23 July 2008

Falsehoods we are taught in church

A number of falsehoods are being propagated by well-meaning people at my church. Most of these teachings directly contradict the Scripture, although some are merely unsupported by it.

  1. God wants us to dress our best when we come to him. (Jam 2:3-4; 1Pet 3:3; Mt 11:28, 19:14, 23:27; Jn 6:37; Lk 5:32; Jam 5:1-2)
  2. Sunday (the first day of the week) is the Sabbath. (Ex 20:11; Lev 23:3)
  3. God commands Christians to refrain from working on the Sabbath. (Col 2:16; Rom 14:5-6,13,22; Mt 12:8,12; Lk 13:14-15; Jn 5:16, 7:23, 9:16; Heb 4:6-11)
  4. The church building is holy ground. (Acts 17:24; 1Cor 3:16; Mt 12:6; Mk 13:1-2, 15:37-38; Jn 2:19-21; Eph 2:19-22)
  5. God commands all believers to attend Sunday school. (unsupported; not a first-century tradition)
  6. God commands Christians to tithe (i.e. give 10% of their income to the church). (2Cor 9:6-7; Lk 19:8, 21:2-4; Acts 2:44-45, 4:32,34. 10:2, 11:29; 1Cor 16:2; 2Cor 8:14, 9:12, 12:14; Php 4:14,16; Heb 7:5)

What is the common thread among all of these teachings? They are all human traditions, created by men*, yet elevated by men above the teaching of Scripture (Col 2:8; Mk 7:7-9). There's a word for this: legalism.

It is easy for any of us to become so immersed in our traditions that we don't recognize when they contradict Scripture. None of us is immune. That is why we must all be willing to listen when others show us our fault.

None of these teachings are as blatantly destructive as others I have encountered. However, they are distractions and potential stumbling blocks, and should therefore be avoided. (Rom 14:13; Lk 11:46)

*Tithing and keeping the Sabbath are elements of the Mosaic Law. The Holy Spirit made it clear to the early church that Christians are no longer under the Law, and must not return to it. (Gal 3:25, 4:9, 4:21,5:1)

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