Some Questions That We Should Ask Ourselves
in the Church Of Christ
In order to be restored to the teachings of the church that we read about in the Holy Bible, there are some questions that we need to ask ourselves in the Church of Christ. Until we understand the origins of our doctrines, we are doomed to keep them as scriptural when they are not. Once we see where they originated, we can abandon traditional doctrines in favor of what the Bible truly teaches. Bernie Parsons
Some Questions That We Should Ask Ourselves
in the Church of Christ
by Bernie Parsons
May 17, 2007
If we are honest, we know that our roots come through the 1906 decision by David Lipscomb to separate the restorationist churches of Christ from the restorationist disciples of Christ over doctrinal disagreements. We shall also acknowledge that the American Restoration Movement was primarily headed by men who had left the Presbyterian Church. This forces us to further recognize that the Presbyterians derived, at least in part, from the Anglican Church, which was originally part of the Roman Catholic Church.
To be totally honest, the Protestants were Roman Catholic Reformers, as were the Separatists who preceded them. Continuing in this vein of honesty, we surely recognize that much of what was handed to us religiously came down from the Roman Catholic Church.
This truth causes me to call for radical restoration. Radical restoration is not a new concept. It is a few hundred years old. We have never fully achieved a radical restoration, instead opting to carry our inherited Roman Catholic and Reformed baggage. By radical restoration, I mean to say that we must question every tenet, doctrine, and practice to which we cling in the Church of Christ. Here are a few basic doctrines, to start:
(1) Why do we insist upon one specific and formal name, Church of Christ?
Answer: We now preach that it is because it is the name that is used in the Bible, and after all, does not the church belong to Christ? Yes, Christ bought the church, paid for it with His blood, built it, and is the head over it. But why do we insist on this particular name? It was chosen as a “scriptural name” after the 1906 split from the disciples of Christ.
The truth is that in the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the word church is translated from the Greek ekklesia, which means called out assembly. We could just as easily call it The Called Out Assembly of Christ, but then my brethren would hasten to condemn such a practice, saying that it adds confusion. How about Church of God? After all, it is found eight times in the New Testament writings. Or, what about Called Out Assembly of God? Again, they would argue, confusion! What about Church of the Firstborn, from Hebrews 12:23? Or, from that same verse, General Assembly of the Firstborn? Confusion, confusion!
We could also go the route that is found in many of the letters of Paul, as well as in the Revelation to John, calling them by the name of the city in which they are located: The Church in Laodicea; The Church at Smyrna: The Church of the Thessalonians. Again my brothers would cry, “Confusion!” Finally, what about the term used the most throughout the New Testament—The Church? We could put a sign over each building that reads simply, The Church. After all, as we know and rightly argue, Christ only established one church, or one called-out assembly. This would clearly identify it as the one church that Christ built. However, my brethren would loudly and acidly reject this name.
The truth is that Jesus and the apostles did not refer to the church—the called-out assembly—by any formal title. If they did not, then why do we?
(2) Why do we have “church buildings”?
Answer: My brethren, using a time-honored ploy, would answer, “Expediency!” and sadly, most would understand exactly what they mean. Before we called them “church houses”, we called them “meeting houses”.
You will not read about a church building, church house, or meeting house in the New Testament. Neither will you read about a cathedral, a chapel, a sanctuary, or a temple built or bought by the first-century Christians. You will read about Christians gathering in private homes.
In the Church of Christ, as do most Protestants and Catholics, we regard the church building as a sacred place. This leads us to formulate all manner of man-made prohibitions regarding said building. “Touch not, taste not, handle not!”
The truth is that we have them because the Protestants have them. They have them because the Roman Catholics have them. The Catholics have them because they tried to recreate a “Christianized” version of the Jewish temple. Yet, God saw fit to forever destroy the temple (despite what the Scofieldites teach), and instead has declared our bodies to be temples to God.
(3) Why do we use hymnbooks during “worship service”?
Answer: Our leaders tell us again that it is an “expediency”. I have come to detest that legalized term. The apostle Paul wrote, “All things are lawful…but not all things are expedient.” We have turned that premise on its head, substituting, “Not all things are lawful, but many are expedient!” (At least, that is my rendition of this argument.)
