This writer has learned a bit about carpentry and home construction over the last years. However he is not ready to do fine carpentry or undertake the construction of a home – two left hands as the saying goes, as well as not enough patience. One thing is clear however. To build anything there has to be standards.
It simply does not work to build a home or do carpentry by eyeballing width and length, or angles and lines. One needs a tape measure. But even the tape measure is of little benefit if one cannot read it, or confuses the fractions of inches. It hardly seems possible that the difference between an eighth and a sixteenth can make a difference. A builder and a carpenter know it does. So does an amateur carpenter.
Scripture speaks of the Church as constructed upon the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets, “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20,21). If pastors are going to be instruments of blessing, their teaching must be built upon the Word. Their teaching and that of the church itself is to be judged by whether or not in their ministry Christ is the Cornerstone by which all else is measured and established.
A particular teaching or doctrine is not correct simply because the pastor teaches it or the church supports it! It is not correct because the church headquarters or the pope passed it down. It is not correct simply because it is what the church has always taught or because what is done is the way the church has always done a particular thing (tradition). Conversely, something is not error because a church, a pastor, or a member says it is, or thinks it is. Something is not wrong simply because someone does not like what is being taught or practiced.
The standard of truth and error, right and wrong, is Scripture, God’s Word. One may even believe that and still have it wrong if he does not understand Scripture. Remember the tape measure. You not only have to have one; you have to know how to read it! What is taught in the Church has to be measured by the standard of Scripture. A Bible student will recognize that he is not the interpreter of the Bible, but that the Bible is its own interpreter.
In determining truth from error and right from wrong we do not want to use (abuse) Scripture. We want to pray and then read it, study it, listen to it – it is the voice of God- and follow where Scripture leads. With that approach we cannot go wrong. We will not be misled. Indeed our Lord will bless.