Models can be useful. A globe of the earth, for example, is a useful model. I used one to teach my four-year old about the earth, the seas, continents, and islands. I taught where we live and where the Lord Jesus Christ lived when he walked the earth. A globe is a useful model.
But some models are not useful. In fact, some are dangerous. Some professed Christians use other people as their model for what to believe and how to live the Christian life--that is not a problem in and of itself as
- We are supposed to mark the perfect man (Psalm 37:37) and
- we do need a man to guide us (Acts 8:31).
But this becomes dangerous when these people will only believe what their model believed just because their model believed it and taught it. These people have so cleaved to this model that even the Bible itself cannot be successfully used with them to correct the errors that they have picked up from the model that they have made their idol (whether a man or a denomination). Even the great apostle Paul said, Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (ref. I Corinthians 11:1). Insofar as a person is following God's word, follow them. If they diverge from God's word, do not follow them.Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
What I have seen repeatedly is professed Christians following the teachings of those they have decided are right--even when the precepts taught by those people contradict the Bible. Some people are die-hard Baptists who have embraced any number of "Baptist distinctives" and ways and doctrines--even when those ways are wrong--like foolish talk and jesting (and from the pulpit at that). I've spent time with this group (and learned a lot in some areas) and--more than once--was expected to subscribe to the "What we believe," paper.
Some people follow after John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Oliver Cromwell (it seems this one comes causes a carnal/fleshly response to current exigencies), Clarence Larkin, Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, Charles Taze Russell, Ellen White, the pope, etc. These people have lined themselves up with the teachings and preachings of a man--and will not deviate from them and considers anyone who does not do likewise, "wrong."
I once had a Matthew Henry commentary on the Bible. I threw it away after coming across some things that were not good. I had a book of sermons by various preachers (like Spurgeon) on Christ. I had to throw that one away too. I've gotten rid of a lot of books. Just because I learned something from someone does not mean that everything that they say is right.
Only God's word--the Authorized Version--gets my total attention and adoration and respect. It is the truth (ref. John 17:17) and it searches out me and my deeds as well as what I read and encounter in this life. In these last days and perilous times, we do not need the church's "Statement of Faith," we need God's word to reign in our hearts and lives.
I don't like reading about evil people and what they do--even if it is a Christian writing about them--I therefore do not seek out this information. However, by a series of "barely touch-and-go" appointments, I periodically come across data and I skim it with God's word (not some idol's words) being on the cornea of my eye and in my heart. And by God's word and his teaching ministry in my life, I am able to
- understand what is happening around me, and,
- respond to it (the data does not go unchallenged).
May we take a look around and clean up where we need to clean up. Many people have become deceived into thinking that their model's/idol's words are confirmed in the Bible when those words are NOT confirmed in the Bible--the Bible actually shows that those words are lies and heresies.
Professed Christians need to look at their lives and what they have been doing and believing all this time. If they have a favorite preacher or denomination, etc. they really need to pay attention and see if they have been believing ONLY in God's word or if they have been misreading the Bible by reading it with man's doctrinal schemes in mind and heart (like with dispensationalism and the supposed separation of Israel and the church and antinomianism).
I warn my own child to compare my words to God's word--AND WHERE I AM WRONG, REJECT MY WORDS.Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: Psalms 141:5
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