I see many people doing what I call “hot takes” on the internet. Simply defined, these hot takes are as follows: A) I have a position about the Bible I believe B) I find Scripture to support my position and C) I will defend my position while demonizing everyone who disagrees with me. Believe it or not, It’s not merely non-believers who do this, but those within the household of Faith.
Within the Church, there’s a debate, several hundred years old, between Calvinism and Arminianism (predestination versus free will), the various rapture doctrines, some 30,000 Denominations and subsects, some sects who think they’re the only ones getting in to Heaven because their way is the “right way,” and that is just scratching the surface! If you’ve ever stopped and wondered why the Church seems so ineffective in some places, and thriving in others, consider one thing: when the Church aligns behind Christ, and stands upon His word in Unity, the Church functions as it ought. When the Church stands on positions and man-made traditions, it wanes.
Something I have been reading in my study of Jesus in the last few days has been His calling out of the Pharisees and religious rulers of Israel. They elevated the doctrines of men over the word of God. I do not doubt that those movements began with good intentions: the people of Israel had sinned, followed false gods, and lost their place in Israel, getting dispersed throughout the Mediterranean. Yet they began to depend more on their traditions and doctrines than the Scriptures. Had they known the Scriptures, they would have seen that Jesus was the very fulfillment of them walking among them!
In the same way, many believers get into this trap. They take up positions that men have used over the 2 millennia of the Church to help explain the Faith, they quarrel and fight over words (and relatively minor positions, usually), often arguing the same point from two different sides, and rather than dive into the Word of God, and come to a place they can come to Jesus on, they abuse, fight, quarrel, mock, and slander one another. We were told to follow Jesus, not take a position. Dive into God’s word, take men’s teaching and examine it through Scripture, but let the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures inform you.
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
1 Corinthians 3
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.