What is Your Authority?
by Dr. Ken Matto
(John 7:15 KJV) And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
One of the major reasons that the leaders of Israel hated Jesus so much was simply because they were living by a corrupted form of religion and here the Lord Jesus comes on the scene and starts speaking to them in their own language. I am not speaking of the Hebrew language, I am speaking of the language of Scripture. They did not know that the Lord Jesus was the author of the Scriptures since He was the Great I Am of Sinai. He astonished them that someone could actually know the elements of the Law without having gone to school to learn them. In fact, even when He was twelve years old the Lord astonished all the Doctors of the law. (Luke 2:47 KJV) And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. Here was the Great I Am of Sinai standing before them but as a young child.
Here is a great encouragement for every believer. (Psa 119:99 KJV) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. How does one gain more understanding than their teachers? This is not to say that God does not ordain Bible teachers but it should be the desire of every true Christian to excel in the study of the Scriptures to the point that they know more than their teachers. We have the greatest mind in the universe opening the Scriptures to us and that is the Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:27 KJV) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. When you sit down and study the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the truths of Scripture. Some understanding may come from a multitude of times of searching and studying, Some understanding will come immediately. The great thing about studying the Scriptures is that you may read a verse a hundred times and it makes no impact and suddenly you will be reading that same passage and then it just about jumps off the page at you.
The thing that made the Jewish leaders angry with Jesus was the fact that Jesus came preaching a pure doctrine and that pure doctrine was a threat to the putrid religion they were teaching. By the time Jesus came on the scene, the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures had become very corrupted. This happens when a Scripture is made subject to the one who is teaching or commenting. The reason why there is such a great gulf between the teachings of the unsaved and teachings of the saved is because the Bible is a closed book to the unsaved while it is an open, living book to the believer. The Bible is also a closed book to those who choose to veil the true meanings of the Scripture according to a system of religion. There is a man on Pal Talk who continually claims that Proverbs 1:29 is the overriding verse in the Bible which teaches that people have free will to accept or reject Christ. (Prov 1:29 KJV) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: What this man neglected to do was to use the Biblical principle of hermeneutics and that is to compare Scripture with Scripture. If you compare Proverbs 1:29 to Ephesians 2:5, you would see that the free will interpretation of Proverbs 1:29 falls flat on its face. (Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2:1 & 5 teach that man is dead in sins and when we know this fact, we will know why those mentioned in Proverbs 1:29 did not choose to fear the Lord, simply because dead men have no choice, they are dead. Yet, the erroneous isolation of Proverbs 1:29 has allowed this man to build his entire doctrine and teaching on whatever he wants and that is free will.
This is done in the pulpits and the classrooms of the major seminaries all over the world. If a school or church espouses a certain doctrine, then they will filter the entire Bible through that system. Look at the system of Dispensationalism and you will see that the entire Bible is filtered through that system. Now a person walks into a dispensational church where they espouse the doctrine of a literal millennium and then asks how they fit one thousand years into Matthew 24:29. (Mat 24:29 KJV) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: If you notice in this verse, it speaks of a time of tribulation and immediately following that tribulation the sun is darkened which means the moon will not give its light, plus the stars are beginning to fall from heaven. This means that the universe is disintegrating, it does not mean the world is going to go on for another thousand years. So what will be the answer from those who are the church leaders? They will approach that person and ask them to leave the church.
The sad thing is that we live in a day when those who espouse the Bible as their source of understanding rather than a man made system or some theologian, are being made outcasts in the churches. Church leaders today are more steeped in the teachings of men than in the teachings of Scripture. When you ask them about this, they will tell you that they are bible believing Christians. The sad truth is that if your theology is filtered through a man like Scofield or John Calvin, then you are a system believing Christian rather than a Bible believing Christian. Now there may be much Bible taught in various theological systems but those Scriptures are being filtered through whatever system is adhered to. This is the normal operations of all churches today. The Bible is a secondary book in the majority of churches. That sounds wrong but listen to your Pastor to see how many theologians or other pastors he quotes along with the Bible, if any Bible at all.
