The Need for Truth in the Church

Biblical Truth

We are privileged to live in a day when there are so many resources available to us for studying the Bible. We have books, multiple Bible translations, CD’s, MP3’s, the internet, Christian TV etc. The knowledge of God’s Word available to us has greatly increased in recent years. This is certainly a good thing, but despite the increase of ‘knowledge’ of the Bible there is still a huge amount of ignorance amongst Christians and in the Body of Christ of truth.

The Body of Christ may have a lot of Bible knowledge these days, but there is still a huge lack of Bible truth!

This may seem like a strange thing to say, since God’s Word IS truth (John 17:17) but having lots of Bible knowledge does not mean people are understanding God’s truth! [pullquote]Bible knowledge does not equal understanding of God’s truth![/pullquote]

Bible knowledge does not equal understanding of God’s truth!

Knowledge of the Bible does not mean a person knows God

A person can know scriptures, can even quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and be versed in Greek and Hebrew, and still not have a clue about what GOD is saying through His Word.

I have met people who have lots of Bible knowledge who don’t have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the things of God! They can quote scriptures to answer you on anything you say, yet their understanding of what God is saying is lacking.[pullquote]Knowledge of the Bible does not mean a person knows God[/pullquote]

There is a vast difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’. People can have Bible knowledge with very little understanding of what God is saying through it!

We tend to put people on a pedestal when they have lots of Bible knowledge. We think ‘they must know what they are talking about’, but that is not necessarily the case. Ideally people who know lots of the Bible SHOULD be reliable sources of God’s truth, but unfortunately it doesn’t always happen that way.

Also, all over the world, with the Charismatic movement, home Bible studies have become very popular. We do want people to study the Bible, and it is good that they get together to do so, I have no problem with that, BUT people often sit around and debate ‘their opinion’ about the Bible

Sometimes those ‘Home Bible Studies’ are ‘led’ by people who hardly have any understanding of scripture themselves!

I once went to one which was led by a person who had only recently become a Christian and wasn’t even sure of many of the basics, yet she was teaching others her ‘thoughts on scripture’! Some of the things which were said in that meeting were totally off base, yet everyone was sitting listening like it was the most amazing stuff they have ever heard!

Just because something sounds ‘deep’ and ‘philosophical’ or ‘religious’ does not make it of God. We don’t just want something that ‘sounds’ religious’ we ought to want TRUTH!

How would you like to go to a hospital for major surgery and have a ‘doctor’ who ‘just walked off the street’ and thought he would give medicine a go, even though he had not properly studied it and had very little understanding of the human body, do your surgery?

Or, would you be operated on by a guy who recently came up with a load of his own ‘theories and thoughts’ on medicine which no one had even heard of before?

We would not do that in the natural, yet we do this all the time with spiritual matters, placing ourselves under people who are not properly equipped for the task! We sit and listen to people’s opinions and ideas about God, which they have reasoned out with their heads and think it ‘sounds so amazing’.

 

Opinion or truth?

Many people are debating and arguing over doctrine, but a lot of it is based upon people’s opinions. ‘What I think the Bible means…’ or ‘my opinion on the subject’

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should NOT have Bible knowledge. I am not saying that we should not study the Bible. What I am saying is that we need to ensure we are growing in understanding of the truth as we grow in knowledge of the Bible and not just getting a whole lot of knowledge that we have reasoned out with our own heads.

The Body of Christ is not to be built upon people’s opinions about God and the Bible.

 

We want truth, not just opinion.

Christianity is not about my or your opinion, it is about God’s Word. The problem is, too often we put our opinion into the scriptures as well! People like to filter the Word of God through their own ideas on the subject, and as a result ‘adjust’ what God ACTUALLY said, into what THEY THINK He said.

One time the Sadducees came to Jesus to present Him with a ‘doctrinal dilemma’.

They has their own personal interpretation of the Scriptures on the subject of the Resurrection, so they thought that a ‘cute sounding, intellectually reasoned out theory’ they had could trap Jesus.

They thought they had come up with a ‘real good argument’ for their doctrinal position, and wanted to trap Jesus with it. Jesus simple drew from the Wisdom of God and gave an answer that left them all baffled!

He then turned to them and made the following statement:

Mark 12:24

:24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?

