The Law

The Church View: 
      The church should follow whatever laws found in the Bible the leaders of that particular church decide should be enforced and whatever other laws they make. These laws are to be enforced without regard to whether they do, or do not, have any biblical authority.

The Bible View:
 
      The laws of the Old Testament that were only given to the Nation of Israel are oppressive and impossible to follow.
♦  “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” {Acts 15:10}

The Hypocrisy of Church Law
      It is hard to fathom how the mainstream Bible based church has arrived at the choice of doctrinal concepts it now follows.  Through a series of decisions by the early church leadership, almost every law and principle has been changed or discarded altogether.  When doctrine could not be modified or abandoned, new doctrine was created to suit the need.  Every aspect of church structure is added, from the buildings it inhabits to the pastor that leads it. These are additions not to be found in scripture.  
      The doctrine of choosing a day to call its members to worship has been added, there is no day for the church to meet for worship in scripture.  While adding a day for worship, the church discarded the day specifically commanded as a day of rest, actually making the act of resting on the seventh day an offense.  The High Sabbaths that God commanded were also abandoned while ancient pagan celebrations were added and they were altered to suit the needs of the church.
      The very financial foundation of the church, the tithing laws, have been grossly corrupted and abused.  They would be judged as extortion by fraudulent means if a court of law could challenge them.  Not only is the means of exacting tribute from the membership wrong, the use for which the funding is spent is wrong.
      Most importantly, the New Testament edicts clearly pronounced as doctrine have been altogether ignored.  The church proudly uses the name and sacrifice of Jesus while teaching and practicing doctrines contrary to the doctrines he personally taught.  Not surprising is the fact that Jesus recognized and warned against this enigma even in his own time:
♦  Matthew 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
♦  Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

      A simple study of the laws laid down in the Old Testament will clearly demonstrate that the church does not even attempt to follow all the laws found there.  Yet, with false authority, they pick and chose what they determine are laws the membership should follow, and how those laws should be interpreted without even the slightest regard to the principles and details of the laws they enforce. 

The Oppressive Laws 
       As non-Jewish members began to enter the first church, some of the more rigid members demanded that all new male members, Hebrew or not, be circumcised, young and old.  This prompted a debate during which the harshness and unobtainable nature of the Jewish Law is pointed out:
♦  Acts 15:5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.  7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;  9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The Change 
       After the matter of compliance with the Jewish laws is heard, James announces the decision not to require the new members to follow the whole of the law, but to honor only four minor laws:
♦  Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:  14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,  16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:  17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.  18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.  19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:  20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

The Change Becomes Doctrine 
       The apostles and elders decide that this change should be immediately announced to all the members and do so with hand-carried letters:
♦  Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:  23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.  24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:  25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,  26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.  28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;  29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 
♦  Acts 21:21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.  22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.  23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;  24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.  25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

The Prime Directive 
        Throughout the ministry of Jesus, the single most important principle that was emphasized is love.  He declared this to be the basis of all law and prophecy.
♦  Matthew 22:35.  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  36.  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  37.  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38.  This is the first and great commandment.  39.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
♦  Mark 12:28.  And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  29.  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  30.  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  31.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
♦  John 13:34.  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  35.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
♦  John 15:12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  13.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends

The Law is a Curse 
♦  Galatians 3:10.  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  11.  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  12.  And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.  13.  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 
♦  2 Corinthians 3:3.  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

The Golden Rule is the Law 
♦  Matthew 7:12.  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

The Good Samaritan Defines the Law 
♦  Luke 10:25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?  27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?  30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The Law and the Truth
♦  John 1:17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Not Under the Law 
♦  Romans 6:14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Who Can Enforce the Law? 
♦  John 8:5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 
♦  Acts 13:39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. ♦  John 7:19Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

An In-Depth View of the Law 
      A thorough explanation of the true implications of the law, this can be found by a complete and careful reading of the Epistle to the Romans chapters 2 through 8.

      It would seem from what has been presented that the strict adherence to Hebrew law demanded by churches is in direct defiance of the authority of the apostles.  As such, it is also a contradiction of Jesus himself.  This, of course, does not refer to members of the Jewish faith.  For those who are quick to point out that Jesus followed the law, it should be remembered that he was a Jew and the edict presented above was directed at the non-Jewish members of the church.

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