CONFLICTING VOICES

E.R. Hall, Jr.

            "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,..” (Hebrews 1:1,2). Any voice not in agreement with God's Word is a conflicting voice. We hear a lot of voices in the religious world and they all profess to be speaking God's Word. Yet, they conflict each other and this has lead to the different denominations that are in existence.

            I have yet to meet a preacher, or hear one preach, who does not say he is preaching what the Bible says. They all claim to preach only what God would have them preach. However, when I compare what they preach with what I preach, there are clear differences. Several years ago, I attended the funeral of my aunt. The preacher made the statement several times that he only wanted to preach what God would have him to preach. Well, that's exactly what I want to do so I expected him to preach the same things I preach. As his sermon progressed it was obvious that he and I don't preach the same things especially when it come to what a person must do to be saved. He was telling his audience to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and I've never preached that. Is he preaching God's word? If he is, then what am I preaching when I preach something different from him? Is he sincere in what he preaches? I'm sure he is but, then again, so am 1. One or the other of us is right or it could be possible that we are both wrong but we both can't be right. If I were to ask two people what is the sum of 3,250 and 6,750 and one answered 10,000 and the other answered 100,000, could I say both were right? So, in religious matters, we are divided and yet both he and I profess to be worshiping the same God and preaching the message of God.

            What is the way to solve this dilemma? Can I compare him to me? No! "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12). There has to be a higher standard by which we can measure the things being taught in the religious world. That standard of reference is to be the Word of God.

            We must take God's Word and take God at His Word. It is not for me or anyone else to interpret what God says because God means what He says. If I tell my children to go to the store for milk and bread, they do not have to interpret what I said, they must simply do what I've told them to do. When Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16) that is not left up to anyone's interpretation. We must simply do what He says. Since I can no where read in the Bible that a person must accept Christ as their personal Savior, I would be conflicting with what God says to preach such a thing. When we read: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24), anyone who teaches a person is saved the moment they believe is a voice conflicting with what God has said.

            In all that we hear taught, let us compare it to God's Word and be sure we are "rightly dividing the word of truth" (l Timothy 2:15). God means what He says and says what He means. No one needs to interpret what God has said. It is when God's Word is interpreted that all these conflicting voices can be heard.