Pitfalls that Allure Bored Christians

You have probably seen a few; perhaps even sat beside them during a period of worship. “Bored Christians” are usually second and third generation Christians who parents brought them to worship since they were infants. They were baptized because it was “the right thing to do.” They inherited their religious course from their parents and were not converted from a wicked life of sin nor from religious error.

These individuals never had to struggle to defend their faith nor oppose religious doctrines founded upon commandments of men. Being raised by Christians, they have experienced from early childhood that the Lord’s Supper was to be observed every Sunday. And music was always only by singing without addition of an instrument of music. To them, churches of Christ have always done these things by “tradition.” And now, as adults, they observe these same acts without emotional feeling and have become “bored.”

In search of an emotional feeling when worshiping, some have introduced new activities. A few things being done have been of value in stirring their hearts to appreciate the grace of God in providing means of salvation through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. But not all has been commendable. In an effort to justify every new activity some have substituted “feelings for faith.” That is, they have drifted to positions of religious modernism that finds them accepting anything and everything that human judgment approves.

“House Church”

The “house church” movement is an example of this search for more emotional feeling. Some have discovered a different experience through small groups sitting around a table expressing their testimonies. But this has also encouraged a few to seek other things “new/different.”

In their march for things never done before, the standard upon which faith is based has been challenged. Instead of establishing Bible authority by command, example, or necessary inference, they mock those who do so as being “C, E, N-I” people. And they substitute whatever “seems right in their sight” (feelings) as authority. Since they criticize the biblical hermeneutic, one would expect that they have discovered a different method of determining God’s commands, yet they offer no biblical basis of communicating the authority of Christ.

When the apostle Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God,” he set forth the standard upon which faith is established. If indeed we are to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), we must base our actions on “hearing the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). But since God’s commandments are not laid out in a list of “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” how do we know what is His will? The answer is through direct command, example, and necessary inference.

This is not a man-made hermeneutic! The apostles and elders used this system when determining whether Gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved. In Acts 15:7, Peter explained he obeyed the direct command of the Lord to go with the men sent by Cornelius, “doubting nothing” (Acts 10:20, 29). Next, Barnabas and Paul declared by the example of miracles and wonders that God approved of the preaching they did among the Gentiles (Acts 15:12). Finally, in Acts 15:13-17, James quotes Amos 9:11-12 and drew a necessary inference that if the “tabernacle of David” had been established by Jesus Christ, then it was by God’s authority that the Gentiles should be saved by faith without circumcision. The controversy was settled by this method of hermeneutic!

We must learn how to defend our faith lest we be led into apostasy by substituting feeling for faith. Be careful not to establish a new “tradition” that is itself by human judgment. In time, what now seems “non-traditional” will become “traditional.” So just be sure that the new traditions will be only in the area of an expedient that aids obeying God’s commands.

A.D. 70 (Realized Eschatology)

In addition to the house church concept, another concept has appealed to some who were seeking something “new/different.” It is called, “Realized Eschatology,” and is also referred to as the “70 A.D. Doctrine.” “Eschatology” refers to the final events at the second coming of Christ. This concept declares that at 70 A.D. not only was Jerusalem destroyed, but also the second coming of Christ occurred, including the resurrection and judgment promised in the New Testament. Thus, all things prophesied in the Bible have been “realized.”

A.D. 70 is a doctrine that depends on special definitions in various contexts in order to understand and believe. But it appeals to those who are intellectually arrogant. It appeals to people with an attitude that searches for doctrines that the average Christian has never thought of before and would not know without their indoctrination. In John’s day it was Gnosticism. In our day, it is this 70 A.D. Doctrine. In every generation Paul warns to “guard against what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:20). Even in Paul’s day he wrote about those “who have strayed from the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18).

This doctrine can be shown to be false by studying context upon context wherein the Scriptures are abused. But in summary, the flaws with its consequences should be considered:

(1) The New Testament is made to be of no effect today. Since they say the Bible is completed, the promises were to those who lived before 70 A.D. Therefore they are not sure what will occur beyond their own death. They have no scripture as authority for themselves. Therefore they cannot confidently sing of heaven (Heb. 9:28); nor can they partake of the Lord’s Supper to show forth His death till Christ comes again (1 Cor. 11:26).

(2) They must ignore the early historians (e.g. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Victorinus, Eusebius) who affirmed that the Revelation was written by the apostle John during the period of Domitian’s reign, about 95-96 A.D., therefore several years after 70 A.D. Furthermore, none of these men wrote anything about the change in God’s kingdom that supposedly occurred after 70 A.D. Why not?

(3) All Bible prophecies had not been completed by A.D. 70! Both in Daniel 7:26 and 9:27, the fall of the Roman Empire was prophesied, and this was not fulfilled until several years after A.D. 70 In Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks (Dan.1 9:24-27) the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans was foretold as the time when the sacrifice and grain offering were brought to an end. This would be done by “one who makes desolate” (Roman Empire). After that desolation occurs, the verse then states, “a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (NASB). The one who makes desolate was the Roman power. Therefore since the persecuting Roman power did not fall until several years later, all prophecy had not been completed by 70 A.D. as claimed by those who advocate this doctrine.

Guard against being “bored” and looking for an emotional feeling by seeking something “new/different.” Instead, look deeper into the meaning of God’s gift through His only begotten Son. Learn how to defend your faith and do not let it be overthrown by substituting feeling for faith or by discovering something never before understood.