A Jesus Hermeneutic: Looking Again

greybibleI think I first read the term (and his definition of) “a Christ-centered hermeneutic” twenty years ago in Wineskins Magazine, penned by Rubel Shelly. (Vol. 2, No. 6; Jan.-Feb. 1994 – archive not back online yet)

Oh my word.

Twenty years ago.

At any rate, I’ve had time to think about it a bit in twenty years, and I still like the idea. A way of looking at the Bible as the story of God and man, pointing to the One who was both God and man: Jesus.

It is one of the few hermeneutics you will actually find in scripture.

It’s implied, of course, but it’s found in the gospel of John 5:39-40, where Jesus upbraids the Jewish leaders persecuting Him:

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Unless I miss my guess, Jesus is telling them that if they don’t study the scriptures with the understanding that they speak of Him, they miss the point. They miss life … eternal life.

So I’ve been writing posts about A Jesus Hermeneutic for several years myself, now. Because I find it helpful. And I believe it to be a scriptural way of looking at scripture.

It isn’t going to be helpful in the study of all scripture. Song of Solomon, for instance, may not turn out to be a richer reading experience when viewed through that lens. In fact, I think some folks have gone way off course trying to do that. But then again, Song of Solomon is not going to prove valuable when studied through the lens of a CENI hermeneutic, either. It’s not a bunch of commands. Imposing them on your beloved will not necessarily improve your relationship with him/her.

And I think the CENI hermeneutic is flawed in some uses because of two flawed underlying assumptions that too often accompany it: about the purpose of scripture (that it is all-law, all-the-time, for-everyone, in-all-ages), and about God Himself (He gives us nearly-impossible laws because can’t wait for us to mess up so He can smite us).

So how do I study scripture with a Jesus hermeneutic? Usually, I ask two questions:

  • What does this scripture tell me about Jesus?
  • Therefore (if He is the Son of God), what does this scripture tell me about God and our relationship with Him?

Sometimes, if I’m brave enough, I ask two more:

  • How does that affect me?
  • What am I going to do about it?

Christianity Today just last year ran an interesting series of articles on the concept. Like any hermeneutic, a Jesus hermeneutic has its strengths and weaknesses; its opportunities and pitfalls; its useful applications and its off-target applications.

As I can’t really begin to aspire to the level of scholarship of the various authors, I will just say that I found the series helpful and challenging.

I’ll close this post with the questions that eventually go through the mind of anyone who ponders hermeneutics: Why do we have to have a hermeneutic? Why do we need to read scripture through a lens of any magnification or color tint? Why can’t we just read it for what it is?

Because we all do, whether we intend to or not. We read everything with some measure of expectation, preconception, opinion, or judgment — based on whatever exposure we’ve had to any part of it, from any source. We read it through the lens of perception.

An atheist reads scripture with the determination to discredit and disprove.

A believer reads scripture with the intention of finding and building faith.

A person who has no interest in it reads disinterestedly.

So we’d do well to consider the lenses with which we read, evaluate them in advance, choose wisely among them for the one or ones that are going to be helpful, illuminating, logical, consistent, appropriate, and as objective as we can stand for them to be.

Because I have a strong feeling that if we really could read scripture without any kind of subjective lens, the sheer power of the truth would overcome us and reduce us to whimpering puddles of humility.

I’ll let you know if I ever get there.

But then again … you’d probably see and hear it for yourself, and I wouldn’t have to.

What We Know and What We Don’t

You can get yourself into a mess of trouble when you can no longer discern what you know from what you don’t.

For example, we know from Acts 20:7 that the intention of the mission party was to break bread on the first day of the week.

What we don’t know is a lot.

  • Was the term “breaking bread” used exclusively of the Lord’s Supper? Or was it simply indicative of a common meal? Or both?
  • Was the first day of the week the only day that this was done?
  • Was it done every week? (They did stay there seven days, v. 6. Did they also do this on the day they arrived? Does that exclude every other day of the week but the first?)
  • Had the practice become less frequent since the early, daily practice of church gathering in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42ff)?
  • If this was a weekly observance, was this practice unique to Troas?
  • Did they actually break bread on the first day of the week, or was it delayed until after Paul spoke and Eutychus fell from the window (vs. 8-12)? Or was it done both before and after?
  • Was this an example that was intended to be binding as law on the gathered church everywhere forever afterward? Or just a mention of an intention?

When we start saying that this passage of scripture says more than what we know, we’ve drawn a conclusion (or two. Or more). A conclusion may be a possibility, but it is not a certainty. And it is of human origin.

When we start saying that our conclusion is doctrine, God’s doctrine, and therefore law, we’ve gone beyond what the scripture says and have made our worship vain. (Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7, where Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13)

That means we’ve gotten ourselves into a mess of trouble.

It really doesn’t matter how skillfully and scholarly we defend our conclusion; it remains a conclusion we’ve drawn. A theory. An idea.

No matter how conscientiously we observe our conclusion, nor how long — even to the point of it becoming a tradition — it remains a conclusion.

And if we start judging each other based on our conclusions, we’ve gotten ourselves into a bigger mess of trouble.

There are so many passages of scripture which make this principle so clear, I hardly know where to begin. Let’s settle for now with this one, from Paul who was given quite a bit more than just the ability to draw conclusions:

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? ~ 1 Corinthians 4:1-7

As conclusions (or, if you wish to call them something else: interpretations, traditions, issues, disputable matters, whatever) we are free to observe them ourselves in good conscience — to the Lord — by the advice in Romans 14. But the same chapter forbids us from judging another believer, treating him or her with contempt, and putting an obstacle before them over this conclusion we’ve drawn regarding one day being holier than another.

I really don’t think that’s a conclusion I’ve drawn.

I think that’s literally what it says.

Personally — and this IS a conclusion — I don’t believe there is such a thing as celebrating the Lord’s Supper too frequently. If that is indeed what’s described in Acts 2 and Acts 20, then in the former chapter it seems to be done daily and devotedly; in public and in private; in generosity and hospitality; in the good pleasure of both God and man.

This early gathering of saints was heady with the joy of salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of fellowship together. If our goal as believers is to be like a first-century church, why not Jerusalem at the beginning? If our goal is to be like Christ, how much more like Him could we be in this? What benefits and blessings yet unknown to us might accrue from remembering Him in this unique way at the table?

Every single day.


I just tweeted:

I hope I never reach the point where assumptions, opinions, and interpretations regarding scripture hold equal weight to scripture itself.

A Facebook friend asked, “Can you read a Bible verse without an interpretation? And how do you separate the scripture from the interpretation? Keith, I think I understand what you’re saying-that scripture takes precedence over opinion and I agree. I’m just not sure we can separate scripture from interpretation. Every time we read scripture we make an interpretation.”

I seem to read that a lot. Is it true?

Are we incapable of discerning the difference between what scripture says and what we (or others) think it says?

To me, Jesus seemed to be pretty tough on religious leaders who couldn’t; who added their own interpretation to scripture and made it weigh the same; as if it were God’s own doctrine rather than just based on God’s own doctrine.

When you go to a movie that’s “based on the best-selling biography” but, familiar as you are with that biography, encounter a point in the screenplay that takes wide liberties with the biography for the sake of dramatic effect, are you unable to discern that?

Why should it be different with scripture?

I answered my friend: “You don’t think there’s anyone who can come to a perplexing scripture and honestly say, ‘I don’t understand what this means’? That’s not an interpretation … It’s an admission.”

And if we are honestly unsure, isn’t discernment something that we can ask God for? That He gives through His Spirit?

I’m thinking 1 Kings 3:11Psalm 119:1251 Corinthians 2:14Philippians 1:9-10.

Am I off-base with this interpretation?

Don’t you think God wants us to understand His word? Won’t He grant that if we ask? Is the problem that we don’t ask …?

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” ~ Luke 11:11-13

Or perhaps that we lean too much on our own understanding? (Proverbs 3:5; 18:2)

I’m not a heavily-structured logical thinker; I’ll just admit it. What logic I have is much more informal. But when I don’t understand a scripture, the first thing that I (usually remember to) do is ask for help. From God. From others. Because I believe there’s value in finding out what the consensus of others might be (if there is a consensus), or at least what the possibilities are.

Then I ask questions, and these are just a few of them — in addition to questions about the context/pericope, to whom it is written, when it is written, what its scope might be (just us, just them; both; then, now, both; etc.):

  • Is this the ONLY thing the scripture can mean here? Could it have more than one layer of meaning?
  • Is prophetic language or context in play?
  • Is it a commandment, instruction, request, narrative, parable, question, example, implication, poem/song/opera, historical record, what?
  • Has it been contravened by something in scripture that’s related and more recent/relevant?
  • Do other related scriptures confirm what it says or contradict it and why? For instance, were Jesus and party entering (Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35) or leaving (Matthew 20:29-34) Jericho when a blind man was/two blind men were healed? Or, as in that example, is it possible that two different things are described that are similar in some ways – one going in; two coming out?
  • Does it matter? (A value judgment: “A difference which makes no difference is no difference.” Not always true, but sometimes relevant.)
  • What’s the simplest explanation? (Occam’s Razor can often be helpful, though not determinative.)
  • What explanation points me to God through Jesus Christ? (This, of course, is the Jesus Hermeneutic. I didn’t invent it and I don’t think I named it. As far as I know it’s not trademarked or copyrighted and you should feel free to use it if it helps!)

Well, those are a few of mine. What are some of yours?

And should we believers be teaching responsible scripture reading, analysis and interpretation skills — as well as asking God for answers — a whole lot more?

Covenant-Appropriate Hermeneutic

New Wineskins - The Instrumental Music IssueI’ll say it right out: I think the CENI (Command, Example, Necessary Inference) hermeneutic can be really useful.

It may not help your appreciation of Hebrew poetic literature or prophecy or history, true. But CENI can really help you determine what God’s law and will was in the Old Testament. And, chances are, the verses you may have heard/seen/read to support this hermeneutic (method of viewing scripture) mostly or all come from the Old Testament.

I think that’s telling. The Old Covenant was about law, the law of Moses. It would seem that the rabbinical schools of thought which emerged at the close of the era chronicled by the Old Testament used something like CENI to create interpretations and traditions.

Many of those included interpretations and traditions that Jesus never failed to surgically explore, to excise any falsehood – and, when necessary, to pronounce dead on arrival.

But a New Covenant requires a new hermeneutic – or two, or maybe even more.

You see, the New covenant is not about law, but grace.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ~ John 1:17

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 5:19-21

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. ~ Romans 6:14

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! ~ Galatians 2:21

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. ~ Galatians 5:4

Law can’t save. Law can only condemn. (Romans 8)

I’m afraid that many people who apply an Old Covenant hermeneutic to the New Covenant – trying to establish what is both written and unwritten in it as only law that must be obeyed to the tiniest jot and tittle – many of those people eventually become very good at doing what law itself is good at doing:


It can start innocently enough with simple correction (even lovingly delivered), but it can also snowball out-of-control into accusation, insinuation, judgment, and condemnation of others.

All because the wrong hermeneutic for that covenant is in play.

I’m sure I’m not the first to propose A Jesus Hermeneutic (Luke 24:27; John 5:39-40) – one which looks at scripture and seeks to see Jesus Christ yet to come, fully present, returned to heaven and/or yet to come again. It puts all of scripture in perspective for me. It has application for my own life and choices. It implicitly asks the Charles Sheldon question, “What would Jesus do?” and all of its other forms.

But I would be the first to admit that while it can accomplish that purpose, it is not of ultimate value in helping determine the answer to procedural questions, especially with regard to church and worship. (It is still of great value there, but as an overarching rather than specific hermeneutic.)

Al Maxey has done a great service to his fellow Christians by proposing A Reflective Hermeneutic in this relatively brief New Wineskins article. That’s not enough space to fully develop the concept, of course, but the proposal alone that you’ll find there is extraordinary.

He recommends a method of discernment that goes well beyond the simplistic everything-must-be-right-or-wrong viewpoint of the CENI hermeneutic, especially when coupled with the Regulative Principle. That view served the wandering and settling tribes of Israel in a dark, violent, barbaric era. But it cannot deal with the complexity of procedural questions like those Paul dealt with in Romans 14. There are some matters about which God expresses no preference – and He expects us to respect the preferences of others in these situations, not to make law for them or judge them.

