In the Holy Scriptures God gives commands to His people both to govern their relationships with the heathen, and with those of their own number who have “joined themselves to idols” (Deut. 28:14-19 Hos. 4:17). The church of God today is faced with much the same problem that confronted God’s people in the olden days. On the one hand we have the denominations which hold to party names and creeds that can only divide the professed believers in Christ into some 300 separate and warring camps, and on the other hand we have a large segment of the church of Christ which, like the Jews of old, wants to be “like the nations round about.”
Even though God through His appointed prophet had attempted to reason with the people, and to tell them of all the evils a king would bring upon them, they closed their minds and allowed their own feelings to charter their course of action saying, “We will have a king.” (1 Sam. 8:11-19.) It did not matter what God wanted. They had already closed their minds to anything but what they wanted. They saw no harm in a king for he could “fight their battles” for them (just look at how much good it does) and raise their stature in the eyes of the world. So, following their own wills, they rejected God (1 Sam. 8:19) and brought upon themselves a curse (Hos. 4:6). God was at last wearied with their perpetual pride and stubbornness and sold them into captivity because they had rejected His knowledge (Isa. 5:13). This is the only just end of those who fall from God through their own desires. God never intended that His people be “like the nations round about” but that they should he to Him a “peculiar treasure” (Exo. 19:5 Deut. 14:21). Cod has not changed His mind on this matter. He is without a shadow of turning (Jas. 1:17). He still desires that His people not be like those round about, but that they be separated from the world (1 Pet. 2:5-9). We must not live as the world lives, but we must have the mind of Christ at all times (Phil. 2:5; 2 Pet. 1:5-8). This was the mistake the Jews made. and it is the mistake the church is making today. Their cry was “we will have a king” and the cry of today is we will have what we want.
The religious world as a whole is guilty of a sin against God in it’s teaching. They make many bold and loud arguments in support of various innovations in their worship. First we hear the argument made (and the church is rapidly falling in line with it) that “The Bible does not specifically condemn such a thing.” If they mean that the Bible does not specifically say “Thou shalt not have a piano in the worship” they are right. However, if they are willing to accept the silence of the Scriptures as of any weight they are entirely mistaken. It is a sin to add to or to take from the Scripture so much as one word or letter (Exo. 5:8; Rev. 22:18-20). Paul added that its a sin to preach anything but the Gospel (Gal. 1:1-10). Thus we see that the Bible does specifically condemn and forbid anything not found in its sacred pages.
Second, we will hear it said “When God gives us a command, but does not tell us how to carry out the command we are at liberty to do it as we see fit.” This is not a new argument. It has been used by the sects for years, and was used by the digressive brethren over 150 years ago to justify instrumental music in the worship and the Missionary Society. It is not yet dead. Unfortunately it is still living enough to plague the church today. The argument would be laughable if it were not absurd. It assumes that God is not able, or is too foolish to reveal to us His perfect will, which the Bible says that He has done. (2 Tim. 3:15-17.) Not only so, we find that man is not able to direct even his own steps (Jer. 10:23) and is cursed of God if he attempts to do so (Jer. 17:5). The Word of God is perfect and contains all that is needful for our salvation. (2 Pet. 1:3). We sin if we do not speak according to it’s dictates (1 Pet. 4:11). So, we see that God never gave a command and not tell us how to carry it out! Men may be fools, but God, certainly is not. Some even go so far as to assert that they are at liberty to do certain unscriptural things because others do them. To do this is only to be become guilty of the sins of others, which the Bible forbids. (1 Jno. 9-11). Brethren, we need to return to the right ways of God and stand fast in His paths (Jer. 6:16). We should be out converting the world and bringing the denominations to Christ. We have no time for party names and human arguments. We have no time for “words to no profit.” All of these things are but “vanity and striving after wind.” We have much too serious a mission in preaching the Gospel of Christ (Eph. 3:10) to be bothered with human creeds or petty arguments. We need to take the prophets for our example (Jas. 5:10). We need to follow in the steps of Christ (1 Pet. 2:21). Let us leave the world alone. Let us leave those who have joined themselves to idols alone. Leave those alone who are following their own selfish will. We need none of these things. Let’s leave them alone.
We must return to the New Testament for our authority in religion. We must go all the way back to the first century and follow the examples of the saints of old. The Scripture was written for our learning (Rom. 15:14). It is able to make us wise unto salvation. (2 Tim. 3:15). This is why we are commanded to study the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15). Here we have all things necessary for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:2). We are commanded not to go beyond the Word of God (1 John 10:9). Jesus is the Author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:21). and is therefore able to save us. (Heb. 5:9; Heb. 7:25.) We should forsake the world and those who are joined to idols and turn to God while He may be found. We are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). and we have no excuse if we do not obey God (Rom. 1:20).