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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Regarding Remnants

At the Together for the Gospel Conference, I was greatly encouraged to worship with 3,000 like minded pastors. Yet, at the same time, you can feel isolated that you are only worshipping with 3,000 like minded pastors. Certainly, others were not there who agree with the doctrines that were discussed, but each of us experience times where we feel like we are an insignificant minority. This series will look at the existence of remnants, the dangers of believing you are in a remnant and the rewards of truly being in one.It stands to reason that if a majority exists, so does a minority. Yet, we're never quite sure what to do with a minority. Should they conform? Should we protect them? Are they just rebellious? Could they be the only ones who are right? Whatever the decision, and it is not always consistent, one thing we can know for certain is that a minority always will exist.

You can especially count on a minority when it comes to issues of faith. Take a look at the following thoughts from Scripture:

1. Believers will be the minority of a population (Matthew 7:13-14).
2. Not all who identify themselves as part of the church are believers (Acts 20:29; I John 2:18-20).
3. Not all of Israel were genuine believers (Romans 9:6-8).
4. Elijah and Paul both felt this tension (I Kings 19:9-18; Romans 11:1-6).

In a republic, where democracy has permeated even the church, it can be easy to believe that majority rules. However, God did not choose to institute a democracy for Israel, and Scripture indicates it's not His desire for the church either. What makes doctrine correct or incorrect does not depend on the perspective of the masses, but rather, faithfulness to the Word. I think there are two passages that illustrate why the majority opinion can often be the wrong opinion.

Ahab's "prophets." We see Micaiah outnumbered by many prophets in I Kings 22. Micaiah refutes the message of the 400 prophets before the king, as the prophets are standing right there. One can not imagine how Micaiah felt with 400:1 odds. But how could 400 men agree on one message, especially with it being false? The answer from the text is obvious that the false prophets were focussed on the response of Ahab as well as validating one another. Knowing their message was not stable, they sought validity through approval of the king, and one another.

Tim and the Ephesian Church. Paul had already warned the Ephesian elders that false doctrine would crop up within their church (Acts 20:29). He sends Timothy to minister to the church, and instructs Timothy to combat false doctrine (I Timothy 4:1-5). In his second letter to Timothy, he explains how these false teachers will be permitted to have a voice. People will crave their teaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5). In our flesh, we do not desire the things of God. Increasing the number of people does not guarantee the defeat of the flesh, but only creates an opportunity for validation for those who choose to indulge it. Why is the majority perspective often the wrong perspective? Because I know me, and if a room was filled with 300 people who think like me, the chances of false doctrine creeping in have just multiplied 300 times!

I do not mean to suggest that a majority is alwasy wrong. By the grace of God, I pray that an overwhelming majority of people in our Body declare a Biblically accurate perspective on salvation. (Incidentely, those who do not are not actually a part of the Body.) But it means that in our highly pragmatic society, where majority seems to rule, we can not validate something simply because a large number of people are willing to sign on to it. A remnant will not always exist, for a city is coming where every citizen will have the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 21:22-27). But until that day, a remnant exists as a display of God's glory. For if the opinion of man made things right, where would we then boast? (Romans 11:5-6)


  • At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Glen Rice and Reggie Miller said…

    I have no ARBS.


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