In The Name Of ….

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

I’ve read a lot of writers in the fellowship of churches of Christ who insist that this verse means that (in the words of at least one of them): “Whatever we say and do must be supported by His authority” and “The church should obey the apostles’ teaching and should not adhere to anything not authorized by Christ.”

Which all sounds very scriptural and obedient and worthy, except that not everything that a church can do (even a lot of good things) can’t be said to be specifically authorized by Christ.

And a lot of things that churches — even churches led by some of these writers — are doing all the time are not specifically authorized.

I don’t really want to get into all that; it’s an old argument.

What I want to ask is: Where does the word “authority” fit into this verse? Which words is it between, so I can find it? Does this verse really have anything to do with the authority of Christ as a prerequisite for doing anything?

These writers’ logic goes like this: because a great many Old Testament verses and a few New Testament verses use the phrase “in the name of” to connote that someone spoke or acted “by the authority of,” that’s what it means here in Colossians 3; it can have no other meaning. (They’ll cite Deuteronomy 18; 1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Kings 2:24; Esther 8:10; Isaiah 48:1; Jeremiah 11:21; Acts 4:18; 16:18; James 5:14 and perhaps some others, and I won’t quibble.)

Trouble is, in the Old Testament and New, there are plenty of instances where “in the name of” has little or none of that connotation; it can mean “in behalf of” (1 Chronicles 16:221:19Psalm 129:8; Jeremiah 26:16; Matthew 21:9; Acts 5:40; 1 Corinthians 1:10) or “in honor of” (1 Samuel 20:421 Kings 18:32; Psalm 20:5; Micah 4:5) or “trusting in / dependent upon” (Psalm 20:7; 124:8; Isaiah 50:10; Zephaniah 3:12; John 3:18; Acts 2:38; 10:48; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 John 3:23) or even “in gratitude to” (Psalm 106:47Ephesians 5:20)

The context of this verse is gratitude; giving thanks to God through Christ. Let’s just read a few verses which verse 17 culminates:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:15-17

Yes, the context is worship; specifically the sharing of gratitude to God with fellow believers in wisely teaching and edifying each other in song. It should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.

How does that mean “with the authority of the Lord Jesus”? Is His authority needed in order to say “Thank you” to God? Is it a command to close each prayer “In Jesus’ Name” or God will not hear it? Was Jesus’ name required at the end of every prayer from Adam until the resurrection, too? Did the apostles all pray and sing and close each prayer and hymn “In Jesus’ Name” lest God not listen to them? Must we?

Is this a command to sing and sing only? Is this a command that specifically forbids instruments of music by not mentioning them at all?

Is this the only way that we are authorized to teach and admonish one another by vocal music? Should we have cantors rather than preachers?

Is there anywhere in this verse something that says everything a church or believer does must be specifically authorized by the authority of Jesus Christ and/or that anything not specifically authorized is automatically forbidden and condemned and punishable if violated by eternal hellfire (as some writers would have you believe)?

Does it only apply to gathered worship or also to individual worship?

Does it apply only to worship? (It does say “all.”)

I think there’s at least one alternative and better interpretation of the phrase “in the name of.”

I think this passage is a reminder that Jesus promised and explained:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. ~ John 14:13-14; see also 15:16; 16:23-26

It is a custom that reminds both Jew and Gentile (who have been used to another way of praying and praising their God or gods) of the One through whom they have believed in a God who has accepted His last sacrifice for sin.

Surely we are to be as grateful to the Son as to the Father God; both made that sacrifice.

And let’s just think about the concept of worship for a moment. Is worship something that God wants from us because He has commanded it and requires it and expects us to only do it in prescribed ways with no margin for creativity and so we do it out of obligation, duty, fear and selfish desire to obey in order to be saved in heaven and avoid eternal punishment? Is that the motivation from which true worship springs?

Or does worship best flow from gratitude … from the joy of receiving the promise, of being blessed, of having worth ascribed to us by God and being entrusted with the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, to faithfully and truthfully bear it to others who need it as dearly as ourselves? Not to mention the power and promise that He will give what we ask (and doesn’t that imply a responsibility to know His will and to want it to be done and to ask for it to be done through us)?

Are we not to do all that we do in gratitude for what God through Christ has done for us?

The verse says what it says. Does it mean what these writers say it means? Is that the one and only meaning it can have — that “in the name of” means “by the authority of” and no other?

And if it can have both meanings in this passage … where in the context of the verse are the words that talk about authority?

Yes, I am using a different hermeneutic from most people, a Jesus Hermeneutic, that asks “Which interpretation draws me closer to God through Christ?” and the answer that it yields has nothing to do with the law Jesus fulfilled or instructions God left out but expects us to obey anyway.

And I will keep using it, because it points to the Way, the Truth and the Life and not to the law of sin and judgment and death.

The Visitor

It was a cold day at the close of February, even as far south as Hinterlands, Texas, and those who gathered there for the Disputing for the DoctrineTM Lectures were grateful for a warm church building.

A few minutes before the first lecture was to begin that Sunday morning, a smiling visitor in a three-piece suit and carrying a clipboard took his place behind the lectern and the crowd quieted out of curiosity.

“Thank you,” he greeted. “I won’t take much of your time; I’m just here to take an informal survey of sorts and a quick show of hands will take care of the answers I need.

“The theme for this year’s lecture is ‘Portraits of Heresy #2,’ which makes me assume that last year’s theme was, of course, #1. I see from the program that it consists of refutations of books, sermons and other works by others within the fellowship.

“First question: Has anyone contacted any of these authors directly to discuss with them any difficulties they may have had with the content of those books before preparing his remarks here? Anyone? Show of hands, please.”

The visitor looked as perturbed as the people in the audience. No hands went up.

“Okay,” the visitor acknowledged, and wrote something on his clipboard sheet. “So we have a potential procedural violation of code 40.18.15-17 and 40.5.23-24.

“Got it. Second question: How many of you can name all of the false teachings, heresies and apostasies described the New Testament? Hands?”

Again, though there were no hands going up, there was a considerable amount of consternation apparent.

“I’m not going to ask you to list them all; I’m just asking if you know them all,” the visitor smiled sympathetically. Looking about, he saw no response and inscribed another character on his clipboard sheet, muttering: “Complete unfamiliarity with 48.5.6, 54.1.3-10, 61.2.1, 62.4.3, 63.1.7 … and all the rest.”

“What are you talking about?” hollered a fellow sitting near the front, trying to rise to his feet and suddenly finding himself unable to do so.

“Oh. Your legs have fallen asleep.” The visitor appeared to consider it. “Appropriate. – I’m talking about law. You do consider scripture to be law that must in every case be fully known and obeyed, do you not? No, no; I wasn’t asking for a show of hands on that one. – What I’m doing is simply expressing scripture as citations of law; I thought that might be your preference. I’ll convert back, if it will make things clearer. Third question: Everyone’s aware of, uh, Matthew 7:1-2 … ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you …?’ How many of you believe that does not apply to you because you are, in fact, disputing for the doctrine?”

Thunder sounded outside, a little more threateningly than it had before.

A few hands started to go up, but there was some confusion over the phrasing of the question and they quickly went down. A middle-aged fellow jumped to his feet and shouted, “Listen here … Who are you? What gives you the authority to …?” But his question was interrupted when he suddenly gasped, clutched at his chest and sank back into the pew dumbstruck.

The visitor’s smile had faded. “Ouch. Chest pain? Heart, I’ll bet. Perhaps you should take it easy. – I must compliment you on intuiting the subject of the last two questions, by the way, identity and authority – although in reverse order. Fourth question: How many of you believe that everything regarding worship and service to God must be specifically authorized in scripture ….” At this, virtually every hand shot up and even the cautious ones – seeing the majority vote enthusiastically – joined eventually. “… and that anything not specifically authorized in scripture is of sin and leads to God’s judgment and to eternal damnation?” No hands wavered, though, even as the visitor added in a clarifying tone, “Including instruments used in worship, cooperation in giving to aid the poor and widowed and orphaned, purchased places of worship with heating and air conditioning units …?”

Outside, the storm was audibly growing closer, and the snowflakes falling more furiously beyond the stained-glass windows.

Counting with his stylus, the visitor etched what must have been simply a rough estimate of the total attendance on his clipboard sheet. “Thank you; last question. This is a purely hypothetical one, of course: If I just happened to be an angel of the Lord, can anyone here give me even one reason why I should not call down fire from heaven to consume this place and all who are in it?”

That was the last straw; dozens of people launched themselves in the general direction of the lectern at the front. Shouts began: “Now see here!” “You have no right!” “Stop this very…” But at that very moment, a colossal flash of lightning through the windows whitened the image of every soul present and a simultaneous sonic boom of thunder pounded the rafters, the pews, the floor, and the center of each heart there. Though the lights flickered out, they did not stay out – yet they returned much dimmer. There was a sizzling electrical noise nearby that died out a few seconds later, and the hint of a scent of smoke.

As the crowd looked around, they realized that the visitor was gone from the lectern. No one had seen him go during the instant of brilliance and then darkness. He simply was not there.

The host of the Lectures rose to his feet, his knees still a bit wobbly from having just regained prickly wakefulness. He took his place at the lectern and said haltingly, “Well … heh, heh … that was unusual, wasn’t it? Can’t ever remember a Lecture beginning quite like that before; can you?”

There was some nervous laughter. He reached for a song book. “Well, let’s sing a song to begin.”

As the strains of Will the Circle Be Unbroken filled the auditorium, punctuated at the end of nearly every phrase by staccato thunder, the sense of anticipation returned … though this time, with a good measure of apprehension. Eyes occasionally darted up to the ceiling, creaking under the weight of newfallen snow, or toward the windows as thunder sounded. And the warmth in the auditorium slowly seeped away.

Which was no great mystery; the bolt of lightning had fried the HVAC unit out back.

What God’s Authority Is Used For Among Believers

By Jesus:

  • To teach:” … because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” ~ Matthew 7:29 (see also Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32
  • To heal and forgive sins: ” ‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….’ Then he said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.'” ~ Matthew 9:6 (see also Mark 2:10)
  • To exorcise evil spirits: “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’ ” ~ Mark 1:27
  • To be hailed as a delivering king; to cleanse God’s house, to heal, and to demonstrate the power of faith ~ Matthew 21:12-27; Mark 11:12-33; Luke 20:1-8; John 2:13-25
  • To judge: “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” ~ John 5:27
  • To lay down and take up His own life again: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” ~ John 10:18
  • To give eternal life: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” ~ John 17:2

As given through His disciples:

  • To heal and exorcise: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” ~ Matthew 10:1 (see also Mark 6:7; 3:15; Luke 9:1)
  • To overcome the enemy: “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” ~ Luke 10:19
  • To build up the saints: “For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:8 (see also 13:10)
  • To give instructions: “For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 4:2
  • To encourage and rebuke: “These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” ~ Titus 2:15

For others, in short. For their benefit – and God’s glory.

What Authority Is NOT To Be Used For

  • To lord it over others: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.” ~ Matthew 20:20-28 (see also Mark 10:42; Luke 22:25)
  • To claim it as one’s own: The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.‘” ~ Luke 4:5-8 (see also Romans 13:1)
  • To denigrate, humiliate or otherwise tear down other believers: “This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:8, again (and also see again 13:10)

For one’s self, in short. For one’s self-justification and self-aggrandizement. Hebrews 13:17 does indeed instruct: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” And there is certainly a strong implication that these leaders are leaders within the church, who should expect their work to be a joy and not a burden. (But it is not explicit. There is no word here equivalent to elders, shepherds, pastors, bishops, deacons, ministers. Just “those leading you.”) Also, the good reputation of believers is in view where 1 Peter 2:13-15 teaches us to submit to all authorities instituted among men. Yet, sometimes, a choice must be made – and Peter, along with his companions, clearly and quickly saw there was no question about it when religious leaders ordered them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus:

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” ~ Acts 5:29

When authority is misused, misrepresented as God’s, insisted upon without question, enforced with humiliation and threat, it is wrong no matter what commands or teachings that claimed authority defends. And there is every reason to suspect those commands and teachings, too – if the manner in which authority is handled (rather, mishandled) can be demonstrated to run counter to the instructions of scriptures like those cited above.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” ~ Luke 16:10

That is as true of authority as it is of anything else with which God entrusts us.

Where Authority Resides

Okay, don’t accuse me of saying that there is no authority in scripture until you’ve heard me out!

It’s there. And it’s God’s authority.

But if you read your newspaper daily, and come across an account of a Supreme Court decision that will affect your life and the lives of all Americans – do you say that the authority for that ruling belonged to the newspaper?

Or that the newspaper was where you learned of it?

Was the purpose of the newspaper to create the ruling, or to make it known? Was it to enforce the new ruling, or to tell the story about how it came about?

Stay with me, here.

If the newspaper reported that the Supreme Court had declined to review a law in question, would you automatically assume that a new law was in place that struck down the old one; a new law which countermanded or significantly revised the old?

Or that the old ruling was judged to be constitutionally sound and clear, and still in effect?

Now extend the metaphor, just a little more.

If Congress repealed an amendment, would the entire Constitution be considered null and void? Or would the Constitution still have great value in defining our country’s legal system?

Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. ~ Galatians 3:21-25

Does the law of the Old Covenant still have great value in instructing us about God’s will, even though many of its provisions have been fulfilled in Christ? Doesn’t it tell us specifically how God feels, for instance, about bestiality or rape – defining what is generally called porneia (sexual impurity) but not spelled out specifically – in the New? Doesn’t it still convey His will and authority about provisions not specifically changed? Does it not still “lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith”?

Has God changed his mind about bestiality and rape simply because animal sacrifice is no longer in effect?

Has God changed his mind about loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength or loving our neighbor as one’s self even though we no longer worship at a tabernacle or temple, requiring priests from the tribe of Levi to intercede for us?

Is His will and authority consistent through both testaments regarding what is right and holy, or what is wrong and evil?

If He does not specifically rescind or revoke a means He commanded of expressing worship and service to Him, is it safe or wise or even logical to assume that He has changed His mind? That such a means has suddenly become evil and sinful?

Or does His silence give consent?

Or is it possible that silence expresses silence – nothing more; nothing less?

I have read an author say that what God commanded in the Old Testament and what is practiced in heaven are irrelevant to what the church must believe and obey and practice. Is it irrelevant? Or irrefutable?

Our attempt to give authority to scripture rather than to God is just a way of de-Personalizing it so that the heinousness of re-interpreting it to our own desire seems logically holy and just and righteous. By our interpretation of it, we seem to have a voice in determining it. Is that rational? Or rationalization?

If we must have a motto like “Where scripture speaks, we speak; where scripture is silent, we are silent” … I’d be a whole lot more comfortable with one that says

“Let God speak and let us be silent. When God is silent, let us be in trembling, prostrate awe.”

Can You Have It Both Ways with Authority and the Old Testament?

Virtually without exception so far in my study of instrumental praise and a cappella worship, of law and liberty in hermeneutic, those who defend the vocal-only and legal-only viewpoint will cite Old Testament scripture as examples of their “Prohibitive Law of Silence” which must be carried over into the New Testament church.

Yet some, almost in the very same breath, will discount commands to worship with instruments that are given by God in the Old Testament (yet never specifically rescinded in the New) because the OT law which authorized instrumental music has been replaced by the gospel of Christ (which they agree is silent on the matter of instrumental or a cappella-only praise).

So, does the Old Testament have authority or not?

At least a few will ask:

If we can use instrumental music in worship because David did, can we:
1. Offer animal sacrifices? (Psalm 20:3; Psalm 66:13-15)
2. Dance before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14)
3. Keep the sabbath? (Exodus 20:8)
4. Have many wives? (2 Samuel 5:13)

May I attempt to answer out of my admittedly meager knowledge of scripture and God’s nature …
1. No. Well, you could, but it’d be pointless. And there’d be no temple at which to do it. (Hebrews 10:3-10).
2. Maybe. Never specifically rescinded or revoked in the New Testament. Why do you ask? Do you not like dancing? Or just not feel like dancing when you suddenly, more fully perceive the grace and providence and love of God?
3. Maybe. Never specifically rescinded or revoked in the New Testament. (But see Mark 2:23-28.) Is the Son of Man no longer Lord of the Sabbath? Would it be a bad thing to keep the Sabbath and rest as God rested on the seventh day, the day before our work for him begins again on Sunday?
4. No. (Ephesians 5:31; Mark 10:5-9).

And, when confronted with the presence of harps in the highly-symbolic Revelation to John, a few will ask questions like these:

1. Why should we believe that these are literal harps in a highly symbolic book like Revelation? (Revelation 5:8; 14:1-2; 15:1-3)
2. If the golden bowls full of incense are a symbol for the prayers of the saints, why wouldn’t the harps be a symbol for the praise of the saints? (Revelation 5:8)
3. If the harps in heaven authorize instrumental music in worship here on earth, do the golden bowls full of incense authorize the burning of incense in worship here on earth? If not why not? (Revelation 5:8)
4. Did John hear a harp or a voice? (Rev. 14:1-2, ASV)
5. Since all the victorious had harps, shouldn’t every Christian play a harp in worship today? If not why not? (15:1-3)
6. If harps are authorized by these passages, why do most churches use nearly everything but harps?
7. If these passages authorize instrumental music in worship here on earth, why didn’t the early church have instrumental music?
8. Even if there really are harps in heaven, does this prove that God wants instrumental music in worship here on earth (cf. Matthew 22:30; Hebrews 4:14 & 8:4; Revelation 7:16-17.)

Again, if I may be forgiven a pauper’s intellect with regard to scripture and the will of God:
1. Why should you not believe that these are literal harps in a highly prophetic book like Revelation?
2. Well, possibly the harp each held is a symbol for the prayers of the saints, as well as the bowls of incense they all held. Isn’t the word for “harp” plural there? Making it pretty hard to play more than one and hold more than one bowls or vials and sing, which they did in the next verse. But at least the four living creatures or beasts had six wings each, which may have helped. I don’t know about the elders. Are you saying that all Christians are symbolized by these beasts and elders? Where do you get that?
3. You really are hung up on that “authorize” stuff, aren’t you? You see, I never insisted that this scripture authorized the use of instruments on earth. I would merely point out that God chose these symbols to describe worship with instruments to Him in heaven, and commanded them in the Old Testament and never revoked the command in the New. Do you have something against incense? If a church chose to burn incense as described here in an attempt to help its members picture the wonder of heaven and its glorious worship, would that be a sin?
4. In the American Standard Version you specify, John hears “a voice as of the voice of harpers.” In the KJV, it is “the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” In the NIV, he hears a “sound … like that of harpists playing their harps,” which is virtually the same wording as the New KJV, Young’s Literal, and the NASV. Happy? Can we nitpick something else irrelevant but different now?
5. If we are all commanded to have harps by this example, then shouldn’t we sing only the song of Moses and the Lamb, since it is the only song authorized? Does anyone have the sheet music to that one? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
6. Why do most churches use everything but harps in their instrumental praise? Man, have you priced one of those hummers? And they’re huge and heavy these days, too! It’s hard to find little ones you can carry in one hand while balancing a bowl in the other. Let alone getting more than one for each member, just to be in compliance with Revelation 5:8 as you suggest! Of course, some of those churches might also be going back to Psalm 150 for their authorization, and coming as close as they can. Or maybe they’re not sold on the notion that everything they do in worship must be specifically, letter-for-letter authorized because they don’t find that to be a guiding principle of the New Covenant. Maybe they find it ridiculous that God would accept a harp but reject a guitar because He didn’t prophetically authorize it in scripture. I don’t know, really. You’d have to ask them.
7. Ah, that assumes that the early church didn’t have instrumental praise. Ever, one would suppose from the way you pose the question. Even when the church early on in Acts met daily in the temple, where instrumental worship was commanded by God (2 Chronicles 29:5). Can you show me where in scripture it says that the church didn’t celebrate with instrumental praise? (No, I’m not talking about quoting a bevy of scholars and historians who agree with you and confidently assert it; I mean proof. – Would you accept the word of scholars and historians I could quote who disagree? No? You can’t say it is a fact if there isn’t proof.) Can you do that? Or otherwise prove this negative?
8. Even if there really are harps in heaven, does this prove that God wants instrumental music in worship here on earth, you ask? I dunno. If there were not harps in heaven, would it prove that He doesn’t? What did Jesus pray in Matthew 6:10? Or does it make more sense to conclude that since God doesn’t specify a preference in scripture after the arrival of His Son on earth, that we shouldn’t, either?

Sorry; I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful, but you’ve got to at least recognize that I find us (as a fellowship of believers) teetering on the very edge of absurdity in even bringing up some of these arguments and questions about something as serious (and yet ecstatic and heart-clutching and mind-riveting) as our worship together. Some would say we done fell off long ago.

That’s why, along with my confessedly manifest ignorance, I am not going to go ahead with a discussion of psallo, and psalleto or any number of other words which would have us throwing quotes from disagreeing linguists at each other. A good, solid knowledge of Biblical languages can often be helpful in determining the meaning of words. But arguments over words don’t prove anything. Words change in meaning over time; pretty much everyone accepts that. And some meanings remain intact with their original words for-nearly-ever. Which is it for these words? You don’t know and I don’t know. I find the guiding principle here is 2 Timothy 2:23.

So I return to my original question: With regard to the authority of scripture as God’s binding word and authority forever, can you have it both ways with the Old Testament? It is, but it isn’t? And who determines where it is and where it isn’t?

Or is there something consistent about God’s nature as revealed in all of scripture that transcends our concepts of old and new, justice and mercy, “precept and promise, law and love combining ’til night shall vanish in eternal day?”

Is He unclear about any of it that we absolutely need to know?

Does He leave crucial parts of it out?

Does He require us to assume and presume and build intricate structures of syllogism and deduction and proof and principle and law where He has not spoken?

Or does He ask us to believe a simple, perfect, incarnate Truth … and then cherish our praise and gratitude to Him for that Truth, however imperfect our worship may be?