There is no “command, example, or necessary inference” (that dear old Campbellite doctrine!) for using a songbook, yet we find it “expedient”. (Just a thought—we ought to amend that to “command, example, necessary inference, or expedient”!)
(4) Why do we command congregational singing?
Answer: Singing in the New Testament was mostly a function of one man singing to the assembled congregation (1 Corinthians 14:26); or, singing to oneself, or to one other person (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13).
There is no command for congregational singing, nor is there an example, other than the example of Jesus and His apostles just before His betrayal and crucifixion. This was not the entire congregation, but a small gathering of friends for the Passover (Matthew 26:30).
Again, this is our Roman Catholic and Protestant legacy, and the Catholics were trying to recapture the essence of the Jewish temple activities—which God had done away with! (John 4:21: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”)
(6) Why do we call the gathering for edification a “worship service?”
Answer: There is no use of this phrase in the Bible. It is entirely concocted by men. “Worship” is either a noun or a verb, and not an adjective. It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as meaning “worthiness, respect, reverence”. At what time in the life of the Christian are we not to regard God with worthiness, respect, or reverence? I would argue that we are in a constant state of worship, rather than something that we do once, twice, or three times a week!
What about “service”? It is defined as “the work performed by one who serves”. Are we not to constantly be about the Father’s business? As Christians, at what time are we not doing the work of God? I maintain that we are constantly in the service of God, and not just once, twice, or three times a week!
The phrase “worship service” is unscriptural, and should not be used at all. Instead, we should realize that the gatherings of the early Christians were for purposes of edification (1 Corinthians 14), and not, as we often like to say today, “To worship God”, as if we only worship Him on Sunday!
(6) Why do we have an “order of service”?
Answer: The Roman Catholics, in their attempts to recapture a sort of Jewish temple activity, set a pattern which was carried forward by Protestants (Catholic Church reformers), and from them through the Restoration Movement into the Churches of Christ.
There is no worship service commanded or described in the New Testament, other than a life of worship of, and service to, God. Toss out the false concept of “worship service” and you automatically do away with “order of service”. That said, why do we have two songs, a prayer, one song, preaching, an “invitation song” (find that in the Bible!) and a closing prayer? With some occasional slight variation, this is the accepted “order of service” in the Church of Christ “worship service”. As a young man, I preached that we could alter this “order of service” and was promptly branded a troublemaker and church-wrecker, whose aim was to shipwreck the faith!
Tradition is no substitute for what God tells us to do!
(7) Why do we have “Five Items of Acceptable Worship”?
Answer: It is our version of the Roman Catholic “Seven Sacraments”. There is nothing in the Bible that says that there are five distinct things that God expects in order for us to have an “acceptable worship service” (see previous question about “worship service”). This doctrine came out of the American Restoration Movement and the subsequent Churches of Christ. The Church of Christ teaching is that on Sunday morning one must practice “Five Items of Acceptable Worship” consisting of singing, praying, preaching, funds collection, and communion (Lord’s Supper). Any other “worship service” consists of three of the five, omitting the communion and the monetary collection. The Bible says no such thing, and this is a contrived doctrine.
(8) Why do we have one preacher leading each congregation?
Answer: While it is true that the apostle Paul and his traveling companions sometimes stayed at a given congregation for a period of time, sometimes for years, teaching and instructing them, they then moved on to evangelize elsewhere. The Bible teaches that a plurality of wise and experienced elders is to oversee and lead each congregation, teaching them the ways of the Lord. In the New Testament, evangelists were sent out to preach the gospel to the lost. There were at least two men sent out to evangelize, and sometimes there were more. There is no mention of setting up a local preacher to preach to the congregations. In fact, according to 1 Corinthians 14, each man who can teach is to be allowed a chance to speak over time. The doctrine of one preacher per congregation is a Protestant adaptation of the Roman Catholic system wherein a priest is over a given “parish”.
(9) Why do we promote a “Five-Point Gospel Plan of Salvation”?
