Why extra-biblical resources for spiritual authority are so frustrating

Last week I posted an article called “Jesus is THE prophet of God” on Keltonburg Preacher and I received a comment that questioned the reliability of such a statement and belief. By doing so the comment revealed why extra-biblical resources for spiritual authority are so frustrating. How’s that? Let me show you how by dropping you in midstream of the conversation.

The reply to my article:

“Well, i’m a Christian and I believe Jesus to be the Son of God, not a prophet”

My reply:

“…Now as to whether or not Jesus was a (and more importantly “the”) prophet of God consider a few things:

1) Jesus claimed to be speaking for and by God in numerous places throughout the scriptures, one of which is – “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50)

2) The Father said all should hear/listen to Jesus, thus making him a speaker/prophet of God’s will – “Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:4-5)

3) The scriptures teach that Jesus spoke words that revealed God’s final will for mankind in a way that was above all the other prophets of the past – “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, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

3) Moses said that God would raise up a prophet comparable to him (see the Deuteronomy reference give in the article), and Jesus was the prophet that Moses prophesied about: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”” (John 5:45-47). The people in John 6 had the wrong attitude about Jesus, but they were correct when they said, “And when the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, Truly, this is the prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14). And Luke 24:19 captures these heart felt words spoken by some of Jesus’ disciples on the road to Emmaus – “So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,“.

4) And don’t forget what Jesus said about himself when the people in his home region belittled him – “So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)

When I say that Jesus is the prophet of God, I’m not saying that Jesus “was only a prophet” of God and nothing more; I’m saying that his words, as the prophesied prophet, carried with them then, and they continue to do so today, a weight that no other speaker of God carries – “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)

God’s people were looking for the coming prophet of God, and that prophet was Jesus.

Does that help to clear up what I was saying?”

The reply:

“Well, I don’t fully believe that what you are saying is true. I mean, Jesus Christ was sent to save all of mankind. He wasn’t a prophet however, a prophet is ‘a person who has been called by and speaks for God’ and yes you can say that Jesus did this but I don’t think he was a prophet like Abraham and Moses were. He has a more divine role. A vital part of Christ’s work on earth was to set up his church; The Church of Jesus Christ and with doing that he had a particular structure of leadership within. For example he needed a prophet, apostles, evangelists, teachers, pastors and so forth (Ephesians 4:11). So, I don’t think he was a prophet as well. How could He talk about Himself? Surely He’d appoint other people as prophets and apostles to witness of Him. And anyway, it’s God who calls a prophet. Here’s more about what I believe 🙂 http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/jesus-christ”

My reply:

“Jesus called himself a prophet (Matthew 13:57) and both Peter and Stephen said that Jesus was the prophet that Moses prophesied about (Acts 3:19-24 and 7:37).

To say that Jesus was the prophet of God is to say only what the Bible says about him and to say otherwise is simply not true. Stick with the Bible and allow your understanding of Jesus to come from it and it alone and you’ll be able to see the truth about Jesus….”

Do you see the frustration? Instead of simply taking what the Bible says about Jesus for what the Bible says about Jesus the person wanted to shift the conversation to what a denomination believes based upon what their own book says…a book that falsely claims to be “another testament” of Jesus. And sadly this is a theme that gets repeated over and over in the religious world with conversations that get shifted to creeds, catechisms and whatever other book that can be found that’s written upon a foundation of chopped up scriptures. This is why extra-biblical resources for spiritual authority are so frustrating, and this why the churches of Christ still make a plea for religious unity based upon what the Bible, and the Bible alone, says on religious matters.

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)