Thursday, July 8

Is God's "Rulebook" Enough For Us?





If we come up with our own “rulebook” apart from Scripture, and attempt to hold people to it/judge people by it… are we in danger of becoming like so many other groups of people, who have created their own religion?


For example: the Mormon people claim to worship the same God that we do. What’s the difference? Where did they get off track? Perhaps it was a great leader whom they respected so much; that they started holding his writings and teachings in equal standing with the Bible. Maybe their original intentions were good. Maybe they just thought it was godly to honor the traditions of the men who went before them.



But wait, what about Scripture? What about God’s Word?

Do we take the time to evaluate every single thing we do and believe in; with the Holy Bible (which is the inspired Word of God?)




If we were on a desert island with nothing to go by but the Bible- no previous world views to contend with, no cultural influence, no presumptions about religion… what would we do? What would we act like? What would we dress like? The key is realizing that the Bible actually IS the only thing we have to go by.





Through the ages, mankind has added to God’s principles in one way or another in an effort to “polish” their religion; or, (God forbid), in an attempt to gain power over God’s people. The end result is not true religion. Now, I seriously doubt that God will condemn you for trying to go above and beyond with your dress standards… etc. That is, if you have the correct motive. God does, after all, look at the HEART. But, trying to hold other Christians to your own measuring stick? Now that, I believe, is dangerous stuff.




What’s our Measuring Stick…?



I have met people who believe that whatever their pastor says is the law. That kind of thinking really scares me… because there is so much room for fault when an imperfect man is in a position of power. It’s as if Satan preys on those in power; delighting when he can lead them away from God’s boundaries and causes them, in turn, to lead others astray. We as humans, seem to be prone to falling into idolatry. It is so very easy to begin worshipping a man, rather than God. If we begin using other sources as our measuring stick other than the Word of God, we begin a downward spiral through an ever disintegrating foundation.



Where do we draw the line...?





Let’s pretend that one pastor says, “I think everybody should wear blue hats. That’s the only way to get to heaven!” But another pastor disagrees and says, “No, I think red gloves should do the trick. That’s what will distinguish us as God’s people!” Who’s right?


There is “safety in a multitude of counselors” you say? Alright… let’s say there are 15 ministers. 12 of them believe in the blue hats uniform, and 3 of them don’t agree there should be a uniform at all. Would you go along with the majority? What if the 12 say to the 3: “You will lose out with God if you do not respect the decision of the majority of the brethren to wear blue hats! If you don’t comply, we will dis-fellowship you!”


Sounds silly right? Maybe that’s because it is...

 
Nowhere in Scripture are men given the right to decide who is “in or out” of Christ’s Body of Believers. And Scripture is very clear about not making up our own rules and “adding” to the Word of God. If we don’t use the Bible as our source of wisdom and direction… if we start following men… where does it end?
Who do we please?




Although I do believe we should carefully examine the men we choose to follow, in order to make sure they will not lead us astray… I am not advocating a spirit of rebellion. I’m pointing out that we need to have God’s Word set on a MUCH higher pedestal than man’s opinion! Trust me. God knows if you have rebellion in your heart. And, if you do, it will probably make its appearance in your home long before it shows up at church.


Here are a few verses, which lead me to believe in “Sola Scriptura”:







Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words; lest He reprove thee and thou be found a liar."


Acts 17:11 "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."


Matthew 15:3 “And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?””


 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”


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Delving deeper into the subject of the authority of church leadership:Respect and submission to our God-given authority is vitally important according to the Word of God. Having said that, not all authorities are created equal! For example: God's authority over us completely supersedes any earthly authority. God is our ULTIMATE AUTHORITY, but He has also placed over us earthly lords.

When we first enter this world, we are subject to our parents. Being under the authority of your father is an umbrella of protection that God has installed for your youth. If you are a woman, that authority transfers to your husband when you get married.


Children honoring their father and mother, and wives submitting to their husbands are the 2 main earthly authoritative positions that Scripture discusses. There are numerous Scriptures regarding both of these "chains of command" that God set up. He MUST have thought they were very important, because He repeated Himself quite often on the importance of these orders.


The authority of church leadership is a subject spoken of much less often in Scripture. Probably the most common verses used for this topic are:


~ Hebrews 13:5 "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the outcome of their life, imitate their faith."

