Does It Make Any Difference

Report
“WHERE HAVE
I EVER SPOKEN
A WORD?”
RIGHTLY INTERPRETING THE
SILENCE OF SCRIPTURES
GOOD TO BE REMINDED,
LEST WE FORGET
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you
always of these things, though you know and are
established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is
right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by
reminding you” (II Peter 1:12-13)
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to
write the same things to you is not tedious, but
for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil
workers, beware of the mutilation!” (Philippians 3:12)
GOOD TO BE REMINDED,
BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
“My hindsight is clearer than my foresight! I am in no
position to boast, because I was not among the wise ones
who saw the danger … at first. … We failed to do that
which should have been done very effectively in those
early days. … Enough teaching before … could have
immunized the church against … substitutes for God’s
pattern. We had the opportunity; but, in our simple
ignorance, we failed in this significant way. … Our
opportunity to do effective teaching was before the
powerful machines were set up and thrown into high
gear. …The floodgate was opened, and none could close
it. It has not been closed, and it will not be closed in time”
(Preaching In A Changing World, Irven P. Lee, p.43-44)
GOOD TO BE REMINDED,
LEST WE STUMBLE
“I have been a member of a ‘Church of Christ’ for over 20
years. However, I am beginning to have my doubts. For
example, the following question is fundamental because
several of the traditions that we are very dogmatic about
depend on this teaching. … Is Biblical silence prohibitive? I
believe that we have missed the point on this topic.”
“If this so-called ‘law of silence’ were to be followed
‘religiously,’ then our PA systems, Powerpoint usage, song
books, and other things which we commonly use in
worship would all be outlawed. It really is time to apply
some common sense to this ‘law,’ and the way it is applied by
so many. ...”
“You would think someone who is so interested in following the
New Testament Pattern would have followed it … Does the
Bible authorize a church to have a Facebook page? …”
CENI AND CHURCHES OF CHRIST
• Command
• Example, Approved Apostolic
• Necessary Inference or Conclusion
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual,
let him acknowledge that the things which I write to
you are the commandments of the Lord. (I Cor.
14:37)
• Bible commands us to follow approved NT
examples (Philippians 3:17; 4:9; II Thess. 3:7; I
Cor. 11:1).
• Bible exemplifies using necessary inference
(Mathew 19:3-8; 22:23-33; Acts 2:25-36; II
Samuel 7:1-7; Heb. 7:11-14)
WHAT IS THE QUESTION?
• Silence – What does it mean? Merriam-Webster:
1. forbearance from speech or noise
2. absence of sound or noise
3. absence of mention
• Occurrence – Some things are not specifically
mentioned in Scripture!
• Interpretation – Does God’s silence prohibit or
permit? (Not so simple …)
• Misnomer – As an aside, is God ever truly and
absolutely silent on any matter?
• By Definition – Silence means nothing, because it
is nothing!
WHAT IS THE QUESTION?
• Conclusion – Erroneous to presume that God’s
silence necessitates His approval or disapproval.
• Silence does not inherently prohibit!
• Silence does not inherently permit!
• General Authority + Silence = Approval
• Specific Authority + Silence = Disapproval
• Silence alone cannot authorize!
• Disposition – What should out attitude be?
• Demonstration – Did this question arise during
Bible times? What was God’s expectation? (See: I
Corinthians 10:6,11; Romans 15:4)
DO NOT PRESUME!
• “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe
it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
(Deuteronomy 12:32; 4:2; Joshua 1:7; 23:6;
Proverbs 4:26-27; 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19)
• “Then David consulted with the captains of
thousands and hundreds, and with every leader
… ‘If it seems good to you, and if it is of the
LORD our God’ … Then all the assembly said
that they would do so, for the thing was right in
the eyes of all the people. … And David became
angry because of the LORD’S outbreak against
Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to
this day. David was afraid of God that day,
saying, ‘How can I bring the ark of God to me?’”
(I Chronicles 13:1-14)
DO NOT PRESUME!
• “… learn in us not to think beyond what is
written, that none of you may be puffed up on
behalf of one against the other.” (I Corinthians 4:6;
Numbers 22:18; 24:13; II John 9; Mat. 7:21-23)
• “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word
that has gone out of My lips.” (Psalm 89:34;
Galatians 3:15; Matthew 5:18-19; John 10:35-36;
I Peter 1:22-25; Galatians 1:6-9)
• Presumption is a fundamentally dangerous
attitude and must always be sought, exposed, and
removed from our hearts.
• Silence is a subtlety of communication.
• Presumptuous hearts will struggle, even though the
Scripture is replete with emphasis and warning.
“WHERE HAVE I EVER
SPOKEN A WORD?”
• David was declared by God to be “a man after His
own heart” (I Samuel 13:14)
• Often exhibited the noblest of intentions (I Samuel
24:1-22; I Chronicles 11:18-19; 21:22-25)
• “Walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My
commandments, as your father David walked …” (I
Kings 3:14; 9:4; 11:4-6; II Kings 22:2; II
Chronicles 7:17; 17:3-4; 34:2-3)
• But, he was not perfect (II Samuel 11:1-12:23) –
even presumptuous on occasion (I Chronicles
13:1-14; 15:1-15; II Samuel 6:1-8)
“WHERE HAVE I EVER
SPOKEN A WORD?”
Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his
house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, “See
now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the
covenant of the LORD is under tent curtains.” Then
Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart,
for God is with you.” But it happened that night that
the word of God came to Nathan, saying, (I
Chronicles 17:1-3; see also: II Samuel 7:1-7)
• Failure of Good Intentions (II Samuel 7:1-2; I
Kings 8:17-19)
• Blind Leading the Blind … Frailty of Men
• Presumption of Favoritism (Acts 10:34-35)
“WHERE HAVE I EVER
SPOKEN A WORD?”
“Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the
LORD: “You shall not build Me a house to dwell in.
For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that
I brought up Israel, even to this day, but have gone
from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
Wherever I have moved about with all Israel, have
I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel,
whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying,
‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ (I
Chronicles 17:4-6)
• God specified a tabernacle (Exodus 25:9-27:21).
“WHERE HAVE I EVER
SPOKEN A WORD?”
“Wherever I have moved about with all Israel,
have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of
Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people,
saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of
cedar?’”’ (I Chronicles 17:6)
• God never specifically prohibited a temple! He
had been silent on building a temple!
• God never pointed to a prohibitive verse.
• God pointed to the absence, the silence of further
positive authority beyond the initial pattern.
• If silence generally permits, then why did God
chastise David with it?
ANSWERING OBJECTIONS #1:
DAVID’S GOOD HEART
“David was commended, not condemned for this
attitude!”
“‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My
name, you did well that it was in your heart.
Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your
son who will come from your body, he shall build the
temple for My name.’” (I Kings 8:18-19)
• David sought God’s glory – not His own (“for My name”)
• Regardless, it was contrary to God’s will
(“Nevertheless, you shall not build the temple”).
• Good intentions do not justify (Matthew 7:21-23)!
• Good intentions may err grossly if they are not “careful”
(“because we did not consult Him about the proper
order”, I Chronicles 15:13)
ANSWERING OBJECTIONS #2:
DAVID’S BLESSING
“David was blessed by God in this context (II Samuel
7:8-17).”
• Blessings justify sins? What about Bathsheba, Uriah,
numbering the people, etc.?
• “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thess.
5:21-22)
• The blessing does not erase God’s correction!
• Neither, David nor God link God’s blessing to David’s
desire.
• Furthermore, David was chosen by God before and
apart from His desire to build the temple (II Samuel
7:8-9; I Samuel 13:14)
• David’s desire to build a house for God was
coincidental, providing the occasion to reveal God
was building David a house.
“WHAT GOD HAS JOINED,
LET NOT MAN SEPARATE …”
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to
Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any
reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not
read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them
male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall
leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and
the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer
two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together,
let not man separate. They said to Him, “Why then did Moses
command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your
hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the
beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:3-8)
• Compare to the Pattern – Genesis 1:27; 2:18-24 – No
prohibiting verse!
ANSWERING OBJECTIONS:
A DIRECT VIOLATION?
“Divorce directly violates command to join or cleave!”
• This assumes the pattern must be observed
indefinitely, because the duration is unspecified!
• Where does God say to be joined for life?
• What keeps a man from being joined to one wife
and then to another and then to another …?
• Parallel to David’s temple and God’s tabernacle …
• The revealed pattern excludes divorce until God
reveals otherwise.
• Jesus’ logic embodies the attitude of respecting
God’s pattern and rejecting authority upon silence!
“HOUSES TO EAT AND DRINK IN?”
Therefore when you come together in one place, it
is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each
one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is
hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have
houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the
church of God and shame those who have nothing?
What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this?
I do not praise you. ... Therefore, my brethren, when
you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if
anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you
come together for judgment. And the rest I will set
in order when I come. (I Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34)
• Paul’s tone indicates they should have known.
• Where did the pattern prohibit eating a common
supper?
“HOUSES TO EAT AND DRINK IN?”
For I received from the Lord that which I also
delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same
night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when
He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat;
this is My body which is broken for you; do this in
remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also
took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the
new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you
drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as
you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim
the Lord's death till He comes. (I Corinthians 11:2326)
• They had already received the pattern, which
excluded other meals by silence!
ANSWERING OBJECTIONS
“The Corinthians exhibited a multitude of problems:
selfishness, divisiveness, drunkenness, etc.”
• These sins are not approved in any location (II
Corinthians 8:13-15; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; I
Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 5:19-21)!
• So, how does relocating the meals solve those
problems?
“The Corinthians were not adding but replacing!”
• Then, why did Paul not add back what was
missing? Why tell them to take it home?!
“Fellowship meals were authorized (Acts 2:42, 46;
20:7, 9; Jude 12)”
• Refer to individual acts of hospitality and the Lord’s
Supper.
OTHER EXAMPLES
• God’s promise to “seed”, singular, not “seeds”,
plural (Galatians 3:15-17; Genesis 22:18) –
Requires addition to misunderstand.
• Jews added commerce to temple’s mission of
payer (Mark 11:15-17; Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah
7:11).
• Nadab and Abihu used “strange fire”, which God
“commanded not” (Leviticus 10:1-3; 16:1-13;
Exodus 30:7-10, 34-38).
• Jesus served as a priest from tribe of Judah, not
Levi (Hebrews 7:11-14).
• … Only need 1 example to disprove that silence
authorizes! … What does 7 prove?
CONCLUSION
• Silence does not authorize, permit, or approve
anything!
• Examples: Instrumental Music, Church Sponsored
Colleges, Church Community Cook-outs, etc.
• Also, silence does not necessarily prohibit!
• Examples: Church Building, PowerPoint, Facebook,
etc.
• Specific aspects of God’s pattern exclude
alternatives.
• Generic aspects of God’s pattern authorize
multiple unspecified options or expediencies.
• Will we be careful and respect God’s expectation
to honor His silence, or will we proceed in haste or
presumption?
PATTERN OF SALVATION? ACTS!
Example
Hear
Believe
Repent
Confess
Baptized
Pentecost
X
X
X
Samaritans
X
X
Eunuch
X
X
Saul (Paul)
X
Cornelius
X
X
X
Lydia
X
X
X
Jailer
X
X
X
Thessalonians
X
Crispus
X
X
X
Ephesians
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

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