Greetings Brother Hamilton,
Upon my defending the gospel and the one true church many learned men desire to use the Restoration Movement as an assault against the church of Christ claiming it could not possibly be the true church. How do you deal with such attacks?
Also, I do not desire to follow the interpretations of the leaders of the Restoration movement, but I just want to follow what the Bible truly means. How do I ensure I am doing this?
Thanks for your time.
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (I Corinthians 3:6-7).
If I plant beans, I expect beans to grow and not tomatoes. If a person plants the Gospel, then the true church arises and not some denomination. To get a denomination you have to add something else. Catholicism is defined by its traditions, its catechism, plus the Bible. Methodism is defined by the Methodist Book of Rules plus the Bible. Seventh-Day Adventists are defined by the writings of Ellen G. White and the Bible. But true Christianity is defined by the Bible alone.
The lessons of old-time Gospel preachers are interesting, but they have no authority in themselves. They are useful to see another person's point of view and to realize that the way I see something isn't necessarily the only way to see something or the right way to understand something. Study the Bible and then you will be teaching what God wants to be taught. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).
Can we understand God's Word?
"Every single day that we live, we interpret thousands of messages accurately. You read the newspaper, fully expecting to understand what you are reading. You read novels with the same expectation. You watch the news on television, you go to the mailbox and get your mail and browse through it, fully expecting to interpret properly the messages being conveyed to you. The fact that misunderstanding sometimes occurs, does not negate the fact that more information can be examined in order to draw the right conclusions and arrive at correct interpretations.
"We go through this process constantly every waking hour of the day, day in and day out. year after year. We give ourselves credit for having the ability to operate sensibly am communicate with one another intelligibly. Yet we turn right around and imply that the God of heaven, the one who created our minds and our thinking capacity, the one who is infinitely wiser and more capable than humans, is incapable of making His will known to humanity in a clear and understandable fashion! When we come to the Bible, we suddenly do an about face and insist that we can't be sure what God's will is, we can't be dogmatic on doctrine, we must allow for differing opinions on what is spiritually right and wrong!
"Was the Bible written by God through inspired men with the purpose of making known His will for us? Did God have the Bible written in such a way that we can grasp the meanings which He intended to convey? The Bible declares yes. God has given man written revelation with the understanding that it can be correctly comprehended. This means that for every teaching. for every passage, for every verse, for every word in the Bible. there is a meaning that God originally intended to convey. That's what Peter meant when he said, "No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation" (II Peter 1:20). He meant that men did not decide what information to include in inspired material — God did. God has given every responsible human being the task of ascertaining that one correct interpretation. There is only one correct interpretation to any given passage — the right one, God's view!" [Dave Miller, Piloting the Strait, page 158-159.]
Ultimately it doesn't matter what any of us think. It only matters what God says about a subject. "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17).