The Bible is not enough! Really?
By Chuck Bartlett
I enjoy talking with the people who contact us after watching our TV program or listening to our radio broadcast. However, there are times when they say things that are hard to believe. One such statement came last week. During our conversation, I was told that we cannot stay just with the Bible to know if we are saved. Really? Let’s think this through.
We recently finished a gospel meeting that focused on the importance of the word of God. Establishing its inspiration was vital (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21; Gal. 1:12). Because we know that God communicated with mankind and preserved these messages for our learning, the impetus is on us to read and respect what He said (Rom. 15:4; John 20:31; John 16:13). What would be the ramifications of relying on any other source to establish one’s salvation?
First, by going beyond the written word of God, you have destroyed the standard. Some may not immediately recognize this as an issue, but we can use an example to help explain this. I received a call from a man who was convinced that having a religious experience is what would determine if we are saved, not just having the word of God. Is there a problem with this? There are several!
How can a person prove that what they experienced was from God? This is important because we have an adversary, and he uses many wiles to deceive (I Pet. 5:9; Eph. 6:11; II Tim. 3:13). Therefore, if a person had a religious experience that convinced them they were saved, there would be no way to prove or disprove it – even if it contradicted God’s written word! Without a standard of authority, no one will have the ability to determine what is objectively right or wrong since all experiences are personal.
When a person rejects the Bible as our sole source of authority, it is common to hear religious people talk about what they “feel” to be right. They may question whether God really meant what He said in the scriptures or whether certain verses are still relevant today. They are also convinced that they are right the Lord and do not have to prove anything to anyone. This is absurd because Christians are told to give an answer for the hope that is within them (I Pet. 3:15). We have come full circle because, without a standard, we cannot give an answer if someone believes there is not right or wrong answer.
This also creates problems regarding evangelism. Even though Christ gave the commission to teach the gospel (Mark 16:15), using more than the scriptures to accomplish this work will create followers of men, not followers of Christ. If someone tries to convince others by using feelings or offering testimony of a personal experience, they are implicitly wanting their listeners to put their trust in them. If you tell someone that you feel your religious experience was by the hand of God and they ask you to prove it, what would you say? The only thing you can say is, “I just know it!” There is no way to independently verify this, thus the person is putting their trust in you rather than in the Lord.
By staying just with the inspired word of God, we are encouraging people to trust in the Lord and not in man (Eph. 6:10). A religion that is based upon anything more than the Bible is a religion build upon man. True children of God build their foundations upon the apostles and prophets, with Jesus being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). If you want to speak to someone about salvation or any other spiritual subject, listen to the words of Peter: “If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.” (I Pet. 4:11).