But what I want you to notice in the article is that Al doesn’t dip heavily into Old Testament scripture to form or exemplify the Reflective Hermeneutic; he quotes the New Testament to answer the questions which fall under the New Covenant.

Here are the four queries that the Reflective Hermeneutic asks us to make regarding any interpretation of scripture (and I would like to add some scriptures which I feel/agree are supportive of asking these questions):

Is it BIBLICAL? (Matthew 22:29; Acts 17:2, 11; Romans 4:3; 2 Timothy 3:16 and many, many others)
If not, is it NON-BIBLICAL? (Al cites Romans 14; I would add Mark 7:1-23; 1 Corinthians 7:10-13, 1 Corinthians 7:25)
If neither, is it ANTI-BIBLICAL? (Matthew 15:3-6; Colossians 2:8; 1 John 2:22, 4:3; 2 John 1:7)
Finally, is it BENEFICIAL? (Al cites 1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 Corinthians 6:12; I would add Romans 6:21-22; Colossians 2:22-23; Hebrews 13:9)

Is that to say there is no law at all in the New Testament or New Covenant? No, not at all; but a Reflective Hermeneutic paired with a Jesus Hermeneutic does recognize these simple facts:

  • that not all scripture is intended to be law;
  • that while obedience testifies to our faith in God’s grace, it does not earn nor merit it;
  • that law can still only condemn and only grace can save.


In order to turn the entirety of the Bible into law – or even just the parts that you want to turn into law – by way of the “C.E.N.I” (command, example, necessary inference) hermeneutic, you have to make some assumptions.

  • That the Bible is meant to be read as law
  • That we cannot know the mind of God except through scripture.
  • That all or most imperatives are intended as commands
  • That imperatives are meant for everyone in every era in every circumstance
  • That imperatives are from God even if they are issued by a Biblical character
  • That only one interpretation of an imperative can be correct and is therefore clear
  • That all or most examples are “good” examples
  • That all or most examples are intended as commands
  • That examples are meant to describe something God intends for everyone in every era in every circumstance to follow
  • That all or most activities inferred are intended as commands
  • That inferences are necessary
  • That inferences are indisputable
  • That inferences are meant to include everyone in every era in every circumstance
  • That imperatives having to do with gathered worship (e.g., “do not forsake the assembly …”) affect one’s salvation and must be emphasized; that other imperatives (e.g., “sell your possessions and give to the poor”) do not affect one’s salvation and need not be emphasized
  • That, after being given Christ as a living example, we need more laws than have already been revealed before His arrival rather than fewer
  • That law has not been superceded by Christ’s grace
  • That law is still required as a schoolmaster/guardian/pedagogue
  • That words/phrases translated “law” and/or “the law” in the New Testament always refer to the law of Moses
  • That ignorance of God’s will is no excuse and God will not forgive it.
  • That God’s justice in scripture is uncontaminated by mercy and can therefore be consistently predicted to be judgmental and condemning (e.g., that God would have sunk the ark and drowned every creature aboard her if Noah had used – even if by mistake – any other wood than “gopher wood.”)
  • That scriptures which seem to contradict these principles are irrelevant and must be ignored or can logically and clearly be shown to be irrelevant.

If you further interpret the resulting laws through the regulative principle (or “law of silence”), you have to make even more assumptions:

  • That any given action is either prohibited or commanded by scripture; there are no practices about which God does not care and does not express preference
  • That there are no longer any disputable matters, as the principle of silence covers all unspoken commands
  • That the silence of God in scripture on any given practice is prohibitive
  • That there must be exceptions to the principle of silence, as there are unspoken commands which clearly carry no harm nor detriment and may assist in obeying other commands
  • That these exceptions are included in the principle of expedience
  • That these two principles (regulative/silence and expedience), never explicitly commanded, exemplified or implied by scripture, are not prohibited by the silence of scripture regarding them


That’s a lot of assumptions.

What does that old schoolyard proverb say? That when we “ASSUME,” it makes something-or-other of “U” and “ME” …?

The Jesus Hermeneutic

I’m adapting and expanding below a comment that I made in response to a post at Jay Guin’s insightful blog post: CENI: A Better Way – The Gospels because, on reflection, I didn’t say all that I wanted to say:

Are all of the imperatives in the New Testament to be interpreted as commands? instructions? suggestions? Which ones are which? Just the ones from Jesus? Just the ones from Paul? Peter? John?

The basic premise of conservative thought, I believe, is “We don’t know (but we don’t want to admit it), so to be safe, let’s just say that all of them are commands.” I can kind of respect that as a “safe” proposition, but the underlying assumption seems to be that God will always incinerate us with fire from above like Nadab and Abihu for any supposed infraction of unexpressed commands. I can’t buy that. That’s not consistent with the nature of the God who gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins and is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9.

Are we really called to try to be safe sinners in the hands of an always-angry God? Or to be, at least in some measure, risk-takers with our hearts filled with His instructions (which speak of His love for us and His desire for us to have the best kind of lives)?

The old law said stone the Sabbath-breaker (Numbers 15:32-36).

Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not vice-versa (Mark 2:27) and He was Lord of it (v. 28). That’s not stated as law (though it certainly put Him at risk!).

To me, the question is: Do we have be on the edge of our seats in such fear of God’s wrath that we must regard every imperative, every example in New Testament scripture as (potential? binding?) command … or should we trust God and trust also in Jesus? Did He come to make it more difficult to have a relationship with God (Matthew 5:48) or to point out that no one can be perfect, so He served as our atonement to establish that relationship (Romans 3:21-26)?

I tend toward the latter – and I know that makes me a damnable heretic to a good number of my brothers and sisters in Christ – but my sense of His teaching is that we’re here to trust the Master, take some risks in order to do His will and help earn Him some results , and if we don’t do that, we are indeed in danger of being cast into the outer darkness.

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” ~ Matthew 25:14-30

Please body-block me if I’m wrong about this. But isn’t Jesus, in this story, condemning the cowardly servant because he only feared and distrusted his master, leading to his very fiscally conservative – but unproductive – actions?

In fact, if there was ever a more clear story in scripture about violating God’s unexpressed expectations, isn’t this it – far beyond the story of Nadab and Abihu? I realize that this story is not expressly about gathered worship and therefore does not serve the purpose of some who would otherwise cite it to prove their point, but in this story the master never once tells the servants to invest his money. He entrusts it to them according to their ability, but never says, “Make it grow!”

Sandwiched right there between the parable of the unprepared and prepared virgins and the metaphor of the sheep and the goats, here is this convicting parable that essentially says, What do you not understand about why God has entrusted you with all the good things in your life – especially the Story of His Son, Jesus? Do you think it’s all just for YOU?

The servants who had worked for the master in the parable knew he wanted results (just look at the lazy servant’s estimation of him). And it’s the same with us; we know from Jesus’ ministry, His message, the sending of twelve and seventy(-two), the Great Commission … we know He wants results! He doesn’t have to tell us in this story – He’s emphasizing it by its conspicuous absence, just as the story of Esther emphasizes God’s care and intervention only implicitly.

I asked some questions in the first couple of paragraphs about which imperatives should be regarded as commands. This story is not an imperative. It is not strictly an example. It’s really stretching the definition to call this an inference, necessary or not. It’s a parable. It’s the way Jesus chose to teach a good part of the time, for His own reasons (Matthew 13:10-17). Yet, I consider it just as binding on us any other teaching Jesus shared. The tone of His words is teaching, instruction – though this is deep and profound and hard teaching, near the close of His mortal days and ministry in His own flesh. And so were the instructions of the Holy Spirit through Paul, Peter, John and the other writers of New Testament scripture. If we can’t see the epistles through the lens of the gospels rather than the telescope of the old law, our focus is off and our hermeneutic is fatally flawed.

God did the “law” covenant with a maturing human race. It served its purpose as tutor, instructor, guardian. At the fullness of time, we needed a new and better covenant (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 12:24): not a law that no one could keep, but an agreement of grace offered and accepted; a contract of debt paid in full; a perfect Example and Pattern of self-sacrifice that would tug our hearts outward toward Him and others, rather than inward and self-ward; a teaching so full of abundant life that it was spoken and lived and murdered and yet could not be kept dead.

This is the Jesus hermeneutic.

It’s seeing scripture pointing forward to, directly at, or back toward Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Savior, Redeemer, Master, Teacher.

I said a few paragraphs ago that the parable of the talents is not about gathered worship, and strictly speaking, it isn’t. But it is about worship, the life of worship (Romans 12:1) to which God calls us, and wants for us to have, and wants to use in order to work His will through us and yield a great return: more souls who know Him, more souls who love Him, more souls who will share His love and His Story.

An Illustrative Story

You look out of your home’s front window, and see a tow truck lurching away from your driveway with your car on its hook.

A couple of police officers watch nearby at their squad car, one shaking his head sadly as he fills out the paperwork.

You dash to the door and out to your lawn, shouting and hollering to get the tow truck to stop and demanding what under heaven above is going on.

The other police officer restrains you by grabbing your arm firmly, but addressing you courteously, “You’re in violation. You car was parked in your driveway, and that is not allowed under the new state constitution.”

“What?” you foam at the mouth. “What are you blatheirng about?”

“The new constitution contains no statutes, amendments or pending legislation permitting you to park your car in your driveway.”

“Well, there blazing-well were such laws under the old constitution!” you protest.

“They have been nullified when the old constitution was revoked. Now, the legislature has made it clear that they will enact laws relevant to your situation as soon as they go into their next session.”

“When is that?” you ask.

“They haven’t set a date.”

“Well, what in the world caused you to suddenly enforce this new lack of law on me and my car?”

“Your neighbors complained. They didn’t like your car.”


“Now, if you’ll be so good as to spread-eagle on the police car, please.”

“I beg your daft-headed pardon?!?!?!?”

“You’re under arrest. There are no laws in place which make it legal for you to protest the impoundment of your personal property which has been lawfully removed from your premises. You may remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You may consult an attorney, but it will do you no good because the law is clear and unimpeachable and unappealable and the sentence is automatic and the penalty is death.”


No, you’re not in the “Twilight Zone.”

You’re in the “Law of Silence Zone,” a.k.a. the “Prohibitive Silence Zone,” where God makes anything that He has not specifically and verbally authorized a crime and sin punishable by eternal death – especially when the “anything” in question has to do with gathered worship that praises and honors His name from your heart.

It is a doctrine of the hermeneutic which views the Bible as either completely or primarily a book of laws by which we are expected to perfectly live or die, and God does not help those who do not understand because they did not use the logic and brain cells that excel every other gift He gave mankind – even grace, even forgiveness, even Jesus Christ Himself.

It proceeds from the creed “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent,” which is logically drawn from 1 Peter 4:11a:

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”

Since the passage says nothing about silence, logically, the interpreter must speak as the very oracles of God and add it.

It also proceeds logically from the tragic story of the sin of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-2:

“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.”

Which proves that violating the law of silence is more serious that violating God’s explicit command, which Aaron does a few verses later in 12-20 and God lets him live. It is not relevant that God may have specifically instructed them not to add to nor subtract from the dedication but that it wasn’t recorded in scripture, or that Aaron’s sons may have been drinking overmuch and prompted the instruction from God in 8-11, because verse 1 specifically says “they offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not” and that does not mean “which He commanded them not to” but “which He did not command them to” and it is rendered incorrectly by the spawn-of-Satan New International Version “contrary to His command” because the adherents of this creed are speaking as the very oracles of God and they say so.

The “law of silence” doctrine also proceeds logically from Hebrews 7:12-14:

“For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.”

It is the principle of silence that makes the writer’s argument (that Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek) reasonable (because Moses said nothing about priests coming from any other tribe than Levi). So there must be a law of silence today – even though the passage refers to a principle of silence only within the old law – because the adherents of this creed will tell you that when Jesus says in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” that Jesus means that He has come to bring a new law, a law of silence, a law where reason prevails over passion – even the passion of a cross – because they are speaking as the very oracles of God and by gum, they say so.

So you’d better agree with them and toe the hard line, because if you don’t some of them may write you up in their books, blogs, Web sites and periodicals or take out $11-12,000 full-page ads in the statewide newspaper and tell everyone in the world just where they’re right and just where you’re wrong and why you don’t belong at a faithful church and let you logically deduce why you’re going to hell as a result.

And they don’t like the way you’ve parked your car in your driveway, either.