Monday, March 30, 2009

AVOIDING LEGALISM AT BOTH EXTREMES

Legalism has always been a problem for man. It's a problem for men who seek to skirt around the Word of God in order to justify sin. They apply their lawyerly skills so that repentance doesn't happen and more people go to heaven. Like it or not, they end up espousing the "sin more that grace may increase" thing even if they don't use the same words. It's called "cheap grace". This is one extreme of legalism. This legalism fails to communicate or grasp what we know that grace does not cover the unrepentant soul.

Legalism is also a problem when men have an unhealthy view of their works and their righteousness by applying stringent rules to behavior not even imagined in Scripture. This is the other extreme of
legalism. It says if you wear the right clothes or if you meticulously tithe down to the smallest of your possessions, you are righteous. It says if you follow the dietary and purification traditions of the Pharisees you will be righteous. It exceeds the boundaries given in the Word of God. This kind of legalism becomes a real problem when the individual preferences are suddenly placed on others who are required to observe the same. God's word calls for Christians to dress modestly, for example, but it can't be established that women must wear dresses or that men must wear suits and ties. Demanding such specifics threatens to be legalistic. We may find it prudent to follow certain cultural norms in areas of dress, but these things cannot be bound as law on individuals. In such areas, the individual has the freedom to make up his or her own mind.

Legalism can crop up in many places. The extremes of too lax or too strict interpretations on God's Word lead to controlling of individuals. Passions can rise, as an example, when the church is making a big decision to purchase property and build a meeting place. The Scriptures say to assemble without clear guidance on exactly where. One thing is for sure though that wherever the church assembled, it had to be a place that wouldn't prohibit normal worship and fellowship. It doesn't matter if the church meets in someone's basement or if the church members pool their resources to purchase land and a meeting place. A primary concern should be that nothing be selected that would hinder the church from accomplishing what God intended when the church assembled.

The first century church was "devoted to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

It is not possible that the first century church would choose to meet where it couldn't do what it was devoted to. One area of concern in the building of buildings has revolved around whether to have a kitchen. This concern arises because of Paul's admonition to eat at home because the Corinthian church was perverting the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11). But Paul did not say that Christians could not eat together. He said they weren't to turn the Lord's Supper into a gluttonous feast. Legalism arises when people decide they can erect a meeting place for worship but not a meeting place for fellowship activities like eating. If the church can build a building, then it can eat in that building. Eating a meal with Christians is appropriate as long as it is not mingled together with the Lord's Supper and the worship. The eating of a meal must be something that is done separate and apart from the worship of God.

I read of a congregation that decided to have a building and one of the members spoke against having a nursery in the building. He said, "Show me in the Scriptures where a nursery is authorized." Someone else said, "It's right next to the verse that authorizes the construction of the building." In jest, another person quoted the following from 1 Corinthians 15: "we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed," (1 Cor. 15:51). Overlooking the fact that the verse is used out of context, it's still funny and maybe best answers the folly of the legalist. Practicality says that if the church is to assemble, there will be diapers to be changed. If the church met in a member's home, would there be authorization for the children to be changed in the home? Of course. So who wants to suggest that the church can build a place where normal Christian activity won't not be allowed? If it were true, it would be the bes argument ever against the church possessing a building for any reason. The church needs to be wise and prudent about the money being spent, which goes without saying. And maybe there isn't money to build an expansive kitchen and dining hall and nursery. Fiscal issues must be considered. But don't try to suggest that these things can be dismissed only on the basis that worship will be made unacceptable. Our own congregation meets four hours a week in a rented building that has many rooms in it. There are two kitchens in the building we rent. There are many bathrooms in it. There is an area where parents can go to to calm noisy children and change diapers. All of this is "legal" Scripturally and does not hinder our spirit and truth worship. The same things could be done if we met in a large home or if we built our own facility and met there.

I want to offer to God worship that is in spirit and truth (John 4:23,24). Indeed, I must. It is the legalists who jeopardize spiritual worship by pushing the extremes of either relaxing the limitations involved in bringing "truth and spirit" worship to God or by pushing the other extreme of unnecessarily placing limits that cannot be justified in Scripture. Both extremes make their traditions and presumptions the law that is bound on the church. The middle ground, is where grace and faith meet, when we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent.

Bringing musical instruments into worship is legalism that misuses God's Law by applying Old Testament patterns to the New Testament. It is essentially no different from the Judaizer who justifies circumcision based on the Old Testament. Or the same legalist turns to the symbolical language of the Revelation letter and insist that the "harps" be narrowly understood as authorization for worship in the New Testament church. These people don't apply the same narrow interpretation to other symbols. The down and dirty is that these people want musical instruments, or they want to be accepting of those who use musical instruments, and so they bring their legalistic skills to interpreting Scripture. It is not legalism to say that the church sings spiritual songs to God and that that is well-pleasing to God. But to authorize more and force it on the church is unadulterated and unabashed legalism. The other extreme of legalism is brought to bear on worship song when rules begin to be made on the simplicity or complexity of the song lyrics. The Scriptures don't give guidelines here beyond calling for "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". If the song is from the 18th century of the 22nd century it does not matter as long as the Scripturalness of the song is given proper attention. This is just one example of this type of extreme legalism, but this kind can be just as destructive and prohibitive to the church accomplishing it's mission.

The person who is led by the Spirit, by a desire to be pleasing to God, will avoid these lawyerly exercises which disguise a failing of the flesh in the individual. The church must avoid both extremes of legalism.
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Legalism is not the strict adherence to God's word

53 comments:

  1. The Old Law says I can play instruments. And the Old Law says you can circumcise. And it says you can burn incense. And it says you can slaughter a lamb. Faith and being led by the Spirit does not permit us to justify our opinions based on Old Law.

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  2. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVOIDING LEGALISM AT BOTH EXTREMES":

    It amazes me that only in the Churches of Christ (Campbelites) that they would engage in discussions about bathrooms (diapers), kitchens, buildings, instruments, etc. When you get hung up on legalism are you not in danger of becoming legalistic? Don't you think you have "lost your first love"? Is not this kind of discussion misguided? This is not the first Blog on legalism. Do you have any idea what our faith is about?

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  3. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVOIDING LEGALISM AT BOTH EXTREMES":


    I agree. The Pharasees got hung up on this kind of thing too--cults too.

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  4. Dear Anonymous, You should know first off that you don't make us "campbellites" by calling us one. A person that knows history knows that these did not start the church of Christ. The father and son were prominent members of the church, but that's all they were. Jesus Christ started the church when 3,000 souls were baptized into Christ in A.D. 33 (let's not argue about the exact date) and they were added to the number of the saved. In the churches of Christ, all we are trying to do is faithfully follow our Lord Jesus. And your barbs against the church that "only in the Churches of Christ" is unfair for as you know there are people who were divisive in the first century church. Romans 14 is an example where the individual liberties threatened the individual liberties of others. Paul said, "The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God." So there have always been these kinds of discussions and I'm sure, if you are honest, you would admit that you have seen similar things in the denominations you have attended.

    And you wonder if I have left my first left. I hope not. I don't think so. I love the Lord Jesus and I love His word. I am imperfect, but thankfully I am able to stand because of His grace (1 John 1:5,6,7,8,9).

    And lastly, getting "hung up on legalism" to use your words seems to be a good thing. Legalism is a real threat to the peace and unity of the Lord's church. I try to speak the truth in love. I try to strike the balance, through prayer and study, and navigate my words and walk so as to stay firmly in God's way. I don't personally feel comfortable, nor do I believe it is wise, to approve of things which God has not authorized. I don't want to authorize the building of a building if it means inhibiting what Christians naturally do: fellowship. And I don't believe it is wise to tell people that they may use musical instruments when I can find no authorization in the New Covenant established by Jesus at the cross. Good day.

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  5. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Dear DM, I do not find issue with churches not using instruments in worship. However, in Revelation (New Testament) the harp which is obviously a musical instrument is mentioned. One could draw a "necessary inference" that since it is a musical instrument that it was used in the worship of God. After all that is the purpose of a harp. Jesus through the Angel delivered this message to John. Again, using the logic of "necessary inference" it is highly unlikely that Jesus would have mentioned the harp, a musical instrument, if it was not acceptable in worship. The point being that if a church of any type wishes not to use instruments, that is certainly within their right to do so. However, the line has been crossed and "extreme legalism" takes hold when a church claims that one's salvation is at risk if he/she uses instruments in worship of God, listen to religious music in his/her homes or cars where instruments are being used. The rationale that Revelation is symbolic and should be discounted for this discussion is irrelevant. The example has been provided and that is what is important. In summary, I have no problem with churches not using instruments; however, attaching salvation to the issue is legalism (man creating a law that God has not commanded). Pharisees were guilty of this. We as New Testament Christians need to be guarded against this kind of behavior. For it is stated in Scripture that we are not to add or detract from God's Word.

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  6. I agree! Christ established the church, not some man who came along the way to make things more suitable for him. As the church we are to strive to obey the scriptures at all costs. Many people today believe that grace covers any amount of sins. This is false. Anyone who is living a sinful life without repentance is not forgiven by God. For example, Mark 10, starting in Vs. 17, talks about how the rich man came to Jesus and wanted to know how he may inherit eternal life. Jesus response was, to obey the commandments. The rich man then tell Jesus that he has obeyed them since childhood. Then, Jesus tells him to give up all he has and come and follow Him. The rich man walked away sad, because he knew that he could not give up his riches. So, does grace cover this mans lack of repentance? No, Jesus told him that in order for him to inherit eternal life, he must give up his possessions. The man walked away very sad because of this.

    Another thing I have found is that people are no longer 'judging' others. The argument is that the Bible says that we cannot judge. The truth is, the Bible tells us that we need to judge, i.e. 1Cor 5. The Bible also tell us that we will be judged with the same standard that we judge others with. These people who say that all judgement is bad, never have any convictions with the Truth. For example, my roommate tells me that he has no problem with people drinking alcohol, and he would never tell anyone not to do it, because it doesn't bother his conscience. He said, "The Bible tells us not to judge." He told me that I am judging other people, and this is wrong! So, he is able to tell me that I am wrong for judging, but not able to tell his friends that they are wrong for drinking! It is completely backwards from what the scriptures say. We are to, teach God's word with a strong conviction, even if this may offend someone.

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  7. Dear Anonymous,
    There is something that you are missing concerning a "necessary inference". There is a difference between an "inference" and a "necessary inference". It is true that some things are implied by God and it is therefore necessary for us to infer. But it does not follow that we always infer correctly, or that our inference is "necessary". You are correct that the word "harp" is used in the Revelation letter but can we "necessarily infer" from that that we can use musical instruments in the worship. Ascertaining the correct inference requires a consideration of more facts that what you considered. It must also be considered that God is particular about the worship we offer. It must not only be offered in the right spirit, but it must also be offered "in truth", which means according to "the truth": "sanctify them in truth, Thy word is truth." And this is not an option, it is an imperative (John 4:23,24). Besides this, we must also consider the admonitions to not add to nor take away from God's Word. The Revelation letter as well as many other places in Scripture warn of dire consequences for doing so. And to ascertain the proper inference on this matter, it must be pointed out that the book of Revelation employs many symbols which are not meant to be taken literally. The incense was prayers of the saints, the scrolls and trumpets and banners and bowls were pronouncements of and the judgements of God. And the harp in question is said to be "voices", not literal harps.

    A "necessary inference" gives authority for what we do. An "inference" as you employ it would also authorize the use an altar of incense in the church. This is not "necessarily inferred". We must not go to far with our inferring because the inference MUST be based on what God implied. It is not even close to possible to think that God is implying that the church may use harps or other instruments. And without a "necessary inference", your authorizing the musical instrument based on the symbols of the Revelation letter is the source of many divisions.

    We must speak where the Bible speaks. We must also be silent when it is silent. For that reason I do not dare authorize or approve of the use of musical instruments.

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  8. "Necessary Inference", Prof. D.R.Dungan
    Dungan says in his book on Hermeneutics that "Inference may be used, if legitimate." On page 91, he writes, "This is done by associating the whole number of things which are known, as to what else was done or said at the time, or in connection therewith...." A "necessary inference" cannot be properly arrived at by leaving out important information.

    Dungan gives a number of examples from the Old Testament where certain things are ascertained by looking at all of the information given on the matter. Now this interesting because by you can determine that Lot followed Abraham into Egypt when Abraham went down from Canaan into Egypt. The Scriptures don't mention it, but it is inferred because the Scriptures do say that "So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him" (Gen. 13:1) According to the facts, we see that Lot went down and followed Abraham into Egypt. That is a "necessary inference".

    When it comes to deciding the worship to offer to God that is pleasing to Him, we must consider:
    1. Is it Old Testament or New Testament worship.
    2. Is it offered to God according to the Truth.
    3. Is it offered to God in the right spirit.
    4. Does it add or take from God's Word.
    5. Is it literal or symbolic.

