The Church (part three: bibleless; part four: legalistic)

What am I talking about here? There are tons of “churches” today who do not really believe in the Bible. Their ruling authority is not God’s Word, it’s reason or experience, but not Scripture. That‘s why their beliefs change along with the whims of our culture.

The problem is, the more we focus on public opinion the less we focus on the truth of Scripture. People. say, “Why do so many religious leaders have such varied opinions on the hot topics of today like homosexuality and abortion?” That’s easy to explain: many don’t see the Bible as the standard of truth.

They do it in the name of love and tolerance, but they ignore the truth of Scripture. It is unbelievable what some preachers do to malign and twist and justify their position. They quote others, take verses out of context and cast aside any principles of biblical interpretation.

The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” This is that time in many churches.

If Jesus is merely a good teacher who could captivate a crowd with His lessons and fool them with His “miracles” then there’s no need to even have churches. C.S. Lewis said, “You cannot merely say that Jesus Christ was a good man. He has not left that option available to us, for if He is not the Son of God, as he claims, then he is a terrible liar, NOT a good man.”

The danger of a church without the Bible is that there is no belief in absolute truth, and you can melt into a pool of moral relativism. If there is no motivation to righteousness, no application of the Scriptures, no desire for transformation, is that really a church or just a country club?

A Sunday school teacher challenged her children to take some time on Sunday afternoon to write a letter to God. They were to bring back their letters the following Sun. One boy wrote, “Dear God, We had a good time at church today. Wish you could’ve been there.”

When I first started driving at the age of 16 one day a truck passed me and a small rock fell off of it and bounced off my windshield leaving a tiny crack. I was on my way to school. I thought, “No big deal, it doesn’t affect my vision, and it’s not that big.” A couple of weeks later as it got cold out, I noticed this thing was bigger than just a couple of inches, and I didn’t remember it being that prominent before. The next week I intentionally looked at it and realized it was now over 20 inches long; it covered more than half of the lower portion of the windshield. Now if I had cont.ed to do nothing, someday that could have become an “in your face” problem, literally.

I’ve seen this happen with churches. It’s just a little oversight or indiscretion by a church leader; or it’s just a small deviation from biblical doctrine; or it’s not a problem, “they just have a personality conflict” goes the rationale, but before you know it, the problem gets larger and larger.

The lantern had but one small crack, but the wind found it, and the flame no longer burns.

4. The legalistic Church

The Sadducess in Jesus’ day were the religious leaders of the day who ignored the Bible. The Pharisees were the legalists. They were like people who are so narrow that they can see through a keyhole with both eyes.

Be leery of a church that puts demands on you that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture. Some churches will say: no swimming, no caffeine, and no shorts. The Apostle Paul had spent his time in legalism. He’d done all the right things, but they were meaningless compared to knowing Christ; he considered them as a loss. That’s why he could say in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Paul saw legalism as loss for the sake of Christ. Does your church make any demands that aren’t scriptural?


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