Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Who Made Up These Rules?

When I was growing up in the church, I remember being told that you could not pass out the Lord's Supper unless you were wearing a tie. I also heard people say that preachers should only wear black suits. And, of course, they had to preach from the King James Version. After all, it does say it is the Authorized Version (that is, it was authorized by King James -- not by God).

Also, in many churches -- women had to wear dresses on Sunday morning and men had to wear suits. But on Sunday night, the rules changed. And on Wednesday nights, they changed again!

Further, there was no dancing and no drinking. Men's hair had to be short. Beards were frowned upon. Jesus was not born on December 25th, so we joined the atheists in not mentioning him during Christmas season. We just partook in the materialism of Christmas.

Rules, rules rules. Everywhere you turned -- more rules. Unwritten rules -- from the folks who "speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent." Someone trying to come into the church had to walk on eggshells because they might break a rule. And if you broke one, there was sure to be a stern-faced brother or sister who would be quick to let you know that you were not "sound."

Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same. In Luke 6, Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders of his day. They were accusing Jesus of violating Scripture for doing things that were not addressed in Scripture. Like plucking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Or healing a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath.

Jesus asked them (v. 9), "which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?" He confronted them in their arrogant religiousity. The result is that these men who wanted to be so prim and proper began plotting to murder him. How ironic!

Understand: God has certainly given his children rules by which to live. But when we get his rules and our own rules confused -- the products are not pretty.

2 comments:

Josh Ross said...

Legalism is an agent of Satan. Legalistic mindsets in church leaders has driven many more people away from the Lord than vice versa. We have some repenting to do today. Come Lord Jesus, free us from legalistic practices.

Anonymous said...

If only we could learn respond with love and obedience to his calls for us. Legalism is born out of not knowing Him and trying instead to follow His plan with our rules instead of His heart. Following with His heart however, is impossible without Him. Anyone can follow made up rules to feel Rightgeous. Only through His love can we be truly rightgeous. Amy Cooper