Authority, Misunderstood Today?
I have now lived and
preached long enough to fully understand the saying that, "...what goes around,
comes around." It is a fact that most things are cyclical in nature (cp.
Eccl. 1: 10). From the standpoint of history, the ongoing and assiduous
real battle has always been Bible authority. In the full scale, the "new
hermeneutic" has long ago been introduced and most of these progressive brethren
have now gone the way of the Community Church, grace only, and you name it,
movements. We are now witnessing the "next generation" perform their
apostasy and, you guessed it, it involves Bible authority and a basic
misunderstanding or, rather, denial of fundamental principles."13: For he of whom
these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe,
of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14: For it is evident that our
Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses space nothing concerning
priesthood" (Heb. 7).
"The scriptures do not say,
'don't do it,' therefore, we have a liberty and may practice it if we desire!,"
is the long heard rationale. We are now hearing once well respected
brethren say such, notwithstanding the instance of specific teaching being
supplied by the Holy Spirit.
In this vain, please consider
Hebrews 7: 14:
In the case of the priesthood
and its attendant requirements, even regarding those eligible to serve, the
scriptures were specific (cp. Ex. 28). The tribe of Judah was not the
specified tribe; therefore, it was understood as excluded (Heb. 7: 14).
This is the simple dialectic deduction and inference exemplified in Hebrews 7:
It was common and to be
expected to hear, especially those occupying our pulpits, "...if the scriptures
specify in a matter, we are not then at liberty to elect what we want, ignoring
the specification and/or adding to the action." Case in point: The
scriptures specify relative to the kind of music to be
used in worship and the kind is vocal music (Eph. 5: 19). The specified
instrument is the "heart," hence, the harp, piano, organ, etc. are excluded.
Also, the specific teaching does not allow for the specified to be practiced and
in addition, something else. Consider the teaching and its specific nature:
"19: Speaking to
yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in
your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5: 19).
If we, then, introduce
mechanical music into worship, we are adding to what the scriptures teach and
ignoring and/or rejecting what is taught. Simple enough, right?
Well, what used to be simple
and the rallying cry of a number of our preachers is no longer so simple and has
now become the source of division. Let me
explain. Just as the scriptures specify pertaining to the kind of music to
be used in worship, the scriptures in like fashion inform us as to the
organization in and through which Christians are to collectively preach the
gospel. Consider Paul's instructions to Timothy:
"15: But if I tarry
long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of
God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth"
(I Tim. 3).
The local church (context) is
the collectivity, having organization, oversight (eldership), and a treasury
through and in which Christians collectively function in proclaiming the gospel.
In fact, it is the only organization observed to perform the work of preaching
the gospel (see addendum). I, therefore, have no right or authority for
starting a missionary society to preach the gospel, having its own oversight
(president, vise president), structure, charter, and treasury, even if it does
not involve or accept monies from local churches. I must conclude this
based on the principle of authority set forth and applied, the principle
enunciated in Hebrews 7: 14.
Notwithstanding the above
simple and absolutely established truth, some brethren
continue to promote, push, and gloat over their human
organization to preach the gospel, I am referring to the Guardian of Truth
Foundation. This entity has organization, oversight, and a treasury
and has now begun to conduct gospel meetings (changing the phraseology to
"lectureships" does not change what they are doing). Even though their
error has been many times exposed, they shamelessly persist. In fact, it is now
time for the "Fourth Annual Guardian of Truth Foundation Lectureship."
These foundation men, some of whom were once warriors for the cause of Christ,
challenging and debating error, now suddenly do not believe in debating.
They continue, though, to pridefully work through
their human foundation to collectively do the work God has assigned to his
only collectivity, the local church and they persist in their
unity-in-diversity spirit and denominational concept of "fellowship."
Additional erroneous teaching
is now coming from these men and, I predict, more will come, as they seek to
find ways to justify playing church in their foundation. "We are simply
performing individual action though and in the setting of a collectivity," they
are saying. I cut my teeth debating rank institutionalism in some churches
of Christ back in the sixties regarding their similar justification.
The very idea of "performing individual action though and in the setting of a
collectivity" is an insult to any thinking and concerned Christian. When
individuals come together in an entity arrangement such as the Guardian of Truth
Foundation, having structure, mission statement, oversight, and treasury, to
perform a work, it is not simply the individual, but the entity in action;
hence, a collective work.
Ignoring basic Bible
authority in the matter of when God specifies, man does not have the right to
elect another; practicing denominational fellowship; and arguing for individual
action in the collective setting are just the beginning. These brethren
have all entered the ship of apostasy and it is now sailing away to foreign
waters. "Why want
they debate you?," some of us are asked almost every
week. I am not sure that I have the full answer. However, how can they
defend their unscriptural concepts and practices? Some of them will write about
"divisive brethren who ride their hobbies" (obviously referring to those who
teach against what they are doing) and "Bullies" (again those who challenge
them), but do not expect these men to straightforwardly engage in honorable
Well, how about their "Fourth
Annual Guardian of Truth Lectureship?" I am sure it will happen and that
many of the promoters of such will write how
successful it was. As far as I am concerned, such is flaunting spiritual
rebellion and contumacy! The Guardian of Truth Foundation is a
current example of authority being misunderstood today. Remember, when
God's word specifies (local church), we are not left with the option to
introduce another to either replace or serve in addition (foundations, etc. to
preach the gospel).
To argue that those who oppose the Guardian of Truth Foundation
conducting gospel meetings are simply against a publishing
company or Christians being involved in a service production for profit
situation is outright slander. It should be obvious to every
thinking person that the Guardian of Truth Foundation is more than simply
a book publishing company or a business providing a service for profit.