We have started an interesting study here at church over the past few weeks. We are reading a book written specifically to counter the idea of dispensational Bible study, or at least more dispensational than the author. There are plenty of people out there that take a stand against the literal interpretation of scripture. So it’s not hard to find opposition against rightly dividing your Bible. The main reason for this is that right division of the Bible changes many of the religious traditions being taught in fundamental churches today. For this reason, writers will defend their tradition regardless of how clearly the Bible teaches something different. Why? This is the million dollar question isn’t it? The word heresy is thrown around a lot in Christianity. You can easily find people from any denomination calling people from other denominations heretics. I’ve been studying the Bible long enough to have read and heard this many times. This might be one reason why many Christians never study the position of other denominations. Here’s an idea worth considering. Maybe when someone calls you a heretic, you actually consider that person could be correct, and then you take a look at what they believe and why they believe differently than you. This involves work, study and if you actually want the truth it involves a ready mind that is willing to consider you might be wrong. Do you realize different does not equal wrong? I have told people about being a Bible believer and they hop on the internet and in 30 min they are experts on everything I have been studying for many years. What they did was see some things explained differently than their position and instantly wrote it off as wrong. This is because the majority is always correct, right? If something has been taught for many years in Bible college that makes it correct, right? If someone from your denomination tells you everyone else is wrong that makes you correct, right? If you have heard a Bible doctrine taught a certain way your whole life that makes it correct, right? I hope you are honest enough to have actually answered these questions with a no. In the book we are reading I am described as teaching heresy for teaching Bible belief from a literal position. This is the position that the actual words in the Bible are to be believed exactly as they are written. So, I am a heretic for trusting that the Holy Spirit actually inspired the correct words as they are printed in my Bible. We started yesterday’s lesson by looking at the word heresy. Since I am teaching heresy according to this denominational defender I wanted to get a good Bible definition for heresy. Why? Why would I look into this? Because I want to teach EXACTLY what the Bible teaches TO WHOM it teaches it. I am completely willing to admit that I can be WRONG. This is a trait that is unrecognizable in many Christians today. So, what did I find by starting a study on the word heresy? I found that it is used ONE TIME in my King James Bible. I found that it is used by my Apostle Paul. The Apostle that Jesus sent TO ME. Why did Jesus need to call Paul and send him to me? Because Jesus did not come to me, he came to Israel and Peter and the other disciples did not go to me, they were sent to Israel. When I read the ONE VERSE in the entire Bible where the word “heresy” is used I was pretty much overwhelmed. After reading this verse I realized that heresy is a PERFECT Bible word to explain what I am teaching. Paul speaking in Acts 24:14 says this:
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
I found that Paul was said to be teaching heresy for believing his Bible. But it goes beyond this. Everyone claims to believe their Bible. HOW MUCH of Paul’s Bible did he believe? How much? ALL Paul was called a heretic for having the audacity to believe EVERYTHING that was written in the law and the prophets. So, The writer of the book says I teach heresy because I am a right divider of scripture as taught by the Apostle Paul. Paul himself is called a heretic for actually daring to BELIEVE God’s words. I have concluded that I am 100% COMPLETELY ok with people that love their denominational traditions calling me a heretic, because I’m in pretty good company. I have been teaching ONE THING for the 2 years that Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship has existed. That ONE THING is that for Christians to properly understand their Bible they must believe ALL OF IT. Did you notice the three words in this verse “they call heresy?” Paul’s message was DIFFERENT. Is this not all the proof you need? I ask you again does different equal wrong? That depends on how open you are to the clear teaching of the Bible. God himself put up a wall between Israel and you in Genesis. This wall was STILL UP in the Gospels. Hundreds of prophecies prove Jesus was coming to Israel to be their earthly king and you would only be blessed after this kingdom was established ON EARTH. I believe this exactly as Paul did. You hear week after week that the prophets were wrong and Jesus actually came to rule and reign in our hearts. I wonder who is going to step forward and ask God why he lied about that stuff in the OT? I wonder who is going to step forward and ask Jesus why he lied to the disciples about them ruling on 12 thrones over the 12 tribes or Israel? Or is it actually possible that the things that Paul believed and I teach every week. The things for which you say I teach heresy…… just might be true? I have chosen to put my faith and trust in ALL that the Bible teaches, EXACTLY as the Bible teaches it, TO WHOM it teaches it. This very clearly defines what rightly dividing your Bible is. When you change the ALL, the EXACTLY, or the TO WHOM from this you end up with confusion.
