“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
“And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll” (Revelation 22:19).
Recently I read the Statements of Faith from each of the churches I have attended in my life to see how they defined the Bible. Every one, and I attended many different denominations, included one or several of the words inerrant, infallible, inspired or authoritative in their Statement. One Statement of Faith even stated that if something isn’t in Scripture, it cannot be part of the faith. My question: “Why, if the Scriptures are inerrant, infallible, and inspired, does the church observe doctrines that aren’t in Scripture and discourage those that are?”
Infallible: incapable of making mistakes or being wrong
Inerrant: incapable of being wrong
Inspired: of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creativity
Authoritative: best of its kind, unable to be improved upon
According to the definitions of these words, each Statement of Faith claims that the Bible is incapable of having mistakes, being wrong or being improved upon. They are stating that the Bible is always right, not subject to being changed because somewhere, at some time, someone made an inspirational mistake.
Note: Yeshua and his Father are ‘one,’ not ‘two’ different voices in Scripture. Yeshua is the Word of God revealed in the flesh of a man. Their Words cannot be divided into two divisions with the idea that God said one thing in the Old Testament while Jesus said something different in the New. They are One voice speaking together in both testaments (John 1:1-2, 14, John 10:30).
Advent Lutheran Church
“Our congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.”
I grew up attending this liturgical-based church which at the time was the Lutheran Church in America. It is now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is where I learned about God and received my first Bible. I was a faithful attendee and never missed any service or activity with my family. I did not; however, learn about having a personal relationship with Jesus in this church. I did learn how to have a relationship with church. Though I was given a Bible in third grade, I never took it with me nor was I encouraged to open it. This is not to say that I didn’t read my Bible as a child, I did. I just never read it in church.
Church of the Brethren
“The central emphasis of the Brethren is not a creed, but a commitment to follow Jesus in simple obedience, to be faithful disciples in the modern world. We hold the New Testament as our guidebook for living, affirming with it the need for lifelong study of the Scriptures.”
A Brethren church is Anabaptist in doctrine, similar to the Amish and Mennonite faiths. I attended this church only for a few short months as my parents took a break from the Lutheran church due to issues about how the church should spend money. This was the only church in my youth where I actually opened my Bible. My Sunday school teacher gave me a verse to read to my fifth grade class. It was an Old Testament Scripture that has led to my lifelong study of the Word:
“The grass dries up, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
“The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.”
I attended this church soon after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It was evangelical in scope, met in a movie theater, and the pastor had serious concerns about psychology being taught in the church. In this church, I learned the difference between a humanistic world view and a Biblical one. It was in this church that I first raised my hands in worship and called myself a ‘born again Christian.’ This pastor also took a stand against living together, and marriage between a believer and unbeliever. This convicted me as I lived with my future husband and he was, at that time, not a believer.
Little Church in the Pines
When I attended Little Church in the Pines, the pastor was from a Mennonite Anabaptist background. Here is a link to their entire position on the Bible since it is quite involved: http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/just4you/jfy277.html
This is the church where I was married. My husband and I attended services for about two years. I don’t remember reading the Bible in church, but it had wonderful fellowship and I made lifelong friendships within the community of believers. It was in this church that I was first introduced to Hebraic dancing and my heart for the Jewish people began to take root. This church [building] has now become an historic monument to the mining days in the foothills outside of Boulder, Colorado. It is considered a spiritual center where anyone can meet and follow whatever spiritual direction they choose. It no longer has a Statement of Faith.
Rocky Mountain Christian Fellowship
“We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God, inerrant in the original writings” (Psalm 19:7, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21).
My husband and I went to this church with our two young children for five years. We had excellent New Testament teaching that gave us a solid apostolic foundation. We were taught that we needed to obey the commands of God, but then were given vague ideas to what that obedience looked like. When I asked the pastor how we are to look different from the world, he responded, “All we need is Jesus.” I knew there was more than ‘Jesus’ in my Bible. According to John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I knew there was a Father that I needed to know more intimately, and there had to be ways to express it.
When my husband and I began to seriously study the Scriptures for ourselves in order to ‘build on Jesus,’ we quickly learned such building was discouraged from anything that remotely looked different from New Testament theology. Any form of worship apart from what was considered acceptable ‘non-denominational’ was also discouraged. A small dance group that had begun and brought much-needed fellowship was challenged every week until it disbanded.
