What Happened to the Standard?

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In Judges 17:6 we have recorded, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This sad commentary is again given as a summary in the last verse of Judges. As we read Judges and first Samuel we see the same was holding true among the priests as well. As we follow Israel’s history, 1 Samuel records that they opted to fix this by anointing a king. King Saul started in humility, but already in 1 Samuel 13, he too was doing that which was right in his own eyes. What happened to the standard?
Several thousand years later, we are still faced with this plague. People who have once lived a moral life are immersed in things they once would not have considered. A number of years ago I had the privilege of chatting with an older Mennonite gentleman about our heritage. He no longer held to many practices that I cling to. His church’s standard had changed. I talked about change and how our carnal nature leads us on a downward path. He couldn’t understand why the changes in his church to keep up with the times were not inherently good. What happened to the standard?
In our world today, there are hot feelings on subjects such as transgender or animal rights. Some people are saying one thing while others say something completely to the contrary. What happened to the standard?
Christian churches have been preaching from the Bible for millennia. We have received much inspiration and admonition as a result. It has shaped the way we live. Historically there were family values. Today homes and communities are in chaos. Churches are still preaching from the Bible and we have a totally different landscape. What happened to the standard?
In our church life we have the “Decrees for to Keep” which is a standard of practice which we expect our people to aspire to. It promotes practical applications to spiritual principles. If you uphold this, you will appear a good Christian. Is this the standard I am speaking of? No! The Bible is. If everyone pursued Bible principle as the standard for their lives, the world would be a much better, more unified place to be.
The Bible hasn’t gone anywhere, but in the next three paragraphs, we’ll look at several things that are commonly happening to water down its truths.
• Many versions of the Bible are being printed.
• Leaders and laity both are taking liberty to selectively choose what parts of the Bible are applicable to themselves.
• The Bible (intentionally or unintentionally) is being put on the same plane as the churches’ standards of practice.
Today many distinct Bible versions are afloat. Many omit direct names of God and replace them with pronouns. This makes it easier to adapt the message to assorted beliefs. Some renditions change the message as compared to others. Study Bibles are popular. These mix man’s words with the Word of God. These can be helpful if taken as man’s commentary, but it also imposes dangers. Many times I’ve heard people say they like them because it (man’s words) helps them to understand the Bible. This can be relying on man to show us the mind of God!
There are many church leaders who are preaching from only parts of the Bible. There are many things in the Bible our human nature doesn’t like to be held accountable to. It brings a sense of assurance to ignore the parts that show up our sins and yet hear its promises of love, consolation, etc. In personal study, it is easy to conceive an idea and seek scriptures to support it, instead of reading the scriptures and forming our ideas. In doing so, we can entirely miss the meat of the Word.
I very commonly hear in conversations regarding people who’ve cast aside Biblical principles expressions such as, “They stopped using the Christian woman’s veiling and wearing the plain suite.” Here we’ve placed a Biblical principle on the same plane as our application to other unmentioned Biblical principles. In doing so, we’ve very flippantly communicated to a struggling youth or other new Christian that the applications we as a church have derived to Biblical principle are as important as the Bible principles themselves. While having good applications to Biblical principle is needful, the Biblical principles themselves need to be loudly and clearly taught as The Standard.
So what happened to the standard? The Bible is the unchanging standard. In spite of man’s failures, God’s message has been preserved. Even though man has attempted to annihilate it in many ways, it still lives on. Following its teaching still brings transformed lives just like it did in Jesus’ day. We have the standard here with us as clear and as accurate as it always has been. We also have the blessing of a church who endeavors to put good applications to the standard of God’s Word. The question really becomes, am I allowing God’s standard to be the rule for my life; or am I subjecting it to my own ideas? Let’s have a deep appreciation for our heritage, but have our foundation be the Word of God.