“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
There is a dangerous current of unbelief that flows beneath the surface of our churches.
Specifically, questioning the straight-forward words that God has said. Which are the specific written words God has preserved in the scriptures.
The Open Denial of Biblical Authority
Denials by popular Christian leaders is becoming more bold. Even by those who are known for taking very Conservative and sound biblical positions.
Many popular leaders are intent on re-wording, re-interpreting and re-inventing what Christians should believe and practice. All under the guise of making the gospel message relevant to the modern culture.
This is not some great revelation. Anyone closely following the books, seminars, sermons and speeches of popular Christian leaders can see this.
But it is striking to me how easily the accuracy of the words of God is questioned. Making it virtually impossible to nail anyone down on what they should believe based on the words of God.
This makes the gospel open to interpretation.
What follows is a salvation message that is based on personal experience rather than objective truth. On feelings rather than on what the Bible says.
Which is a basic principle of Post-Modern thinking. That truth is whatever you think it is. Or, in other words, that your truth is not necessarily my truth.
And that there are no absolutes.
Which opens a Pandora’s box of spiritual error. And opens a window for supposedly Christian men to replace the gospel message with something else.
Who is out there to challenge this trend?
I have watched as very famous men within major Evangelical denominations deny the scriptures in very public ways. Yet those same men remain uncensored and undisciplined by their denominational leadership.
And this is especially the case if one has the popular Evangelical credentials that would motivate the Christian media to push their thinking. The simple fact is that the major Evangelical universities, seminaries and media outlets do not want to rock the boat.
But why not?
Because they lack the courage of their own convictions.
And because they are too comfortable in this world. There is too much at stake in their tenured, academic positions. They are too well positioned in their mega-churches. And they have too many book deals and speaking engagements to risk taking a stand on doctrinal matters.
Sadly, this situation is becoming the norm. Supposedly Christian leaders are saying things that challenge the authority of the word of God all the time.
Saying that, “The word of God is not to be taken literally. It cannot speak authoritatively on issues relating to science or history. Nor can it be taken authoritatively on matters relating to modern culture.”
Which brings us to the crux of the matter.
God’s Specific Words are the Basis of Faith
What is the gospel really?
How do we know who God really is?
How do we differentiate between truth and error?
And what is truth, anyway?
The great danger today is that Christians are being brainwashed by Christian leaders that are substituting something else for authority. And it really doesn’t matter what that “something else” is.
Any good thing will do.
This substitution is able to take place because we are moving away from words as the basis of faith.
Andy Stanley has said that “The Resurrection of Christ” is the most important thing. Others say, “Love is the most important foundation of Christianity.” And still others say, “Doing justice” is the core of Christianity.
And so, the gospel is becoming less about the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures, and more about the Christ of popular Christian culture.
Setting Aside Biblical Discernment
This is why there is so little resistance to error in our churches today. Because we are so easily led astray — having loosened our hold on the inerrant words of God.
How in the world can believers actually differentiate between truth and error if there is no clear standard for determining what God has specifically said.?
Today it is like we are flying by the seat of out pants in preaching. The emphasis is on ideas, thoughts and actions. And when many Christian leaders talk about “the word of God,” they are not talking about the specific words of God; they are talking about the ideas or thoughts or the “essence of truth“.
Not on what God has actually said.
And that affects our faith. It directly affects our faith.
Because faith is based upon words.
Reading them. And hearing them.
Specific, profound, supernatural words. That God breathed out and then preserved.
Good grief, we don’t even hold to a clear understanding of which translations are the words of God and which are not! One can read anything these days and put it up on a sermon screen and people are taught to think it is just fine.
Pastors think it is Okey Dokey to just pick whatever translations they find that best fit their sermon points.
That is insane! Just from a rudimentary, logical standpoint it makes no sense at all.
Believe me. I’m well aware that this is a really taboo subject.
Because someone will certainly be offended if we actually state that God has kept His words intact in a specific, original-language text. Or that there is something fixed that is supposed to be called, “the word of God”. That we actually believe a specific text is God’s specific word.
What hubris! What presumption!
And what a terrifying prospect that would be for all the publishers holding copyrights on their multitudes of translations!
What is the Real Source of Our Faith?
Do we even subscribe to the idea that there is a Greek and Hebrew Text which accurately represents the perfectly preserved words of God?
Or do we just assume it is no big deal? That the best scholars have the matter under control. And that we can just trust them to tell us what is correct and what is not.
Kind of like the Catholic priesthood system. Dispensing the mysteries of salvation to those poor souls who place themselves in dependence upon the elites of God.
After all, the Evangelical and Fundamental churches, as a whole, couldn’t be wrong about such things. Not so many of them anyway. That would be unthinkable.
It seems to me that we are less concerned today about believing God and His words than in believing in the overall Evangelical and Fundamental status quo. As if our faith rests in something other than the Lord.
As if our faith is really in the popular authors, Christian radio hosts, Christian TV, Christian bookstore chains, Christian colleges, and whatever other sources we look to for our spiritual comfort. Which tend to silence our doubts about the potential errors in new Christian trends and movements.
It is as if we have placed our faith in a seductive kind of Evangelical Lifestyle; which has been carefully reinforced in us by popular Christian media.
Moving us away from simply believing what God has said in His word.