02.19.06 Bulletin Article — Backyard Tag, Tug-of-War, and (Father) May I?

We had a great crowd at this past week’s T.N.T. (Totally Neat Thursday)! Thanks to everyone for coming and supporting this great opportunity.

For the past several T.N.T.’s, we’ve been able to go outside because of the unseasonably warm weather. Typically, I tell them that various trees, poles, and other landmarks are the boundaries for the various group games we play. Without fail, those imaginary boundaries don’t work very well. This past Thursday, I took some white crepe paper and made official, noticeable boundaries. From my perspective, it seemed the kids had more fun inside the clear-cut boundaries than they did within the imaginary ones of previous meetings. I think there’s a strong lesson for us all: we need boundaries.

Fortunately, God has given us boundaries. Unfortunately, it’s a culturally popular thing to throw out the importance of boundaries. Even many professed “Christians” deny the existence of numerous Divine boundaries. This area is likely where Postmodernism has hit the hardest. Postmodernism basically asserts that we only have the authority to set our own personal boundaries. I can’t tell you what to think or do; you can’t tell me what to think or do. Sadly, many of today’s brightest minds are treating God with this postmodernistic attitude. May we be thankful for God’s boundaries; may we abide by them in order to please Him.

This issue will be at the heart of a more specific issue over the next several months. One hundred years ago (1906), the official census recognized the separation between the churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/Independent Christian Churches. Now many of our brethren are pushing for an official reconciliation between the groups. However, they are pushing for the churches of Christ to make an apology of sorts—admit that we were wrong 100 years ago to sever fellowship. The issues at the heart of the division involved instrumental music, fellowship with denominational bodies, women in leadership roles, and denominational methods of church organization. Essentially, many who are members of the Lord’s church are throwing out the boundaries and saying we were wrong to uphold the boundaries 100 years ago. In this dramatic, adult version of backyard games, religious leaders are opting for no boundaries even when God has clearly defined them.

What are we to do? Uphold the truth about the boundaries God has given us. We don’t have to be rude about the issues (Matt. 10:16). We don’t have to abandon loving responses (Eph. 4:15). We can be tactful and appropriate while being firm about God’s authority in spiritually significant matters (Jude 3).

How God’s authority is handled is at stake in this religious tug-of-war. He has spoken about what he accepts musically in worship (Heb. 13:15). He has identified those who have fully obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41-42, 47). We only have the right to obey his specifics in these and other areas of our service to Him.

We are playing a spiritual “Mother, May I?” game as we try to reach the presence of our glorious Creator. He has told us the steps to take. We can’t choose to skip if we’ve been told to walk. We can’t take 7 steps if we’ve been told to take 5. May we remain consistent in our respect for God’s authority; may we uphold and defend it no matter what. Principally, obedience to God’s authority is as easy as children’s games. Spiritually speaking, the rewards and consequences are much greater (Matt. 7:24-27; Heb. 10:26-31).

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