Everybody has an opinion! Some people say they are like armpits, everyone has them and they all stink. Opinions are not necessarily bad, but in this age of blogs and social networking, it seems that the most important thing is making our opinions known. This is really nothing new. Jeffersonian political theory, unfortunately spilled over into other areas in the early 1800’s and splintered the American church into thousands of denominations, each espousing their own unique brand of the Christian Faith.
My Doctrine – AUDIO
Though there were many denominations before that time, they were largely connected to ethnic backgrounds, The Scots were Presbyterians, the English Anglicans and the Germans Lutheran for the most part. The saddest thing about what happened in the American church in the 1800’s was that most of the newer denominations threw out the the standard interpretation that those many previous denominations largely agreed upon. This is not to say they were in perfect harmony, but they were in agreement on the most important truths for the most part. In place of what had been taught and believed for the previous 300 years (restored truths buried by Rome in the Dark Ages) everyone became their own interpreter. Often times, training in language and interpretation were shunned and even made fun of by these egalitarian sects.
Studying John’s Gospel, I see that this is just another manifestation of man’s desire to be in control even if he is largely ignorant of the realities he seeks to govern. In John 7, Jesus is has gone to Jerusalem for a feast. We read:
John 7:14-18 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” 16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.
Jesus came, armed with doctrine from heaven. His Father had given Him the things He taught. All of what He said was rooted in previously revealed truth from the Old Testament! Yet the more He spoke, the more conjecture came back to Him from the crowd.
John 7:26-27 But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? 27 However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”
John 7:31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”
John 7:40-43 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him.
They make partial reference to the Scriptures, but assume what they know about Jesus. They could have found more about Him if they would take the time to look. Read Matthew or Luke’s Gospel some time and pay particular attention to phrases like, “for thus it is written by the prophet” The problem of men assuming that their knowledge was sufficient and rejecting the proper study of God’s revelation was common even in Jesus’ day. If anything, it has proliferated in our day. People are looking for soundbites and maxims, but not for solid theology. If it sounds good to most of us, we will accept it, especially if it goes along with our presuppositions. This is critical information and we don’t want to get it wrong because we are tool lazy to dig it out or to comfortable to be troubled by truth. Yet, sadly this is where most of us reside. After 52 verses of discussion among the people and their religious leaders, those leaders made a pronouncement and then John tells us’
John 7:53 And everyone went to his own house.
For all of the talk, nothing really changed. No one was persuaded one way or the other,but hey, everybody had their say. What about you? Are you satisfied with mere opinions? Will you dig in and receive the uncomfortable truths? Will you allow truth to change you or will you try to exert your will on the truth?
My Doctrine – AUDIO