November 1, 1986 Issue

by Billy D. Dickinson


The words of our Lord in Lk 16:15 are interesting words which serve the purpose of reminding us that the acceptance or popularity of a thing does not necessarily guarantee it is right in God's sight. It is often the case that while men may smile upon a practice or way of life, the Lord is actually frowning upon it with great displeasure. Jesus said, "For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." As I read and ponder these words, many Old Testament examples come to mind which prove this very point: The tower of Babel in Gen. 11; Israel wanting a king in I Sam. 8; The changing of the place of worship from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan in I Kgs. 12; The worship of the molten calf in Ex. 32, and the list goes on.

Man needs to be constantly reminded that his ways and thoughts are not the ways and thoughts of God. Think of the distance between the earth and the moon and the many miles of space between. Think of how the earth is something like 94,560,000 miles from the sun, and then you have only a minute picture of the vastness between God's ways and thoughts as compared to man's. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts", Isa 55:9. Yet, sinful man continues to add to, subtract from, and substitute his own will for the will of God. I can think of a number of things which are "highly esteemed among men", but in reality they are an abomination in God's sight, for they are religious practices which have no scriptural authorization in God's word.

DENOMINATIONALISM is highly esteemed among men. Some religionists glory in denominationalism, thanking God in their prayers for all the different churches; "Any church will do", is the cry of popularity heard today. Denominationalism thrives where people are deceived into believing that any faith will do, and being a member of a church, even the Lord's church, is nonessential to salvation. There use to be a billboard around town that read, "JOIN THE CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE AND BANK WITH FIRST NATIONAL BANK." Doesn't this reflect the way people think? It matters when it comes to choosing a bank, but it doesn't when choosing a church; not just any old bank will do, but any old church will do!

Don't be deceived. There is still only one body and one faith, Eph 4:4-6. In the Bible we don't read of a denomination or how to become a member of one, but we do read of the Lord's church (Matt 16:18) and how to become a member of it. When we obey the gospel and become "such as should be saved", the Lord adds us to His church, Acts 2:47.

BIBLE CLASSES are highly esteemed among men. Those who oppose the class arrangement of teaching are in the minority, and yet we oppose the modern Sunday School for the same reason we oppose instrumental music or any other unscriptural practice--NO SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY. Classes are so highly esteemed among men that some have been willing to divide the church over them, censuring and anathematizing sincere brethren who determined to stand upon a "thus saith the Lord." I've heard it argued that classes are the best method or arrangement for teaching. If this is true, then it means the Apostles and early church failed to use the best method of teaching, because nowhere do we read of such in the word of God! As a matter of fact, the church was about 1700 years old before the Sunday School was introduced. Doesn't it make you wonder how the church survived for 1700 years without something so important?

Bible classes violate the scriptural arrangement the church is to use when the church comes together; that arrangement is an undivided assembly with the men only speaking one at a time and the women remaining silent. (See Heb 10:25, I Cor 14:23, 34-35, & I Tim 2:11-12.) At a religious bookstore here in West Monroe (which is associated with the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ) I saw a poster which read: HELP CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL 1780 TO 1980

Churches of Christ borrowed the modern Sunday School from the denominations, just like they have every other innovation. Brethren, it's time to give all their unscriptural practices back to them!

There are other practices which could be mentioned--Instrumental music, the children's church, church supported colleges and orphan homes, individual cups, etc. Let us remember that the wide acceptance of a thing does not make it right. Doctrinal issues cannot be settled by majority rule; it can only be settled by a "thus saith the Lord." Ex 23:2 says, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."

Other OPA Article Links:

Innovations - "Sunday School"/Bible Classes

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