John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
The True Scriptures can become false to a reader if that reader falsely interprets the scriptures. This is a danger we must all beware of. While opinions may differ regarding prophecies concerning the future, nevertheless the scriptures are crystal clear on vital matters which affect the salvation of the soul. Included in these issues is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That He is God manifest in the flesh, the sinless man (in nature as well as actions), the crucified Saviour, the risen Lord and the ascended High Priest are matters beyond dispute.
If some come to the scriptures with preconceived ideas, and are determined by sophistical arguments to impose their views upon the scriptures, despite the fact that the scriptures flatly contradict them, then they falsify the scriptures for themselves and are thus deceived.
A classical example of this is the Christadelphian sect. While searching the scriptures with diligence and sincerity, they seek by argumentation to make the scriptures teach their own preconceived ideas in spite of the fact that the scriptures condemn such views. Their sincerity and zeal in bible study might deceive believers into giving an ear to their false doctrines.
Included in the Christadelphian false teaching about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is the denial that the Lord existed before His birth in Bethlehem. The plain language of the whole of John's gospel states that the Lord came from heaven. But let us concentrate on the passage, John 6. 25-51, for here the Lord Himself condemns unbelief in His pre-existence.
The Lord had just fed the 5,000. Crowds followed Him, hoping to have a daily supply of bread as their ancestors had in the wilderness, 'Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and you were filled', v. 26. But the Lord admonished them to seek the spiritual food that gives eternal life, which He alone could provide to those who believe in Him. 'Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life'; This is the work of God, that ye believe Him whom He hath sent', vv. 27 and 29. But the crowd persisted, yes they would believe, if He provided them with a daily ration of bread, vv. 30 and 311 But the Lord also persisted in turning their minds from the material bread. The true bread from heaven was not provided by Moses but by the One from heaven. 'My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven', vv. 32 and 33. Then the Lord declares Himself to be that eternal-life-giving bread from Heaven, 'I am the bread of life'; 'For I came down from heaven', vv. 35 and 38. But they did not believe that He came down from heaven, v. 38. Belief that He is the One who came down from Heaven is a condition of receiving eternal life, 'This is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth in Him, may have everlasting life', v. 40. But the Jews continued in their unbelief, they could not believe that He came from heaven. 'They said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?', v. 42. Their refusal to believe in Him as the One from heaven proved that they had not been drawn to Him by the Father, vv. 37, 44 and 45. The Lord further declares that He has seen the Father, v. 46. Also that receiving Him as the One from heaven is necessary for eternal life, 'I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever', v. 51.
All this can be summed up in the plain language of the Lord and the belief of His true disciples. 'I leave the world, and go to the Father'. His disciples said to Him, 'Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb', John 16. 28-29.
The implication of this disbelief that He is the Lord from heaven is that He is no more than an ordinary man. Therefore He could not be the Saviour of the world. 'He said to them, 'Ye are from beneath; 1 am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins', John 8. 23-24.
It is difficult to understand how sincere and intelligent people can believe that the scriptures teach something which the scriptures themselves deny in the simplest language. But this only serves to demonstrate how subtle and yet complete can the influence of preconceived ideas when approaching scripture. We must try to approach scripture devoid of preconceived ideas, that is with 'open minds and in meekness of spirit'. 'The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple', Psa. 119. 130.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.