Not According To Divine Authority!

Many things have become commonplace in the religious world for which no divine authority can be found. This, however, has not kept them from becoming accepted in the minds of most people. Whether or not divine authority can be produced appears to be of little consequence with most religious people and most churches. How sad it is that the point has been reached where practically "anything goes" in religion and people do not care enough to question religious practices.

MANY RELIGIOUS BODIES! Indeed, here is something that is commonplace. On nearly every street corner in every town and city is a different religious institution wearing a different name. Likewise, they are believing and practicing things that set them apart from each other. Yet quite often this situtation is praised because you can "attend the church of your choice". Does the Bible authorize the giving of a choice when it comes to the church? Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:21 that all believers would be "one". All churches profess to be "believers" but can it truthfully be said they are "one" as Jesus prayed? What does it mean to be "one"? Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 1:10, "...that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement." The Scriptures do not authorize a choice when it comes to the church. There is "one body" (Ephesians 4:4) and the body is the church (Ephesians 1:21,22; Colossians 1:18,24). We may think we have a choice but God has only authorized "one" church!

MECHANICAL INSTRUMENTS OF MUSIC! This has become so accepted and commonplace in most churches that it is used without question. In fact, the questions only arise when it is not used. But we need to question its use! Is mechanical instruments of music authorized in worship to God? With mechanical music so commonplace it may be interesting to learn that only singing is mentioned in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, the only music authorized by God is singing. It is to be the "fruit of our lips" (Hebrews 13:15). Where is the Scripture authorizing the use of mechanical music in worship to God?

CHURCH KITCHENS! Where is the Scripture authorizing churches to build and maintain kitchens and other facilities in which to eat common meals? Where is the Scripture authorizing the social and recreational endeavors that have become the work of most churches? The practice of eating common meals to satisfy hunger and thirst is to be done at home (1 Corinthians 11:22,34). It is not to be associated with the church providing the facilities whether in the basement or an adjoining building still located on the church's property.

Friend, let's heed the Scriptures and become concerned with the necessity of doing things with authorization from God. When we act without authorization we are committing a serious offense. "Whosoever trangresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9). Jesus warned of sure punishment to those who acted without authorization: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23). When we faithfully build the church according to the pattern, it will be the Lord's church. Anything else cannot be the New Testament church!

--E.R. Hall, Jr.

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