    Let's look at this one at a time. First. The New Testament is a new covenant and the Old has become obsolete with all of it's ceremony (Read the Hebrews letter, 8:6-13). You have to have a specific instruction from God if something from the Old is to be introduced into the Church. Second and third, John 4:23,24 says God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. If worship is introduced into the Church that cannot be established in the New Covenant, it is not "Truth". And if someone is offered "Truth" worship in the wrong spirit, it is still not pleasing to God. Fourth, singing in the Church does not add to the Word. Partaking of the Lord's Supper does not add to God's word. Taking up a contribution does not add to God's Word. Preaching from the Bible does not add to God's Word. Praying to God through Jesus Christ does not add to God's Word. But to add instruments DOES add. A lamb at the communion table does add. Preaching a Papal bull or human creed as inspired or equal to Scripture does add.

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  9. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Dear DM,
    Check the Greek for harp. It definitely says lyre or harp. It does not say "voices" as you claim. Let me refer to you G2788 of Strong's. Rev. 5:8 and 15:2. I have to accept the Bible on this one. Even if symbolic it is clear that harp means harp in these verses. ". . .the harps of God" is an interesting phrase for a God who does not approve of instrumental music in worship. I think you have to build a much stronger case if you are going to attach salvation to this issue. Otherwise you are adding to God's word. That would be a greater mistake than misinterpreting a so-called "symbolic word" and attaching some sort of meaning other than what the Bible is telling us. Since God accepted instrumental music in the Old Testament as acceptable and he references the use of harps in the New Testament would strongly suggest a "necessary inference". And that inference would be that instrumental music in worship is a none issue. It is clear that God does not forbid the use of instruments in worshop. However, that being said. Worship in "spirit and truth are the operative words here when it comes to worship. The whole argument about the use of instruments is nothing more and a distraction or sideshow to true worship.

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  10. Dear Quintin, you write, "check the Greek for harp". I will and while I am at it I will check the greek for "altar" and "incense". If meaning is literal, then you are correct it means "harp" or "lyre". But if it is symbolic, and you offer at least the posibility that it is, then you are absolutely wrong that it means harp. The word "harp" is then used as a metaphor for something else.

    "2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps." (Rev. 14:2)

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  11. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Dear DM,

    True Rev. 14:2 is not meant to be taken literally since it is a simile. The word "like" gives it away. However, as I stated in a previous response. The discussion regarding whether it is literal or figurative is irrelative. Why would God even use such an figure of speech if He found the use of instruments repugnant? And confuse his people if their salvation was at risk over the issue? I don't put a lot of faith in so-called experts. They are all over the place. Every church has them. They are called theologians, Biblical Scholars, etc. We can certainly learn from their scholarship but only the Bible is the final word. All one has to do is find a so-called expert that agrees with oneself to claim some kind of proof. I put my faith in God's Word not some Greek scholar who has predetermined what God's Word means and then uses his scholarship to prove it--particularly on "squishy" Hermeneutics. To get into a discussion about whether the events of Revelation have already passed or is yet to come has no bearing on this discussion. To determine which verses are literal and which are figurative has little bearing on this discussion. What does have a bearing and is interesting, is that God obviously has no problem with instruments used to accompany religious music or he would not have use the harp in whether metaphorically or otherwise. No fancy Greek interpretation needed. The fact is God does not command us not to use instruments and he has examples of instruments being used in worship in the Bible. Both would tell us that He has no objection. If a church wishes to worship without the use of instruments that is certainly acceptable; however, salvation is not contingent on this issue. It is simply a matter of preference. If churches wish fight over such trivia, they have lost the true meaning of worship and we are back to legalism--man getting caught up in controversies (kitchens, bathrooms, diapers, buildings, etc.) that have little to do with the worship of our Heavenly Father.

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  12. Dear Quintin,
    You ask, "Why would God even use such an figure (of the harp, DM) of speech if He found the use of instruments repugnant?" I suppose you will have to ask Him. He can use whatever figure of speech He pleases. I am not here to answer why God would use it. I do not gather from it that He is authorizing you to play the harp in the church. That is a stretch. Just as I don't gather from His mention of an altar of incense an authorization to rebuild a tabernacle and start burning aromatic powdered fragrances.

    You don't seem to know what you are talking about when it comes to Hermeneutics because it is not a foreign or untested thing. It literally means the "science of interpretation". To deny it and call it "squishy" is to undermine everything you yourself say and to suggest that your own words are not understandable. Please keep this honest. What rules of interpretation do you then employ?

    Now Quintin, you say, "The fact is God does not command us not to use instruments and he has examples of instruments being used in worship in the Bible." God not commanding us not to use instruments is the same as saying that God commands us to use instruments. I know what you are saying, but you are working hard to find an authorization for worshiping with instruments on Sunday. God does not command us to not do many things, but it would be a large list indeed of things God did not command for us not to do. If we authorized, as you are doing with the musical instrument, all of the things which God did not command for us not to do, we would be doing a whole lot of adding to what God did command for us to do.

    I find it much simpler and less confusing to point out that God said to sing. He did not say to use musical instruments. And the church worldwide for many, many centuries did not use musical instruments. In fact, if you read history books, which I do find informative, they point out that the use of musical instruments is a relatively new practice.1
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    1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10657a.htm

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  13. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Dear Dan,

    Thank you for the spirited discussion. I think we have both made our points of view clear and even though those views do not find much common ground, I respect your studied effort to understand God's Word.

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  14. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Dear DM,

    I should mention that Hermeneutics is man's attempt to interpret what is not always apparent to him. The so called Hermeneutics that you speak of is a convention designed to make sense of what is not so apparent. Since man is not infallible and his attempts are often weak and misguided, I would suggest that a better term for Hermeneutics is that of an "art of interpretation" rather than "science". This could explain how men of good faith interpret the Bible using Hermeneutics and come up with opposing points of views. This is not to mean that man should not create conventions to better understand the Word but that he needs to be mindful that there is room for error in his reasoning--a lot of room. This calls for some humility. Therefore, Hermeneutics is "squishy" at best and very "squishy" at that.

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  15. Woops, I thought you were finished. I think you are now repeating yourself. Thanks.

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  16. Anonymous9:25 PM

    Opps. I am. My messages just got switched around. Again, thanks for the discussion.

