Thursday, April 5, 2018

According to Revelation 22:18-19 and 2 John 1:9, there are things allowed and prohibited by scripture.  The human standard, right or wrong states, “Silence is prohibitive” and “Be silent where the Bible is silent.”  Those specific expressions are absent from the scriptures and may either be misapplied, misunderstood, or be involved in the adding and subtracting problem!  The following are some expressions or actions not specified in scripture.  Yet, all are practiced by some.

  1. The expression “in the name of Jesus” or “in Jesus’ name” to open or close a prayer. Jesus said that his disciples could ask in his name but did not give an expression to use. We assume the above are what he meant.  If so, no inspired person did!
  2. No one prayed directly to the Father, asking Him to tell Jesus, “Thank you for being my sin sacrifice” or words to that effect. Personal thanks, is never directed to Jesus in prayer.
  3. After Acts 2, no one prays directly to Jesus himself to thank him.
  4. No congregation had an “opening prayer” to begin worship, nor a “closing prayer” to end it.
  5. Neither “an invitation song” following a “gospel invitation” if found.
  6. Other than Peter’s statement, “Save yourself from this untoward generation” and “he commanded them to be baptized” (Acts 2:40; 10:48), Philip’s statement, “If you believe with all your heart, you may,” and Ananias’ statement to Paul, “Why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized to wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16), there is no dialogue used to speak over the one being immersed.
  7. The first day of the week contribution of 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 was not said to be for purchasing property or building a meeting place.
  8. There is no evidence of a congregation building an indoor baptistry and baptizing folks during their worship assembly.
  9. There is no evidence that the first century church owned a building, built an indoor baptistry, used it during a worship service, or applauded after the individual was immersed. Some accept the first three but reject the fourth!
  10. There is no evidence of the expression “five acts of worship” being used to describe a congregation’s first day of the week activities or its items described as “worship.”
  11. The expression “song leader” is not used in scripture, nor his leading of what is described as “congregational singing.”
  12. There is no mention of a “song leader” moving his arm to keep time to the song being led.
  13. There is no mention of men singing tenor and bass and women singing soprano and alto. Those parts were not introduced for another thousand years or so.
  14. Although “psalms” are in the Old Testament, inspired hymns and spiritual songs aren’t found in the New Testament. The hymns and songs we sing are not inspired and they have originated from Catholic, Protestants, and later uninspired song writers.
  15. There is no mention of women, in a 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 assembly, leading the soprano and alto parts in a song while the men, with their tenor and bass parts being silent, allowing the women to lead the congregation in speaking and/or teaching that part of the song.
  16. There is no mention of a specific dialogue being demanded or used to say over a candidate prior to that person’s baptism. We are commanded in what to do, but not what to say.
  17. There is no mention of a congregation creating a rule which requires the membership to enter that assembly in silence to show respect for God before worship “officially” begins. Neither is there any evidence that “the house of God” describes the assembly room where saints meet.
  18. There is no passage requiring men who “wait” on the Lord’s table to be wearing suits and ties to show their respect to God.
  19. There is no passage authorizing an assembly to substitute “a cracker” or “small wafer” for the “loaf” in the Lord’s supper.
  20. There is no evidence that certain male members were selected to serve the communion to a first day of the week assembly.
  21. There is no mention of anyone passing a collection plate to the audience to take up the first day of the week collection.
  22. There is no example of a congregation substituting another way of taking up the collection for the one mentioned in scripture.
  23. There is no mention of anyone setting up a table, carving the words of Luke 22:19 on it and referring to it as “the Lord’s table” which we “figuratively” gather around by “literally” sitting in pews to partake.
  24. There is no mention of any first century assembly substituting “a holy hand shake” for “a holy kiss.”
  25. There is no mention of a congregation’s culture giving saints the liberty to change a command from an action that is written to an action that is never mentioned by the Holy Spirit.
  26. There is no passage which instructs a congregation to take money from the first day of the week contribution and buy the fruit of the vine or the unleavened bread.
  27. The gathering place for the assembly is never referred to as an “auditorium” nor as a “sanctuary.”

28. The collection for the first day of the week contribution in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 does not include local needs, nor categories such as edification or evangelism.

  1. There is nothing in the New Testament which suggests that preachers are to wear special clothing when they preach, such as a special frock or suit and tie.
  2. There are no special titles given to identify a preacher, such as Pastor, Reverend, Minister, Preacher, Father, or the Right Reverend Jones, Smith, Brown, White, etc. Paul was never referred to by using the title, “Preacher Paul.”
  3. There is no passage which describes preaching, singing, giving, communion, or praying as “worship.”
  4. There is no scripture of a woman standing up, while all men in the audience are seated, except the preacher, and her teaching the congregation by making an oral statement in their hearing called “the good confession.”

Some believe some of these items demand that the silence of the scriptures prohibits the practice.  They believe the slogans or creeds, “Silence is prohibitive” and “Be silent where the Bible is silent” enforces that silence.

There are others who believe such words as “inference,” “expedience,” and “common sense” justifies those practices or phrases though absent from scripture.  Each time a new phrase or practice is introduced, objections are made, discussions appear, and division usually follows.  Both parties lay claim to the same spiritual source – the Bible.

What is interesting is that Jesus and the apostles accepted some traditional practices which were handed down by men rather than being commanded by God.  He also condemned other man made ones (Matthew 15:9).  Yet, the man made traditions observed by Jesus and the apostles were not considered adding nor subtracting from God’s word.  Are we guilty of missing something?