My next trip to speak at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey will be from January 26 to February 4. While there, I will speak on both Sundays (Jan. 27 and Feb. 3), teach Sunday School on both Sundays, meet with the leaders of the chapel to discuss the issue of deacons, and lead a Saturday Seminar on Feb. 3 on my book DocTALK! Whew!
My two Sunday school lessons will be on Ephesians 2. But I want to focus on the two messages I will give on Sunday morning. Both will be entitled —
Some preliminary points must be acknowledged:
1. We already believe many things. We all have a way of looking at life, at the world, at God.
2. The validity of what we believe does not depend on our sincerity. We can be sincerely wrong.
3. A belief is only as valid as the evidence for that belief.
4. “Belief” is a word that can mean a variety of things. It can be simply an opinion (“I believe the Yankees will win the World Series this next year!”). Or it can be a matter of life or death (“I believe we should cut the RED wire!”).
5. There are consequences to our beliefs.
Let’s think this morning about our authority for what we believe. Typically, when it comes to religious beliefs (those having to do with God), there are four possible authorities upon which people rely. They are: REASON, EXPERIENCE, ECCLESIASTICAL TRADITION, or REVELATION.
REASON says I will believe only what makes sense to me, what seems “rational.” But we believe many things that can’t be scientifically “proven.” REASON alone is not enough.
EXPERIENCE shouldn’t be one’s final authority, for experiences are often unreliable and prone to deception.
ECCLESIASTICAL TRADITION for many Christians is their final authority. “I believe what my church believes!” But what if one’s church is wrong?
SUPERNATURAL REVELATION! The Bible alone is God’s Word and should be our final authority in what we believe!
In our next post, we will continue our discussion about our final authority, the Word of God, the Bible. (to be continued)