The Gospel Rules
We are apt to impose rules on other Christians that one does not find in the Scriptures, nor are they historically endorsed by the Church. Even when we recognize this about our rules, we still impose them for practical reasons, for the good of body and soul. Over the years, these prescriptions tend to harden into faith-tenets. I have heard it argued in the case of certain ones that they should be kept in place because the practical reasons for them haven't gone away, and removing them would disrupt the churches where they have in fact become part of the faith.
The problem with this is three-fold. First, we didn't have the right under God to impose these rules in the first place; second, they invidiously and unnecessarily divide Christians into those who are morally committed to something extraneous to the faith and those who are not; and third—and most serious—what amounts to teaching as doctrine the precepts of men adulterates and misrepresents the faith that we wish others to follow, justifying them in rejecting it, at least as we present it. How many cases of "rejection of Christ" are in fact rejections of our distortions of him, and how shall we who teach them escape judgment for this?
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives