Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 20, 1955
NUMBER 36, PAGE 6,9c

"Religious Absurdities"

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

That which is absurd is opposed to manifest truth. That which is absurd is inconsistent with reason, or the plain dictates of common sense. That which is absurd is logically contradictory. Thus, an absurd person acts contrary to the clear dictates of reason or sound judgment. An absurd proposition contradicts obvious or revealed truth. An absurd religious practice or religious opinion is repugnant to the truths contained in the Bible and more specifically contradictory to New Testament teaching.

Therefore, any "Religious Absurdity" is that which possesses the quality of being, inconsistent with the revealed and obvious New Testament record, the gospel of Christ, which is God's power to save. (Rom. 1:16.)

First . . Some Simple Illustrations

In order to further clarify this study, we ask you to consider the following: (1) A square circle. (2) A round triangle. (3) A swampy desert. (4) A mountainous prairie. You think these examples are 'absurd,' don't you? Well, they are! But, they are no more 'absurd' than some other 'absurdities' that we shall discuss in the next few paragraphs.

The Roman Catholic Church

The word 'catholic' means universal or general. Perhaps more literally it could be said to mean 'world-wide.' Now with that proper and correct definition of 'catholic' in mind, we have 'The Roman Universal Church.' If it is 'universal' then it is not Roman, provincial or national, but international. If it is designated as 'Roman,' then it becomes absurd to say that it is 'world-wide.' The same is equally true of the Greek-Catholic, the Russo-Catholic, the Serb-Catholic, and other Catholic groups. Just as surely as a district, continental or national title is tacked upon something that claims to be universal and all-encompassing, it becomes an absurdity.

"I'm A Hyphenated-Christian"

Many sincere persons consider themselves to be, or at least call themselves some type, kind, or species of a Christian. Of course, the Bible does not use such terminology, but that does not seem to matter in the minds of many. It is just as absurd to say, "I'm a Buddhist-Christian," or "I'm a Baptist-Christian," as it would be for a resident of Fort Worth, to say, "I'm a New England-Texan." We cannot be an American citizen and a citizen of another nation at the same time. Men cannot serve two masters. That which makes an American citizen does not make a Mexican citizen, and vice versa.

That which officially makes a person a member of a man-made religious movement, is not that which causes Christ to add a person to his family, his church. (Acts 2:41 and 47.

The creed, the discipline, the confession of faith, the constitution and by-laws, the church manual, or the catechism, is not that which Paul told Timothy to 'continue in,' in 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

Peter wrote that there was no shame to be attached to suffering 'as a Christian' (1 Peter 4:16.) He said nothing about some hyphenated-Christian.

Paul almost persuaded King Agrippa to become 'a Christian' not some other species. (Acts 26:28.) No doubt Agrippa would have been 'fully persuaded' if he could have become a 'combination-Christian' as modern people attempt to claim.

The disciples in Antioch were called by the name 'Christian' at the beginning. The New Testament states that they were the first, chronologically, to be so designated. (Acts 11:26.) Yet there is not one single instance in all of the Bible, where you can read about Mormon-Christians, Methodist-Christians, and such like.

"I'm A Christian, But Not A Church-Member"

The person who claims to be a Christian without being in the church (the body) which Christ purchased with his own blood (see Acts 20:28), is proclaiming an absurdity. It is the equivalent of saying, "I'm following Christ, only 'I'm going in a different direction to a different destination." Such profound logic is overwhelming! It is like a bride saying, "I'm married to my husband, John Smith; but I'm not satisfied to wear his name, I want to go by the name of his cousin, Joe Doaks." (See Acts 4:10-12.) Read about Christ's relationship to his church in Ephesians 5:23-32. A man cannot be a husband without being married, anymore than a person can be saved without being in the church that Christ died to purchase. The church is the bride of Christ. (Eph. 5.) The church is the body of Christ. (Col. 1:18 and 24.) Christ is the head of the body. (Col. 2:19.) In John the third chapter, John the Baptist taught that Christ was the bridegroom. That the bridegroom was to have the bride, which was the church of Christ, soon to be established. John also said in reference to Christ and himself, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30.) Later, on the day of Pentecost, 33 A.D., the church was established. You can read about it in the second chapter of Acts.

"I'll Be Whatever 'My' Preacher Says"

"Just whatever their preacher says," seems to be the foolish philosophy of many otherwise sound-minded people. They may exercise good judgment in most other matters, but when it comes to dealing with the most precious thing they possess, their own souls, they'll pawn them for whatever 'their preacher says.'

This practice is not necessarily a modern one. For example, the members of the Corinthian congregation had developed such a love for individual preachers, rather than love for the truth that they proclaimed, that they began to say: "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." Paul put them to shame by his very questions when he asked, "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul"

In another instance, some persons who had submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist, and who knew nothing about the baptism of Christ which supplanted John's baptism, were commanded to again be baptized in the name of Christ, that is, by his authority, rather than by the then out-dated authority of John the Baptist. (See Acts 19:1-5.)

Whatever the preacher says is not worth the 'wind' it takes to say it, unless he is teaching exactly what the New Testament records. "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." ". . . . 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." (Gal. 1:6-12.) That which Paul preached did not come from the mind of man, but from the mind of God.

As for those who embrace these 'religious absurdities' .... "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:8-9.)


Let's avoid these 'absurdities' in religion, and in their stead, let's become "doers of the word, and not hearers only." "Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (Acts 1:22 and 25.)