Our Lord has immensely blessed me with understanding of the scriptures. Perfect understanding?? No! But marvelous understanding regarding foundational, basic truth of the doctrines of the early church. He had to first sweep my mind clean from all the errors I had long ago inherited from merely accepting what various preachers had said and taught. I, too, was of that number who ask, “How can all these people be wrong?” To accomplish this tremendous feat, God had to first place within me a ravenous appetite for reading and pondering the Word of God. I was given nothing short of the appetite of a starving giant. I could not read God’s Word enough! Five times, ten times, twenty times I read ALL the Word of God from cover to cover, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Thirty times, forty times, fifty times, AND MORE!
Simultaneously God placed within my mind the capacity to doubt! Yes, doubt. I began to question the affirmations of various well known and highly respected ministers, preachers and theologians. I realized that they often contradicted one another while they all proclaimed they obtained their beliefs solely from the Word of God and that they were “called” to preach. Yet one preached “once saved, always saved,” while another dogmatically proclaimed one can most certainly lose or forfeit their salvation! I knew both could not be right as these doctrines were polar opposites. Somebody had to be wrong – gravely and seriously wrong!
Of course, I learned long ago that most preachers are “locked in” to their present beliefs. A Baptist preacher lives and dies a Baptist preacher. A Lutheran minister lives and dies a Lutheran minister. A Roman Catholic priest – well, you can finish the sentence. One with a mind capable of incisive logic and thinking power realizes one truth immediately: Most preachers do not really PROVE the doctrines they teach and spread to others. If they did, you would often find preachers abandoning one denomination for another one as they discover their error and discern some other denomination has more truth than their own.
God answered my prayer some years ago for the capacity to have good judgment and the power to think more deeply. That’s when and WHY I abandoned the path of selfish pursuits and utterly sinful living for the path of faith and righteous conduct.
It is only human to believe you are correct and scriptural in all you believe and practice, but remember the Jehovah’s Witness across the street thinks and reasons in the same fashion. So does the Mormon next door. God have mercy on all those who fail to study the Word of God intensely and really and truly PROVE the scripturalness of their doctrines and beliefs. There are going to be a lot of stunned preachers at the judgment – a lot!!!
After telling me WHAT you believe, tell me WHY you believe it. That is where most encounter a problem. They can glibly tell you WHAT they believe, but they can’t tell you WHY they believe it other than replying, “Well, the Bible says so,” or “That’s what the Bible teaches.” Press them further for chapter and verse, and they can give you a verse here and a verse there that does seemingly support their belief or the doctrine they are sure has ample scripture support. But introduce into the investigation other chapters and verses that tend to show more light and a different slant on the topic at hand. The one with the opposing view will usually dismiss the text that reveals he, or she, may be holding to doctrinal error, or they will quote a text to knock down and nullify the text you just quoted to them, thereby pitting scripture against scripture, apostle against prophet, or an apostle against the Lord He represented.
Don’t lose heart, folks. The truth CAN be known and understood. But the door to truth is locked and the key to that door is total surrender and absolute obedience to Jesus Christ. Apart from that you will enter the door of confusion. Oh, you will find a lot of company inside that door – a lot. One will say one thing while someone else will say the very opposite, yet all the while proclaiming what they say and believe is the truth. And, yes, they will all have some truth – but a lot of error, too.
May God grant you the heart and mind, and, yes, the courage to search for the truth in the only way possible – full surrender and continued abject obedience to Jesus Christ for you see HE is the Door!
Christ’s Servant (Galatians 1:10),