CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL BELIEVE
By Akin Ojumu
Many Born Again Believers claim they believe in the Bible. Some Christians will even fight you in defense of the inerrancy of Scripture. Yet, you don't have to look too deep into the lives, beliefs, and practices of these self-proclaimed "Bible Believers" to discover that their supposed belief in the Bible is skin deep. When you pull the curtain off the superficial spirituality and listen to them speak on certain issues, you’ll be shocked to find that their belief in the Bible is ephemeral, conditional, and weak.
Follow along, I will illustrate to you what I mean.
Pastor Z engages in a conduct unbecoming of a Bible believing Christian. His wife gives a huge sum of money to build a pagan shrine and he himself cuts the ribbon to declare the pagan shrine open and, together with his wife, worship at the pagan shrine where they sit on the high throne.
Brother B is just an ordinary Christian. Upon hearing about the conduct of Pastor Z and his wife, he picks up his Bible to critically examine the conduct. He concludes that such a conduct is not in accordance with the Bible and goes against everything he knows of God. So, he decides to speak up in criticism of the conduct of Pastor Z and his wife.
But Pastor Z and his wife are highly revered and they have huge numbers of followers who adore and worship them.
One of those adoring followers is Brother C. He, as should be expected, comes to the defense of Pastor Z after hearing about Brother B’s criticisms. He argues that Pastor Z and his wife are right and there is nothing wrong with their conduct. To buttress his argument in support of Pastor Z, Brother C fires off a scattershot of Bible passages like throwing Jell-O on the wall to see which will stick – all of them misinterpreted and totally out of context.
Brother D is another adoring fan of Pastor Z. He also defends the man he loves. He believes that Pastor Z must have consulted with God before engaging in such a conduct. He accuses Brother B of casting aspersions on Pastor Z.
Brother E is another follower of Pastor Z. Not to be left out, he challenges Brother B forcefully telling him that there is nothing wrong in the conduct of Pastor Z and his wife. Brother E says he himself has done the very same thing that Pastor Z and his wife have done.
Yet another follower of Pastor Z and his wife is Brother F. For him, he is perfectly fine with the conduct of Pastor Z and his wife. And he considers Pastor Z’s speech at the opening of the pagan shrine an anointed speech.
Somehow, it comes to the hearing of Pastor Z that certain people, who are without clout and following, are questioning his and his wife’s conduct. He gets to know that these nonentities are saying it is wrong for his wife to have contributed a huge sum of money toward the building of a pagan shrine and that it is not right for him to cut the ribbon at a pagan shrine or even for him and his wife to seat and worship at an idolatrous altar.
Upon hearing these criticisms, Pastor Z does what he knows how to do best, he goes straight to his playbook and pulls out one of his most reliable plays, the “God-told-me” play. Pastor Z tells his adoring and ever-believing followers that it was God that told him to go to the pagan shrine. To silence the peanut gallery of lightweight critics, Pastor Z says it was God that told his wife to give a huge sum of money towards the building of a pagan shrine, and it was also God that told him to go and cut the ribbon to open the pagan shrine, to seat on the pagan altar, and to worship at an idolatrous pulpit.
Upon hearing Pastor Z’s explanations, Brothers C, D, E, and F all shouted, "Halleluiah!" They all believe without a shadow of doubt that Pastor Z heard from God. The remote possibility that Pastor Z might be wrong doesn't occur to them. That maybe, just maybe, Pastor Z is mistaken and didn't actually hear from God is not a thought they entertain. In lockstep, they all agree with Pastor Z that it was indeed God that directed his wife to give a huge sum of money towards the building of the pagan shrine, and it was God that told him to cut the ribbon to open the pagan shrine, seat at the altar of a pagan god, and worship at an idolatrous pulpit. And they conclude by asking Brother B, “Who are you then to question God?”
