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June 22, 2012, 8:07am Report to Moderator
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   It seems that everyone likes to stick the label of Bible Believer on themselves (if not only for the few minutes that they spout their Bible misinformation).  But just saying that you are a Bible Believer does not make you one.  There are three requirements a person must meet before he can truly be a Bible Believer.

Read the Bible
   Requirement #1 - You can't be a Bible Believer if you haven't read the Bible.
   If you have not read the Bible, how can you know what it says?  If you get your Bible knowledge from your pastor and believe what he says to be Biblical, then you are a pastor-believer, not a Bible Believer.  If you believe what your denomination says about the Bible, you are a denomination-believer.  If you believe what Christian books say about the Bible, you are a Christian-book-believer.  If you believe what tradition says, you are a tradition-believer.  These sources may not be wrong, but they are not the Bible.
   What kind of believer are you?
   I am not against these different believers.  I was a pastor-believer, a denomination-believer, and a tradition-believer for years.  They provided an entry point for me to being a Bible Believer.  My pastor was a Bible Believer and so as I learned from him it brought me closer to being a Bible Believer.  But not all teachers are Bible Believers.  These different believers need to realize what they are, that the source of their belief is human, and that they should be reading the infallible Word of God.
   One of the problems with these other believers is that they unknowingly put the thing that they are believing in up as a standard for understanding the Bible.  They make that thing more important than the Bible (even though they would never admit that, their actions prove it to be true).  How they see the Bible is altered by it.  For example, a denomination-believer ignores or rejects anything the Bible says against his denomination.  He changes the meaning of Bible passages to support his denomination.  Even though he would never admit it, his denomination is more important than the Bible.
   These believers remind me of the Muslim men that took Martin and Gracia Burnham captive in the Philippines.  They had the Quran and revered it, but it was not in their language.  They could not read it.  They did not know what its foreign words said.  They only knew what the leaders of their leaders told them about it, which was very little.  They were killing people because they were told the Quran told them to, when in fact it didn't.  Many Christians who have the Bible in their own language are content to live the same way - not reading the Bible and blindly following humans.
   How will you know whether the things people tell you about the Bible are correct or not, if you don't open your Bible and consult it?  If you don't consult the Bible, you are believing those people to be correct instead of believing the Bible.  The only way to know what the Bible says is to read it for yourself.
   I make this point because it is these kinds of people that claim to be Bible Believers.  They push their unbiblical ideas (which they insist are Biblical and do not realize that they are not) on people who want to be Bible Believers.  These well-intentioned, self-proclaimed Bible Believers change the message of the Bible, hide its real message, and require everyone else to agree with them because they are "Bible Believers".

A Run-in with a Tradition-believer
   I have had a few run-ins with these fake Bible Believers.  One happened when I was the pastor of a small country church.
   One evening the head deacon called me up and asked me to meet him and the previous pastor at the church.  He didn't tell me why.  When I arrived, he told me that a certain doctrine that I had taught a few times was not Biblical.  I sat down and laid out what the Bible says about it and how the Bible did not agree with his view.
   "My position is Biblical," he insisted.  "You are wrong."
   "O.K., show me the Bible verses that support your position," I countered.
   "I do not have any Bible verses," he admitted, "but I know it is Biblical."
   Then he turned to the previous pastor and said, "My position is Biblical.  Tell him."
   "Not if the Bible does not teach it," I insisted.
   The previous pastor finally spoke up, "Ray is right.  If the Bible does not teach it, it is not Biblical."
   "But all preachers agree with my position," the head deacon argued. "None agree with his.  He needs to agree with everyone else."
   For an hour he continued to call me an unbiblical pastor and bring up my faults.  As we left I asked him to study what the Bible says about his position.  I explained to him that I am a Bible Believer and so I believe what the Bible says.  I begged him to show me verses that supported his position so that I could believe it too.  He never did.
   You see, the head deacon had read articles and listened to sermons about his position but he had never consulted the Bible about it.  His position was based on what others said and not what God had said.
   Paul had this same problem with his contemporaries. "You see, do I now persuade people or God? Or do I look to be satisfying people? If I were still satisfying people, I would not be the Anointed King's slave. You see, I am informing you, brothers, about the good news that was shared by me, that it is not according to a person; for I neither received it in from the side of a person, nor was taught it, but I got it through what Jesus, the Anointed King, uncovered to me" (Galatians 1:10-12 - www.breakthroughversion.com).

   Bible Believers read the Bible and hold to what it says because it is the Word of God.

Conform to the Bible
   Requirement #2 - You can't be a Bible Believer if you refuse to change your view when confronted with what the Bible says.
   The beliefs that you start out with are not 100% in agreement with the Bible.  This is especially true if your beliefs did not come directly from the Bible.  That means that there should be changes in your beliefs as you are confronted with what the Bible says.
   But most people take those beginning beliefs and hold tight to them refusing ever to change.  They see this as standing firm in their Bible beliefs.  It is really stubbornness and pride.  "For being unaware of God's right way and looking to establish their own right way, they haven't placed themselves under God's right way" (Romans 10:3 - www.breakthroughversion.com).
   When a true Bible Believer is confronted with a different idea, the first place he goes is to the Bible.  He looks up the Bible verses given in support of that position, reads them in their context, and asks himself if that is what the verses are really saying.  If not, he rejects the new idea.  If so, he continues searching the Bible for what it says and changes his views to be in line with the Bible.

Be Honest with the Bible
   Requirement #3 - You can't be a Bible Believer if you are not honest with the Bible.
   Isn't it obvious that if you twist and distort the Bible to get it to say what you want, it is not what the Bible says.  This is why there are so many interpretations of the Bible.  Everyone wants to interpret the Bible so that it says what they want.  Many think it is normal to have many interpretations of the Bible.  It is not.  We are told to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15b).  Those who are honest with the Bible find that it only says one thing.  It says what it says.
   Fake Bible Believers are afraid to be honest with the Bible.  It might end up saying something they don't want it to say.  So they invent new interpretations of some parts of the Bible, steer clear of other parts, obsess over the few verses they agree with, and brag about how Biblical they are.
   "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:17).
   A true Bible Believer comes to the Bible with an open mind and asks God, "What are you trying to say here?"  He is honest with the Bible.  He is not afraid of the Bible because his main goal is to find out what God wants, not what he wants.

A Test
   For those who claim to be Bible Believers here is a test to take.  Write down everything that you say about the Bible in a day or a week.  Now open a contemporary literal Bible (like the Breakthrough Version - www.breakthroughversion.com) and compare the two.  If the things you speak about the Bible are not in the Bible, you are not a Bible Believer.  If your words are only found in a few verses, you are avoiding the main messages of the Bible.

   It is simple to be a Bible Believer, read the Bible, conform to it, and be honest with it.  If you will NOT do this, you cannot be a Bible Believer.

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