My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 04-12-2021

The definition of the word assumption is: “The act of taking something for granted.”  This action is engaged in a lot more than some think.  Even when studying the Bible, a reading will lead the person to assume things which that passage does not contain.  The person may be honest in thinking that his assumptions are taught in that passage.  That is when man makes his assumptions equal to scripture.  When that assumption is partnered with tradition or culture, it becomes inspired information for that individual.  If a person believes the Bible teaches it and you disagree, you appear to be someone who ignores what God teaches.

In some congregations the sermon always ends with an invitation given to inform the lost, if present, how they may be saved.  It is a five-step procedure which is 1) hearing the Gospel, 2) Believing the Gospel, 3) Repenting of one’s sins, 4) Making the good Confession, and 5) being immersed “for the remission of sins.”  About twenty or more years ago one of our overseers complained to me that neither the other preacher nor I were giving the full “Gospel invitation” at the end of our sermons.  Since we attempt to teach only what the Bible states, I asked him for “book, chapter, and verse where any inspired writer gave a 5-step invitation as we usually required.”  To prove his complaint was scriptural, he attempted to remember and quote a Bible passage as his proof.  He assumed it was in the Bible since we did it.  Finally, he admitted, “It isn’t in the Bible, is it?”  My response was “No.”  He assumed it was.  Assumptions are tricky and are sometimes given more honor than scripture itself!  The Pharisees did that and Jesus rebuked them (Matthew 15:9).  They assumed they were right and Jesus was wrong. 

If our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents practiced something “in church,” it was assumed that they did so because the Bible required it the way they performed it.  In some cases, anger may have erupted just by asking for the passage which supposedly authorized that belief.  When no such passage is found, it illustrates it is a tradition of man rather than originating from the Holy Spirit.  When that is tied in with the belief that one must do everything right and practice nothing that is wrong in order to go to heaven, it disrupts that person’s confidence in what he has always believed.  It is a hard lesson which some refuse to swallow.  It puts that person in a religious tailspin from which he refuses to recover.  It may cause the person to think that if he is wrong on that subject, he may be wrong on other points as well.  That too is a possibility.  Alexander Campbell and others found themselves in that position.

In such positions most of us come to believe that we must be “right” in our fixed number of beliefs and practices or our salvation is in jeopardy.  One’s faith is based upon his sacred number being correct and continued in order to go to heaven.  If one of those beliefs becomes questionable, it opens Pandora’s Box that other positions may also be shaky.  If he finds some of his cherished doctrines are based more on assumption than truth, honesty questions whether his system of belief is built upon the right foundation.  One searches for justification that will make his belief system acceptable rather than admit he has been following error. Just because one’s great-grandparents, grandparents, or parents believed and practiced a particular way does not mean the Bible demands it.  Some beliefs and the resulting practice may not endanger one’s soul unless they bind that belief upon others.  That has happened in the past and division has been the results.  The New Testament warns us in several passages to “take heed” (Matthew 24:4, Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; 21:8; 1 Corinthians 8:9; 10:12).  That command is to all believers in Jesus.  However, the multiple divisions in faith today informs us that sometimes assumptions sound biblical but are not (Matthew 24:4; Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; 1 Timothy 4:16)!