In short, we need to get back to the Bible.
God told the Old Testament prophet, Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). We are witnessing the same thing in America.
In Ecclesiastes 12:12, Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end.” But of all the books ever made, from every part of the world and every period in human history, there’s no book like the Bible. Never has been and never will be.
The Word of God stands alone as the most unique book of all time, and makes claims for itself no other book has or ever can or will make. For example, the Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In other words, Scripture is not only inspired by Almighty God, but also extraordinarily sufficient to equip us fully and completely for every good work. The Word of God is perfect and penetrating with the power to revive the soul (Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 19:7). It is unchanging and eternal (Isaiah 40:8), completely trustworthy (Psalm 111:7) and will endure forever (1 Peter 1:25).
John the apostle declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made … The Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14 paraphrased).
JESUS said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
But the Bible does us no good if we don’t know what it says, or if we do know but we do nothing about it.
Dr. James Montgomery Boice said, “In Martin Luther’s day, sola Scriptura had to do with the Bible being the sole ultimate authority for Christians over against challenges to it from the traditions of the medieval church, church councils, and the pope. The Reformers wanted Scripture to stand alone as the church’s true authority. Today, at least in the evangelical church, that is not our chief problem; we assert biblical authority. Rather, our problem is in deciding whether the Bible is sufficient for the church’s life and work. We confess its authority, but we discount its ability to do what is necessary to draw unbelievers to Christ, enable us to grow in godliness, provide direction for our lives, and transform and revitalize society.”
“So we substitute such things as Madison Avenue methodology for biblical evangelism, special ‘religious’ experiences rather than knowledge of the Word to promote and guarantee sanctification, special revelations for discerning the will of God for our lives, and a trust in the power of votes and money to change society. In other words, in the sixteenth century the battle was against those who wanted to add church traditions to Scripture, but in our day the battle is against those who would have us use worldly means to do God’s work.” 1
We see that in a number of churches led by clever, charismatic entertainers better suited for a comedy club than the church. And even though they pepper their presentation with verses that support their theme, it would be inaccurate to describe what they do as “biblical preaching.” In some situations they would probably be glad to separate themselves from being called a Bible preacher and calling what they do preaching the Bible, to saying they are simply giving a “talk.”
If we were talking about a civic club, a country club, parent/teacher organization or even a comedy club, no problem. But we’re talking about the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and the absence of the Bible when it comes to our pastors, our pulpits and our people is a HUGE problem.
In too many places, the focus is no longer the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, but rather has become about the one speaking and how good he is doing it. Don’t believe me? Just listen to people talk, post and tweet about their favorite preachers and how good they are, etc., instead of exalting Christ or the Scriptures. (Read that sentence again.) We shouldn’t be surprised though because telling people what they want to hear and what makes them feel good doesn’t move people closer to the Son of God or the Word of God. In fact, it does the opposite. It mirrors the culture and makes disciples who love, look and live like the world.
Joseph Stowell said, “Our culture fans the flames of this preoccupation with self by preaching the importance of self-advancement, self-enhancement, and self-fulfillment. It’s the old ‘Look Out for #1’ syndrome, which has led our culture to clamor for personal rights, privileges, and recognition.” How many modern-day messages in churches and their social media platforms mimic that very thing?
“Telling people what they want to hear and what makes them feel good doesn’t move people closer to the Son of God or the Word of God. In fact, it does the opposite. It mirrors the culture and makes disciples who love, look and live like the world.”
Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, former pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, said, “It is my prayer that no man shall ever stand in this pulpit as long as time shall last who does not desire to have all that he does based upon this Book. For this Book does not contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. And though we may preach the Word with all the stammering limitations of our human nature, the grace of God does the miracle or the ministry, and through human lips speaks the divine Word, and the hearts of the people are refreshed. There is no other explanation for the continuing power of a church that is poorly located, that is without endowment, but which continues to draw men and women to the capacity of its seating arrangements, morning and evening, summer and winter, and which sends its sons and daughters by the score to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ throughout the world.” 2
Whenever someone, no matter who, attempts to minimize or marginalize the Bible, Christians need to stand up and speak up. Especially when it happens in a church or church-related setting. For those who think we’re making too big a deal out of a book or would accuse us of bibliolatry (worshiping the Bible), listen to these words...
“This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy. Its precepts are binding. Its histories are true and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, ruffle the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It’s given you in life, will be open at judgment, and remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents.” 3
If we want to have any hope of a future, if we want daily direction we can trust, if we want to anchor ourselves to something that will withstand the test of time, look no further than the Bible. 1 Peter 1:25 says, “But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”
Paul warned Timothy the time would come when people wouldn’t want to hear the Word anymore. Literally, they wouldn’t “put up with sound doctrine” anymore. Instead, they would surround themselves with preachers who tell them what their “itching ears” want to hear. In spite of that, his responsibility would always be to “Preach the Word!” (2 Timothy 4:2).
That’s still our responsibility today and still the only hope for our world. We need to get back to the Bible. Preach it. Teach it. Love it and live it.
Not the words of men, but THE WORD OF GOD.
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
1 Boice, James Montgomery. Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?: Rediscovering the Doctrines That Shook the World. Crossway Books, 2009. Pg. 66.
2 Ibid. Pg. 68.
3 Moorehead, Bob. Counsel Yourself & Others from the Bible: the First Place to Turn for Life's Tough Issues. Multnomah Books, 1994. Pg. 102.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.