As We Begin

Let me say how much I appreciate Jay Guin inviting me to participate in this discussion and hope others will find it useful.

I have known Jay for a while and, though we do not agree on some issues, he has always been kind and gracious in his dealings with me. I have recently made the acquaintance of Todd Deaver and have appreciated having the opportunity to learn more of his perspective on the brotherhood. Phil Sanders and I are old friends and fellow travelers along a common path. I am grateful to have the opportunity to interact with each of these talented men.

It would be good to place on the table that each of the men involved in this discussion is speaking only for himself, although we each reflect perspectives shared by others. It would not, for example, be fair to hold Phil accountable for my comments or to hold Todd accountable for what Jay writes.

As I see it, the four of us have the following points of agreement:

First, we are agreed that God has spoken authoritatively in Scripture and that the Bible is a reliable and sufficient source for Christian teaching.

Second, we are agreed that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and that salvation is only in Jesus Christ.

Third, we are agreed that the grace of God only saves those who receive it in penitent faith.

Fourth, we are agreed that those Christians who lose their faith in Jesus are no longer saved.

Fifth, we are agreed that those Christians who rebel against the Lordship of Jesus (described in Heb 10:26ff — deliberately continuing to sin) are no longer saved.

And, as I see it, we have the following points of disagreement:

First, we disagree as to the way in which doctrinal error places one outside of the grace of God.

Second, we disagree as to the extent to which Christian fellowship should be extended to those who are in doctrinal error.

Neither of these lists are intended to be exhaustive. We disagree, for example, on the specifics of how to deal with divorce and remarriage and on the Regulative Principle of Biblical authority, among many other issues. We also have other important areas of agreement, such as the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit within Christians, or the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ, among many other truths. However, I believe the seven points of agreement/disagreement noted above serve as a good starting point for our dialogue.

Offered for public consideration in the hope of better mutual understanding,

GATidwell

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67 Comments on “As We Begin”

  1. Jason Coriell Says:

    It is my hope that as this dialogue commences the participants will incorporate in their statements some references to their respective continuity or discontinuity with the flow of Stone-Campbell history. All of us bear the indelible imprint of Alexander Campbell’s thinking. It seems that the conversation must, at least, begin with him.

    Campbell’s approach to Scripture involved two very important concepts. One, being the acceptance of the 3 dispensations of history (think: Jule Miller’s Visualized Bible Study Series). Which has bequeathed to us an intense focus on Acts – Revelation in our processing of Scripture’s message. Secondly, is Campbell’s unswerving faith in REASON. Campbell believed that the Christian Age Scriptures could be reduced to objective facts and concepts/principles, which could in turn, be universally apprehended by Bible students who utilized a sound, common-sense hermeneutic. Campbell did not arrive at these conclusion in a vaccuum. He drank deeply from Enlightenment wells. He was very open about his appreciation for the philosophies of thinkers such as John Locke and Francis Bacon.

    I see the fellowship debate as predicated on tradition values/assumptions that we have enherited from Campbell, who in turn formulated them in the dramatic context of the Enlightenment.

    I’m at a loss to understand how we can speak of a NT Pattern if we don’t affirm Alexander Campbell’s Enlightenment framework (especially the second point mentioned above). If we do affirm Campbell’s outlook, then why have we not experienced better results, with regard to universal apprehension and unity?

    Again, I hope those involved with this discussion will address the issues with reference to our history.

    Thanks


  2. […] GraceConversation Posted on April 1, 2009 by Jay Guin Greg Tidwell has just posted a statement of agreed principles, “As We Begin.” […]

  3. Royce Says:

    I, unlike Jason, would like to see a civil discussion where only the Bible, lots of Bible, not just “proof texts” are used by both sides using NO extrabiblical material.

    It is clear that two opposite views are not both true. The result is that someone is wrong. Perhaps one reason error/ignorance is alive and well is that Restoration founders have been relied on too heavily.

    Thanks Jay for allowing us to listen in.

    Royce

  4. Robert Baty Says:

    Royce,

    Don’t forget, two opposing views just might both be wrong!

    I don’t mind the “extrabiblical” material.

    If we are going to listen to Jay, Greg, Phil & Todd, why get huffy about what others might have had to say about it.

