Evangelist Stephen Shutt
Dear Dr. Vogel,
It has become overly apparent to me that there are “aged men” who have, sadly, “departed from the truth” which they have been taught “from a youth.” As a young evangelist, I find this bitterly heartbreaking, for the men that have so recently strayed from the truth of God’s word are the very ones that I had sought to pattern both my preaching and my ministry after.
I will stay as simple and plain as is possible concerning this issue; however, I do not intend to insult the intelligence of any man – but if that happens…I cannot and I will not recant the truth as found in God’s word. That being said, let us begin with the basics.
God has been a God of pure consistency throughout history and will continue to be consistent in the future. Were this not an absolute truth, we would need to be most fearful of this God we serve; for at any moment, he would change his mind regarding us his children, and throw us all into Hell. I am certainly glad that my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does not, and will not change his mind, as we are told in James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
The second fact that seems to have been neglected in our movement is the fact that what men think simply does not matter. When I entered my first year of Christian college, I was promptly immersed into a vast field of the study of men. I did not understand what was happening, but I was told that my professors knew what a young preacher needed. Do not misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with studying what you believe, but there is a problem when you know only what men have to say about what you believe. Men can err. God cannot err. There is nothing wrong with education. There is a problem with being educated beyond the bounds of scripture and beyond your own intellect. This is the reason that many in our movement today have fallen into some very serious and erroneous teachings; they have understood the writings of men, but not the Holy Writ of God himself. When it comes to an issue of great importance, men must not be the determining factor. Though they are a factor in intellectual and honest research, men and their ideologies must not be put on a pedestal equal to or greater than the Holy Bible. To do so is to set aside God and his word in their entirety. Christ told the Pharisees that they had neglected the law of God, yet were seeking other people and continuously teaching others to forsake the law of God and the God of the law, only to make them “twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15).
The third fact so necessary in our day is linked (in part) to fact #2. In matters concerning God’s holy word, what God says about himself and his word are the only things that count as is taught in Romans 3:2, “let God be true, but every man a liar”. God is very clear throughout scripture how his word is to be dealt with – along with those who deal with his word. Simply explained, in the Old Testament, God’s word was given to the people through the mouths of prophets. However, suppose that one of the prophets gave the ‘majority’ of the correct information, but there was “3-5% error” in what he said to the people to whom God commanded him to speak. What was to be done? Surely God would allow for that small percentage of error. No he did not! If even a minutia of the message was incorrect, that prophet was to be put to death – no questions asked! His intentions were not clarified; his message was not redefined in a later message the next week; his clarifications were not posted in his church’s next publication for all the people to read so that they wouldn’t be convinced of his error. None of these things happened, simply because God had already told the people that a man like that was a FALSE PROPHET and was never to be given the opportunity to speak falsely on the behalf of God ever again. Now, let us move to the New Testament. What did Paul say was to happen to a man who preached “any other gospel”? Let us see how determined Paul was to stop false teachers from destroying and harming the flock of God. Galatians 1:6-9 tell us,
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
It would seem as if Paul was a little bit on the clear side with what was to be done to those men who sought to teach heresy to the Galatians. Now that we have seen what God commanded to be done to false prophets in the Old and New Testaments, why are we not following Paul’s example and admonition? If a man is teaching heresy, he is to be brought to light to the people so that they may not be swooned by his teachings, attitude, altitude or prestige. If a man says that God’s word that we possess is not truly God’s word, then we have a very serious problem! That man is guilty of preaching “another gospel” and is to be dealt with accordingly.
Let me be very clear on my next point, and by all means, read what is written in its entirety. If a man is said to be teaching heresy, yet he seeks to give an explanation of his beliefs, allow him to do so – so long as he does so according to the scripture. Just because a man says that his teaching is "orthodox" does not mean that it is correct! Satan is "orthodox" – probably more so than the vast majority of Christians today – for he knows and believes that the Bible is true (every single word), he knows that God is real (he saw God when he was in Heaven and he sees God when he condemns us before the Father), he knows that Jesus is Lord (he saw Christ defy death and rise again the third day). Nothing in history can justify a heresy. If it contradicts the Bible, no matter who says it, it is wrong! Only the Bible is without error! Therefore, let a man defend his beliefs of scripture WITH scripture! If he cannot, let him set aside his personal beliefs and doctrines, and teach that which is found in scripture.
When a man states that the Authorized Version of the Bible is not the true word of God in the English language for the English speaking people, he is guilty of heresy. A man may interpret scripture as he wishes, but he is NOT above what it says regardless of his interpretation! A man may claim that saying the King James Bible is inspired is “foolish and ignorant”, and claim that “no one in history has ever said that” then proceed to quote men like Spurgeon and others to justify his heresy. There are serious problems with that claim – men throughout history have claimed the inspiration of God’s word in the English language (Coverdale and Wycliffe are prime examples of this). It is interesting to note that each of these men used the scripture to base their every action and belief. Sadly, that attitude is most lacking amongst many Christians today.
Inspiration is understood by the vast majority of Christians as being constant and necessary for the veracity of the word of God in their lives. The concept of inspiration is clearly understood by the “simple faith” of the believer in the pew. This faith is not brought into doubt until they are told by their ‘pastor’ who just heard from a ‘professor’ (one who professes to know of the truth but often does not possess the capability to understand or believe the truth) that the Bible is not inspired and is, in fact, errant. This leads to great confusion and unrest in the heart of the common believer who did not know that the God who promised to keep him saved eternally, is incapable of eternally keeping the word that God used to save him.
In conclusion, when someone makes the claim that the Bible is not inspired, the burden of proof lies on them to back up this statement. However, let it be known that many men seek to use other men to determine their location and reasoning of faith. This is fine and expected when we are debating the belief of men, or a man himself. However, this simply is not the case when we are dealing with the word of God. If we are to debate or preach about the issue of inspiration, let it be on God’s terms. Use these words as God defines them, not how man would seek to use them to benefit his own desire and intentions. When we are willing use the Bible as our ‘deciding factor’, we must also be willing to allow the Lord to speak to us through his word, and either confirm or deny our beliefs. If we instead use men to determine what “thus saith the Lord”, we are allowing men’s wisdom to dilute and silence God’s precise meaning and message. We are taught throughout God’s word to compare “spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13) and to “try the spirits” (1 John 4:1). God is the deciding factor on his word – not one particular man or many men in particular.
God has given us his word, and we are able now to echo the words of John the beloved when he said in 1 John 1:1-3
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Vogel, in these times, when there are men of ‘renown’ that seek only to increase themselves rather than to prostrate themselves at the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is high time that we seek to defend the word of our Lord, with the word of our Lord – and not the words of men. I challenge you, as Peter and John did, to obey God, rather than men.
“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20
Your Brother in Christ and Evangelist for God’s word as found perfectly inspired and completely without a single error in the King James Bible,
Stephen C. Shutt
1 Timothy 1:11-17