Legalism ad absurdum

July 22, 2017
1 min read

The Theological Ninja drops an interesting plumb line:

Lots of people ask me, “Hey Ninja, how do you come to your conclusions about what’s proper to do in a worship service?” To which I reply, “Silly grasshopper, I use the Bible. Sola Scriptura!”
For those of you that have never heard of the Regulative Principle let me enlighten you: If it isn’t in the Bible it is absolutely forbidden. Do you see microphones being used in Paul’s churches? No dice. Do you see a church office called “worship leader?” Nope. Did the Galatians use instruments in their meetings? The Bible doesn’t say they did and neither should we…
If it doesn’t say it, don’t do it. If you do, you might be damned.

Of course, following such a course to its logical conclusion means that dedicated church buildings, personal bibles, even closed windows (Acts 20:9) are somehow forbidden Christians in their places of worship. Anyone who attends a church service that is not held in someone’s house is in big trouble with God, because the original churches did not meet in church buildings, they met in homes (Ro 16:5, 1Cor 16:19, Phi 1:2). So don’t go to church: you might be damned*.
But why stop at worship? After all, if the Regulative Principle** is fit for worship, it ought to be fit for the rest of life. And since as Christians we are to walk in Christ (Col 2:6) it ought to follow that we ought never do anything the Bible doesn’t say he did or was never done to him, right?
Jesus was never diapered in the Bible, therefore we ought never diaper our own babies. Nor should we change our socks or condition our hair. We ought never wear underwear, grill steaks, or hunt ducks. And we certainly ought to never use a computer, drive a car, or save for retirement. After all, if these things were good, certainly the Lord of Life would have done them.
And the Bible never once, not one single time, says Jesus went to the bathroom. So don’t ever talk to a man about a horse: that’s surefire damnation. After all, God has threatened to “cut off … him that pisseth against the wall” (1Ki 14:10).
It’s quite easy to claim that because the Scriptures are able to make us wise to salvation (2Tim 3:15), they therefore represent an exhaustive list of “do”s and “don’t”s*** for every area of life. But the Scriptures are written for examples (1Cor 10:11) for our living. It is then up to us to live wisely, sensibly, and godly in whatever world we find ourselves.
* There seems to be a certain type of Christian whose God is always looking for some excuse to toss him into hell.
** Which, I note, is not in the Bible.
*** and especially the latter, apparently.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.


  1. This exact argument has caused a number of splits of churches back home. It is a Regulative PRINCIPLE people. It informs the base decisions about what is right and proper in a worship service. It is not the Regulative LAW. Start with the example laid out directly in the Bible, and then weigh whatever is trying to creep into the worship service against that.
    The Reformed Church likes to puff up its chest on poring through the Scriptures and knowing it better than everyone else. But damn if I don’t slap my forehead sometimes when we focus so microscopically on one word and forget about 1 Corinthians 6:11 – 13.

  2. Do you know of any churches in Kansas that aren’t actively hostile to the philosophy shown here at Men of the West?

  3. I’m from Kansas, but it’s a pretty large rectangle so it’s hard to say what area are you looking for a church family that reflects a MOW theological direction. Regardless, it’s good to know that you’re seeking a fellowship that is grounded Biblical principles as well as an appreciation and focus for Western civilization. Finding such a church home was as a simple matter just a few short decades ago, but that’s not so true today.
    A misguided desire to be viewed as “relevant” and “inclusive” has almost destroyed sound teaching and faith practices, but it’s not all gone or hopeless. I would recommend that you list those Men of the West principles and benchmarks that have struck chord with you. Go back and read a few more articles here, then begin your quest, but do so with the understanding that there is no perfect church. Even Paul and Peter had conflicts, but find one that is in the right vein and join, then participate and help guide the church.
    Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated and want to just pull away and be to ourselves, but that’s against Biblical teachings. We are to carry the message of the Good News to all the world and often that means the world right in our backyard!
    I’m a member of the Catholic Church and I like being the person who asks questions and challenges the social justice baloney flowing in the church, but I’ve found that there are many like me (including clergy) who a pushing back and pointing to Christ as the Head of the Church demanding we carry the message of Salvation.
    Maybe you can be that person in any church you choose. If Jesus could pick 12 average people to help change the world, then you’re most likely equally qualified. Do it.

    • Thanks for your response, I’ll have to give it some thought. You’re right about how easy it is to get frustrated and want to just pull away from it all, and I have to fight hard against that.

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