    As a judge might say, “I’ll allow it for what its worth”.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  5. rhbrandon Says:

    Just be aware that there are terms here which have not been properly defined such as “authoritatively,” “reliable and sufficient,” “penitent faith,” “deliberately continue to sin,” and “doctrinal error,” among them.

    It is important to understand where those who are participating in these discussions are coming from. Definitions can be used to exclude as well as include: a problem confronted by the early church at the Jerusalem conference when one group of believers was prepared to limit fellowship because the scriptures were “reliable and sufficient” and had spoken “authoritatively” that those who were Christians and not circumcised did not have “penitent faith,” “deliberately continued to sin,” and embraced “doctrinal error.”

    We all know how that worked out.

  6. Alan Says:

    Here’s another Enlightenment voice saying the same thing:

    “There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion. It can be build up as an exact science by the reasoner” — Sherlock Holmes in The Naval Treaty

    John Locke attempted to do exactly that in The Reasonableness of Christianity.

    Leroy Garrett wrote the following interesting comments about Campbell and Locke:

    One reason John Locke is one of my heroes of history is that he had such a salutary influence upon Alexander Campbell and the movement he launched for the unity of all Christians. Campbell not only spoke of him with great appreciation but also referred to him as “the Christian philosopher.” Locke deserves the accolade, not only because he was committed to Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of all true philosophy, but also because he used his great talents to defend those who were persecuted by the Church of England, Locke’s own church, for their dissident views. He dared to name toleration as “the chief characteristic mark of the true Church” at a time when the Anglican church was most intolerant. He told his own church that it was more tolerant of whoredom, fraud, and malice than of conscientious dissent. That kind of talk was enough to gain the admiration of Alexander Campbell.

    It is interesting that these two leading figures in applying enlightenment era philosophy to the scriptures agreed that toleration of conscientious dissent was an identifying mark of the church. I think they were right about that.


  7. The two points which Greg highlights as points of disagreement are certainly very important.

    And to those points, I’m anxious to here from the group about examples where Jesus withdrew his fellowship from anyone based upon what they believed. Or, for that matter where any of the apostles withdrew fellowship based upon belief.

    Personally, my fundamental problem with accusing someone of “deliberately continuing to sin”, in spite of professed faith in Jesus, is the level of judgement which is required. How can anyone claim to know the heart of another? And who, but God can properly judge another’s intent?

  8. Alan Says:

    Royce, I agree with your underlying point that the scriptures are the source of the answer to the disagreement. But I also think it is relevant to consider our methods for understanding the scriptures, which brings us to the question of enlightenment philosophy. At least, the discussion needs to address the fact that CENI hermeneutics and the Regulative Principle embody enlightenment philosophy. Our entire approach to scripture is saturated with philosophies that did not originate in the scriptures. That is certainly relevant to the discussion.

  9. Royce Says:

    Alan,

    Which two fellows will begin the discussion by admitting to employing a flawed hermeneutic?

    In my view a good place to begin would be for all parties to do an intense study of the doctrine of Justification. Both sides are evidently in agreement that what Jesus accomplished for sinners is not sufficient to fully satisfy the Father’s demands of righteousness and justice.

    Those who live a sinful lifestyle are not saved and those sins are clearly defined in the Scriptures. They are not drawn from what the Bible does not say. Our common faith in Jesus is what makes us one, not conformity to doctrine and worship styles.

    Royce

  10. Alan Says:

    Royce, I think the differences in conclusions of the two sides can be shown to originate in differences of hermeneutic. If so, then a discussion of the hermeneutics used is a central issue (perhaps THE central issue) to be discussed.

  11. Jason Coriell Says:

    In referencing Stone-Campbell history, I certainly am not suggesting that our focus should be turned away from the Bible as our ultimate guide in knowing God and His will. I am contending that no reader of Scripture reads objectively. I am not advocating an extreme view of truth as relative, but I am suggesting that you and I cannot access truth objectively. We each bring to the quest for understanding a great deal of baggage.

    Hence, it is imperative to lay that baggage out in the open light. N.T. Wright in The Last Word, writes, “Anyone who has worked with biblical scholarship knows, or ought to know, that we biblical scholars come to the text with just as many interpretive strategies and expectations as anyone else, and that integrity consists of not having no presuppositions but of being aware of what one’s presuppositions are and of the obligation to listen and interact with those who have different ones.’

