In a northern city where I was scheduled to preach on a Sunday
morning a number of years ago there was an elder in the Lord's
church who also was a very successful attorney. He was widely
known in his profession. He led the prayer just before my sermon.
I remember one specific sentiment that he uttered, but I remember
it as though he had just prayed it while writing and typing this
article. The petition was, "Lord, help us not to tamper with
He frequently dealt with wills in his profession. He knew the
"wills" of men are to be respected and the provisions
carried out to the letter of their every mandate; said wills were
not to be tampered with to any degree.
Even more importantly, he was courageously aware of the fact that
the last will and testament of Jesus is not to be tampered with
by the hands of men and lips of church leaders. I was included
in that prayer. He did not want me to tamper with God's Word in
the presentation of it; he did not want his local preacher to
tamper with it; he did not ever intend for the eldership of which
he was a part to tamper with that Word; he did not want the congregation
to tamper with the New Testament.
Had you heard him pray this prayer, would you not have remembered
this petition also across the years? Every reader of the Firm
Foundation, would answer yes.
Surely this petition is part and parcel of the prayers and practices
of everyone of us.
Some Practical Applications
Without exception every creed maker or manual manufacturer has
tampered with God's Word by addition, subtraction, alteration,
substitution, or modification. Those with anti sentiments
have tampered with the generic of the gospel; those with liberal
tendencies have tampered with the specifics of the gospel.
The former binds where God has not bound; the latter looses where
God has bound. The former group would destroy the work of the
church; the latter group would destroy the church itself.
Advocates of the new hermeneutic have tampered with the Word of
God. The bottom line of this new
movement is a rejection of pattern authority, a nullification
of the authority that inheres in God's inviolable Word. The change
agents among churches of Christ are notorious in tampering
with the Word of the Lord. To them culture is more important than
the Christ. Pleasing the unchurched is more important than pleasing
the Lord. Making sure we keep the baby boomers and baby busters
is more important than making sure we respect the will and wish
of The Timeless Trinity. Making sure that we are not offensive
to our denominational acquaintances takes precedence over a strong
desire never to offend Deity.
They tamper with the doctrine of the Godhead, the authority of
the Bible, the basics of the gospel, and the noble nature of the
Lord's church. The church is his and not theirs.
With few exceptions those who have put out new Bibles have tampered
with God's Word. They have done so by additions (Amplified, EasyToRead);
they have done so by subtractions such as The Reader's Digest,
which axed about 40 percent of the words of the Bible; they
have done so by inserting modernism (RSV, NRSV), denominationalism
(TEV, NEB, NIV, LBP), premillennialism (nearly all the modern
ones), Catholicism (NEB), irreverence (LBP), mechanical music
in worship (NIV, Amplified, Beck's) and a host of other unauthorized
In Psalm 119 we read, "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled
in heaven.... Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but
my heart standeth in awe of thy word." David said in Psalm
138:2, "[F]or thou hast magnified thy word above thy name."
In John 10:35 Jesus declared that "the scripture cannot be
broken." In 1 Corinthians 4:6 (ASV) Paul warns us not to
go beyond the things which are written. In Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32;
Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2; ant Revelation 22:1819 we
are solemnly warned lest we add to or diminish from the Word of
"Lord. may we never tamper with thy Word."
Feature Book: The Second Incarnation A Pattern for Apostasy
by Curtis A. Cates
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