Tied To The Lord
My life is tied to the Lord and His church. I could walk away from Him and His church, but that would be a kind of death.
Further, my life and deep convictions are deeply tied to the principle of following the New Testament pattern the Lord designed for the local church. Understand, there is no perfect local church, but the Lord’s design is perfect. In the church universal there are none but the saved. God controls that relationship. The fundamental principle that we do not have permission to act unless we can find Biblical authority is a deep anchor. The other consideration, that unless it is expressly forbidden we have permission to act, is not tenable. Further, it does not work anywhere else. No parent would put up with it from their children. No parents would accept from their child, “Well, you did not say not to.”
My convictions regarding the Lord’s church are mine because I find God’s approval for them in His word. They are not cheap. They are precious. I am not part of a local church that is “conservative” because I am “conservative”, but because I find Biblical authority for what the church teaches, practices, and maintains in the New Testament. I have no interest in being a part of a “conservative” party or a “liberal” party. My only interest is following and practicing that for which I can find New Testament authority. My parents, my feelings, and my friends are not the source of authority.
So many churches are involved in social things today. So many have their different “ministries.” The question is, “Where is the authority for those things?” I do not categorically think they are wrong. But they are wrong because there is no Bible authority for them. They are not wrong because they are “liberal” or “conservative.” They are not wrong because I say they are wrong. They are not wrong because that is not the way I was raised. On the other hand, they are not right because they feel good. They are not right because of the good they do. They are not right because everybody is doing it. They are right or wrong because either there is Bible authority or there is not. It is that simple.
What if the local church is “conservative”, but not everyone there is loving toward one another or friendly toward visitors? What if the local church is “conservative” but the elders do not do their work, or they are curmudgeons. First, two wrongs do not make one right. If the people that comprise a local church are not what they should be in attitude and heart, then they are individually wrong. Next, if the elders are not what they ought to be, they need to look at themselves, their work and example, and make corrections. There is a difference when individuals are not what they ought to be and what a church as a collective decides to promote, provide, and maintain as part of her collective work. There is no excuse for a local church to be less than what God desires for her to be. There is no excuse for elders to be curmudgeons. But there is also no excuse for a local church who does not respect Bible authority.
Too many are walking away from established truth in favor of what feels good or in favor of a good work. They are disillusioned, disappointed, or bruised because a local church fails to be what she should be. They are discouraged because leadership is stuck as administrators instead of being caring shepherds.
But this is not where it stops. Often, the walk away from established truth goes further and further. It is easier, once restraints are removed, to go further and faster than before. Soon, they are part of a church that resembles nothing of what God would recognize. And one more step: their children are affected for years to come. They will most likely, though not an absolute, go further away than their parents.
Bible authority for what a local church is authorized to be engaged in matters. If we fail to walk by what is authorized, we have lost our distinctiveness and are like every other church that just fits in with the times. It matters! Even more serious is that we may have taken a step into darkness that turns into a walk in darkness.