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  17. Anonymous12:01 AM

    Well, to answer to Anonymous no where in the New Testament are we told not to use instruments but it would be very presumptuous to think that because it doesnt say we cant, then it must mean its okay. Lets pretend I have a daughter and I tell her to go and get me a mars candy bar. She goes to find one and then decides that since I didnt tell her not to get a twix bar, then it must be perfectly acceptable. Wrong. It is just as crazy for you to make the leap and assumption you are. Then you go on to say that we have lost our first love? I strive with every bit of being that I have to live for God and in doing so I am loving Him. We will be obedient when we are truly loving God. In John 14:15 Jesus says,"If you love me, you will keep my commandments". So to finish what I was saying above, it is not commanded that we sing with musical instruments sooooo.....we dont. We do sing because we are commanded to sing. If you want to take that presumptuous leap and argue its fine either way, then you can do that. I am going to do my best to follow the Word of God to the best of my ability. I am not perfect but I will try my hardest not to as you said earlier, add to or take away from the Bible. You said that it is legalistic to say that we cannot have instruments in worship but then what would you say to the instance we see in the Old Testament of Gods specific instructions being ignored. It may not have seemed like a big deal on the surface, just like instruments to you, but to God for Uzzah to reach out and touch the ark made him so angry he struck him dead. WOW. I can picture you back then also saying that it is legalistic for us to say that the ark has to be carried in a certain way and that it can only be carried by certain people. Am I right? In Numbers 4:15 it says that only the sons of Aaron are to touch the holy objects and furnishings and only the sons of Kohath are to carry them and also beyond this they were to carry them on poles. This is a wonderful example of the wonderful and powerful God we serve. We know his will. Will we follow it?

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  18. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Here I thought our discussion was finished. You raised some interesting points. Let's say that your daughter gets you a mars candy bar. She also knows that you really like garlic potato chips so she surprises you and gets you a bag of potato chips as well. Would you be disappointed? You didn't ask for the potato chips. Would you disappoint her by punishing her for trying to please you?

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  19. Dear Quintin,
    I might very well be upset with my child for taking the liberty of spending more money than I asked her to spend. Maybe some parents encourage that kind of independent action by their children, but some people call it insubordination and some people call it rebellion and some call it disrespect of authority. When we are talking about God who has said not to add to God's Word, then it is highly inappropriate. You did not respond to the clear examples from the Old Testament that God is serious about how we approach Him by obeying His Word. The Baptists who "may not see it that way" does not answer the question of what is the right way to see it. Your words so clearly suggest that you don't think the Truth can be arrived at. God is a good communicator. I gave you a fuller picture on the question of eternal security, the position of the Baptists, and all you can say is the "Baptist may not see it that way." Are they right or wrong?

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  20. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Dan,

    You did not say that you gave your daughter the money and she spent more of it. Let's take that analogy a little further. What if she spent your money and got you your mars bar and then she spent some of her own money and got you the potato chips that you did not request, would you punish her?

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  21. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Dan,

    As far as clear examples in the Old Testament, are you refering to the use of instruments in the Old Testaments? That seems to be a clear example of something that was pleasing to God.

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  22. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Dan,
    I don't agree with the Baptist position. However, that is not the point.

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  23. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Weird... you didnt at all respond to the example in the Old Testament I gave. Uzzah was simply trying to help when he reached out to touch the ark...was that so bad? Am I honestly going to be so legalistic that I would say he was justly punished? YES. It was a clear defiance of God's will. ANYTHING other than what we are commanded is adding to the Word of God. If you want to buy the chips...buy the chips. I however love God so I will keep the commandments he has set before me. I think you find great pleasure in sitting on your computer every day fighting with people who are serving God and preaching the Word.

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  24. Quintin, you wrote: "You did not say that you gave your daughter the money and she spent more of it. Let's take that analogy a little further. What if she spent your money and got you your mars bar and then she spent some of her own money and got you the potato chips that you did not request, would you punish her?"

    This analogy has to do with following orders from a parent. An important principle is derived from Jesus’ words: “God is Spirit and those who worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23,24). You and I and our Baptist friends MUST worship according to truth which is in God’s Word (John 17:17). The person’s analogy of the child buying a candy bar makes the point that the obedient child brings to the father what he asks for.

    The Scriptures say "I require obedience, rather than sacrifice" (1 Sam. 15). That is another important concept or principle that you are leaving out (of course, it requires Hermeneutics to understand the import of the words). You are leaving out the equation that God has let us know that He wants what He has asked for and we therefore must offer to God what He has asked for. In human relations we may have some wiggle room, especially when among peers, but when it comes to the relation between a Master and a servant, the servant of the Lord does not get "innovative" because it is presumptuous. Quintin, you can surely see that we are not to add to God's Word. By discounting the usefulness of a very real science, Hermeneutics, and by defending those that use instruments, you have no method, means, manner, program, ability, or anything else that will keep you from adding to the Word. You must ultimately be led by your feelings. This was a point I tried making with you in our past discussions that you mostly fell back on your personal preferences for why you don't like bands in worship. That kind of approach makes it impossible, impossible, impossible (thrice said for emphasis) for you to have unity (except through the Unitarian way which you and I used to marvel over, remember Mankato?). Thanks.

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  25. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Actually that was not Dan. I think its funny how you automatically assumed it was. I happen to read this blog and disagreed with what you said. I will stay anonymous but I am not Dan. Thanks though. Your wisdom is beyond belief. Hope those chips taste really good

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  26. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Great points DM. Some would rather let their "feelings" lead them through life. If so, let them go on their way and quit disturbing everyone else.

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  27. Anonymous7:23 PM

    DM I believe this is a time when we are to shake the dust off our feet and walk away. His heart is hardened to wisdom.

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  28. Quintin Pettigrew4:38 PM

    Dear Anonymous,

    Sorry I mistook you for DM. It is good that you joined in on the discussion—even if we do not agree with each other. Your input is valuable. I am surprised that more have not shared their views. Dan has had 27 postings for this issue and that is good. I wonder what the all time high is. DM does a fine job of “disturbing” other Christians; so it is fitting that there be a counter-point otherwise his audience will certainly be no bigger than those who agree with him. I am not sure that it is an issue of someone having a hard heart. That would seem too simplistic of a response to someone you disagree with. However, if you are concerned that I have the hard heart then so be it.

    I suspect we have about exhausted our little dialogue. Unless you present something more of substance, I will conclude my posting with this summary.

