Fundamentally WRONG!
By: Rev. Charles C Burnett-Morrow








Having  been  raised  within   an  Evangelical  Fundamentalist church,  I  am  very  aware  that  I  am  about  to  inspire  in  many  of my  readers  a  great  choking  sensation  when  I  say  plainly;  "The whole  Bible,  sixty-six  books  as  we  Protestants  embrace  it today,  is  not  word  for  word  inspired  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  nor  for that  matter  need  it  be."   This  point  is  made  within  the  context of  it's  own  writings  by  it's  very  own  authors.   The  message, however, remains perfect, although the messengers are not!   
     Fundamentalist  Christianity  makes  the  same  insane  mistake as  every  other  major  "fundamentalist"  religious  movement worldwide;  Jewish,  Muslim,  Hindu  and  others,   when  it  insists on  ascribing  to  the  writings  of  mere  men,  namely  the  apostles of  Jesus  Christ,  the  same  level  of  sinless  perfection  as  was embodied in the person of the Lord Himself.

THE MESSAGE/THE MESSENGER
     Too  many  Protestants  see  the  Biblical  writers  wearing  halos and  walking  on  water.   They  too  have  come  to  worship  the creation  more  than  the  creator  (Romans  1:25).   The  Book,  that  is,  more  than  the  divinely  revealed  and  physically  incarnate author.   Fundamentalism  elevates  the  book  first  and  Christ second,  rather  than  the  reverse.   John  the  Baptist  said,  "He must  increase,  but  I  must  decrease,"  (JOHN  3:30)  indicating the  need  for  the  messenger  to  be  swallowed  up  by  the message,  that  message  being  Jesus  Christ  and  Him  crucified.   Paul  echoed  a  similar  sentiment  when  he  said,  "Be  ye  followers of  me,  even  as  I  also  am  of  Christ."  (I  CORINTHIANS  11:1)
   Paul  frequently  made  similar  pleas  that  the  saints  should  follow his  doctrine,  his  example,  and  his  tradition.   (See:  2  THESS. 3:7-9; I THESS. 1:6; PHIL. 3:17; 2 TIM. 3:10; 2 THESS. 2;15).  The  primary  focus  of  each  apostles'  writing  was  never  his claim  of  divine  and  absolute  inspiration,  but  rather  his  having been  endowed  by  the  Master  with  the  responsibility  and authority  of  establishing  Christ's  Church.   The  key  is  found  in their authority, not the presence of absolute inspiration.

 "SCRIPTURE" DEFINED BY THE BIBLE
     It  is  to  our  own  embarrassment  that  we  insist  upon  claiming that  Paul's  statement  in  II  Timothy  3:16  can  somehow  be misconstrued  to  endorse  the  whole  of  our  present  day  Bible, from  Genesis  to  Revelation.   Paul  states,   "All  Scripture  is given  by  inspiration  of  God,  and  is  profitable  for  doctrine,  for reproof,  for  correction,  for  instruction  in  righteousness."   Nowhere  in  this  verse  does  he  endorse  or  even  elude  to  the endorsement  of  his  own  writings,  but  rather  he  speaks specifically  of  a  body  of  written  work  which  indeed  existed  in his  time  which  would  have  been  commonly  referred  to  as "Scripture."   Those  writings  being  the  sum  of  the  Pentateuch, the  writings  of  the  law  of  Moses,  as  well  as  the  historic,  poetic, and prophetic books of the Old Testament.
     The  Lord  Himself  employed  the  term  "Scripture"  when  He said,  "Search  the  Scriptures;  for  in  them  ye  think  ye  have eternal  life:  and  they  are  they  which  testify  of  me."   (John 5:39)   Seeing  that  His  audience  was  the  devout  Jewish  priests, scholars,  and  lawyers  of  His  day,  it  can  be  no  clearer  that  the term  "Scripture"  being  used  here  also  speaks  plainly  of  the  Old Testament  Canon  which  existed  in  that  time.   To  try  and  sweep the  New  Testament  writings  under  the  same  umbrella  is  to  do  a great  injustice  to  the  work  and  ministry  of  the  apostles.   The apostles  were  given  authority  to  exercise  discretion  and  to make  important  decisions  relative  to  the  establishment  of Christ's  church.   To  say  their  Biblical  contributions  are  without human  flaw  or  interjection  is  to  embrace  the  same  misguided notion  millions  of  Roman  Catholics  ascribe  to  the  edicts  and "official positions" taken by the pope.
