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Topic: The Nature of the Church

Where Do You Get Your Beliefs?

by Darrel Cline

We have made the claim (143) that reality determines the quality of our experience. This is a more basic issue than faith. I would like to pursue this a bit further.

It is true that what we believe colors how we respond to the events of our experience. We respond with joy or grief. This determines the quality of our experience. It could be argued then that faith determines the quality of our experience. But, as we said, faith can be misplaced. A misplaced faith does have an impact on our experience. For example, if we believe that we shall go to heaven because of the works we do for Jesus, we may well face persecution for Jesus in this life as an inevitable, and predicted, result of our faithfulness and, because we expect it, we may respond quite well to it. However, when we die and Jesus rejects us because we trusted in our good works instead of His death in our place, the false faith that we exercised will then be confronted by reality. So, it is true that what we believe affects the quality of our experience. But, it is only true until reality sets in.

We used the example of Purgatory to show how faith can be misplaced and not corrected by experience until it is too late. We made the claim that people who believe in Purgatory don't go to heaven when they die. If the faith is legitimate, all who believe in Purgatory go to Purgatory. But, if the faith is not legitimate, Purgatory is replaced in reality by Hell.

This means that it is incredibly important that we believe the Truth. And how shall we know the Truth? Some say the church will tell us the Truth. But the church has been notorious in its manipulation of the Truth over many centuries...using it to forward its own agenda in this world. People who still believe in the church today are simply people who don't want to take the trouble to find the Truth.

But, someone will object, the church is God's instrument for the Truth in this world. That is true. But it is only the instrument; it is not the source of the Truth.

So, what is the source? That's easy: the Word of God. God is the Truth and whatever He says is true. The Bible has been validated as the True Word of God over centuries. Men's interpretations have been flawed on occasion, but the Truth remains unaffected by human interpretation. What's the point? This: anyone who wants to know the Truth and can get their hands on a Bible can ask God to reveal the Truth by His Word. Bible study is how people get the Truth. The Bible is where the Church is supposed to get its Truth. When it fails to do that (by substituting tradition and dogmatic pronouncement), we must find the Truth for ourselves. But the Word of God is available, so we can find the Truth if we want to know it. God is willing to guide us into the Truth if we want to go there.

Therefore, the only legitimate source of faith is the declarations of God as they are recorded in His Word. All else could be in serious error and our sincerity of faith will only make our date with reality more difficult if we have sincerely believed in a lie. Where do you get your beliefs?

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This is article #144.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.