What You Would Have To Believe …

… in order to qualify for the fellowship of some believers in my church tradition:

  • That God is sovereign. Because Romans 9:18 says so: “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
  • That God is not sovereign. Because if you complete the five acts of salvation, He has to save you by contract because He said He would, and that is the only way you can be saved. (Jesus extending grace to the thief on the cross was a one-time only exception to this rule. And maybe Zacchaeus. And the man who was sick of the palsy. And the woman who anointed his feet. Maybe. But she probably sinned again after He said that, and was lost.)
  • That God tells us everything we know to be saved. Because Romans 15:14 says so: “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
  • That God doesn’t tell us everything we know to be saved. Some of it we have to logic out for ourselves because He has hidden it in scripture, like the fact that He forbids everything that He does not specifically command, exemplify or imply there. And since he doesn’t mention instrumental music in (most of) the New Testament, it’s forbidden. Except pitch pipes, which are expedient. Or tuning forks. Or harps, when we get to heaven, but not before. Or when you’re not in church. Maybe.
  • That we are no longer under Old Testament law. Especially the parts about instrumental music. And the Sabbath.
  • That we are still under Old Testament law. Especially the parts about God punishing those who disobey His unexpressed will, like Nadab and Abihu … and we’re still under most of the Ten Commandments, because Jesus repeated them. Except the one about the Sabbath.
  • That couples who divorce and marry others must never divorce their new partners and remarry each other. Because Deuteronomy 24:4 says: “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Although this one’s dicey, because it might be part of the old law that we’re no longer under.
  • That couples who divorce and marry others must divorce their new partners and remarry each other. Because that’s what 1 Corinthians 7:11 means when it says: “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” and, hey, we’re being generous because literally this only applies to the woman; the man should not divorce anyone in the first place.
  • Women are to keep utterly silent in churches. Because 1 Corinthians 14:34 says so: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law” and the Greek word for “keep silence” there means utterly silent, making no sound.
  • Women are not to keep utterly silent in churches. Because they are commanded to sing like everybody else, but that’s all they’re authorized to do. Except for teaching other women or little children under the age of accountability, which is twelve even though the Bible doesn’t say so and teaching them is not forbidden because, well, we say so because it’s hard to find men who are willing to do it. And they probably really ought to wear a veil, too; but good luck making that stick.

Oh, there’s a bunch more: Faith saves without works; faith plus works saves. In Christ there is no male-female difference and we should all submit to each other; women should submit to men and never vice-versa. Early Christians met every day to break bread; early Christians only met on Sunday to break bread.

This is just a bare sampling. I don’t think I’m smart enough to be able to believe all of it at the same time. It’s just too complicated.

And – well – contradictory.

You know what’s much easier – though still deeply difficult in a way – for me to understand and believe?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” ~ Micah 6:8

That tells me that He loved the world to death. That law wasn’t good enough anymore. That we couldn’t pay off the debt of sin under it. That we all sin. That Jesus levels the playing field. He satisfies the justice, extends the mercy, walks the walk, fulfills the faith, loves the love, works the work, lives the life, dies the death, pays the debt, lives the life again and wants for all of us to be blessed by the fellowship of doing the same, to the very best of our ability – with Him walking at our sides! And with His help, we can share that blessing of fellowship with others who don’t yet know and don’t yet believe. That’s life worth living forever.

And the rest of stuff some require for that fellowship is just so much mint, dill and cummin.

