I was recently told a story about a lady who was escorted out of one of those fall corn maze farms. The reason was that her child took their pet snake to the farm and was wearing it on their shoulders. The farm didn’t allow pets. Of course, the mother went to social media to bemoan her treatment and let the world know just how awful the festival people were. After a couple very long posts, the festival people responded in a very understandable way. They explained to her that people were very uncomfortable with the snake, and that pets are not allowed at the festival. They offered her tickets to come back at another time without the snake.
The woman responded by saying that she saw a sign that said no dogs allowed, but that sign didn’t say anything about a snake. She believed that since they didn’t say anything about snakes, snakes must be permitted. The festival responded by saying that they don’t need to have a sign that says “no snakes" to prohibit snakes.
I think that most people would side with the business in a case like this. We all understand that silence on something does not automatically mean we can do whatever we want. When an establishment writes the rules, they are not expected to make an exhaustive list of what is not allowed. The establishment is also not obligated to accept something that someone deems ok because it wasn’t specifically condemned.
This lady was being presumptuous. This word means “failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate”. It has the idea of taking too many liberties and it is always tied to pride. The pride is illustrated especially by the reaction to the act. The lady getting mad and defensive and believing she has the right to bring a snake displays that presumptuous pride.
Presumption is a sin. The Psalmist prayed in 19:13, “Keep your servant from presumptuous sin”. Because of the level of pride involved, presumptuous sins are some of the most dangerous types of sin. They are dangerous because they are based on the preconception that we are right. Many sins are committed that leave us feeling guilty. The guilt is a benefit to a degree because it can cause us to change our actions. Presumptuous sins have no feeling guilt immediately attached to them. If someone thinks they are right, they are never going to change unless there is some serious introspection. Presumption blinds them. They see without perception (Isa 6:9).
Most people can see that just because a lady feels entitled to bring a snake to a fair, that doesn’t mean she should be allowed to. She serves as great example that we can apply to another organization. People act with the same attitude as this lady towards God’s organization.
God sent his Son to purchase his church with his blood. (Acts 20:28). The Church is God’s. It is His organization. Christ gave the instructions of the Church in the New Testament (Rom 3:27). The fact that there are so many different denominations is proof that presumption runs rampant toward God.
There are specifics that are mentioned in those instructions. For instance, the church is to have qualified men serve as elders/pastors (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:1-7). These men are responsible for the local congregation. The elders always serve in a plurality of elders. Meaning, there is never a “pastor” of a church like most have today.
It is presumptuous to see that God has given us rules for his organization, and then to think “Oh it's no big deal! Let’s do it our way".
A few months ago I was talking to the pastor of a local baptist church. He mentioned to me that he was responsible for all operations of the church. He said that the model of a single pastor system was probably started because of the specific culture but may have outlived its use. The single pastor model, or the unqualified pastor model, is sustained by presumption. People presume that they know better than God. People presume that it doesn’t matter.
God wants his organization to worship him in a specific way (John 4:24). He wants worship to be according to the truth. His word is the truth (John 17:17). Therefore, God wants us to worship him according to what the New Testament says (Heb 8:13). Most people just presume that God will accept whatever they offer. God does not accept all worship (Gen 4:5).
Specifically, God wants us to sing (Eph 5:19). In giving us the specific, he excluded everything else. He excluded singing + interpretive dance. He excluded singing + instrumental music. Singing with an instrument is acting out of presumption, not out of respect for God and his organization. It’s ironic that there is a division developing against “traditional” and “contemporary” worship services. Some folks don’t like the rock band worship, and just want the classic piano or organ. Other folks want to move on with the times. What do we do with that? There is no argument that can be made for either practice because both practices are based on presumption. Not on Biblical authority.
Someone may say, “Well they used instruments in the Old Testament”. The Old Testament has been nailed to the cross(Col 2:14). It has passed away (Heb 8:13). Two wills cannot be in effect at the same time (Heb 9:15-17). The New Testament organizes the church, and its worship. The Old Testament organizes the Mosaic regime.
It would be as if the people who own the fall festival used to have a snake festival at the same location. They decide to quit doing snake festivals and do fall festivals instead. Then the lady brings her snake and says "why can’t I bring my snake? You used to allow them”. These are two different organizations.
The attitude of presumption says, “I don’t see what the big deal is”. And therein lies the big deal. God gave us his law and it is perfect (Psalm 19:7). We don’t need to presume and add anything else to it (Rev 22:18).