What got the Lord Jesus in trouble with the religious leaders of His day was the fact that He quoted the Scriptures. What they were living by at that time was a commentary based religion which could be changed on a whim. The purity of Scripture has always been the bane of church leaders simply because they are trained in systems and if they go outside those systems they will be relieved of their duties. Even in non-denominational churches you will still hear denominational preaching. How many independent churches teach the dispensational gospel? By adhering to standard dispensationalism, they are not being non-denominational. All they are doing is transferring the standard teaching to a new assembly, which really is nothing new. To teach the same old teachings is to be status quo. So Solomon is correct when he says there is nothing new under the sun.
The difference between a true bible preaching church and a denominational hand-me-down is that the true bible church, when reading the Scriptures comes across a word like ďelectionĒ or ďpredestinationĒ and does not explain it away according to some system. They face those words and interpret them according to what the Bible teaches, not a system of theology which the pastor came out of. Free will people claim that you are Godís Elect if you accept the Lord. Where is that taught in Scripture? It is taught nowhere but is nothing more than a filtered teaching. If that Pastor would teach that Godís Elect were chosen from the foundation of the world, then that would be true bible teaching. We must be able to discern between true Bible preaching and filtered systematic teaching with a bias. Once we do that we will be saving our spiritual mind from being overtaken by a system.
Christians condemn the cults because of their false teachings which will never lead anyone to Heaven, and that is the way it should be. We need to expose those cults which promise Heaven but only deliver Hell. Yet, the same principles that the cults work on are alive and well in the church. Cults are very systematized and so is the majority of churches. Walk into any Methodist, Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, etc., and you will see systems in place. If you go outside their parameters, you will be asked to leave. This is the plight of the true Bible based Christian. If you hold to the Bible alone and the Bible contradicts a churchís creed, confession, or commentary, then you will be asked to leave. It is a shame that many Christians have been booted out of their churches simply because they clung to the Scriptures as their authority and that is the major issue. What is your authority? Is it theologians, commentaries, confessions, creeds, or a systematic theology? In fact, 165 Christians were kicked out of Gardendale Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas because they refused and rejected the Purpose Driven Church agenda coming into their church. They were literally thrown out because they refused to follow a man and his twisted, new age based system. Arenít we supposed to be following Christ and not men? Welcome to our church!
The Lord Jesus Christ held to the true teachings of Scripture and that went against the leadership. One reason they feared Jesus so much was because they were afraid that Rome was going to come and remove the leadership. It is the same in the church. If a Pastor is making $50,000 a year and all the perks, do you think he wants to be proven wrong on theology in front of an entire church and risk losing a cushy position? This is why those who hold to the Scriptures as their only authority will not be welcomed in the majority of Churches. Donít feel bad, you are in good company, the Lord Jesus was ostracized because He held to the Scriptures as His authority.
So donít think it strange when the fiery trial of rejection comes upon you for holding higher the Word of God than the words of men. We have come to a point in history where the interpretations of men have become the standard by which we govern a church. The modern Protestant Church has come to condemn the practice that the Roman Catholic Institution held for many years and that is that only the clergy were qualified to interpret the Bible. Wait a minute, donít be so quick to say amen because in the modern Protestant Church we have the writings of men which interpret and interpolate the Bible according to a system. So what is the difference? There principle is the same. The Christians who sit in the pews are counseled from the pulpit that they need to study their Bibles and when they discover a legitimate Bible truth which goes against what the church is teaching, they are castigated and handed church approved literature to change their views, or better yet, to get them back into the mindless acceptance of the infallibility of the pulpit. In essence, the Protestant Clergy do the same thing as the Catholic Clergy. They quash the teachings of Scripture in the light of their favorite theologian or established teachings.
There are two main reasons why the Protestant Church in modern times has suffered 90% loss of power. Number One, they continue to foster the use of modern prostitute versions, and number two, the writings of men have superseded the Scripture in usage in the churches. Find a church that doesnít have a book rack or book table stacked with the Pastorís favorite theologians. In conclusion, I want to stress that you continue to study your King James Bibles and donít let yourself be diverted into commentary land as your primary source of material. The Bible is not the final authority, it is the only authority, because it has no equal on this earth. No commentary is a living book like the true word of God. Stick with it until your last breath. (3/4/05)