     Peter  didn't  understand  all  the  looks  he  and  John  were getting  after  the  lame  man  at  the  Temple  gate  was  healed, saying,    "Ye  men  of  Israel,  why  marvel  ye  at  this?  or  why look  ye  so  earnestly  on  us,  as  though  by  our  own  power  or holiness  we  had  made  this  man  to  walk?"  (Acts  3:12)   He made  the  point  clear,  "I'm  only  a  man."   He  made  no  claims  of divine perfection.
     The  fundamentalist  position  on  the  "whole  Bible"  breeds instant  and  unmistakable  hypocrisy.   The  inspiration  of  the  Old Testament  (referred  to  as  "Scripture"  by  Jesus  Christ  Himself, as  well  as  the  apostles  Peter  and  Paul),  is  summed  up  in  II  Peter 1:20-21  "Knowing  this  first,  that  no  interpretation  of  the SCRIPTURE  is  of  any  private  interpretation.   For  the  prophecy CAME  NOT  IN  OLD  TIME  by  the  will  of  men:  but  holy  men of  God  SPAKE  (past  tense  -  no  reference  here  to  himself  or any  of  the  other  apostles)  as  they  were  moved  by  the  Holy Ghost."    We  know  therefore  that  every  Messianic  prophecy and  promise  of  God  for  a  Savior  is  flawless,  and  the  accounts of  God's  miraculous  creation  and  supernatural  works  amongst His  people  are  factual  and  literal  -  beyond  doubt  to  the  Bible-believer.

APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY
     In  writing  their  letters  to  the  early  churches,  the  various apostles  frequently  referenced  their  being  specifically  moved upon  by  the  Holy  Ghost  to  write  certain  things  (I  Timothy  4:1; Revelation  1:11),  while  they  also  clearly  acknowledged  at times  the  lack  of  divine  inspiration  in  writing  other  things  (I Corinthians  7:6;  II  Corinthians  11:16).   The  apostles  frequently  referenced  their  apostolic  authority  when  writing  instruction, but  never  did  they  claim  infallible  inspiration.   (Romans  1:1; 11:13;  I  Corinthians  1:1;  9:1-2;  15:9;  II  Corinthians  1:1;  12:12; Galatians  1:1;  Ephesians  1:1;  Colossians  1:1;  I  Timothy  1:1; 2:7;  II  Timothy  1:1;  I  Peter  1:1;  II  Peter  1:1)   Notice  how  their seal  of  apostleship  is  most  often  referred  to  at  the  very  onset  of their  writing,  so  as  to  establish  the  authority  by  which  they wrote,  without  any  specific  or  implied  claims  of  absolute divine  inspiration  or  flawless  perfection.      If  the  New Testament  had  never  been  written,  but  the  message  of  Jesus Christ  preached  consistently  from  generation  to  generation,  the power  of  the  gospel  to  save  would  have  been  unaffected.   Look  at  the  strength  of  certain  American  Indian  traditions  and beliefs  which  have  been  passed  down  orally  ALONE  for multiple centuries.

APOSTOLIC FOIBLE?
     Did  the  eleven  remaining  apostles  in  the  upper  room  prior to  Pentecost  not  act  out  of  turn  when  electing  a  replacement  for Judas?   And  yet  they  felt  it  the  right  thing  to  do.   Whose  name will  appear  in  the  twelfth  foundation  of  the  city  New  Jerusalem (Rev.  21:14),  the  man  they  elected,  Matthias,  or  God's appointed apostle to the Gentiles, Paul?  (Acts 1:12-26)

WHAT QUALIFIES AS SCRIPTURE?
     Fallible  men  determined  what  the  criteria  was  to  be  by which  New  Testament  writings  were  to  be  recognized  and canonized.   In  doing  so,  they  set  themselves  up  as  judges  as  to what  qualified  as  "infallible  Scripture"  and  what  did  not.   This is  why  the  Protestant  and  Catholic  Bibles  have  differing numbers  of  books.   One  group  of  Catholic  scholars  felt  certain one  set  of  writings  qualified  as  Scripture,  whereas  by  another set  of  Protestant  men's  criteria,  several  books  from  the  Catholic canon  did  not  qualify  for  inclusion.   (I  must  add  here  that  I  do agree  with  their  reasoning  as  the  additional  books  lacked authenticity and apostolic authority.)
