According to reports, believers in a particular area have decided to discard some of their teachings and practices for the sake of public acceptance! The law of the land is not against them, but some influential people spoke against their faith and practice. With out considering anything else these believers are calling upon others to unite together to dump some of their distinctive principles.
Can we just deny our conviction that is based on the New Testament, just because somebody opposed to it? Can we change our doctrine and practice, dearly held for more than a century, according to others suggestion? If someone failed to understand our stand on certain biblical truth, is it not better to use that opportunity to make those truths known to others.
World or the word
What about the pressure from the authorities to conform to the law of the land? It is true the Bible exhorts Christians to abide by the law where ever they live. Cf. Rom 13:1ff. 1Pet 2:13. We should even pray for those who rule over us. 1Tim 2:2. But what shall we do when the law is against our faith? If the authorities demand us to deny the Lord and our conviction, what should be our response?
Well-known author William MacDonald says, “A Christian is not required to obey if the government orders him to sin or to compromise his loyalty to Jesus Christ. No government has a right to command a person’s conscience”. “If a human government orders a believer to act contrary to the revealed will of God, then the believer must disobey the government…If punishment is meted out for his disobedience, he should endure it courageously.”
So we see the Lord repeatedly makes this call, “Come out from among them, and be separate.” Isaiah 52:11; 2Corin 6:17 etc.
Macdonald makes it very clear; there is a limit to our obedience to the human government. The ultimate authority is God and we ought to fear Him more than any body else.
King or God
We have some challenging examples in the word of God. The mid-wives in Egypt, Daniel and his companions in Babylon were ready to pay the price for being obedient to God. Cf. Exo. 1:15—17; Daniel 3:16—18; 6:16. When the authorities strictly warned the apostles against preaching the gospel, what was their response? Acts 4:19, 20. Had the apostles yielded to their threat, even the history of Church would have been different. They courageously chose to obey God rather than man. They were willing to suffer for the Lord, in holding on to God’s word. In all these cases the Lord honoured the commitment and loyalty of His people.
Compromise or contend
Today it may be an easy way out to compromise, but it’s a great mistake to set aside an explicit teaching to adopt a new path, just for convenience. The Spirit of God repeatedly refers to Jeroboam as the one “who had made Israel sin”. 1King 22:52. Let us teach the truth, hold on to it and “contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints” Jude v. 3 .
The Saxons, a warring tribe of Europe, were practically compelled to become Christians. They consented on one condition. The condition could only be known at the time of their baptism.
When these warriors were put under the water as a symbol that their old life was dead, they went under, all except their right arms. They held them above their heads. These were their fighting arms.
Two Uses of the Word “ekklesia”
To help us understand more fully the nature of the assembly we must distinguish its two aspects in the NT. Our word for ‘church' or ‘assembly' is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia (lit. “called out”) and, apart from three isolated occurrences, is applied exclusively to the believers in Christ of this present dispensation who have been “called out” to God and salvation by the message of the Gospel.
Firstly, it is used to describe the total number of the redeemed throughout the whole church-age from Pentecost to the Parousia when Christ.....
“My conscience is captive to the word of God.”
_____________________ Martin Luther
“A good conscience is a soft pillow.”
_________ German proverb
“A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.”