    I am asking for an “awareness of our presuppositions” to be a factor in this dialogue.

    Campbell’s assertion that Scripture could be divided and reduced to objective facts/principles/concepts that could be universally apprehended, given the utilization of a sound, common-sense hermeneutic, is foundational to the identity of Churches of Christ.

    I am not claiming to have this figured out. I am seeking constructive dialogue regarding such matters. The typical discussion in Churches of Christ regarding the issues being addressed on this blog do not incorporate serious reflection on the foundation assumptions that undergird the debate. Also, the typical discussion generally tires-out with endless nuancing of the usual Scriptural references, interpreted by means of the same (though rarely acknowledged) interpretive assumptions.


  12. One interesting point, I think worth noting, is that God certainly intended to provide a path to salvation for everyone. Which, if nothing else, means that one should not need to be an intellectual to properly comprehend what is necessary for salvation.

    With that said, I do enjoy conversations such as this, but I also try to keep it in the proper perspective.

  13. Royce Says:

    David,

    I agree. John 3:15-19. It doesn’t take a seminary degree to understand the most important things in the Bible.

    Royce

  14. Robert Baty Says:

    David,

    One does need, however, to exercise his intellect to comprehend such way of salvation, right?

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty


  15. Sure, but if I may say it in the vernacular, salvation is also for the stupid, not just the intelligent.

  16. philsanders Says:

    Royce,
    I could not agree more. I am not a Campbellite or a Stonite or a Restorationist, though I admire Campbell and I believe in restoring truth and righteousness.

    I am a Christian, devoted to the one Lord of my life, Jesus the Son of God. Neither Campbell nor Stone had holes in their hands for my sins. Neither had inerrant judgment. The Lord sacrificed himself for me, and God raised him from the dead. He is Lord, my Lord. His Word must be respected.

    phil

  17. Weldon Says:

    If I may say it in the vernacular, salvation is also for the stupid, not just the intelligent.

    David, that was as hilarious as it was poignant.

  18. Alan Says:

    The relevance of Campbell and others from our past is not that they were necessarily right about everything. Instead it is that many of the guiding principles which shape our doctrine came from these fallible men (and not from scripture itself.) Recognizing that one fact should give us the humility to acknowledge that we may have arrived at a few incorrect conclusions along the way.

  19. H. Clay McCool jr Says:

    Phil Amen my brother.

    Neither am I of Campbell all though I’m sure he was a wonderful “uninspired” man.

    I’m thinking the Christ is who I follow and the “word” is my guide.

    On this CENI thing.

    I am dumbfounded that I ever accepted that:

    Examples produce commands from the word.

    Seems to this layman, that only commands
    can produce mandentory examples.

    Well that is if we do not go beyound what’s written.

    Clay

  20. H. Clay McCool jr Says:

    Let me clarify something on my previous post to Jay concerning CENI

    If we could just grasp this one simple point!

    Commands Produce Examples.

    Examples do not produce Commands.

    An example w/o a command is nothing more than history and followers practicing their freedom in Christ.

    Example: Sunday assembly is done so in freedom and not under law.


  21. Ok. I want to know what happened to Greg’s bow tie?? 🙂

  22. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    Bobby;

    I am so glad you have joined us and hope you will comment on the various posts.

    I think of you as a special friend, and am grieved that we are not on the same page on the issues which are dividing the Churches of Christ.

    You are one of a handful of friends for whom I pray regularly, and to whom I feel I can turn in any circumstance.

    –Greg


  23. Excellent reminder

  24. Robert Baty Says:

    Hilarious? Poignant?

    Intellectual = Intelligent

    Intellect = Intelligence

    Your “stupid” folk have to exercise their intellect/intelligence if they are to be saved.

    Or do they?

    Maybe we need to find a “stupid” candidate to straighten Greg, Phil, Todd and Jay out regarding their problems in the proposed discussion?

    Oh wait, I’ve already tried that and it doesn’t appear anyone is listening to me. :o)

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  25. Gene Wright Says:

    Greg, making a comment at 4:59am is really an indication that you need more sleep. 🙂

    I am surprised that no common statement was made about “inerrancy.”

    Could the 4 of you men not agree that the Bible is inerrant?

