What is the source of authority in your life?
Everyone embraces key beliefs that are critical to who we are. These things dictate not only our behavior and our speech but also our eternal status.
It is my heart and my prayer that you can be confident in what you believe and will not be tricked, fooled, or led down a path that does not align with God’s way.
Over the course of this series, we will dig deep into the six key doctrines of the Christian faith, comparing what we believe to what other faulty organizations believe.
Christians: Followers of Christ
Christian Source of Authority
What you allow to speak into your life determines what you will believe and how you will act. But unfortunately, we have given authority to worldly things, allowing them to dictate our lives.
At First Baptist Church of Glenarden, we hold to the truth of what God says. So what is this source of authority?
The Bible, comprised of 66 books, is the revealed, inspired Word of God. As Christians, we believe and know it is the absolute authority of our lives.
We believe God spoke through men over a period of time, many of them living over the span of 1,600 years in different parts of the world, yet their words never contradicted another. And so, we can be confident in these words that were wholly and entirely inspired by the Spirit of God.
We believe the Bible is without error in its statements and is complete in its revelation.
If you are interpreting the Bible and come across something you think is contradictory, I can guarantee that somehow you have misinterpreted the Bible.
We trust and know that God has brought to us the Scriptures without error.
Complete in Revelation
Everything God wants us to know has been contained in the Scriptures.
We don’t need another book, prophet, or revelation to add to it; it is complete, lacking in nothing, and is the final authority of our lives.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
Galatians 1:8-9, NKJV
It is clear: we cannot add anything else to it.
“And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:15-17, NKJV
Everything we need is contained in the scriptures.
“For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
2 Peter 1:21, NKJV
God gave us this book through men who were inspired by Him, who wrote as God moved them to write, and it was preserved and has survived all of these years so that today, we can receive it.
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Revelation 22:18-19, NKJV
This passage is a clear challenge to us that we are not to add anything to the Scriptures nor take anything away.
But unfortunately, some organizations have done just that.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
Jehovah’s Witnesses Source of Authority
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Word of God is the ultimate authority as translated and interpreted by their organization.
They believe their organization has the power and authority to bring interpretation to God’s Word. They agree that people cannot see the divine plan by studying the Bible itself but rather by bringing along additional books to help interpret the Bible. These books consist of the following:
- The New World Translation
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
- Other writings that give a further interpretation of the Bible
New World Translation
When I was growing up, somehow, a New World Translation got into my hands. And when I began reading and understanding the Holy Scriptures, I could see that this translation altered and interpreted the Bible in a way that was not aligned with God’s true word. So, I destroyed it.
I want to challenge you to do the same. If you have a copy of the New World Translation, you need to throw it away.
But Pastor, isn’t that a little extreme? To that, I would answer no. This organization has demeaned who Jesus is, saying He is not God wrapped up in human form. They don’t believe in hell, and they have changed the entirety of the Scriptures. Should you read this translation, you will walk away with the wrong interpretation of what the Scriptures teach.
The Definition of Who Jesus Is
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1, NKJV
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14, NKJV
Jesus was and is the Word, and the Word became flesh, dwelling among us on earth.
However, Jehovah’s Witnesses have drawn a different conclusion. Their Bible was generated using Charles Russell’s (the founder of JW) “sanctified common sense.” This translation is Russell’s interpretation, and I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to entrust my soul’s destiny to a man’s hands.
The Mormons: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Mormon’s Source of Authority
Mormons believe both the Bible is the word of God (as long as it is translated correctly) and the Book of Mormon.
Brothers and sisters, I urge you to be aware when anything is added to the Holy Scriptures that goes against God’s very nature.
Additionally, the Mormons claim God is still revealing great and important things, thus insinuating that the canon of scripture has never been closed.
Revelation 22:18-19, NKJV says, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is said to be “like unto Moses” and speaks with as much authority as the Bible.
Scripture says that God spoke to Moses face-to-face, and there is no one like him. Yet, the Mormons have elevated the leader of their movement to the same equality as Moses. I pray you will remain watchful and understand that the Bible warns us not to put our confidence in anyone who appoints themselves in the same category.
Book of Mormon
The “Book of Mormon” is believed by this organization to be the most correct book on earth and a keystone of what they believe.
Did you know that the owner of the Marriott Hotel chain is a Mormon? You can look in the drawer of every nightstand and find a copy of this book.
Psalms 119:105, NKJV says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This verse doesn’t claim “The Book of Mormon is a lamp unto our feet”; however, that is the level of authority they have given to this book.
Additionally, you can find revelations recorded in a book entitled “Doctrines and Covenants.” Another small-volume resource, “Pearl of Great Price,” features selections from the revelations, translations, and narrations of their founder, Joseph Smith.
The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Source of Authority
The Roman Catholic Church has two sources of authority:
- Sacred Tradition, in which they give authority to what was done decades prior
Catholics believe the Pope is the infallible ruler of the visible church on earth.
Whomever the living Pope is at any given time has divine authority. They believe him to be infallible or incapable of making an error, which proves to be faulty against the character of God, because every human, excluding Jesus, who has lived on the earth is imperfect.
As a pastor, it is crucial that every word that comes out of my mouth aligns with who and what God says. In fact, if I can’t show it to you in the scriptures, don’t believe it.
Ephesians 1:22-23, NKJV says, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Jesus is the only authority, so we must look to what He says!
The Catholic Bible contains the Apocrypha, a collection of 7 books added to the 66 we embrace.
These books are considered non-inspired writings written between the period of the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, we do not accept them nor believe they were inspired by God.
(To learn more about how the Holy Scriptures were compiled, read The Authority of Scriptures.)
The Moonies: The Unification Church
Moonie’s Source of Authority
The Bible is believed to be authoritative but is subject to new interpretations based on revelation given to Sun Myung Moon.
I was recently invited to speak at a Moonie’s event but didn’t accept it. You know, I always tell people I would go to hell and preach as long as I knew I could get out of there. The truth is, I will go anywhere to preach the Gospel, but I didn’t feel the release to go to this particular event. And now, looking back, I know I didn’t want to endorse them based on what they believed to be true.
The Moonies have additional books; one specifically called the “Divine Principle,” which contains doctrines of the Unification Church.
This book is considered only a part of the truth. As new revelations surface, the Divine Principle will be updated.
Our One True Source
The 66 books of the Bible, as we know and understand, are, in fact, God’s divine instruction for our lives. It commands us how we should live, tells us about our destiny and future, and reveals the nature of God.
Based on the truth we accept within the holy Scriptures, we can have confidence that God can heal, bring miracles, and move in our life according to His will. I am convinced of that, and I pray that you will find the same assurance in your own life.
Read it, meditate on it, and apply it to your life every day.