The Man-Made Leash of Authority

Posted November 18, 2019 by SandreS
Categories: Religion

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Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (II Corinthians 1:24).

The authority of denominations and sects in the form of tradition frustrates further needed reform and conformity to the Word of God. The authority of man-made institutions is a stubborn thing which resists change …

We, as the saints of God, find ourselves fenced off institutionally from one another based on various interpretations of men …

When doctrine is carved in stone as is a confession or doctrinal statement, we merely promote another man-made tradition, no matter how close it is to the truth; because if it is possible to get closer to the truth, we find out that we are tethered to someone else’s understanding by a leash of authority and can proceed no closer. If we dare to break the tether, we threaten all our relationships that are still tied to it and face the trauma of breaking the communion of saints built over a lifetime. Thus one might more readily be inclined as well to stick with mind-numbing tradition rather than suffer the consequences. …

We ought not to set up false and invalid authority structures to force conformity to some uniform human religious standard. We can’t force what we believe on someone else. They must accept it and own it for themselves.

— Ross Purdy
I Will Have One Doctrine and One Discipline
Bible Student’s Press, 2008
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Our National Mythology

Posted June 22, 2019 by SandreS
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Tucked away in our national mythology is the notion that America is a redeemer nation. We are led to believe that the American Messiah brings salvation to the rest of the world; that the American way of life redeems the cultures of other countries; that God will use the American nation to magnify Himself among other nations.

The president of the National Council for the Encouragement of Patriotism, Inc., once remarked:

When I place my right hand over my heart as that glorious American flag passes by, I feel very near to God. – Newsweek, June 15, 1970, page 30

Donald B. Kraybill
Our Star-Spangled Faith (1976), pages 18, 43
Herald Press
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Defining the Camp

Posted June 12, 2019 by SandreS
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Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (Hebrews 13:13).

There is an analogy to this position “outside the camp” in the wilderness journey of the Sons of Israel and the winsome admonition of Hebrews 13:11-13…

Any search for a position “outside the camp” today necessitates a definition of the camp. In context, the camp of Exodus 33 was simply the mass of the Sons of Israel on their wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan. Their credentials were that they were indeed Israelites – the people of God, although a mixed multitude of others accompanied them (Exodus 12:38 and Numbers 11:4). …

Now it is obvious that the “Christian church” has been every bit as unfaithful as the camp of Israel ever was … Instead of the beautiful unity of its calling, it is hopelessly divided into many groups, each gathered on different principles with varying degrees of right or wrong, that its members adhere to. The believer, in associating himself with any part of this divided “church,” no matter how good, necessarily contributes to the division. The “Christian church,” along with the mixed multitude of the unregenerate that have forced their way into it, is certainly analogous to the camp of Israel …

For us, “outside the camp” embraces the unity of the Body of Christ, allowing us to “depart from iniquity,” to “purge himself from these,” and to: “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2:19-22).

Hence, like Israel of old, “let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing the His reproach.”

Bud Morris
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Abandon Self-Appointed Authorities

Posted June 10, 2019 by SandreS
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There are also religious institutes, schools and seminaries promoting particular theologies and many allow for no critical thinking whatsoever. Basically, students are spoon fed a theology and expected to regurgitate it perfectly when they become professional clergy to their group. It’s the new form of tradition and it always ends up stagnating and stunting spiritual growth. Under the auspices of professional clergy, doctrine can then be spoon fed to the laity and then they are held accountable for remaining loyal to that doctrine, often at the cost of abandoning loyalty to family and friends. The authority of denominations and sects frustrates further needed reform and conformity to the Word of God. This loss of liberty is a major problem with only one solution; abandon the self-appointed authorities, do not submit to them and their theological boxes. Not only can one then show proper loyalty to family and friends, they can fully express love towards them without restriction and they will also be able to more fully conform to God’s Word. Christ alone is our head and when some other is allowed to impose religious authority over you (no matter how well intentioned), you have allowed them to usurp Christ’s authority and they can only degrade your relationship with Christ.

Ross Purdy
I Will Have One Doctrine and One Discipline (2006)
Bible Student’s Press
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So Much Waste

Posted May 17, 2019 by SandreS
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There is probably not another field of human activity where there is so much waste as in the field of religion …

In the average church we hear the same prayers repeated each Sunday year in and year out with, one would suspect, not the remotest expectation that they will be answered. It is enough, it seems, that they have been uttered. The familiar phrase, the religious tone, the emotionally loaded words have their superficial and temporary effect … Yet every Sunday morning for twenty years [a man] goes through the same routine and, allowing two hours for him to leave his house, sits through a church service and returns to his house again, [having] wasted 170 twelve-hour days with this exercise in futility.

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Born After Midnight
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Churchiness

Posted May 2, 2019 by SandreS
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There are doubtless many reasons for the degeneration of Christianity into “churchiness,” and the narrowing of the Gospel for all mankind into a set of approved beliefs. But the chief cause must be the worship of an inadequate god, a cramped and regulated god who is “a good churchman,” according to the formulas of the worshipper.

J.B. Phillips (1906-1982)
For This Day (1975), page 201
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Digging Around in Church History

Posted April 28, 2019 by SandreS
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The more I’ve been digging around in church history, the more I’ve seen that the true history of the church often takes its course through the generations of those who were despised by organized Christendom. These Christians were often marginalized, silenced, and deemed heretics. Tragically, sometimes they were killed. As the saying goes, “Only the winners get to write history.”

— Jim Palmer
Wide Open Spaces (2007), page 38
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