Covering all the bases


by Michael E. Brooks

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10 NKJV).

The children who are raised on the Khulna Bible College campus are regularly exposed to multiple languages. Most of the time Bengali is used by the staff and students.

Some, however, are members of ethnic groups with their own languages and culture, and in the home, or to others of the same group, those languages are spoken. When Americans are here English is used some of the time.

One little boy about 2 years old struggled with keeping all those tongues distinct. Bengali has two common words for water – jal and pani. For a while Abishai would ask when thirsty, “Give me jal pani water.”

There are times when it is good practice to make certain, to cover all possible bases. In our desire to serve God acceptably that is a good policy. Peter called it, to “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

That was the approach that sincere men took two hundred years or more ago as they sought to rid their churches of division. They determined to abandon any doctrine or practice for which they could not find conclusive authority in Scripture. “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent” was not just a clever motto; it became a philosophy of life.

For more than a century it was common to hear their spiritual descendants demand, “Give the book, the chapter, and the verse.” Sermons and discussions were filled with Bible references. Bibles were worn out by study, not molded and yellowed on the shelf.

Sadly that is often not the case today. Congregations are divided and movements begun over human innovations, desires, and doctrines. Scripture is ignored or explained away by some “New Hermeneutic.” Popular opinion, majority preference, or common logic are appealed to as authority.

But those things are fickle and ever changing. What is politically (or religiously) correct today by those standards will be gone and forgotten in another generation. There can be no certainty, only opinion and preference if that path is chosen.

Only God and his word are eternal and unchanging.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:31).

God is incapable of lying (Titus 1:2), and does not change.

“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good (Numbers 23:19)?

What God revealed in the first century remains his will today. What the church was commanded to do is still its mission today. The instructions of Jesus which guided Christian life in his days continue to be our guide and rule today.

We continue to need the fulfillment of the second element of the great commission:

“Teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus’ teaching is never dated or obsolete. It is as true and relevant today as when he gave it. And it is just as authoritative (Matthew 7:29).

For everything which we as Christians should do, there is indeed a book, a chapter and a verse. They are in the Bible, and only there. Let us return to them and be certain.

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