CENI: Introduction

church_split1I’ve been planning to say something on CENI hermeneutics for years. Now I finally get to it.

For those not familiar with the term, “CENI” is the internet abbreviation for Command, Example, and Necessary Inference. And CENI is the foundation of 20th Century Church of Christ hermeneutics.

A fuller expression of the slogan is Direct Command, Binding (or Approved) Example, and Necessary Inference.

Let me try to explain what’s going on. You see, CENI makes no sense unless you also teach the Regulative Principle. This principle goes back to John Calvin and his efforts to purify the church from the accretions of Medieval Catholicism. Calvin taught that, in worship, anything that isn’t authorized in the scriptures is not allowed. In other words, silence is a prohibition. This was supported by various passages that express God’s concern for how he is worshiped, such as the story of Nadab and Abihu.

Over time, those who followed in Calvin’s footsteps further developed the argument, but for centuries, the argument was limited to worship, as is evidenced by the fact many Calvinistic denominations developed denominational heirarchies and other organizations structures not found in scripture. Even the Puritans, who taught congregational autonomy, limited the Regulative Principle to worship. (Here’s a really interesting article on the Puritan version of the Regulative Principle. Someone could earn a masters — at least — comparing the Church of Christ version with the Puritan version.)

Now, it’s important to realize that the Restoration Movement grew out of Calvinism — as a rejection of many of the then current practices of the Calvinist denominations. But Barton W. Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell were originally Presbyterians. Although they rejected TULIP atonement theology, they remained affected by their heritage, Indeed, Thomas Campbell referred to himself as a Calvinist as late as 1820.

It’s perhaps more significant that vast numbers of the Movement’s members were recruited from among Calvinist denominations, especially Baptists (back then most Baptists were TULIP Calvinists, while most Baptists today are not). Therefore, we are hardly surprised the find the Regulative Principle being taught by the early Restoration preachers.

Now, if matters on which the Bible is silent are banned from worship, some rule must be given for how to know what is and isn’t a silence. Early on, the Campbells found authority in commands and examples, but soon enough, Alexander Campbell was forced to conclude that authority would also be found in necessary inference, even though inference involves the application of human wisdom and hence is less assured than the word of God itself.

Thus, when the question arose as to whether a congregation may buy a meetinghouse in which to worship, there is neither command nor example, but it was easy enough to infer the necessity of acquiring a space large enough to assemble in.

Now, notice that the original purpose of CENI was to establish authority for worship, not to define who is and isn’t saved. Indeed, the Campbells were quite clear that no one should be denied membership on a question of inference. CENI was not about salvation; just worship.

Early in the history of the Movement, CENI was expanded to include all of Christianity. As so often happens, we create doctrine to deal with problems that confront the church. Thus, as churches began to use organs in their worship, the Regulative Principle was called upon to prove the practice unscriptural. When disputes arose over the formation of extra-congregational organizations, such as missionary societies, the Regulative Principle was expanded to include church organizations. Over time, the Regulative Principle has been expanded by some to areas only tangentially mentioned by scripture (if at all), such as the structure of Bible classes and the propriety of supporting orphans homes.

There remains no memory that the principle was once limited to worship. In fact, the proofs adduced for the Regulative Principle are now so broad as to include anything that the scriptures address. Thus, if the scriptures mention one way of taking communion, supporting orphans, congregational singing, supporting missionaries, or raising money, that creates an example or command, and the mention thereby excludes all other possibilities.

However, if there is no CENI for a given practice, the matter is left to human wisdom as a matter of expedience. Not surprisingly, opinions have differed as to when and how to apply the principle, and yet many within the Churches continue to insist that any violation of CENI damns. Indeed, recently, Dub McClish has declared apostate those churches in which the elders have stood for re-affirmation, agreeing to resign if the members don’t periodically affirm them. After all, there is no CENI for elder re-affirmation. And those who fellowship the apostates are, of course, also apostate. And on it goes.

Interestingly, McClish has declared Dave Miller apostate over this issue, and Dave Miller is the author of A Plea to Reconsider, damning the Richland Hills congregation for adding an instrumental service, which I considered in the following series of posts:

Introduction
Must We Have Authority?
Must We Have Authority? Further Thoughts
What’s Not Religious?
A Return to Creeds?
Abusing Restoration Movement History
On How Hard Humility Is: The Conclusion of It All

CENI has proven ineffective at bringing unity. Even the most conservative among us are now dividing from and damning each other over the most picayune issues. And this is hardly new or unexpected. It’s the natural consequence of a seriously flawed doctrine.

I’ll try to explain the flaws in the theory in future posts.

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51 Responses to CENI: Introduction

  1. Jay, I would suggest that the Puritan version of the Regulative Principle was the constricting one. Calvin's version is much broader (including liturgy, Christian calendar, etc.). Zwingli is the more radical and it is those elements that the Puritans embraced though they thought (generally) that they were following Calvin as well. But your point is quite correct. The Regulative Principle is a Reformed principle….and the Reformed continue to debate it and have always debated it, just as we have. :-)

  2. Jay, I'm sure my comment will not be as thorough or well states as yours will be. But my problem with CENI is that it gives power and influence to it's proponents.

    Further, it makes faith something that can only be understood by the scholarly among us.

    And that is not consistent with a gospel that, reportedly, is for all– the smart, the average, the unintelligent and eve the mentally disabled.

  3. Edward Fudge says:

    Jay,

    I found it very interesting, when reading some old cases in law school during the 1980s, to discover an appeal for legal authority in the form of either express statute, approved precedent or necessary inference. These categories were lifted from Anglo-American common law to become the hermeneutical framework you are discussing here. Not surprising, some of the debaters who popularized this approach (Roy Cogdill, Guy N. Woods, Alan Highers) were men trained in the law. Gratefully, most of today’s lawyer-preachers among us tend to detest legalism and to proclaim the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Cordially,
    Edward

    Cordially,
    Edward

  4. Joe Baggett says:

    Let me say something first to be fair and respectful to my ancestors I believe that they were doing what God wanted them to do. I believe that CENI was rooted in good intentions to stick to the Bible and provide a foundation.

    I have always said that if you really want to analyze something the results are the best way. If you want to analyze a certain system or method of thinking; what does it produce? Even from the youngest memories I have I can remember issues with our hermeneutic of CENI. First of all even a child can see inconsistencies in the over arching logic. Then in my early quarter life I realized that it had failed to truly reveal the God of the bible to me.

    I believe that any ecclesiological system, no matter how well intentioned, without understanding God’s character and nature is bound for pharisaical legalism. Today as Jay points out you have the ultra traditionalist/conservative or whatever politically term you wish to use are condemning each other. But when you bring this division to their attention they relegate it to bad attitudes or mere human weakness not poor theology. However there is more and more evidence to show that while humans have a bad attitude the real issue is the flawed hermeneutics. So I listen to the prophet Jeremiah when he tells the church of his day that they have turned faith into mere empty religious dogma.

    I believe that there will be a dying off of a “generation” so to speak and “destruction” so called of not only the churches of Christ but the American church in general until we come to our senses.

    Jay always brings up the symptoms of the decline: few baptisms, kids leaving, people falling away, fewer young people, ministers leaving, churches closing down and so on. This is all cause to Lament but where is the Lament service? My question is how bad will things get before our religious leaders are ready to reconsider and lead us in new direction? How bad will things have to get before we have our first official Lament service. My grandmother’s church out in West Texas town of about 10,000 population will soon close down. It has been there since 1939. There will be no lament, just blaming the bad culture and all the normal stuff. Just like the church of Jeremiah’s day I fear few will listen until utter ruin is upon us.

  5. Jay Guin says:

    Edward,

    That’s really interesting. I find the same approach in our traditional hermeneutics, with principles of statutory construction from the law being applied to Jesus and Paul.

    On the other hand, I’ve often said that we in the Churches of Christ often draw “legalistic” conclusions that are so bad a lawyer wouldn’t even take money to make such an argument! :grin:

  6. K. Rex Butts says:

    The problem is those adjectives “direct,” “approved,” and “necessary.” Just who decides what is direct, approved, or necessary? And who said the modernist mind had no room for the fuzzy-wuzziness of subjective inquiry :-).

