I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
Whose Thumb Controls Your Life?
Those With the Thumb, Seek Those Who Are Comfortable Living There.
You would think that everyone would love to be in final control of their lives, which is as we know … impossible. Many who deem themselves to be leaders are always on the prowl for those needing to be led, as there seems to be an endless supply available. In marriages both the men and the women seek to dominate the other; too often with sad results. Whether it be sports, the arts, business or the military; the leaders emerge, take control, only limited by the nature of the situation and the lines form behind; very akin to a pecking order. The old adage; ‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’ becomes very evident when it comes to the political sphere, but is also played out within Christendom worldwide.
Most buildings called churches fly under flags of being denominational, non-denominational, independent or cultic with monikers of being evangelistic, charismatic, traditional, health-wealth come as you are varieties and those with the fixed agenda [cultic]. What they have too often in common is that one person has risen to the top; their words carry the weight of the scriptures, making it easier for their audience to understand what it is that he / she requires of them. There is a reason why Christ said ‘where two or three are gathered’ - no crowd mentality.
Fear, the Great Motivator [Tool] of the One With the Thumb
Symptoms of One Living Under the Thumb, Spiritually Speaking.
Living under anyone’s thumb creates several discernable attributes found in those so oppressed.
- Fear: of death and the loss of one’s salvation should they step out of line with the church’s or leadership’s doctrines. Fear and the lack of peace in one’s life due to the constraints imposed by the church’s dictates, such as: fear that if one misses too many services; that if they do not regularly give or tithe; of offending another by actually questioning something that to them does not sound correct or finding themselves facing church discipline for rule breaking.
- Fear when it comes to the Word: in depth bible study is sequestered to the doctrinal statement of the church, the leadership’s instruction and their scriptural interpretations. All gatherings outside of the physical church carry strict guidelines and must be sanctioned by the church. Extra biblical reading is confined to those writers which agree with the church’s doctrine. If they should read or listen to an outsider’s source; this fact cannot be shared with others of the congregation for fear of possible retribution.
- Fear concerning fellowship: it must be according to their set dictates as deviance from their standards would be considered borderline heresy at least. Their church is the only church that teaches the truth, while the others are leading people to hell by deceit. Only certain types or modes of music are acceptable; or requiring baptism their way as the only true baptism; or speaking tongues to prove one’s salvation is real; or specific days; or foods; or required works for staying in good standing as the list goes on.
- Fear resulting in game playing to survive. If one follows the doctrines of the church as one would an instruction manual, fully relying upon the words from the pulpit, question nothing outwardly to keep the peace but keeping all to oneself to avoid betrayal from family or friends, keep their attendance at all church functions visible, extol the leadership on a regular basis and don’t forget to give or tithe. Churches are rife with game players, most out of the fear of losing their salvation by not dotting all their ‘I’s’ and crossing all their ‘T’s’ while others just want to blend in so as to not be noticed.
Fear motivates and drives the ‘many’ to live comfortably or uncomfortably under the thumb which provides them a false sense of security in their perceived personal holiness. Many are persuaded to seek the ‘higher’ levels of holiness as defined by each church or as the world would equate it as … seeking to be a part of the elite clique.
There is Only One Answer if One Truly Desires Rest for Their Souls.
There is No Thumb But a Yoke When One is in Christ
The world is filled with weary souls seeking rest and peace yet finding nothing that lasts. Those who live under the thumb of their church a few occasions a week, ultimately live under the thumb of life itself. Their sleep is not sweet, the political world is oppressive, the economy is their enemy and their health coupled with aging is filled with terror. Churches then become a temporary oasis in the desert of life for brief periods of time. Again, it is fear being the great adversary of the rest and peace all men seek. We live in a world where ‘escapism’ is a way of life and the only way one can cope with the knowledge that there will be a personal accounting to God in the end is to escape; even if for just a moment.
Jesus offers His beloved a yoke rather than an oppressive thumb. The yoke implies that He is joined to you in your labor of life with the promise of rest for our souls. His yoke is easy and we are no burden to Him. The thumb is akin to being the Law and as Luther stated: The Law is for the proud; the Gospel is for the brokenhearted. The Gospel offers freedom, peace and a rest until that day when we meet Him face to face and come into perfect rest eternally.
Case in point: the possibility of losing one’s salvation is the biggest fear among the wannabes within Christendom. Today’s social media is rife with proclaiming the security of the believer as a doctrine leading many to hell. This is being proffered by both those who wield the thumb [pastors and the like] and those so oppressed by the thumb they believe it to be the truth. About a hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Spurgeon gave a sermon on the glorious negative promises in scripture. For his text he used Song of Solomon 4:7 ‘Thou are fair my love; there is NO spot in thee.’; which is speaking of a man and his betrothed bride. [See Ephesians 5:21-33] It is amazing that when a young couple seek marriage they wear the proverbial ‘rose colored’ glasses, in that they see only what they want to see. So it is with Christ and His betrothed Church for whom He paid a dowry in blood for His now perfect Bride. There are no sins in His Bride that mar His vision, for He sees the finished product which is hidden to us for the moment. His perfect love casts out all fears [1 John 4:18] Those who espouse the fear of losing your salvation mock our Savior’s perfect love for His own. The great benediction of Jude verse 24 says it all - “NOW unto to Him that is able to keep [Take note: KEEP] you from falling, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,”
Choose this day how you shall live: at peace with God who loves His own perfectly or in fear that He is ready to crush you under His thumb should you stray.
David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on December 24, 2020:
Alan, one has to choose whether they will be faithful to the Word first and foremost or to accept the doctrines and teachings governing a gathering called a church as which to live by. The bigger the crowd, more the rules of procedure begin to overshadow the teachings of the Bible. This brings in an air of legalism as to form of worship over substance of worship. So to answer your question: no. The doctrines imposed by churches differ from one another and all too often contradict the message of the Gospel. Churches thrive on routine and the Word is anything but routine; it is life changing.
Alan on December 24, 2020:
Can a Man follow all doctrines of the church and yet be faithful to Christ teachings in all ways according to the word of God ?