Who Follows The Teachings of the Apostles?
On the day of Pentecost, the apostles of Jesus Christ revealed the gospel of Christ. The early Christians recognized that they were to continue "in the apostles teaching"(Acts 2:42). The standards for religious belief and practices came through inspired men. The people on Pentecost had listened to the words of the apostles, obeyed the gospel, and continued faithfully in keeping the commands of God. Their example is to be accepted and imitated by those who would follow the Lord's will at present. If one does not respect the teachings of these men sent by the Lord, such a person will follow the instructions of uninspired men rather than those who bring the message of truth from Jehovah.
The attitude expressed by the apostle Peter sets a standard for every disciple of Jesus Christ. This apostle said, "We must obey God rather than men"(Acts 5:29). The early church recognized that the New Testament was the sole standard for religious teachings and practices. Only by following the commands of God as revealed therein could one to acceptable to the Lord. This covers both the individual disciple and the church for which Christ died. The attitude expressed by Peter must be the attitude of those who would please the Lord at present.
Who, then, follows the New Testament and rejects the teachings, doctrines, and covenants made by men? The answer is plain: Those who follow the "apostles teaching" set forth in the scriptures. The opinions of men and the creedbooks of mankind do not constitute the standard for those who would please the Lord. Even the opinions of brethren are not the source of proper authority in religion. Only one book is the standard for those who desire to follow the Lord into eternity: the revelation of Jesus Christ.
No man has the right to change, alter, or adjust the inspired messages of the New Covenant. However appealing to the minds of men may be certain teachings and practices, if authority for such cannot be established by the gospel of Christ, they are wrong and will cause one to stray from the truth. Also, human reasoning has a basic fallacy built therein. There is an inherit danger in the speculations of men. Paul said that one's faith "should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God"(I Corinthians 2:5).
By James L.(Jim) Yopp
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