Saddened and Dismayed

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2 Timothy 2:15 KJV  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

I don’t claim to be anything close to a Biblical scholar and I am sure that there are many people who have a much better understanding of scripture than I do, but I am at a loss for words with regard to the persistence of many Children of God who ignore the guidance of God’s Holy Word, when it comes to studying and getting to know the holy scriptures.

Why is it that there are so many supposedly well intentioned people who are determined to find a fast track or reap the benefits of the presumed wisdom of a coveted insiders perspective, on understanding Biblical truth?

There are no shortcuts to growing in wisdom and understanding of God’s truth as contained within the Bible. None. The bottom line is that in order to be able to discern what is Biblical truth, one must FIRST be conversant with Biblical truth and that truth is found and defined solely in the Bible.

When we take measurements for height, length and width, we use a standard means of measurement such as inches/feet or millimeters/centimeters.  The Bible is the Christian’s standard. It is the means whereby we are to able to have knowledge and understanding of what is truth and what is not truth. If you are not conversant with God’s truth as defined within the Bible, you have nothing to compare untruth with, when you encounter it. And therein lies the problem.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV  “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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

What was one of the main criticisms that Jesus had about the Sadducees?

Matthew 22:29 KJV  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Rather than prayerfully going through the Bible from cover to cover, continuously, so that God’s Word and truths are firmly rooted in our minds and hearts, we find that there are many who possess a superficial or partial understanding of the Bible, many of whom have never even once read through the Bible from cover to cover, not to mention, multiple times (which is actually a necessity), who then encounter an aspect of what they perceive as Biblical truth in the here and now,  whereupon they then pursue that perception of truth that they hold, within Christianity, by reading books and undergoing instruction, authored by those who confirm and encourage the perceived goals of the seeker.

Are you familiar with the term “putting the cart before the horse”?

Years ago, when I first read through the entire Bible, I kept a notebook and I wrote down all of the things that I encountered that I didn’t understand.  By the time that I got through my initial complete reading, I had a lot of unanswered questions. But as time went on, many (not all) of those questions that I initially had began to get answered. Key word there is “began”. Things like what God’s Word says about faith, sin, the shedding of blood and sacrifices, holiness, justice and mercy, grace, slavery, sanctification, healings, justification, to name but just a few. Where there times when I had a partial or superficial understanding about faith as an example?  Yes there where. I have found that God’s truth within me is progressive, His truth remains constant, my understanding is progressively changing towards a more fuller understanding of His ways and His thoughts. I personally don’t think that ever stops while we are in these physical bodies.

A strange thing happens after you’ve read through the Bible a few times. Teachings such as the “Prosperity Gospel” or that God is always willing to physically heal everyone, or prophecy that doesn’t correlate with God’s Word or criteria and the pursuit of a host of other topics, immediately strike you as being foreign and not of God, when encountered.

John 10:27,John 10:5 comes to mind.

Please note that I am not against reading and undergoing courses and books of instruction on Biblical truths but I would strongly suggest that this would be something that one does AFTER you’ve read through the Bible two or three times, especially if the teaching encompasses an area of truth that is controversial within the Christian church as a whole. Topics such as healing, signs and wonders, prophecy come to mind.

Common sense things like taking the time to investigate and evaluate any criticisms that the church at large may have about a given author and their Biblical doctrine is another prudent step which is frequently overlooked. People like Bill Johnson, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen come to mind. They all have large numbers of followers which begs the question, if “Christians” are conversant with the doctrines and principles of God’s truth, why do these people have large numbers of followers?

2 Timothy 4:1-5 NIV  “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Isaiah 28:10 KJV  “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

“Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”
– Charles Spurgeon

Please forgive me for harping on this again.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grand children, ex-Canadian Armed Forces and residing in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Discernment, Faith
29 comments on “Saddened and Dismayed
  1. Entire churches are Scripturally illiterate. Just think about that for a second. It’s like the Navy having no ships, or marathon runners wearing crocs. What the heck?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Bruce, in my humble opinion, you have no need to ask forgiveness! Reading the Bible for oneself is essential. I do not ever want anyone to hear or read what I say and think that I am without error. Jesus does not call us to blind faith, nor should we follow anyone blindly. I hold to a high view of Scripture and require mass amounts of alone time with the Lord and reading His Word. This does NOT make me special or pious or anything like that, but I do have to be careful not to be judgmental of others who do not spend mass amounts of time in the Word. I have asked people who do not read the Word consistently how they can grow in knowing the God of the Bible without really reading the Bible? Bruce, keep encouraging people to read the Word and keep pointing people to Jesus! I am SO thankful for you! Blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bruce says:

