Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 10, 1964

Today's Deformed Religions

Harold Trimble

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word "deform" to mean any or all of these things; "To spoil the form of; disfigure; to deprive of comeliness, grace or perfection;" and "to cause to have a new form". A synonymous term is "deface". Now inspiration speaks of only one "Form of Doctrine", Rom. 6:17, and intelligence realizes that patterns for religion today are multiple. Even the multitude of "forms" of doctrine came as inspired men said they would. 2 Tim. 3:1-5. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves — traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Having a "FORM" of Godliness, but denying the power thereof". Why should it be thought such a wonderful thing that men have doctrines and creeds dividing households against themselves when our blessed Lord prayed that we "might be one" and delivered us the "form of doctrine" that we might obey from the heart and then be made free?

The "form" is not the thing that it contains. The brick is molded in the 'form" and the form only makes that one article. The "form of doctrine" delivered "once for all" to every creature made Christians in the days of the apostles, not some special kind of Christian but simply a Christian. Acts 11:26. Today that same powerful word, if planted in "good and honest hearts" will bring forth after its kind as it is the "seed of the kingdom", and obedient to God's immutable law. Indeed to be something besides a Christian means a deformed doctrine has been embraced!

Following are some questions often heard today and many are the answers that have come forth, yet the Bible has only ONE answer to each.

1. "Of what Faith are you?"

There is one Faith. Eph. 4:5, and that precludes the possibility of different "forms" of faith. Different degrees of faith such as "great faith" and "little faith" are mentioned. It is necessary that we have "The Faith" and not some "form" of it.

2. "What form of confession did you make?"

Matt. 10:32 requests us to confess Christ. Rom. 10: 9-10 teaches that it is done with the mouth and Acts 8: 37 gives the example, thus, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God."

3. "How shall I be baptized", or "What 'form' shall I choose?"

Sprinkling, and pouring are indeed "forms" of baptism but being "buried with him (immersed in him) by baptism into death" is no form, but is the genuine article itself. Why do men "disfigure" baptism?

4. "How do you worship God?"

Vain, ignorant, and true worship are the three forms mentioned in God's word. Surely it stands to reason that doctrine was delivered. True worship in Apostolic times consisted of the following:

a. Doctrine (or teaching)

b. Fellowship (associates in interest, activity, and feeling)

c. Breaking of Bread (The Lord's supper) Acts 2;42.

d. Prayer (communion with God through Christ, Jno. 14:13)

e. Praise (singing and making melody in the heart, Eph. 5:19, and "the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Neb. 13:15)

Following a close study of God's word we find that many of our so called religions of today are very much perverted and deformed. There is a "form" of teaching that will make you a denominationalist, a modernist, an infidel, or a disciple according to the "form" you choose. May God be your helper in choosing His blessed word. Any other teaching than that of the Word will make yours a deformed religion. We are not associates in interest and activity as we are divided into religions and all contrary the one to the other; hence, "Fellowship" is defaced and deprived of its comeliness. Just examine the different forms of the Lord's supper today!

1. Have the bread passed to the audience and let one man drink the fruit of the vine. (the priest). We are beginning to wonder if Christ meant it when he said, 'Drink ye of all of it."

2. Have the supper every quarter, annually or semi-annually. "Upon the first day of the week" the disciples met together to break bread. It was done "in remembrance" of Christ and to "show forth his death till he come again." I Cor. 11:25-26. It was not practiced on just any day of the week but on the "first day." It was not "a" first day, but "the" first day and every seven days brings "the" first day again. It could not be that the actual flesh and blood of Jesus is partaken of for it is "a memorial" of one who is gone until "He come again." Acts 20:7.

Scarcely could a religion be found that did not contain some "form" of these Bible doctrines, yet Paul said they deny "the power thereof." Who denies that "baptism doth also now save us"? — that we are baptized "for the remission of sins?" — "to wash away our sins?" — that it is necessary to "worship God in spirit and in truth?" — that is, as the Spirit inspires and the truth directs. All those who do so have a "form of Godliness but deny the power thereof." Paul said "from such turn away!"

Gentle reader, have you the courage to turn away from man's creeds, modes and forms, to receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your soul? If so you will wear no name but a God given one, be in no family but the family of God, wear no denominational clothing but "put on Christ" be a member of the only church that Jesus built. Matt. 16:18, that he bought, Acts 20:28, and that to which he adds the saved, Acts 2: 47, and promises to save, Eph. 5:23.

"The churches of Christ salute you." — Rom. 16:16.