G.Bruno said, “Truth does not change because it is not believed by a majority of people.” To this William Penn would agree, for he said, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it”. Prior to Columbus discovering America, people believed that the earth was flat. Thinking so did not make it so. What everyone believes is true can be wrong, and the belief in a flat earth is one example. It can be really dangerous to agree with the beliefs of the majority, for in most things important, the majority is wrong. For example, think how many people lived on the earth at the time of Noah. One mathematician has calculated it to be one billion, thirty million people, using the genealogy in Genesis 5 to draw this conclusion. The number of people was about the same as the population of the world in about 1830, which is a lot of people compared to the eight who entered the ark. All those people ignored the preaching of Noah, probably dismissing him as a crackpot religious fanatic, and all those people were wrong – and as a result they all died.
Consider how many children of Israel actually made it to the Promised Land at the time of the Exodus. If there were over 600,000 men who left Egypt under the command of Moses, there must have been at least an equal number of women. That would make one million two hundred thousand. Then if they had an average of only two children each, we could add another one million two hundred thousand, bringingthe total to at least two million four hundred thousand. Now, of those that were numbered only two, we are told, entered the Promised Land. Those two, Joshua and Caleb, tried unsuccessfully to convince the vast majority of the people of Israel to go on and possess the land with the help of God. Joshua and Caleb were right, they knew that God would bring them in successfully, and the rest of the people, the majority who doubted, were wrong. Those who were wrong all died, paying with their lives for their error, just as those who were wrong in the time of Noah did. It can be dangerous to be wrong. We cannot assume we are in the right just because we are in the minority, but we certainly do not want to support our opinion because it agrees with what the majority thinks.
So how do we find out what is right on any given subject? We must let the facts speak. When it comes to salvation, the facts that are necessary to be believed are all in God’s inspired Word found in our Bible. We dare not change, ignore or add to what God has said. The closing words in the book of Revelation contain this warning: “I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (RSV). We need to understand that we need to be right when it comes to believing what God has commanded no matter what or how many tell us differently.
There are so many churches yet only one truth because people down through the ages have done what was right in their own eyes. Solomon tells us that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”. The fact that there are billions of people alive today who believe that man does not really die but simply makes a transition of some sort does not make it so. People who disregard the commandments in the Bible as being old-fashioned and unnecessary will pay for their error just as those in error died at the time of Noah. We must be willing to stand up for what is right in spite of the opposition we receive from the vast majority because we want to be like Noah or Joshua and Caleb who were preserved because they were faithful to the Truth. Isaiah tells us, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”. For this reason we must adopt the same attitude as those in Berea so long ago when they heard Paul speak to them. We are told that “The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”. Notice the Bereans did more than just read the Bible – they examined the Scriptures, they did it every day and they did this careful examination to check and make sure that what Paul was preaching to them was true. Let us be like them and check that our beliefs are true to the Scriptures.
We should not be discouraged when everyone around us believes the opposite of what the Bible teaches because they haven’t bothered to check. How do we deal with all those people around us, our neighbours and co-workers, who have false beliefs and are convinced that they are correct? Here is Paul’s advice as to how we should conduct ourselves: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses”.