A Religion Of Convenience --- Part I

Our world seems to have gone convenience crazy. Most man-made conveniences are truly blessings from God (Genesis 1:28). Yet mankind has carried the idea of convenience over to religion. America now has “drive-in” churches and churches where services are guaranteed to not last over 30 minutes (or your money back?).

People are urged to “attend the church of your choice,” even though the New Testament speaks of only “one body” or church (Ephesians 4:4-5). Once sacred doctrines are now walked over lest we offend anyone. It is considered “unloving” to point out sin. But should convenience be the rule of faith and practice in the church of Christ? Convenience can be the mother of apostasy (see article). What does the Bible say?

Perhaps the best example of this principle in the Bible is found in Jeroboam, king of the northern kingdom of Israel. God had rent the kingdom of ancient Israel from the heir of Solomon (Rehoboam) because of Solomon’s sins and gave the ten northern tribes to Jeroboam (I Kings 11:31). But Jeroboam took advantage of this gift and drew his people away from God. Out of fear and envy he instituted the worship of golden calves to keep them from going to the temple in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 12:26ff) as well as unscriptural feast days. His cry to the people was “convenience” (I Kings 12:28). Israel would suffer greatly for the convenience offered by Jeroboam. Centuries later, in 721 B.C., they would go into Assyrian captivity for their apostasy (cf. 2 Kings 17:20-23). When we cast aside doctrine, and take the road of convenience in religion, we trespass on God’s authority (Colossians 3:17).

The following is a list of departures from the faith which have taken place under the guise of convenience: (1) Sprinkling with water for baptism rather than immersion in water as the definition of “baptism” as the New Testament demands (cf. Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-4); (2) The changing of the emblems used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper (i.e. leavened bread instead of unleavened bread; wine or any other beverage instead of “the fruit of the vine” (Luke 22:18); (3) Observing the Lord’s Supper on other days instead of or in addition to Sunday, the first day of the week (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:24-29); (4) One man as bishop over a congregation or over more than one congregation. See Acts 14:23 (“elders” not “elder.”); (5) Use of women preachers, elders and deacons in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-12). Roelf L. Ruffner

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

Related Part II: here.