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  7. Jay Guin says:

    Thanks. As is so often the case, you’ve sent me to the books. I’ve dug out Worship by the Book, edited by D. A. Carson. In a chapter by Timothy J. Keller, Keller addresses the Regulative Principle from within the Reformed/Calvinist tradition. As he sees it, Zwingli applied the RP more strictly than Calvin and so he sees Zwingli as the ultimate father of the Puritan version of the the RP, which strongly influenced the Free Churches (such as the Baptists) — and indirectly, the CoC. However, Calvin also taught the RP but not as rigidly as Zwingli. The result was “two different liturgical conceptions” within the Reformed movement — leading to the Reformed evangelical churches being as divided by the “worship wars” as the rest of the “U.S. church.”

    If I get this right, it would seem that BW Stone and the Campbells, coming from Presbyterian roots, would have been trained in Reformed/Calvinist version of the RP, whereas their converts coming from Baptist roots would have been trained in the Zwinglian/Puritan version of the RP — imposed with much greater rigidity. Hence, we observe the shift toward ever-stricter readings of the RP as the Zwinglian/Puritan attitude came to dominate the Restoration Movement.

    Interestingly, Keller goes on to advocate that Calvin be followed, because his liturgical conception is more transcendent and experiential than the Zwinglian tradition and hence more appealing to a Post-modern culture. The idea is to preach first, experience God second — sermon and then communion — as recommended by Calvin, so that the service becomes a metaphor for the gospel heard, received, and then celebrated. Interesting … I first heard of that approach from Randy Harris.

    I really need to read that book again.

  8. I discuss this in A Gathered People. I think the Campbells are influenced by the Puritan tradition, however, through the British dissenters.

    But it is clear that the Reformed have a divided view of the Regulative Principle that arises out of the 16th century. See, for example, the heat that Gore is taking for his book on Covenantal Worship where he argues (along with John Frame) for a broader and less constrictive application of the Regulative Principle. They apply it in such a way that permits drama, for example…..amont other things. And there is the rub. :-)

  9. Ken says:

    One of the absolute facts about MUSIC is that so “deludes the mind” that it is quite easy to lust for “lying wonders.” Lying wonders points to all of the hypocritic arts and crafts. Music is now known by medical science as it was by Lucifer called the singing and harp-playing prostitute in the garden of Eden to induce the charismatic ecstasy Paul pointed to and well documented as the Mad Women in Corinth.”

    Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them,
    Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

    Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

    Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jer 13:8
    Thus saith the Lord, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. Jer 13:9
    This evil people, which refuse to hear my words,
    ……..which walk in the imagination of their heart, [twisted]
    ……..and walk after other gods, to serve them,
    ……..and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. Jer 13:10

    Paul outlaws doubtful disputations in Romans 14 by the sects marked by DIET but all of the Roman sects practiced musical worship. That is why the SELF-pleasure is identified as “creating mental excitement” while the “laded burden” and “burden laders” outlawed by Jesus defines “spiritual anxiety created by religioous ritual.” Both the Greek and Latin was used in the literature to tell people to STOP (Pauo) the speaking, singing and playing. Isaiah 58 outlaws seeking pleasure or even speaking your own words. Because the Campbells defined church as “a school of the Bible” and Worship as “reading and musing the Word” you don’t need a LAW to keep from abusing Jesus.

    The so called regulative principle was inherited from the Bible, the church fathers and all founders of denominations. Paul’s outlawing private opinions in Romans makes synagogue or school of the Word–only–possible.

    Dialogismos is used 14 times in the NAS (Matthew; Mark; Luke 6x; Romans 2x; 1 Corinthians; Philippians; 1 Timothy; James) and is translated as: argument, 1; disputing, 1; dissension, 1; doubts, 1; motives, 1; opinions, 1; reasonings, 2; speculations, 1; thoughts, 3; what…were thinking, 2

    Dialogismos is used 11 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ps 40:5, 56:5, 92:5, 94:11, 139:2, 139:20, 146:4, Isa 59:7, Jer 4:14, Lam 3:60-61) Dialogismos often means the perverse, vain thinking which contemplates destruction (Ps. 94:11), and is turned against God (Jer. 4:14; Isa. 59:7) and against the godly (Ps. 56:5).
    Apostolic Succession for the early presbyters meant that when an elder dies it is the duty of the next man in line to guarantee that the commands to the elders as the only pastor-teachers are protected from adding, subtracting or tampering by the doctors of the law whom, says Jesus, take away the key to knowledge.

