Jeff, from “Losing My Religion: Re-Thinking Church“, is asking many of the same questions that I’m asking. Last week, he wrote two posts about the things we do as the church: “Extra-Biblical Christianity (or Stuff We Do That’s Not In The Bible)” and “More Stuff We Do That’s Not In The Bible“.
In his posts and in the comments, you’ll find many activities and concepts that are common among the church today but that cannot be found in Scripture. Similarly, you’ll find other activities and concepts that are found in Scripture, but that are defined or practiced differently today.
As many of my long-time readers know, I’ve dealt with this topic often on my blog. What do we do about ideas and activities that we do that are not in Scripture? Well, some of these things are neutral that have very little, if any, affect on us living as the church. However, some things do affect the church.
If something is prohibited in Scripture, then we should stay away from it. There are only a few things in this category, but we usually forget about them. In fact, we sometimes encourage activities and concepts such as divisiveness and quarreling (which are both prohibited in Scripture) if they help us get what we want.
If something is commanded in Scripture, then we should practice and seek those things. Again, we usually don’t have a problem with this category specifically.
But, what about things that are neither commanded nor prohibited in Scripture. I would suggest that these things are allowable (NOT necessary) as long as they do not hinder something that is commanded in Scripture. I believe that almost all of our modern, traditional church activities fall under this category.
While we are not told much about the church, we are given certain characteristics: deep fellowship and caring, sharing of all things, mutual service and responsibility for one another, everyone using their gifts, mutual discipleship, witnessing to the gospel and serving those outside the church, etc. If any of our activities and concepts are hindering the church’s ability to live out these characteristics, then we should question those activities and concepts very seriously.
By the way, here is another reason to like Jeff: He likes The Princess Bride!