    I have a problem with your standard for interpretation. As I have stated previously, hermeneutics is an art; one in which man is capable of manipulating with an agenda or preconceived notion of what he wants to document as proof. That is why various churches use hermeneutics to prove conclusively that they are right when, in fact, they arrive at different conclusions while interpreting scripture. You cite Professor D. R. Dugan as some sort of authority. He is a member of the Church of Christ. Why should I be so surprised!!!! Interestingly various Churches of Christ cannot come to the same conclusions by using the Church of Christ standard for interpretation (hermeneutics). What does that say about your approach to interpretation? You seem to indicate that those who disagree with you are not being faithful to the Bible. However, since the Church of Christ is the only denomination to declare the use of instruments in worship a sin and grounds for losing one’s salvation, there must be a problem with the approach to interpretation. Don’t you think you should question your approach to interpretation? Maybe that is the root cause for division in your fellowship over so many trivial matters.

    The use of analogies to prove a point is misguided logic. Analogies can be used to illustrate a point but never to provide conclusive proof of anything. The problem is that you can create an analogy to illustrate any point of view. All you need is a little creativity. So I have decided that to debate Mars candy bars, etc. is a distraction, pointless, and proves nothing.

    You have asked in one of your postings why I did not respond to your comments regarding Uzzah. You use the Old Testament when it is to your advantage and discount it when not. When people mention the use of instruments in the Old Testament as something that was pleasing to God, you reply that examples from the Old Testament do not apply to the New Testament Church. However, when you wish to prove a point, you often refer to the Old Testament—as in the case of Uzzah. I find that kind of reasoning troubling, so will not take the bait unless you are willing to be consistent in your use of Scripture.

    You suggested that I am expressing preference rather than letting the Bible speak for itself. When my wife and I joined your church, one of the things we liked was the fact that there were no instruments being used. That was “preference” and on that point you are correct. However, we soon discovered from your teaching that the use of instruments in worship was not a preference but, as you have explained it, “Your salvation is at risk if we use instruments in worship and that means recordings of religious music in the car or in our homes.” No matter how distorted the reasoning is I cannot come to the same conclusion.

    We find that God found the use of instruments in worship in the Old Testament an important part of worship. In fact, he commanded it. We find that in the New Testament—Revelation in particular that He finds the use of instruments (the harp as an example) pleasurable. Check out Revelations 5:8, 15:2, and, of course, the one you called my attention to Revelation 14:2. In these contexts the fact that you want to dismiss these verses as symbolic is irrelevant. I might call your attention to Ephesians 5:19 says "... speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs..." and correspondingly Colossians 3:16 says to, "... admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs." So Paul makes it clear that we are to sing "psalms," but which psalms? Obviously he is referring to the Psalms of David! And many of the Psalms say to worship God with musical instruments—flute, harp, etc. No where in the New Testament does Paul or anyone else say that that part of the Psalms should be disregarded or omitted. The direction is clear on how the Psalms can and should be sung. With overwhelming examples of God’s pleasure with music and the use of instruments to support the singing, your reasoning and teaching is in error. One can certainly consider accompaniment of singing by instrumentation to be an expedient. I have sat through services without instrumentation where the congregation and the song leader could not agree upon the melody or key in which to sing the song. So a piano would have been a great help. Attaching the use of instruments to salvation is adding to God’s Word. Is God’s Word not sufficient?

    On the issue of legalism. I have always been amazed at how a denomination like the Church of Christ can get caught up in the trivia of one cup/many cups, kitchen/no kitchen, bathrooms/no bathrooms (diapers), instruments/no instruments, clapping/no clapping, etc. Again, your mode of interpretation (hermeneutics) should inform the Church, not confuse it. One of my favorites was when a member of the Church of Christ took issue with using PowerPoints in a service. He declared that there was no evidence of the use of PowerPoints in the first century church--a no brainer. That is what legalism leads to. These are the kinds of ridiculous discussions that cause division in the Church. This kind of legalism leads to “works righteousness”. I am also amazed at the number of split-off churches within the denomination of the Churches of Christ. Since every unspoken action is a case for losing one’s salvation, Churches of Christ are splitting over every imaginable issue. You pointed out an unfortunate split in a congregation in one of your blogs titled “Quail Springs and Mark Henderson”. Just think. If that church was not a part of the Churches of Christ and the use of instruments was not a salvation issue, it would not be splitting. The legalism in your denomination is what is causing such controversy and division. The use of instruments is not the cause of division in your churches; the people and their legalist views are the cause. Satan loves division in the church. The approach to Biblical interpretation utilized by the Churches of Christ is intellectually corrupt—not the Bible, but your approach to interpretation. I would not give God credit for that as you did in your blog. Winston Churchill once stated, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Christ wants unity in his church (Ephesians 4:12-13). With so much conflict and division in the Churches of Christ, don’t you think you should revisit your approach to Biblical interpretation? Satan loves division among God’s people. Is Satan at work in the Churches of Christ? Are you letting him work in your church? Your approach to interpretation causes disunity in the church. It causes unnecessary divisions between your church and the other denominations and it causes unnecessary divisions within your denomination. Think about it.

    The title of your article is interesting, “Avoiding Legalism at both Extremes”. It would appear that as long as Legalism is not extreme it is OK. And that is your problem. Legalism (works righteousness) of any kind does not belong in the church. The one thing you and I do agree on is that we do not accept eternal salvation (once saved/always saved) as Biblically supported. However, the pitfall that you have to guard against is that of works righteousness—where we earn our salvation through our own efforts. Legalism is insidious, and without realizing it, leads to works righteousness. It is a slippery slope that you and some of your colleagues have gotten on and don’t seem to be able to get off. The Pharisees let this creep into their teaching. They became self-righteous and judgmental. Are you in danger of becoming a Pharisee? I am deeply concerned about you and the people you lead. As misguided as you are, I do not feel your salvation is as risk.

    “God is Spirit and those who worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23,24). You and I MUST worship according to truth which is in God’s Word (John 17:17). These are good verses to keep in mind.”

    Since your approach to Scripture is highly suspect, let me suggest that you spend more time on God’s grace, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and our relationship with the living God along with God’s expectations of us and some application. The Gospel message is the Good News. How about the Good News? We don’t hear much of that from you.. Your blog, preaching on Sunday mornings, teaching on Wednesday evenings primarily focus on what people need to do to maintain their salvation—everyone seems to be concerned that they will lose their salvation if they do not follow all of those man made laws that you have created through your special interpretation. And, of course, why everyone else who does not agree with you are wrong and as you put it are not Christians—doomed. Law is important but a better balance would certainly do more to win the hearts of men and women. I don’t expect to change your mind; however, I do wish to point out the error in your teaching.

