Is It Heresy to Depart From the Bible?
By Liuyi, South Korea
In the wake of the disasters, the omens heralding the Lord’s return in the last days have largely now been seen, and many people who yearn for God look forward anxiously to the’ return. When The Church of Almighty God began to testify openly that the Lord had returned as Almighty God— of the last days—who expresses the truth and performs the work of judgment beginning with the house of God, however, some people were deceived and constrained by what the pastors and elders said, that “All of God’s utterances are in the Bible, and to depart from the Bible is heresy,” and so they dared not seek and investigate God’s work in the last days. But does this claim made by the pastors and elders accord with the truth? Is there any basis for this claim in the Lord Jesus’ words? This issue has a direct bearing on whether or not we will be able to greet the Lord’s return and be raptured up into the kingdom of heaven. Let us explore it together.
Are All of God’s Words and Work to Be Found in the Bible?
Although many people believe that “All of God’s utterances are in the Bible, and to depart from the Bible is heresy,” did the Lord Jesus ever say such a thing? Did the Holy Spirit ever say such a thing? Does this view truly accord with the facts? If God’s words were all in the Bible, how then could the following spoken by John be explained? “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). As we all know, the Lord Jesus worked and preached for three and a half years, speaking and doing who knows how many things each day, so how could it possibly all be recorded within the confines of the Four Gospels? God is the Creator, He is the ever-flowing wellspring of living water, so how could He possibly have spoken only those limited words that are recorded in the Bible? If we delimit God’s utterances to the Bible, are we not regarding God as paltry and insignificant? Moreover, the Lord Jesus clearly prophesied, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). The Book of Revelation also prophesies the pealing of the seven thunders and that the Lamb shall open the small scroll. From this we can see that when God returns in the last days, He will express new utterances and bestow all truths upon man. If we believe that there can be no words of God beyond those in the Bible, would we not then be denying the Lord’s return and denying His prophecies? Therefore, the claim that “All of God’s utterances are in the Bible and there are no words or work of God beyond those in the Bible” is simply untenable. If we cling to this kind of view, we will never be able to greet the return of the Lord.
Is It Heresy to Depart From the Bible?
Since there are words of God beyond those found in the Bible, does the statement “To depart from the Bible is heresy” accord with the facts? In fact, the Bible is nothing more than a record of God’s previous two stages of work. Whether the Age of Law or the Age of Grace, it was many years after God completed His work that people wrote down the words He spoke and the work He did and compiled it all together into what we now know as the Bible. From this process of the Bible coming into existence, we can know that the Bible is merely a historical record of God’s past work—without God’s work there could be no Bible. This means that God does not speak or work according to the Bible and that He is not limited by the Bible; God speaks His words and performs His work according to His own plan and to the needs of mankind. We therefore cannot limit God’s work and words to the Bible, nor can we use the Bible to delimit God, much less claim that any departing from the Bible is heresy, for God has the right to depart from the Bible to speak and work. We will be clearer on this issue once we have read a passage of God’s words.
Almighty God says, “During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He did not take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. So, too, were His work, His teachings, and the authority and power of His words beyond any man in the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Was this not man’s error? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must God work according to the foretelling of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?”
We understand from this passage that God is always new and never old, and that God’s work to save mankind moves ever onward and is never repeated. God begins new ages and performs newer work in order to bring newer paths to people and to bestow higher truths on people, so that they might attain God’s greater salvation. Not only is every stage of God’s words and work, therefore, not based on the Bible, but on the contrary, God goes beyond the Bible to speak new words and perform new work. Take the Lord Jesus’ words and work, for example, which totally went beyond the Old Testament. The Old Testament required that people’s worship of Jehovah God must be performed in the temple, but the Lord Jesus not only did not enter the temple, but He also led His disciples to every city and every village to preach and work; He preached the way of repentance, and taught people to worship God in spirit and in truth, and to not be confined to formalities. The Old Testament required that people observe the Sabbath day, but the Lord Jesus took His disciples out to work and preach on the Sabbath, and the disciples plucked ears of corn to eat. The Old Testament required that people treat their enemies with an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but the Lord Jesus asked people to love their enemies, to turn the other cheek, and to forgive others seventy times seven times…. We can therefore say that the Lord Jesus’ words and work went beyond the Old Testament. If we say that to depart from the Bible is heresy, would we not then be defining the Lord Jesus’ work as heresy?
We must know that God is the Ruler of all things; He is the Lord not only of the Sabbath day, but of the Bible as well. It is entirely within His rights to go beyond the confines of the Bible to perform the work He ought to do and speak the words He wants to say. As corrupt mankind, we have no right whatsoever to judge or delimit God’s words and work, as God’s work in the new age will surely always be different from the work of the old age. The claim that “To depart from the Bible is heresy” is, therefore, simply untenable, and we absolutely cannot use this claim to condemn the work Almighty God does in the last days.
How Should We Approach God’s Work in the Last Days?
In the last days, Almighty God expresses millions of words and performs the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. These words are truths which purify and save mankind, and although they were not recorded in the Bible ahead of time, yet they completely fulfill the prophecies spoken by the Lord Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12–13). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Although we have accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemption and our sins have been forgiven, yet our sinful nature has not been expunged and we still live a life of sinning and confessing, unable to escape. Almighty God, therefore, upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption and according to His management plan and the needs of corrupt mankind, expresses the truth and performs the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He does this to save us from sin, and to enable us to be purified and to be led into the kingdom of heaven. The words expressed by Almighty God judge mankind’s corrupt essence and expose the factual truth of mankind’s corruption by Satan, and they dissect the root cause of man’s rebelliousness and resistance to God. At the same time, they tell us all the truths we need to attain full salvation, and they show us the path we must take to be purified and attain full salvation. If we cling only to the Bible and refuse to accept the work God does beyond the Bible in the last days, then we will merely live in a state of sinning during the day and confessing at night, and we will continue to rebel against and resist God, incapable of being compatible with God. Then we will never be able to be purified and attain salvation.
Almighty God says, “Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present, for God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if youbut do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines or an understanding of history, you must seek of today, and you must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. If you were an archeologist you could read the Bible—but you are not, you are one of those who believe in God, and you had best seek God’s will of today.” The Bible is nothing more than a historical record of God’s past work. If we want to get to know God’s previous two stages of work, then we can read the Bible. But if we want to greet the Lord and attain the salvation of the last days, then we must leave the Bible behind, seek God’s will of today and keep pace with God’s new work. When the Lord Jesus appeared and performed His work in the beginning, for example, Peter, James, John, and the others, left the Old Testament behind and were not bound and constrained by the Old Testament, but kept pace with God’s new work and attained the Lord Jesus’ salvation. Conversely, the Pharisees knew full well that the Lord’s words and work were possessed of authority and power, but because Jesus’ words and work went beyond the Old Testament, they condemned and resisted Him, and nailed Him to the cross. By so doing, they offended God’s disposition and were damned and punished by God.
After having read the above fellowship, I trust that we now all understand that the view “All God’s words are to be found in the Bible, and to depart from the Bible is heresy” is wrong, and that it is at odds with the truth. Only by relinquishing our notions, wholeheartedly listening to God’s words, seeking and investigating God’s new work, and achieving what is spoken of in the words “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4) can we attain God’s salvation of the last days, receive full salvation and.