Trust and verify is a signature phrase made famous by former U.S. president Ronald Regan as he discussed relations with the Soviet Union.
What he meant was that while a source of information might be considered reliable, he was going to perform additional research to verify that such information was accurate, or trustworthy.
This is a very good approach to many things in life, especially since the Internet allows ANY information/news to be published without verification whatsoever, but there’s another place where this approach should be used.
That place is in church.
For many, many years, I trusted what my pastor preached from the pulpit. The primary reason I trusted him was that he looked up scripture in his bible and encouraged us to do the same. In fact, some pastors, would wait until the congregation found the bible passages before they would continue, and I remember many Sundays where I heard lots of page-turning as the pastor walked us through key bible verses on Christian instruction/living. (Oh, I miss those days.)
A few years go when my church started using large screens for worship music I thought it was a great idea, but soon enough, I started seeing scripture up on the screen as well. For a long time, I thought that was okay too since we were “keeping up” with technology, but eventurally, the pastor quit urging people to look the passages up on their own.
That idea made me uncomfortable, especially because there are now so many translations of the bible, that depending on the translation being used, if one word or a key phrase gets changed whether it’s by accident or not, it could change the whole meaning of a passage.
Over time, my church started using quotes from other bible scholars, which seemed okay because they were still quoting scripture; but now, many churches — my own included — uses quotes from secular authors, Buddhists monks, scientists and other wise individuals in conjunction with or simply without bible verses.
It seems like we (the church) are starting to put more weight on man’s word rather than God’s. We identify with another man’s intrepretation of life, scripture and our future over God’s truth. Think about it. How many people on FB use quotes for daily living that are not bible-based? Where did people get the idea to use those quotes? An email devotion? A Sunday sermon? Or, did FB suggest that “Quote of the day?”
This is foretold in the bible. I’ve listed but a sampling of the words of warning the bible gives about false teaching and apostate churches in the latter days/end times.
Psalm 118:8 says “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
Matthrew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Matthew 24:4-5 “4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Matthew 24:10-13 “10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Romans 16:17-18 “17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
2 Timothy 4:2-5 “2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
God got ahold of me quite a few months ago and has been pressing upon me the importance of searching His truth. He’s made it very clear what is true and what is not. Since then I attend a different church, but I wouldn’t say that I trust the teaching there 100% either. They do teach from the bible, but God’s opened my eyes and my heart to trust but verify using His word over man’s — always.