Today’s Question and Answer
I’d like to get some advice or hear a sermon about people who are struggling with true Christianity. I just would like to know, Dr. Lutzer, why do we have so many different interpretations of Christianity, and who is justified in being right? I really struggle with this.
Asked by: Jason
Well Jason, you have lots of company. When people come to saving faith in Christ, they see all of these denominations, and it’s no surprise that they ask, “who is right?”
Now there are different reasons why denominations were formed and why you there are so many different interpretations of the Bible. The Bible is a very complicated book. It deals with a lot of different subjects written about over a period of many centuries. So, quite understandably, there are going to be some differences in interpretation.
Furthermore, as human beings, we have limitations. Take for example, the issue of free will versus predestination. When you look at various verses in the Bible, some seem to argue for one and some seem to argue for another. It isn’t quite as clear-cut as we’d like it to be, and so naturally there are some people who would gravitate to one passage and build their doctrine on it, while others choose another—so basically, because of human limitation, we have differences.
It’s also very difficult for us to realize that we must use the Bible to interpret the Bible. For example, very candidly, there are some texts in the New Testament from which, if we had those alone, we might conclude that baptism is necessary for salvation. But then we have dozens and dozens of other texts that talk about salvation as faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Now here’s the bottom line Jason: despite all the differences that are out there, there are some things in the Bible that are very, very clear. It’s very clear that we are sinners, we need a savior, Jesus came to save us from our sins, He was God, His sacrifice was accepted by the Father, He was raised from the dead, and those who believe in Him will be saved.
Sometimes we need to get back to the basics—to understand what those are. And at times we simply have to let go of some of the lesser issues—they’re still important, but not as important as the message of the Gospel itself.
Keep studying, keep thinking, keep praying, and God will lead you.