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  29. Hi Quintin,
    I don't say this to be offensive, but it seems that you just like to argue. I say this because in one comment defend those who "I don't think they would see it that way" use their hermeneutic to arrive at the doctrine of perseverance. And then in another comment you admit that you don't believe their position. Well, that is inconsistent because you implied that their position was just a legitimate as mine. And to say in your opening comment that we are in danger of being legalistic because we are hung up on legalism simply makes no sense. If my blog is about avoiding legalism, the extremes, how does that place me in danger of being legalistic? Very strange.

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  30. Quintin Pettigrew11:01 PM

    Well, your last posting does not make sense. Obviously you do not understand the difference between a discussion when someone does not agree with your position and an argument. You do not need to post this.

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  31. Quintin Pettigrew8:26 AM

    Dan,

    I am not surprised that you did not publish my summary. I think it got a little too close to the truth for you to accept. And you certainly would not want others to see it. So I am fine with it not being published. It was more for your information than anything else. Hopefully some day you will take a critical look at how you reason and interpret the Bible so the message that God wants His people to have is not filtered through man's feable attempt to put his spin on it and call it truth. Thank you for the dialogue. There is no need to publish this message.

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  32. Whoa Anonymous. Give me a chance to check my comments moderation page. I posted your comments. Although it's nothing new, I posted it. Let's let the readers decide.

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  33. Quintin Pettigrew8:46 AM

    Dan,

    I like your sense of humor.

    You do not need to publish this.

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  34. Quintin Pettigrew8:58 AM

    I see it. You do not have to post this.

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  35. [COPY AND PASTED RM COMMENTS FROM "HERMENEUTICS...DUNGAN" POST, DM]

    RM said...
    Anonymous,

    You said, "Regarding Hermeneutics. The Church of Christ does not believe in eternal salvation."

    You are incorrect. The churches of Christ certainly do believe in eternal salvation. I've never heard of one that doesn't. However, it sounds like you probably have an incorrect definition of the terms.

    You continued, "I listened to the teaching and rationale behind this teaching by the use of Hermeneutics. They base their position on the Greek logic called Hermeneutics."

    Concerning "Hermeneutics" the word is a derivative of the Greek mythological character, "Hermes,"(Mercury) the messenger of the gods and the interpreter of Zeus (Jupiter). He was said to make things clear. Through the years there have been a number of Bible scholars who have taken the time and effort to set forth, in writing, a systematic approach to the study and interpretation of the Scriptures. Actually, there are a variety of different hermeneutical approaches as you seem to alude to later. It is not something "owned" by the churches of Christ.

    The churches of Christ do not hold their positions on Scripture based on any man's hermeneutics. Instead they hold to a certain hermeneutic based on the position of the Scriptures. The Bible is THE guide to forming a proper hermeneutic.

    You continued, "I have visited a Baptist church and they believe in enteral salvation. I listened to the Baptist preacher lay out his position by using Hermeneutics. Even the Greeks did not agree on the definition and use of Hermeneutics. There was more than one school of thought regarding this approach to logic. So even Dugan's discussion is suspect. Thanks for the authority but I have to question his orientation and his agenda as well."

    You need to know that not all Baptists agree on the concept of eternal salvation. Your brush in this case is too broad.

    And concerning Dungan (Not Dugan), you may certainly question his orientation, or agenda, or however you put it. But that is really a waste of your time. His works stands on its own merits, and you are additionally in no position to question his agenda. You are not God and do not know his heart. And since he has long passed away you cannot ask him.

    Read his book all the way through and then see if you are able to biblically disagree with any of it. Perhaps you can then come back here for a worthy discussion.

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  36. Quintin Pettigrew12:24 PM

    My mistake. The terms should have read eternal security not eternal salvation. However, I did define it in parenthesis (once saved, always saved).

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  37. Anonymous11:08 PM

    DM
    I appreciate your definition of legalism in your article. I think you made a good distinction between legalism and following the authority of God. As I read your article I was immediately reminded of John chapter 5 when Jesus healed the man who was born paralyzed. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath and asked him to pick up his mat and walk.

    Jesus did not break the Law when he said, “pick up your mat” but rather he broke laws made by man meant to keep one from breaking the Law of God. The issue in this instance was not should a man carry a burden (pick up a mat) on the Sabbath. Jesus attacked the Pharisees legalism in placing burdens on man that were not necessary from God’s Law. Much like if the speed limit is 45 mph a person may choose to stay 5 under in order to not break the law. However, it would be unreasonable for a driver to receive a speeding ticket for 45 in a 45 just because one person feels they should do 40.

    So not to exhaust that idea I will move on. Later in chapter 5 because the legalistic Pharisees questioned Jesus authority for doing and saying the things that he did Jesus claimed no authority of his own. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, the son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the father doing (John 5:19).” Jesus was not saying it is acceptable to break any of Gods commands. In fact, not even the Son of God was exempt from following his Laws. Jesus shows us that legalism is sinful but submitting to the authority of scripture is vital to ones salvation. To go back to the example, don’t go 46 in a 45.

    I have seen the argument here on your blog in regards to a cappella singing. My advice would be not to jump directly into the name calling of legalistic or not but rather discuss and study the word together before coming to conclusions. The Bible gives the New Testament Church specific commands to sing. To echo several of the other comments posted, when God gives a specific command on how to do something, all other options are excluded (regardless of man’s intentions). Just like the example in John 5 the right motive does not always make something right. Scripture tells us what is right and what is not.

    Christ shows us how important it is to submit to God’s authority which keeps us from being both legalistic and lawless.

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  38. A very wise teacher once told me that extremes are always dangerous.

    Legalism is found on the two extremes, at two ends of the spectrum of obedience to God. On one end is a religious but lawless spirit that won't take a stand against error and at the other end of the spectrum is the religious person who binds rules of conduct and ideas. The first groups sees much liberty behind the specific directions in the Bible. "The Bible doesn't say you can't" is their logic. The second group argues from the general to the specific. "God said to be modest, therefore you must wear a dress" is an example of this. But there is a happy place in the middle where we just do God's word and with all of our spirit we seek to serve and please him. See, we really do understand and greatly appreciate God's saving grace.

    The man who has been debating on this post doesn't understand these things. Bringing an instrument in the church is not commanded. There is no example of the church using it. The church was given specific instructions about the kind of music to bring to God. There is no way that musical instruments can be justified. At best, they are a conscience defiling and church splitting annoyance. At worst, they are a full-blown addition to God's word. I believe it is the second, but regardless, loving, caring, faithful Believers would not justify the introduction of these things into the church.

