“Thus Saith The Lord”

Neal Pollard

In a 1960 lectureship at David Lipscomb College, Rex Turner, Sr., in contrasting matters of faith and opinion, summarized with a few observations.  In part, he warned, “If the church is to continue to make a clarion plea for undenominational Christianity, it must keep its lines of communication open to the people of the sectarian world while strictly adhering to New Testament teaching…There is the very grave danger that the church, in order to keep the lines of communication open, will treat matters of faith as if they were matters of opinion.”  He then said, “There is the very imminent danger, equally as great, that the church will treat matters of opinion as if they were matters of faith and thereby sectarianize the church and divide it into a number of fragments” (Sermons and Addresses on the Fundamentals of the Faith, 75).

In his inimitable way, brother Turner was saying that we need to stay with a “thus saith the Lord” for all we say and do.  We must stand only and always on the foundation of Scripture as our authority (the King James Version uses the phrase, “thus saith the Lord,” 413 times, and the idea behind it is that there is an eternal, material difference between a “thus saith the Lord” and a “thus saith anyone else”). We rightly decry denominational teaching that has another foundation, whether regarding the plan of salvation, worship, church leadership, and the like.  What are some ways in which we may drift in the same direction as the people of God?

  • Thus saith my church.
  • Thus saith my preacher.
  • Thus saith my feelings.
  • Thus saith “Brother A.”
  • Thus saith “School A.”
  • Thus saith my family.
  • Thus saith my conscience.
  • Thus saith “Scholar A” or “Theologian A.”
  • Thus saith the majority.
  • Thus saith the culture.

We could certainly continue to expand the list, but this exemplifies the possibility of our blindly following some man, group, or institution without sufficient regard for whether or not the message is built upon a proper examination, exegesis, and expounding of the sacred text.  Whether it regards leaning to the left or the right of biblical center, we must be careful to check the ground beneath our feet.  There is no other foundation that can be rightly laid (1 Cor. 3:11).  All other ground is sinking sand (Mat. 7:24ff).  When we build otherwise, we breed division (1 Cor. 1:10).  Let us stay with a “thus saith the Lord!”

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