I have always been a question asker. I probably drove my parents crazy with my favorite word – why? As I’ve gotten a little older my curiosity hasn’t waned, but it has gotten a little more complicated. Instead of the standard “why is the sky blue,” I am more into questions like, is the Church being and doing what God intended?
That question is more puzzling and more troubling. Mostly because I’m scared of the answer. Here’s what I mean, let’s say that I have never heard of, or seen any type of Church, church building, Christian or had any religious exposure at all and someone just walked up and handed me a Bible, and then walked away and let me figure it out on my own. Just simply from reading the Bible, would I come up with the same thing that we have today? Would my faith look the same? Would the Church look the same way and do the same things? There’s no way! If I just followed the Bible without any background information, or any subjective opinions or preferences my faith would look differently. My focus would be on other things.
Here’s an example. I have been taught through my childhood and into my adult life to have an almost ascetic approach to my faith, particularly to worship. Why? That’s not what the Bible teaches. If I just read the Bible without any background interference I would be the most excited, joyous person – ever. I would be so excited to worship God and wouldn’t be nearly as concerned with what people thought of me, or if I was going to be judged or looked down on. Yet the opposite is often the reality. We come to worship, not filled with awe and excitement and humility for who God is and what He did for me. But instead we’ve taught each other to come to a well-planned, yet minimalist performance that’s designed to appease the people in the room rather than worship the Creator of life.
Somewhere along the way we seemed to have gotten turned sideways. Actually, I’m probably closer to upside down. One last thought to chew on . . . for all the good that the restoration movement did and intended to do, we find ourselves back in the same place nearly 200 years later. Too many of us have become members of a denomination and enslaved to traditions instead of Christ, worshiping doctrines instead of the Sustainer.
I think it might be time for another restoration. It’s time to do it again when we stop following those principles like speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. Consider this one question as a bit of litmus test. 1 Timothy 2:8 says, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” Be honest and ask yourself, how much trouble would it cause if your preacher offered a prayer before he began preaching, and lifted his hands high in the air while praying? How many people would care? How many people would be upset? Now answer the question: are we speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent?