TONY ELDER: Religious writings cannot match the importance of the Bible

Tony Elder

Tony Elder

I heard that someone is planning a sequel to the classic holiday movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I understand the cast will even include a few of the actors and actresses who played the Bailey children in the original version.

While it might be interesting to see such a production, especially since its predecessor happens to be one of my favorite movies, I have serious reservations about this endeavor. For one thing, after reading about the basic plot line, I’m afraid it’s going to stray away from the spirit and message of the film which I and others hold so dear.

But even if it didn’t, I believe anyone would be hard-pressed to create a sequel that measured up to the original. That classic movie is so good that I don’t believe it can be improved upon or helped by adding more to it. Some things just don’t need sequels.

I’d like to suggest a couple of other things which fit that description as well. I don’t believe the Bible needs a sequel. In the uniquely inspired words of Scripture, God has revealed to us everything we need to know to receive salvation and live in accordance with His will and purpose for our lives.

I believe the Bible’s self-testimony that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

While it might be talking primarily about the book of Revelation itself, I believe the warning in the last chapter of the Bible is just as applicable to that whole body of work: “If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22: 18-19).

Some groups have offered sequels or additional writings which they claim to be at least on the same level as the Bible, if not supersede it. Other individuals have declared their own proclamations under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be just as valid and infallible as Scripture.

Certainly there are numerous writings which can aid our understanding of the Bible. And we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth and to help us properly apply what is has been revealed in God’s Word. But none of it is equal to Scripture, and its validity must be judged by its harmony with what the Bible teaches.

Similarly, I don’t believe the act of Christ dying for our sins needs a sequel. Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect, complete, and all that was needed to provide us with forgiveness of sins and eternal life. “With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).

We don’t need another Messiah to come along and finish the job. Neither do we need our own efforts and good works to make us acceptable with God. What Jesus did on the cross was enough.

Until I see it, I’m going to be rather leery of this sequel to “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But even more, I hope we’ll all keep away from anything that claims to be some kind of addition to the Bible or that in some way adds to the sacrifice of Christ.

Some things are so perfect and complete that they just don’t need sequels.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.