By Garreth L. Claire
Among the major religions of the world there is a variety of books and writings which they appeal to as authoritative. In the world there are approximately thirteen major religious movements, there are also about 15,000 different branches and sects of these thirteen major ones. In the material to follow I want to identify the thirteen major religious bodies and list the sources of their religious authority, I also will show the claim that the Book of Books makes for itself.
In this short outline following I will show the sources of authority for the major religions of the world;
|Major Religion||Sources Of Authority|
|1. Hinduism||The Rig-Veda
The Upanishads (5 divisions)
|2. Zoroastrianism||The Yasna
|3. Taoism||The Tao The King
The Writings Of Kwang-Tze
|4. Confucianism||The Shu King
The Shih King (4 divisions)
The Lun Yu
The Chung Yung
|5. Jainism||The Ayaranya Sutra
|6. Christian Science||Science and Health|
|7. Shinto||The Kojiki
|8. Mormonism||The Book of Mormon
The Doctrine and Covenants
The Pearl of Great Price
|9. Sikhism||The Japji
Asa Ki War
|10. Buddhism||The Vinaya Pitaka (Mahavagga)
The Sutta Pitaka (3 divisions)
The Dhammapada (Way of Virtue)
|11. Mohammedanism||The Koran (19 divisions)|
|12. Judaism||The Old Testament (39 divisions, books)
The Apocrypha (4 divisions)
|13. Christianity||The Bible (66 divisions)|
With regard to the charting of all Christianity as appealing to the Bible, I have made this temporary concession in order to include all major religions. That many so called sections within Christianity do not subscribe to the whole teaching is well documented by the regular writers in this good magazine; consequently I will not labor on this particular point but will go on with my subject.
The various religious movements differ widely in their beliefs with regard to nearly all subjects: religious, moral, ethical, and social. Since so much difference does exist we must look to either a God of total confusion or seek to establish a plurality of gods with independent followers practicing sometimes totally opposite philosophies. If we are to establish this simple consistency, we will of a necessity have to appeal to something authorative. Of all the writings of so called holy men there must be some source of total global brotherhood taught that all men of all nations may embrace to dispell religious disorder.
In order to establish religious order for humanity we must first rind a Vivine Being capable of this order. There can be no doubt about the God revealed in the Bible and His ability to rill this great void among the peoples of the earth. If the Bible is really the word from God then we can begin to understand Him from an appeal to it and it alone. God cannot be denied by the intelligent man when he B. observes the heavens (i.e. the Universe), his own physical makeup, the rotation of the earth, the tides as they go out and as they return, the function of the world of botany, and many other great and wonderful things that man cannot fully understand or explain.
Since so much in the world is beyond the understanding of mortal man, he must find answers to the questions that plague him daily. The answers are to be found in God’s Book, the Bible. Why do we suggest the Bible out of all the available sources in the thirteen major religions of this world as the only acceptable and authorative source for all mankind? Simple, the Bible addresses itself to every need that man has in all avenues of life: social, moral, ethical, religious, etc., everything that is needed is provided in it. There is no subject that is not addressed by God for man’s betterment. This cannot be said for the other books among the major religions of the world. Some of the books of the major religions teach that men are to be divided into a castes system, others teach agressive conquest in the name of their god (i.e. military agression), while the Bible teaches brotherly kindness, love, love of neighbor, etc. The Bible is a Book for unifying the world under the one true God, the God who reveals Himself through its pages. The God of the Bible is consistent through the whole of it; He can be understood; He is a God of love not a God of hate or vengeance, God is Love. Now that we have established a source of authority, let us proceed to examine some questions that are universal in their scope.
1. Is thg Bible a reliable book for man’s need of a God who is equitable toward all nationalities of men, black, white, yellow, brown, red, etc.? Let us allow the Bible to answer the question. John 3:16 says, “for God so loved the world (i.e., its entire human population) that He gave His only begotten Son. . . . ” In Romans 1:16 Paul writes, “. . . the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone (regardless of national origin) that believeth.” In Titus 2:11 Paul further writes, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men . . . . ” There can be no question on the basis of these passages and others that God is without prejudice, everyone may come to Him and be benefitted.
2. Is the book God gave to man complete, or do we need additional books of authority to guide us? This question is as important as any question mankind may ask, for if it isn’t we could justify other writings as safe guides in things religious and moral. Since we have established the authority of God and His right let us examine His Word for the answer to this question. Let us now observe some Scriptural references that will enlighten us:
A. In 2 Peter 1:3 the apostle writes, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness . . . .” You will notice from the context here that all things that pertain to life is ours through the knowledge which has been made possible through the Word of God. We need nothing else to guide us but this Book, God’s Book; in it is everything we require for living in the world and for living acceptably before God.
Again in 2 Timothy 3:16; Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Paul goes on to suggest that the Scripture may make the man of God perfect and completely furnish him for all things necessary to accomplish good works.
From the two passages of Scripture we are able to grasp a fact that cannot be disputed, the Bible is complete and requires no further additions or changes of any kind. In consequence of this fact, we need not seek further authority in religious endeavour from the books of other major religions of the world. It is evident though that the other religions of the world should appeal to the Bible and the Bible alone as their source of authority. If the major religious movements mentioned elsewhere in’this article would appeal to the Bible alone their whole concept would be changed religiously.
3. Does the Book of authority which God has given to mankind address itself to the problems of life in this world? Once again we appeal to the Book itself:
A. The Bible addresses itself to the relationship between God and man (Prov. 1:7; 1 Cor. 6:20; Josh. 24:15; etc.).
B. The Bible addresses itself to the relationship that should exist between mankind and his children (Heb. 12:7; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; etc.).
C. The Bible also gives instruction to children regarding the proper relationship they should sustain to their parents (Col. 3:20; Eph. 6:2).
D. The Bible gives instruction to man as he should react to the man/company which employees him (2 Thess. 3: 10; 1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Tim. 6:1, 2; etc.).
E. The Bible also gives man instruction regarding his attitude toward his government (Rom. 13: 1; 1 Pet. 2:17; Matt. 22:21; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2; etc.).
F. The Bible gives instruction on how husbands and wives should dwell together (Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 3:7; etc.).
G. The Bible gives instruction on how to use our financial resources (Phil. 4:15-17; Gal. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:7; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 1 Tim. 5:8).
H. The Bible gives instruction on how man should conduct himself toward and within the church of Christ (Heb. 10:25; Matt. 6:33; 2 Tim. 3:14-16; 1 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 5:12).
I. The Bible addresses itself to our neighborly relationship in a very direct manner also (Eph. 4:25; Matt. 22:39; Gal. 6:10; James 1:27; etc.).
As we suggested, the Bible gives man instruction in everyday life, God leaves nothing out of his instruction Book. As a direct result of this fact, again we need no other books of authority to guide us in any area of “life.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 18, pp. 559-561
September 15, 1983