John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
As these men spoke and wrote, they revealed that their teachings were not human in origin, but they were from God and were in fact the very will of God.
1 Corinthians 14:37 "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
The things Paul wrote were commanded straight from God.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 "And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
So when we follow the Bible, we are following God's will for man, not the will of other men.
B) Other Standards Came from Men.
The basic error of human standards is that they show a great lack of respect for the teachings of Jesus. All human standards are written on the presumption that weak, imperfect human beings can write a better standard than what was written by the all-wise, infallible God. This is why God refuses to allow His people to follow any other standard but the Bible. When we truly respect the teachings of Jesus, then we will not seek, nor will we follow, any other religious standards of authority.
Why does God command men not to follow doctrines written and established by men? Because they are human in origin. Their writers were not inspired or guided by the Holy Spirit. Generally they do not even claim such. Nevertheless, denominations recognize these writings as authority -- rule or law - which the group uses in determining what it should or should not teach and practice. Men wrote them and men can change them.
1 -- Methodist Discipline - Section III - Our Doctrinal Standards and General Rules.
Traditionally United Methodists have not only been more than happy to be guided by the discipline of man made church law, but they have also usually regarded it with a certain degree of reverence...
2 -- Nazarene Manual, p. 27
...we, the ministers and lay members of the Church of the Nazarene ... do hereby ordain, adopt, and set forth as the fundamental law or constitution of the Church of the Nazarene the Articles of Faith, the General Rules, and the Articles of Organization and Government here following... -- 1972 Edition.
Page 44 tells how this Constitution may be repealed or amended by 2/3 vote.
3 -- Presbyterian Book Of Confessions, section 9.04
The United Presbyterian Church ... is guided by the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds from the time of the early church; the Scots Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Second Helvetic Confession from the era of the Reformation; the Westminster Confession and Shorter Catechism from the seventeenth century; and the Theological Declaration of Barmen from the twentieth century" - 1967 edition. The problem is every one of these was created by man.
4 -- Roman Catholic Catechism - "A Catechism for
Adults" 1975 edition
On page 9 the question is asked, Do we get from the Bible alone all our knowledge and certainty about what God has told us? No, there is also Sacred Tradition ... What is tradition? The Word of God handed on to us by the Apostles in their preaching and by their successors in the Church to the present day...
On page 51 the question is asked, Did God intend that the Bible alone should be the guide to salvation? No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood, and because the Bible does not have everything God taught. So here is a case where man has to correct the mistakes made by God.
On page 56 the question is asked, Does Jesus require us to follow the Pope in matters of religion? Yes, because obedience and loyalty to the Pope are among the chief requirements of Our Lord's plan for unity in His church. However some of the Popes were murderers, and many more practiced fornication and other terrible sins. Are these the type of men you want establishing your spiritual beliefs?
The Roman Catholic Church also teaches the doctrine of purgatory, a state after death where the soul is tormented in fire until the stain of one's sins is completely burned off. This doctrine is really ridiculous if you consider two very important factors. First, there is absolutely no mention of purgatory, or anything like it in the Holy Word of God. And secondly, by believing in the doctrine of purgatory, then you are saying that you do not believe that the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cleanse the soul of all traces of sin, and that Jesus Christ is a liar when he tells us it is his blood that wipes away all traces of sin from the soul of a repentant sinner.
If you believe in purgatory then you have to believe that much of the Bible is wrong. That a great many verses in the Bible are wrong and should be removed from the Bible. Verses like 1 John 1:7, "And the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin". Also if you believe in purgatory you will also have to wonder why Christ even came to earth to die, what the purpose of the cross was, and what is the significance of Holy Communion.
C) What is God's attitude toward such human authority in religion?
Human authority has never been acceptable to God in spiritual matters.
Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts".
Our ways are not God's ways. His ways are higher than ours as Heaven is higher than earth. Outside of the Bible, mankind cannot possibly know what pleases God. Man cannot invent doctrine and expect God to be pleased.
Matthew 15:9 "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Matthew 15:13 "But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
For this reason, Jesus forbids our following man-made teachings. Such doctrines will be rooted up, and those false teachers will one day experience first hand the wrath of God.
Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
He had all authority in heaven and on earth, so men should observe all things He commands.
Ephesians 1:22 "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things.
Jesus Christ is head over all things. If that is true then what is left for men to rule or make laws over? Would it not be better for mankind if they did not make up additional human spiritual commands, rules, and laws, but rather followed exactly what God told us to follow?
The fundamental error of all man-made religious authority is that it puts man in the place of God. It says that men are wise enough to make rules about how to serve God, whereas God says men do not have this wisdom. Only God has the right to make religious laws, and those laws have all been made and revealed in the Bible. People who respect the authority of Jesus will not make or follow laws other than those He has revealed. To follow man-made laws is to show a tremendous disrespect for God!
If the Bible did not answer questions that were essential for us in order to be saved, then we might need some other guide. But the Bible contains all the information we need to please God and be saved. Likewise, if the Bible has been so corrupted since it was written that it no longer contains the truth, then we would need a new standard. But the Word of God was created by God, was inspired by God, and was given to men by God. Infallible God gave mankind the complete and perfect word of God. Do you think for a moment that Almighty God, the one who created this entire universe and every single thing in it, would allow errors, mistakes, and omissions in his one and only message to mankind?
2 Peter 1:15 "Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease."
The Scriptures were written so people would have the message of inspired men even after those men were dead. The Bible was intended for all future generations.
1 Peter 1:25 "But the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you."
The Word of God lives and abides forever. It is not like plants that spring up and then die.
2 John 1:2 "The truth will be with us forever."
D) Other Standards Are Imperfect
There are three possible ways for a man-made standard to be different from the Bible.
1) It may contain more than the Bible. It may teach us to practice something which is not authorized in the Bible. This would be "adding to" God's word.
2) It may contain less than the Bible. It may release men from practicing something which God's word teaches us to practice. This is "taking from" God's word.
3) It may substitute for what the Bible says. This is both taking away what God says and then replacing it by adding something else God did not say.
E) What does God think about teachers that teach things that are different from His word?
Galatians 1:8-9 "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
If anyone, even an angel, preaches a gospel different from what inspired men taught, He is accursed of God.
2 John 1:9 "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."
Whoever fails to abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. In other words, when man establishes his own doctrine -- whether by failing to practice what Jesus teaches, or by practicing things He never authorized -- he is teaching false doctrine and is not abiding in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:18 "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book."
Whoever adds to Jesus' words, God will add to him the plagues in the book.
But we have also learned how we can please God in spite of all the man-made denominations, creeds, and divisions. By reading and studying the Word of God we can be members of the one true church. We must constantly be on gurad for false doctrine. How? Just like people in the first century were: by rejecting all man-made teachings and following only the pure teachings of the Holy Bible!
The true Church of Jesus Christ has only the Bible as its source of knowledge and truth, and it does not have any other creeds or doctrines besides what is in the Bible.