There is scarcely a Christian in a fundamental church that has not heard a sermon on Proverbs 22:28. There is no debate over the original meaning of the verse. Landmarks were used to set the boundaries of a person’s property. These were set to designate the ownership of land in recognition of a person’s legal right to a specific part of the land. Often, large stones placed at corners of the property made it obvious to others where the property lines extended. We still use the same basic principles today in less obvious ways. Surveyors set property pins. It is impossible to move the property lines by theft since modern surveying techniques do not depend on physical markers. GPS coordinates take their place. But, in Bible times, to move a marker to increase one’s part of the land and to decrease another’s, was very dishonest and destructive to property owners.
The question about this text is whether it is right to make a spiritual application. I have never heard of a fundamental preacher who said we should not. It is a favorite text for teaching the danger of moving away from the great doctrines of the Bible. These doctrines are the markers of our faith and practice. We cannot go beyond or fall short of them. To do so is to destroy the faith as it was once delivered by the Holy Spirit through New Testament authorship (Jude 1:3). In Jude’s terms, contending for the faith is the defense of these landmarks.
As Bereans, we examine every doctrine to be sure it corresponds to the written word. If it does not, we reject it as an attempt to move the landmark. In two thousand years of church history, many splinter groups have been busy moving landmarks all over the map. They put new ones down while adjusting others or completely removing them. These bogus landmarks should be soundly rejected. If they are not scriptural, they do not come from God. This shows the main positioning pin is vital. This pin is the belief the Bible is the infallible, unchanging word of God.
When others describe our church as a traditional church, some may think this refers to our worship style, such as the types of songs we sing and the way we present them. This is a tradition in one sense, but not the tradition we care to be most descriptive. Rather, we want to be known as a traditional Bible church. We want to be known as those who have no other standards than those found in God’s word. We want no other doctrines than those we can defend with an open Bible. We want no other text of scripture than translations that are faithful to the author’s original intent. We want no flirtation with non-biblical methods of increasing attendance. The church belongs to Christ and He will build it as He sees fit.
Don’t move the landmarks! Every doctrine must fit as God delivered it in His word. We preach nothing more as if to add is to help the word, and we preach nothing less as if to subtract is to correct the word. The word as given is sufficient to furnish us to all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Pastor V. Mark Smith