    Irenaeus (ca. 150)
    Against Heresies 3.1.1
    “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

    Peter outlawed private interpretation which means “further expounding” as the way to MARK false teachers. Paul warned about corrupting the Word which means “selling learning at retail” or being a huckster.

    Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
    The Stromata, 7:16
    “But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth,
    till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”

    Gregory of Nyssa (d.ca, 395)
    “On the Holy Trinity” outlawing the FHU/Boles Tritheism
    “Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

    Athanasius (c. 296–373)
    Against the Heathen, 1:3
    “The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

    Basil the Great (ca.329–379)
    On the Holy Spirit, 7.16
    “We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

    Ambrose (340–397 A.D.)
    On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102
    “For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?”

    St. Augustine (354–430)
    De unitate ecclesiae, 10
    “Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

    Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
    Summa Theologiae, Question 1, art. 8
    “For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books.”

    The Old and New testament is filled with proof that Christ in Spirit spoke ONLY through the prophets all of whom radically condemn the practices–especially music–of robbers and parasites. That is what God promised when the “elders” demanded a king like the nations when God understood that they “wanted to worship like the nations. They would but only on their way into captivity and death.

    Who would need a LAW against promoting the rituals of the Monarchy which was God turning them over to worship the starry host SPECIFICIALLY because of musical idolatry of the Egyptian (all pagans) trinity. The Qahal, Synagogue or church in the wilderness NEEDED a LAW and thus Christ in spirit INCLUDED Rest, reading and rehearsing the Word. He excluded vocal or instrumental rejoicing. Both Luther and especially Calvin knew that meant.

    “Sectarian” is well defined as ADDING something disruptive which is not ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED to carry out the mission of the Church which to be a teacher and witness of the Word “as it is written” or “as it has been taught.” The urge to AID the Word is defined as DOGMA . As a TRUMP CARD history makes us perfectly aware that SINGING as a disruptive ACT was imposed in 373 after the pagan priests got ther pay day fafter Constantine.

  10. Todd says:

    Ken,
    With fear and trepidation I must ask…

    “What exactly are you trying to say?”

    You provide a lot of citations and quotes but no apparent point.

  11. Ken, for as long as I’ve been aware of your site, I’ve wanted to ask you: Is it your contention that all music in worship is forbidden by scripture and tradition – including a cappella singing?

    I fear that my intellect is so simple that I cannot deduce the answer from the content of your site.

  12. mark says:

    Although I am not fond of CENI it concerns me that other forms of hermeneutics could be just as assumptive and biased or faulty. Is the Bible the place to start with unity?

  13. Ken says:

    I am an eclectic poster: you have to do your own research.
    "Singing" in the ancient world was no more tuneful than "the normal inflections of human speech." Some Hebrew words define screeching, screaming, yelling." Something like a football game with no one leading what the bible calls NOISE of both vocal and instruments.

    From the church in the wilderness to the end of the Bible the RESOURCE a disciple of Christ is commanded to use is "that which is written." A disciple is a student in a classroom: the Campbells defined it as A School of Christ. That defines the synagogue (Paul's word) or ekklesia. Both of these were for verbal instruction only. A singer or clapper would get hurt if they did that in a synagogue or ekklesia.

    One of the first heresies and source of discord and the subject of a church council was SELF-composed hymns. The method in Romans 15 is to speak with one mind and one mouth "that which is written" or Scripture.

    The Bible is not metrical so to "sing" in the very, very modern sense you have to radically rewrite even the Psalms.

    The word SPEAK is defined as the opposite of poetry or music. The word music is defined as the oppoosite of SPEAK. The word SPEAK especially in the Latin defines a conversational style FOR the ekklesia or church.

    The Catholic church never sang in our sense and melody as a series of single tones is not related to harmony. Harmony only began to be learned (all music is a taught skill) after about the year 1200 when secular people put organs in some rare Cathredals and the composers and Monks (always the monks) discovered that they had ten fingers to make noise.

    There was nothing to SING to a musical instrument (which normally set the pitch of each note) so they began to take the Biblical texts and added the umms, ahha, oh yes and so on to make it fit.

