ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY #3
The scriptures presented in the past two articles say God has revealed his will unto us by way of stated facts and commandments.
In this article, I shall call to your attention scriptures which will show we may also establish authority by necessary inference and approved apostolic examples.
First, let us consider the method of necessary inference. All right, what is necessary inference? It is something which one scripture establishes to be true because of what is said in others. Consider the following examples please:
(1) The men who served as apostles were also permitted to serve as elders. This we know because the Apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 5:1-5, said he was an elder. But no unmarried man is permitted to serve as an elder (Titus 1:6). The Apostle Paul did not have a wife (1 Cor. 9). Therefore it necessarily follows that he never served any congregation of the church as an elder.
(2) Many scriptures, a few of which are Mat. 25, John 5 and Rev. 20 reveal that all people will not be saved. Then there are other scriptures which say it is not God's will that even one person be lost (Mat. 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9). My readers, since one group of scriptures say God wants all to be saved and inasmuch as another group say everyone will not be saved, then it necessarily follows that God has offered salvation unto us on a conditional basis. Therefore, those who comply with his conditions will be saved. But those who refuse to comply will be lost.
(3) Is it possible for a child of God to sin? Yes. Luke, in Acts 2:47, says God adds the saved to the church, but in Acts 2:41, he makes a statement which proves that our being baptized precedes our being added to the church. Then Paul, in 1 Cor. 12:13, declares that baptism puts us into the church. Again, that which Luke recorded in Acts 8:13-23, lets us know that Simon did that which was wicked after he was baptized. My readers, since we learn from these scriptures that only the saved are added to the church and that their being added is preceded by baptism, and that Simon did that which was wicked after he was baptized, then it necessarily follows that a child of God may sin.
All right, I believe the scriptures thus far presented will suffice to show God did use the necessary inference method of revelation, in revealing unto us his will. Therefore, we may (in some cases) establish authority for what we teach and practice, by this method. However, when employing this method, we must make sure we have a necessary inference and not just an inference. In the Book of Acts, we have examples of household baptisms, but, that there was an infant in any of them, is not revealed. So I must conclude that these examples do not provide me with necessary inference that we should baptize infants.
My readers, in the New Testament (as you know) we find many examples of what the early day people of this dispensation did. With this fact in mind, please consider with me the following questions.
Question #1 - May we, by the approved examples, prove we have authority for what we teach and practice? There are two Biblical facts which say the answer is yes. One - In the beginning, the Holy Spirit revealed unto the apostles and prophets all of God's will (Jo. 14:25-26, Jo. 16:12-15, Eph. 3:1-5). Two- Those men only preached, wrote, and practiced that which was revealed unto them, by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:6-13, Gal. 1:11-12, 2 Thes. 2:13). Therefore, we know that what those men and their true followers did, was that which God through the Holy Spirit demanded.
Question #2 - Are all examples binding? No. The reason for this answer will be given in the answer to the next question.
Question #3 - How do we determine which examples are not binding? This is a good question; but one that is easy to answer. If the example is not to be binding, there will be something said in either the account of the example or some other scripture which will say so. For example, Luke, in Acts 4:34-37 and Acts 5:1-10, recorded an example of people selling their possessions and giving all the money to the church. Yet, Peter's remarks to Ananias, a lying giver, found in Acts 5:4 lets us know God had not demanded this giving. So, if we choose, we may follow their example. Yet, we must not say, it is binding.
Questions #4 - Does that which is taught by way of example exclude? - That which God through Jesus, has taught by any method of revelation, excludes all other teachings. Yes, Col. 3:17 teaches that everything we teach and practice must be in the name of, or by the authority of Jesus.
Consider with me please. Jesus, through Paul, teaches we are to partake of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26). However, in this scripture, ntohing is said about when we will partake. No, it just says as oft as we partake we are to do so in memory of Christ. Nevertheless, from Acts 20:1-7, we learn that God's people in Troas came together on (Sunday) the first day of the week to eat the Lord's Supper.
My readers, if we could find another example of God's people partaking on some other day, or any command or statement of the fact, or necessary inference that says we may, then we would know the example in Acts 20 does not exclude other days. But since none of these are to be found in God's Book, then this example excludes all other days. Yea, just as much so as Gen. 6:14 rules out all wood except gopher wood.
What saith the scriptures? I believe those presented in the past few articles say: We must have New Testament scriptural authority for everything we teach and practice, in the name of religion.
My friends, if I were giving you a gift on a conditional basis, I would not grant you the right to name the conditions. So why should I expect God, who is offering me salvation on a conditional basis, to let me name the conditions?
By: Tommy Hodge
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