I stumbled across a video on YouTube the other day titled something like “Why I became an atheist.” This subject has been on my mind recently, so I decided to see what this girl who appears to be about 20 had to say. This video turned out to be somewhat of a “testimony” of the struggles she encountered in church life and the issues that drove her to atheism. She outlined many of the questions she had while attending and being very involved in her church and youth group. Her frustration with the lack of depth to the answers she received was apparent. She felt reprimanded or chastised by her friends in church because she was asking so many questions and told to just “have faith.” She was looked upon as a bad Christian for not just believing everything she heard without any logic or understanding. If you have never watched some of these videos I would recommend you do. There are probably thousands on YouTube. The fact is most Christians won’t do this. Most Christians never see what the “other side” thinks. Most Christians never challenge what they believe. Truth is the goal isn’t it? If truth is the goal, why do we as Christians never investigate what everyone else thinks? Why are we content to sit in church every week, service after service telling ourselves we are right, and all those other denominations out there are wrong? Fact is, most Christians never ask the questions about why others believe differently or come to different conclusions. We were taught to sit and listen to OUR position and to ignore what others think. I remember many years ago seeing an add in the sword of the Lord newspaper for an “Independent Baptist Commentary” and I thought; why would I want a commentary that by the name on the cover tells me it has a slant? What Christians would find if they would challenge their faith is the fact that all those other denominations out there have verses in the Bible to prove why they are different. Why is this? Why can different denominations BOTH have verses that seem to clearly teach different positions? These are the questions most pastors don’t really want you asking. Why? They really don’t have answers for many of these verses. It boils down to which verses a person chooses to believe. Christianity is divided by the verses they pick and choose to put more emphasis on and the ones they choose to avoid. Like the girl who has decided to become an atheist, many people who try to use logic when they were taught to spiritualize the Bible find themselves very frustrated. It is a very hard thing to apply logic to verses that you have been taught to spiritualize your whole life. You will always find yourself at a dead-end road with someone telling you to just “have faith” and you are then expected to just believe what the pastor says. Don’t you see that you can’t use logic with verses that have been given a “spiritual” meaning? You must understand that when you took the entire earthly plan God had for Israel and spiritualized it then gave it to yourself that you can’t then go back and use logic when reading the verses? There’s no logic left in the verses because you don’t believe what they say. You believe what someone told you “they mean.” If someone tells you, they can explain what a verse “really means” you should be suspect. The Holy Spirit actually does just fine with words and language. Why might you ask are there so many verses that are not taken literally in church these days? Because the literal meaning exposes so many “Christian” doctrines as merely tradition. The girl in the YouTube video seen the facts that I truly believe many Christians see but don’t have the guts to admit. The fact that under logic, scrutiny and life experience many things we are taught just don’t seem to hold water. These are the things that can be clear when the Bible is rightly divided and believed literally. The marching orders for the body of Christ are found in the information Jesus gave to Paul. The lack of emphasis on Paul’s mystery information is the reason behind the errors in church doctrine we see today. I challenge you to read the first 3 chapters of Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians and try to figure out a way to tell me I’m wrong. Paul’s information was a secret before he revealed it, as he clearly tells you. Understanding this secret, and keeping it separate from God’s plan for Israel, is the key to Bible understanding.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul