Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 22, 1951

Methods And Practices In Religion

Gene Martin, Quitman, Texas

It should be understood that it is just as necessary for one to be "right" religiously as it is to be religious. Since it is God who is to be pleased, it surely stands to reason that we should look to Him for authority in all matters religious. God's authority for worship and practice in religion is revealed to us through His Word, the Bible. And nowhere else is this authority to be found. Hence, the Bible is the ONLY guide for faith and practice in Christianity. "Thy will be done and not mine" must always be our earnest desire. "My will and not Thine" is sure and certain doom.

Error fattens while feeding on ignorance of the Bible when there is Bible knowledge within the reach of everyone. To know the Will of God people have to be familiar with the Bible. To be familiar with the Bible people have to read it. To understand the Bible people have to read it with attention.

The safe method of practicing Christianity is to study the Bible ever so diligently, then follow a few simple rules of common-sense application. Use Bible names for Bible things; do Bible things in Bible ways; speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where it is silent. Follow the Commands and examples as laid down in the New Testament. Always do that which by Bible authority you know to be safe. Leave undone all things outside that authority, and/or those things which are doubtful. Never depend upon anyone's "ideas," but always find out what the Bible teaches on the matter. "Where has the Lord said it in His word"? Never try to force a meaning into a passage of scripture. Accept what is plainly taught, keeping the passage in proper context with other scriptures that teach on the same subject. Often we make difficulties for ourselves in trying to find some "hidden" or "deeper" meaning in a passage when actually it is a case of "not being able to see the forest for the trees." When once you find what the Bible teaches, accept and embrace it just that way as God's word and final authority, for that is exactly what it is.

The church of Christ must never lose its distinctive plan for the complete restoration of New Testament Christianity. All people sorely need to know the difference between the church and denominationalism. Teaching along this line to members of the church is imperative if we are to remain "a people for God's own possession." (1 Pet. 2:9 RV) The people of the world need this teaching if they are to become the people of God.

If we have the proper attitude, and seek to determine what God's will toward us actually is, we shall have no difficulty in serving Him acceptably. It is only when we attempt to make things conform to "our ideas" that we begin to turn away from the right paths of religion. "Our" methods and practices in religion lead to eternal destruction. Let us beware lest we be found "worshipping in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Let us strive to please God rather than men.