Dedicating The Meeting House
A few years ago a preacher called me by telephone and informed me that he and others intended to dedicate their new meeting house the next Sunday afternoon, and he wanted me to have a part in the dedicating services, if I would permit him to put my name on the program.
I replied that I did not know how to "dedicate" a meeting house and that I would feel down-right silly up there before an audience trying to do something that I did not know how to do.
A few denominational preachers with whom I am acquainted occasionally "dedicate" babies, but they have a creed that tells them how to do it: they sprinkle water on the heads of the babies; but they have one up on me — I have no creed or guide in such matters, except the Bible, and it does not tell me anything about dedicating either meeting houses or babies; therefore, I have no way of ever learning how to dedicate babies, meeting houses, pots, pans, kettles, recreation halls, ping pong tables or anything else that the Bible does not tell me how to dedicate. The Old Testament reveals that some of these things were dedicated under the law of Moses, but Paul said something in Col. 2:14-16 about the abolition of that Old Testament "bond" with its meats, drinks, feast days, new moons, Sabbath days and other ordinances of the law.
Therefore, I am left without chart or compass in the practice of all these shadows of the law, which are not included in the gospel of Christ. In trying to dedicate a meeting house I would not know whether to squirt holy water all over the place, or fumigate the fellowship hall, or light a candle. Which would you do, if you were called on to "dedicate" a meeting house? And by what authority would you do it?
Occasionally some one gets all hot and bothered over something which the Bible says nothing, and excitedly proclaims, "We ought to put Christ into Christmas." That is another thing that I never did know how to do. Frankly, I do not know that Christ wants us to put him into Christmas; he may be trying to stay out of it. If he really had wanted us to put him into Christmas, surely he would have said something about it in the inspired scriptures which he gave to furnish us completely unto every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) It would embarrass me very much indeed if Jesus should slip up on me and catch me trying to put him into something that he is trying to stay out of. I feel that way about all religious work, worship and performances about which Jesus says nothing but to condemn them.
Entirely too many of our own brethren seem to stand in readiness always to trot along after the suggestions and performances of some one "on the march" without even glancing at the scriptures to see whether these things are so. (Acts 17:11) When some one tries to get them to take a look at the word of the Lord, they usually just shut both eyes and yell aloud: "Hobby-rider! Anti! We do many things for which we have no authority!" And that's the reason why we have Romanism, denominationalism and just about all the human institutions that uninspired men can think of, through which to do the work which the Lord assigned to the churches; that's why we're having so much trouble in the churches today.
— 712 Victoria Drive, Louisville 7, Kentucky