I’m not sure when it began but it seems to me that it was in the early part of the last century. It began I imagine on a small scale but it soon picked up steam. The glory of God would no longer be the main purpose of the worship services, but was replaced with the dignity of man. It soon didn’t matter what the Word of God declared, it was now: “I’ll do it my way”. It was in effect saying: “good bye, God”!
The sovereignty of God would no longer be preached for this offends the dignity of man. Never mind that God is offended by the unworthy statements made about Him. God is presented now as One to be pitied rather than worshipped. The depravity of man would no longer be preached for this offends man’s lofty thoughts about himself. The electing grace of God would no longer be preached for this offends fallen man’s sense of fairness. The effectual atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ would no longer be preached for this offends man’s trust in his good works. The calling and preserving grace of God would no longer be preached because the confidence now is: “I’ll do it my way.”
Oh, that the Lord would be pleased to visit our land again in awakening power. -- David Pledger
We Ought To Obey God Rather Than Men – Simon Peter before the rulers in Israel – Acts 5:29 (4:19)
In the days of the early church, the apostles and all Christians were labeled as lawless troublemakers. They were accused (like their Lord) of breaking the laws of God (Moses) and falsely accused of being lawless and rebellious citizens. Simon Peter (and Paul) wrote to the church to encourage all believers to obey the laws of the land so as to disprove the libelous accusations against them; with passages like “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet.2:13) . . . “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers” (Rom.13:1). Fact is (and was) the true people of God are law abiding, obedient and peaceable people. No government has cause to fear an uprising from God’s true people . . . UNLESS . . . the laws of the land go against the laws of their God, then every child of God will say with Peter, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
John Gill(England) wrote: “It is the command of God that magistrates should be obeyed; and it makes for His glory, as well for the good of men, when they are submitted to in things that do not contradict the revealed will of God; for otherwise, not man, but God is to be obeyed.”
John Brown (Scotland) wrote: “Now the duty of Christians to this “human ordinance” of civil magistracy, is to “submit themselves” to it, practically to its authority. It is the duty of a Christian to yield obedience to all the laws of the government under which he lives, that are not inconsistent with the law of God. When human ordinance contradicts the Divine ordinance, requiring us to do what God forbids, or forbidding us to do what God requires, the rule is plain: “WE OUGHT TO OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MAN.”
Our Lord in great wisdom answered all the reasoning of men concerning the things of men and things of God, saying, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). He even paid taxes on things of this earth which He owned and to a corrupt government which He was the ruler thereof. But when that corrupt government tried to impose its corrupt religious rules upon Him and His disciples He defied them and told His disciples to do the same, “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony AGAINST them and the Gentiles” (world) – Matt.10:18. So the rule is this, if we must go to Sam’s house (club) we must do what Sam tells us. And if we come to God’s house, we must do what God tells us, not (uncle) Sam.
The three Hebrews (Daniel 3) were peaceable, gentle, law-abiding men, but then the law was handed down that forbid them to worship as they did. They did not even have to consider it, but knew they had to obey God rather than men. When Daniel, the prophet was given a similar mandate from the king, there was no question what he would do, he continued to call on His God and worship His God in the way God instructed him; he knew he must obey God rather than men.
We are being told not to gather together, when our God commands it. We ought to obey God rather than men. We are being told to keep our distance from each other, when 5 times inscripture we are commanded to ‘greet one another with a holy kiss.’ We ought to obey God rather than men. We are even being told not to sing, when our God commands us over and over to do so. We ought to obey God rather than men. We must obey our God, and it is our heart’s desire to do so.