We’re hearing renewed rumblings from many of our brethren concerning the need for freedom within the Lord’s church. If the ones suggesting this freedom use the term as the Bible does, we enthusiastically join their ranks. Certainly the church should maintain freedom from the Old Covenant, from sin, and from the creeds and doctrines of men. Yet the term is currently being bandied about by many of our number in an unscriptural and unreasonable sense.
No church which claims to be Christ’s church is free to disregard the teachings of the New Testament, to faddishly follow the latest denominational errors, or to base its teaching upon the shifting foundation of an ever-changing, popular culture. As members of Christ’s body, we may “stand fast” only “in the liberty where with Christ has made us free.” (Galatians 5:1.)
Just because God’s people are not bound to the exacting commandments of the Old Testament Law, this does not mean we are free from all law. Paul affirms we are under law to Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:21.) We are bound to “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:2.) The “law of Christ” must be fulfilled by all of us comprising the New Testament church. (Galatians 6:2.) The “perfect law of liberty” is a reality, a divine standard, and must be kept by all who seek to please the Father. (James 1:25.)
Yes, we believe in the wonder and beauty of genuine freedom in Christ. We likewise believe churches of Christ should be free, and should protect and defend this freedom. But this freedom is not freedom from all law, or from all standards of prescribed faith and conduct. True is that of which we read in the pages of Christ’s word, the New Testament.