How Church Rules Ruin the Gospel and Chase Young People Away
I grew up in church. I grew up with all the church rules. No drinking. No dancing. Be at church every Sunday morning. No sex outside marriage. No bad words. No smoking. No questions. No reasons why.
I didn’t do so well with that.
To offer some perspective on my personality….During my senior year in college I went to an interview with American Airlines to be a flight attendant. I had to take a test to see if I’d fit their mold. What they wanted was someone who would do what they were told without asking questions. It made sense for an emergency, but I knew I was a bad fit. I ask things.
So much for traveling the world.
The church, however, hasn’t been in a crisis that prevented them from explaining the why’s–or maybe it has been–a crisis of willful ignorance founded in indoctrination. And that is precisely why I think so many young adults are leaving the church as soon as they can. There’s no foundation. Just rules. And none of it makes sense.
The church says no drinking, yet Jesus made wine as his first miracle. He made it for a bunch of people who’d been drinking for days already.
The church says no dancing, yet David danced. Miriam danced. They didn’t dance provocatively, I agree, but David danced naked.
The church says be in the building every Sunday, but everywhere we look in the Bible we see people gathering with believers… in homes, along the road… on Saturday.
The church says WWJD, but then says He did away with the entire law that He lived out fully. Don’t follow those Biblical laws that Jesus followed, follow ours that are nowhere in Scripture.
Then the church says the Scripture is our sole authority.
It’s no wonder why young people leave the church! The Bible doesn’t contradict itself–the church contradicts the Bible.The Bible doesn't contradict itself nearly as much as the church contradicts the Bible. Click To Tweet
When I was a kid, I craved boundaries, actual rules, but I wanted rules with reason. I wanted to understand them. I was never one to blindly follow anyone. Yet, that’s all the church offered me.
Rules without reason.
The church never once offered me an explanation beyond “because the Bible says so,” even when the Bible didn’t say so.
Yet, it’s still possible I could have been ok with that answer, if they’d taken that approach with all of Scripture… you know, our sole authority.
It wasn’t until I was an adult and I began to find teachers of the Word who actually offered reason, and no surprise, I found many of those same teachers obeying God’s Biblical laws as well.
As they began offering reason and logic and science to support the laws of the Bible, my eyes lit up! My mind and spirit and body engaged together and I began to seek God, His Word, His ways, Him!
I began to see truth and reason in God’s perfect Design for sex within marriage–a blood covenant which literally knits a man and a woman together, leaving traces of his DNA in her brain.My mind and spirit and body engaged together and I began to seek God, Click To Tweet
I began to see God’s Design for foods that nourish, both plants and animals, as well as certain animals that were never meant to be food, but rather the garbage collection of the world.
I began to see God’s Design in the energy being released all around me, you, and everything on this earth. Things God created emitted energy that was good, man-made things most often emit energy that drains our own and can leave us sick.
Wine? It was given by God, created as a blessing. Just read scripture and you’ll see that. While anything in excess can be bad, wine itself is no more harmful than bread and actually can offer health benefits in addition to making you glad, as scripture recommends.
God made the earth and us. He gave us the instruction manual. He commanded us to not add to it or to take away anything from it.
Matthew 5:17-19 — Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Emphasis mine)
Israel added laws and made it a burden but God says His law is not a burden. Yet, today we’ve added manmade laws, removed God’s laws and we think we’ve got our salvation in the bag because of Jesus. Yes, my righteousness and yours are only in Jesus. But God’s Word says if we love God we obey Him. (John 14:15,23)
It’s time we stop weighing people down with tradition and manmade laws while ignoring God’s. It’s a mixed message and it’s failing our youth who are questioning, thinking and choosing their belief systems in our churches.
But, shame on you! You load people down with rules and you yourselves don’t even obey them. (Paraphrased from Luke 11:46)
Yes, the Pharisees thought their rules mattered too. They may have even started off well-intentioned, but they weren’t God’s. I’m sure when our churches teach against drinking alcohol it comes from a place of wanting to spare people from a life of drunkenness and addiction, but it’s not the wine that’s the problem, it’s the gluttony and there is a law for that already.
It’s easy to look around and in one breath acknowledge that all God made is good, and in another think we can improve upon it. We add to His Design, and that’s not ok with Him.
In the beginning was the Word! The Word being Jesus, the Word being His instructions, the Word being our marriage contract. And in the beginning He declared it all, “very good.”