This is quite a statement, since Jesus was talking to a group of people who prided themselves in their understanding of the Scriptures! They were regarded as some of the scholars of the day and they thought that they were really well versed in Scripture.

Yet Jesus said they did not know the Scriptures!

Many people today pride themselves in knowing a lot of the Bible. Almost everything you say to them, they can come back at you with a scripture. However it is all reasoned out in their heads. They come at the Bible with an intellectual approach, trying to reason and figure it all out with their minds, and yet have completely missed God and what HE is saying.

Human beings tend to filter God’s truth through our own reasoning and understanding, clouding God’s message with man’s ideas and opinions

Too often when people study the Bible, they just come out of it with a whole bunch of their own reasoning and opinions about what it means and what it is saying. As a result we have ended up with a whole bunch of conflicting ideas about God‘s Word.

Despite the increase of knowledge of the Bible, the church is filled with people’s ideas and opinions about their Bible knowledge rather than an understanding of truth.

2 Corinthians 3:14-15

:14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains un-lifted in the reading of the Old Testament,because the veil is taken away in Christ.

:15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

Here Paul is referring specifically to the Jews reading the Old Testament, but the principle applies to other people too.

It is possible to read the Bible and yet be blinded to it’s truths! People can fill themselves with knowledge of scriptures, yet not see what it is saying.

There is a whole mass of Christians who are hungry to understand God’s truth, they want to know what is right and are hungry for God, but they are getting thrown by all the different opinions around about what is correct. Many of them are ending up confused about what to believe.

Ephesians 4:14-15

:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–

This passage in Ephesians is talking about the equipping, growth and edifying of the Body of Christ. He refers to Christians, (here calling them children) who are ‘tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine’

When I read this, I think of a ship at sea, caught up in a storm and being battered around by the wind. It gets thrown from side to side, carried about with every gust of wind.

Sadly that is often what happens to Christians or churches, or even the church as a whole.

They get thrown around by different doctrines and teachings which blow through the church. Some even get shipwrecked by them, getting knocked so hard by the wind that they get knocked over.

 

‘Fad’ or truth?

Often ‘fads’ arise in the church. A ‘fad’ is a ‘short-lived fashion’ something that is very popular but only for a short time. They are doctrines (often doctrines of man) they blow through the Body of Christ.

Christians like to get excited about ‘the latest thing’ in the church. They run around and follow after it like it is ‘the most amazing thing’ only to find that in a year or so it has ‘blown away’ and everyone has forgotten about it.

Some may say, ‘Yes, but God was emphasising that thing in the Church at that time’

I do agree that God does emphasis truths in the Body of Christ at times, however to think that EVERYTHING that blows through the church and becomes popular IS God emphasising it, is a mistake!

We need to learn to tell the difference between a church ‘fad’ and something that God is emphasising and wants us to grow in!

Sometimes ‘fads’ can distract us from God’s truth, rather than develop us in it!

There are times when God will emphasis a truth, and want the church to get a hold of it, but it is not because He wants it emphasised for a ‘short time’ then forgotten, it is because He wants it emphasised so we can get established in it, then keep walking in it’s truth!

Christians often mishandle what God emphasises and grab a hold of the fads! We tend to be quicker to grab the wrong thing and push away the right thing.

It amazes me how people talk about something that GOD has emphasised like it was a ‘movement’. They act like it was a temporary thing, and now we have ‘moved on’ from it!

(that happened with the teaching of Biblical Faith. MAN labelled it ‘the faith movement’. Some people claim that we have now ‘moved on’ from that ‘movement’. They are wrong. Faith is not and has never been a ‘movement’ The Bible teaches it as a ‘lifestyle’)

When God emphasises something, it is not so that we can move away from it later, but so that we can get it integrated into the way we function, and stay with it, building it into the framework of the church, making it a consistent and stable part of the truth we present

If God emphasises it STICK with it! If it’s a fad, let it blow over and keep yourself stable on God’s Word.

We need more stability in the Body of Christ, so that we do not get knocked around with ‘fads’ of doctrine that are not rooted and established in God’s truth.

We need to learn to tell the difference between things that God wants us to grow in and things that the devil wants to use to distract us from the truth. There are teachings which the devil uses to distract people and even damage their walk with God (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

I learned a long time ago that just because something is popular in the Body of Christ does not automatically make it true and of God. Just because something is popular does not make it ‘of God’.

