Only Scripture: Part 3
By Pastor Anton Bosch
“Do not go beyond what is written”(1Corinthians 4:6)
Adding to the Scriptures is a very old problem amongst religious people. The Rabbis were particularly adept at adding many books, sayings and traditions to the Word of God. This had become such a problem that Jesus said: “you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:6,9). In spite of all their knowledge, they had forgotten that written into the Law was the clear command that “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2). (This instruction is also repeated in Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-19).
Instead of learning from the mistakes of the Jews, the church perpetuated this trend of adding to the Word. These added extras take the form of traditions, church council decisions, creeds, apocryphal books etc. This had become so bad that at the time of the Reformation what the big denominations believed and practiced had become absolutely devoid of truth.
One would think that Pentecostals and Evangelicals would learn from the mistakes of Judaism, and the Roman and Eastern churches. But they have not and have rather, in the past forty years, added an ever increasing mass of rubbish to the faith. This trend has escalated exponentially in recent years so that even those who formerly would have been regarded as discerning, now also believe in the most amazing fantasies, fables and fiction.
As mentioned above, it is a direct command of Scripture not to add to it. This command is repeated at the beginning (Deuteronomy), the middle (Proverbs) and the end (Revelation) of our Bible. It is interesting that it is also repeated in each of the major genres of the Word. (Law, poetic books, epistles and prophetic books). This is a most solemn command accompanied by a curse.
God, through Moses, Jesus and Paul all pronounce severe curses on those who add to the Scriptures. God warns Israel that those who add to Scripture will be destroyed (Deuteronomy 4:3), and that those spiritual leaders who say what God did not say should be killed (Deuteronomy 12:5). But these curses and warnings are not confined to the Old Testament.
There are not many curses in the New Testament but two of the most prominent ones are remarkably similar.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9). And yes, Paul was referring to those “Christian” teachers who were adding to grace, not from pagan sources, but from the Old Testament—those things that had been superseded by the New! Those in these days who also add to Scripture from pagan, science fiction and other doctrines of devils are doubly cursed.
I don’t know if you have ever studied the book of Revelation but it contains the most horrific curses that far exceed anything recorded in the Old Testament. Just read chapters 6, 8, 9, and 16. The glorified Lord Jesus Himself says that all the curses of the book of Revelation will be added to those who add to the Book (Revelation 22:18-19). (Clearly “this book” in these verses refers to the book of Revelation; but because similar verses appear elsewhere in the Bible, they apply to the whole of the Bible.)
The notion that people today are so special that they receive revelation that God did not give to His Son or Apostles is rooted in arrogance. They show as much disrespect and lack of fear of God as the atheist does, and they are clearly under the direct judgment of God. So when Peter Wagner boasts that he, and the vast majority of “Christians” today, do not believe that the canon of Scripture is closed they are blatantly disrespecting and contradicting the very God they claim to represent. And when Tom Horn
and his ilk
find their inspiration in science fiction, Greek mythology and other dark sciences, they are clearly courting God’s wrath.
When we add to the Scriptures our own dreams, traditions and ideas we basically call Paul a liar because he said: "I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:27).
That men will add their own ideas to Scripture is not surprising since many of these dreamers see themselves as superior to Paul and the other apostles. However, what is surprising is that so many Christians are swallowing the rubbish that these false prophets and teachers are spewing. It seems that it no longer matters that they clearly contradict Scripture, because people do not know their Bibles and thus are open to grievous deception.
Also people are deceived by these teachings because they have elevated men to positions where their words become the very word of God. No longer is it only the domain of the Pope to claim infallibility, but every second preacher and author faithfully follow in the footsteps of the very Pope they despise by claiming to speak contrary to Scripture.
Of course, when latter-day prophecies, dreams and "words" contradict Scripture, either the prophet is wrong or the Bible is wrong. Can you imagine the arrogance of a man who declares that the Bible is mistaken since God has "revealed" the "truth" to him?
Many of these errors and heresies are so irrational and void of any truth that a rational and biblical response becomes almost impossible. Believers feel intimidated by these personalities and the volume of their drivel, and feel that they are not in a position to argue with someone who claims such a personal revelation from Heaven itself.
But, there is one thing every believer must ask himself and the preacher: “Where is it written?” The youngest believer can, and should, ask this question of everyone who claims to speak on the Lord's behalf. So the next time someone says something that sounds strange to you— simply ask for proof from the Bible. If he cannot prove his point through clear and unequivocal Scripture then reject the teaching, no matter how wonderful it sounds. Teachers who resort to complex Greek and Hebrew grammar, sources outside the 66 books, who pull verses out of context or allegorize Scriptures (when the plain meaning will do) to prove their doctrine are heretics – plain and simple.
1 Thessalonians 5:20 and 21 says: “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” Test everything against the Word of God – that is the only standard. God does not change His Word and the Bible contains everything that we need to know. If the Word does not support some idea, then reject it outright no matter how good it sounds and what miracles or evidence the speaker may provide in order to prove that he speaks for God.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).