    The Biblical, non-legalistic approach is in the happy middle, away from the extremes. The moment someone begins approving opinions (As when they say, "I approve of it, there's nothing wrong with having instruments.") or the moment someone begins binding where God has not bound, at that moment you are no longer in the middle. Otherwise, all obedience to Christ would be construed as legalism. Thank you again.

    I think maybe we have too many anonymous persons and maybe each anonymous person assign themself an alias, initials maybe, that way we can designate more accurately which one we are responding to. Thanks so much for your great illustration.

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  39. Quintin Pettigrew5:32 PM

    Hi Dan, Thank you for the spirited discussion. I am impressed after all the criticism that you level against other Christian denominations that you were open to a challenge on the way you interpret the Bible. Please thank the anonymous members of the Owatonna Church for their contributions. It was good to hear from them.

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  40. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Dear Quintin,
    You seem like a nice disruptive person. I have loved debating with you. I have one thing to say about your response where you referred to what I said about Uzzah. I was only making the observation that God is very specific and wants things done his way. I was not suggesting we follow the Old Testament and its laws but I was merely pointing out the characteristics of our unchanging God. Thank you. You are one bright fellow.

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  41. Quintin Pettigrew11:12 AM

    Dear Anonymous,

    What do you mean by disruptive?

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  42. Anonymous8:52 PM

    disruptive

    adjective
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination;

    That is the dictionary definition. I mean that your heart is hardened and you are not open to truth yet you continue to be DISRUPTIVE on the site of a man who is speaking the Truth alone. You dont quit. What exactly are you hoping to accomplish? The Word of God does not change and will not change no matter how much you want it to. I cant understand why you are so interested in spending your time arguing. Its obvious you do not agree and are not open to truth. Arguing is exhausting so I cant see why you like it. I guess you are kind of like a leech who will probably not let go ever. I feel sorry for the poor man who has to answer all of your argumentative statements.

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  43. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for coming to my aid. It is tiring. But not as tiring as when a person like this disrupts Bible classes and the like. Quintin must know that you are not contradicting yourself as if you pick and choose which Old Testament you use. This is the argumentative side that chooses to ignore the obvious that principles these principles are timeless. The old Law has become obsolete, but the principles are timeless. Not since the time that Cain offered a sacrifice to God that was displeasing to the present has this principle been obsolete. We must offered to God the worship He prescribes and we do it in a right spirit - spirit and truth (John 4:23,24). Quintin is bright enough to know this, but something else is getting in the way of him being honest. To liken your appeal to the principle being taught to us through Uzzah to someone that appeal to the Old Testament for authorization to use instruments is like comparing the proverbial apples to oranges. Most people know better. Thanks again.

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  44. Quintin Pettigrew10:53 AM

    Dear DM and Anonymous,

    Thank you for your kind words. I think it is always beneficial for Christians to discuss God's Word and how it applies to their daily lives. We may not always be in agreement but such discussions are beneficial--even in Bible classes. These kinds of discussions keep us from straying from God's Word and hopefully enlighten those who read them. From your postings, it is obvious that you have enjoyed the exchange as well.

    Thank you again for the stimulating discussion. Hopefully, I will find another one of your postings for us to visit about. Keep up the good work.

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  45. Dear Quintin, "Even in Bible classes"? No, the things you have been DEFENDING here are not beneficial in Bible classes of the church of our Lord Jesus. It's one thing to discuss their validity, but to settle on such opinions as there is no one valid hermeneutic is not beneficial. To settle on the position that God doesn't care if we play harps is not beneficial in the church class. To suggest that the preacher may be a legalist or that the church is legalistic or to settle on the opinion that the church is somehow a creation of Alexander Campbell is not beneficial in the church classroom. That last part is a deception and intended only to prejudice people against us. No Sir. The level of our disagreements are not healthy "in the classroom". Some people have even left the church because they couldn't stand these kinds of disagreements in the classroom.
    Thanks again.

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  46. Anonymous6:54 AM

    From Wisconsin:

    If (according to Quintin) God finds instrumental music so "pleasurable," and if (according to Quintin) Paul commanded the use of instruments by using the word "psalms" in Ephesians 5:19, then it seems that each individual Christian absolutely positively must use an instrument at least once during each worship service in order to be pleasing to God. Thus, those of us who simply choose to sing are living and worshiping in open rebellion to God and are denying God something that He finds "pleasurable." However, Quintin also says, "If a church wishes to worship without the use of instruments that is certainly acceptable." This seems contradictory to me.

    And concerning the term "legalist," have I missed something, or is the term never used in the Bible? I couldn't find it. So, in the absence of being able to look up a Greek word and examine it in context, we are left with looking it up in a modern dictionary, "One who practices or advocates strict conformity to law." Other definitions are also given, but when it comes to God's law, this has always seemed like a good thing--to practice or advocate strict conformity to God's word. Using this definition, I am proud to be a legalist. Is it possible to be too dedicated to conforming to God's will?

    Thank you, Dan, for a great study.

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  47. Anonymous11:03 AM

    When I was little, once there was a little boy following me around and being a pest. My parents heard me whisper under my breath, "The devil is after me". It was funny then and somehow that phrase popped into my head as I read Quitin's last part of his statement, "Hopefully, I will find another one of your postings for us to visit about. Keep up the good work". I thought maybe he would quit. No Quitin, trying to make the word of God a dry erase board where you can add and take away whenever you want, it not in ANY way beneficial in a Bible class or in a discussion board. NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO, You cannot change the word of God. One day, you will see. Until then, DM you have got a job cut out for you.

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  48. Dear Wisconsin,
    Thanks. Excellent points. I appreciate hearing from you.
    Dan

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  49. Quintin Pettigrew3:25 PM

    Dear Mr. Dan and Mr. Anonymous (the one who called me a leech),

    You have never answered my questions.

    1. The Baptist Church and others use hermeneutics to interpret the Bible also. And so does the Church of Christ. So why the difference in interpretation of the Bible?

    2. In the denomination of the Churches of Christ use hermeneutics; however, they end up fighting over trivial matters (such as: bathrooms, kitchens, one/many cups, instruments, clapping, PowerPoints, etc., etc., etc.). Salvation is then attached to the issues in order to enforce compliance of its members (legalism to the extreme). So why the difference in interpretation if hermeneutics is the final solution to correct interpretation? Why are the Churches of Christ fighting over proper interpretation? Why is there not unanimity in the Churches of Christ as commanded in the Bible?

    If in the end you do not consider the Bible to be readable enough to understand and hermeneutic is little or no help since not everyone can agree upon its application, did it ever occur to you that maybe your interpretation is questionable and open for discussion? You must admit that it is a bit far out.

