What does the Bible say about religious authority?

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth’” (Matthew 20:18).“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the son of man” (John 5:26-27).

“For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

God, our heavenly Father, originally had all authority because He created all things, and all things belong to Him. But, as the above verses show, God gave all authority to Jesus, His Son. Then Jesus gave authority to the apostles and other Bible writers, as they were to be guided by the Holy Spirit in what they said and wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26; 16:13).

The Bible is complete and is to be our only authority in religion. Peter tells us, “According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). Thus, the Bible reveals a common salvation that has once for all been delivered to us (Jude 3). No one has the authority to change God’s word in any way by adding to it, or taking anything from it (2 John 9; Galatians 1:8-9); Revelation 22:18-19). Furthermore, it will stand forever and will be the standard by which all will be judged on the last great day (John 12:48; Matthew 12:35).
At least, to a large extent, division, and most problems in religion are because people appeal to different rules of authority. Some of these are creeds of man, one’s own conscience or feelings, convention decrees, majority rule, human head of the church, etc.

The Bible teaches that the final authority in religion is Jesus Christ and His word as revealed in our Bibles. We read, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). We are told to hear Christ and not the law of Moses and the prophets (Matthew 17:5).

Christ and His word in our Bibles is our authority and will be until His second coming (1 Corinthians 15:24). Will you accept and obey the Word of God as the authority in your life? We must not follow our feelings or anything else that is not in harmony with the scriptures.

#bible-study, #religion

The mark of the beast and love for the Lord

Nothing about the book of Revelation here; I borrow the apocalyptic phrase to note that I’ve been written up. Marked as a false teacher. Relegated to the scourge of the earth. All because of who I associate with.

Amazing it’s not happened before now. Well, there have been one or two who took potshots. But nothing as specific and detailed as the X drawn on my forehead this past week. Continue reading

#corollaries, #criticism, #good-attitude, #religion

Hardline religion

Many people enjoy a dislike of “religion.” Hence the popularity of the spiritual but not religious identity … which is often the slogan (of sorts) for the pro-Jesus, anti-church mentality.

Religion is equal to rules. Rules are equal to standards. Standards are equal to responsibilities. Responsibilities are equal to religion. Hence the exodus of many “churches” and their relationship to any perceived hint of hardline religion.

Somehow people have managed to convince themselves that a relationship with Jesus is not based on any sort of hard-line – because Jesus was anti-religion, right?

Granted, Jesus took extreme issue with the religious leaders of his earthly day (a religion, mind you, that ultimately revolved around and pointed to Jesus – Luke 24:22, Galatians 3:24), but Jesus’ issue wasn’t with religion in general – his problem was with the way they practiced their religion by blurring hard-lines created by God! (Matthew 15:1-9, Matthew 23, Mark 3:1-5, Luke 14:6, John 5:10-16) And such an issue was nothing new (Amos 8, Jeremiah 23).

So before you think being against hardline religion makes you pro-Jesus (or vice-versa), keep these teachings in mind: Continue reading

#balance, #error, #jesus, #religion

Visit means more than stopping by

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27 NKJV)

In the above verse, the word translated as “visit” (from the Greek word, ‘episkeptomai’) means much more than “stopping by” to see someone for the sake of seeing them. The idea of “stopping by” (which we may associate with the word, “visit”) is nothing close to the idea or intent the scriptures have in mind.

Episkeptomai means (according to my personal breakdown), “to inspect, examine with our eyes in order to help, benefit and look out or provide for.”

In other words, God’s intentions aren’t for us to simply visit someone who needs help to see how they’re doing, but rather to visit someone to see how we can help.

Turning a blind-eye to the problems of others may be easy, but turning a blind-eye may be due to symptoms caused by giant spiritual beams (Matthew 7:1-5) that are keeping us from seeing the things that lead to pure and undefiled religion before the eyes of God.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25 NKJV)

#greek, #personal-application, #religion

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5-8-2017 Useless “Religion”

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV). “Religion” literally means “fearing some deity,” in this case, idols. Some people are “very religious” about the “gods” of: power, sex, money, sports, themselves, or things. “Worship without knowing” the God of Heaven and Earth and the Bible is vain. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#religion, #worship

Atheistic argument proves too much

“Proving too much” is a philosophical phrase applied to an argument that seems to make a valid point until you realize the point is so broad that it is not able to remain true when the obvious is pointed out. There are variations on the exact phrasing of the definition, but the point is always the same – you prove too much and the result is you prove nothing.

I recently read an on-line article that discussed the feelings of some atheistic parents after one of their children embraced religion. As with most on-line stories there was a comment section, and as with most on-line stories involving atheism and any form of faith the comments were predictable to say the least.

Out of all the comments, one stood out to me – but it wasn’t original to the commenter. I have seen roots of the comment (which was presented as a passive argument in this case) used multiple times. And unfortunately I am sure it will continue to be used despite the fact the comment proves nothing by proving too much. In fact, the “challenge” of the comment can be logically answered with fewer words than it takes to propose the argument.

The argument under consideration is Continue reading

#atheism, #philosophy, #religion

The yeast makes a difference in the bread

Doctrine isn’t that big of a deal…so says the school of thought from which some of our “tribe-less” brothers and sisters have graduated.

The whole idea (or should I say bleached out doctrine?) isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less wrong.

When someone says that doctrine is an antiquated and useless topic, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. They might know what they’re saying, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Jesus once told his disciples to, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)

Now, what kind of bread producing substance was Jesus talking about? It was the spiritual kind: “Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:12) It’s along the same spiritual idea (only in a positive sense) that Paul had in mind when he told Timothy, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6)

You see, the yeast truly makes a difference in the bread that we spiritually eat; so don’t get sandwiched in the thought that says doctrine is a dirty word.

#bread, #doctrine, #religion

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2-12-2016 “Religion Doesn’t Matter–We’re All Going To The Same Place”

In a city “given over to idols” (Acts 17:16 NKJV), The Apostle Paul said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious” (Acts 17:22 NKJV). They were religiously wrong, not believing in Jesus Christ, Who said, “”He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NKJV). Paul preached in Ephesus to men who had been baptized in John the Baptist’s baptism: “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4-5 NKJV). They had believed in Jesus, but been baptized for the wrong reason. Everyone is not going to the same place, regardless of their religion!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #religion

Where walking with God leads to

Walking with God…I think I know someone with a blog by that name.

Anyways, despite the realities of the green grass and still waters of Psalm 23, walking with God is anything but a leisurely stroll through the park. It can very well lead to the via dolorosa.

That is why walking with God takes faith, conviction of heart, humility, devotion, self-denial and self-control.

Walking with God led to Enoch being translated into Heaven (Genesis 5:24), walking with God is what separated Noah from his generation (Genesis 6:9), and walking with God is what led to Abraham blessing his descendants (Genesis 24:40).

As a matter of fact, it’s only our walk with God that will cause us to bless others and be distinguished from this world and ultimately leave it to be with God just like Abraham, Noah and Enoch. So it’s worth our time to pay attention to how these three walked with God.

Did you walk with God yesterday? Do you plan on walking with him today?

The Bible clearly teaches where waking with God leads to, and that leaves a pretty clear picture of where standing still will get us.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:3-5)

#christian-living, #religion, #walking-with-god

We’re living in a spiritually blinded culture

We’re (and by we I mean everyone in the west, especially America) living in a spiritually blinded culture. And I didn’t say blind – I said blinded.

Now, when I say “blinded” I’m talking about a condition that leads to a rejection of one thing on the basis of it being too restrictive, and this rejection becomes detrimental to the extent that something else is accepted in its place despite the fact that the “something else” is far more (whatever the “more” may be) than what the original thing actual was.

The above is why I say that America is in a spiritual stupor that has been increasingly worsened by “liberal-minded” agendas which tout that the ways of Christianity are oppressive to women, that Christianity is too narrow in scope of spiritual freedom, that Christianity should not be promoted in any way within any levels of the public education system, and that Christianity is a scourge to any culture that seeks to broaden its “enlightened” ways of life.

To all of that I would say two things, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…and it’s on its way out” and “There are none so blind as those who will not see”.

True righteousness has been rejected throughout all levels of American government for a plurality of immoral reasons. But, regardless of the reason, when a nation, any nation, has seen the light of God’s righteousness but, in spite or in apathy, still decides to determine what their own standard of righteousness will be, then blindness to God’s true light follows. No exceptions! For there truly is a difference in being blind and being blinded (John 9:40-41, 12:37-41).

For an example (one amongst the many that purvey the headlines every day) of the totality of what I’m saying here, all you have to do is look at what recently happened at Continue reading

#american-culture, #news, #religion, #spiritual-blindness

My religion is bad

Yes, my religion can be bad. The word religion is used negatively in the New Testament for what doesn’t please God. So when is my religion bad? Continue reading

#godliness, #piety, #religion

Why I love the gospel according to John

I love the gospel according to John. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything remotely negative about the synoptics; but John’s gospel is raw truth for a spiritually cooked world.

John set the religious world straight in the first-century when it came to who Jesus was, and it’s something that his letter still does to this day. It amazes me how the succinctness of his writings on the only begotten Son of God, who came to be the sinless Lamb of God, can correct pages, and even centuries, of religious error and confusion in only one, two or three verses.

For example, I read a comment the other day that tried to paint Jesus as someone who sinned because he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Their line of thought was that since God cannot be tempted to do evil, and Jesus was tempted to do evil in various ways while in the wilderness, it must therefore mean that Jesus was not God-in-the-flesh due to his temptation, and that Jesus actually sinned by being tempted in-and-of-itself. Besides the fact that Hebrews 4:14-16 teaches that Jesus was tempted, without actually giving into those weaknesses and sinning himself in order that he might be our compassionate high-priest who is able to identify with the weaknesses that we struggle with, thanks to John’s gospel we know that it was Jesus himself who challenged his accusers (people who were angry that Jesus claimed that God was his father) to convict him of sin if they could (John 8:46). It was a challenge that went unanswered! All it takes is one verse from John’s gospel to settle whether or not Jesus was a sinner and capable of being offered for our sin as the sinless Lamb of God.

I also saw another comment/article the other day that tried to disprove the Deity of Jesus based upon an observation that presented several scriptures that refer to God as the sole creator of the universe, the earth and everything that is contained within each of them. To further their point, they even referred to the scriptures where Jesus himself made reference to God as the creator of man and woman in the beginning without making any reference to himself. These points would be fine and well if it weren’t for what the rest of the scriptures teach on the subject. Case in point, there’s a couple of verses in John’s gospel that just so happen to mention that Jesus (the Word) was at the beginning and that nothing that was made without him (John 1:1-3). So again, all it takes is a couple of verses from John’s gospel to settle the issue.

John’s gospel was written for a time when a lot of people were questioning just who Jesus was…a time that’s a lot like today, and that’s why I love his letter that teaches people about the good news of Jesus Christ!

This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” (John 21:24-25)

#gospel-according-to-john, #jesus, #religion, #settling-questions-about-jesus

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1-27-2015           Useless “Religion”

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV). “Religion” literally means “fearing some deity,” in this case, idols. Some people are “very religious” about the “gods” of: power, sex, money, sports, themselves, or things. “Worship without knowing” the God of Heaven and Earth and the Bible is vain. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#gods, #idols, #religion, #useless

If everything came into existence by chance and…

If everything came into existence by chance and natural processes, then mankind has no responsibility to a supernatural being. Religion becomes a crutch for weak-minded and superstitious people. Churches become monuments to human ignorance. Furthermore, if evolution is true, then our actions are consequences of billions of years’ worth of natural events over which we had no control. We bear no responsibility for our behavior. Whether we do what some perceive as good or bad is meaningless, since there is no good or bad. That is the logical extension of Darwin’s theory. It is one I can live without. This is Just-A-Minute.

#darwin, #evolution, #just-a-minute, #religion

What an atheist did answer, then me

QUESTION: If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

AN ATHEIST’S actual answer: Societies are people. People develop theories and create concepts. The existence of religion merely proves the existence of people. The various concepts of god(s) and the great number of different religions no more provide evidence for the existence of multiple gods than they do so for even one.

A CHRISTIAN (me) answer: This answer is pretty much accurate. The debate on God’s existence must have a different starting place than a society’s religion, or many societies having a religious community. There might be some warrant to asking why the religion exists, but the answer will have to travel further into the depths of the foundation than mere existence of a community idea.

#gods-existence, #religion, #society