ON A MOON-SHOT from Kennedy Space Center, if the launch were off by just
one degree leaving the earth, it would miss the moon by hundreds of
miles (Anders 12). This is exactly what happened to today's religious
world. Someone a long time ago altered God's word, just a little, and
from there it was like that rocket shooting for the moon, it has been
forever "off course." Many people in the world today are doing what
they think is right. They do not believe that there is an absolute
truth for all people, at all places and for all time. People are more
interested in having an entertaining religious life rather than a
spiritual one. Many have strayed far from the ways God has intended for
them to travel and are doing what they think is right in their own mind.
They have become liberal in their religious life. Webster's dictionary
defines liberalism as "liberal principles and theories, a movement in
Protestantism, emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and
ethical content of Christianity."
Religious liberalism is man centered rather than God centered. A person
who modifies Christianity so that they may be able to do as they please
whenever they wish is in danger of being a liberal. They will not let
the word of God be the final authority. The purpose of religion is to
praise and worship God and we must do that in the way God would have us.
God must be the center of our religion, not anyone or anything else. We
cannot stray from the holy word.
WARNINGS OF LIBERALISM
The New Testament scripture gives warnings of liberalism that can be
found in our spiritual life. Jesus tells us "Ye do err, not knowing the
scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). The words of Christ
point out that we can be deceived by not knowing the scriptures. When
we rely upon impure passions instead of the infallible truths of God's
word, we will likely become liberal in the lives that we live and stray
from the truth. If we allow impure passions to rule our life, liberal
acts in our worship and service to God will spring forth. We must study
the Bible and meditate upon God's word so that we can know the truth and
see the path that God would have us to travel.
When we become liberal in the lives that we live concerning religious
matters, we have stepped off the highway to heaven and have started down
a swift road to destruction. A person who goes beyond the prescribed
limits of worship is not abiding in the doctrine of Christ. When we go
beyond what is written in the Bible, we have gone off the deep end, and
if we do not stop, that path will lead to an eternal punishment. Jesus
describes to us what happens when we teach the commandments of men in
Matthew 15:7-14: "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you,
saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me
with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they
worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" When He
had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and
understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes
out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then His disciples came and said
to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard
this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly
Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind
leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall
into a ditch" (NKJV).
Every time I read this passage of scripture I get the impression that
Jesus is scolding these people for the things that they are doing. Jesus
is telling them that their worship is idle, empty and without profit
because they are teaching the doctrines of men (v. 9). This shows that
when a man has written some creed, confession of faith or church manual,
that is not accepted! That would be the work of a human and it is not
the inspired word of God. This rebuke that Jesus is giving is to the
Pharisees who had added to the Law of Moses many traditional human
precepts. This teaching applies to all religious modernists who have
modified the Christianity of Christ and the apostles. For example,
those who have tried to install in our religious practices the birth of
our Savior with a celebration called Christmas are adding to the
worship. Whatever cannot be found in the New Testament is a teaching of
falsehood and should not be observed. The Catholic Encyclopedia
records, "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church."
The devout Christian should go right to the New Testament for their
religion and should reject any ordinance that cannot be found there.
WE CANNOT CHANGE GOD'S WORD
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). We are living in a time in which
people think it is all right to tamper with God's word. With the push
of equal rights among genders, many modernists have allowed for women to
take a leadership role in their denominations by letting them do the
public teaching. That is a teaching that is in complete opposition to
the scriptures. Women must remain silent in the teaching services, not
because they are in any way inferior to men, but because the apostle
Paul forbids them to speak (1 Corinthians 14:34,35). Many see nothing
wrong with changing their spiritual life to keep up with the
reconstruction of their society. Perhaps the most wide spread addition
to the worship service is the addition of Sunday school. This is an
addition that can be found nowhere in the Bible and should not be
practiced in our services. Historically speaking, no religion provided
classes before the 1790's (Barnes 2). We should strive to worship God
in the same manner that the first century Christians did. In the
article What Is Wrong With Sunday School Or Bible Classes? the following
argument can be found, "such an arrangement is without divine
authorization. There is no Bible for such a practice. It was not
taught or practiced by our Lord, nor was it utilized by the early
church" (Wade 10). Numerous people think they are spiritually minded
and are doing what God would have them to do but they are just simply
traveling down Deceitfulness Lane.
Regardless of the changes that we find in our communities, we will never
have the power to alter the words of Christ. "Heaven and earth shall
pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). The
unerring words of Christ will never pass away. The words of scripture
are powerful and can never be defeated. The words of the Bible are
trustworthy, and as long as we follow all the teaching and obey all the
commandments that are found therein, we will never stray from the high
road to heaven. God never has and never will allow man to tamper with
His word. The Holy word of God is perfect and needs no correction.
Despite college degrees, intellectual learning and writing experience,
no one can ever be an editor to God's word. God's writings are perfect
and no person has the right to edit His works. In Old Testament times
God would not allow anyone to add to or take away from His commandments
(Deuteronomy 4:2). The God that we are serving is an all knowing and all
powerful God and we have no right to change His teachings today.
PUNISHMENTS FOR STRAYING FROM THE TRUTH
When people decide to play with the word of God and bring things into
religious practices that can nowhere be found in the great book, they
will be punished for straying from the truth. There are several
examples that can be found in the Bible about straying away and the
punishments that were handed down. The example that can be found in the
actions of Nadab and Abihu should serve as a lesson for all of us to
heed (Leviticus 10:1,2). Nadab and Abihu were in the process of serving
God. They thought that their worship would be acceptable in His eyes,
but because they did something that they were not commanded to do they
lost their lives. They were severely punished for diverging from the
word of the Lord. If God would punish His people under the old law for
not worshiping Him in a correct manner, would He not punish us today if
we do not worship Him as we should?
When we become liberal in our religious lives and start committing sin,
we are in the same boat Nadab and Abihu. When we have sin in our lives
and we do not do anything about it, we are not living an acceptable life
in the eyes of God. The apostle Paul states that "the wages of sin is
death" (Romans 6:23).
Peter warns us about following the ways of men and he is telling us we
need to be aware of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-5). There are many in
this world today who would lead us astray, and the last thing that a
Christian should desire to do is to step off of that pathway that God
would have us to follow. We will not be able to pick out false teachers
by the way they look. When the devil and His servants come to take away
the truth, they will not show up holding a pitchfork, dressed in a
little red suit with horns and a forked tail. Instead, they will be
dressed in nice suits and will be smooth and eloquent speakers. They
will mesmerize entire groups of people with their presentations. We
need to know the truth for ourselves so that we will not be lead astray
from the truth. We also need to be mindful of godly things so that we
will not have to face the punishments that those who disobey the truth
will have to pay.
The words of Christ are the truth and they will certainly never falter.
It is in the teachings of Christ that we shall know the truth and
commands that must be obeyed to obtain salvation. "Then said Jesus to
those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye
my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free" (John 8:31,32).
- Anders, Max. 30 Days To Understanding The Christian Life. Tennessee:
Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1990.
- Barnes, Irvin. Bible Classes and Women Teachers. Springfield, 1985.
"Christmas." Catholic Online Encyclopedia.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm. 1999.
- Wade, Ronnie. "What Is Wrong With Bible School Or Sunday Classes." Old
- Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 1941 ed. Cambridge: G. and C.