     The  most  important  issue  for  the  church  today  is  not  the infallibility   of   the   apostolic   writings,   but   rather   their authenticity.   Because,  after  all,  perfect  or  not,  ONLY  the apostles  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  had  the  divinely  granted RESPONSIBILITY  and  AUTHORITY  to  establish  doctrine  and organize  a  government  in  the  newborn  church  of  Jesus  Christ.   Therefore,  we  must  only  place  our  confidence  in  those  writings which can be fully attributed to apostolic authorship.

FUNDAMENTALIST INDEED!
     I  am  sometimes  amazed  at  so  many,  frankly,  the  vast majority,  of  my  "fundamentalist"  brethren  who  claim  to  be  so devoted  to  their  conviction  in  the  absolute  perfection  of  New Testament  writings  and  yet  a  great  number  of  the  doctrines they  embrace  today  are  in  absolute  contradiction  to  the  clear teachings and example of the early church.
     Case  and  point.   Most  "fundamentalist"  churches  teach  that water  baptism  is  (and  I  could  here  be  quoting  from  any number  of  major  organization's  "Statements  of  Faith")  "an outward  sign  of  an  inward  conversion."   Is  this  the  clear teaching  of  the  Bible?   Absolutely  not!   It  is  in  reality  in  direct contradiction to the clear message of the Biblical authors.
      Jesus  Christ  stated  clearly  in  Mark  16:17   "He  that believeth  and  is  baptized  shall  be  saved..."    The  apostle  Paul later  goes  on  to  embellish  upon  this  point  in  stating,  "The  like figure  whereunto  even  baptism  doth  also  now  save  us..."  (I Peter  3:21)    Paul  stated  clearly  that  to  be  a  part  of  Christ's church  one  must  be  baptized  into  it;   "...so  many  of  us  as  were baptized  into  Jesus  Christ..."  (Romans  6:3)   Every  New Testament  account  of  conversion  ends  not  with  someone's praying  the  fictitious  "sinner's  prayer"  (the  concept  for  which and  an  example  of  which  can  be  found  nowhere  in  the  Bible), but  rather  in  the  new  believer's  being  IMMEDIATELY BAPTIZED  in  water  by  immersion,  even  when  it  meant trekking  to  the  local  river  at  the  wee  hours  of  the  morning,   as was  the  case  of  the  Philippian  jailor  and  his  family  (Acts 16:33)  or  stopping  at  the  most  expedient  watering  hole  as  with Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39).
     Baptism  surely  is  represented  and  taught  by  the  apostles  as having  a  very  important  role  in  the  salvation  process.   After  all, James,  the  brother  of  Jesus  stated  so  clearly,  "Faith  without works  (action)  is  dead"  (James  2:20)   Baptism  is  the  feet  we put  on  our  faith  in  the  message  of  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ.   It is  God's  specifically  prescribed  response  to  our  belief  in  the message  and  turning  from  sin  and  unbelief  (otherwise  called "repentance").  We  cannot  choose  our  own  response  to  the gospel  and  expect  God  to  accept  us.   We  must  respond according  to  His  terms  as  laid  out  by  His  authority  endowed apostles - AND THESE TERMS REQUIRE BAPTISM.

AND NOT JUST ANY BAPTISM.
Again  my  "fundamentalist"  brethren  amaze  me.   Every published  history  of  the  early  Christian  church,  including works  published  by  secular  sources,  as  well  as  the  Roman Catholic  institution  itself,  clearly  bears  record  that  the  only known  formula  for  baptism  in  the  early  church,  through  the second  and  third  centuries,  was  baptism  by  immersion  IN  THE NAME  OF  JESUS  CHRIST  for  the  remission  of  sins.   This  fact is  verifiable  in  any  library  with  a  religious  history  section.   I have  had  far  more  than  one  call  me  in  amazement  and  with great  excitement  requesting  to  be  baptized  in  the  name  of  the Lord  upon  going  to  their  local  library  and  confirming  this absolute fact! 
