Yesterday I was reading on a friends blog; in the last couple of days he has been engaged in discussion regarding a post from several years back. The post is a rather controversial one, probably only because of who it is regarding. Were the comments regarding a lesser known individual with the same teaching I doubt this amount of anamosity would still be harbored towards a post that is almost 2 years old.
As I read in 1 Corinthians today this ongoing debate my friend is involved in vividly illustrated remarks which Paul made in the opening of his letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 1 verses 11-13. As I have traveled around the country these last few years I have not been in a community of Adventists which has not been affected by this particular individual. Which for me enhances this passage even more.
11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." 13 Is Christ divided... (ESV)
I want to broaden the scope of this post now because the issue really is not with this specific individual or any other teacher per say. Consider what was happening in Corinth. The believers were fighting with each other and their debates obviously did not hinge on biblical truth. The basis of their arguments were the teachings of individuals, Paul, Apollos, Cephas and even Jesus.
I don’t know about you but I have been guilty of arguing one man’s teaching versus another rather then comparing scripture to scripture. It seems to me that there are 2 fundamental problems taking place that are encouraging the debates like the kind Paul is addressing in this passage.
1. Too many of us spend too much time listening to men rather then studying the word of God for ourselves. And then when we go to the bible we lens our own study through someone else’s eyes. We do not allow Gods word to just speak to us. Could this be why we have so little real power in our lives? If faith is power, and faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Then can we really have faith if we only hear the words of man and never the word of God?
2. When someone teaches something from the Bible we don’t like our natural tendency is to write it off by saying “thats just their opinion.” especially if it clashes with the teaching of someone we agree with. So we rarely test the teaching we like honestly against the bible and we don’t test the teaching we don’t like against the bible so all we can do is argue man’s ideas against man’s ideas and we throw in some proof texts to support our predetermined ideas rather then wrestling with the difficult texts which might oppose our view.
Really those 2 problems are only one! We don’t study for ourselves enough.
When the final events are unfolding, when we stand be for rulers to answer for our faith, what so and so said will not suffice to stay the enemy. The word of God only contains the power we will need to fight back the accuser of the brethren.