Ancient Boundaries: SPIRITUAL LIBERTY


The wise Proverb writer through the inspiration of the Lord stated “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (22:28).  He states it again in 23:10, “Do not move the ancient boundary…” During ancient times, land boundaries were often separated by nothing more than a stone or some other item that could be seen and determined as a dictator as to when one individual’s land stopped and another’s began.  Personal land as well as whole countries would be separated by just a memorial that might be elaborate or rather simple. You start thinking of the implications of this rather simple way of keeping track of your land and some might cringe.  What would stop someone from simply picking up the stone and moving it a foot or two?  The unethical individual might easily add a good deal of land to his parcel without drawing notice to himself at all.  You think how one might try one day to just kick the stone a few inches, only to get braver throughout the years and move the stone several yards.  The proverb writer explicitly condemns any sort of unethical behavior in moving that which was already set in place.

This condemnation still applies to us today.  No, we may not be concerned with the size of a parcel of land, and we may not have the ability to broaden our borders by simply moving a stone, yet we still have the temptation to move what has been set in place for centuries.  The first Ancient Boundary that we will discuss is that of Spiritual Liberties.  The church is full of good intentioned individuals that have a mind to help fellow Christians be the best Christians they can be.  These individuals will write, teach, preach, and counsel others in many areas of their Christian walk (personal, family, etc.).  This is needed and is very beneficial.  The problem arises when our counsel moves into areas that are not legislated in the Scriptures and we hold those areas as doctrine.  For example, areas such as home/public education, youth groups, dating and Santa Clause are argued a good deal in the church.  Some have argued their position to the point that they annihilate anyone who would have a different view.

As we look through the New Testament, we see many principles that will be helpful in examining this.  Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 both speak on our liberties.  Paul writes on how some may partake in the eating of meats and in the observing of days.  Romans 14:5 says: “Each person must be convinced in his own mind”.  Jesus also condemned a group of Jews called the Pharisees on many occasions who had the custom of adding to the Law.  They were a legalistic bunch who prided themselves in being more righteous than the rest, all the while adding laws that people must obey (even when the Lord had not legislated the law).  Just by doing a rather quick study on the passages from Paul and condemnation of the Pharisees, we can gather that we must not hold laws above the heads of our fellow Christians that are not found in the Scriptures.

The main area I would like to touch on is that of homeschooling.  For those of you who know me, I am very pro home education.  I was homeschooled throughout my childhood and my wife and I have decided to do the same with our children.  When I was young, my family ran into the problem of fellow Christians moving that ancient boundary of Spiritual Liberty by condemning my folks for homeschooling us.  However, in today’s world Christians have become more accepting of the practice.  I fear now that on occasion the roles have been switched and the homeschoolers are now the ones who sometimes move the ancient boundary of Spiritual Liberty.  It saddens me to see Christian families condemn others because they have chosen to educate their children through the public or private school systems.  When one uses their mouth or their computer to spread gossip, or to say that one is sending their kids to hell by sending them away from the home for education, they are indeed moving the ancient boundary of Spiritual Liberty.

Do not read me wrong; I am in no way saying that one may not promote an item such as home education.  If you are around me long enough, you will probably hear from my mouth benefits of home schooling.  One of these days, I will more than likely write an article or two on why we homeschool our kids, or why I love homeschooling my kids.  If I know a young family that is considering homeschooling their children, I absolutely will encourage them to homeschool.  Yet, I as well as other home educators must be sure that we do not condemn those that decide on a different route.  I have known many Christians that have had success in raising their children in a Christian way, and they did it in a different manner than what my wife and I have decided to do.

Brethren, if the Lord has not legislated on it, we have no right to force it.  Let us keep the Ancient Boundary of Spiritual Liberty in place where the Lord has set it.