BLOG POST

by Phillip Vanwinkle
SEPTEMBER 4, 2015

The Bible Our Authority #3


Having previously proven that the way the Bible authorizes is by Direct Statement, Approved Example and Necessary Conclusion/Inference. We conclude this short study by looking at a few things. 

1. Specification and Silence

2. Will we be judged by our own interpretation?

3. Is doctrine really that important? 

 

Learning from Specification and Silence

It seems that even after we get people to understand how the Bible teaches us, there are still two attitudes about the silence of the Scriptures.

The first of these attitudes says that when the Bible is silent, then the reader is at liberty to act as he thinks best. Or, in other words, if the Bible does not expressly prohibit something, then it is permissible. This attitude is reflected in the actions of many religious people.

The second attitude says that when the Bible is silent, then the reader is not at liberty to act, but must be silent also. This, of course, is exactly the truth as taught in the Bible.

 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11). In Romans 10:17, the Scriptures say that “faith comes by hearing God's word.”

When God specifies about any subject, and is silent about other things pertaining to it, then he has specified one thing, and his silence about the other forbids any other type. For instance: Noah

In Genesis 6:14 God told Noah to construct an ark out of “gopher wood.”  He specified one type of wood, and was silent about any other type of wood. In doing so, God did not have to say, “And thou shall not construct it from cherry tree, or Cyprus tree, or any other kind of wood.” All He had to do was tell Noah what kind of wood to use. The fact that He specified the type of wood eliminated every other type of wood. In Hebrews 11:7, the Scriptures say: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

The Hebrews writer informs us that Noah was saved by faith (Hebrews 11:7). Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing God's word. Noah, upon hearing God's word, moved by faith to prepare the ark as God had instructed him; in doing so, he saved himself and his family. Even though God did not specifically say not to, there is little doubt that if Noah would have built the ark out of any other kind of wood than gopher, he would not have been saved.

What is the point? Simply this: When God specifies a certain thing, what God does not say is just as important as what He says!

There are also negative examples. Those who did not heed to God’s instructions – those who thought that specification without silence opened the door to ‘private interpretation.’

Leviticus 10:1-2 the Bible says:

 “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

Notice it says which he commanded them not, yet you will search your bible in vain, to find the place that says “you shall not offer that certain kind of fire.” No, you see by specifying what kind of fire he wanted, He commanded that no other ‘fire’ was authorized to be used.  

One more example should suffice: The Priesthood Of Christ

In Hebrews 7:14, speaking of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, the Bible says: “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”

Under the Old Covenant, Jesus would not be authorized to be a priest because He did not come from the order of Aaron in the tribe of Levi.  In regard to the Levitical Priesthood, Moses said nothing about Judah. Consequently, in order for Jesus to be a priest, there would have to be a change of the law.

God did not have to tell all the families who could not be priests, because he specified which one family was to be the priest. He specified the one, to the exclusion of the rest.

This is the principle upon which instrumental music in the worship to the Lord is unauthorized, as well as other denominational ideas.

 

Judged by Interpretation

Will we all be judged by our various interpretations? The simple answer to this question is: No! As already established, God’s truth is not open for private interpretation.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Peter acknowledged that even when inspired men were given revelation, they did not write their ‘interpretation’ of what was told. They wrote exactly what God told them to write. If these men were not allowed to ‘interpret’ the scripture according to their own will, what makes anyone living today think that we can?

Truth is objective, not subjective. Truth does not change based upon someone’s idea about it. Truth is truth, regardless of how I interpret it. Two plus two will always be four, even if a person might interpret it in some other fashion. Truth does not change simply because I don’t understand it.

If we would all be judged by our interpretation of Truth, then there would be no true standard. There would not be “Truth.” And, there would be no way to determine truth. Every man would be his own judge and therefore his own god.

If I read my Bible and I see that Acts 2:38 says that a person must repent and be baptized in order to be saved, and this is the way I interpret this passage, am I to be judged by that interpretation? But then, if a denominational teacher reads Acts 2:38 and he interprets it to mean that only belief (mental agreement) is essential to salvation, is God to judge him according to his interpretation? Absolutely not! That would make God arbitrary and unjust.

Truth is objective, it does not change, and we will not be judged according to our interpretation of truth. We will be judged not by what we THINK God meant, but based upon what God actually did mean when he spoke.

“ He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”  (John 12:48).

 

Is Doctrine really THAT important? 

As we conclude this study about the importance of doctrine, I wish to make a statement. And then I will prove the statement to be true. Here is the statement:

If a person truly believes that doctrine is not important, then that person does not actually believe in anything.

The first thing we must do is define our terms: so what do we mean by ‘doctrine?’

Websters dictionary has the following definition:

Doctrine:

  1. a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true

2. archaic : Teaching; Instruction

a :  something that is taught

b :  a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief :  dogma

So, we see that ‘doctrine’ simply means ‘teaching, or instruction.’

Back to our statement:

If a person truly believes that doctrine is not important, then that person does not actually believe in anything.

Now, I want to say this. A statement is just a statement, and is either found to be true or false by evidence, or deduction. How do I arrive at this conclusion? The following syllogism will begin our deduction.

Syllogism #1

If a person believes that doctrine is not important, then that person believes that any doctrine is not important.

A person beleives that doctrine is not important

Therefore, a person believes that any doctrine is not important.

Syllogism #2

If a person believes that any doctrine is not important, then that person believes that any doctrine is acceptable to God.

A person believes that any doctrine is not important.

Therefore, that person believes that any doctrine is acceptable to God.

Explanation:

          If a person believes that doctrine is not important, then he believes that a person can teach ANYTHING, (any doctrine) and still be pleasing to God. If doctrine is truly ‘unimportant’ then, it does not matter what a person teaches, God will still be pleased.

But let us notice the conclusion of such a false concept.

Syllogism #3

If any doctrine is acceptable to God, then all doctrine is acceptable to God.

Any doctrine is acceptable to God.

Therefore, all doctrine is acceptable to God.

 

Syllogism #4

If all doctrine is acceptable, then there is no objective truth.

All doctrine is acceptable

Therefore, there is no objective truth.

 

Explanation:

If it is the case that any doctrine that a person teaches is acceptable to God, then it is proven, that there truly is no standard of truth. There is no objective truth, and a person is free and pleasing to God, to teach any doctrine he wishes to teach.

But how does this end? What conclusion must be drawn from such a belief?

Syllogism #5

If there is no objective truth, then there is no need to believe in anything.

There is no objective truth.

Therefore there is no need to believe anything.

Syllogism #6

If there is no need to believe anything (for common thinking people,) then there is no belief in anything.

There is no need to believe anything (for common thinking people)

Therefore, there is no belief in anything.

Now, let me restate the statement made at the beginning:

If a person truly believes that doctrine is not important, then that person does not actually believe in anything.

The statement is proven by logical progression to be true.

But how does it work in ‘real life?’ It usually goes something like this:

“Oh, I don’t believe that Instrumental Music in Worship is sinful, or that if someone is teaching and approving of instrumental music in worship; I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with that.”

What they are saying is, either:

  1. I have studied enough to believe that this specific doctrine is not sinful, or:
  2. I do not believe that doctrine is important.

This series of lessons have been intended to prove that ‘b’ is simply unacceptable.

Their argument looks like this:

Teaching a specific Doctrine is not important.

Instrumental music in the worship is a specific ‘doctrine’.

Therefore teaching instrumental music in the worship is not important.

Well, this can be shown to be false to any honest, God loving Christian in showing a simple syllogism:

Teaching a specific Doctrine is not important

Jesus was a homosexual is a specific ‘doctrine.’

Therefore teaching that Jesus is a homosexual is not important.

No one in any denomination would accept the last statement, they would be very upset if a person were to come into their midst and teach that Jesus was a homosexual. However, if a person TRULY does not beleive that ‘doctrine’ is important, he has absolutely no right to be upset if someone were to teach this.

What is the point? We have painstakingly shown  that doctrine is absolutely essential. That if people do not teach the doctrine of Christ, that we must not have fellowship with them. (2 John 1:9-11)  The simple fact is, anyone who claims ‘doctrine is not important’ has no real belief in ANYTHING at all. 

The Bible sets out the proper doctrine within New Testament. We are to abide inside the Authority. May we earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delievered to the saints. Let us not go beyond those things which are written, and may we speak only as oracles of God.  (Jude 1:3; 1 Cor. 4:6; 1 Pet. 4:11)

 


Tags: Authority