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What Will Rescue the Nations From Confusion?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Men must recognize, and bow the knee to, the true Source of doctrine and authority.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Men must recognize, and bow the knee to, the true Source of doctrine and authority. It is Christians' responsibility to proclaim it to the end, no matter what ridicule we may receive.

In 1932, as the world was plunging into ever greater turmoil, and Adolph Hitler was about to come to power in Germany, the great British statesman Winston Churchill envisioned what should be done to avert a second world war. He said this: "Why should we not frankly recognize that there must be some source of doctrine and authority to rescue nations from confusion?" At that time Churchill believed that the "source of doctrine and authority" should be Britain and the United States working together against "communism and the disintegrating forces of a disunited Europe".[1] 

After Britain and United States failed to avert World War Two, in 1945 Churchill next saw the "source of doctrine and authority" in the charter of the United Nations, and the establishment of a United States of Europe which he advocated. There was no place in his thinking for an authority higher than sinful man to govern the affairs of this world.

Today, the world is in greater confusion than ever. Once again, the ages-old pattern of "nation rising against nation" (Matthew 24:7) is being repeated all around us. The names and shapes of the nations have changed over the centuries, but the essential fact of life since Adam's fall remains unchanged. Despite thousands of years of abject failure since man sinned and God's curse came upon the world, men still seek to remake this world to conform to their own ever more sinful desires - and call it "progress".

But what do we find in the Word of God?

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

And then note what the Lord declares next. Here is the true "source of doctrine and authority":

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:6-11)

Fallen man always looks to other fallen men for a "source of doctrine and authority". The quest is always a fool's errand. The history of the world is the history of the failure of man to save himself - even physically or morally in this life, to say nothing of life beyond the grave. All the effects of Adam's fall - war, crime, pestilence, natural disasters, famine - will continue to the end of time.

Fallen man, apart from the convicting and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, refuses to acknowledge or submit to an authority higher than himself. He refuses to bow the knee to the one true Source of doctrine and authority - the Lord Jesus Christ who is on the throne of the universe, and Holy Scripture as His supreme authority on earth, through which we have the sure promise the He is preparing New Heavens and a New Earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

It is believers' responsibility to proclaim the one Source of doctrine and authority to this fallen world, relying on God's promise that His Word will accomplish the purpose for which He has sent it. Dear Christian, let us not fail in this responsibility. Even though the unbelieving world will ridicule us as fools, let us proclaim this truth to the end of our days. Let us rely upon our Sovereign God to use His Word to accomplish His perfect plan for the ages and to save a remnant from the wrath to come. Let us take courage from the Holy Spirit's words through the Apostle Paul:

For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)


1. Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America (New York: Free Press, 2005), page 138.


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