September 23rd, 2011 | By admin
From Heaven or From Men?
Marvin L. Weir
The question that serves as the title of this article is as valid today as it was when Jesus asked it.
Most people who profess to be religious are unwilling to accept the authority of Christ. Such was true of the chief priests and elders during Christ’s earthly ministry and such is true in the religious world today. Matthew gives this account of the incident:
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question, which if ye tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multitude; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matt. 21:23-27).
Let us apply the question that Jesus asked to different religious groups today and see if they fare any better than the chief priests and elders did.
The Universalists teach that there is no hell to which one can go and that all people are going to be saved. Such is indeed a most comforting teaching, but we must ask if this teaching comes from God or from man? God’s Word says that sinners will “go away into eternal punishment: but the righteousinto eternal life” (Matt. 25:36). Mark warns people not to stumble or to cause others to stumble and thus enter into “the unquenchable fire ” where the “worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-44). Furthermore, Jesus teaches that most people will not be saved because they choose to travel the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). Thus, it is obvious that the doctrine of Universalism comes from men and not from God!
The Methodist manual entitled Doctrines and Disciplines of the Methodist Church in Article IX (Articles of Religion) says, “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord andSaviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.” Does this teaching come from God or from man?
The Bible states a truth that reveals the Methodist Discipline for what it really is – false teaching! The Word of God declares, “Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith” (James 2:24). The Methodists and most other mainstream Protestant groups teach that man is saved by faith only. The Bible says man is not saved “only by faith. ” Thus, Methodist teaching comes from men and not from Heaven.
The Baptists teach that religion doesn’t matter – only a personal relationship with God. A sinner simply must by faith accept Jesus Christ into his heart and make Jesus the Lord of his life. They believe that the instant one yields his heart in this manner he is saved.
The Bible teaches that one must hear the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), believe what he has heard (John 8:24), repent (Luke 13:3), confess (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). There is more to obeying the gospel than just accepting Jesus Christ into your heart and saying that He is now the Lord of your life. Thus, the Baptist plan of salvation comes from men and not from God.
The Roman Catholic church teaches that authority resides in the church and that the Pope is the head of the church. The Word of God teaches that all authority resides in Christ (Matt. 28:18). The Wordof Christ is truth (John 17:17). All will be judged by the Word that Christ has spoken (John 12:48). The church, therefore, must conform to the Word of Christ and not vice-versa.
The Bible certainly does not agree with the Pope being the head of the church. The apostle Paul speaking of Christ, says, “and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). We are not to bow down to nor worship mere men (Acts 10:26). Thus, the Roman Catholic church is not from Heaven but from men.
Friends, is there anything in a name? Is one name as good as another? What does the Bible say?
Speaking of the Christ the Scriptures say, “And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven that is given among men, wherein we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Isn’t is amazing that so many claim to love, honor, cherish, and glorify the head (Christ) while being perfectly content to allow His body (the church) to wear any man-made name! As Paul asked so do I, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul” (1 Cor. 1:13)? The name “church of Christ” is from Heaven (Rom. 16:16); man-made names are from men!