It was during these years that my husband and I attended a concert at Roeh Israel in Denver. ‘In the twinkling of an eye,’ the moment we entered the sanctuary, our spiritual lives and walks changed forever. Many questions I had about the Bible from childhood were answered as I watched Jews and gentiles worshiping Jesus together. We continued visiting Roeh Israel when possible, and the Messianic Jewish pastors connected the dots between Old Testament prophecy, the Messiah of Israel, and the Jewish people in an authentic New Testament way.
Church of the Nazarene
“We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrant revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith” (Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We attended this church for three months. During this time I had a molar pregnancy and the pastor’s wife, who was a nurse, was very encouraging while I was in the hospital. I do not remember any Scripture I was taught in this church as I was sick most of the time. I do know they were not afraid of all 66 books of the Bible because I was invited to teach Hebraic dancing to the children at their Vacation Bible School.
Dayspring Christian Fellowship
We attended this elder-directed church for a couple of years while it searched for a pastor. During these two years, I made the communion bread. While kneading it every week, I prayed that they would find a Messianic Jew to fill the position. A Jewish man was eventually chosen from several possibilities, and soon after, they began to celebrate Passover. Dayspring is no longer a church, but is a school that provides counseling services. I’m sure they believed in the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God when we attended; however, one of the elders made it very clear to me and my husband that God doesn’t care about The Ten Commandments while another one challenged our ‘legalistic’ views of Sabbath and the Biblical Holy Days. The Messianic Jewish man who began as pastor of this church started Cornerstone of Boulder (aka Rosh Pinah b’Boulder), a congregation that is Messianic in vision.
“We believe that the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired work. It is without error in all its teachings. As Christians we must submit to its divine authority, both as individuals and as a corporate body.”
When God told us our ‘mission’ was complete at Dayspring, we spent a short time in this church where the people were very loving; however, they struggled with solid Biblical leadership. An “all you need is love’” Beatles doctrine combined with some camouflaged catholicism allowed sin to run rampant. At times there were blatant teachings that went against the Bible, but were justified with the worldview of ‘tolerance.’ Rather than being transformed by the Word, the Word was transformed to allow sinful immoral lifestyles to flourish, even among the leadership.
Way, Truth, Life, Fellowship
We attended this church for nine months. This was the closest example to a Biblical gathering that we had ever encountered. The pastor had willingly, at the cost of membership, put aside many church traditions for teaching Biblical truth along with the Feasts of the LORD. This church did not have a Statement of Faith per se, but used Acts 2:42 as their foundation, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread.”
The Old Testament was taught along with the New revealing numerous ‘shadows’ of Yeshua’s past, present, and future work. There was a healthy view of obedience to the ‘law,’ and the dietary commands were followed during the weekly shared meal time. After table fellowship, the pastor had a question and answer time that offered many opportunities to ask questions and receive sound Biblical answers. He was the first pastor who, along with his wife, encouraged me to wear my head covering all the time.
Assemblies of God
“The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”
We attended this church for only a few months. Speaking in tongues was more important than speaking forth the written Word of God. Eventually the pastor sent me a letter about some discipleship I was doing with another woman. He called me a ‘heretic’ and asked that I never step foot in his church again. The ‘heresy’ was something that actually came from the New Testament; he just didn’t like that the woman was being challenged and changed.
“We believe the Bible is God-inspired” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
We attended this church for a very short time. After the pastor met with us so we could explain our view of Sabbath, he began calling Sunday the Sabbath in the services. God will not be mocked. We could not accept this duplicity so we made our final and last cut from the institutional church. We have never attended another ‘Bible believing church’ for it became apparent that each Statement of Faith contradicted how it actually lived out those beliefs.
We came to understand that revival comes first to the hearts of those who read the commands of God, repent from disobedience, and begin to obey by faith. It seemed that every church leader, when questioned, desired to quench the Spirit that was leading us deeper into Truth so that we could know and love our Father more intimately.
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action). So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:16-17, Amplified Bible).
I wholeheartedly believe that the Bible is inerrant and there are no mistakes written in the Scriptures. After all, my first memory verse came from Isaiah 40:8: “The word of God stands forever.” I also believe the Bible is inspired by God, it doesn’t change for if it does, then God changes as well. This opens the door for the way of salvation through faith in Yeshua to change, and then I am no different from the lost and dying in the world.
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19).