9 thoughts on “What You Would Have To Believe …

  1. Keith, did you notice every passage you quoted as controversalwas written by Paul, which tells me the society of the day had great influence on the law of the day, as well as the writings of Paul.I try to use the gospels as my guide. 1Cr 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? What does this mean to you? to me it could only mean Paul was baldheaded. 😦

  2. Good stuff! Food for thought to say the least.I have noticed too that some of our (coc) doctrines are only doctrines and in the end we practice something altogether different.I'll give only one example of many I can think of. I know some men who declared that only those people who were baptised for the remission of their sins (while understanding that was the purpose) are saved. But, when a grown son joins a Baptist church…, a grand daughter marries the Assembly of God pastors son…married children move to a distant city because of a job change and become members of a vibrant "community" (Baptist) church…guess what?"I'll tell you what, that Assembly of God pastor is a find godly servant of God. They are winning lots of folks to Christ"."My son and 4 or 5 of his friends are meeting weekly for prayer and accuntability and I have never seen my son so sold out to the Lord""Our kids are all ready leading a house church and [ ] is teaching a young couples class. They are really loving their church. I am so proud of them."Sometimes truth has to come in the back door to gain entry to our made up minds. I'm OK with that. However God gets the message to us that all of us who are depending on Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord are one if fine by me.Royce

  3. I turn a slughtly whiter shade of pale when anyone suggests we need to re-think the biblical canon.I do tend to favor the teachings of Christ over anyone else when there seems to be a conflict … "seems" being the operative word.

  4. I agree with you, there are passages that "seem" to be contradictory.And, I tend to agree about the words of Jesus, but, those words were written by inspired men just as those by Peter and Paul others.It is a part of our humanness to ascribe more weight to those passages that make our favorite points, which is precisely why we should carefully compare Scripture with Scripture, in context, both grammatically, historically, and socially, and most important perhaps, in the context of God's scope of redemption in Christ Jesus.Royce

  5. Royce, are you arguing against me or Paul?1Cr 7:6 But I speak this by permission, [and] not of commandment. 1Cr 7:10 And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband: As we see Paul himself seperates what he himself said from that of what the Lord had commanded. He spoke of his own volition. 1Cr 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. We see here once again Paul deviates from the words of the Lord to give his own. and he continues for the rest of that chap. and beyond.1Cr 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.He says it is OK because he thinks he has the spirit. You might have noticed he never said I have the spirit, or I know I have the spirit, he thinks he has the spirit. As for the flesh and bone body of Jesus being raised, I have never said that never happened, but Paul said if it did that body was not raised to heaven.1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.Royce, your opinion carries litle weight with me, so I don't know why you continue to harrass me before other Christians, you seem to disagree with everything the CoC believes and does, but you remain there saying you are a member of something you do not believe in. WHY?

  6. Paul doesn't contradict anything Jesus said. He carefully point out what his opinion was and what God had said.I am a member of the church of Christ that is depending on Christ alone for salvation. I am not a member of a church on earth that depends on the goodness of its members for salvation, keeping certain rules, with a little Jesus thrown in somewhere.The tradition is is old as church history to mark heretics. Just a tiny bit of research by any honest seeker will clearly show that NO historical Christian church denied the deity of Jesus or the resurrection. The same man who walked down the road, ate fish, and was seen of over 500 people at once is the same Jesus who is in heaven and He alone can save sinners from their sins and without any help.Royce

  7. Keith Brenton said…"I turn a slughtly whiter shade of pale when anyone suggests we need to re-think the biblical canon."( I assumed you meant slightly, because I don't know what that other word means)Keith, I was going to suggest you take "B-12" for that pale look that you sometimes exude. But that won't be necessary now that I know you pale when someone suggest you re-think the canon. 🙂 May I suggest you read less progressive blogs, because that is their main objective, rethink and change the meaning of the canonized writings.Dig deep and uncover those hidden messages, and replace the obvious with the hidden. Writings accepted as authoritative for faith and teaching are said to be canonical, and when gathered together constitute a canon. The term "canon," the Anglicized form of the Greek word kanon designating a rod used for measuring, is related to a Semitic root appearing in Hebrew as kaneh, meaning a "reed." Used metaphorically in reference to religious matters, it signifies the measure or guide or standard for principles of belief and practice.When we say we are saved by grace alone, that is just what we are doing, shortning the measuring stick by which we are measured.

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