Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1963

Making God In Man's Image

Luther Blackmon

The Bible says that man was made in God's image. But years ago I read a radio sermon which reversed the title, "Making God In Man's Image." I do not remember now what the preacher said, but the idea has sort of haunted me from time to time through the years.

I am sure that no one world admit that he has ever tried to make God in his own image, and yet I am equally sure that men are doing it all the time. For example, how many times have you heard something like this: "I know the Bible says, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved' and I know it says, 'the Lord take vengeance on them that obey not the gospel,' but you know that Bible is subject to different interpretations, and my mother — she never was baptized — she never was a member of the church, but she was the best mother a man ever had. She spent many hours with the sick; she prayed often. No you need not tell me that my mother will not be in heaven." Well, I have always been willing to leave our mothers in the mercy of God, along with all the other respected dead.

But take a look at this fellow's reasoning. He likely does not recognize it, but here is what he is saying: ''God said that one must obey the gospel. My mother did not obey the Gospel, but my mother will be saved anyway. Therefore the things God said about obeying the gospel are not as important as the good life my mother lived. And God will adjust His law to harmonize with the way my mother lived." If this is not measuring God by man's "image" (mind and wisdom) tell me why!

My good friend — mark this down and remember it — every religious error in the world today exists because of this attitude. Denominationalism is wrong. Every denomination exists without divine authority and as a human substitution for God's church, just as sprinkling substitutes for Bible baptism. Denominational leaders know that it cannot be defended scripturally. That is why debating among them is almost a thing of the past. Why then does denominationalism continue to thrive, you ask? Is it because these people are dishonest? No I am sure that this is not the reason. Basically it is because of two very prominent characteristics in the human being: 1) His pride. Once a doctrine has been embraced and publicly espoused he feels it is a reflection on his intelligence to admit that he has made a big mistake. The pressure of his family and friends doesn't help him any either. 2) His ego, or his tendency to exalt his own reason; his disposition to discount the importance of anything that God has said unless he himself can see why! From the creation of Adam man has had trouble accepting the simple fact that some things are right just because God authorized them, and only because God authorized them. And conversely, some things are wrong just because God did not authorize them, and only because God did not authorize them; not because they are immoral; not because they have been prohibited; because God said "thou shalt not." There are many things wrong concerning which God has never said "thou shalt not." God does not have to prohibit some things specifically, in order for them to be wrong. They are wrong because God did not authorize them. I don't aim to be tedious but I want this point to be remembered.

It is a failure to grasp this that makes people ask, "what is wrong with instrumental music in worship? Is there anything evil in a piano?" That was a favorite expression among those who split the church 75 years ago over music in worship. Friend, there isn't anything wrong with instrumental music — but when you put it in the worship you sin because God said sing, and he DID NOT say play. That is ALL that is wrong with music in the worship, but that is enough.

"What difference does it make whether we are immersed or sprinkled?" one asks. What difference does it make! It just makes the difference in obeying and disobeying God. That's all. But that ought to be enough. God commanded immersion. He did not authorize sprinkling. That makes sprinkling wrong.

What difference does it make whether we preach the gospel and take care of the needy through the organization of the local church or through missionary and benevolent societies? What difference does it make! Whatever difference there is in doing it through the organization that God authorized and Christ died for, and doing it through one that man authorized and built, is "what difference it makes." I want to say again, every religious error and unauthorized practice in the world, exists because of the error of some man or men to make God and God's law fit the mold of human wisdom; to make God in man's image.

— La Porte, Texas