     On  the  very  birthday  of  the  church  Peter  made  clear  this case  as  he  commanded  all  his  hearers  to,  "Repent,  and  be baptized,  EVERY  ONE  OF  YOU  IN  THE  NAME  OF  JESUS CHRIST  for  the  remission  of  sins..."  (Acts  2:38)   He  led  no  one in  a  "sinners  prayer."   He  left  none  out  of  his mandate  to  be baptized  ("every  one  of  you").   He  left  no  question  as  to  how that  baptism  should  be  administered  ("in  the  name  of  Jesus Christ").   And  he  left  no  question  as  to  the  purpose  that baptism would serve, ("for the remission of sins").
     Peter's  words  perfectly  complimented  the  words  of  Jesus, speaking  of  Himself  in  Luke  24:47  "that  repentance  and remission  of  sins  should  be  preached  IN  HIS  NAME."   Peter, again  in  Acts  4:12  makes  clear  the  case  of  the  necessity  of  the name  of  Jesus  Christ  in  our  conversion experience  when  he says,  "...for  there  is  none  other  name   under  heaven  given among men whereby we must be saved."
     At  the  time  of  Saul's  event  filled  conversion,  Ananias entered  the  room  of   the  blinded  Pharisee  to  lead  him  into  both the  restoration  of  his  sight  and  full  obedience  to  the  gospel.   We  read  his  command,  "And  why  tarriest  thou?  arise,  and  be baptized,  and  wash  away  thy  sins,  CALLING  ON  THE  NAME OF THE LORD." (Acts 22:16)
     "Wash  away  your  sins?"   Most  fundamentalists  today  have separated  both  the  obedient  act  of  baptism  and  the  necessity  of the  saving  name  of  Jesus  Christ  from  the  sin  removal  process. All  they  say  one  need  do  to  be  saved  is  in  effect  say,  "I'm  sorry God."  But that is not what the Bible teaches! 
     "But  ye  are  washed,  but  ye  are  sanctified,  but  ye  are justified  (HOW?)  IN  THE  NAME  OF  THE  LORD  JESUS,  and by  the  Spirit  of  our  God."  (I  Corinthians  6:11)    Paul  here seems  to  almost  echo  the  Lord's  sentiments  when  speaking  to Nicodemus  of  man's  need  to  be  "born  again."   "...Except  a  man be  born  of   water   and  of  the  Spirit,  he  cannot  enter  into  the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
     It  would  seem  so  clear  in  retrospect  that  the  water  spoken  of by  the  Master  was  in  reference  to  water  baptism.   All  the teachings  and  writings  of  the  New  Testament  would  seem clearly  to  endorse  this  truth.   Again,  looking  back  to  Peter's message  at  Pentecost  not  only  did  he  command  baptism  in Jesus  name  for  the  remission  of  sins,  but  he  further  went  on  to GUARANTEE  that  the  same  Holy  Ghost  baptism  he  and  the other  occupants  of  the  upper  room  had  just  experienced  would also  be  available  to  all  his  hearers,  their  descendants,  and  all who  would  later  believe  and  obey  the  gospel  (Acts  2:39).   Born  of  water  (Water  baptism),  and  born  of  the  Spirit  (Holy Ghost  baptism).   What  a  simple  formula  for  seekers  of  truth  to find  within  the  pages  of  any  translation  of  any  Bible;   Catholic, Protestant, even the hideous transliteration of the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation.
        My  dear  friend,  if  you  are  going  to  hold  so  firmly  to  the misguided  premise  that  every  single  word  of  the  New Testament  is  perfectly  inspired  by  God;  why  do  you  not believe  what  is  written?   Why  must  you  twist  and  turn  these "Scriptures"  until  they  say  only  what  you  are  comfortable reading?
     Most  Protestant  churches  in  trying  to  distance  themselves from  the  Catholic  doctrine  of  "works"  have  erred  grossly  by twisting  and  contorting  the  words  of  the  apostles,  and  even  the Lord  Himself.   "Works"  as  an  obedient  act  in  response  to  faith is  mandated  by  the  gospel.   Man-made  efforts  of  goodness, kindness,  charity,  almsgiving,  indulgences,  and  so  on  are nowhere  endorsed  or  encouraged  as  playing  any  part  in winning  God's  favor  or  securing  an  individual's  place  in heaven.

THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY
     By   understanding   that   the   New   Testament   authors possessed  authority,  even  when  they  were  in  absence  of inspiration,  we  are  much  better  able  to  stake  a  legitimate  claim in  Christ's  church.   The  Jews  have  for  centuries  laughed  at Christianity,  rejecting  it  flatly.   Much  of  the  blame  for  this being  our  own!   They  have  seen  our  deification  of  a  book written  by  men  rather  than  a  recognition  of  the  divinity  of  the man  whom  they  wrote  about.   Doctrines  have  crept  into  the church  over  the  centuries  which  would  force  the  apostles  into convulsions.   The  majority  of  false  doctrines  which  have  crept into  Christ's  church   unawares  have  done  so  by  craftily sidestepping  the  absolute  authority  of  apostolic  doctrine  as delivered and articulated by the apostles themselves.
     The  most  heinous  doctrine  to  ever  emerge  was  that  of  the "trinity."    Nowhere  in  the  Bible   is  such  a  term  used  or  such  a doctrine  articulated  and  the  two   verses  most  commonly   used to  endorse  this  tri-theistic  abomination,  Matthew  28:19  and  I John  5:7   are  commonly  held  to  have  even  been  altered  or manipulated  into  Biblical  texts  centuries  after  the  original writings  were  in  circulation,  by  translators  and/or  manuscript copiers,  who  well  meaning  as  they  may  have  been  -  were trying  to  provide  Biblical  support  for  the  fledgling  "trinity" doctrine  which  was  not  ratified  by  formal  decree  until  325 A.D.  at  the  Council  of  Nicea.   (See  Bible  Study   "Daughter  Of Babylon  OR  Daughter  Of  Zion."  also  by  Rev.  Charles  C. Morrow, Jr.)
     It  is  primarily  the  trinity  doctrine  which  has  forced  Old Testament  believing  monotheistic  Jews  to  this  day  to  flatly reject  the  Christ  who  is  offered  as  a  "second  person"  in  a  tri-fold godhead  of  three  distinct  persons.   After  all,  Messiah  was  not to  be  the  second  person,  but  rather  a  revelation  of  the  First (and  only).   Read  carefully  Isaiah  9:6.   The  same  ONE  we  call "Wonderful,"  "Counselor,"  and  "Prince  of  Peace"  is  also  called "THE  EVERLASTING  FATHER."   The  angel  declared  to  Mary that  Immanuel  was  in  her  womb,  Immanuel  being  interpreted "God  with  us"  (Matthew  1:23)  No  mention  of  His  secondary status  as  "eternal  Son."   In  the  book  of  Revelation  only  ONE THRONE  is  seen  and  only  ONE  sets  upon  the  throne.   And that  throne  is  occupied  by  God  and  (even)  the  Lamb!   They  are ONE!   (Rev.  21:1-6;  22:1-4)   Notice  how  all  these  references  use language in the singular person...  I, He, God, His, Him.
     The  Greek  term  "Kai"  interpreted  in  English  frequently  as "and"  may  also  be  interpreted  "even."   (See  I  Cor.  15:24;  II Cor.  1:3;  II  Thess.  2:16;  James  3:9;  Romans  15:6)   In  many cases  "and"  is  used  where  "even"   would  have  made  far  better sense  ,  even  to  the  untrained  or  uneducated  eye.   For  example: Colossians  3:17  states,  "We  give  thanks  to  God  and  the  Father of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ..."   almost  suggesting  here  two persons,  God  as  one  and  the  Father  as  another.   According  to Trinitarian  doctrine,  Jesus  Christ  is  God  ("the  Son").   But  how can  God  be  His  (Christ's)  God  if  they  are  all  part  and  parcel  of a  trifold  deity?   Again,  had  the  term  "even"  been  employed here,  as  it  has  been  in  so  many  other  locations,  it  would  have made  much  clearer  sense.   See  how  interchangeably  these  two terms  are  used  in  II  Cor.  1:2-3  at  the  discretion  of  the translators,  who  may  obviously  have  had  some  doctrinal prejudices.   Matthew  28:19  suddenly  reads  much  more  clearly and  reconciles  with  the  message  of  Peter  at  Pentecost  in  Acts 2:38  when  the  term  "even"  is  inserted  where  the  word  "and"  is currently  used.   Knowing  that  the  mystery  of  Christ  is  not  how God  exists  in  three,  but  rather  how  One  God  could  manifest Himself  to  humanity  in  three  distinct  offices;  Father  (creator), Son  (Flesh  and  blood  Redeemer),  and  Holy  Spirit  (Invisible regenerator  and  giver  of  new  life).   The  bottom  line  being, THESE  THREE  ARE  ONE!   Not  three  persons,  but  three manifestations of ONE SINGULAR PERSONAL GOD.