      Hi Mandy, I think in hindsight, like many parents, we hate to see others that we care for make the same mistakes that we once made. It’s funny how after all these years and countless books I’ve read, there only seems to be one book that is really important now. Grace and blessings to you and yours as always!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. dettinger47 says:

    I totally agree with Brandon. Scriptural illiteracy is rampant in the Church! Excellent post, Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always think of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The Bridegroom came, and the foolish ones said to the wise ones, “Quick! Give us some of your oil!” When the end comes, people will want to quickly get what has taken us a lifetime to learn. But it just doesn’t work that way.

    I recently heard from a brother in India who was concerned that the “prosperity gospel” has reached his country and is confusing believers, even pastors. I can see the appeal of such doctrine among impoverished people such as the ones he encounters every day. I was ashamed that this “gospel” has so permeated our society of people that already have more than our share of the “good life.” This brother is working hard training pastors in the truth – please pray for him and others like him!

    You will be happy to know that I recently read a piece by Joyce Meyer confessing her doctrinal mistakes of the past and saying that she has a different view now. She writes regularly for Charisma Magazine. I haven’t read much of her writings lately, but when I do I’m not seeing any “prosperity gospel.” Most of her teachings, as I recall, deal with mindset and attitude, toward God, others, and self.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott says:

    I agree. I know I have to read the bible every day to be washed in the word of Jesus Christ. This world is becoming a place where Jesus will return soon to. I wanted to share with you that my wife likes the word of faith preachers and I think our church tends toward this bent. I have struggled much with it. Where I am at now is that many people who believe their words can create things are actually Christians. Don’t I have to love them as brothers?
    What I have learned lately is that we are all imperfect in our knowing the complete truth. I probably shouldn’t dismiss a person because they have some wrong beliefs but rather encourage them to find more of the truth.

    Like

    • Bruce says:

      Loving someone also includes caring enough to speak of God’s will for all the church. Dismiss – no, encourage to dig deeper into God’s Word – Yes. Thanks for responding Scott, always enjoy hearing from you! Grace and blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Cindy Dawson says:

    Bruce, I know how you feel. Every time I write about false teaching I think, “That’s the last one.” But then, it burns in my heart again, and I write again.
    You do not need forgiveness, but you may need encouragement!
    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
    The truth is, more Christians need to be aware of this danger. I appreciate you very much. I even have your blog bookmarked!
    One more thing: Paul encouraged Timothy, “Command certain men not to teach false doctrines … The goal of this command is love … some have wandered away … They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. (Parts of 1 Timothy 1:3-7)
    If those who have a loved one following false teaching won’t write about it, WHO WILL?
    Be encouraged, my friend! God bless you and yours!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bruce says:

      Thanks Cindy for the encouragement. It’s a reasonably good post and then I fell short this morning in responding to the needs of one of my grand sons. My wife intervened and saved the day. One step forward and one step back. One of those “whenever you have the opportunity to do good” things that I could have done better on. Grace and blessings!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. bcparkison says:

    Forgive you? No …infact you may need to say it again and again .We are a hardheaded people …slow tolearn and time is running out.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Stephen says:

    I can’t help but laugh Bruce. People sure love to talk about the bible. You get the most comments and likes when you talk about the bible. Ever think about starting business about the bible? I bet billions of people would be patrons.
    I just spent a week with people who justify themselves and their beliefs with bible verses. Had enough of that garbage for a while. I’ll spend some extra time with Jesus instead.
    Brandon’s comment made me laugh the hardest, it’s always the church down the road that has it wrong. Lol, too funny.

    Have a blessed week Bruce

    Like

    • Bruce says:

      Here’s a scripture verse you might want to entertain Stephen that Jesus gave us, Matt 5:22 I’d have a tendency to be a little on the careful side if I were you. Just saying ….. You have a blessed week also.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stephen says:

        Please explain to me how this verse applies to my comment Bruce. If you don’t like my comment just say so or don’t publish it. But trying to use scripture to manipulate me is indeed witchcraft Bruce. And I’m being quite serious. The bible is not a book to be used to control people. I am free in Jesus Christ and have every right to speak Truth. Wether you agree with it or not is irrelevant Bruce. But this is your forum and you are king of this domain.
        The thing is Bruce, you are not Jesus Christ, nor will I stand before you in judgement. I would never dare to judge someones salvation as you just tried to do with me. Hellfire is our default mode according to scripture.
        I stand by what I said. Please explain how you think the verse you say applies to me, applies to me.