    Harmony as "organum" was developed and used by the castrated singers in opra. While the pope brought them back to the Sistine and kicked out the falsettos, a cappella (not Acappella) is really IN THE STYLE OF THE PIPE ORGAN. A capella was the she-goat but females could not perform so that ALL singing including the Jews was in falsetto wearing feminine garments (ephod a sexual symbol from Babylon).

    The first SINGING which was probably the screechy-screamy elevated pitch falsetto was IMPOSED in the year 373 from the Syrian church and SPLIT the east from the west. Therefore, until Constantine began paying pagan priests eager to get on the dole, there was no singing as an ACT. History helps to define Scripture: there are no musical words for the SPIRITUAL narrow path people in the whole Bible.

    When the protestants were forced to ADD congregational singing by people used to the professional performances in the theaters and cathedrals, the Psalms had to be RECOMPOSED and quite radically to make singing as we know it possible. That was still with "one mind and one mouth" and simple harmony was slowly added.

    So, you have no RATIONALE for 4 groups singing 4 different tunes at 4 different times using 4 different sets of word in a LAW SCHOOL CLASS. Because it is absolutely certain that the synagogue or ekklesia was never a WORSHIP CENTER but a school of the Bible–that what a DISCIPLE does!–you cannot even outlandishly hallucinate MUSIC in any sense and be a New Testament Church.

    Like the synagogue of old, you have to go OUTSIDE of the gates to REST and LEARN of Jesus and suffer reproaches with Him. The reproaches taking place in the TEMPLE complex were always a way to slaughter innocent animals in place of ritually murdering the king as the agent of the gods.

    A cappella is a SPOOK word to do a legalistic end-run against instruments by turning the whole congregation into an organic instrument.

    Medically — well known by Nimrod with his musical team at the towers of Babylon–music INDUCES indorphins and other drugs which induce the impulses of Fight, Flight and/or Sexual feelings. That is why the Greek literature and John in Revelation calls the singers, instrument players and craftsment (often theater builders and stage managers) SORCERERS as well as identifying Jerusalem as sodom.

    I know from personal experience that up to half of the people are "violated" in contradiction to Paul's warning against the "weak" or "infirm" in Rome. Even secular Greek people knew that you SHOULD NOT expose people randomly to the singing, music and dance of the "worship services." Music HURTS: and the more complex and "falsetto" the more there is a deliberate DRUG INJECTION and the motive is more money for the unlawful "collection plate" as the highest ticket price of any performance.

    I will never go into the presence of any highly-skilled complex harmony again unless the funeral home is busy on my day. History, experience and medical science knows that it is emotional abuse. Jesus called it "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual" and Paul's SELF-pleasure word FORBIDS all of the hypocritic performing arts which deliberately induce "Mental Anxiety."

    When you sing that stuff and LIE that you are bringing them into the presence of God you INDUCE a sense of panic and merchants sell it as the "holy spirit person inside." The Wimber [wineskins] new style praise singing makes no pretence as did the ancient Egyptians and Greeks: they induce a sexual-like climactic experience with God. The next and final part of the patternism is GIVING OF MEANS.

    If the remnant theory is right the massed multitude (beast) can never be attracted to a WORD ONLY school and those who speak the word will ABSOLUTELY be despised and rejected of men. It's a test.

    Anyone who begins to read the Bible without a MEDIATOR in song and sermon and begins to see how it warns against what people love to practice, you can begin to see the meaning of Lying Wonders — that musical / theatrical practice which is heavily loded toward Apollo (Abaddon, Apollyon) and his musical team the MUSES. The MULTIDUDE is so absolutely a Crooked Race that Jesus refused to speak to the clergy without parables to KEEP THEM FROM ever catching on. It still works.

    My call was to bear witness without ever thinking that those who have "fallen for the music" can ever get cured of the drug high.

  14. Randall says:

    John Mark Hicks dealt with this issue when he did a series on hermeneutics in the Stone Campbell movement. I thought his treatment of the subject matter was very good. It helped me to undertand the origin of the hermeneutic as well as how it has been applied in the CofC. The series he did on hermeneutics also addressed how a perceived violation of positive law has been regarded as more egregious than a violation of moral law. At last I understood why some think this way.