     How  is  it  that  both  the  person  of  Jesus  Christ  is  attributed with  being  our  Savior  and  yet  God  also  is  many  times  written of  as  "...God  our  Savior?"   (I  Timothy  1:1;  I  Timothy  2:3;  Titus 1:3;  Jude  25)   According  to  Old  Testament  prophecy,  God ALONE  would  be  Israel's  Savior  (Isaiah  43:3-11;  15  Hosea 13:4).
VESSELS OF CLAY
     Understanding  the  authority  of  the  New  Testament  while not  taking  a  radical  "fundamentalist"  stance  regarding  it's inspiration  and  infallibility  does  nothing  to  harm  the  truth  of God.   God's  truth  pours  as  clearly  from  a  vessel  of  clay  as  it does  a  vessel  of  gold.   A  little  sand  in  the  cup  (vessel)  won't kill  you,  but  a  little  poison  in  the  reservoir  (source)  can.   Satan has  successfully  turned  the  eyes  of  the  church  away  from  the apostles  authority  and  caused  many  of  us  to  rush  into  feeding frenzies  upon  one  another  through  our  misguided  literalistic interpretations  of  certain  apostolic  writings  which  clearly  were not  the  byproduct  of  divine  inspiration  as  they  were  the
byproduct  of  cultural  influences,  limited  knowledge,  and  lack of experience.

RECOGNIZING AUTHORITY
     When  pastoring  my  first  church  some  years  ago,  I had  a  marvelous  State  Overseer  (some  would  call  him  a Bishop).   Brother  Chandler  and  I  were  at  odds  as  to  how  we interpreted  a  good  number  of  things  from  the  Bible  as  he  was at  that  time  considerably  less  legalistic  and  conservative  than  I.
He  was,  however,  a  marvelous  man  who  loved  God  dearly  and I  respected  him  greatly.   Therefore,  I  found  it  very  easy  to work  under  him.   I  fully  recognized  his  authority  as  my Overseer  without  any  contempt  or  malice.   I  did  not  however recognize  him  as  being  a  perfect  representative  of  all  that  I believed  at  that  time  to  be  godly  and  Christ-like.   So  long  as these  two  areas  did  not  clash,  there  were  no  problems.  He  too respected  my  responsibility  and  authority  as  pastor  of  my  local church;  therefore,  he  was  careful  not  to  create  divisions  on issues where he knew we differed in Biblical interpretation.
     Legalistic  and  Pharisaic  interpretation  of  Biblical  writings are  the  natural  byproduct  of  a  "fundamentalist"  position  on  the Bible.   I  spent  a  great  number  of  years  trying  desperately  to walk   that   fine   line   mandated   by   an   absolute   and uncompromising  interpretation  of  Biblical  writings.   This  also often  tends  to  be  the  excessive  response  to  one's  trying  to overcompensate  for  internal  struggles  with  which  they  may  be living.   The  harder  or  stricter  or  I  live  for  God,  the  deeper  I suppress  my  inward  weakness  or  fault.   At  least,  that's  the common mentality.

FUNDAMENTALISM BREEDS EXTREMISM
     The  saddest  truth  is  in  the  fact  that  the  majority  of  so-called "fundamentalists"  ignore  the  real  authority  of  these  apostolic writings,  choosing  their  own  beliefs,  doctrines,  teachings,  and practices  over  those  of  the  apostles  who  alone  had  been  given by the Lord the authority to establish the same.
     Many  "fundamentalist  Christians"  deride  the  violence  and fervor  found  in  the  extreme  actions  of  certain  fundamentalist Islamic  groups,  and  yet  they  resemble  these  very  groups  much more  than  they  realize  with  hateful,  critical,  judgmental,  sexist, racist,  and  homophobic  attitudes,  words,  and  sentiments.   Even the  "KKK"  and  "White  Aryan  Nation"  claim  the  Bible  as  their authority,  as  do  the  equally  misguided  and  Bible  butchering counterparts, the "Black Israelites."

