"A Place Where Christians Meet"

What About Subtraction?

We are very careful not to add to what God has established when it comes to His word and His church. We make it a practice not to go beyond what is written. However, do we concentrate so much on how wrong it is to supplement God’s word with our own works that we fail to stop and ask ourselves if there is anything that we may be taking away from it? We find in the Old Testament, as well as the New, that God places as much emphasis on the subtraction from, as He does the addition to, His word. In Deuteronomy 4:2, Israel is being urged to obey God’s Law. It is written, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Also, near the end of book of Revelation in 22:18-19, we read a similar passage, “I testify to anyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to Him the plagues which 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 tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” It can be argued that since the passage in Deuteronomy is from the Old Testament, it is no longer valid, or that the scripture taken from Revelation is referring to that particular book only. Nevertheless, God’s word is complete. It contains all that we need, and is sufficient for us (2 Timothy 3:16). It is disturbing to see how other assemblies abuse the freedoms that God bestows on us, and we are powerless to change what those groups are practicing. However, we can make sure that we, here at Milwaukee Ave, are striving to serve God and not override His authority. The danger in this is that we may feel the need to resort to other congregations, instead of the Bible, as our measuring tool. It is incorrect to say that we cannot practice something because one of the “liberal” congregations does it also. Let’s focus on the topic of love for instance. There may be a congregation that we know of that concentrates solely on the love and could care less about following God’s commandments. That does not give us the right to omit love, which is the foundation of our faith, from our speech and our actions based on the activities of others. We must stay in the word. The Bible is the standard in which we gauge what is from God. Even though many of our practices may over lap, we must feel confident in that our fruits are evident.

~ Chris Melton