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The Bible says that we should, [b:3nt4t9mm]”Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you– unless, of course, you fail the test?”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (2 Corinthians 13:5) Paul thought highly of the Bereans in Acts 17:11, as he wrote, [b:3nt4t9mm]”These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”[/b:3nt4t9mm] The Bible warns us,[b:3nt4t9mm] “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…. they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth…”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (2 Timothy 4:3+4) With so many different Churches, how can anyone know what or who to believe?
Jesus once referred to Satan as “the Father of Lies.” A favorite tactic of his would be to take Scripture and give it a new and false meaning, such as we see in Genesis 3:3-5, when he deceived Eve. She said, [b:3nt4t9mm]”But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” [/b:3nt4t9mm]
Today we continue to see Satan doing the same type of tactic when referring to Traditions and Church Fathers as “proof” of a teaching or activity that would, otherwise, be clearly in direct opposition to the Bible. Often these “Churches” state a very Biblical verse and just as Satan did in Genesis 3, they’ll appeal to man’s logic. Case in point – whenever a Church declares that their particular denomination is the “one true Church.” They then take a verse such as Matthew 16:18, where Jesus said, [b:3nt4t9mm]”I will build my Church”[/b:3nt4t9mm] as proof. The flaw is that Jesus never said that He would build that denomination, but just as in Genesis 3, the power of suggestion implies to that point, thus deceiving many. If that particular denomination was correct, then salvation would come through enrollment, not faith. Furthermore, the Biblical Church that Jesus refers to is anyone who believes in Him, as can be seen in Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 3:9 – [b:3nt4t9mm]”In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord….. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit…For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”[/b:3nt4t9mm]
The deception only gets more intense as these churches continue build their case by adding more Scriptures, again with “their interpretation” of what it means instead of what it says. The key is to remember that all of Scripture is inspired and we should remember to discern the difference between what Scripture says and what someone is claiming it says. Note the following is an example where a church states the facts, and are Biblically correct in saying this: “While we must guard against merely human tradition, the Bible contains numerous references to the necessity of clinging to apostolic tradition. Thus Paul tells the Corinthians, [b:3nt4t9mm]”I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (1 Cor. 11:2), and he commands the Thessalonians, [b:3nt4t9mm]”So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” [/b:3nt4t9mm](2 Thess. 2:15). He even goes so far as to order, [b:3nt4t9mm]”Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (2 Thess. 3:6). To make sure that the apostolic tradition would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, [b:3nt4t9mm]”What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (2 Tim. 2:2).
Everything in the above quote is Biblically sound. The deception begins where a Church then implies that their traditions, which have developed over the years, are the same traditions that were practiced by the Apostles. All the traditions that Paul referred to were mentioned of as already in place and referred to as in the past tense. The traditions that were added by a church after the Apostles, but are now falsely implied to be part of the same traditions as those practice by the Apostles, quite often fall into the category of which Jesus declared, [b:3nt4t9mm]”Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (Mark 7:7,8,13) Paul also gives us a warning to guard against bad traditions in Colossians 2:8, when he said, [b:3nt4t9mm]”Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”[/b:3nt4t9mm] So clearly not all traditions are acceptable.
In closing, we should protect ourselves from deception by taking the Bible’s advice to safeguard against deceptions in this manner, [b:3nt4t9mm]”that in us ye might learn not (to go) beyond the things which are written;”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (1 Corinthians 4:6-ASV) Yes, John did say that [b:3nt4t9mm]”not everything that Jesus did was written,”[/b:3nt4t9mm] to which He adds, [b:3nt4t9mm]”But these are written, that ye might believe.” [/b:3nt4t9mm]and as he said in his epistle, [b:3nt4t9mm]”These things have I written.that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.[/b:3nt4t9mm] (1 John 5:13) Why Scriptures only? For this reason, [b:3nt4t9mm]”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”[/b:3nt4t9mm] (2 Timothy 3:16,17) If Scripture can make us, “perfect, thoroughly furnished,” why go elsewhere?
As Paul said, [b:3nt4t9mm]”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.[/b:3nt4t9mm] (Galations 1: