There once were four preachers who had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in agreement against the fourth. One day, the odd preacher out, after the usual "3 to 1, majority rules" statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority.
"Oh, God!" he cried. "I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!"
It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the preacher finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. "A sign from God! See, I'm right, I knew it!" But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.
So the preacher prayed again: "Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, God, a bigger sign!" This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.
"I told you I was right!" cried the preacher, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.
The preacher was getting ready to ask for a *very big* sign, but just as he said, "Oh God...," the sky turned pitch black, the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice said, "HEEEEEEEE'S RIIIIIIIGHT!"
The preacher put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three, and said, "Well?"
"So," shrugged one of the other preachers, "now it's 3 to 2."
It's a serious problem. The problem of putting God's words on an equal level with man's words. But spiritual truth is not determined by taking a vote. In fact, even if 1,000 people agree with us, it makes no difference unless we agree with God.
As Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." (John 17:17)
That's why Paul was so determined that the Thessalonians know the source of his teaching.
"For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe." (I Thess. 2:13)
Father, in the confusion of so many voices telling us what is right and what is wrong, may we look to your word for truth. Thank you for being a God of truth, one in whom we can place our utmost confidence. In Jesus' name, Amen.