    I hope that more people get the word out to the CofC so I encourage you to cover this issue at length. It is bound to be helpful to many and I look forward to the rest of your posts on this issue. I know it will be interesting.

  15. Thank you, Ken.

    That was clear enough for even ME to understand.

  16. Ken says:

    Be patient and let me tell you something that ALL of the older scholars knew and NONE of the moderns know because they believe what their scholars teach and write by gleaning from other scholarly books which almost never point you to the original writers. I will not send an agent to try to "infiltrate and divert your church into a theater for holy entertainment, nor will I commit the terminal sin of telling you that you should lay by in store to keep me from having to do some PRODUCTIVE work: Every simple simon in the Greek world knew that musicians were identified as PARASITES as were the musicians who got fed for "making the lambs dumb before the slaughter."

    1. God kept His promise and rescued the Hebrews from Egypt when righteousness would have left them in Egypt to self destruct. The prophets (whom none of the pro music people can quote) all define Israel as bringing their old abominations and falling backward just out of the Red Sea. That is why they would ultimately be sent beyond Babylon where the masses began as robbers of caravans. I doubt that you have ever seen a religious Jew who is a Semite.
    2. Miriam broke loose and caused the women to "escape" where they continued the old worship of Hathor (the female Apis). When she "prophesied" she was a soothsayer just as the Levite Noise Makers are called soothsayers.
    3. When God spoke the Book of the Covenant the people refused to hear and demanded a human mediator.
    4. Moses went back on the Mountain to get the written code of 70 laws of Grace.
    5. God put them through a 40 day plan and they broke: they restored the worship of the always-pagan Egyptian trinity under the image of the golden calveS.
    6. They engaged in musical idolatry and LOST grace. Even then the PLAY or SPORTING word understood that the lust of the eyes, the lust of the ears and stimulated motor muscles INDUCED a confused sexual ecstasy: Paul and the Greek literature called it madness almost totally among the Mad Women of Corinth.
    7. God turned them over to worship the starry host including Molech. THAT is never an approved PATERNISM for a preacher to claim that the Holy Spirit told him that this is where GOD COMMANDED INSTRUMENTAL PRAISE (whatever that means) in that church and WE HAD BETTER NOT DISOBEY.
    8. God conditionally sentenced them to captivity and death but Moses pleaded.
    9. Canaan was no longer the promised land but the killing fields as Israel commingled with the Canaanites: that to which God abandoned them.
    10. God provided a WIDE way and a NARROW way by defining the Holy Convocation which came to be the synagogue or church in the wilderness.
    11. The elders FIRED God and demanded a human king: God understood that they wanted to WORSHIP like the nations (Goyim, Babylonians etal) and that is why older drawings of the Temple is of a ziggurat with its two flanking phallic pillars and lots of IDOLS.
    12. God warned them that the kings would steal their property, force them to tithe, confiscated they younger men to make and blow instruments of chariots to run before the chariots and be first in line to get slaughtered. Christ through the prophets called them Robbers and Parasites.
    13. The NOBILITY of Civil-Military-Clergy complex was abandoned to Sabazianism or the old Dionysus worship: that is what they pleaded for and the evidence seems clear that LEVITES served paganism in Egypt. That has been promoted as a music-induced sexual encounter with the "spirit" and the New Wineskin dogma picked their words more carefully: exhilarate, enraptured or enthusiasm which meant Enthus-O-Mania or the godes or demons inside of you.
    14. The NARROW WAY of the synagogue quarantined the people FROM the WIDE way of the NOBILITY (professors, preachers, professional musicians: Jesus identified HYPOCRITE as the speakers, singers and instrument players.
    15. The Law as SHADOW meant a totally erroneous system and Israel had a COVENANT WITH DEATH including the Marzeah defined in Amos.
    16. They are called a RACE of Vipers or a CROOKED Race which word appears over and over of the skolion musicians in the male symposium: Even that vile group insisted "don't get FLUTED DOWN WITH wine if you are going to have a conversation. Based on all of the prophecies it was a baptism of WIND and FIRE promised to the crooked race.
    17. Nor, in the most vile pagan temples were the singer/musicians EVER permitted to come into any of the holy places: The Levites would have been executed if a singer or instrument player went NEAR ANY HOLY THING. A slaughter pit is NOT a holy place. In type any singer or musician which went into the type of the body or Church of Christ would be killed by his "brethren."
    18. That race is smug because of strong delusions sent to those who deny that GOD has the same ways of revealing His will that we have. However, it was the Disciples who laid claim to the LAW OF CILENCE. The Disciples lay claim to the Bible, human reasoning where THEY appeal to John Locke, history meaning council decisions (the claim that we are HISTORYLESS means that we do not ADOPT the church councilsl) AND traditionalism Just the things the Disciples/Christian Church have used as a hate crime against those who never bowed to the 'TRADITIONALISM'' of making noise (not called music) when Jesus comes and tries to be our only Teacher when the elders as the only pastor teachers: a sheperd does not INVENT food nor hand feed them or lead them beside the sounds of RUSHING WATERS. And, so neither synagogue or ekklesia had any authority to INVENT its own discussion matter. Both demanded HUMAN OPINION SILENCE as does doubtful disputations.
    19. If you use the teachings of false teachers and then pass judgment on those who will not use SILENCE as authority to IMPOSE music contrary to all recorded evidence you are in VERY DEEP trouble. On the other hand, If this tired old Engineer is REALLY crazy God will provide a way for me. After all, David's musical praise word was based on the belief that GOD WILL NOT PUNISH THE INSANE. The Philistines asked "Do we need another MAD MAN." Even the LAWYERS know that.

    Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 10 defines that MUSICAL IDOLATRY at Mount Sinai PROOF that the Israelites were NOT predestinated.

    In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul told the Jews that they would not be able to read BLACK TEXT on BROWN PAPER until the converted or were baptized. That is where Paul (and everone) identifies the Spirit as the Spirit OF the Lord: He was not twins.

    John called the rhetoricians, singers and instrument players SORCERERS and Moses had the same warning: the ONLY way to make sure that the singer/tongue speakers are NOT cursing God is to insist that they "speak that which is written."

    For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. Deut 18:14

    The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; Deut 18:15
    According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly,
    saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. Deut 18:16

    And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. Deut 18:17

    I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deut 18:18

    And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Deut 18:19

    But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name,

    which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods,
    even that prophet shall die. Deut 18:20

    Even the ancients understood that SONGS are two or three REMOVES from the original Word: that is why poets and philosophers where never to be trusted as heralds (Presbyters / Kerusso) in Athenian Law.

  17. rich constant says:

    well thank you ken…
    i co not mean this in anything other than a humorous way….

    i was once told 45 years ago or so y can make the bible say any thing if you tried hard enough. Then proceeded to prove that there is a mouse on the moon eating green cheese
    i found that interesting.
    sense god created musical instruments for his praise
    ezic.38.14 or so i think.
    and all things created god called good.
    we do have a choice on how we enhance our relationship and others in praise of song
    i think it is extremely contrary to sound doctrine to call something god calls inherently good … bad
    i think i read about that somewhere.

  18. Ken says:

    Christ in Spirit had Moses warn that the people were BLINDED because they refused to hear the word of God: only FTER they refused did they turn to trinitarian musical worship. I posted the quote where Moses warned that those ABANDONED TO WORSHIP THE STARRY HOST would not be able to read black text on brown paper until they were converted to Christ at baptism. People still lack A holy spirit or A good conscience and the WORDS of Christ which ARE spirit will not dwell in their spirit or mind.

    THAT IS ONE OF MANY WARNINGS AGAINST TRYING TO USE DOGMA TO AID DOCTRINE.

    Christ in Spirit gave us the Isaiah Eight Slogan people deny.

    And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits (Old, empty wineskins), and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter (these people used musical devices and said that the gods lived inside of them): should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? Isaiah 8:19
    To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word,
    it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

    That was not LAW but the REPUDIATION of the EVIL AND WIDE WAY to which God ABANDONED the Nobility: Civil-Military-Clergy.

    Our SPIRITS are indwelled with the Day Star when we give heed to that which is written IN THE PROPHETS

    2Cor. 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament;
    which vail is done away in Christ.
    2Cor. 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
    2Cor. 3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
    2Cor. 3:17 Now
    the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    2Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
    are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
    even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

    That is why the DIRECT COMMAND is to speak "that which is written" or "teach that which has been taught" because the imagination of the human heart is only evil continually.

