We live in a world today that is so subjective and transient, that there is almost nothing concrete in our lives any more. With 140 characters and a quick Tweet or Facebook update, we move on.
A quick text suffices for a conversation in our culture. We so quickly move through life and we seem to do so at the speed of light.
I arrived in Nashville, TN with my son Andrew yesterday to join my family at the Annie Moses Fine Arts Summer Academy…
…where Katy, Kandace and Clara are participating this week and next. I have the privilege of speaking at the conference this Sunday morning at Lipscomb University. I’m tremendously excited about this opportunity.
Yesterday I was speaking with a lady right after I arrived about my book. She had heard about it and wanted a copy. She and her family desire to live for Jesus Christ. You read that last statement and many of you say, “Well, sure…I do too.” But, do we? Really? You see, in order to live for Jesus Christ we must be willing to live by His Word. What is His Word? Well, of course, it’s the Bible. You say, “Well duh! Of course I believe in ‘living’ by the Bible.” Do we really?
I don’t mean to play “cat and mouse” with you because I know as you read this blog post there are many other things that you could be doing. So, let me jump to the point of my conversation with this lady yesterday. She and her husband desire to be in a church where the family is NOT segregated and can worship together. You may say, “What’s the problem with that?” Well, the truth is, it’s not accepted in many of our churches today even though it is the Scriptural principle of worship.
In the Bible you will never see the body of Christ worshipping in a segregated, separated fashion. You never see the meeting of the believers taking place where the children or young adults (whom you may call “youth”) are absent. However, this lady, when bringing up to a “strategic planning committee” at her church that she would like for her children to come in and worship with her and her husband and not be made to go to Children’s Church. She was unequivocally shot down. When she inquired in greater detail as to the Biblical justification for this practice, she was dismissed as being a “trouble maker” and no answer was given by the leadership of the church.
So, here we are…to the point of this post. Do we really believe the Bible? Really? Certainly we say that it is the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God, yet is it sufficient? Sufficient? Yes, sufficient. Is it sufficient to direct and guide us in all things and for all of life? Is the Bible bound by time? Is it only to be used in the context of “how it was written for that day?” Do we really believe that God was smart enough to divinely inspire the 40 authors of His Word to write in such a way that what was written in the first century could actually be applicable to the 21st century? Or is God dumb? Did He not know that we would be so technologically advanced and sooooo smart? Did He know that we would “outgrow” His Word and therefore, we’d begin to pick and choose what we believe and take as applicable to our day.
So I’ll ask the question again: “Is the Bible sufficient to give us direction and guidance for our day?” Can we turn to the pages of Scripture and build our lives on it and it alone? Do we need the Bible plus something else to give us guidance? Do we need the Bible AND Dr. Phil and Oprah to tell us how to raise our children or deal with conflict or do we just need Scripture? Do we need the Bible AND a psychologist or secular counselor to help us deal with depression and anxiety? Do we need the Bible AND the words of any other man or woman (created by God and formed in their mother’s wombs) to give guidance?
What am I saying? Am I saying that we do need any secular scholarship or guidance from any other source other than the Word of God? No. Absolutely not! But, this is what I’m saying: We must look to the Word of God as the supreme authority and use it as absolute over any and all other sources in our lives. Do you see that? I love John Piper’s take on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture:
“The Bible is the sun and the solar system of all we teach our children. It will not be one among many books, it will be the central book, the all permeating book. The other books are dark planets. The Bible is the life-giving sun. All other books will be read in the light of this book. All books will be judged by this book. All books will find their
meaning in the worldview built by this book, which means that this book will be known first and known better than all the other books.”
One last time:
Do you really believe the Bible to be sufficient and authoritative to address and give guidance in all subjects, circumstances and situations in life or do we think it is bound by time and we’ve outgrown it?
Do we really believe that Almighty God is wise enough and smart enough (since He is the Creator and we are simply the “created”) to know what we need in 2011 and that His Word can be trusted to give us that guidance in all circumstances?
If that’s the case, then we must become students of the Word of God and KNOW what it says. I told this dear lady toward the end of our conversation yesterday that Scripture is very clear about how the body of Christ is to function when we meet and that is as an intact family unit. Don’t believe me? Read the writings of Paul when he addresses the children in Ephesians 6:1. There is no question that the children were present when the letter to the Ephesians was being read to the body meeting there in Ephesus. There is no indication whatsoever that Jesus had Peter, James and John to haul off the children and do “children’s church” with them while He taught the adults on top of the mountain as He preached the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me…”
This lady and her husband ultimately left this church because she was not allowed to bring her children in the service with her. Can you imagine? I can. I’ve seen it happen and it’s happened to me and my family when visiting another church. We were asked to take our children to the nursery and children’s church. When we refused I thought perhaps the usher/greeter was going to haul me out and lash me with a wet noodle. The look on his face was one of disgust. Is that a Scriptural response? Of course not.
What we have done in our churches and in our culture is to primarily use the Bible to “proof text” the things we like and the things we find convenient. But, what we find inconvenient (like having children in the meeting) we ignore the principles of Scripture and do not see the sufficiency and authority them in guiding our church practice and our individual lives. God help us!
The next time someone asks you: “Do you believe the Bible?” Be prepared to answer with full confidence as Paul encouraged Timothy.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:14-16
Sola Scriptura!! (Scripture Alone!)
So, let the little children come…