Learning to Listen: The Absolute Need for An Absolute Authority1 -- By: Larry Dixon

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 008:1 (Summer 1999)
Article: Learning to Listen: The Absolute Need for An Absolute Authority1
Author: Larry Dixon

Learning to Listen:
The Absolute Need for An Absolute Authority1

Larry Dixon*


“The danger [students] have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance…. Openness is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger…. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all…. The purpose of their education is not to make them scholars but to provide them with a moral virtue—openness.” Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind
“Apart from blunt truth, our lives sink decadently amid the perfume of hints and suggestions.” Anonymous
“People are driven from the Church not so much by stern truth that

* Larry Dixon is a graduate of Emmaus Bible College and is Professor of Church History and Theology at Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Missions in Columbia, South Carolina. He attends Woodland Hills Community Church in Columbia. This is chapter two in a series of articles entitled Back to the Basics: A Fairly Serious Survey of the Fundamentals of the Faith.

makes them uneasy as by weak nothings that make them contemptuous.” George Buttrick
“God only knows—God has His plan—The information’s unavailable to mortal man.” Paul Simon

Perhaps you heard the story of the man who was interviewed about his faith. “What do you believe, sir?” “Well,” he answered, “I believe what my church believes.” “I see,” said the interviewer. “And what does your church believe, if you don’t mind my asking?” “That’s easy. My church believes what I believe,” replied the man. Trying a third time, the frustrated interviewer asked, “What is it that you and your church believe?” Looking at the interviewer with irritated bewilderment, the man said, “We believe the same thing, dummy!

The difficulty with many Christians is that their answers would not be much different than that man’s. They are not sure what they believe, but they know that whatever their pastor or their church or their own experience tells them must be right.

Sources of Doctrine

As you are watching a football game on television on a Sunday afternoon, a commercial comes on. The attractive young woman looks into the camera and says, “The Bible records God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.” Sounds like a Christian pitch, you think to yourself. The young woman continues, “But there is another testimony about Jesus Christ which has greatly helped me in living in this troubled world.” Another testimony? you ask yourself. “And...

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