OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


          If the Bible did not exist, there would be no standard at all for the Christian faith.  Those who profess to be Christians would have nothing to turn to in order to prove the validity of their claims and the legitimacy of their practices.  The Bible is the foundation of all Christian faith and practice.  The Old Testament prophet was right when he said:  “To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

          Within the realm of “Christendom,” there are hundreds of different groups that exist.  All of them claim to believe that the Bible is God’s final authority.  If this is the case, each of them should be willing to prove that their doctrines and practices can be found in the pages of Holy Writ.  Anyone should be able to make this request of them:  “Show me this in the Bible.”  Let’s look at some examples of this request applied in the remainder of this article.

          The Catholic Church has a position within it that is called the “Pope.”  The man who occupies this position is elected by the “cardinals” of the church.  This position is an extremely high position.  In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the position is described as follows:  “The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, ‘is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.’  ‘For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as the Vicar of Christ, and as the pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered” (p. 254).  With regard to the position of the Pope, we want our Catholic friends to show us this in the Bible.  Show us where one man was over the entire first century church.  Show us such titles as Pope, Roman Pontiff, and Vicar of Christ in the Bible.  If these things are not in the Bible, they should not be practiced.  If they are not in the Bible, they must be of man-made origin instead of divine origin.

          Another example that we can set forth involves a position that some take on baptism.  Some denominational groups proclaim that baptism is not essential to salvation.  They assert that baptism is a work and that works do not save.  Those who teach this need to be able to show this to us from the Bible.  Show us where the Bible teaches that baptism is a work.  Show us where the Bible teaches that no works save us.  Again, if this cannot be done, it shows that these teachings have been fabricated in the minds of men.  They are not the teachings revealed by a holy God and found in His holy Word.

          Another example involves the concept of denominationalism.  Hundreds of churches exist today that all claim to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  All of these groups also say they accept the Bible as God’s divine Word.  These groups wear different names.  They proclaim conflicting doctrines.  They engage in different practices.  We are told that all of them have a right to exist.  We are told that they are all going to heaven but down different paths.  If all of these things are true, please show these things to us in the Bible.  If it cannot be done, the teachings are wrong.  They are not God-ordained.  Again, they are just the doctrines and commandments of men.

          We could literally present hundreds of examples of doctrines and practices of man that are not found in the Bible just like the ones listed above.  Some believe that we are unloving and unkind when we demand that something be found in the Bible before we will believe it.  The Bible tells us:  “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God…” (I Pet. 4:11).  A speaker has the responsibility of proclaiming only God’s Word.  The Bible also says:  “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:21-22).  This passage reveals that hearers of the message have an obligation to prove or test the things that are spoken unto them.  The Bereans understood these Bible concepts.  They did not blindly accept the preaching of men, even the preaching of inspired men.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

          Saying that one is a preacher of God’s Word, holding a Bible in one’s hand, holding up a Bible before one’s audience, and even quoting from the Bible does not guarantee that the message one proclaims is true to God’s Word.  The Bible warns that many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1).  To protect ourselves from error, we must demand that the one who asserts something needs to prove that his teaching is in the Bible.  Even then, we must take the Bible and search the Scriptures to see whether the things proclaimed are so.

          The twentieth chapter of the Revelation presents a picture of all standing before the great white throne of God (Rev. 20:11).  At that gathering, “the books were opened…and the dead were judged out of those things written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).  What books are these?  My friend, these are the books of the Bible.  When all of us are gathered there, man’s interpretation of these books will mean nothing.  What God intended for them to mean will be all that matters.  Note, God knows exactly what He intended to convey in His holy Word.  No one needs to wait until judgment day to find out the meaning of God’s Word.  Question your religious beliefs and practices now.  There is nothing wrong in saying:  “Show me this in the Bible.”