Volume VII, Number 06
In this issue:
The evangelist Timothy was urged by the apostle Paul to “Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21). The wisdom, philosophies, traditions, speculations and will of men have always been at odds with the “simplicity and purity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Although men may call their conclusions “science” and “knowledge”, if they contradict the “pattern of sound words” given from the apostles of Christ, they are “profane and idle babblings and contradictions” which lead souls away from the faith. All such teachings are to be avoided. Please consider a few examples with me.
Some people allow creeds and traditions to predetermine how they will interpret the Bible. So, even though the Bible says we are justified by works and not by faith only, they tenaciously cling to their “faith only” doctrine and reject for themselves the counsel of God (Jas. 2:24; Lk. 7:29-30). Similar rejection of God’s word occurs on such practices as the use of instrumental music in worship and the virtue of denominationalism (Col. 3:16-17; Jno. 17:20-21; Eph. 4:4-6).
Some people allow the science of the day to determine how they will interpret the Bible. For instance, based on the geologic timetable (among other things), they conclude the word “day” in Genesis 1 must mean “ages” of time – billions of years. Yet, the Bible says “the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5). We choose to believe God’s word over man’s science (cf. Exo. 20:8-11; 31:13-17).
Others say science supports the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe, so they use that model to define the world’s origin rather than the divine fiat (Psa. 33:6, 9; Gen. 1:1; Heb. 11:3). Some conclude the Genesis flood must have been a localized catastrophe, so they set out to “prove” what is a clear denial of God’s word: “And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered” (Gen. 7:19; see 7:3). Truly, the warning remains relevant that we must avoid “the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science, KJV),” because “by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21).
Still others allow liberal, modernistic theology to creep in and weaken trust in the accuracy of the inspired, historical text. (Whether such is intended or not, that is and will be the effect.) One brother has suggested that in order to harmonize the serpent of Genesis 3 with the New Testament description of the serpent as Satan, Genesis 3 may be interpreted as using “accommodative” and “symbolic” language; that Moses used a “serpent motif” when describing the temptation of Eve. While attempting to refute the liberal theologian who says Genesis 3 contradicts the New Testament, such a conclusion undermines the historical integrity of Genesis 3 (which gives the reader no indication of the use of symbolic or accommodative language). This symbolic explanation of the serpent was recently presented at the Florida College lectureship as a viable way to interpret Genesis 3:
“But if the serpent is really Satan, why does Genesis identify him only as a serpent and not as a spiritual being? Why do we have to rely upon later revelation to clarify the real nature of the serpent? This is the chief objection that many people raise to the identification of the serpent with Satan. But again, God himself is not depicted in Genesis 3 as a spiritual being per se. Were it not for later revelation, we would not realize that the anthropomorphic form of God in Genesis 3 is not His true nature but that God is actually Spirit.
“It is also worth considering that the account of these events may be, to some degree, accommodative and symbolic. Genesis may use the serpent motif because it is borrowing imagery from the mythological culture of that day regarding a cosmological foe of Deity. Old Testament writers commonly take features of well-known pagan myths and rework them in order to present the truth of Israelite monotheism.” (“The Seed of Woman”, Martin W. Pickup, The Gospel in the Old Testament, page 60-61)
The Bible says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made” (Gen. 3:1). Since God made literal beasts of the field, it is correct to conclude the serpent in Genesis 3:1 was a literal serpent. Otherwise, God made symbolic beasts (an interpretation that undermines the inspired record of creation!).
And the list goes on.
The Lord pleads with men to come back to the “sound words” of Christ,
not the “profane and idle babblings of men” (2 Tim. 1:13; 2:15-16).
Although men may perceive it as “knowledge,” false doctrine destroys souls
(1 Tim. 6:21).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
On Holy Ground
Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-10
1. Exo. 3:2-6 -
God called Moses (who was standing on holy ground).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Affirmations about Afflictions
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:10-17
I. TRIALS AND TROUBLES WILL COME.
Jews to Germany
Many people act on the belief that the physical nation of Israel continues to hold a special place in the plans and purposes of God. Even though the Bible clearly states otherwise, they insist the Israelites in the flesh are still the chosen people of God, “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed” (Rom. 9:8).
Many of these also teach there will be a future conversion of the whole nation of Israel, basing their conclusion on a misunderstanding of Romans 11:26-27, among other passages. “All Israel” will be saved the same way all Gentiles will be saved: “through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:11).
These false teachers also believe God is preparing to reinstate Israel in Palestine in fulfillment of the land promise given to Abraham (Gen. 15:7, 18). Of course, the Bible says God has already fulfilled that promise (Josh. 21:43; 23:14; 1 Kgs. 4:21).
Earlier this month it was reported that “more Jews are flooding into Germany than into any other country, Israel included” (Analysis: Jews flooding into Germany, Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI Religion Editor, 6/5/2003). At the end of WWII there were 15,000 Jews in Germany. In 1990, when the unification of Germany occurred, there were 33,000. Today there are 200,000. Since more Jews are immigrating to Germany than Israel, does this mean Germany will be the new homeland of promise? Why isn’t God sending the Jews back to Palestine in record numbers instead of Germany?
The truth is, Jewish immigration patterns are not a matter of divine directive. God said He would scatter Israel, but not completely destroy them, and He has done just that (Amos 9:8; Jer. 30:11; 46:27-28). To look for some future glory of physical Israel contradicts the word of God.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/16/2003
Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ,