authority is to instill control over the environment in order to bring about a desired end.
When one goes against the established authority - the will of those in control - consequences will result. If people rebel against the authority of the government, they create the consequence of civil disobedience. A child may view the pattern of authority in the home as too restrictive and rebel against the parents - the authority - and consequences will be created. If a person decides to rebel against the authority of the given traffic laws (fail to stop at stop signs, red lights or drives on the wrong side of the road - for example), serious consequences will occur. The real problem of this rebellion is not the authority but rather how the person views that authority.
When one breaks the law, it is because his view of authority has changed to allow him to usurp his own authority over the established pattern. His action does not change the established law or pattern of authority - it remains the same - only his view changes and thereby creates a new standard to live by.
If a group is powerful enough, they can change the view held by others by changing the law and the view of the people. Consider Abortion - God regards abortion as murder. For a time, our government upheld the same view by declaring that abortion was murder. Through the powerful lobby of those who regard God as a myth, they were able to persuade the Supreme Court to change the ruling to allow abortions (1973). It is now "legal" to have an abortion. Has the ruling of the Supreme Court changed the law of God? No, it is still murder. Has the view changed towards abortion? Yes. What happened? Only the view of murder has changed and not the law itself. In the eyes of many today, abortion is no longer considered murder because they view the authority differently and believe thereby that it is law.
The view or the attitude has made it "right" while the law of God remains unchanged - it is still murder. I like what Abraham Lincoln said about the horse. He asked someone how many legs a horse has and they replied "four." He asked them how many legs the horse would have if you called the tail a leg. They replied "five." "No, he still only has four legs! You can call the tail anything you want, the horse only has four legs." The view of the horses' tail does not make it a leg - it is still a tail. The lesson we find in this is that to understand how we come to conclusions regarding our relationship with God and how we view the authority of God's Word.
In the realm of Bible authority, man has viewed his interpretation of God's will as fitting his own needs and applying them to the time that he is living. Why is man so religiously diverse? Why are there so many denominational bodies and why are believers in Christ not all united? Many have been know to point a finger at God for religious division. In prayer, religious leaders have been heard to thank God for the various divisions in religion so men can approach God in their own way, the way they want too. But their prayer contradicts the will of God, who wants men to approach Him HIS way.
The reason for religious diversity is because of the view taken of the authority of God's Word. Bible authority is the pattern of authority that is based upon the Word of God. Bible authority is the will or the commandments of God. Bible authority finds itself rooted in the will of the Creator and how that man is to OBEY the commands or will of the Father. Establishing Bible authority is man seeking to find the will of God and to follow it according to the divine pattern. The view towards Bible authority will greatly determine the manner the will of God is interpreted. In other words, without the proper attitude or view toward the will of God, man is left on his own to choose what he wishes and how he desires to worship God.
The reason for religious division is man's view of how to understand the word of God. Each has their own VIEW of scripture - but does that change the law of God? Is it possible for all men to understand the law of God in the same way? Has God given man a book that cannot be understood? Has the power of God (which created the world, raised Jesus from the dead) been unable to give man a book whereby ALL can understand the will of God? Psalm 119:89 says, "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven." Romans 1:16,17 reads, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16,17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Hebrews 4:12,13 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."
The same power that created the world and raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that gives us a book today whereby we can ALL come to an understanding of what we must do to be saved. Matthew 7:21-23 explains the view man should have of this word: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
The word of God remains firm and is unchangeable. My view of God's word should be God's view of His own word. The view that man has of God's Word will determine whether he is willing to follow God's will alone or choose to make his own law. We cannot add nor take away from any part of God's Word. Our view and attitude of the Bible should be that expressed by Peter in 1 Peter 4:11 - "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God..." We should rightly divide the word of God and follow it - and nothing else. If the Bible speaks, we should speak - if the Bible is silent - we should be silent. Our view of the authority of God's word will determine whether we are faithful to His Will or unfaithful.
By Kent E. Heaton Sr.
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