My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Back in 1957 I was immersed by Harvey Pearson, the preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Ada, Oklahoma. Harvey was responsible for teaching me some biblical information that I had previously been ignorant about. I wasn’t a good student, being very argumentative. Harvey in a calm manner answered each of my arguments with scripture. After conversion I had as many questions as I did before my faith response. Harvey told me one day, “Ray, don’t believe something because I say it, believe it because you find it in the Bible.” I thought that was good advice, yet one day I asked him a question that he did not have an appropriate passage to give as his answer. He thought about my question for a moment and then stated, “Ray, sometimes you must depend upon ‘common sense.’” I did what he told me NOT to do. I accepted his answer as a valid one. The answer shows its origin when you ask, “Whose ‘common sense’ is the utopian one?” Another question equal to it is, “Who will be our ‘pope’ to give us the ultimate ‘common sense’ answer?” I have known some fellows in my past who would have gladly taken that position but would have denied that they were a pope.
We fault our Catholic friends who rely upon their priest as their authority in what God’s will is or is not. If I went to Harvey, or anyone else, and accepted their “common sense” answers, I would in principle be doing the same thing our Catholic friends do. This inconsistency applies even when someone quotes scripture, assuming his interpretation is the correct “common sense” one. He believes others should believe as he does, because his interpretation is God’s truth. Most believe their religious convictions are correct. In the letter to the Smyrna church, John wrote, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). How faithful must one be in order to be “faithful unto death”? If one hundred Christians were asked to make a 1, 2, 3 list of what “faithfulness” is, would they end on the same number? Would their lists contain the same items? Doubtful? Common sense has the possibility of being inconsistent because it originates from imperfect individuals rather than God. Even inspired prophets, language speakers, and interpreters waded in inconsistency. They allowed their divisive allegiances to lead them astray rather than accept the inspired teaching given by the Holy Spirit. Although Paul, Cephas, Apollos, and Jesus never taught division or singular loyalty to one personality, Corinth developed it by ignoring the inspired to accept someone’s “common sense.” Regretfully, we still have that kind of follow-ship today. Some preachers speak mightily on “unity” while believing that “division” is the fault of others. There are around ten major divisions with an equal number that divide over the smallest disagreements. Each division believes it is the faithful one. The “faithful group” is the one with the correct, inspired list on “faithfulness” that all others must follow if they want to receive that same label. Sadly, the label worn by some is: “I’ve got it. You don’t. Follow me or else.”
How much of what is believed today is nothing more than someone else’s “common sense”? Aren’t we all infected in one degree or another? We tell others, “Don’t listen to your preacher, read for yourself what the Bible states.” Yet, we accept things our preachers say, even if it was said or written one hundred years ago. I was reading an article by a minister recently and he quoted two other ministers as additional evidence that his interpretation of several passages was true. Actually, the second quote used the first man’s statement that ended with a false conclusion. Although all are well respected men, what does falsehood prove?
In 1957 Harvey Pearson asked me if I noticed any differences between our services and those of my former church. I told him we didn’t have a piano. He asked, “Do you know why?” At that time, I didn’t. Rather than hand me the Bible and cite me to the passage that explained that “Why,” he offered me M.C. Kurfees’ book written at the close of the nineteenth century. I was a novice and did not know to ask, “Why not hand me the words of an inspired man rather than one that was written by an uninspired one? A slogan among us is, “We preach the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” If that slogan isn’t correct, why use it? Shouldn’t our answers be from a 100% inspired book rather than from those written by uninspired individuals who spell out what the scriptures do not specifically point out?
This article is “My Thoughts.” I am not inspired. This means you may easily reject it because it is uninspired material. If you want to be directed by inspiration, read your Bible. If you don’t understand what you’re reading, ask someone with . . . “common sense”?