        Like

      • Bruce says:

        Alright Stephen , I wasn’t overly impressed with your comment. You inferred that you found Brandon’s concern and observation about some churches being scripturally illiterate as funny and the use of quoting scripture by myself and others to validate the need to be conversant with scripture (validate what I believe) as garbage. How exactly did you expect me to respond? You and I disagree on what constitutes the Word of God but I have not ridiculed you about your belief. You on the other hand feel justified with inferring that Brandon’s and my concern and methodology utilized as garbage and funny or humorous. The inference to us being foolish or fools is not difficult to make. I did not judge you, I cautioned you to consider what Jesus said and how I personally take His words into consideration when I address others of the faith, there is a big difference. You do have the right to speak what you perceive as Truth and so do Brandon and I. Hence our disagreement. Interesting that you deferred to scripture as the basis for defining our default mode of hellfire. If you don’t consider what Jesus warned us about when it comes to calling brothers fools, as applicable to you, that is your call. I asked you to consider and you did and I thank you for that. God’s blessings on you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stephen says:

        I noticed someone even liked the fact that you used scripture to threaten me with hell fire. That whole passage doesn’t mean what the traditions of men teach. There’s a whole lot more going on.
        We all get foolish every once in a while Bruce. And as for your comment about me deferring to scripture , it was for your sake. When I interact with french people, I interact in french. When I interact with bible people, I interact in bible. Jesus had to do the same thing with the pharaciies, saducees, scribes and lawyers. Truth is, I don’t believe in the “original sin” theology that most christians hold. I believe it’s much more complicated than that.
        Nor do I think you or Brandon are fools. I’m pretty sure there’s no shortage of “bible believing” who would say about the both of you, what he said about others. Hence my comment, “it’s always the church down the road that has it wrong”.
        The foolishness I had to endure for 5 days was not speaking of you but of my inlaws. And I don’t consider them fools even if foolishness is what they spoke from time to time.
        Jesus will judge who the fools are. I have acted the fool from time to time. I trust Jesus will correct me when need be cause He has in the past.
        I do not agree with a lot of your theories or theology, but I most definitely do not consider you a fool Bruce.
        No one person holds all Truth but Jesus Christ.
        Maybe this time Bruce, you might want ponder on what I originally wrote.

        Like

      • Bruce says:

        Do you remember in a previous exchange we gave one another a pass per se and called it a day? Well, I’m doing it again! I’m assuming no feathers were ruffled! Have a great day Stephen!

        Like

  9. SLIMJIM says:

    I can only wish more of God’s people read the Word for themselves. I agree that there’s no shortcut to studyingthe Word directly Amen to your paragraph: “There are no shortcuts to growing in wisdom and understanding of God’s truth as contained within the Bible. None. The bottom line is that in order to be able to discern what is Biblical truth, one must FIRST be conversant with Biblical truth and that truth is found and defined solely in the Bible.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Candice says:

    One thing I’ve noticed recently is the lack of Biblical training for children and young people by some churches and some parents. This may be because the parents haven’t taken the time to learn Bible truths for themselves, and some churches have moved their focus toward programs to draw people in, and away from discipleship.
    You can’t get grounded just by hearing a sermon once a week, or by getting your ears “tickled.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce says:

      Hi Candice, you are correct, hearing a sermon once a week just isn’t going to do it nor is just listening or reading what tickles your ears, not even close. I often use the analogy of being married and walking with God. If we only spent an hour or so a week with our spouse, what kind of marriage would we have? If that wouldn’t produce a loving and satisfying marriage why do we expect it to work in our relationship with God? Thank you for taking the time to let me know your thoughts, always appreciated! Grace and blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sue Love says:

    Bruce, thank you for this. Yes, we need to encourage those who profess faith in Jesus Christ to be in the Word of God and to read it in context, chapter by chapter, and book by book, rather than just listening to people who pull scriptures out of context to build entire doctrines which are not supported scripturally. Too many itching ears out there and people willing to feed them.

    Liked by 3 people

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