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Do you view the Bible as the real authority in your life? Do you feel it was directly inspired by God, or do you think of it as just a good book with "wise sayings"? Coming to understand and to LIVE the right answer to these questions is a major KEY to attaining eternal life.
Millions "profess Christ." But in poll after poll, these professing Christians freely admit that they do not really study the Bible. In fact, scarcely more than one-third of Americans can even name the four Gospels—let alone understand what they say.
What about you?
Most of you are probably professing Christians. But do you study the Instruction Manual for all true Christians—the Holy Bible? And what is your real attitude toward the Bible? Do you view the Bible as the real authority in your life? Do you feel it was directly inspired by God, or do you think of it as just a good book with "wise sayings"?
Coming to understand and to LIVE the right answer to these questions is a major KEY to attaining eternal life.
Without the Bible as their authority, men and women everywhere feel "free" to make up their own rules and religions as they go along. In past generations, some Roman Catholic leaders felt "free" to torture and burn nonconformists. Many Protestant Puritans felt free to burn those they labeled "witches." And without the guidance of God's Word, the Nazis felt free to torture and finally exterminate millions of Jews and others they called "undesirables"—even during the lifetimes of many of you reading this article!
And, of course, in a society cut off from the understanding and authority of God's Word, men and women feel "free" to commit adultery and practice homosexuality, transvestism and even bestiality—doing virtually anything that "feels good." If their sexual "freedom" brings unintended consequences, they do not hesitate to destroy the human life growing inside the mother's womb. They offer clever reasonings and "catch phrases" to make these abominable practices seem correct. They say: "A woman has the right to control her own body."
Yes. But what about "controlling" her emotions and her body so that she does not become pregnant outside of marriage? And if she becomes pregnant in marriage, it should be done in a "controlled" manner so that she is RESPONSIBLE for the OTHER human life within her body.
What about the countless millions of young people deprived of parents through the tragedy of divorce? Should people feel "free" to divorce for any reason, as so many do today? Jesus Christ clearly said: "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 5:32).
I can hear many people saying right now: "I think that is too strong! I don't agree with that!" Or they may say: "Jesus said that 2,000 years ago, so it doesn't apply today." This is the kind of reasoning even millions of professing Christians use to get around scores of plain and clear biblical teachings.
Again, what is YOUR attitude toward the Bible?
Jesus Christ, the originator and founder of true Christianity, said: "IF you want to enter into life, KEEP the COMMANDMENTS!" (Matthew 19:17). Even after His death and resurrection—after everything that was "nailed to the cross" was nailed there—Christ commanded His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…. teaching them to observe ALL THINGS that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Was the Son of God "misleading" His own disciples with these final instructions? Was He "confused" when He told them to "keep the Commandments" and then went on to name some of the Ten Commandments? Did Jesus not realize that Protestant ministers would later say that His Apostle Paul had DONE AWAY with the need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is going on here?
The plain Truth is that—under the influence of Satan the Devil (Revelation12:9)—mankind RESENTS the idea of a real and authoritative GOD. Humanity does not want a "real" God who has power and authority over their lives! As the Apostle Paul was inspired to write: "the carnal mind is ENMITY against God; for it is not subject to the LAW of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).
Did you catch that? It is the spiritual LAW of God—the Ten Commandments—to which the carnal mind feels resentment or is "hostile" toward—as some translators render this passage of Scripture. The carnal mind resents the idea of a CREATOR GOD who has authority to tell it what to do! Most human beings RESENT the idea of a Higher Power telling them what to do!
Very well known and respected in his day as a writer and philosopher, English author Aldous Huxley admitted this basic hostility against a Higher Power which he and his fellow writers and the "intelligentsia" generally held: "For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our SEXUAL FREEDOM… There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: We could deny that the world had ANY MEANING whatsoever" (Ends and Means, p. 270; emphasis ours).
At least Huxley was honest. He admitted that the intellectuals of his day—just as in our day—do not like the idea of a Higher Power telling them what to do. Acknowledging the God of the Bible would interfere with their philosophical reasonings about fornication, adultery and the various sexual perversions these "thinkers" like to promote.
Do you—in your heart of hearts—believe in the real GOD of creation who has the AUTHORITY to tell you what to do? Or do you have a sort of "hip pocket god" to whom you can refer when convenient? Eventually you must face this question honestly! For, again, a correct understanding of this topic is vital to you ever coming into a genuine relationship with the true God—the CREATOR God—who gives you life and breath and who will give you eternal life IF you will surrender your life to obey Him and serve Him in the WAY He tells you to do!
Perhaps the most basic teaching in ALL of Christianity is Jesus Christ's instruction: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD of God" (Luke 4:4). If you call yourself "Christian" but do not accept the authority of the inspired Word of God, you may feel free to "make up your own religion" as you go along. Regrettably, this latter approach is precisely what MILLIONS of professing Christians are doing right now!
This attitude is why Jesus Himself warned us: "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). And again: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
God Himself tells us through His servant Paul: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Notice that religious doctrine or teaching ought to come from inspired SCRIPTURE—not from the confused and often contradictory reasonings of modern theologians or philosophers, who generally REFUSE to acknowledge the Bible as their sole and SUPREME authority.
In generations past, many men and women at least professed toward the Bible a reverence seldom found today. The publishers of a well-known religious journal, Banner of Truth, felt compelled to republish a solemn warning from Bishop J.C. Ryle's 1890 classic, Light From Old Times. Here is that warning:
"While we sleep, an onslaught is being mounted against us, an onslaught which the Protestant churches of our land were never less ready to sustain. Anglican and Nonconformist leaders alike have thrown away the only weapon that could defend us—'the sword of the Spirit', the Infallible Word of God. The Word of God alone, the grace of God alone, the power of the Spirit alone, these were the watch cries which prevailed four hundred years ago. They are not the watch cries of our Protestant pulpits today."
Our generation basically REJECTS this approach to the Bible. This rejection is leading to a degree of religious CHAOS never experienced before. On this cynical, rebellious, God-rejecting generation will fall the Great Tribulation which Jesus Christ predicted: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).
So what about YOU?
Are you willing to prove to yourself and accept the AUTHORITY of the Bible? This is certainly something you can do IF you really want to. Two vital sources of information on this topic are our booklet The Real God: Proofs and Promises and our Tomorrow's World Bible Study Course. Both will give you very specific information regarding actual PROOF of a real God and of the Holy Bible as His inspired Word.
But you must be willing to face the fact that mainstream Christianity has REJECTED the Bible as its sole authority! One mainline denomination has been described as "an institution in free fall… with nothing to hold on to… no shared belief, no common assumptions, no agreed bottom line, no accepted definition" of what it means to belong to that church (The Empty Church, Reeves, 1996, p. 10). A chaplain in this denomination has declared that he "is not in the business of dispensing dogmatic answers about anything" (Ibid., p. 24). Once you truly understand this FACT and realize how WRONG this rejection of God's Word actually is, then perhaps you will be willing to honestly and conscientiously start facing the issue of REALLY looking to God and the Bible as the Supreme Authority in your life.
With tears in his eyes, the Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian elders about a great falling away which would occur after his death: "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears" (Acts 20:29-31).
Then, near the end of his life, Paul wrote the evangelist Timothy: "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
When ministers and religious leaders quit basing their teachings honestly and directly on the Bible, they have indeed turned aside to "fables"—as Paul warned. IF our American, Canadian and British ministers had been faithfully and forcefully teaching the pure Word of God, then a whole range of modern problems in the family and in society would NEVER have become as serious as they now are. The stability of marriage and the family would be inestimably stronger if people had been taught the absolutely BINDING quality of marriage. The once-again-growing juvenile crime rate would not even begin to be what it is if strong families were the rule throughout our nations. Teenage use of illicit drugs would not even approach its present level, nor would teenage suicide and a host of other problems.
The vast majority of today's priests and ministers scrupulously avoid the subject of homosexuality. Yet IF they would do what the Apostle Paul commanded and "preach the Word," they would regularly and consistently teach that the ONLY correct use of sex is between a man and woman within the bounds of holy matrimony. They would proclaim God's judgment on this sin—that God made one man and one woman for each other and that His Word labels sexual relations between two men an ABOMINATION. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
Do you really think that modern priests and ministers are somehow "unable" to read, or that they somehow have not read or do not understand the Bible's clear instruction that homosexuality is sinful and wrong?
For those who believe that only the New Testament is the Word of God, the Apostle Paul is also very specific regarding homosexuality. Remember, the Bible was inspired of God to be the AUTHORITY in all of our lives. Here is what Paul said about the arrogant and often intellectual homosexuals of his day: "For this reason God gave them up to VILE passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Romans 1:26-28).
And in verse 32, Paul summarizes God's judgment on the sin of homosexuality itself, and on the licentious attitude that tolerates it and ignores "the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of DEATH, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." So if people are in any way interested in doing what the Bible actually says, you would think that they would abhor homosexuality since it is directly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments as an "abomination" and as "vile." Paul states plainly in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that those who practice this sin will not inherit God's kingdom.
Yet more and more mainstream churches are not only condoning this practice but even allowing those individuals to be ordained as MINISTERS in some cases! Can you imagine a belief or practice more DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSITE everything proclaimed in the Word of God?
So how DARE these ministers and churches say they are preaching or teaching "the Word of God"? They say that! And somehow, because the professing Christians of the western world are mainly biblical illiterates, these false ministers get away with it, for most people do NOT really study the Bible or in any way understand it. They read little bits and pieces of "inspirational" passages in the Bible—and very little else. They do NOT get down on their knees and beseech God for genuine UNDERSTANDING, and they do not ask God for the faith and COURAGE to do what He says NO MATTER what the result may be. They have not learned to put their total faith and trust in the God of Creation. He is the INVISIBLE God and they do not really know Him or understand Him—even though they call themselves "Christian."
For those of you whom He is calling, I beseech you in His name to open your minds and hearts to begin to SEEK the true God and to be willing to DO what He says. For your own sake, and the sake of your eternal life, I hope you will genuinely ask God for understanding and begin to STUDY the Bible in a focused and consistent manner.
In this article I have only begun to skim the surface of the scores of direct contradictions between "mainstream" Christianity and what the Bible says. These are not "vague" contradictions or marginal truths we are talking about; they involve understanding—or MIS-understanding—the very PURPOSE of life and the LAWS of life. May God help you to be willing to PROVE to yourself the existence of God and the inspiration of His Word. Learn to truly study the articles in this magazine issue by issue. Please request your free copy of our booklet The Real God: Proofs and Promises, and enroll in the Tomorrow's World Bible Study Course. If you will remain on this course and actually STUDY the lessons—proving each point, looking up each scripture in the Bible and checking it out—then you will come to a depth of UNDERSTANDING in TRUTH you have never before attained. All the literature from this Work is absolutely FREE upon your request, so please call or write the office nearest you (listed on page 2 of this magazine), or place your order at our Web site, www.tomorrowsworld.org.
As our English-speaking nations continue to be brought down through the prophetic events specifically described by God and His Word, may He help you to WAKE UP and act before it is too late. God's prophecies are surely moving ahead, and He is giving each of you a distinct warning to act now while you have the opportunity to genuinely prove these things to yourself.