Vol.XX No.XII Pg.5
February 1984

Who Has The Question?

Dan S. Shipley

Bumper sticker religion has little appeal to me, but its message is hard to ignore, especially if you happen to be driving or parked behind a bumper where it is displayed. That's just where I found myself recently, and here's what I read: "THE BIBLE HAS THE ANSWER." There was a bumper sticker I had to agree with. That's what I believe; that's what I preach. And that, apparently, was what the driver in front of me believed — probably the one behind me too. In fact, most of Texas and part of California would agree that the Bible does have the answer! Why is it, then, that so many people who have Bibles don't have the answers? And that can best be answered with another query or two.

WHO HAS THE QUESTION? And, more importantly, WHO HAS THE QUESTION THAT WILL BE SATISFIED WITH NOTHING LESS THAN A BIBLE ANSWER? Now that query may not fit on a bumper sticker, but it certainly deserves an important place in the thinking of those who would please God and seek salvation. Unfortunately, too few are asking the kind of questions whose answers are found in the Bible. Certainly, the irreligious and immoral are not. For the most part, they, as the Gentiles of old, refuse to have God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:28). They live for the here and now, serving the lust of the flesh and generally have no more regard for gospel truth than would a hog for a string of pearls. Yes, the Bible has the answer, but like the rich and foolish farmer of Lk. 12, they have no time for God and, therefore, no questions.

But, there are others who do not have the questions and among them, amazingly enough, are those who claim to fear God and follow the Bible. Now these are mostly people with good intentions, but they make the tragic and popular mistake of assuming to have the answers. Instead of proving all things (1 Thss. 5:21), they accept a "hand- me-down" religion without question and without conviction. Even if unwittingly, they commit their souls to a course in religion based more on social and family ties than a "thus saith the Lord," they wrongly equate their religion with righteousness and, therefore, do not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3). Worse, their comfortable assumptions find reinforcement through their feelings, experiences, and prejudices. After all, they have religion; they have a "church"; they have their Bibles — and maybe even one of those bumper stickers. BUT WHAT THEY DON'T HAVE IS BIBLE AUTHORITY FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND PRACTICE! They do not have a truth-determined relationship with the Lord. And worse, most are satisfied beyond question in their way that "seemeth right" and happily assume that God is too.

What they, and all of us, must do is come back to where we say the answers are. One of the first lessons we learn there is that man must be willing to do God's will (Jn. 7:17). This is the heart of acceptable religion. Then, in all that he does, man must give diligence to present himself approved unto God (2 Tim. 2:15) by abiding in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9). It does have the answers — but only for those who will hear and learn (Jn. 6:45).