I just had a discussion with a Professor filling the pulpit in a congregation that used to be a faithful congregation of the Lord’s church. It was sad and very revealing about why so many once faithful congregations are no longer so.
I asked a series of questions and let him answer, trying very hard not to debate with him – and it was very hard. Here are my questions and a summation of his answers.
- Is it your view that there is no Scriptural prohibition to the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship of the New Testament church?
- Professor: [After about a 30-minute dissertation] “The argument from [prohibitive silence of the Scriptures] is a fallacious argument [exact quote]. It’s not a fellowship issue.”
- Do you believe that a person could be Scripturally baptized in a denominational church?
- Professor: “Yes”
- Do you believe it is possible to express New Testament Christianity as a member of a denominational church?
- Professor: “No”
- Me: [I couldn’t let such a blatant contradiction go] “So a person can be Scripturally baptized in a denomination where it is not possible for them to express New Testament Christianity?”
- Professor: 😯
- Do you believe that there is a definite/absolute pattern to be followed in practicing New Testament Christianity?
- Professor: “Yes”
- Me: 😯 🙄
- Do you believe that we are under any obligation to know the boundaries of our fellowship and discern whether someone is within those boundaries before we extend fellowship to them?
- Professor: [and I kid you not] “WOW!”
- Me: “So, I should write that down as your answer?”
- Professor: “Yea, just wow.”
- Me: [I read 2 John 9-11] “Isn’t that a requirement to determine fellowship based on the doctrine of Christ?”
- Professor: [after a lot of ranting] “So, you would put me outside the bounds of fellowship?”
- Me: “Yes, absolutely.”
- Professor: [storms out in a huff complaining about his treatment by ungodly legalists].
No, I am not happy about the way the conversation went. But, it did go exactly as I expected it to. Is it so sad that, to those like the Professor above, we who are careful to follow the New Testament pattern are always the bad guys? Was Paul the bad guy when he rebuked Peter to his face? (Galatians 2:11). Was Peter the bad guy when he rebuked Simon to his face? (Acts 8:20-22). Was Jesus the bad guy when he rebuked the scribes and Pharisees to their face? (Matt. 23:13-36). Or, were they speaking the truth in love? (Eph. 4:15; Jude 3).
The Professor claimed he was being put through a deposition. Well, if that’s what it was then it was so only in his own mind. To me, it was “speaking the truth in love” on two levels. First, and foremost, in love for the Lord and His word! And, whether he believes it or not, in love for him and those under his influence. I wasn’t so nieve to think that our discussion would end in him repenting and going back to correct the errors of the congregation where he serves. But it would have been wonderful if that were how it ended. I would love nothing more than to be able to express open and full fellowship with them. But I cannot, at this time, because they are not a sound congregation of the Lord’s church; and that is very, very sad.
The third bullet is even a problem for ministers in the coC which I can’t understand why and it just makes it harder for those teaching the only church Jesus built for a short version of a comment.
I see this a lot. If one is not ALL inclusive then you are labeled a ” leagalist ” . When Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8-9 “let them be accused ” he was serious. Today when us leagalist do this we are told, we are not Paul. I do not think Paul’s teachings were to be exclusive to him they are meant for all of us. There is also a perceived idea on my part that a lot of gospel preachers feel that unless you have been to a preaching school you are not qualified to express ideas. What say ye ?
Yea, it seems the higher the degree is the more they look down their nose at a “peon” trying to correct them on anything.
Thank you brother Norm, I am glad I am not imagining this.
Jacob Leonard says
I would be interested in seeing a much more detailed account of this ‘debate’. There is little to no actual detail on the Professor’s words or points of view in this.
I listened to him and wrote down some notes from what he said under each question. I let him see what I was writing and even asked him at times if what I wrote was accurate. He had no problems with anything I wrote as representing his view.
Here are some of the things I wrote down from his “30-minute dissertation,” referred to in the first point. 1) That our fundamental difference on this issue was our “approach to Scripture;” 2) that the argument of prohibitive silence is a fallacious argument; 3) That Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 have nothing to do with the public assembly of the church; 4) that the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship of the church is not a fellowship issue.
After that, we had a back and forth over the contradiction between his answer to the 2nd point and the 3rd point. I didn’t record it so I don’t want to quote anything and be accused of misquoting him.
I told him that I would be willing to debate him on any or all of these questions. But I seriously doubt that he will take me up on the offer.