The Issue Is Final Authority, Part One

By Kyle Stephens, Pastor of Blessed Hope Baptist Church, Coon Rapids, MN, USA

Click here for part two

Man can sure get things fouled up, did you know that? We managed to blow complete perfection back in the garden, and then when the solution and answer was set forth in its completeness and simplicity, men managed somehow to get the message discombobulated so that its hardly recognizable (II Cor.11:3). Yes sir, buddy, we can flat sure make a mess of things. I think that I remember reading somewhere in some ol' outdated Book from ages gone by that "God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Yup, the more I think about it, the more I'm sure that I read that somewhere.

Now all you New Evangelical, Promise Keeper, Fundamentalist, Billy Grahamesque, seminary educated, Christian college supporter types may even yet have been able to breathe out a little "Amen" back at the end of the first paragraph, for which I am thankful. Not that I care that much about the "Amen," mind you, but rather I am glad that you still have that spark down in your heart and soul that responds favorably when the subject of the sinfulness of man is preached the simple terms of salvation and eternal life are set forth. I express this sentiment because one day you're gonna need all the spark you can find, since your respective movements in the main (I say, IN THE MAIN) are being sold down the river of ecumenicism and apostasy by your leaders whom, in your disobedience to God, you have not discerned.

I know, I know. I've already offended and lost a bunch of my readers. So now those of you that are left can write me bereaved little notes about the fruits of the Spirit and my castigating remarks. Before you do so, may I remind you that, "...if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded thou one rose from the dead" Folks, when people turn their backs on the scriptures, and for that matter, on an imploring conscience, and further, when they forsake clear and abundant evidence and sound reason, I hardly think that my attitude will contribute significantly to the impending apostasy now at hand.

This, however, does bring me to my subject. But I thank God that it's not just my subject. Naw, man, this subject is way, way bigger that me. The subject is what all the hoopla is about. You know, all this societal, cultural uproar; this women's lib stuff; this hyperpsychological, hyperpsychiatric craze; this hushed and sanctimonious reverence over the theory (yes, dear, it is still a THEORY) that Grampa was a lung fish (or was that my mother-in-law?). You see, beloved, the reason these problems exist is the exact, the specific, the identically same cause for the fact that there is something rotten among the Evangelicals, and in the Billy Graham crowd, and even amidst that "most holy" and much acclaimed gathering of Promise Keepers. Ah, indeed, even those big ol' mean Bible-thumpin' superseperated Fundamentalists are culpable here.

Brother, God and the devil have been fighting over this hallowed ground for 6000 plus years. T'was that old serpent's beef back in Is. 14 and Ez. 28. It continued to be his gripe right through the orchards of Eden and the trend will continue all the way to the precipice of the lake of fire. Eve? Ditto. Cain? Ditto. Noah's neighbors? The same. And Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and Miriam, and Saul, and Pharaoh, and Solomon, and Israel in the wilderness, and the Pharisees, and the rich man in hell, and you.

The Problem, the Issue, is and always has been Final Authority. Look, perverts, thieves, liars, idolators, women's libbers and evolutionists just do not like the idea that by some eternal, adamant, unwavering and holy standard, they and their ideals are unacceptable and damnable. And, to be frank, the reason why some of you are in the "movements" and churches and fellowships that you are is for the same reason. Whether through utter rebellion at worst, or utter ignorance at best, you have rejected what a perfect and righteous God said in a perfect Book that, though written with paper and ink, was inspired by the breath of God, preserved in perfection by the power of God, and descended to you by the blood and charred remains of men and women who clearly thought more highly of the value of the individual words of God than you ( and perhaps even me).

The trouble is that folks, whether immoral sickos or ecumenical nice guys, have rejected That Book! Whether a vile and open sinners or a dedicated Textus Receptus (TR) man, the sin and mistake are the same. You have a problem with final authority.

"Oh, no, Brother Stephens, I read every day from the latest and most updated conservative translation on the market. None of this Good News For Modern Man stuff for me....". OK, pal, are you telling me that you believe every single solitary letter of every word of whatever that thing is that you're reading ? Do you believe that every word of it is perfect and inerrant, incorrupible, unchanging and unchangeable? Would you stake your soul, and the lives of your wife, children, family and friends, and indeed your ministry, on the words of the book or text which you hold precisely as they are written? That's what I thought. Don't worry though. The guy that translated it, that wrote a commentary on it, that taught you what you believe didn't believe it either, so you're not alone. The fact remains that you have a problem with final authority. That's true even if you are a TR man.

Simple concept: If the absolute standard of/in anything is somehow variable, flexible, or imperfect, what comes from it insofar as absoluteness and perfection is concerned is not a secret.

Doubt concerning the practical perfection of scripture is now a theological precept rammed down the heart of every student that heads off somewhere to learn the Bible. They are taught that there is no final authority. Lo, Billy Graham, women's libbers, Promise Keepers, are holding hands with the Pope: These are the fruits of a Christianity (?) without a final authority. They are relativists. They are free agents. The best they can do is what "feels" right. The worst they can do is what "feels" good. They have one thing in common: They have no final authority.

OK. I'll just say it outright. The AV 1611 King James Bible is God's final authority for mankind today. Many of you even know the reasons. Universal language of the last days, manuscript evidence, internal evidence, moral character of its translators, inconsistency of its critics, corruption of its competitors, its fruitfulness through the centuries. All these point to the AV being the crowning work of the Holy Spirit insofar as Bible preservation goes.

In the last days of this 20th century, I can't reasonably expect lost Americans to embrace the King James as their final authority uninstructed. I can expect God's men, women and children to accept and believe it. Trouble is that experience has shown that lost folks walking according to the course of this world, dead in trespasses and sins, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, those who are by nature the children of wrath....HEY, LISTEN UP....THEY'RE more likely to believe it than the children of God, nay, than the MEN OF GOD! Why? Because ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, lost people oft have less of an authority problem than God's people.

I can sense that some of you might just be rolling your eyes about now. You might be half-honestly ignorant. You might be willingly ignorant. You may not like my tone of writing, or perhaps you're just a whitewashed academic sitting around on your spiritually respectable backside on some chair of higher learning. You might even be a dyed in the wool TR man, who would just love to change the AV in 25-50 places (might as well be 30,000). Maybe you're a Promise Keeper. You have a problem with Final Authority. My brethren, an honest man would sense that in his own heart. An honest man wouldn't be able to rest, much less teach otherwise, until he had sorted out the contradiction in his own heart.

God either lied about His words or He didn't. God either did what He said He would do or He didn't. Either a scholastic is smart enough to correct what God did or he isn't. You either have a plain, pure, inspired, preserved copy of scripture or you are a free agent, without FINAL AUTHORITY.

There are two (2) reasons why God's people have sold out God's Book for a mess of potage. Neither have anything to do with the original languages. Final Authority is a heart thing. I'll discuss the two reasons next time.

'Til then, "let God be true and every man a liar".

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