  26. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    Gene;

    Inerrancy is one of the issues pulling the brotherhood apart. Many of the progressive academicians have openly dismissed the concept, while others would prefer merely not to talk about it.

    As one of my favorite graduate professors noted, if the Bible is the word of God then it is true for God does not lie, nor does God make mistakes.

  27. Royce Says:

    Gregory,

    would you name on progressive church of Christ preacher who openly says he doesn’t believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures? Or, can you name one?

    Inerrancy does not include what the Bible does not say.

    Royce

  28. Alan Says:

    Just as progressives shouldn’t attribute every position of every “conservative” to Greg and Phil, neither should every position of every “progressive” be attributed to Jay and Todd. Based on what I’ve read from these two men (quite a substantial bit, actually) I doubt that inerrancy will be an area of substantial dispute. Of course it would be better for all of the us to hear that from them directly.


  29. […] on fellowship issues at http://graceconversation.com. Greg’s first contribution is here. Phil’s is here. Todd’s first entry is […]

  30. Matt Clifton Says:

    Alan,

    I think the differences in conclusions of the two sides can be shown to originate in differences of hermeneutic. If so, then a discussion of the hermeneutics used is a central issue (perhaps THE central issue) to be discussed.

    We definitely have our differences in understanding the scriptures, but on this point we agree.

    God bless,

    Matt

  31. Matt Clifton Says:

    Phil,

    Amen. May God be with you in this discussion, and the other participants as well.

    Keep up the good work,

    Matt

  32. Matt Clifton Says:

    Robert,

    Since you failed, maybe I’ll give it a go. 😀

  33. Matt Clifton Says:

    Royce,

    Sort of like Mark 16:16? If you mean like that, then I agree. 🙂

    Matt

  34. Robert Baty Says:

    Matt,

    I’m glad to see you finally arrived.

    I look forward to you taking up my “failed” cause! :o)

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  35. Royce Says:

    Matt,

    I have staked my eternal soul on what Jesus taught. So we do agree on something. lol

    God bless,
    Royce

  36. Gene Wright Says:

    Hi Royce and Alan.

    I have heard specifically from one of our common blogger friends that “I don’t know what inerrancy means”, even though I was happy to provide an explanation. You guys would recognize the name were I to state it publicly.

    Were the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew manuscripts inerrant or were they redacted, edited, composed by frail human beings to reflect what they thought God wanted them to record?

    Was “Second Isaiah” written many many years after First Isaiah?

    Did the walls of Jericho really fall?

    etc.

    Easy enough for all concerned to say “Yes, I believe the Bible is inerrant in all the usual meanings of the term”.

    We may wait in vain.


  37. Even if we agree the original text was inerrant, it’s not necessarily possible to conclude that any or all of the english translations are equally inerrant, since the translators were not as inspired as the original writers.

    Interesting problem, isn’t it.

  38. Gene Wright Says:

    David, that’s why the position on the original manuscripts (which we no longer have) is how inerrancy is defined.

    There are those who will not claim inerrancy on the still drying ink of what Paul, Peter and John wrote.

    They just won’t do it.


  39. Gene,
    Agreed with your response, but does it not then logically follow that we have no absolutely inerrant source, since we lack the original manuscripts and most often work from even less reliable English translations?

    Therefore, we cannot absolutely know what inerrant doctrine we should follow, even if we agreed that following inerrant doctrine errantly was the only path to salvation.

    Does that make sense?


  40. Sorry, misstyped:

    Therefore, we cannot absolutely know what inerrant doctrine we should follow, even if we agreed that following inerrant doctrine inerrantly was the only path to salvation.

  41. Royce Says:

    What if each farmer in the county was given a new tractor and instead of plowing the soil and thrashing the wheat or what other task a tractor can do, the farmers just stood around all day, every day, giving different views on the transmission, or the spark plugs, or the lug nuts and didn’t do any plowing?

    We brothers are often much the same way. Hell’s mouth is yawining wide and people need to hear about the loving offer made in the gospel and see Christ’s life lived out in us but we are too busy discussing who we can dis fellowship and why.

    Royce

  42. Alan Says:

    Hi Gene,

    I suppose “inerrancy” means whatever the person who says that word means by it. I call my own belief “inerrancy.” I think we should use the scriptures just like Jesus did. He said that not a letter nor a stroke of the pen would pass away from the Law (which was something like 1500 years old at the time Jesus said that). Not only was every word authoritative, but every letter, every stroke of the pen.

    He used the scriptures as the final word on a subject (Matt 4:4 etc). He never disputed the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. He confirmed the accepted authorship of numerous OT books. He used the OT accounts of numerous persons as historically reliable. Etc… For more on the subject see my blog post on the subject.

  43. Pam Says:

    I am firmly convince that God is in His Heaven banging his hand against His head saying to the angels, “They STILL don’t get it. They don’t want to be Free in My Son. Instead of turning the lost to the Savior, they think they have to convert people to a certain denomination to be saved.” And the c of C is as well as any other religious group. Definition:’ To give a Name to …A religious organization whose congregations are united in adherence to their belief and practices,’
    GRACE: Jesus died to save us. He did the work. If we say we have to do this or that in order to earn our salvation then Jesus’ death was not enough. Yes, we accept it when we believe and give our lives over to Him through our repentance and baptism. Then the Holy Spirit lives in our lives and we belong to Him which results in our gratitude and admirations which moves us to do good works, etc. All this Hermeneutic debating is for modern day Pharisees. Oh, how we waste time and energy on such debates and discussions to prove that we are right when we could be feeding the hungry, administering to the sick, and actually telling the lost that they have a Savior who loves them!

    If that is what we had to know and teach, then I would be lost and I am by no means stupid or simple. In fact, most intellectuals that I know are too ‘intellectual’ to believe the simplicity of the Gospel message and see right through all the man made interpretations we have twisted the scriptures to mean.

    I agree and appreciate what you have had to say on this matter, David P. Himes.

  44. Matt Clifton Says:

    Pam,

    We certainly should spend much of our time feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and taking care of widows and orphans. But we must also remember:

    “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” — 1 Tim. 4:16

    God bless you!

    Matt

  45. Pam Says:

    Matt,
    Ahhhhh, that is the rub. It is all in how we ‘interpret’.
    The Gospel is so simple
    Man’s interpretations take it from simple face value to complex, contorted, and contentious.

    I grew up ensconced in this practice and feared every day of my life that I would never be good enough to make it to Heaven. Then in my 40s I learned for the FIRST TIME, what Grace truly meant. …and it was so simple. We make it too hard to believe. I’m free of that.
    If God would have wanted it to be so complicated, we would have a law as the Hebrews did. We don’t. We have something so much superior and He has set us free!

  46. H. Clay McCool jr Says:

    Matt said to Pam

    We certainly should spend much of our time feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and taking care of widows and orphans. But we must also remember:

    “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” — 1 Tim. 4:16

    Clay’s response:
    What you typed prior to the text IS THE DOCTRINE Matt.

    Grace and peace Clay

  47. Alan Says:

    Matt, the “teaching” (“doctrine”) Paul wrote about does not consist of the particular teachings that distinguish conservatvive churches of Christ from all other believing groups. Read 1 and 2 Timothy, and note all the things Paul urges Timothy to teach. Those “teachings” are the doctrine.


  48. Actually, Alan, my view is those “teachings” by Paul and others are simply guidance regarding how to apply “love one another as Jesus loved us” in the specific circumstances which were being addressed.

    This view doesn’t change their significance, but it changes them from “laws” to be followed into guidance for tough situations.

  49. Matt Clifton Says:

    Pam,

    I do not recall having said anything about how we “interpret.” Read at face value, the Bible is pretty clear. We make it cloudy when we don’t want to accept His word, though.

    And yes, the gospel is simple. After becoming a child of God, the Bible tells us we must bear fruit (John 15) and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11).

    What do you understand 1 Tim. 4:16 to mean, Pam?

    God bless!

    Matt

  50. Matt Clifton Says:

    Alan,

    You said:

    Matt, the “teaching” (”doctrine”) Paul wrote about does not consist of the particular teachings that distinguish conservatvive churches of Christ from all other believing groups. Read 1 and 2 Timothy, and note all the things Paul urges Timothy to teach. Those “teachings” are the doctrine.

    Again, this is old hat for you and me, because we have been round and round about this, never coming to agreement. So we’ll have to steer clear of one another, I reckon.

