There are churches everywhere doing all sorts of things in the name of Jesus.
Unfortunately for them, not all things they do have Bible authority. If it’s not Bible, not Scripture, then don’t do it. The Bible must govern everything a church does. After all, the Holy Spirit delivered the word to those who penned the Bible. God gave the writers what He meant to say, what He wanted, and how He wanted it done. Let’s see the Scriptures about this topic.
God Has Spoken.
God told the Old Testament Hebrews about worship. It’s all in the book of Leviticus, chapters nine and ten. But Nadab and Abihu didn’t heed His word. They offered “strange” fire before the Lord. What happened next was a lesson for the ages. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, Leviticus 10:2, Nadab and Abihu should have done as instructed.
Then again, God specified that only the priests were authorized to carry the Ark of the Covenant, Deuteronomy 31:9. On one occasion, when the Ark was moved from the house of Abinadab, the oxen stumbled, and a man named Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark lest it fall. However, he touched the ark. Scripture tells us that God was angered by this and struck him down, 2 Samuel 6:7. Scripture also tells us that God saw Uzzah’s action as being irreverent. God spoke, a man broke, and a man died. That’s the general understanding of sin. Anything that goes against His command is worthy of death. It constitutes sin, and the wage of sin is death, Romans 6:23.
When God speaks, He means what He says. There’s no way to get around His word. Some churches, though, try to make a “workaround” to that. It never works out when men endeavor to do something other than what God has ordained.
Second Timothy 3:16, states that God has breathed out all Scripture. The Bible is God-inspired. Scripture is profitable, it says; it’s profitable doctrine for disciples and those desiring salvation. God says that Scripture is useful for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.
When a church wants to skate around the Scripture, it loses out on what God desires (doctrine). Its members are not brought to the conviction of sin. The church loses out on gaining the information it needs to carry on the prescribed work of God. It means people lose the blessings God intended for them by their disobedience.
The Bible Verses
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son,” 2 John 1:9.
“I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another,” 1 Corinthians 4:6.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
“As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed,” Galatians 1:8-9.
God Wants Unity In The Church
What is unity? The Bible’s meaning is “one.” Thereby, God wants His children to be one, Ephesians 4:3, 13. We can be unified in doctrine. God said so at Ephesians 3:4
If one church stays in its God-approved scriptural position, and others move to the left, doctrinally, then it’s obvious the two are not one. Even though each congregation of the Lord’s church is autonomous, they should be exact copies of each other according to the Scriptures. “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”, Amos 3:3. Can two churches be the Lord’s churches unless they agree upon the Scriptures?
Ephesians 4:14-15 states that ‘we are not to be children by following every wind of doctrine, trickery, or craftiness in deceitful scheming.’ Moving away from Scripture to satisfy a church’s desire for something more is Antichrist.’ That means the church is against the Lord’s commands.
When God states a command, the church must follow it. He doesn’t need to list all the things the church is not to do. He specifies the action. When Scripture gives a general command, He wants it done but allows us to choose how to do it. Matthew 28:19 is a great example. Jesus commanded the apostles to leave Jerusalem and go into all the world, preaching the gospel. The mode of transportation was not specified. The apostles could have gone by boat, horse, carriage, or foot. It made no difference to God how the command to go was carried out.
Sometimes, God gives churches an example. The first-century church met on the first day of the week for communion, and preaching was also done, Acts 20:7. But again, when did the church assemble? On the first day of the week. God did not explicitly state the day of worship in the New Testament. However, since He commands us to worship, John 4:24, we must meet by the God-approved example. Churches of Christ meet on Sundays, to worship as they did. That’s the Biblical example. It’s God-approved. We know it’s approved because it’s in Scripture with His approval.
There are many commands, examples, and inferences in the New Testament. Each congregation of the Lord’s people is to be united in how things are done. Sadly, some churches are doing some far-left stuff and calling it valid. Some use mechanical instruments in worship. There’s no command for that, nor example, nor reference. There is a command to sing, so churches must sing for worship, Ephesians 5:19. No instruments, you see.
Church disunity is easily remedied by following the Scripture. Don’t make workarounds. Don’t base actions on such silly thoughts as, “If God didn’t say no, then it is OK for us to do it.” Or “God didn’t mention this, so it’s OK for us to do it.” Churches of Christ should always have Biblical authority for action. If a church isn’t following the Scriptures, they follow men’s directions. That didn’t work out for Nadab, Abihu, or Uzzah. It won’t work today, either.