Marvin L. Weir
To be displeased with God is evil and sinful, and yet the number of people who do so grows larger every year. The Old Testament character, Naaman, has often been referenced to represent people who trust more in their own thoughts than in the Word of God. Naaman was a great and honorable man, but he had the dreaded disease of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1). Elisha, a prophet of God, sent word to Naaman with instructions for the cure of his leprosy (v.10). The remedy was clear and easy to understand. The message from God: “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” Naaman was displeased, not only with the messenger sent by the prophet, but also the method of the cure. Instead of obeying God’s instructions, Naaman gave his opinion as to how and where the healing should take place. The text reads:
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage (2 Kings 5:11-12).
The “behold, I thought” mentality (v.11) that leads to men wondering why a substitute for God’s specific commands will not be just as productive (v.12), is alive and well today. Many people give lip-service to the Bible while ignoring the Scriptures as they faithfully follow their own opinions, religious creeds, and family traditions. The principle and truth taught in both Old and New Testaments cannot be stated often enough. God said to Israel, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2). In closing out the words of the New Covenant, the Lord warned,
I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19).
In words that are clear, simple, and easy to understand, the Lord declares one will lose access to the tree of life and the holy city who adds to or takes from the inspired Scriptures!
There are many churches today that are displeased with the Bible verse that says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Cor. 14:34). These churches also reject 1 Timothy 2:12 which states:
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Tim. 2:12-14).
God’s prohibition in the above verses of Scripture has nothing to do with intellect, ability, or inferiority. People who are not happy with the Creator’s reasoning will use any “smokescreen” to try and circumvent truth. God gave His reasons for women not having a leadership role over men in the church, but many today are displeased with God, and are of the same mindset as was Naaman!
Numerous churches today are displeased with the Lord adding those who are saved to his church (Acts 2:47), and thus think they should vote on people for church membership. Listen carefully to this revealing quote:
It is most likely that in the Apostolic age when there was but ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, ‘baptism was the door into the church.’ Now it is different; and while the churches are desirous of receiving members they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons. The churches therefore have candidates come before them, make their statement, give their ‘experience,’ and then their reception is decided by a vote of the members. (The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, Edward T. Hiscox, p.22).
Can you believe such a statement? It is admitted that at one time there were no denominations and the act of baptism put one into the church. “Now it is different”—says who? Where does God reveal a plan of salvation that is different from the one revealed during the apostolic age? Where is the Scripture that describes candidates giving their experience and their reception being decided by a vote of the current members? Why has baptism changed from being “the door into the church?” Easy answer! Men became displeased with the Lord’s church and the Lord’s plan for salvation and worship. The “Baptists” follow Naaman—not the Lord! They reason, “Behold, we think now it is different. Denominations are now needed, and candidates for membership must give their experience and have their reception decided by a vote of the members.”
The Baptist creed states, while they are “desirous of receiving members they are wary and cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons.” Divine revelation is now complete. Man has been given by “divine power…all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). How is it possible that a “vote of the current members” is more accurate than the Word of God? What if the “candidate” is rejected by a vote of 59 in favor and 60 opposed? Are the 59 people who voted favorably wrong? Are the 60 people right just because they had one more vote? What if the vote had resulted in a tie? Surely people can see that this man-made system of determining church membership is severely flawed!
Are man’s plans, thoughts, and determinations more accurate than the Word of God? The wise man reminds us, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12).
Yes, many churches are displeased with God! It will not, however, change His inspired Word (John 12:48).