Accusing Others Of Limiting God In Order To Add To His Word 

In the Early Church, some spoke out against the increasing paganisation of the Church and those teachings and practices which were man-made additions to the Word of God. For example, a believer named Vigilantius attacked the adoration of relics, martyrs and so-called “Saints”. But he was silenced by supposedly anointed church “heavyweights” like Jerome who accused Vigilantius of blaspheming when the latter insisted the Lord Jesus and Apostles did not teach we should venerate relics, martyrs and so on.

Read part of Jerome’s pathetic attack in his writing “Contra Vigilantium” on Vigilantius’ correction of the backsliding in the Church: “Among other blasphemies, he may be heard to say, ‘What need is there for you not only to pay such honor, not to say adoration, to the thing, whatever it may be, which you carry about in a little vessel and worship?’ And again, in the same book, ‘Why do you kiss and adore a bit of powder wrapped up in a cloth?’ And again, in the same book, ‘Under the cloak of religion we see what is all but a heathen ceremony introduced into the churches: while the sun is still shining, heaps of tapers are lighted, and everywhere a paltry bit of powder, wrapped up in a costly cloth, is kissed and worshipped. Great honor do men of this sort pay to the blessed martyrs, who, they think, are to be made glorious by trumpery tapers, when the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne, with all the brightness of His majesty, gives them light?’” [1]

Later in the same writing, Jerome addressed the following comment to Vigilatius: “Will you lay down the law for God?” [2] By this, Jerome was accusing Vigilantius of limiting God or laying down man-made laws for Him. But what Vigilantius was really doing was insisting God does not do things by His Holy Spirit contrary to His own written Word. Vigilantius was not laying down laws for God. Vigilantius was being rightly loyal to the Scriptural principles God Himself had established.

We need to avoid the teachings of anyone in the Church who believes we are limiting God when we refuse to accept any teaching or practice which is contrary to His written Word or which is a man-made law added to God’s written Word.

 


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