âFor 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: 19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.â Revelationâ 22:18-19
We believers, can have a rather proud attitude sometimes when we proclaim that we believe the whole bible. We can talk as if we are so grounded and unmovable when it comes to the entire word of God, but saying you believe something is not proof of actual belief. It is a very disturbing thing to have millions of Christians, including whole denominations insisting that they believe the whole bible, yet there seems to be a thousand differing and divisive beliefs that they all claim the bible teaches. How is it that Christians, who all have the same book, and claim it is their final authority, are so divided? Well, it isn’t the fault of Godâs word; the problem lies with man.
Because our human nature hates correction and self-denial, it isn’t hard to understand why man at times will resist the bible and even teach the scriptures in a way that accommodates the lifestyle of man. There are those who water down scripture and even teach a false view of scriptures for convenience sake. Those who do that are called false teachers. They do this for a variety of reasons. Some do it to justify their sinful life style, some do it to form their own brand of religion, some do it to please man and some do it to scare or rule over people. Some will try to make the scriptures say less than they do, while some try to make them say more than they do. I have often said, âThe bible has enough rules already without someone adding more to it.â Whatever the motive is, it is of the highest offense against the kingdom of God to carelessly and falsely handle the word of God.
I want to address something of great concern, which has to do with this subject of mishandling the word of God. What makes it such a great concern is that this mishandling that I am going to talk about is widely accepted in the Christian church. Since it is so accepted, few see the danger of this violation. What I am talking about is what we all agree is forbidden to do, and that is, âtake away from the words of this book.â No, it isn’t that a publisher has printed bibles with some of the words missing, it is that some of the words and verses have been marked as obsolete by some of the most popular bible teachers of our day.
I can give you two strong examples of what I am talking about. The first example has to do with the ministry. Letâs look at Ephesians 4:11-13. âAnd He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:â You can see that I highlighted the words, âtill we all come.â This simply means that there is a time that we will no longer need, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, but now is not the time. The time is when we all come into âthe measure of the stature of the fullness in Christ.â Kind of sounds like heaven to me. Have any of you come to be a âperfect man?â If so, has the rest of your brethren? If not, then you still need ministers in your life. Has the church come into âthe unity of the faith?â This is highly unlikely, since we have hundreds of denominations and different doctrines that separate us. It is plain to see that we need ministers in our life. Well, you may say, I believe we have pastors and teachers, others may say, we have pastors, teachers and evangelists. I will not disagree with them, but we also have prophets and apostles. However, we have those today that say we no longer have prophets or apostles, and that they died off in the first century. Just because we donât have men anymore that can pen us scripture does not mean that we donât have apostles in our day. I think some of the problem is that we over spiritualize the office of an apostle. Apostles were simple men like you and me that God used to establish and oversee the body of Christ. We still need that done today. Therefore we still need apostles.
Another example is the gifts of the Spirit. It is amazing to me how widely accepted it is that some of the gifts aren’t for day. The spiritual gift that is most commonly refuted is âspeaking in tongues,â but it doesn’t stop there. I know of Christians that donât believe that divine healing is for today. When I first heard that as a young believer, I just shook my head in disbelief. I have come to find out that this teaching is more widely accepted than I thought. All I can say is that Jesus said, âlet it be done according to your faith.â If you donât believe in speaking in tongues, you aren’t going to receive the gift. If you donât believe in divine healing, you are never going to pray for someone to be healed.
The thing that is the most disheartening about the claim that not all of the gifts are for today is the desperate attempt to find scriptures to support that belief. One of the more common scriptures is I Corinthians 13:8-9. You would never come to the conclusion that this scripture is telling us these three gifts, âprophesies,â âtonguesâ and âknowledgeâ will cease during this church age. The bible experts that believe that, violate the principles of bible study by not reading that passage in context and not reading the verses around it. In fact, just read verse 10 and it will clear up the whole passage. The âperfectâ that verse ten is talking about is obvious, it is heaven, and it is our completeness in Christ.
So we have prominent teachers and church leaders that tell the church that there are no longer apostles or prophets today. They tell us that some of the gifts have ceased, but there seems to be confusion and disagreement about which gifts have ceased. So I end this article with this immensely important question: Who has such authority today to tell us what offices and gifts are not for today? Who has the authority to make the final decision for all of us on these matters? Simple respect for Godâs word tells us that the safest ground to be on is to just believe it all for today. Do you really want to get into trying to pick and choose what is for today and what isn’t? I donât know about you, but the scares me to death.
âBut He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.â (Matthew 4:4)
âBut the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.â (I Peter 1:25)