A Question Of Authority

Jim Hiser

In the September 2005 issue of Newsweek magazine, a large portion of the letters to the editor of the magazine dealt with the cover story of the August 2005 issue titled "Spirituality in America." One letter, in part, read as follows: "While reading the articles, I kept thinking that because there are so many diverse religious beliefs, it isn't possible (emphasis JMH) for there to be one 'true religion.' There cannot be one right way to worship or one correct set of beliefs. Therefore, the only false belief is the one that denies other people to worship as they wish."

The above statement is evidence that the Humanist philosophy has achieved its aim: that is, to convince us that man is the highest authority to whom we must answer. The person writing to the editor of the magazine based his conclusion on the result of his own reasoning, and that is the only authority to which he wants to answer. Sadly, that writer is not the only one to follow such logic. Multitudes give no thought to the authority of the Scriptures, nor are they likely to submit to the authority of the Word of God.

Long ago, Jeremiah said in his prophecy (10:23 NKJV), "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." Also, Solomon said, "There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but its end is the way of death," (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Back as far as the garden of Eden, Satan has tried to plant the thought in the mind of man that he could possess the ability to be like God "knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5). While we can know right from wrong, good from evil, we cannot possess the knowledge or wisdom of God; nor can we presume to be on an equal plane with the intelligence of God.

No less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself declared, "... All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth;" (Matthew 28:18). Also, Peter declared, "... angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him." (Christ) Brethren, if we question the authoritative directions of Christ, "To whom shall we turn?" Certainly not to ourselves. Certainly not to the "wisdom" of man. Certainly not to Satan. All of these will cause us to fall, and how great will be that fall!

The Apostle Paul spent much time and effort in declaring the oneness of the body, the church. There can be no "unity in diversity!" The prophet Amos asked, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (3:3). Years ago there was a country/religious song with a refrain that said, "You go to your church - and I'll go to mine, but let's walk along together." That is like trying to hold hands and walk in two different directions!

Jude exhorted Christians to, "... contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3). Of a surety, there can be - and there is - one true religion, and one right way to worship. The Word of God declares that such is the case. The task before us is clear and fraught with difficulties. We must "Preach the word! be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching." -5636 Cherrywood Dr., Lorain, OH 44053.


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