The key question is not ‘is it popular and is everyone doing it’ but ‘Is it in line with God’s truth?’

Let’s look again at the verses in Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:14-15

:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–

Notice here that Paul says ‘children’ are tossed around by the winds of doctrine.

We like to think in the Body of Christ that we are much more mature and grown up than we really are.

However ‘what’ does he say causes growth?

‘speaking the truth in love, may grow up…’ (:15)

We could talk about the love aspect of it, but that is not the emphasis of this teaching. We are looking at the ‘truth’ part of it.

Growth comes from TRUTH.

 

There has to be a standard for truth

God doesn’t want a church filled with ‘every gust and wind of doctrine’. He doesn’t want a church filled with people’s opinions and theories about the Bible. He wants a church filled with TRUTH.

These days, society would have you believe that truth changes. They say that there is no ‘black or white’ when it comes to truth, but that it’s all grey areas.

They claim that ‘truth’ can change from person to person, culture to culture, century to century. In other words, what may have been true 500 years ago isn’t true now.

That may apply to something’s such as scientific knowledge, since we are limited in understanding and still growing and sometimes we discover that something we thought was truth isn’t, but there is danger in that philosophy

Scientific truth is only found to be incorrect when we find that what we once believed is wrong – for example the earth was once believed to be flat, but now we know better.

However, the earth is not ‘flat for some people and round for others!’ No, it is what it is, no matter what your think! It really doesn’t matter if someone has a theory that the earth is flat, because their theory does not change the truth! The truth is what it is regardless of whether people accept it or not!

We cannot approach the Bible with the idea that ‘truth changes’ depending upon a person’s view or opinion! We need to understand that the Bible sets a STANDARD for truth. That standard stays consistent for all people, for all time, for all cultures.

 

Bible truth is ‘absolute’

That means that it does not change, and is not affected by or governed by anything else.

Regardless of what else changes, the truth does not. It makes no difference how much time goes by, what happens on the earth, which culture the Bible is in etc. The truth is the truth.

Bible truth is as real and relevant now as it was 2000 years ago. It is an absolute standard for truth. No human opinion or theory can change it. It stands secure and unchanged.

That is why it is a reliable standard upon which you can build your life.

We all have the right to study the Bible

We all have the right to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word

But NO ONE has the right to distort the Bible and make it say what they want it to say [pullquote]NO ONE has the right to distort the Bible and make it say what they want it to say[/pullquote]

Truth is truth, the Bible says what it says, and we must not approach the Bible trying to change it to fit our belief or religious opinion.

Rather, we must approach the Bible to change our belief and opinion to line up with scripture.

If the Bible was just the word of a man, then it would not carry this authority

But since it is the Word of God, it does!

Take for example the subject of healing:

There has been so much confusion in the church about healing, but one of the reasons we got into such a mess in the church on this subject is we started looking at human experience and opinion; and tried to fit it into scripture.

Instead of taking what the Bible presented as ‘absolute truth’, we redefined what Bible was saying based on what we experienced.

In other words we said, ‘I have not experienced healing, therefore the Bible must not mean what it says, maybe ‘this’ is what it really means…’ (and so started the theories and opinions)

In other words, ‘my experience is such and such, therefore what the Bible says must actually mean ‘such & such’’. In doing so,  removed the Bible’s authority as Absolute truth, and made it relative – truth that changes based upon people’s experience etc.

We adjusted ‘the truth’ to fit our experiences and the end result was error and false doctrine about healing which has caused confusion to many people. False doctrines like, ‘God doesn’t always heal’ or lies like ‘sickness glorifies God’ came out of people trying to adjust the Bible truth into their own personal opinions and experiences

Instead of trying to fit the Bible into your opinions and experience, we need to see the Bible for what it says, regardless of whether I am currently experiencing that.

Understand that the Bible sets the standard for truth, now believe God to raise your life to that standard!

I encourage you to become hungry for the TRUTH of God’s Word, not just for Bible knowledge. Be willing to lay aside your own personal opinions and religious ideas and take the Bible for what it says, rather than trying to adjust the meanings of scriptures to fit your ideas.

John 8:32

:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Become hungry for truth

This article, along with others by the same author can be found at www.exceedingfaith.com

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.

© 2008 Exceeding Faith Ministries International & O. Walton. This article is written by Owen Walton and is made available for free distribution under the following terms:

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