Monday, November 6, 2017
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).
Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?
Despite instructing the Corinthians to heed the Lord Jesus Christ’s words spoken through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit anticipated disrespect and rebellion. Some Christians would still prefer religion (what they wanted to do, they would indeed do!). Read the latter part of today’s Scripture very carefully. To pursue their own desires, they would ignore God’s words through Paul. Skirting Pauline doctrine, they would then cleverly “justify” their activities using other Scriptures. (Sound familiar?)
In the 2,000 years since the carnal Corinthian church was urged to follow God’s spokesman to Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13), and warned not to be “ignorant” of his apostolic authority over them, a most unfortunate result is before us. Even at such a late date, the professing church has overwhelmingly and most pathetically failed to be spiritual. Instead of following the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), church members follow everyone else.
Roman Catholics elevate “Pope” Peter and his “apostolic successors.” The Kingdom Hall of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” stresses the teachings of Charles Taze Russell. “Christian Scientists” follow Mary Eddy Baker. The Church of Christ parrots Alexander Campbell. Joseph Smith still guides the Mormons. Seventh-Day Adventists look to Ellen G. White for instruction. The Lutherans to Martin Luther, the Methodists to John and Charles Wesley, the Presbyterians to John Calvin, et cetera.
Now, friends, we will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER say these people ignore the Bible. Their doctrinal statements and creeds quote Bible verses to some extent. In addition to mishandling Scripture by quoting only the “preferred” phrases, they corrupt God’s Word by forcing on us verses that God never directed to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace. They do not give preeminence to Christ’s heavenly ministry through Paul. Instead, their ignorant leaders—guiding them in confusion—place emphasis on Christ’s earthly ministry. (Christ’s earthly ministry was to the nation Israel exclusively, as Matthew 15:24 and Romans 15:8 expressly declare!)
Ignorance thus turns into futility….