CONTRADICTIONS
   Over  the  centuries  the  church  has  experienced  more  pain  and more  souls  have  been  forced  into  deep  despair  and  backsliding because  preachers  and  individuals  chose  to  take  a  literalistic stance  on  some  apostolic  writing,  in  spite  of  it's  apparent  and sometimes  blatantly  obvious  contradiction  with  the  teachings of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  Himself.   In  Matthew  7:1-2  and  Luke 6:37  Jesus  Christ  admonishes  us  not  to  engage  in  judging.   Yet in  I  Corinthian  5:1-13,  Paul  sees  fit  to  not  only  judge  a situation  that  he  has  merely  heard  about  (rumored),  but  also  to make harsh recommendations relative to this very situation.
     A  situation  had  arisen,  or  at  least  it  was  so  commonly rumored,  that  a  man  had  taken  his  father's  wife  to  be  his  own.   No  mention  is  made  as  to  whether  she  had  been  divorced  from her  present  husband's  father  to  marry  her  stepson  or  if  she  had been  widowed.   In  either  case,  on  the  strength  of  hearsay  alone (and  remember,  this  was  long  before  such  advanced communication  tools  as  telegraph  and  telephone),  Paul  goes  on an  elaborate  spree  teaching  the  need  for  judgment  and  purging from  within  the  church,  in  direct  contradiction  to  the  Lord's teachings  in  Matthew  13:24-30  relative  to  the  growing  up together  of  the  wheat  and  the  tares,  and  Matthew  25:14-46 where  He  elaborately  expounded  upon  the  separation  in  the judgment of the sheep from the goats.
     Too  many  have  accepted  too  readily  Paul's  teaching  while nullifying  those  teachings  of  the  Master  which  are  in  direct contradiction.   Which  are  we  to  accept.   The  apostles  were divinely  endued  with  authority,  but  they  were  not  suddenly translated  into  a  place  of  perfection.   Any  contradiction  in attitude  or  teaching  must  defer  to  that  of  the  Grand  Author  of the  universe.   Jesus  Christ  is  more  than  merely  the  subject  of the  New  Testament,  He  has  the  final  say.   The  apostles  provide the  foundation,  whereas  Christ  Himself  IS  the  "Chief Cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20).
     Apostolic  authority  is  important  to  understand.   Most churches  and  so-called  Christians  have  chosen  to  ignore  it,  choosing  instead  to  claim  a  belief  in  the  absolute  inspiration and  perfection  of  all  sixty-six  books  of  our  present  Bible.   The attitude  with  which  we  approach  these  writings  has  much  to  do with what we will or will not be able to glean from their pages.

AUTHORITY vs. INSPIRED PERFECTION
     To  ascribe  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  the virtue  of  absolute  perfection,  simply  because  by  reason  of  their office  they  possess  such  awesome  responsibility  and  power  is to  do  a  grave  disservice.   Slavery  would  never  have  been abolished  were  the  Supreme  Court  of  years  gone  by recognized  as  infallible.   Segregation  would  as  well  still  be  part of  our  nation.   Millions  of  nonwhite  residents  in  this  great country  still  would  not  be  allowed  the  simple  opportunity  to excel  and  accomplish  all  that  their  potential  has  locked  up within  them.   Some  Fundamentalist  Islamic  countries  like  Iran and  Iraq  are  still  caught  up  in  this  very  oppressive  way  of  life, suppressing  their  women  and  outsiders  who  differ  with  their religious opinions or scruples.
     Let  us  learn  to  read  the  Bible  as  it  was  meant  by  God  to  be read;   a  living  document  capable  of  contouring  itself  to  the times  in  which  we  live.   Let  us  learn  to  accept  at  face  value  the teachings  of  Jesus  Christ  and  implement  them.   Let  us  learn  to reconcile  the  teachings  of  the  apostles  with  those  of  the  Lord where  possible  and  defer  to  the  divine  perfection  and infallibility  of  the  Master  Himself  where  they  stand  in contradiction.   We  cannot  question  the  apostle's  authority  or doctrine  relative  to  salvation  or  the  nature  and  person  of  the Lord  Jesus  Christ.   We  also  cannot  afford  to  fail  to  question certain  writings  which  clearly  draw  from limited  background and  knowledge  in   a  time  and  place  where  customs,  cultures, and practices were very much different than our own.

