Tag Archives: Bible only

The Church: Then & Now

Anyone who would take a serious look at the modern church in comparison to the church of the first century as portrayed on the pages of the New Testament would in all probability be able to see that something is awry. The face of the church in today’s world is quite different from how it was in the days of the apostles of Christ. Why is there such a wide disparity between the apostolic church and that of the 21st century?

The Epistle of Paul to the church at Ephesus is a good place to start in order to get a handle on the problem. Paul wrote and reminded them that they were “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:20) Furthermore what was true of the church at Ephesus was true also of all the individual churches scattered throughout the first century world so that all of them together formed a “holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)

By way of contrast in today’s Christian world we have a host of different denominations not content to be built simply upon the “foundation of the apostles and prophets” with Jesus Christ himself as the “chief corner stone” but rather have added two additional things which were not a part of God’s original design. First, each individual denomination has its own distinctive rule of faith and practice called either a creed, manual, discipline, or catechism, etc. This rule of faith and practice spells out how the denomination and each congregation is to function. Second, each denomination has its own central governing body which exercises varying degrees of authority over the individual congregations. Neither of these two is authorized in the Bible.

Would it not be better if all the man-made rules of faith and practice were dropped and we all stood upon the Bible, and the Bible alone, as our only rule of faith and practice in religion? Also would it not be better if all denominational governing bodies were dissolved and each individual congregation became answerable to Christ, and Christ alone, as the only head of the Church? Furthermore should not each individual step out of the whole denominational system and be a part of a congregation subject only to Christ as its head and the Bible as its only rule of faith and practice? Many of us have done just that.


The Book of Jasher

We hear a lot now days about the lost books of the Bible. There really are no such books. There are some ancient books we know about which were never made a part of the Bible. Some of these are even mentioned in the Bible itself, for example, the book of Jasher. (See Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)

The book of Jasher referred to in these two passages does not exist today. Of course, several forgeries have appeared over the years. But they were all written centuries after the authentic book of Jasher.

But how do we know that the book of Jasher does not belong in the Bible? We know that it does not belong in the Bible simply because it is not there. Had it really been a part of God’s word to man, it would not have passed away. Consider this passage from the apostle Peter: “All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25) Had God intended for the book of Jasher to be in the Bible, it would be there.


No Book but the Bible

While we often benefit from the insights gleaned from the world of religious books, the Bible itself is the only real standard of religious thought and practice. All else is to be measured by it.

All theological opinions of men, all human traditions passed down to us from our forefathers, and all cultural trends of modern society are irrelevant.

No one is bound by any man-made confession of faith, manual of church order, or book of church discipline. The Bible alone must govern our faith and practice.

No Creed But Christ

Christ himself is the Christian’s creed or more fully stated – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) This is the original creed of Christianity. It is this that the first Christians believed, confessed and lived by.

All man-made creeds, theological opinions, commands of men, and human traditions are irrelevant at best and often worse. No man is required to subscribe to any theological system devised by men.

What is required is faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and obedience to Him as Lord and King. It is the belief of this fact and the obedience it implies that is the very foundation of Christianity. (Matthew 16:18)