~ Hebrews 13:7a “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account…”


The writer actually chooses two special words in the latter verse. This is the only time this particular word for "submit" is used in the New Testament. It does not mean "rank under" as the other words for submit used in Scripture do. Rather, it means to yield, or withdraw. That is a little different. As you consider the elders, the outcome of their lives and how they lead you through teaching the Scripture, are you willing to withdraw or to yield to the truth that they present? That is not the same as standing under, in a military sense.

 And then the word "obey'' has in its foundation again a special word. It does not mean to accept orders. Rather, it means to be persuaded. Consider what these godly men say, be willing to be persuaded, but clearly, they must demonstrate the truth that God has them to speak. Do not merely take blind orders; but be persuaded.

A true man of God will persuade you to submit to God, not himself.

 The husband/father of a household is the “priest” of his household, which means he is responsible for leading his family spiritually. (A wife is never to obey her pastor over her husband! Wives are commanded twice in Scripture (Eph. 5:22 and Col. 3:18) to submit to their "own husband". Meaning, not to another woman's husband. That includes a pastor; as he would either be single or married to someone else.) 

If a man prays to God for guidance, I believe God will lead and guide him to a church assembly which fits his family’s needs, provides a place for them to be active workers in the kingdom, and aids/encourages them in spiritual growth.

I’ve come to realize what a treasure a true shepherd is. Having a pastor who has the spirit of a servant rather than that of a master is a HUGE BLESSING! If you have one, be grateful!

 Thank God for the righteous authorities in your life! They have a tough job, and are worthy of our prayers!


6 comments:

Rebecca Lynn said...
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Twiddlebugfamily said...

I have to agree! That's what I'm working on with Katie Beth... not thinking of herself higher than anyone else- which is what brought on my post the other day. I don't want her (or any of my children) taking on the attitude that because we do or don't do something that we are something. We are nothing. We are simply to be a family "WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION". I don't want to put a judgmental spirit on her. I agree with you too Becky- sometimes it seems like there are much BIGGER issues... but I know that God is still in control & HE will see to those things when HE sees fit. Meanwhile- I'm just trying to overcome my shortcomings & not worry about anyone else's- I have enough to keep me busy! And I'm trying to achieve my goal to be a wife & mother of GOD... no one else. :) Great post Britney!

Brittney Mofley said...

You are both wonderful mothers and awesome women! I feel both of your hearts and I know you understand the real point of our walk with the Lord. The past 3 years or so have been very difficult and painful times for me. Leaving the church I grew up in and the people I consider family has been HARD! I LOVE going to back to visit- because I get to see so many people I hold dear... but I also HATE it, because I feel the judgmental glances, and know people are whispering that the "rebellious" family just walked in. ;) I know it is a much needed "test" of my character. Will I return evil for evil? I try to keep my joy & show the love of Christ. Of course, I don't think I could endure EVERY church service being a test. Nick knows that, and after seeing me cry countless times on the ride home, he decided we needed to find a place where OUR family could grow spiritually. I need to be uplifted and encouraged, or else I fear that I would become defeated... or decide to fore-go my principles for the sake of acceptance.

When people apologize to us that we are "offended", I just have to laugh. That is not the case at all! The simplest reason I can give for why we changed assemblies is that there was a strong difference in principle. These difficult times have caused me to lean on the Lord more, and search His Word more... which is why I've been studying the subjects of this post recently. Feeling judged has helped me SO much to examine MY OWN judgmental spirit towards others. It can so easily harm people. It grieves me to see us mis-represent Christ that way to people or to have "spiritual blood" on our hands. We are to be his AMBASSADORS!

I know it makes some people feel uncomfortable for me to speak candidly about this subject... but I can not turn my face & pretend it's not happening or that people are not suffering. One thing about being an outcast: I have practically no reputation to lose now! :) I think that's where God wants me, actually. I do pray though, before I write something like this, and also let Nick approve it before it "gets published".

I know now more than ever that GOD is in control. And He has so many people that have a heart after Him. I just pray that He continues to purify mine. I have a long way to go, but I know HE is able to finish HIS work in me!

Brittney Mofley said...
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Brittney Mofley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittney Mofley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.