I John 1:6,7 - "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in
darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as
he is in the light, we have fellowship one w1th another; and the blood
of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
2 Thessalonians 2:10,11,12 - "And with all deceivableness of
unrighteousness in them tnat perish: because they received not the love
of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall
send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all
might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
Psalm 119:172 - "My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy
commandments are righteousness."
THE NEW TESTAMENT writer quotes Isaiah - "The way of peace they have not
known. There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:17,18).
The expression "not known" in this passage, means to fail to accept,
approve, recognlze, upnold, support, depend on, rely on and advocate.
It describes a state in which men have lost confidence in, and reliance
upon the simple beautiful truths and requirements of the doctrine of
Christ as set forth in the New Testament. They, instead, have resorted
to hazardous experiments of substituting for the Truth of Heaven, the
plans, schemes and devices of human wisdom in those things that pertain
to the eternal welfare of the soul.
We live in an age of organization. From the federal government down to
the smallest rural school district, everything is supposed to be
organized. Every phase of business or school activity is organized.
Almost nothing is done except through an organization. The
denominations, in all their religious activities, have copied the world
in organization. The Roman Catholics have for centuries modeled their
hierarchy after the kingdoms of the world. The spirit of organization
permeates the consciousness of people in general.
We read and hear much about "organizing the church," and speak of the
church as an organization. However, there is grave danger and much
evidence that many are coming to think of the church as something like a
human organization. God has left man free to work out earthly matters.
In human fields of endeavor, organizations work well to accomplish their
set goals. God does not legislate in the field of such temporal matters
today. But in spiritual matters, his plans and methods are for all
races and for all time.
The denominational world has ignored the pattern so clearly set forth in
the New Testament, and many times followed the methods of organization
which have originated in worldly government or business. Their claim is
that the New Testament method is out of date and simply not suited for
our modern day. But such attitudes and departures from the pattern
cannot be tolerated among God's people.
We still can turn to Hebrews 8:5 which says, "Who serve unto the example
and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he
was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all
things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount."
THE LORD'S CHURCH
Above all institutions, the church of the Lord Jesus should be esteemed
and magnified. Every true loyal Christian's heart should echo the sweet
sentiment, "I love thy kingdom, Lord, the house of thine abode." Yet
men have tampered and trifled with this holy temple of God, and
perverted and corrupted her pattern of work and worship. The ambitious
have brought in things foreign to the Scriptures, not prescribed by the
law of God, that they could not and "have not so learned Christ"
(Ephesians 4:20) - have not been so "taught of him."
The law of Christ plainly authorizes singing in worship. No one
questions that. It is clearly taught and required. To this is added
abundant, approved example. The instance of our Lord and his disciples
is of compelling interest and great significance--in the upper room when
Jesus gave them the Lord's Supper, finished his exhortation, and prayed
to the Father, "They sang a hymn and went out." They did not play a
tune. We are commanded to sing, but nowhere commanded to play on a
mechanical instrument in worship to God. This is sufficient for all who
love the light and are determined to walk in it. To go beyond this is
to transgress the divine law. (See also Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians
14:15; Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
AUTHORITY OR NO
The law of Christ plainly authorizes one cup of fruit of the vine in the
Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). The law of
Christ plainly authorizes an assembly of men, women and children to
teach and learn the word of God (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35).
The law of Christ plainly authorizes men only to do the public teaching.
This, in each case, is sufficient for all who love "the light" and are
determined to "walk" in it. To go beyond this is to transgress the
The teaching of the word of God in a private way is to be carried out by
both men and women (Acts 18:24-28), but public teaching and preaching is
to be done by Christian men only and the women are to learn in silence
(2 Timothy 2:11,12). No name changes or modification in the appearance
of the group can alter a deliberate attempt to defeat God's plan. Those
who are personally ambitious attempt to do such things.
If it is claimed that this is not "a big deal," but just "a simple
matter," then it should be easily seen and done and so much more are
those who refuse to observe it inexcusable. It may seem a simple matter
but never call it "inconsequential." Those who will not be bound to
these simple, plain limitations of Truth are transgressing the law of
God, adopting in its stead schemes and devices, doctrines and
commandments of men. These love darkness rather than light and God's
word says they will be damned because "they received not the love of the
truth that they might be saved. . . but had pleasure in
Of the same class are those who organize "societies," "institutions,"
"activities" or "works" either competitive with, supplemental to, an
expansion of, or a substitutfon for the local church of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Each congregation of the Lord's people is designed by God to do
such work as these innovators claim they do with their missionary
efforts, benevolent programs, lectureships and studies. These people are
simply not satisfied with what is taught in the doctrine of Christ. This
is clear from the fact that they adopt something wholly untaught,
totally different, and thus entirely unauthorized in the doctrine of
THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST
The churches of Christ, worldwide, were never organized to do anything.
The New Testament teaches that each local autonomous congregation with
its leadership is to carry on their work of helping the needy saints
among them, edifying the Christians, spreading the gospel to sinners,
ana tending to discipline among them. They took care of their own and
tried to convert others. There were no brotherhood synods, councils,
boards, conventions or studies where decisions were made. They
sometimes cooperated in a work but remained totally independent.
The meeting of the apostles in Acts 15 produced an inspired letter which
went out demanding that those who were converted "abstain from
pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled,
and from blood" but that circumcision and the keeping of the Law of
Moses was not binding upon them.
At that time the New Testament canon had not been compiled and
individual inspired men wrote letters which were circulated to teach and
correct spiritual matters. Today, we have no men inspired of God, thus
we have no authority to convene a council or a meeting or a tribunal to
make any kind of decision, whether on doctrine, discipline, or practice.
There have been many blots on the history of "Christianity". Every
human attempt to organize Christians outside of and apart from the local
congregation has been wholly without the approval of God and has caused
contention, division and apostasy. However, there are some today who
under the color of "good intentions," "great plans," or "taking care of
matters," are working to do this.
If it is a "determining council" in Italy, it is wrong;
if it is a "convention on the articles of faith" in Georgia, it is
wrong; if it is a "decision meeting" in Texas, it is wrong. When you
hear "we decided," at such and such a place, you had better beware. You
need to ask who are "we" and what decisions are they authorized by God
to make. Mark it down - such groups are always driven by human
Many attempt in this way to avoid scrutiny about themselves and their
own questionable activities. It might be good to read about Diotrephes
whom John said, "loves to have the preeminence" in 3 John. It is
evident that the man had personal ambition as his motive for demanding
to withdraw from certain brethren.
Not only are such religious councils and meetings unauthorized in the
New Testament, they are excluded, and thus forbidden. Paul, to the
Ephesians says, "Unto him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
unto all generations forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 5:21). Glory
that is to be ascribed to God the Father, and so justly due Him by all
the intelligent beings of earth is to be in Christ, and in his holy
Glory, then, will never reach the divine and majestic Creator who sits
on the throne of heaven except it be ascribed through Jesus Christ in
the church of His great love and sacrifice. God Jehovah cannot be
glorified by a work of any institution, or council of preachers, or camp
of Christians whether loosely gathered together or in complicated
Whoever creates any organization to do the work that a congregation
should do does not take care of a problem, does not glorify God, honor
Christ, or exalt the church. Whoever changes, alters or modifies God's
way is walking in darkness, not in the light, for he or she is walking
in a way where the light of Truth has never shone.