Brother B is not at all surprised that Pastor Z decides to play the “God-told-me” card and it doesn't surprise him that Brothers C, D, E and F all lap it up. While he initially held out hope that these adoring fans of Pastor Z will let God open their eyes to see the truth, he is not at all disappointed that they are acting true to type. He has always known them to believe anything that the revered Pastor Z says.
Nevertheless, Brother B struggles to reconcile this easy-believism with the professed faith of Brothers C, D, E, and F. His mind is flooded with a torrent of questions. He is wondering aloud and asking himself:
1. Can God ever tell a Christian to do something that clearly violates what is written in the Bible?
2. Is it really true that God told Pastor Z to engage in a conduct unbecoming of a Christian?
3. Was it God that told Pastor Z’s wife to contribute a huge sum of money towards the building of a pagan shrine?
4. Did God tell Pastor Z to go cut the ribbon to open a pagan shrine that is dedicated to the worship of principalities and powers?
5. Was it really God that told Pastor Z to go and bow down in worship at the altar of spiritual wickedness in high places and to kneel before the throne of the rulers of the darkness of this world?
6. Can God ever lead His children to debase themselves by asking them to go and roll in the mud of idolatry?
7. Who is one to believe when confronted with a situation where a person claims God told him to do something that contradicts what’s written in the Bible? Is it the person claiming to have heard from God or is it what God has written in the Bible?
8. Is a Christian to take the word of man over and above the Word of God written in the Bible?
As the questions pour from Brother B’s mind, he suddenly remembers Paul’s warning to the Galatian Christians in Galatians 1:6-9.
“I am astonished and extremely irritated that you are so quickly shifting your allegiance and deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different, even contrary, gospel; which is really not another gospel; but there are obviously some people masquerading as teachers who are disturbing and confusing you with a misleading, counterfeit teaching and want to distort the gospel of Christ twisting it into something which it absolutely is not.”
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we originally preached to you, let him be condemned to destruction! As we have said before, so I now say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from that which you received from us, let him be condemned to destruction!”
After reading Paul’s words in these Bible verses, Brother B feels a heavy weight lifted off his shoulders and a wave of relief washes over his soul. In those verses he finds a firm reassurance and renewed certitude that God will not and cannot contradict Himself. Brother B is reminded that the Word of God, as given to us in the Bible, is superior to the word of any man and that the Bible supersedes any vision or prophecy or claims of hearing from God by any man, regardless of who they are.
The Bible says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” If a man says God told him to do anything that contradicts the Bible, that man did not hear from God. For we know that God will never ask anyone to do anything that is contrary to His Word. It doesn't matter who the person is or what position he holds in the Church, any man that says God said when God has not said is accursed.
Everyone in the illustration above sees nothing wrong in the conduct of Pastor Z and his wife. Except for Brother B, not a single person doubts it when Pastor Z claims it was God that told him to go and bow down at the altar of idols. Brothers C, D, E, and F choose the word of Pastor Z over the Word of God. Why? Because they revere and adore him. In their minds, Brothers C, D, E, and F believe Pastor Z to be a man without reproach and who can do no wrong.
If you ask Brothers C, D, E, and F, if they believe in the Bible. They’ll, of course, all answer in the affirmative and will tell you that the Bible is the Word of God and it is inerrant and infallible. Yet, when the chips are down, and when they find themselves in the valley of decision, and have to choose between believing the Word of God as written in the Bible or the word of a man whom they revere who claims that God told him to do something that contradicts the Word of God as written in the Bible, these “Bible believers” will always choose the later; they will always take the word of man that cannot be verified or authenticated over the written Word of God that they themselves say is inerrant and infallible.
You see, when it comes to the Word of God, there can be no sitting on the fence. You cannot play pussyfooting between the truth of God and the lies men tell. Each one of us has a choice to make. It’s either you believe in the Word of God or choose the word of man. But let it be known to you, the choice you make today will determine which side of eternity you’d find yourself when it’s all said and done. I beseech you, therefore, choose wisely.