A prominent Bible teacher and preacher in the Churches of Christ writes: “You said, ‘It is time for change in doctrines created by our deductions and not by the Word of God; . . . for change in the passing over, ignoring, and sometimes explaining away of biblical teachings, doctrines and experiences which others found before we did . . .’ Would you give some examples of each?”
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Doctrines created by our deductions would include the teaching that the Bible not only approves taking the Lord’s Supper each Sunday but that it also requires taking it every Sunday and forbids doing so on any other day. Another teaching based on human deductions rather than on Scripture is the prohibition of instrumental music in church worship assemblies (Eph. 5:19; Psalm 150). Another is the idea that valid baptism requires a belief by the person being baptized that the rite accomplishes forgiveness of sins. Still another human doctrine is the notion that “the New Testament church” is found only in the churches of our historical association and the exclusive identification of our own brotherhood with “the Lord’s church.”
Biblical teachings we sometimes explained away include teaching about the consequences of Adam’s sin on all his race (Rom. 5:12-21) and the necessity of divine regeneration on our fallen nature (2 Cor. 4:3-6; Eph. 2:1-2), We have often overlooked biblical teaching others have found concerning divine election (John 6:37; Rom. 8:28-31); the finished work of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-21; Heb. 10:11-14) and the Holy Spirit’s work in conviction and conversion (Acts 11:18; 16:14); in giftedness (1 Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11), empowering (Eph. 3:16-21) and sanctification (1 Thes. 4:7-8).
We often have neglected the reality of Jesus baptizing all his people in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5; 2:38-39; 1 Cor. 12:13) and the reality of God’s present supernatural work in any way he sees fit (Psalm 115:3; 1 Cor. 12:6). The same may be said concerning justification by grace through faith (Acts 10:43; Eph. 2:8-9) and the security of those God has given to Christ (John 6:39; 1 Thes. 5:23-24).
As you continue to read gracEmail, you will see these various topics addressed from time to time. I have no desire to see change for change’s sake, but I do have a great desire to see us continue the restoration of pure biblical teaching so that we faithfully and reverently accept and repeat whatever we find revealed in Scripture. Every Christian group has room for improvement including Churches of Christ, which is neither better nor worse than any of its historical Christian neighbors.