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False Standards in Religion (Part3)

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Radio transcript for the week of June 18, 2017

Todd Clippard speaks on "False Standards in Religion (Part 3)" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.

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False or Insufficient Standards in Religion

  1. "I thought..."
    • 2 Kings 5:11 - Naaman had it all figured out how the prophet was going to heal him. When things didn’t go according to his plan, he rejected God’s plan. Fortunately, he was persuaded by his servants to obey the Lord and he was rewarded (cf Proverbs 3:7-8; Isaiah 55:8-9).
    • Acts 26:9-11 - Saul of Tarsus - “I thought within myself to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which things I also did.”
    • Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.
    • Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
    • Proverbs 28:26 - He who trusts his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

  2. "My preacher says..."
    • Jeremiah 2:8; 5:30-31; 23:14
    • Galatians 1:6-9 - "Though we or an angel from heaven..."
    • 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 - Even the devil can make himself appear as a minister of light (truth)
    • Amos 7:14-16; 1 Kings 22:14

  3. "Others are doing it."
    • Exodus 23:2 - "You shall not follow a multitude to do sin."
    • 1 Samuel 8:19-22 (cf Hosea 13:11) - Give us a king that we may be like the nations around us.

  4. "Look at the good that will come."
    • Romans 3:8 Paul said is was a slanderous report that he taught "let us do evil that good may come" (i.e., situation ethics).
    • Romans 6:1 Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!
    • "If we quit preaching/emphasizing (insert controversial doctrine here), we can get more members. If we get more members, we can get more money. If we get more money, we can do more mission work and benevolence."

  5. "We’ve always/never done it that way."
    • Joshua 5:2-9 None of the Jewish boys who had been born in the wilderness had been circumcised. No man entering the Promised Land had ever witnessed such and may have been tempted to say, "We’ve made it this far without it, why start now?"
    • 2 Chronicles 30:5 - It had been many years since God’s people had observed the Passover. Many probably did not understand and may have been tempted to disparage the event.

  6. "God didn’t forbid it."
    • Leviticus 10:1-2 - Where did God forbid the fire offered by Nadab and Abihu?
    • 2 Samuel 24:1-10 - Where was David ever forbidden to number the people?
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 -Prove all things. It is not enough to say "prove this is wrong". It is equally incumbent upon people to show why a thing is right.

  7. "I don’t think God is concerned with such trivial things." This is the equivalent of saying "God thinks like me." See Isaiah 55:8-9.
    • “When you are dodging Muslim bullets, cradling starving babies, comforting a malaria-ridden brother, all the nonsense over plucking on a piano seems to pale in comparison." - Roger Dickson, Christian Chronicle online 3/29/2006.
    • "I don’t care if you have a glass of wine or a beer. The Lord don’t either." - Phil Robertson
    • Numbers 20:7-11 - How trivial was the matter of striking the rock as opposed to speaking to it?
    • Psalm 19:13-14 - It is presumptuous to say of God what God has not said or to speak with authority where he has not spoken.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 - Who knows the mind of God?


In last week’s introductory article, we looked at the necessities of getting a good translation as well as a good Bible (references, readable, etc). There are two additional points that need to be made before we continue.

First, even with a good translation and arrangement, we must be careful about the notes in some Bibles. A Ryrie or Scofield Bible is going to be Calvinistic and Premillennial. The Nelson New Open Bible is far more useful and more conservative. Lots of folks still like the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. I have a couple of these and have never taken a shine to them.

Second, while they can be quite expensive, getting a genuine leather Bible is always preferable to other bindings and coverings. Leather Bibles will have “bonded leather” or “genuine leather” on them, usually on the bottom of the front or back cover. Genuine leather is preferable because it lasts longer. Given proper care, a good leather Bible can last a lifetime.

Now, on to the matter of studying the text. When many people begin a study of the Bible, they often start with page 1 and the account of the Creation. While this isn’t necessarily a bad place to begin, if one simply continues reading on through the Old Testament, he is likely to give up once they get to the instructions for the tabernacle (Exodus 25-31), the law of Leviticus, or the census of Israel (Numbers 1, 26). Furthermore, he will miss the best part of all, the story of Jesus (cf John 5:39)!

Others who begin a study of the Bible will concentrate on their favorite passages (like Psalm 23) and stories with no consideration given to the scriptural and historical context. Still others will hop, skip, and jump around... reading here a while and there a while, neglecting to have any kind of a plan for their “study.” Such an approach is not conducive to success. Neither is just letting one’s Bible fall open and starting on one of the pages.

When beginning a systematic study of the Bible, one thing must be remembered - Jesus is the central figure for the whole Bible, and his church (singular) is the central institution or organization. What I mean by this is, the thrust of the Old Testament points to the coming of Jesus and the establishment of his kingdom, the church (Matthew 16:18-19). There are more than 300 specific prophecies in the Old Testament that point to the coming of Jesus, perhaps the most well-known is Isaiah 53. There are also many prophecies that foretell the coming and establishment of the church, with Daniel 2 being well-known. But these are not the best places to begin. The Bible may be generally divided and summarized as follows:

  • The Old Testament (Genesis - Malachi) tells us Jesus is coming
  • The Gospels (Matthew - John) tell us Jesus is here
  • The book of Acts tells of the establishment of the church and its phenomenal growth
  • The epistles (Romans - Jude) are letters to churches and individual Christians designed to encourage and/or correct problems
  • Finally, the book of Revelation is symbolic and encourages Christians to be faithful despite in the face of persecution. It foretells the Christian's ultimate victory

A proper understanding of fundamental truths is vital to a proper view of the entire Bible. For example, one cannot understand higher math without a proper understanding of the fundamentals. Furthermore, even the fundamentals are taught in a specific order: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These fundamentals are always in this order because one must understand adding before he can learn to subtract, and one must understand multiplication before he can understand division.

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