New is often exciting but in matters of faith, it should be carefully tested as warned in 1 John 4:1 (HSBC) “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”. The foundations of the Christian faith have already been fully laid after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes to Timothy: “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 15 – 17). This clearly shows us that the scriptures are enough for all generation. It is true that we need pastors, teachers, books, seminars, etc but these have to be based 100% on the scriptures. Unfortunately over the centuries many extra-Biblical teachings and false doctrines have tried to creep into the church.
The term ‘extra-Biblical’ refers to: (1) Any form of information, knowledge or experience concerning God, His Work or His Will, which is not directly quoted in scripture. (2) Teachings, concepts and practices claimed to be supported by or taught in the Bible, but are based on incorrect interpretation.
The Roman Catholic Church is the classic example. Other modern day Western examples are Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. India also has its share of extra-Biblical teachings. The Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship seems to have ingenious extra-Biblical doctrines. Some claim that its founder Mr. N. Daniel received special revelation from God making their teaching superior to any other in the present or the past! Often in their prayer meetings, instead of a live message, his transcribed messages of over 50 years old are read. Their magazine “Christ is Victor”, always publishes his recycled messages but never carries articles from anybody else in the church except his direct family. They have a peculiar teaching about salvation that is not in line with the Bible or other churches. Their leadership system is contrary to the Word of God. They also claim special spiritual immunity for his family. These obvious aberrations are ignored by the members since many do not realise the dangers of extra-Biblical teaching. Sadly this is not the only Indian church that is misled.
In the Middle Ages, the main church of that age, the Roman Catholic Church was steeped in extra-Biblical teaching. Many reformers like Martin Luther risked their lives and challenged those teachings, emphasising Sola Scriptura (“by Scripture alone”). Let us not once again get drawn into the deception of extra-Biblical teaching or get distracted by exciting or new teaching that distort the truth. Let us not even look up to one specific man or church to understand the truth. But rather let us follow the example of the Bereans: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed” Acts 17: 10-11a (NASB)