Psalm 61:3

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jesus-Colored Glasses

     Why do we need creeds, confessions, seminaries, and synods?  Why do we need catechesis, Bible class, Church history, fellowship, liturgy, and hymns?  Aren't all of these things just a bit unnecessary?  Shouldn't the Bible be enough?  Shouldn't the individual Christian be able to sit down and read the Bible and discover the truth for himself?  Well, not exactly.
    "The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over and join this chariot (belonging to the Ethiopian eunuch).'  So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?'  And he said, 'How can I unless someone guides me?' And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him." (Acts 8:29-31)  
     It is not that the Bible is unclear.  A set of architectural drawings is incredibly clear to one who knows what to be looking for, but to me, the uninitiated laymen, it appears rather confusing. 
     This is the way with Scripture as well.  The Bible can seem to be very confusing, especially if you don't know where to start reading.  Just try to give a copy of Leviticus or Revelation to a non-believer and ask them to tell you what that all means.    How can we understand unless someone guides us? 
     This is why we need creeds, confessions, synods, etc.  These things are tools that the Church has developed over time, taught by the Bible, to be what I like to call "Jesus-colored glasses", lenses which guide and inform our reading of the Scriptures.  They are "Jesus-colored" because they teach us to read the Scriptures in the light of Christ, which is precisely what Jesus Himself wants us to do (Luke 24:27, 45-47).
     Of course these things can also be distractions from Christ when they are not designed to point us to Christ, but that is why we need them.  They focus our attention where it belongs.  Teaching and fellowship with other believers helps to hold us accountable to the Church at large and throughout history.
     These things are never meant to replace the Scriptures, or to modify what is found therein.  Rather they give us a deeper and more focused understanding of what God is saying to us now, which is the same thing He has been saying to the Church since its inception: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)          

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