Question:

Hello sir. I was born and raised in the church. Just read your article on the silence of the Scriptures and really enjoyed it. I have been faced with some of the "dogmatic" congregations for the first time in my life, and it really raised some questions in my mind as to if I was attending the right type of church.

I had a discussion with a man who told me getting married in the church building is sinful, funerals in the building, and having things like youth nights or singing groups. I did not agree with him, but I didn't know what to say because I had never faced any members like that. So I've been researching the different types of beliefs and practices. But it seems that all we fight about are things that are preferences or within the liberty of each autonomous congregation.

I like to think of myself as pretty sound in Scriptures for someone my age, being that I've always wanted to know for myself what the truth is. The church can be very complicated if people make it that way. However, your article was very enlightening and it gave me a sense of ease. Not saying I will stop searching the Scriptures because it is the only authority on earth. However, everything you said made sense and will help me in my debates with the "dogmatic extremists."

Thank you very much for posting that. If you have anything else that might help me please feel free to email me anytime.

p.s. I am considering preaching some day, so I want to make sure I'm preaching the whole truth. Thank you for your time brother.


Answer:

It is easy to claim that a particular matter is one of opinion, preference, or liberty, but where does the liberty or right to choose come from? Are we taking these rights for ourselves or were they granted to us by our Maker? If we accept "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (I Corinthians 11:3) and "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18), then we are always men under authority and the only time we can express our opinion or preference is when God grants us leeway.

Thus, when a person claims that an issue is just a personal opinion, this doesn't settle the matter; it is a claim that requires proof. It needs to be shown that of the options under consideration are ones that God has left it up to man to select which option suits him best. What we find instead, are people trying to find ways not to think about the Lord's authority over them.

Understanding authority is particularly critical for a preacher. He is the Lord's messenger, a town-crier giving the laws of the king to the people and explaining them so the people know how to follow them. What saddens me is how many I find in what are called the mainstream churches who can't reason from God's word, even while they chant "We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent."

At the other extreme are those who use their own thoughts as the measure by which they determine right or wrong. Rules are made by what they accept without going back to see what God allows. The result again is a system where people don't do a lot of thinking about God's laws.

What every preacher ought to strive for is to be able to explain what commands allow or disallow and how a particular idea falls within or without of the boundaries God has set. It requires more effort, more study, and more thought, but it is what it required to stay true to our Lord.