While that makes a great title for a musical comedy, it does not reflect the thinking of myself and many other folks who are often accused of teaching that “anything goes” when it comes to worship, or living a Christ-like life (which, obviously, are not at all two separate things neatly divided by the tick of the clock from 11:59 Saturday night through 11:59 Sunday night).
Those who make that accusation either haven’t read/listened to those they’ve accused, or they’re exaggerating out of sheer bluster, or they are deliberately distorting the truth in order to oppose and condemn.
Obedience is important, under the New Covenant as surely as in the Old.
What most of us disagree about with our accusers is what we’re asked to obey. When it comes to biblical instruction, I’m all for obeying it – to the letter. Not because it earns me merit points in the Heavenly Father’s book of life, but because it helps my life reflect His glory as revealed through His Son. Because it helps me grow and mature and be transformed into His image. Because it’s good for me, good for others, good for everyone to give up self-desires and fulfill God-desires. That’s the definition of “good.” (If you doubt me, stop here and take a few moments to re-read Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.)
When it comes to non-biblical instruction that’s passed off as the very words of God, I am not all for obeying it – especially unquestioningly, nor for the common good and peace of the church, nor even because it might keep a brother or sister from “stumbling.”
Nope, I oppose that. Because even if the instruction may seem harmless or pious, there’s a lie involved if it’s a teaching of man being taught as the teaching of God – and that throws the teaching into instant suspicion.
It’s not like people in scripture have never dealt with that problem, folks. Jesus tackled it head-on every time He was challenged by the Pharisees, Sadducees, teachers of the law and other experts in entrapment. Paul, Peter, Jude, and John took it on when self-proclaimed teachers, preachers and “super-apostles” were requiring every kind of add-on accessory to Christianity that could be thought of: circumcision, abstention, holidays, unfleshed Christ, flesh-only Christ … you name it.
That used to be called “heresy.”
They did it to exalt themselves, to exalt their “flawless” logic and deduction in obtaining this superior “knowledge,” to exclude others, to squelch hope, to discredit and devalue genuine apostolic teaching.
That used to be called “selfishness.”
So I push back, and so do others, when accused by the legalists and the teachers-of-human-doctrine-as-God’s of proclaiming that “anything goes.”
J’accuse. I accuse them of doing the very same thing with any teaching they’ve inherited or contrived and favor and wish to bolt on to Christianity as if the grace of God through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the free gift of salvation, spiritual strength and eternal life via the Holy Spirit were somehow not enough.
When it comes to adding on to the gospel, for these folks, anything goes.
Laws against anything they don’t like.
Laws against anything they don’t find “authorized” in scripture, unless it’s “expedient” because they like it.
Laws against anyone they don’t agree with.
And the trend I’m seeing is that the accused will no longer abide their accusations quietly.