Can you handle the truth? Most cannot! Most religious people will say, “My church goes by the bible, if it didn’t I would not remain in it.” But what a pity that such is not really the fact. Most will contend, “But the Bible does not say, ‘Thou shalt not write a concise document by which to make our doctrine understandable and definite.”‘ We answer, “No, but does it say write them?” They are written for the very purpose for which God gave us the Bible. If this document contains more than the Bible, that is too much. If less than the Bible, that is too little. If it differs from the Bible, it is wrong or the Bible is wrong. If it contains exactly what the Bible does, we have the Bible, hence your document is useless.
Denominational creeds prove their failure to accept the Bible only and their determination to persist in having their written document (creed, discipline, articles of faith, etc.) in addition to the Bible. Their creed or church constitution serves the very purpose for which God gave the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ff; 1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Pet. 1:34; Jude 3).
What About Baptism?
The response usually goes like this, “God, didn’t say, ‘He that believes and is not baptized shall be lost.”‘ No, but He did say, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Now which do you want to be, saved or lost? Are you going to trust your salvation upon what God says, or upon what He did not say? Jesus said belief plus baptism saves. Jesus nor his apostles said that belief only saves (Jam 2:24).
What About Instrumental Music?
They say, “God didn’t say, ‘Thou shalt not use mechanical instruments of music in worship.”‘ Again, no, but He did say, “Sing and make melody in your hearts unto the Lord.” Which are you going to do? What God didn’t say or what God said and the New Testament instructs (Eph. 5:19 f; Col. 3:16-17)?
But The Bible Does Not Say
“But the Bible does not say,” is not confined to those outside the church. The same words are echoed among the saints. There are those within the church of our Lord who will fanatically acclaim, “The Bible does not say ‘how’ to preach the gospel, therefore we may establish an organization through which the gospel can be preached more efficiently and effectively.” The Bible does not tell us how, but it does commission or direct the church to teach the word as the “pillar and ground,” support, “of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15 f; Eph. 4:12). God, through Christ, has given sufficient “organization or divine arrangement” through which the work is to be done. In the first century, under the direct directions of the Holy Spirit no organization was used, authorized or needed in addition to or instead of the church. The local church stood apart from any other organization to serve God’s divine purpose upon the earth. It worked then, why will it not work today? We have no further information from God, no other plan can be of divine origin, only human. Is man wiser than God, and capable of knowing more about what is required to carry God’s saving message to the whole world than God Himself? If so, don’t you suppose that man will soon come up with a better message of salvation? God forbid!
The sponsoring, centralized church is foreign to the work of the first century church of our Blessed Lord. It is also foreign to the New Testament. Therefore, no one or group has any divine right to practice any such setup with God’s approval.
This same principle is true in edification. The church is authorized of God to so edify itself by practicing and speaking the truth in love so all growth may be unto him who is the head – Christ (Eph. 4:15-16).
The benevolent work was done by the church with no extra organizations, or done individually by Christians. The glory was given to God. The poor saints were the object of the church’s care (1 Cor. 16:1-2 f; 1 Tim. 5:16). And, so far as we have right to know, this was the practice of the church for some nineteen hundred years – the church of Christ. One must search diligently the history of the Lord’s church to find any sort of a benevolent organization within her framework or to which she contributed before the twentieth century. All of the benevolent institutions or orphanages or asylums associated with or tied to the church, to which the church contributed to enable the institution to do her benevolent work, have been established within the nineteen hundreds. What did the church do before the nineteen hundreds?
Take note of this, you who call yourself brethren. Where did the bible ever instruct women to teach children and women in the church? Where did the bible ever instruct women to respond to questions asked in public bible studies? Where did the bible instruct Christians to come together to eat, drink, and be merry? Where did the bible ever instruct the church to sponsor youth parties, camps, and leisure trips? Where did the bible ever instruct men, women, and children to be instructed separately? Those who seek to speak where the bible speaks and be silent where the bible is silent should also seek not to be as the Pharisees, who spoke the truth but did not practice the truth.
Is it any wonder why liberal brethren are allowing women to become public teachers, preachers and instructors of the Word? Is it any wonder why they are slowly allowing instrumental music into their worship? Is it any wonder why they have erred so far from the truth that it is impossible to tell them apart from denominations? Those who handle the truth should be very careful to obey the truth, and adhere to exactly what the bible said, and not what it did not say! The truth of the matter is this: It’s not about what God didn’t say, it’s all about what God did say.