4 - BECAUSE THE CHURCH ACCEPTS THE BIBLE ONLY
Is the Bible a safe guide in matters of religion? Most people will answer this question in the affirmative. And yet, the vast majority of people don't believe that it is necessary that we follow the Bible only.
Many claim that one's conscience is a safe guide. As long as they "feel good" and do not violate their conscience, they think everything is all right, even though the Bible may not teach certain things. Still, others believe in following their feelings. Their reason for believing they are saved is that they "feel it." They, too, will agree that we should follow the Bible, but in certain instances if you "feel you are saved", nothing else matters. Then we are reminded by some of the value of church creeds, disciplines, confessions of faith, etc. They argue that these are necessary for a proper understanding of the Bible. They also claim that they help pronounce and define certain Bible doctrines that are rather obscure. Of course, they don't completely object to or reject the Bible, but they definitely feel that these additional helps are necessary. At the extreme end of this position are those who claim that other books, such as the Book of Mormon, The Koran, and the writings of Mrs. Ellen White, are inspired like the Bible and are to be taken with equal weight and consideration.
However, in view of all the facts, we are constrained to stand opposed to all the foregoing reasoning. We believe, that the Bible only should be accepted and followed by man. Anything else constitutes an addition or a change in that which has been given and approved by God. We believe that: THE BIBLE COMPLETELY FURNISHES US TO EVERY GOOD WORK.
In 2 Peter 1:3 it reads, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." If in the Bible we have been given all things, then there is no need for additional creeds or books. Notice 2 Tim. 3:16-17, "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." If the Bible furnishes us to all good works, what need is there for further revelation? Again, in Eph. 2:10 it reads, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ ';Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." What can a church creed or discipline do for us that the Bible cannot?
A human creed is objectionable if it contains more than the Bible.
A human creed is objectionable if it contains less than the Bible.
A human creed is objectionable if it differs from the Bible.
And if a human creed is the same as the Bible, it would be useless since it would contain the same thing that the Bible contains.
Upon what grounds then can we defend and insist upon the use of human creeds? The answer is none.
HUMAN CREEDS CAUSE DIVISION. Human creeds are responsible for much of the division in the religious world today. They have erected walls and barriers that include all who agree with their teachings, and exclude all who disagree. Not only do they cause division, but they also perpetuate it. If all these human documents could be removed, a great stride in the direction of unity wiIl have been made. Jesus said in Matt 15:&-9, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching/or doctrines the commandments of men."
WHY THE BIBLE ONLY? Perhaps you are wondering just why we insist upon the Bible only. There are several good reasons which we shall give you just now.
A. IT IS THE SEED OF THE KINGDOM. In Luke 8:11 it reads, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." A seed is an amazing thing. It contains the germ of life, and the power of reproduction. God decreed in the beginning that every seed would bring forth after its own kind. Since every seed produces after its own kind, and the word of God is a seed, then it follows that the Bible produces Christians only. Another thing about a seed that we should notice is that it brings forth only one thing. Never have you seen a seed that produces two things. So it is with the Bible. It produces but one thing. But someone says, "What about all the different churches in existence today?" The answer is forceful and simple. The Bible did not produce them. They exist as a result of another seed being planted. The seed of the kingdom is not responsible for them.
B. IT IS A LIGHT. One of the most powerful forces known to man is light. It will banish darkness immediately. Wherever there is light, there is no darkness David said, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." - Psa. 119:l05: Again in verse 130, "The entrance of thy words giveth light." It is the Bible that lights the dark corners of the pages of history. Such questions as, "Whence came man?", "Where is he going?", "Is there life after death?", are all answered in the Bible, but nowhere else.
C. IT IS THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. In Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper , than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." A sword is a weapon of warfare. It may be used to defend one's self or to defeat the enemy. However, one unskilled in its use might do great harm to himself. The Word of God is much like this. It is the Christians defense, and destroys the false and untrue. However, many who do not properly handle it, use it to their own destruction. In the language of Peter they "wrest the scriptures, unto their own destruction." - 2 Pet. 3: 16. This is both dangerous and serious. Many an enemy of the Lord has felt the razor-sharp edge of the Spirit's sword. It can do what no other sword can, penetrate to the depths of the human heart.
D. FINALLY, THE BIBLE IS THE MIRROR OF THE SOUL. In James 1:25 it reads, "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." By looking into the Bible we are able to see ourselves as we really are. No mirror shows our reflection as we would like to see it, but exactly as it is. If I look in a mirror and see that my face is dirty, I don't get mad at the mirror and blame it, for I realize that it is only reflecting what is there. Why then should I get upset when I see something in my life that shouldn't be, shown to me by the Bible, and try to change the Bible instead of self? This should not be. Used as God intended the Book, it can aid and help us greatly in living a life pleasing to Him.
Yes, friend, we must follow only the Bible. We have no need of human creeds and manuals. It alone is able to lead us through this life and ultimately to heaven with God.