Thursday, January 7, 2021

How God Teaches Us Knowledge Today

One who thinks that we should believe ministers more than the Bible and not learn directly from the Bible ourselves may want to emphasize the examples in the Bible that show how God's truth and knowledge are passed to us from individual people, who received it from other people and from God.  One might say that this is still the pattern for today, and thus we should believe what was passed to us by Mr. Armstrong and not what we see for ourselves, our "own understanding" of scripture as they put it, in the Bible.  But that is wrong.

The pattern has been broken.  God has changed it.  How?

In Bible times, those who taught the Church, the prophets and the apostles, performed public miracles.  In the case of the New Testament Church of God, all teachings came from miracle-working apostles.  Anyone could know that the apostles were from God because of the evidence of the miracles.

God gave supernatural evidence to back up the message of His servants.

Even Nicodemus knew Christ was a teacher from God because of His miracles (John 3:1-2).

That pattern has been broken.  Even the healings from Mr. Armstrong were not the kind of public miracles that enabled anyone to know that his message was from God.

God has changed the pattern.  He has given us a different pattern of how to know the truth to replace the pattern of miracle-working servants teaching us God's message directly from God.  He used Mr. Armstrong to do it.

God still gives supernatural evidence to back up His message, but of a different kind.

Mr. Armstrong taught that new pattern.  It is simple.  Today, unlike the early days of the first century Church of God, we have the Bible complete.  It was not complete most of the time in the first century Church of God.  The New Testament was in the process of being written.

Also, today, the Bible is widespread and readily available to anyone who wants to read and study it.  In Bible times, not only was the Bible incomplete, but it was rare and expensive.  Some individuals had access to a few books of the Bible, each of which would be a scroll, but very few people had all the books that were even written at that time.

And finally, we have the proof of fulfilled prophecy to prove that the Bible is inspired by God and is God's word.  That was not true in the first century because those prophecies were not yet fulfilled.  But now, any objective person can prove that the Bible is God speaking.  In effect, fulfilled prophecy is the miracle that proves that the teaching of the Bible is from God just as miracles of the apostles were the proof their teaching was from God.  Fulfilled prophecy in the Bible is the supernatural evidence God gives people today so they can know the message is from God.

For that reason, there has been a change in the way God communicates with us.  He no longer does it directly through human servants whom He backs up with miracle-working power.  Instead, He gives us proof that He speaks through the Bible, and He makes the Bible easily available to everyone.

So comparisons of how Mr. Armstrong taught us with how the first century apostles taught the Church are not valid for showing that God works the same way today.  They worked public miracles to prove their message, Mr. Armstrong did not.

Instead, Mr. Armstrong pointed us to the Bible, saying, don't believe me, believe your Bible, believe God.

That is a change and a difference.

That is the new pattern.

And for that reason, we should believe what we see for ourselves in the Bible more than we believe Mr. Armstrong's teaching or any man's teaching in the Church of God.  The ministry has the job of helping us see the truth in the Bible.  That is their role.  They can help in various ways.  They can point out scriptures on a subject we may have overlooked, for example.  But they must show us so we can see the answer ourselves in the Bible.  That is God's way, today.

Even Mr. Armstrong followed the new pattern.  He did not learn God's truth passed from another person to him.  He learned it direct from God in the Bible.  Others may have helped him find the truth in the Bible, Loma Armstrong for example, as ministers should help us find answers in the Bible today.  But he didn't believe any new truth until he saw it for himself with his own understanding in the Bible.

The Bible interprets the Bible.  Clear passages help to explain difficult passages.  We should never let the Church and the ministry "interpret" the Bible for us.  Our faith must be in God and His word direct.  Faith in man, even Church of God ministers, even Mr. Armstrong, is a form of idolatry.

Members who are Philadelphian in character and spiritual condition should always believe what they see in the Bible for themselves more than their ministry, and should always be willing to learn new knowledge from the Bible, if they want a wide-open door for preaching the gospel to the world and the Ezekiel warning to Israel.  And we need that wide-open door if we do not want the blood of the people to be on our heads (Ezekiel 3:16-21) and if we want to glorify God's name and reputation for fairness and help more of Israel be saved.

And Philadelphians should never move their tithes and offerings and support from a group with an open door to a group that has no open door.

Here is a list of other posts in this blog on the subject of God communicating with us through the Bible today as contrasted with communicating through miracle-working apostles and prophets in Bible times:  

Friday, August 14, 2015:
Why Does God Communicate to Us through the Bible Today, More than through Miracle-working Apostles and Prophets as He Did in the First Century and Before?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018:
Principle of Knowing God's Revelation - How Can One Know the Truth? / How to Preach the Gospel More Effectively

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