The Burden of Proof

It is an unfortunate and sad fact that many Christians and churches of Christ have departed the faith concerning issues ranging from salvation and worship to service and morality. Compounding the problem is the belligerence often expressed in the creative “proofs” offered for their departures. One might say “proofs” because it is frequently the case that there is no proof at all and often little attempt to present any; just an indignant incredulity that anyone would dare to require of them authority for what is being done or said.

Some misled religionists, pushed to the brink of response, will try the “Show-me-where-it-is-wrong” defense, which is defenseless. Instead, one should demand: “Show me where it is right.” Christians are set apart and unique because they abide in God’s truth (John 17:17; 1 Peter 2:9; John 15:4-7). When one generates words or deeds not found in God’s Word, that person or church has departed the faith (1 Timothy 4:1ff).

Some innovators prefer to defer. Their claim is that they are under no obligation to prove anything (but can they prove that?). However, the burden of proof for any word or deed, as relates to God, lies with the individual or church promoting the word or deed. If one says everything and does everything by Jesus’s authority (Matthew 28:18), then that person or church is obligated by God to give a reason for what is being done (1 Peter 3:15); unless, of course, one just ignores the Bible altogether.

Any person even remotely claiming to belong to God must be able and willing to present the reason for any word or deed in which they would be involved; one must have God’s approval before one can have confidence in God’s blessing. Many lost souls invest and have invested all of their resources and even their very being in vain religion (Matthew 7:21-23). What is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). So, if one does not “hear” it from God’s word (and one cannot “hear” it if it is not in the Bible), it is a vain faith. If one cannot find Divine revelation for what one does or says religiously, it is not from God; it is wrong (Colossians 3:17).

Proof is no burden for the child of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11a).