Here is the case...
A man wanted to build a house for himself. So he hired a contractor to construct the house for him. He handed the contractor a blueprint and said, "I am going to Europe for a year. Construct this house for me while I am gone and when I return I will pay you."
The contractor began work on the house. The blueprint called for a ranch layout. The contractor thought, "Ranch style houses are old fashioned, no one builds them anymore, traditional three story houses are the style now." So, a three story went up.
The blueprint had no specifications for a garage and only called for a small concrete parking pad by the street. The contractor thought, "It's foolish to not have a garage to store stuff in or a driveway to keep the car on. Since most families are two-car families, it needs to be a two car garage." A two stall garage and matching driveway were added.
The blueprint specified tile floors through out. The contractor installed hardwood flooring.
The outside called for brick halfway up, Hardy Plank the rest of the way, the contractor instead put brick all the way up.
You get the idea. Time after time the contractor added things he thought were better or simply ignored things he didn't think were needed. By the time the house was finished it was a house but it was nothing like the house on the blueprint.
Now then, here's the question before you, should the builder pay the contractor upon his return?
I'm certain your answer would be a quick, no! The contractor didn't follow the builder's plan. We would all require the house blueprint to be followed in order for the contractor to be paid the agreed price.
Strangely enough, we seldom apply that requirement in our religious life.
Some 2000 years ago Jesus of Nazareth, before his crucifixion, announced he would build a church.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 KJV)
In the second chapter of Acts we read...
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47 KJV)
At some point between his conversation with Peter and Acts chapter 2, Jesus, the Christ, has built His church. As we read further in the New Testament we find the church that Jesus built was spreading.
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: (Romans 16:1 KJV)
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ. (Romans 16:5 KJV)
Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. (Romans 16:23 KJV)
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's: (1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV)
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17 KJV)
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (1 Corinthians 16:19 KJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: 2 Corinthians 1:1 (KJV)
Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. (Colossians 4:15 KJV)
And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house: (Philemon 1:2 KJV)
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. (1 Peter 5:13)
The question arises, is there a plan, or blueprint, for these churches that together make up one church? Do these churches spring up willy nilly or is there a plan that must be followed?
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)
Here we see the church is built on truth. The Bible says God's word is truth.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
The Bible also says the word is the seed.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11)
If we want to grow or build a church that conforms to Christ's church then we need to build it according to the word of God. Adding anything to it, or taking anything away from it, or planting some other seed makes it something other than what Christ ordained.
Christ has left us a plan for God's church. To build a God accepted, Christ based church we only need to look to the blueprint in the New Testament.
The church of the Bible has no earthly synod, convention or other central ruling earthly body other than Christ and the New Testament.
The church of the Bible has no creeds, doxologies or mission statements. Creeds and mission statements always are less than the Bible or more than the Bible - any more or any less than the Bible is not needed. A creed or mission statement that follows the Bible is not needed, we have the Bible. Creeds and mission statements are outside the Bible and as such are mere additions of men. The church of the Bible uses the Bible, no more, no less.
The church of the Bible has an established founder and foundation time and place - the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection, at Jerusalem. Any church started after that time by anyone else, in any place is founded too late, wrong founder, wrong place. Any church based on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, John Calvin, Joseph Smith, Martin Luther, Garner Ted Armstrong, Daniel S. Warner and associates. Charles Taze Russell, Ellen G. White, John Wesley, John Smyth or anyone else other than Christ is not the church of the Bible.
‘ These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:8-9)
He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘ This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” (Mark 7:6-8)
“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:21-23)
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)
In I Corinthians 1 Paul teaches against following after men. When we join with religious organizations founded by men and follow the teachings or leanings of those men we are not following after Christ.
When we look at all the denominations in the world we often see one group teaching one thing, another group teaching the exact opposite. Both cannot be right and even both can be wrong. Does it even matter? John 4:24 says it does, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The only way one can worship God in spirit and truth is by turning to the word of God.
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
We urge you to throw off the teachings of men and turn to the Bible and the teachings of Christ. Build your faith on what the Bible says and not what men say.
If we can assist you in this matter please call on me if we can be of service or if you have any questions or comments or you would like to discuss this further.
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For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 816-7190
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