For years, there were several things that really puzzled me.  I was reared in a church where they practiced “externalism”.  I prefer not to use the term “legalism” since the majority of the time it is used in error with intent to slander.  The true definition of legalism is found in Galatians.  When I was a teenager, this emphasis on the outward man as a primary teaching drove me away from Christ.  Later, as a young man in the ministry, I noticed that far too many of my peers were caught in this web.  It was only when I understood the biblical view of holiness that I was able to see the flaws in this kind of teaching.

Throughout my fifty- two years of ministry, many of my peers have left this culture of externalism, but have moved far to the left with a flawed view of grace.  The “anything goes” theology that they adopted meant that they were simply moving from one extreme of the flesh to another.  We all know that depending upon the flesh is little different from feeding upon it.  This extreme view of grace is merely an excuse to let the flesh have whatever it wants.  Why was it that some of our friends on their journey away from externalism, did not stop at a biblical view of holiness?

The answer to this question has become very clear.  It was ignorance of the scripture that held them captive in externalism, and it was ignorance of scripture that sped them into a system as awful – if not worse – than externalism.  They simply went from law on the right to law on the left.  I do not mean that my friends do not know about the Bible; of course they do.  On the other hand, though, I am absolutely sure they do not know the Bible.  There is a world of difference.  Those in both extreme camps were ignorant of a theology that is biblical; they simply went from ignorance to error.

PARALYZED IN ERROR

With the passing years, I have come to understand why it is that my beloved brothers and sisters have remained linked to organizations, fellowships, missions, and schools that have turned their backs on theology that is biblical: they simply don’t know what is going on and so have blindly followed those leaders who themselves are blind to truth. Ignorance covers a lot of error.  The problem is that now those same people are being led into groups on the left who have tolerated heresy for some time.  My friends are being carried by winds of false doctrine, paralyzed by error, and they don’t even know it!

Young men in particular, but gray heads as well, have become enamored with carnal minds and have not stopped to ask the scriptures for the truth.  Today, scholars, intellectuals, form, and degrees have become the authority.  That can mean only one thing – those who use them as an authority have probably turned from the text. Hence the mad rush to the left, giving credence to error.

In a recent interview with a “respected” scientist, he was heard to state that the view of a young earth is “ridiculous”.  This statement was made by a scholar who supports the Big Bang theory, the most ridiculous cruel joke of the age!  In our world today, however, the desire of so many is to look intellectual and to compromise scripture.  Consider, for instance, the day-age theory and all the other nonsense formulated by people who only know about the Bible.

AT THE HEART OF IT ALL

As is so often the case, there is a common thread in this journey from right to left.  What I know now is that the hermeneutic that produced the flawed view of externalism is the same hermeneutic that produced the opposite extreme.  That is the reason people are so numb about error and also why hardly anyone snaps to attention when error is taught in the pulpit and the classroom.  It is also why mind-numbed “worshipers” today can sing lies, offending a holy God as they bob, weave, smile, applaud, and yell.

All of this is true because so many people only know about the Bible.  They know about Bible stories and favorite proof texts, but have no idea what God is teaching in those texts.  The end result is that the Bible ignorance that leads to error is rampant in our churches – both in the pew and in the pulpit.  God wants us to know what He has given us in holy writ.  He wants us to know the sovereign creator who loved us so much that He sent His son to the cross.  We should not be satisfied with just knowing “about” this blessed book.

Have you ever asked why it seems that so few people in our circles today are really being born again?  Would you dare to ask why there is so little of the moving of the Holy Spirit?  Please don’t tell me about all those huge churches full of unsaved people.  The answer is in the Book, but you can get the answer only when you take it from the text instead of putting it into the text, like the scholars do.

BREAKING THE CHAIN OF ERROR

There is only one biblical hermeneutic, or system of interpretation.  The minute that is left behind, all you have left is “private interpretation”.  If we center our teaching on knowing the scripture rather than just knowing about it, our lives, our churches, and the world around us will change and, as Luther said, “We might have more Christians”.  The intellectuals have invented a plethora of hermeneutical “systems”, and they all end in the same place, with human reason.  Every error of interpretation ever invented had to rise from a flawed hermeneutic; and that is why my beloved peers missed it and went right on by.  Before I leave, remember…this ministry is about making people think.

 

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