Freedom of Religion?

Leviticus 19:4 Turn not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.

“Turn not unto idols” forbids the worship of false gods. This command touches a number of religions in the world. As far as Christianity is concerned, though, it is mostly unrelated – unless, of course, it is spiritualized so that the love of money, materialism, prestige, etc. is considered idolatry. “Turn not unto idols,” then eliminates a number of religions. God does not give us the freedom to be a part of any religion that worships idols.

“Nor make to yourselves molten gods” forbids the worship of the true God under the form of a molten shape. A scriptural example of this is the molten calf Aaron made (Exodus 32:1-6). Aaron’s calf is different from the idols previously mentioned, because it was intended to represent the true God. Now we see that our freedom of worship is restricted even more. God not only forbids the worship of other gods, but He also forbids a worship of Him using visible representations – sculptured or painted, or any sign or symbol of Him.

As Americans we have claimed a great freedom in religious worship. One can interpret the Scriptures and worship according to his own choosing. As a result, almost every kind of religion and worship can be found in America, Christian and otherwise.

Because of their different doctrines and Scripture interpretation, Christians have formed various denominations. Moreover, many denominations have offshoots, some resulting from minute variations of Scripture interpretations.

Americans have assumed total religious freedom. If a person wants to worship God he has his rights, and it is the same with the atheist. If one chooses to believe that God doesn’t exist, he has his rights. Among those who choose to be religious, each reserves his right and freedom to choose his form of worship. It is normal for people to shop around for the church of their choice. If they don’t find a church to their liking, then they may form their own. Consequently, there are not only various denominations, but also denominational sub-divisions, along with independent and interdenominational churches. Our democratic form of government has given us this kind of religious freedom, but is it really acceptable to God?

Man’s right to interpret the Scriptures as he chooses is a basic foundation of denominationalism. Each Christian has the right to form his own opinion about God and the Scriptures. This kind of religious freedom is deeply ingrained in the thinking of most Christians. Government gives it and the people tenaciously cling to it, but does God give us the freedom to have our own opinions concerning the interpretation of Scripture? Does He give us the freedom to decide who He is, what He is, how He relates to man, and how man relates to Him? The general attitude of Christianity in America says, “Yes! We have religious freedom!”

The Scriptures, however, do not give us the kind of religious freedom that we have assumed. Listen to what the Lord says through the apostle Peter. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:20-21. This scripture rips out the foundation of every denominational church. We do not have the right to our own interpretation of the Scriptures! We do not have the freedom or right to have our own opinion concerning God and His Word! Rather, we have a responsibility, the responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to interpret and give understanding of the Scriptures.

The religious freedoms we have in this country are very valuable and necessary. We should and must diligently protect them. At the same time we must understand that it is not the same with God. He does not give us the same freedom. As Americans we have the right to choose our religious preferences. We can do our own thing. As Christians, though, we only have the right to choose God’s way.

We will not understand His Lordship or experience real freedom until we give up all our rights. The Lord is not really Lord, and we are not really free, until we are really His possession. That is what redemption is all about. He has bought us; we belong to Him. God can do whatever He wants to with our lives. Can we really trust Him that much? Can we really believe that by ordering our own lives there will only be futility and chaos? And if we allow the Lord to direct our lives we will experience the ultimate in freedom and joy? By His grace we can!

Do you realize that if we really allow the Lord to be Lord over us, individually and corporately, that virtually every religious ritual, tradition, doctrine, Scripture interpretation, and concept of what a Christian life is will be destroyed?

In the parable of the Sower Jesus said that the good seed produced children of the Kingdom, and the bad seed that produced tares were of the wicked one. The field where the seed was sown is the world (Matthew 13:38). This is a picture of the church-world. Christianity is a mixture of wheat and tares because mingled seed has been sown. This has been done in direct violation of the Word of God. You shall not sow your field with mingled seed. Leviticus 19:19.

Jesus said that it was the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Then Peter tells us that we do not have the right to our own private interpretation of Scripture. The Word of God came through holy men of God anointed by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:20-21), and if we have an accurate understanding of any scripture it will only be because the Holy Spirit revealed it to our hearts. Man’s opinions can only produce tares.

Mingled seeds have produced various kinds of tare-churches. Christianity today has been largely produced by man. God’s Christianity, His Kingdom, is like a treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44). Being hidden, it is not easily seen; very few ever find it. Consequently, there are many tare-churches.

“But we have religious freedom!” Yes, in this country we can form as many tare-churches as we want. God does not give us that freedom, though. The tare-churches of Mystery Babylon will be brought down by God.

What rights do we really have? To name a few: We have the right to love the Lord with all our heart. We have the right to walk with Him, to know Him and to experience His life. We have the right to become the tabernacle of God on earth. We have the right to give up all our rights to God; then and only then, will we find true freedom.

Copyright © 1995 by Henry DuBose

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