“I Adonai do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
“Messiah Yeshua is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The Fourth Commandment
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. … the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8, 11).
Every church that I attended, along with millions of similar church denominations across the nation, claim that the Bible is without mistakes because it was inspired by an unchanging God. The Ten Commandments are part of the inerrant, unchanging Word of God, so why is it that none of these churches keep the Fourth: “Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy?” This was one area where pastors and other well-meaning Christians confronted us with ‘legalism.’ Is it legalistic to obey a commandment given by God Himself, to remember Him and His creation?
Answers varied from “It was changed,” to “Sunday is a memorial to the resurrection,” to “Sabbath can be any day I want it to be.” Each of these responses suggest that God changes, the Word changes, or the Bible is fallible and open to interpretation. One pastor recently said that no one changed the Sabbath and The Ten Commandments are still in effect. If that is true, then why doesn’t this pastor teach the commandments? Why doesn’t his congregation meet on the Sabbath? By neglecting the seventh-day Sabbath, what leaders are really saying is that God is not the inspiration of the Scriptures. Or, God doesn’t remember what He said from one prophetic generation to the next. Or, God changes.
Several of the Statements of Faith alleged that the Bible is the final authority on life and faith. One claimed the Bible is a guidebook for life. Another made the assertion that anything that is not contained in the Scriptures is not part of the articles of faith. All of these church’s Statements of Faith would imply that the Sabbath, because it is in Scripture, should be the guide for a weekly life cycle.
Yet, every church that I attended met on Sunday mornings –– even the one that taught the ‘shadows’ for the Feasts of the LORD which includes the Sabbath. All of them. Let me state at this point, worship on Sunday is not wrong. We are to worship God every hour of every day of every week, but Sunday worship does not replace the seventh-day Sabbath set apart by God.
Not one Statement of Faith ever mentioned the Biblical Sabbath because they wrongly divided the Word of God; their two-edged sword cut their Bibles in half. The seventh day of the week became the ‘Jewish’ Sabbath and the first day of the week became the ‘Christian’ one. Of course, there was that one church leader who believed that God doesn’t even care about the Sabbath because it is one of the abolished Ten Commandments.
Each of these denominations chose to embrace man-made, anti-semitic church doctrines over the inspired, infallible Word of God, contradicting their own Statement of Faith. Even the Statements of Faith that said we must submit to Scriptural authority had leaders who made excuses for why that authority no longer authority. They used the grace doctrine that espouses ‘freedom from the law’ which is nothing more than encouraging lawlessness and teaching everyone do what is right in their own eyes. Remember the days of the Judges?
From the early church fathers to the Councils of Nicaea and Laodicea to the Roman Catholic Church, conviction for sin, correction of error, discipline for disobedience, and training in holy living has been redefined as ‘legalism.’ Church-goers are no longer proficient in the Word, equipped for good works or receiving the gospel message in its entirety.
Institution or Kingdom
As I look consider my institutional church experiences, the only thing consistent is the hypocrisy of claiming one thing and doing another. Love God, but don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Here is a Bible, but don’t open it. If you do read the Bible, only read the New Testament. Read the Word, but only so you can sword stab some unbeliever with the name of Jesus. Our cornerstone of faith is Jesus Christ, but ignore his Jewishness. Build your faith on the apostles and prophets, but don’t include anything in the laws given to Moses, the greatest prophet. Preach the Word in season and out, but most of it really isn’t for our time or culture. All Scripture is God-breathed except the Old Testament that Jesus taught from and then abolished. The Old Testament is for the Jews and contains burdensome rules; we’re under the grace of the New Testament. Even though all of the first believers in Jesus were Jews, and it was Jews who wrote the New Testament, make sure you don’t do anything that makes you look Jewish because the Jews rejected Jesus.
Only through the divine intervention have I learned about the God of the Bible and His will for my life. God knew that I wanted His never-changing Word to teach and guide me into His Truth. He knew that I would be willing to accept Biblical Truth even though it would contradict man-made authorities and inherited church doctrines.
I never questioned God’s Word because it “stands forever,” and I learned that simple obedience to His Word would protect me while I endured accusations of being a Judaizer, a heretic, a legalist, and a Pharisee. It was God’s Spirit that opened my eyes to see the Truth that transformed me into a vibrant born-again member of the God’s Kingdom, who rules and judges through His infallible, inerrant, inspired, and authoritative Word.
©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.