by Kevin Rutherford


It is reported that Abraham Lincoln once asked a debate opponent a question about a cow’s legs.  The question went something like this; “How many legs does a cow have if we call his tail a leg?”  The unwitting respondent fell into Lincoln’s trap and said, “five.”  Lincoln replied by saying the cow only has four legs.  Simply calling the tail a leg does not mean it really is a leg.  This simple logic needs to be kept in the forefront of our minds.  Simply saying something is true does not mean that it is true.  We have plenty of religious people who say something is true.  We have a lot of preachers who tell us what is true.  We have many folks telling us what they believe God said.  Simply saying it is true does not necessarily mean that it is.

A good example is the “man of God” spoken of in I Kings 13.  God sent a man to speak out against the wickedness of King Jeroboam.  God also told that man that he was not to eat or drink until he got home and that he was not to go home the same way he had come.  While this man of God was on his way home an old prophet sent a message to him.  This old prophet wanted the man of God to come and eat at his house.  The man of God said no and cited what God had said to him.  It was at this point that one of the old prophet’s sons said, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” The Bible then adds, “He was lying to him.”  Unfortunately, the man of God failed to stick with God had originally said and gave in to the invitation from the false prophet.  For this he lost his life.  Why did he loose his life?  He lost his life because he disobeyed God.  He knew what God had said and yet he allowed someone to change his mind.  Just because that other fellow claimed to be a prophet didn’t mean he was.  Just because that other fellow claimed to be telling the truth didn’t mean he was.

God gave us the scriptures so that we might actually know what He wants (1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17).  The only way for us to know the truth is to study the Scriptures with an open, honest, and reasonable mind (Acts 17:11).  Just because someone says something is true doesn’t mean it really is. We must have the sense to check it out.

I wonder how many souls have been lost because they accepted the word of man over the word of God.  I wonder how many congregations have gone into apostasy because they failed to carefully examine what was being taught to them.  Just because someone sounds good and seems pious doesn’t mean he is telling the truth.  Persuasive speakers have corrupted the hearts and minds of many.  Don’t forget the simple logic of Lincoln and don’t forget the tragic story of the man of God.  Just because someone says a thing is true, doesn’t mean it really is.  Check it out to make sure!