by E. Claude Gardner
What are the dimensions of the room where you are? How
many feet wide and long is it? By taking a 12-inch ruler or a yardstick you can
get an accurate measurement. Likewise if ten others used the same
measuring stick, they would report exactly the same figures as you found. If in
religion everyone accepts one common standard of authority, then this should
result in the same faith and practice. Confusion and frustration are
experienced because different standards of authority are accepted. Good people
are mystified by all the conflicting doctrines that are preached.
Our plea that is both scriptural and sensible is this: The
News Testament is our only rule of faith and practice. We call all men back to
the word of God to guide us in all matters of our lives - spiritual, worship,
personal, family and business. We earnestly plead that we should speak
where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent; we should
call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in the Bible way."
Christ and his teaching must govern us. We acknowledge him as
Lord and Savior. We bow to him as "Lord of lords and King of kings" (Revelation
17:14). He is the head of the church and therefore controls our lives and
authorizes how we are to worship. Paul wrote about the headship of Jesus when he
said, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over
all things to the church" (Ephesians 1:22). The risen Christ made a bold and
sweeping claim, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt
God, our Creator, has revealed himself through Christ who has
spoken to us through the New Testament. "God, who at sundry times and in divers
manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last
days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by
whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Jesus does not speak to us audibly, nor "through a still
small voice," nor by the conscience, but through his Word revealed to the
apostles as given in the New Testament. To the apostles (and not to us today) he
promised, "the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in
my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). The Lord also
assured them of guidance into all truth so that their message is inerrant (Cf.
John 15:26; 16:13). We conclude that the New Testament is an expression of our
Savior's divine will and way and it is, therefore, our authority. It is the "one
faith" (Eph. 4:5). It is the only book to determine our faith, conduct, and
worship; by it we should live and by it we should die; on it we should build our
homes and our businesses or professions.
Jesus is the "mediator of the new covenant" (Heb. 12:24). He
is our Savior through the new covenant or testament. Sin has separated us from
God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and Christ is our "go between" (mediator) through the new
The Word of God furnishes us completely and hence, we need
nothing more. Paul asserted, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all
good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The New Testament is powerful enough to save us from sin. We
must receive the implanted word that is able "to save your souls" (James 1:21).
It is described as "quick" (living) and "powerful." For the word of God is
quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
The New Testament is not a "dead letter." It is not essential
for the Holy Spirit to "come into one's heart" in a direct and mysterious way in
order to quicken the word in the heart. The reason is clear - it is living. The
only power God is using for our salvation is the New Testament for Paul taught,
"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek"
(Romans 1:16). It is this truth that sets us free. "And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Because Jehovah is mindful of his creation, he has supplied
all of our needs. This is one of the precious promises of the New Testament, for
Peter wrote, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that
pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called
us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises" (2 Peter 1:3-4). We cannot look to the Old Testament, books of
philosophy, nor creeds of men to grant us spiritual life. Hence, we must contend
earnestly for this faith. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you
of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you
that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints" (Jude 3).
We repudiate all human creeds, confessions of faith, manuals
and church disciplines because the New Testament is our guide. Also numerous
instances can be cited to show how they contradict the Word of God. They are
also subject to frequent changes. A sensible motto rightly states: "If a human
creed contains more than the Bible it contains too much; if it contains less
than the Bible it contains too little; but if it contains the same thing as the
Bible we do not need it anyway."
We earnestly plead that all men come back to the New
Testament and to Christ as supreme authority in religion. May we all require a
"thus saith the Lord" in all that we believe and practice. The voice from heaven
said at the transfiguration, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye him" (Matt. 17:5).
Measure the dimensions of your room or an object with a
12-inch ruler and then ask another to do the same. What is the implication of
What is the basis of so much confusion or religious
What is the significance of Christ being the "head" of the
church? Does this leave room for a pope or any human being or human creed?
How does God speak to man today?
What are three chief objections to human creeds and
confessions of faith?
Show by the scriptures that the New Testament is the only
standard of authority.