Answer: John Calvin and his followers devised a series of five points to explain Calvin’s belief of sola gratia, or grace only, salvation. It is sometimes denoted by the acronym TULIP, for the five points: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and persistence of the saints (no fall from grace). The American Restorationists came up with five points, as well, and these were refined to reach our present five points: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, and Be Baptized. In essence, we have five points because Calvin had five points. Ours were meant to counteract his. The Bible does not set forth a five-point “plan of salvation”. Jesus did not preach Five Points, the apostles did not preach Five Points, and we shouldn’t, either. I agree with four of the five points, and the fifth one (“confession”) I don’t have a serious quarrel with. My quarrel is with saying that there is a Five Point Plan of Salvation, when clearly there is no such thing taught in the Bible. Such things were constructs to make debating the Calvinists easier, and we need to recognize them as such.
(10) Why do we command new converts to echo the words of the Ethiopian eunuch?
Answer: In the Church of Christ, we force each new convert to stand before the congregation and repeat the words of the Ethiopian eunuch immediately prior to his baptism by Philip: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God.” We claim that we do this because that Jesus said that those who will not confess Him on earth, He will not confess before His heavenly Father. However, Jesus did not teach the eunuch’s statement as part of a Five Step Plan of Salvation (see previous question), nor did the apostles. Neither do we read that Philip taught the eunuch the words to say. Rather, they seem to be a spontaneous confession on the part of the eunuch. Furthermore, Philip did not direct the eunuch to route the chariot to the nearest church, so that he could confess before the congregation! This is an example, and a fine one, but we should not teach it as a commandment, and certainly not as part of a so-called Five Step Gospel Plan of Salvation, for Jesus and His apostles did not do so.
(11) When a church member sins, why do we insist that they go and whisper their sins in the ear of “the preacher”? (See also the question about such a preacher.)
Answer: In short, we do it because the Catholics confess their sins to their priest. This is another of those Roman Catholic doctrines that made its way from them, through Protestantism and the American Restoration, to us. There is no example of this in the Bible, nor is there any commandment remotely similar. The Bible tells us to confess our faults to one another. This means, one confessing to one other (another is an other, and means one other). I can see this as relating to our sinning against another, and then asking their forgiveness. Not only are not told to have one preacher, we certainly are not told to confess our sins to the preacher! Yet, we teach that it is expected, especially for a “public sin” in which “the church has been given a bad name” (usually stated as "brought shame upon the church") by the sin. This doctrine is not found in the Bible.
"St. Athanasius (d. 373): "As the man whom the priest baptizes is enlightened by the grace of the Holy Ghost, so does he who in penance confesses his sins, receive through the priest forgiveness in virtue of the grace of Christ" (Frag. contra Novat. in P.G., XXVI, 1315)"
The above from: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm Retrieved 04-21-2010
(12) Why do we urge church members to “rededicate” themselves if they have sinned?
Answer: This practice is not described anywhere in the New Testament. The only time that the member is to be brought before the church is after another member has tried to make up with them, and they refuse, as Jesus taught, recorded in Matthew. In this case, they are to be “brought before the church” to explain the situation and call for their repentance.
(13) Why do we have an “invitation song” at the end of our “worship services”?
Answer: Because the Protestants adopted the practice of using an “invitation song” during their “altar call”. Our Protestant roots show in this, and many other practices. In the Holy Bible, you cannot read of an invitation song at the end of an assembly, or even at the end of an evangelizing sermon. For some reason, most of us in the Church of Christ (at least the “conservative” branch) like to preach the “Five Point Plan of Salvation” to every assembly (I have even seen this done when every person in the audience was already a member), and then end with an invitation to become a Christian. We have almost stopped emphasizing that a person can become a Christian at any time, and not just during a specific song at the end of a “gospel lesson”.
(14) Why do we command that money be donated each Sunday, as one of “Five Acts of Acceptable Worship”?
Answer: We like to quote 1 Corinthians 16:2, and say that we are commanded to give, or “lay by in store”, every first day of the week. If we will read the apostle Paul’s second Corinthian letter, chapters 8 & 9, we see that he retracts the order, and makes it a plea, instead. We are to give willingly and cheerfully, and not grudgingly or of necessity. It is not a command, but it is a fine example. Nowhere is it described as one of five necessary acts of acceptable worship, whatever that means!
(15) Why do we cover the communion tray with a cloth?
