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Interpretation of the Word - Don't be Dogmatic About Minor Doctrines

Excerpts from SECOND EPISTLE TO PASTORS--Romans Chapter One"--MO February 9, 1971 NO.48
Beware of Dogma

LET'S FACE IT: MOST CHRISTIANS DON'T STUDY THE BIBLE! They don't really know what it says--only what the preacher says it says, so they're all in the same boat with all the rest of the poor benighted idiots who don't search the truth out for themselves by the Spirit of God, searching the Scriptures to see if these things be so, like the Bereans, who were, therefore, more noble than the Thessalonicans, who must have swallowed everything they were told, hook, line, and sinker; without question they follow the partyline, get hooked, and are sunk, because all they can see is the bait, the sugarcoat on the poison pill! They don't think for themselves, but are like hypnotised zombies under total control of their leaders' hypnotic suggestions! They don't ask God, they don't pray about it, they don't check it with the Word, they don't measure it with the yardstick of the Scriptures, they don't weight it in the balances to find that it's wanting, they don't check it out with the Department of Weights and Measures, the Bible, to see if it's giving an honest reading! If what we tell you doesn't check with the Bible, don't believe it! It might be true, but then again, it might not! I've never asked you to believe my theories, my guesses as to what something might mean! I've only suggested what it might possibly mean, and let you decide for yourself, according to your own personal preference, when it came to something unproven or unprovable, but the absolute facts, the clear Scriptural doctrines which are so plain even a little child can understand them, such as Jesus' statement, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." (Jn.14:6)--These, we can get dogmatic about! They are unchallengeable, incontrovertible, immutable, unchangeable, and "forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in Heaven." (Ps.119:89) "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall never pass away." (Mt.24:35) It is the Bureau of Standards by which we measure all truth and all error!

Teaching Babes Theories or Facts

Our personal theories can lie somewhere in between! They are mere guess work, our own personal opinion, and you don't have to believe it! We only suggest possible and alternative interpretations for difficult passages for which we have no clear Scriptural explanation, and are found little or nowhere else in the Scripture!

On these you can take your choice. It's merely a matter of opinion, and they are usually not of any earthshaking importance, but merely minor controversial details, not worth arguing over to the subverting of the hearers! I sometimes throw them out, like a little bomb, just to wake you up and shake you up with a minor explosion, and make you think, to see if you're listening!

I knew somebody was going to pick me up--one of you technical, theological hairsplitters--on the chronology of something I said recently about our dear Brother Elijah--the one in the Bible, I mean! And, of course, our dear and excellent lawyer of the Word immediately, but gently and tactfully, took exception to it, as he should!

Thanks anyhow for being so observant. It shows you were paying attention! Frankly, I've got a lot of theories like that, but you don't have to swallow them, and I don't have to swallow yours, either! We'll just accept each other's facts, and try not to dwell too much on the theories! Babes may not be able to tell the difference, so we have to watch what we feed them, and differentiate between the two! Babes have to take whatever you give them, until they're old enough to know the difference! So let's look out what we feed them, and be sure to explain the difference between facts and fancy, truth and fiction, doctrine and theory!

I GUESS I LIKE THE SHOCK TREATMENT! I LIKE TO SHOCK PEOPLE, CHALLENGE THEM, STIR THEM UP, AROUSE THEM, AWAKEN THEM OUT OF THEIR LETHARGY, EVEN CAUSE THEM TO EXPLODE OVER SOMETHING I'VE SAID AT LEAST GET THEM TO DO SOMETHING to spur them into action one way or the other, like I said about our songs--and I've done it a lot with you! That's one reason why you're awake now; even if you didn't believe it, and it was a shock to you, you had either to try to prove it wasn't true, or find out that it was, or that you couldn't prove it wasn't!

LIKE THE TIME I DROPPED A BOMB IN A CLASS, BY ASKING THE OLD PROVERBIAL QUESTION that you've seen on some so-called Gospel tracts written by very well meaning witnesses, "Where will you spend Eternity?--Heaven, or Hell?" And then, instead of giving the usual prosaic, traditional, fundamentalist answer, which nobody had dared to question, I said, "I'm not going to spend it either place, and I hope you aren't either," and went on to try to prove from the Bible that our only Scriptural description of the place we're going to dwell with the Lord forever hereafter, is not some fanciful dreamland way off in outer space, but an even more amazing dream city that's going to come down from God, out of Heaven, to a new earth, and God's going to come down and live with us, and us with Him, in that beautiful dreamtown, described in Revelation 21 and 22! We're not going to go away to some far-away place called Heaven, where God is supposed to live, but we have a real down-to-earth God, who's going to come live with us, and make Heaven on earth, both in the Millennium and thereafter! NOBODY'S GOING TO GO TO HEAVEN, EXCEPT THOSE WHO DIE BEFORE JESUS COMES, WHO GO TO BE "WITH THE LORD" and when we go with the Lord to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb during the Wrath of God, just before we return to earth for the Millennium, when we will rule and reign with Him on the earth! We're not going to Heaven; Heaven is coming to us! This is provable, Scriptural, fact! if you don't believe it, read it.

But when I said "I'm not going to Heaven", a new babe in my class leaped to his feet and shouted, "Maybe you're not, Buddy, but I am!", and stomped out, and never even gave me a chance to prove the point! I had lit the fuse by challenging his traditional, churchy, belief, and childish fairy-story conception of some far-off place called Heaven, that the misguided preachers are always telling us about, but know nothing of, and he couldn't stand the shock of the truth! It shattered his frame of reference, his cherished traditions of men, it threatened his faith in the church and its traditional doctrines, and he tottered on the brink of the abyss of the chasm threatening his so-called faith, it left too big a hole in his nice little preconceived notions, and he hadn't enough truth to fill it, so he was terrified by the sight, exploded and walked out! At least it made him do something!--He'd sat for years in church without moving! It actually started him thinking, so much so that he later returned and apologised, and asked to know more! Hallelujah! THAT'S WHAT I LIKE--THE SHOCK TREATMENT! IT'S RISKY, BUT SOMETIMES IT GETS RESULTS--and you're one of them! JUST BE SURE IT'S THE TRUTH! BE SURE YOU'RE RIGHT, THEN GO AHEAD! GOD CAN DEFEND HIS OWN REPUTATION! AMEN!


Copyright © 1998 by The Family International

Request
James
James Arendt

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