In my previous post, I spoke of rules and regulations in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. As I wrote it, it struck me that in the Old Testament, there are many specific commands given for God's people to follow. In the New Testament, there really aren't that many. Yes, there are a few, but not nearly as many as most of us think there is.
Instead, we've used our logic and common sense and have taken this verse and jigsaw-puzzled it together with that verse to come to a conclusion that we then label as a "command of Jesus". But if we're to be absolutely honest, those are not commands given by Jesus, but rather commandments of men that we make into doctrines.
Don't believe me? Give it a try. Give me the book/chapter/verse containing a command (not a logic-derived conclusion) for each of the doctrines below:
- no hand-raising in worship
- must attend church every time the elders have established for regular meetings
- there must be a multiplicity of elders in each local congregation
- singing in worship must be a cappella
- the main purpose of assembling is to worship God
- you must not drink alcohol or you sin
- you must give money to the church every Sunday
- you must take the Lord's Supper every Sunday
- you must attend church on Sunday
- you must add "in Jesus' name" to every prayer (preferably at the end)
- you must dress up for Sunday church
- you must have a sermon during church
- you must not applaud/clap during church
- you must bow your head and close your eyes during prayers
- you must use Elizabethan English in your songs and prayers
- you must limit "worship" to the specified times of worship
- you must not do anything beyond the "five acts of worship" during worship
- the fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper can only be grape juice
Please don't think I'm trying to change any of these things (okay, a few of them I'd do away with - the Elizabethan English I think does harm). I'm just pointing out that much of what passes as "commands" in our thinking are not commands. They may be correct conclusions (since the Fall, our logic is not to be trusted completely), but logic-derived conclusions are not commands.
Careful; it might shake up your paradigm if you think about this too much. Keep the commands of Jesus, yes, but don't make the mistake of believing a non-command is a command.