Answer: Like many of our practices, this one is handed down from the Roman Catholics, who have been doing this at least since the 7th century AD. This was a tradition held over from the days before air conditioning, when the doors and windows were flung open to allow for air circulation. The fruit of the vine and the bread were covered with a cloth to keep the flies off of them. There is no point in doing this now, but we still do it out of tradition. It is not necessary.
"The pall is a small square of stiffened linen ornamented with a cross, which is laid upon the orifice of the chalice to protect its contents from flies or dust. The word pallium, or palla, was originally used of all kinds of coverings, notably of what we now call the altar-cloths, and also of the corporal."
The above quotation is taken from: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03561a.htm
Did you know that some Catholics also wave a fan over the communion fixtures?
"Both then make a deep prostration, and the deacon waves the ripidion (fan) over the Blessed Sacrament. This ceremony, now interpreted mystically as a symbol of adoring angels, was certainly once a practical precaution. They have no pall over the chalice and there is a danger of flies. The waving of the ripidion occurs several times during the Liturgy."
The above quotation is from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04312d.htm
(16) Why do we “disfellowship” members who do things that we do not like?
Answer: This is our version of the Roman Catholic excommunication and the Amish shunning. Disfellowship is not a real word, and is not found in the Bible, nor in the dictionary. Ostensibly, we do it based upon the scriptures that tell us not to keep company with members of the church who are fornicators, and the like, and to mark those who cause division, and avoid them. We might as well own up to the Catholic roots of this practice, and give it up. I have seen people “disfellowshipped” for merely understanding a scripture differently than does the preacher, or another influential member. The practice is not scriptural. There is a proper way to engage church discipline, and this is not it.
(17) Why do we judge and condemn our fellow Christians?
Answer: This practice is not only not found in the Holy Scriptures, but is actually contrary to what Christ and His apostles taught. Our goal is to teach and edify, not to tear down and destroy. We are told not to judge, but rather to show mercy. The roots of this pernicious doctrine are in Daniel Sommer’s Sand Creek Address and Declaration of 1889. In our biting and devouring, we consume one another!
(18) Why do we keep making up new doctrines, creating new schisms?
Answer: People of different backgrounds and cultures, having various degrees of intelligence and education, and at different physical and spiritual ages, will quite naturally see things differently. Why then do we allow these differences to split the church into dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny factions, set one against another? See the preceding question, for much of the blame lies in the partisan spirit exhibited by Daniel Sommer in his Sand Creek Address and Declaration. He set a terrible precedent that has been imitated countless times in the church. David Lipscomb helped further this process when he drew the Churches of Christ away from the main body of the American Restoration Movement. Many editors and preachers since those two have added to the problem. If we adopt the charity that Jesus and His apostles taught, we will not fall into this process of endlessly dividing the church into minute sub-groups. It shows a distinct lack of Christian charity. Egos and arrogance tend to produce new doctrines.
(19) Why do we treat examples and inferences taken from the scriptures as commands?
Answer: Again, this comes from our Restorationist roots. Out of that movement came the idea of a scientific hermeneutic, eventually evolving into one of “command, example, and necessary inference”. I have several problems with this, the first being that it is not found in scripture. Secondly, we treat examples as commandments. As for necessary inference, some find inferences not inferred by others, and some find them more necessary than others! There are two great commandments in the scriptures: “Love God with all of our being, and love our neighbors as ourselves.” If we will learn these two, and follow them, everything else will fall naturally into place. There is great freedom in Christ, and not many commandments. We need to quit inferring so much, and we need to cite examples for what they are, and stop making them into commandments. Furthermore, we have allowed traditions to become doctrine, and this we must stop! Man’s traditions are no substitute for the word of God Almighty! Commands should be followed, examples should be presented as good to imitate, and the rest should be left alone!
(20) Why do we refuse to use the money collected each Sunday to help others in our communities?
Answer: I often hear a scripture misquoted. It is Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Many preachers and church members have declared that we are to use our collection only for the members of the church, and not for non-members. The scripture says especially, not only! Our first concern is for our fellow believers, but we are to do good to all men. The collection was an example, not a commandment, as seen in one of the previous questions. We have no problem using the money to build a meeting house and maintaining it and its attendant utilities and bills; or, for paying a preacher’s salary; but, we cannot help a member of the community who is in trouble because they are not a church member? Jesus died for all men while we were yet sinners. Is there not a lesson in this for us? We need to learn Christian charity.
