Nothing is true just because the pastor says it. Truth is only real if God says it. That means that you have to see it for yourself in the Bible.
If you try to act on truth just because you know I believe it, you’ll end up like the sons of Sceva in Acts who tried to cast out a demon “by Jesus whom Paul preaches”. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t really help to know that I believe something or that everyone else at church believes something. You have to believe it for yourself because you are convinced for yourself that the Bible says it!
I love you and I want you to respect me, but I don’t stand in the place of God in your life. I certainly do my best to rightly divide the word of God and present its truths accurately. But how do you know for sure if I’ve missed it or not? You have to believe something because you know it’s what God says to you in the Bible, not just because you heard me preach it.
Back in the bad old days of Medieval times, only a select few were allowed to have Bibles, and everyone else had to take those people’s word for what is in the Bible. I’m glad we don’t live in those days! Anyone can have a Bible, and anyone can read it.
It seems to me that there is too much “Medieval thinking” going on in the church world. We think that if someone famous on TV says it, it must be right. But the famous person on TV might be wrong, and there’s only one way to know for sure. Read the Bible for yourself!
We need to be “fair-minded:” like the Bereans in Acts and “search the Scriptures to see if these things be so.” If you’ll do that, you’ll develop your own faith that won’t be shaken by anyone’s experience.
The devil can misquote Scripture and use it out of context. It’s important to know what’s written, but sometimes you have to know what’s also written! The devil misquoted Psalm 91 to Jesus, leaving out a key phrase in a certain passage. Jesus wasn’t fooled. He knew what was “also” written about putting God to a foolish test.
The devil told Jesus to jump off a high building because the angels would keep him and bear him up lest he dash his foot against a stone. He left out the part that said the angels will keep you “in all your ways”, in other words, in the normal course of your life. This certainly would not include deliberately jumping off high buildings! But how many people would have recognized the devil’s misquotation of Scripture?
Frankly, there is plenty of stuff out there that I can’t reconcile with my Bible that is nonetheless quite popular today, and people believe it rather than check it out for themselves. But checking things out for yourself takes work. For starters, if you haven’t read the whole Bible, how do you know what’s in there and what isn’t? There might be a key verse that blows something out of the water, but you’d have to know it to avoid being taken in. For example, Sun Myung Moon claimed that Jesus appeared to him on a hillside and told him that He was sending Moon to finish the work that He had failed to finish. Interesting, given that Jesus said “It is finished”, but you’d have to know that. God will never give anyone a vision that contradicts the Bible. But if you don’t know what the Bible says, how will you know if something contradicts it?
There is no shortcut to knowing the Bible – you have to read it for yourself! And please let the Bible, not any man (including the pastor), be the final authority to you!