OceanSide church of Christ
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IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE
Victor M. Eskew
Those who call themselves Christians are supposed to be Bible believers. In other words, the Bible is the book that is the ultimate source of religious authority in their lives. It is the book that governs and guides our lives in all that we do. The psalmist put it this way: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). John’s words are not as poetic as David’s, but they are very powerful. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (II John 9).
It has always baffled this writer how so many people who call themselves Christians, practice things that are not found in the Bible. Let’s look at several examples of this in this article. First, the majority of people who call themselves Christians are members of denominations. A denomination is a sect, a sliver of the whole. Thus, the totality of denominations are said to make up the whole of the body of Christ.
Denominationalism, however, is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. We do not read of the first century church being divided into different religious groups, all wearing different names. We do not read of churches being organized in different ways, worshipping God in different ways, and preaching different plans of salvation. There is an interesting phrase found twice in the New Testament. It contains the words, “in all the churches.” One time it is found in I Corinthians 7:17. “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches.” The second passage is also found in the book of I Corinthians. Paul writes again: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Cor. 14:33). These two verses assure us that what was taught in one church was taught in all the churches. What was expected in one church was expected in all of the churches. The first century church did not have the religious division and confusion that exists today (I Cor. 1:10). All churches taught and practiced the same things. Denominationalism is NOT found in the Bible.
Another concept that is not found in the Bible is salvation by faith only. This man-made teaching is expressed in numerous ways to those desiring salvation. Some tell individuals to accept the Lord Jesus into their heart and be saved. Others will tell the lost to pray the sinner’s prayer in order to be saved. Still others might say: “Confess the Lord Jesus Christ and you can be saved.” Those who say that “faith only saves” teach that believing in the Christ as the Son of God is the only step that is essential to initial salvation.
The doctrine of “faith only,” however, is nowhere to be found in God’s Word. Yes, the Bible does say that we are saved by faith (Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9), but it does not even hint at salvation by faith only. The word “only” excludes everything else in the salvation process. If salvation is by faith only, then one does not have to repent of his sins or confess the name of Jesus Christ. This is foolishness. Jesus tells us that man must repent or perish (Luke 13:3, 5). He also says that in order to be confessed before the Father in heaven we must confess Him before men (Matt. 10:32-33). If a person must repent and confess to be saved in addition to believing in Jesus Christ, he is not saved by faith only. It is interesting that the words “faith” and “only” are only found together one time in the King James Version of the Bible. The verse that has them together is James 2:24. Listen closely to the words: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” This verse annihilates the doctrine of faith only. Dear readers, salvation by faith only is NOT in the Bible.
Another doctrine that some believe today involves the idea of continuous revelation. These individuals believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but they also believe that God continues to speak to humans in various ways revealing His will to mankind. Some hear a “still small voice in the night.” Some say they get leadings and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Some believe that their spiritual leaders continue to be inspired of God. Others say that God has given them additional revelations found in other books they believe to be inspired.
All of the above is nonsense. It is nonsense, first of all, because these additional revelations often contradict one another and contradict the New Testament. How does the eternal Spirit of God teach conflicting messages to different men and different religious groups? Is the Spirit confused? Can He not remember what He said to previous individuals He talked to? No! The reality is that the concept of continuous revelation from God is false. It is all made up. Individuals are proclaiming lies to the masses and are claiming that these lies are coming from God.
The second reason continuous revelation is nonsense is because the New Testament is God’s final, complete revelation to man. The apostles and first century church were waiting on God’s entire revelation to be completed. Paul referred to it as “the unity of the faith” in Ephesians 4:13 and as “that which is perfect” in I Corinthians 13:10. It was a body, or system of faith, that would be “once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It would be a body of truth that would make the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16-17). Some believe that this body of doctrine was completely revealed before the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. All believe that that the revelation had been completed by the end of the first century. It is known as the New Testament of Jesus Christ. It was sealed by His blood (Matt. 26:28). It contains all men needs for life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3). There was no additional revelation spoken of or needed after this point. The New Testament is complete and all-sufficient. The concept of additional revelation is NOT found in the Bible.
We have only examined three things that are not in the Bible in this article. Many, many more things could be discussed. Sprinkling and pouring for baptism are not in the Bible. The pope is not in the Bible. Infant baptism is not in the Bible. The creeds of man are not authorized in the Bible. On and on the list goes. When things are not in the Bible that men desire to do and teach, they just add them to God’s Word. Additions are condemned in the beginning (Duet. 4:2), the middle (Prov. 30:6), and the conclusion (Rev. 22:18-19) of God’s Word. Those who add to God’s Word have been promised that the plagues of God’s Word will added unto them (Rev. 22:18). Man needs to be satisfied with what God has revealed in the Bible. This, dear reader, is His will for man today!