When Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered “strange fire” to the Lord (Lev. 10:1-3), they crossed a boundary line which we could label “Authority.” While they were authorized to make offerings to the Lord, they were not authorized to use this “strange fire.”
From that day to this, God’s people have been plagued by worship which crossed the boundary line of authority. No matter the problem, it began as an affront to the authority of God. It is God who sets the standard for authorization of a practice, and He has made that standard His word. No amount of reasoning, good will or convenience on man’s part can authorize that which God has not authorized.
It is important to keep this in mind when studying the “issues” which divide churches of Christ today, for they find their basis not in “liberal vs. conservative” nor in “cooperational vs. ‘anti’” but instead, in authorized vs. unauthorized. Anyone who wishes to bring unity to the body of Christ must either drop any and all unscriptural (unauthorized) practices, or show proof (scripture) of authorization.
We were, at one time, a people characterized by the question, “Where is your book, chapter and verse supporting this practice?” What was meant was, “Where is your authority?” It is painful to see how far from this many have been willing to go.
We understand the principles of authority in almost every aspect of our lives. No parent is willing to fall for this line of thinking from their children: “I know you said to be home at 11:00, but you didn’t say not to be home at 12:00.” The very idea is ludicrous. Try getting out of a ticket by saying, “But officer, the sign didn’t say not go 90 miles per hour.” None would even put up such an argument.
Except where it pertains to God and His word. There, anything and everything appear to be fair game. When leaders of a church proclaim that Bible authority is not necessary for all that the church does (see page 2), how long before they are offering their own version of “strange fire?”
This issue of Abundant Life is devoted to seeking out the truth on the nature of the authority of God as it relates to the practices of His people. We recommend that you study your Bibles along with us in the articles, for it is not our intention to lead others over to “our way of thinking.” What we are interested in is that people turn their hearts to God, submit to His authority and serve Him.