    A real Bible class or study is one in which participants read and study the Bible, then meet and have thoughtful discussions about what the Word says. However, a Bible class in which discussion is discouraged and that the leader has all of the answers, begins to look more like a cult than a true church. God's Word is meant for everyone to read and understand without having the teacher's intepretation forced on them with little or no discussion. So, I don't think anyone leaves a church because of thoughtful discussion over Biblical passages but more likely because of questionable theology.

    I am always amazed at people who are quick to criticize other faiths for the way they interpret the Bible; but are so "thin skinned" that they become offended and cannot handle it when their approach to interpretation is questioned.

    3. What do you say Mr. Anonymous and Mr. Dan?

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  50. Dear Quintin,
    In the following I do not answer for your benefit so much as for others who read this. I have answered these things already. You still don’t have an explanation from me for "why the difference in interpretation" between churches of Christ and Baptist? Quintin, you know that there are many reasons for this. Your Socratic method includes asking the questions that have many answers, but you can’t seem to settle on one except when it comes to us - we are like a cult. The hermeneutic rule that you called "squishy", the only one that I called on from Dungan (you argue with the fallacy of prejudicing instead of dealing with the argument) that said that correct understanding requires "associating the whole number of things which are known." From that you decided to become the expert that dismisses hermeneutics altogether - it’s all rather “squishy”, don’t you know? I pointed out to you that the Baptist do not consider everything when formulating their doctrine of eternal security. But you ignored that even though you admitted that you don't agree with them on that point. If you don’t agree with them, and you don’t rely on “squishy” hermeneutics, I suppose you base it on feelings or something else. But the answer is obvious that personality and human weakness can also explain some of the differences. But on the technical side, there is clearly information that is not being considered by our Baptist friends. Maybe you could go back and read before suggesting that you were not answered.

    Second, you ask why is there not unanimity in the churches? You do not know it but you are arguing once again against God and His Word. I say this because your approval of denominations of all stripes (while rejecting the church where you were Baptized for the remission of sins) implies that you don’t believe that proper interpretation and unity is not a salvation issue. This clearly puts you at odds with the Word of God. Jesus prayed for unity and intends for us to work hard for unity (Ephesians 4:2,3; John 17:20,21). That is God's desire and the Word/Truth is the only thing that can bring the unity. While you have withdrawn from the church, excluded yourself from unity with us, you accept so many others. We are guilty with wrestling and struggling to rightly understand God's Word because we believe He expects us to. Is this not clearly a holy exercise of our faith? I suppose some faithless people might engage in hard study, but that is another story. What, do you exclude yourself from the same exercise? Do you not wrestle to understand? Do you see yourself and the group where you now worship as being above these petty things? And if you are not all fully unified, then you indict yourself of the same thing you charge us with. Ha. Where you have decided to worship, you certainly don't mean to suggest that there are no disagreements? If you do, I doubt your sincerity or you simply don't know them. But if not, if they do in fact have their disagreements, then you must disqualify them from being the church and continue your search. I mean, if your standard of measure is that there must be perfect unity among all of the members, then you must depart from them as well.

    We don't have perfect unity in the local congregation. But there is no room for disagreement on how to be saved or how to worship. If a person doesn’t believe what the Bible says on these issues, then he has no right to teach and contradict what the Bible says - round table or not.

    And you are back on the "cult" thing again. Why? Because of the Bible class format? You think that you know the right format? You say that because there is a teacher at the head of the class and there are students facing him that that is not a proper format for a Bible class? For you to say that is not a "real Bible class" is only opinion. To feel that you have the only right way gives us something Pharisaical to discuss. You like to think that there is more open discussion by your format. You put great stock in your Socratic, Greek format do you not? Oh yes I do recall the endless questions without ever coming to a definite answer. The right format ought to at some point settle on what the Bible actually says, don’t you think? And the correct interpretation automatically excludes the doctrines and churches that contradict it. I don't think you know the only "real Bible class". Our Bible class teacher teaches the truth and invites comments; and there are comments and questions. But because the format isn't what you define as Biblical you call the church a cult? Oh my goodness. God will be the judge. But if you call a cult those who are the washed in the blood people, then you will have something to answer for. You and your friend who implied we are a cult have bandied the "cult" word around enough. You do not know that there is not one “anonymous” person from this congregation that is responding to you, but there are many. And these are people of conviction who know the Truth. We love Jesus Christ. We understand and appreciate His grace. We are people of faith who do NOT believe in "works salvation". We do believe in a faith that works. Something your denominational friends do not always understand especially in regards to being saved. We don’t think we are perfect, but we believe we are made perfect.

    Bathrooms and kitchens are not an issue in the local church in Owatonna and you know that. You like to read the criticisms against the church where the issues have arisen from time to time. How do we get tagged with disunity when you brought these things up? My article was only a reaffirmation to stay firmly in the Bible and avoid these things. I wrote this exhortation because we are talking about land and a building. I do what a faithful teacher does to cut off the problem before it arises. Ultimately, the Word of God wins out and it causes great unity among Believers. Despite your protests, the local congregation in Owatonna enjoys wonderful unity and fellowship. I suppose it is your own judgmental tendency that came out when we attended the Freed-Hardeman lectures and focused on a few people that spoke about issues when I was able to marvel at being in the presence of a couple of thousand people who were my fellow Believers. All of the wonderful unity there among churches that are completely autonomous. Only the Word of God could do that. No sir, when you were Baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you were not baptized into a cult. Quintin, you were lovingly taught by a faithful member of the church. But you became his critic because of his class format? It was such a big issue to you that the so called cult church completely reorganized the format for you. You come off as being a little petty on this. I challenge you to prove there is a legalistic bone in that man’s body (the one who originally taught you). You learned and you obeyed. And then it was you, not us, who became antagonistic when we taught that singing was the only authorized worship and when we would not give our blessing to others that used musical instruments. You really need to step back and see who brought the disunity.

    All of that said, I had good times with you and your lovely wife. I really did. You did some good and I thank you for that. I do wish you well and pray that you will come to your senses. Did you find the church where you can play the harp, you know the musical instrument that you think God authorized?

    Dan M

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  51. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Legalism....this blog...nuf said.

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  52. I prefer to be Legal, you prefer to be Illegal. Thanks for the input "anonymous".

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  53. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Leave Quintin alone - he's done good work for years - maybe not in the way you would see fit. Think Julia Child... on steroids. He's probably learned to open his mind a bit.

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