The Bible is comprised of 66 books written by around 40 different people. It has many genres of literature which can be broadly classified as history, law, wisdom, poetry, prophecy, gospel, letters and apocalypse. Although the Bible is so diverse in authorship, age and genre it beautifully agrees with one other. If the Bible was a handbook, reference book or a book of rules each individual verse can be understood and interpreted on its own. But the Bible is about Jesus, the son of man: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39 ESV). “Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.” (Luke 24:27 CEV)
The Word of God is like a body with many parts: “The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. It takes many parts to make a single body. That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet.” (1Cor 12:12,20,21 CEV). Similarly, a single verse from the Bible should not be taken on its own to form a doctrine. Instead the Bible has to be taken as awhole to form any doctrine. Unfortunately this principle doesn’t seem to be well known or understood and sadly many Christians and churches misinterpret and twist the Word of God by clinging on to favourite verses without seeing the big picture of the Bible. The Devil loves to take verses out of context and deceive. He even tried it on Jesus and said, “Since you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, because it is written, ‘God will put his angels in charge of you,’ and ‘With their hands they will hold you up, so that you will never hit your foot against a rock.'” (Matthew 4:6 ISV). But Jesus, rightly dividing the Word of Truth replied saying “It is also written, ‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.'” (ISV Matthew 4:6).
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.
Respectable members and senior elders in the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship claim that Christians expressing anger, pride and other common sinful behaviour are demon possessed. Attributing sinful behaviour to demon possession seems to be quite prevalent in South Indian Churches but is this really correct?
When Cain was angry with his brother, God himself warned Cain saying “If you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:7 (AMP). Again Ephesians 4:26 says “Be ye angry, and sin not”. Proverbs 21:4 says “a proud heart … is sin”. I John 1:17 says “All unrighteousness is sin“. The problem behind anger, pride and other similar issues is sin.
The Bible does not attribute wrong behaviour to demons. Jesus cast out unclean spirits but never told anyone a specific behaviour that resulted in possession. The epistles teaches us a lot about sin and Christ’s solution to sin but evil spirits seem to be ignored. Sadly some Christians, including members of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship, attribute sinful behaviour to demon possession. So their solution to a sin problem is getting the demons cast out and for that you need their services! Although any Christian can cast out a demon in the name of Jesus Christ, people generally go to somebody experienced in this area. So you have to travel long distances searching for your deliverer. Some will be classified as hard cases and that only gifted individuals can handle them. Sometimes this gifted individual would have already gone to heaven and you will have to go round to a bunch of less gifted people hoping that one day your relief will come!
An important issue affecting the Church is it’s preaching. Romans 10:17 (HCSB) says “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” The message about God is crucial to the germination and growth of faith. Since the days of Paul, there has been a lot of incorrect preaching and teaching. Sadly many churches in Tamil Nadu, South India where I live are lacking in sound preaching. The gospel of Christ is a rich and glorious gospel encompassing issues that affect our entire lives, but often there is undue emphasis on few topics accompanied with erroneous preaching.