Monday, July 29, 2013

Whose Book Is It?

By Ty Nichol
    One general perception of the Bible is that the Bible is merely useful for moral guidelines and for minimizing emotional and ethical damage in life.  That perception is similar to that of an auto manual.  “If we want to keep the car running, we’ll eventually need to refer to the operation and maintenance actions.”  This kind of perception continues to be perpetuated.
     While there are different kinds and models of automobiles, they all possess a brake, a gas pedal, a steering wheel, etc.  Biblical truths have been reduced to commonalities also.  While there are many different convictions, styles and practices of worship, generally all Bible believing people profess a belief in Jesus.  The differing, though, is so pervasive it defines the culture we live in.  Differing is the norm.
     One community of believers makes a certain profession: “We baptize by immersion (as opposed to sprinkling or pouring) because we believe it most closely fulfills the biblical form.  The term ‘baptize’ literally means to immerse or plunge.”  This community of believers grasps the concept of what the word baptize means.  They understand that to baptize a person, that person must undergo an immersion or plunge in order to fulfill the biblical form (which they refer to as a burial, found in Romans 6:1-4).  They insist that they will not perform baptism in a different way.  This group also claims that “while the immersion mode best illustrates the work of Christ, the Bible does not mandate how much water should be used.”  Perhaps if they listened to what they just explained as biblical practice, they would know that the Bible provided an answer to the question of “how much water should be used?”  How much water is necessary to immerse?  They also mention, “We will not argue with those who believe they have a valid baptism in another form.”  While this statement might convey a non-confrontational spirit, it also denies the biblical authority and belief they just attempted to establish.  They insist that the Bible teaches one way, but will accept “other forms.”
     Continuing to stress the importance of baptism and the necessity of being baptized as soon as possible, this community decides that there will only be two dates per year available for people wanting to enter the water.
     It is apparent that the group referred to above recognizes that people have differing views of the Bible and that they anticipate people joining their worship community with a diversity of beliefs.  The question then needs to be asked, why make any profession of beliefs at all? If certain biblical beliefs can be compromised, why convey a firm stance regarding any? Why purpose to teach one way while expected to accept many ways? Maybe the vacillating is part of the reason some reduce the Bible to being merely a set of morals and a chicken-soup-for-the-soul.
     The Bible states that God is not an author of confusion.  The Bible is God’s book…or is that a matter of concession also?                                                                                           

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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