Scott Aniol: The Importance of Biblical Authority in Worship Practices

One important principle articulated in several places in the New Testament was an emphasis upon the importance of biblical authority for worship practices. Usually these kinds of discussions came in the context of confronting the legalism of the Jewish religion.

During his ministry, Jesus had already condemned the adding of religious practices not prescribed in the Scriptures; the same problems continued with the “Judaizers,” Christian converts who taught that it was necessary to adopt Jewish religious practices from the Law of Moses. The church first encountered this when some Jewish Christian converts traveled to Antioch and insisted to the Christians there, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1 ). This resulted in the formation of a council of church leadership in Jerusalem, including James, Peter, and Paul, to debate the matter. The council concluded that requiring such religious practices not prescribed for the church was “a yoke on the neck of the disciples” (v. 10).

Paul also explicitly contradicted this teaching in his epistles, insisting that any religious practice not explicitly prescribed by Christ or his apostles for the NT church should not be forced upon the corporate body. These rituals were merely “human precepts and teachings” (Col 2:22 ); they have “an appearance of wisdom,” but they are nevertheless “self-made religion” and “of no value” (v. 23).

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Scott Aniol