A Little Scriptural Counting
By Jerry Moffitt
From our earliest days in school we learn to add and subtract. It would redound to their glory if brethren and all religious people practiced simple mathematics in religion. God does not demand calculus, trigonometry, geometry, or even algebra. A little simple arithmetic will do. He said, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you neither shall ye diminish from it" (Deut. 4:2). See also Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Peter 4:11; Matthew 15:13; 2 John 9- 11; and Revelation 22:18, 19. Let's notice:
The Work of the Church
The work the Lord specified for the church to do is plainly delineated in the New Testament. One, we are to evangelize the lost (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Two, we are to edify the saints (Acts 20:32; Col. 3:16). Three, we are to care for the needy (James 1:27; Gal. 6:10). That's all. The church is not commanded to be a political coalition. We are not a psychiatric or medical association. We do not replace or compete with the home, labor unions, secular schools, service clubs, drug agents, or local government. And brethren, to put a religious veneer on these thing and try to bring them into the church is clumsy and hypocritical.
The Acts of Worship
The acts of worship are clearly enumerated in the Word of God. One, there is preaching (Acts 20:7; 2 Tim. 4:1- 4). Two, there is prayer (Acts 2:42; 1 Thess. 5:17). Three, we have singing (Col. 3:16; Eph.5:19), and four we have giving of our means (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Five is the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20). Not to add to the Word of the Lord (Deut. 4:2), we must subtract instrumental music, lighting of candles, burning of incense, holy water, the sign of the cross, prayer to the dead, humming, dedication of babies, Christmas and Easter as holy days, and all other shades of Judaism, paganism, and strange inventions of rebellious man (Matt. 15:7-9).
Offices in the Church
These are easily counted in Scripture. One, there are bishops, and two there are deacons (Phil. 1:1). Three, there are evangelists (Eph. 4:11). Four, there are teachers (Acts 13:1). To be scriptural, we must subtract deaconesses, presidents, cardinals, a special priesthood, denominational pastors, and padres. Away with popes, archbishops, nuns, Very Right Reverends, and holy orders. May we further be satisfied with brethren, Christians, saints, and disciples (Acts 15:14; Acts 11:26).
May God give us courage to add the things from heaven, and the resolve to subtract those things from men. May we exhibit humility toward those we charge to imitate our efforts.
Published May 1996