Others refer to 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, saying that it is only a "collection for the needy saints" and cannot be used otherwise. They don't even believe what they say, because they turn around and use the collected money to build "church buildings", and then to furnish, repair and maintain them, and to pay utility bills connected with them, as well as to pay evangelists to come into the local church and hold "gospel meetings".
The truth has its origins in Roman Catholicism.
"It seems tolerably plain that this collection must always have been
undertaken locally, and the threefold partition of tithes which is spoken of
in the so-called "Capitulare episcoporum" and which reappears in the "Egbertine
Exceptions" takes no account of any bishop's share. The tithes are to be
devoted first to the upkeep of the church, secondly to the relief of the
poor and of pilgrims, and thirdly to the support of the clergy themselves."
(21) Why do we hold “gospel meetings”?
Answer: Our “gospel meetings” are imitations of Protestant revivals held by other churches. For some reason, we reject the order that Jesus gave His disciples to go preach the gospel everywhere. Instead, we try to bring the sinners to us. We hold assemblies, invite the sinners, and preach to them at our convenience and on our turf. The expression “gospel meeting” is not found in the Bible, and the concept is contrary to what Jesus told His followers to do. We ought to heed the admonition of Jesus, and take the gospel to where the sinners are. If we want to hold assemblies to build up our members, that is more in line with the edification gatherings mentioned in the scriptures.
(21) What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Answer: It is not the “Five Step Plan”. It is the story of Jesus, chosen before the world was made, to die to take away our sins. This is the gospel preached by the apostles, and obeyed by first century believers.
(22) Why do some Churches of Christ have a separate Bible study?
Answer: To imitate their Protestant brethren, many Churches of Christ have added a separate gathering that they call “Bible study”, which they distinguish as different from what they call “worship service”. The only example that we have of a gathering, or assembly, for edification is found in 1 Corinthians 14. It is called neither Bible study nor worship service. Men in liberal Churches of Christ use the excuse of Bible study to allow women to speak out in the assembly, thinking that they have cleverly sidestepped the New Testament teaching against women teaching and/or speaking out in the assemblies. The study of the Bible should be a central part of any gathering of the saints for edification (building up). Women are not to teach, and are to remain silent, as is taught in the scriptures. The men are to teach and lead in the assembly, and the women may teach the younger women at home, as the Bible instructs.
(23) Why do some Churches of Christ have assemblies referred to as children’s church, vacation Bible school, etc?
Answer: Some of our liberal brethren imitate Protestant practices, including the aforementioned. These are unnecessary constructs, and often lead to practices contrary to Bible teaching, such as women teaching in assemblies and taking the lead in public assemblies. Children are to be taught at home. The father has the primary responsibility for teaching his children the ways of the Lord. In families, the father trusts the children to his wife, who oversees them and teaches them when he is at work. Older Christians can teach younger people, and should, whether they be their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, or even neighbors.
Vacation Bible School: http://lookoutmag.com/pdfs/111.pdf Retrieved 04-21-2010
"Some people trace the beginning of VBS back to a park in Hopedale,
Illinois. Mrs. D. T. Miles had been a public school teacher before her
marriage and continued teaching Sunday school classes afterwards. Because s
e felt that the short time she had with the children on Sunday mornings was
not nearly enough to teach them all they needed to know, she came up with
(24) Why do some Churches of Christ teach the doctrine of the Trinity?
Answer: This doctrine is not found in the Bible. It is come down to us through the Roman Catholic church. It was apparently originated by a man named Origen, who lived about 185-254 AD. It was later reaffirmed by a council of “bishops” (Council of Nicea, 325 AD) who gathered at the order of Emperor Constantine. A second, later council in Constantinople, in 381 AD, solidified this doctrine of the Trinity. Still later, the man Augustine, who lived about 354-430 AD, nailed down the basis of the doctrine that was passed down to us in our present time.