    To answer your question, as I answered you in other venues, 1 and 2 Timothy are letters written directly to the young evangelist for specific purposes. The purpose was not to give Timothy basic teachings about the church, as Paul had previously understood Timothy highly capable to teach and correct in these areas:

    “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will tremind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.” — 1 Cor. 4:17

    The reason he wrote to Timothy was to urge him to remain in Ephesus and charge some that they teach no other doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3). Apparently some were teaching different doctrines, and additionally teaching adherence to portions of the Law of Moses (1 Tim. 1:4-7). He also wrote to encourage Timothy to “wage the good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18) and how he ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

    Timothy was to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2), for a time was coming in which man would not endure sound doctrine, but rather heap up for themselves teachers according to their own desires.

    The doctrine that Timothy was to give heed to was not only what Paul was telling him in his brief letters. That would be absurd to think Paul would leave Timothy in Ephesus to remind them only about the things he was writing, and not about the things Paul had Timothy to remind the Corinthians of.

    Looking at it from your perspective, Paul would be telling Timothy to give heed to the teaching that he is writing in his letter, but don’t worry about the Lord’s supper, or baptism, or giving, or helping the poor (which was a foremost thing in Paul’s mind (Gal. 2:10).

    No, it is clear that the doctrine that Timothy was to give heed to was the whole counsel of God.

    Additionally, Alan will argue that the only “doctrine” in this letter has to do with personal holiness. But notice that Paul also tells Timothy about prayer (1 Tim. 2:1-8), behavior of women both in and out of the assembly (1 Tim. 2:9-15), qualifications of elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7) and deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Then he says to Timothy that if he instructs the brethren in these things (which are obviously connected with congregational relations, not merely personal obedience) he will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and in the good doctrine which he had carefully followed (1 Tim. 4:6). Paul also instructed Timothy on how to handle widows who needed assistance, and how to handle accusations against elders. These are congregational functions, not just personal holiness issues.

    Now, if Timothy had carefully followed the “good doctrine” up to that point, it is impossible to claim that Paul’s admonition in 1 Tim. 4:16 s for Timothy to take heed only to what he was writing in these new letters, and to throw away the “good doctrine” that he already was carefully following.

    Alan, I regret that your claims require such a long reply, and I understand that your personal views require you to take this position. But when scripture is examined carefully, it must be admitted that Paul is telling Timothy to take heed to all the doctrine he knows and has been taught.

    Now again, if you want an extended conversation on this matter, contact me personally to set up a different venue.

    God bless you,

    Matt

  51. Matt Clifton Says:

    H. Clay McCool jr,

    What about appointing elders? Is that THE DOCTRINE also?

    What about women learning in submission? Is that THE DOCTRINE also?

  52. 4 Christ Says:

    Matt,

    What about women wearing head coverings. The coc say that was seen as a cultural issue at that time, women being silent also was seen as a cultural issue at that time.

  53. Alan Says:

    Matt,

    Timothy of course would have understood what other matters Paul meant (if any) beyond the content of those two letters. He had worked alongside Paul before, and was familiar with Paul’s teaching and practice. There were certain things that needed correcting or amplifying, and those are the things Paul addressed in the letter.

    OTOH, you and I can only infer what other matters “the doctrine” might include, beyond the content of the two letters. The only things we can be sure it applies to are the things included in the letter. Everything else is our best guess. You are guessing that Paul meant by “the doctrine” every possible consideration regarding the church, whether mentioned in scripture or not (ie, silence). I am not venturing into the realm of guessing what else it might include. We are only sure of the matters Paul explicitly included. So I am the one handling the scriptures conservatively. You are the one out on a limb guessing about things that are not explicitly stated in the context. Ironic, isn’t it?

    By the way, the teaching about elder qualifications are primarily about godly and holy living. Those who aspire to be elders needed to develop those traits. So that’s no different from the rest of the teaching on godly and holy living. And the teaching about the woman’s role is also about the behavior and demeanor of a godly woman — which is likewise all about goldy and holy living.

  54. Matt Clifton Says:

    4 Christ,

    Paul taught this:

    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” — 1 Tim. 2:11-12

    Then he gives a supporting statement for this teaching:

    For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” — 1 Tim. 2:13-14

    This teaching was not based in that current Corinthian culture, but rather on the creation order and the fall.

    God bless!

  55. 4 Christ Says:

    Paul taught head coverings based on creation order and the fall.

