The Will of God: Fixed or Fluid?

There are some who belong to religious organizations that bear no resemblance to the church you can read about in the pages of the New Testament.  Furthermore, they are not the least bit concerned about the disparities.  They believe that, although Jesus established His church with certain characteristics, God guided the church through significant changes over a period of centuries and is pleased with the results.

This brand of theology is based on the premise that God continued to guide church members in their decisions apart from what He had already revealed in His written word.  The Catholic Church applies the term “infallible” to the members at large and to church leaders in particular (“Christ Among Us: A Modern Presentation of the Catholic Faith by Anthony Wilhelm, p. 150-151).  But of course the Catholic Church is not the only religious organization that is comfortable changing what God has ordained in writing.

The very concept of an infallible church is unscriptural.  Paul prophesied of a great apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3).  Such a “falling away from the faith” would be impossible if God promised to render the church “infallible”.  Paul even warned local church elders that, even from among their own, men would arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples (Acts 20:29-30).  It is impossible for each generation to ensure they are not participants in apostasy if the will of God is a moving target.

Paul taught plainly in 1 Corinthians 2 that the apostles had the mind of Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  He further taught that, when we read what they wrote down, we can understand their insight into the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:3-4).  These writings constitute Scripture which will equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).  Any work that is authorized by any source other than inspired Scripture is, by definition, not a good work.

2000 years ago, Peter wrote that God had “granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).  Jude said that the faith was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and that we are tasked with contending earnestly for it.  Paul told the Galatians that even if he or an angel from heaven came preaching any gospel other than what they had already received, they should reject it (Galatians 1:8-9).

Every Christian in every generation will be held personally accountable.  The extent to which a religious organization teaches and practices things for which they have no Scriptural authority is the extent to which they are violating the will of God.  If the church of which you are currently a member does not respect the teachings of the New Testament, you need to find a group of Christians who do.