Christianity’s Watershed Point
A watershed is an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. One example that often comes to mind is a continental divide, which is the biggest of all watersheds. In the USA there is a continental divide which goes through the Rocky Mountains and from which all rivers drain either east or west. In the natural and physical world it is absolutely impossible for rivers east of this divide to drain to the Pacific Ocean in the west because of this great watershed.
There is another watershed in the spiritual world also that we need to be aware of. This watershed point has even greater implications for Christians than anything in the natural world. You probably thinking that I’m going to talk about the gospel and the teaching of faith. Certainly, the teaching on faith, and how we are justified by Grace through faith, is the central point and teaching of Christianity and our salvation. In regard to our conversion and salvation, these teachings on faith, and how a person is justified before God, are the watershed points for an individual’s salvation. However, when it comes to the future and continuation of Christianity, and of individual Christian’s faith, in this world there’s another important teaching that is also a watershed point. It is the teaching about the Word of God, the Bible. This teaching is referred to as the teaching on the authority and/or inerrancy and/or infallibility of the Bible. Below is a few simple verses used to prove the Bible’s own claim to be perfect and without error. These are only a small sampling.
–14 I (Jesus) have given them (His disciples) Your (God’s) word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. –John 17:17, NKJV
—All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, –2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
–(Jesus said when praying for His disciples) Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. –John 17:17
— …and the Scripture (Bible) cannot be broken, –John 10:35
To believe that the Bible has errors in it is to lead people into heresy and possible unbelief. There are a number of liberal churches, of all denominations, to which this has happened. However, to date, there are only two churches that I know of in the USA that have turned this heresy around and they are the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. And both, although they have won the first battle(s) to maintain inerrancy as part of their beliefs, are still fighting the war.
Therefore, if a person comes to you and say’s something to the effect that they “believe in the Word of God as the source and norm of all faith and practice (good works),” do not be satisfied with this. This is not enough. Ask them also what they believe about the Word of God, the Bible. Ask them if they believe it is totally infallible and without error. Ask them if they also believe that it is accurate when it speaks about matters of Science and History. Understand that if they believe there are scientific or historical errors in the Bible then they are headed down the wrong road. While they might be able to stay faithful to God, history has proven that church’s which deny the accuracy of the Bible, in matters of Science and History, eventually begin to decay spiritually and fall into lifestyles and sins not pleasing to God. This means that they allow this to happen in their personal lives and also they will likely bring it into the church.
To deny (should be the word believe) the Word of God has any error in it is first of all unbiblical but, more importantly, is a death sentence to churches and the salvation of souls.
Good books to read on this are “The Battle for the Bible – 1976” and “The Bible in Balance – 1979” both written by Harold Lindsell, a Bible scholar and former editor of Christianity Today. The first one was recommended to me by former Pastor Harold Schweigert from, Saint Peter’s Lutheran church in Edina, MN, back in the 70’s when I attended his Bible Study and had questions about the accuracy of the Bible.
What is the value of this article? Well, there is a developing cultural attitude out there that says, “It doesn’t matter what church you go to” or “You can be saved in any church.” This simply is not true. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). If the word of God (Bible) is not preached clearly and fully (to include Law and Gospel) by churches that have corrupted or compromised their teachings of the Bible, then a person may not be led to salvation in that church. In order for the teaching on salvation by grace through faith, and not of works, (Ephesians 2:8) to be preserved, and the gospel to be properly proclaimed, the Word of God must be retained, respected, and trusted in its entirety. This can only be the case if a person accepts that the Bible is completely infallible and without error. Sometimes Christians chose to compromise their church attendance, and attend churches that do not believe that the Bible is without error. This typically happens for practical reasons or in the name of expediency. They may remain firm in their faith, although a steady diet of false doctrine will begin to erode and possibly destroy their faith. But even if their faith does remain intact then the other issue to consider is the faith and salvation of their children, who will never hear the pure Word of God as they have.