    1 Corinthians 11:9-10 “Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the women ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”

    Does the coc of require women to have head coverings as they require women to be silent?

  56. Matt Clifton Says:

    4 Christ,

    The head covering is not a symbol of authority for us. The principle being taught is that women should be in subjection to her husband. If a lack of a head covering in today’s society was a symbol of rebellion to a husband, as it was in Corinth, then yes, the head covering would be necessary. We need to apply the concept in our own time.

    One preacher made this clear with an illustration. Say that in our society carrying a red purse was a symbol that a woman was a prostitute. If a woman came into the assembly carrying a red purse, she would be showing disrespect for her husband. Since it is not the case that red purses signify a prostitute, any woman carrying a red purse is merely signifying that she likes red purses.

    In first century Corinth, to go without the head covering was a sign of disrespect for her husband, and a woman with a shaved head was equated with a temple prostitute. Therefore, to go around shaved or uncovered was a sign of rebellion before her husband, and thus before God. Of a woman today wore a head covering, no one would even consider that she was doing it out of respect for her husband. But to apply that passage, a woman would need to comply with what is generally understood to show respect for her husband. Wearing revealing clothing, flirting, etc., could be possible ways to show disrespect in today’s culture.

    The silence commanded in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 had to do with teaching and submission. Is it still disrespectful to assume authority over a man in the church.

  57. 4 Christ Says:

    A women without a head covering to them was seen as disrespect for her husband as it were for a women to speak not being silent. They both were seen as submission issues. They both were also cultural issues at the time of the first century.

  58. Matt Clifton Says:

    4 Christ,

    And a woman wearing a head covering today is not showing disrespect for her husband, but if she usurps his authority in the assembly today, she is being disrespectful.

    God bless,

    Matt

  59. 4 Christ Says:

    Matt,
    Where does doctrine say women without headcoverings will not be disrespectful but a women speaking will still be disrespectful?

    They both were cultural issues during that time and culture today has changed on both issues.

  60. Pam Says:

    When we speak of ‘doctrine’ we are speaking about teachings. Teachings in the Bible can be a ‘cultural’ teaching or doctrine that doesn’t necessarily apply today as stated above. When I think of ‘doctrine’ concerning the gospel, to me it applies to the basic tenets of Salvation. Such as believing that Christ died for our sins, and rose on the third day, is sitting at the right hand of God, believers are to repent of their sins, commanded to be baptized, etc. All of these other things we seem to be so compelled to argue over are guidelines or good principle to help us. If they were a matter of salvation, then why didn’t God record them as He did the Law of Moses. Here we have Law for everything. In the New Testament we have principles to live by once we are Christians. Why do we want to bind these things on us as though thy were law? If that is the case, Christ never set us free and He is a liar. Free in Christ is exactly what it says.
    Christ set us free from law that bind us and make our obedience impossible.
    Freedom in Christ allows us to be ‘guided’ by principles, not bound to laws.
    I firmly believe there can be different interpretations on how we carry out some of these principles and all be pleasing to God.

  61. GATidwell Says:

    I was unwilling to introduce specifics as to which progressives have lost their faith in the complete truthfulness of Scripture. My silence prompted Royce to challenge me to name one.

    In Jay’s post, “Not a Man-made List But a Scriptural Rationale,” he verifies that, indeed, their are progressives who reject inerrancy, and Jay was kind enough to name a specific school where such progressives may be found.


  62. […] are a few realizations I have come to as a result of reading the comments on […]

  63. Dan Smith Says:

    After collecting dust on my “to read” shelf, Jack Reese’s THE BODY BROKEN finally got my attention. I’ve missed about four years of the needed butt kicking administered in this book. While not addressing any “issue” Jack sheds much needed light on the “causes” of our inability to accept differences of opinion.
    I can’t recommend this book highly enough to all CoCers but especially to elders and other teachers.
    Dan

  64. Alan Says:

    Agreed 100%. I’ve shared the book with several church leaders around here.


  65. […] any”? I’ve certainly never said that there is no error that damns. I’ve said quite the opposite. Nor do I “exalt and glory” in “doubts and diversity.” I certainly take no […]


  66. […] any”? I’ve certainly never said that there is no error that damns. I’ve said quite the opposite. Nor do I “exalt and glory” in “doubts and diversity.” I certainly take no […]


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