Authorized Aids

by Larry Ray Hafley

The Bible does not state that Noah used hammers, saws, and axes in the construction of the ark. However, such instruments were authorized by the command, "Make thee an ark" (Genesis 6:14). Without the instruction to build the ark, the tools would have been unauthorized.

The Bible does not mention church buildings per se. However, they are scriptural because of the authority to assemble (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:18; 14:23; Hebrews 10:25). Without the right to assemble, church buildings would be without divine authority.

The Bible does not refer to songbooks. However, they are authorized by the command to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3;16). They assist us in carrying out the divine direction to "sing and make melody" in our hearts to the Lord. Without the authority to sing, songbooks would be unscriptural.

The Bible does not talk about chalkboards, computerized images, or overhead projectors. However, they are approved by the authority to teach (Matthew 28:19). They assist in doing what the New Testament churches did; namely, teach (Acts 11:22-26). Without the authority to teach, boards and projectors would be contrary to Scripture.

The Bible does not say anything about collection baskets. However, they are authorized by the command to "lay by in store" (I Corinthians 16:2). Without the authority for a contribution, collection trays would be unauthorized.

The Bible does not mention plates on which to serve the bread of the Lord's supper. However, they are authorized by the command to "take, eat" (I Corinthians 11:24). Were there no communion, the plates would not be scriptural.

The Bible does not specifically cite a baptistry, an artificial pool in which baptism is performed. However, the command to baptize authorizes a place to baptize. Without the right to baptize, a baptistry would be without authority (Matthew 7:21-23).

Note These Contrasting Parallels

The Bible does not directly mention the use of pianos and organs in the worship of the church. If we had the scriptural authority to "play music," such instruments would be authorized. As there is Bible authority for songbooks because we are to sing, there would be an authority for pianos in worship if we were commanded to "play music." When someone finds Scripture for "playing," he will have found authority for guitars, trumpets, "and such like." Until then, they cannot be used with the approval of heaven.

The Bible does not show where any church built and maintained recreation and entertainment facilities as a part of its work. As plates are authorized by the command to "eat" the bread of the Lord's supper, there would be an authority for dinner plates and badminton nets if the church were authorized to provide social meals and recreation for its members. If we had the authority to "play" games, such things would be authorized. When someone finds authority for the church to furnish recreation, amusement, and entertainment, he will have found authority for gymnasiums "and such like." Until then, such things exist without scriptural authority.

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