"This Trinity is one God: it is simple even though it is a Trinity… because it is what it has, except insofar as one Person is spoken of in relation to another." (Augustine City, 462 [XI.10])
The above quotation from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/trinity-history.html
The Bible teaches that there is one God, the Father, who is the Almighty God. Jesus was with Him before our world was formed, and is His only begotten (born of woman) son. The Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) comes from God and lives within us. The three names are given together in the Holy Scriptures, but nowhere are they called the Trinity, nor are they explained to be three parts of the same entity. In fact, there is no real discussion in scripture as to their exact relationship, other than what I have just written.
(25) Why do some Churches of Christ teach a doctrine called the “Rapture”?
Answer: This doctrine was apparently invented by a woman named Margaret MacDonald of Glasgow, Scotland, around 1830 AD. It was spread by a man named John Nelson Darby. Later, the doctrine gained widespread acceptance through the publication of comments by a Calvinist by the name of Cyrus Scofield, in the Scofield Reference Bible. Many who study that book cannot seem to distinguish between actual scripture, and the notes by Scofield and others who followed him. (The book has been updated by Oxford Press, and has expanded the doctrines first espoused in the book by Scofield.) Scofield took the events of the first century AD as related in the Bible, and tried to make them apply to the times in which he lived. He developed an elaborate plan centered around restoration of a modern Israel, over which Jesus Christ would reign. When a new nation, Israel, emerged after World War II, the Oxford Press updated the Scofield Reference Bible to include references to the modern Israel as if it fulfilled Bible prophecies. (These prophecies, as I have already mentioned, referred to the coming of the kingdom of God in the first century AD, and the fall of Israel and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.)
(26) Why does the Church of Christ use grape juice as fruit of the vine in the Lord’s Supper?
Answer: Churches used wine for many centuries, and some still do. The Church of Christ, like many Protestant groups, uses grape juice. Grape juice was not feasible until Louis Pasteur developed the process known as pasteurization, and a man named Thomas Welch learned to bottle the pasteurized grape juice in 1869.
"To preserve the juice, Dr. Welch stoppered the bottles with cork and wax and boiled them in water hoping to kill any yeast in the juice to prevent fermentation. Dr. Welch’s process was a success, and his application of Louis Pasteur’s theory of pasteurization to preserve fresh grape juice pioneered the industry of canned and bottled fruit juices in America. This first juice was used on the Communion table in the local Methodist church for sacramental purposes, and most of the first orders for grape juice came from churches for Communion."
The above from: http://concordgrape.org/bodyhistory.html Retrieved 04-21-2010
Some claim that the Bible condemns drinking alcohol, which it does not. Even when the apostle Paul spoke of the Lord’s Supper, he commented on how some had become drunk. This he condemned. Drunkenness is condemned in the scriptures, while drinking is not. Some who are proponents of grape juice argue that 2,000 years ago it was being preserved, either as it was, or through boiling into a syrup, or by chopping up raisins and adding water. They really stretch to make the case. The fact is that the Bible designates “fruit of the vine” and does not specify grape juice or wine. Legalists say that we must get it exactly right. God is merciful and forgiving. I doubt that He will condemn to eternal damnation someone who mistakenly uses the “wrong” form of the “fruit of the vine”, whether the “wrong” form be wine or grape juice.
There Are Many Other Questions
There are many other questions that we can ask ourselves—and should! If we begin with these, we can strip away some of our Roman Catholic, Protestant (Reformed Catholic), American Restoration, and Church of Christ hand-me-down doctrines. Hopefully, by understanding where the doctrines came from, we can clear our minds, and inspect the scriptures with a renewed vigor, through clearer eyes.
Jesus condemned the traditionalist and legalistic Pharisees of His day. Would He not reserve the same criticisms for us? What difference is there between them and us?
Rather than concoct a maze of rules and laws, we ought to listen to Jesus and His apostles when they tell us that the main two laws are (1) to love God with all of our entirety, all of our being, and (2) to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we shall keep these two, we shall begin to understand what God truly expects of us.
Once we turn our lives and hearts over to God, to walk in understanding and wisdom of His ways, we shall know what to do, and what to avoid. This knowledge comes from God, and lives in our hearts. It is written on fleshly tables of the heart, and not with ink on paper.
See the article on the timeline of the history of doctrine to see what religious influences created or modified the above questionable doctrines.