Tony Elder

Tony Elder

As part of making recent changes in our cable TV package, we updated some of our equipment. As I read and tried to follow the directions about setting up our modem and Wi-Fi, I got confused. The guidebook said to move on to Step 2 when the lights stopped flashing. However, under Step 2 it said to make sure the lights continue to flash while completing these steps. The instructions seemed to be contradictory. What was I to do? I went ahead and muddled through it the best I could, hoping I was right. I’m glad to report that it all turned out well.

It seems we’re receiving more and more contradictory directions in our day. Some people condemn certain actions as wrong or sinful, while others advocate that the same behaviors are simply differences in people that we need to lovingly accept. Some say something is good while someone else calls the same thing evil. Certain people are lifted up as model Christians by some, while the same people are branded as Pharisees, dangerous, and hate-filled by others. Some claim to be proclaiming truth, while others call them liars. Back and forth it goes. How do we know what’s true and what’s not? Who do we believe? Which instructions do we follow? Are we just left to muddle through life, use our best judgment, and hope we’re right?

Thankfully, God hasn’t left us in the dark about such matters. He’s given us His Word to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). As one great hymn declares, “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!” Unfortunately, some, even within the church, don’t see God’s Word as being excellent. They view it as fallible, the words of man, and subordinate to our own judgments. However, if the Bible has any value or inspiration at all, then we must take seriously its own testimony about itself. It declares that it did not come “by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 2:21). It further states that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16) and that “the entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus confirmed that He didn’t come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill those scriptures. He went on to condemn anyone who would break the least of the commandments in God’s Word and who would teach others to do so (Matthew 5:17-19).

No, the Bible isn’t primarily a rule book for us to follow. It’s more like a love letter from our Heavenly Father. But it is truth. It’s one of the main ways God has chosen to show us who He is and to reveal His will. And without its testimony, we wouldn’t have a reliable picture of who Jesus is, the living Word and God’s greatest revelation of Himself. Furthermore, the Bible warns us that we’re not to add to it or subtract from it. It’s not half-truths that have to be completed by our own ideas or those of others. We certainly have no right to pick which parts to accept and which parts to reject. Neither should we seek to reinterpret it to fit our views.

Reject the Bible and you don’t have a sure guide about what is right and wrong. You’re left with uncertainties and subjective opinions. That’s where much of our world and the religious community find themselves today. And in many cases, it’s not because of any supposed evidence of the Bible’s fallibility — they simply don’t like what it says. Don’t reject the guidebook God’s given you. Without it, you lose that firm foundation for your faith.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by e-mail at revtelder@aol.com.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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