Harry R. Osborne
Have you heard all of the talk about "change" and "new ideas" lately? About the only thing old-fashioned our society seems to hold in high esteem is a hamburger! Is a change or "new idea" always for the better? Many folks seem enthralled with "change" and "new ideas" just for the sake of something different.
Is it any wonder that some want "change" and "new ideas" in religion? If a person wants to hear a certain thing taught, somewhere he will find it taught the way he wants (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-5). There are churches which teach that homosexual practices, premarital sex, and polygamy are permissible. One church even espouses atheism!
The modem assortment of denominations proves one thing many churches change God's message to meet the new ideas of people. It may be justified as a "different interpretation" or a "translation of the same message into modem concepts," but honesty demands we admit the bottom line the message of God has been changed.
How does God view this altering of his will to fit human desires? The Bible is very plain on the subject, so let's listen to God speak in clear terms regarding his view of man changing his message.
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deut. 4:2). That is not hard to understand, is it?
"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deut. 12:32). Those are the words of God recorded for man by God's prophet, Moses.
"Do not add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar" (Prov. 30:6). When we change God's message, it has serious consequences on us. God's Word remains true, but we become liars misrepresenting his truth.
"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8-9). If neither angels nor apostles have the right to change God's will, we surely do not.
"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (2 Jn. 9-11).
The "doctrine" or teaching which has Christ as its source was given to and preached by the apostles (Jn. 14:24-26; 16:12-15; 17:8,14,18). John, an apostle, says that the one who fails to limit his teaching to that message does not have God or Christ and is guilty of "evil deeds." He also warns others not to follow the evil teaching.
"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18-19).
God's statements are plain. His message is not to be changed either by adding to or subtracting from its content! One thing added is one thing too many. One thing subtracted is one thing too few. Any idea newer than the word of God is too new.
Our problem of division in the religious world is not God's fault. It is the fault of men who have added and subtracted from the Bible to suit their desires rather than God's. We must set aside the creeds and doctrines of men for the unadulterated message of God if true unity is ever to exist. That unity is our desire in this and every other message of truth.