RECOGNIZING CULTURAL INTERJECTION
     One  must  recognize  at  some  point  that  the  culture  of Biblical  times  was  far  different  than  our  own;  therefore,  it  is incumbent  upon  us  that  we  modify  our  interpretation  of  this Great  Book  (I  refer  here  in  particular  to  the  writings  of  the  New Testament)    to   meet   the   demands   of   the hour.    If "fundamentalists"  were  again  to  be  true  to  the  most  basic fundamental  premise  of  the  absolute  inspiration  of  all  New testament  writings,  then  women  would  be  required  to  remain silent  and  subjective  (I  Corinthians  14:34;  I  Timothy  2:11-12; Ephesians  5:22;  Colossians  3:18),  slaves  could  be  kept  without any  moral  reprisal  or  objection  (Ephesians  6:5;  Colossians 3:22;  I  Timothy  6:1;  Titus  2:9;  I  Peter  2:18),  a  woman  could never  allow  her  hair  to  be  cut  (I  Corinthians  11:1-16),   divorce could  never  under  any  circumstance  be  followed  by remarriage  so  long  as  the  divorcee's  former  spouse  was  yet living   (Matt.  5:31-32,  19:3-9;  Mark  10:2-12,  Deut.  24:1-4,  I Cor.  7:27;  I  Cor.  7:8-9,  10-15,  27-28),  and  all  Christians  would wear  robes,  veils,  and  sandals  to  this  day.   Let's  face  it,  the practice  of  foot  washing  does  not  hold  the  same  significance  or place  in  our  culture  as  it  did  in  Biblical  times.   Nor  is  a woman's shaved head a sign of her infidelity and punishment.
     This  ministry  defines  the  Bible,  the  New  Testament  in particular,   in  the  following  terms...      "That  the  New Testament  accounts  of  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ,  known  to  all  as the  four  Gospels  (Matthew,  Mark,  Luke,  and  John)  as  well  as the  history  of  the  early  Christian  church  as  recorded  in  the Biblical  book  of  Acts  are  sufficient  authority  and  foundation for  the  establishment  of  Christ's  church.   The  teachings  of Jesus  Christ  recorded  in  the  four  Gospels  and  the  example  set forth  by  the  early  apostolic  church  ought  to  be  carefully adhered  to,  taught,   and  practiced.  The  writings  of  the  apostles, generally  referred  to  as  "the  epistles,"  are  a  valuable  resource for  believers in  so  much  as  they  confirm  and  clarify  the teachings  Christ  and  the  practices  of  the  early  church.   Having been  penned;  however,  by  fallible  men,  any  contradiction  in their  writings  to  the  teachings  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  are recognized  as  human  interjection  and  not  the  byproduct  of divine  authority,  inspiration,  or  instruction.   That  the  book  of Revelation  is  a  literal  account  of  a  visitation  and  vision experienced  by  the  apostle  John  while  exiled  on  the  island  of Patmos.   It  is  a  valuable  resource  in  that  it  predicts,  describes, and  outlines  events  to  come  the  knowledge  of  which  are essential  to  God's  people.   John's  description  of  some  of  the images  he  beheld  may  be  literal  and  are  not  necessarily  the correct interpretations of those images."  
     No  doctrine  which  contradicts  the  teachings  of  the  apostles of  our  Lord  is  acceptable.   Truth  is  not  defined  by  the  conduit through  which  it  is  delivered,  but  by  the  source  from  which  it came.   Only  the  apostles  were  SENT  ("apostle:"  one  who  is sent)  to  preach,  teach,  and  articulate  the  gospel  of  Christ.   Christ  is  the  truth.   He  alone  is  the  source.   We  must  recognize the  apostle's  authority,  while  accepting  their  humanity, fallibility,  and  cultural  influences  as  real  and  non-threatening to the content of the gospel itself.
     Let the final word in all matters of doctrine and faith be this:  "But  though  we,  or  an  angel  from  heaven,  preach  any  other gospel  unto  you  than  that  which  we  (the  apostles)  have preached  unto  you,  let  him  be  accursed.   As  we  said  before,  so say  I  now  again  if  any  man  (pope,  prophet,  priest,  or  preacher) preach  any  other  gospel  unto  you  than  that  ye  have  received, let  him  be  accursed."   None  other  than  the  apostles  of  the  Lord Jesus  Christ  possessed  the  God  given  authority  to  establish  in truth  the  message  and  plan  of  salvation.   Have  you  obeyed  the apostolic  plan  of  salvation  articulated  so  clearly  by  Peter  at Pentecost  in  Acts  2:38?   If  not,  call  upon  an  apostolic  man  or woman of God to assist you in doing so TODAY!  James 4:17.
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