24 December, 2014

Other Examples

The idea that only what God commands in His word is permitted in worship 
is taught throughout the Bible. There is king Saul who offered sacrifice 
before the Lord without divine authorization. God commanded the priests, 
not kings, to offer burnt offerings. The kingship was taken from Saul 
and his family forever (1 Sam. 13:8-14). Consider king Jeroboam who 
ordained his own feast day, his own holy places and his own offerings 
"in the month which he had devised of his own heart" (1 Ki. 12:32-33). 
King Jeroboam was a pragmatist. He did not see any 
need to follow the express commands of God in worship. And his unauthorized, 
autonomous worship, and the idolatry associated with it, is presented 
in the book of Kings as the very paradigm of false worship. If it 
is wicked for Jeroboam, a king, to make up his own feast day (holy 
day), then certainly it is wicked for popes, bishops and the people 
to set up Christmas, Good Friday, and so on.

Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians, concurs with the Old Testament's 
teaching on worship. Paul condemns those who seek to impose Judaical 
food laws and holy days upon the church (Col. 2:16). Because the ceremonials 
laws were "shadows" that pointed to the "substance"--Jesus 
Christ--they are done away with. They are no longer authorized 
and therefore are forbidden. Paul's warning regarding human philosophy 
is the backdrop of his condemnation of false worship and man-made 
laws (legalism): "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy 
and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the 
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8).

Paul condemns manmade doctrines and commandments: "Wherefore if 
ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though 
living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste 
not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after 
the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed 
a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting 
of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh" 
(Col. 2:20-23). Paul says that adding to God's Word is a mere vain 
display of "will worship and humility." It is "will-worship" 
religion instead of worship-according-to-God's-will religion. Manmade 
laws take away the liberty we have in Christ. God's moral law is perfect; 
it does not need additions. Manmade rules and regulations are "not 
in any honour" to the believer.

God has given His church a Psalm book and a holy day (the Lord's day). 
Can man improve upon the worship and service that God has instituted? 
Of course not. It is the height of arrogance and stupidity to think 
that sinful men can improve upon God's ordinances. "It is provoking 
God, because it reflects much upon His honor, as if He were not wise 
enough to appoint the manner of His own worship. He hates all strange 
fire to be offered in His temple (Lev. 10:11). A ceremony may in time 
lead to a crucifix. Those who contend for the cross in baptism, why 
not have the oil, salt and cream as well."11 

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