    Only the WORDS of Christ convey SPIRIT (John Calvin called those fanatics who thought that they got Spirit or Mind other than through Scripture.) That is why all recorded history–before the Disciples High Church view–deny that SILENCE gives you the authority to IMPOSE your own ACTS.

    1Pet. 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
    1Pet. 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time
    the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
    1Pet. 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things,
    which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
    1Pet. 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
    1Pet. 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

    AFTER the speakers, singers and instrumentalists as SORCERERS are removed in Revelation 18 you will notice the blessed peace in Revelation 19:

    Rev. 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
    Rev. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
    Rev. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
    Rev. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

    BECAUSE THERE ARE NO HUMAN MEDIATORS TO WORSHIP (PAY ATTENTION TO)

    Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant,
    and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:
    worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    That is why you make DISCIPLES (students) by baptizing believers AND teaching what Christ taught which includes the Prophets and Apostles. In Isaiah 58 Christ in Spirit outlawed seeking your own pleasure and SPEAKING YOUR OWN WORDS. Remember "Nothing to the cross I bring?"

    SECTARIANISM or HERESY is defined as IMPOSING some practice NOT REQUIRED to conduct the School of the Bible. NO, toilet tissue and getting in our of the rain are NOT antithetical to assembling to LEARN THE WORD.

  19. Ken says:

    Christ in Spirit had Moses warn that the people were BLINDED because they refused to hear the word of God: only FTER they refused did they turn to trinitarian musical worship. I posted the quote where Moses warned that those ABANDONED TO WORSHIP THE STARRY HOST would not be able to read black text on brown paper until they were converted to Christ at baptism. People still lack A holy spirit or A good conscience and the WORDS of Christ which ARE spirit will not dwell in their spirit or mind.

    THAT IS ONE OF MANY WARNINGS AGAINST TRYING TO USE DOGMA TO AID DOCTRINE.

    Christ in Spirit gave us the Isaiah Eight Slogan people deny.

    And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits (Old, empty wineskins), and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter (these people used musical devices and said that the gods lived inside of them): should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? Isaiah 8:19
    To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word,
    it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

    That was not LAW but the REPUDIATION of the EVIL AND WIDE WAY to which God ABANDONED the Nobility: Civil-Military-Clergy.

    Our SPIRITS are indwelled with the Day Star when we give heed to that which is written IN THE PROPHETS

    2Cor. 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament;
    which vail is done away in Christ.
    2Cor. 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
    2Cor. 3:16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
    2Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    2Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
    are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
    even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

    That is why the DIRECT COMMAND is to speak "that which is written" or "teach that which has been taught" because the imagination of the human heart is only evil continually.

    Only the WORDS of Christ convey SPIRIT (John Calvin called those fanatics who thought that they got Spirit or Mind other than through Scripture.) That is why all recorded history–before the Disciples High Church view–deny that SILENCE gives you the authority to IMPOSE your own ACTS.

    1Pet. 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
    1Pet. 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time
    the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
    1Pet. 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things,
    which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
    1Pet. 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
    1Pet. 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

    AFTER the speakers, singers and instrumentalists as SORCERERS are removed in Revelation 18 you will notice the blessed peace in Revelation 19:

    Rev. 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
    Rev. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
    Rev. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
    Rev. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

    BECAUSE THERE ARE NO HUMAN MEDIATORS TO WORSHIP (PAY ATTENTION TO)

    Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant,
    and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:
    worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    That is why you make DISCIPLES (students) by baptizing believers AND teaching what Christ taught which includes the Prophets and Apostles. In Isaiah 58 Christ in Spirit outlawed seeking your own pleasure and SPEAKING YOUR OWN WORDS. Remember "Nothing to the cross I bring?"

    SECTARIANISM or HERESY is defined as IMPOSING some practice NOT REQUIRED to conduct the School of the Bible. NO, toilet tissue and getting in our of the rain are NOT antithetical to assembling to LEARN THE WORD.

  20. rich constant says:

    re submit
    sorry for the wrong shapter in ezil.
    well thank you ken…
    i co not mean this in anything other than a humorous way….

    i was once told 45 years ago or so y can make the bible say any thing if you tried hard enough. Then proceeded to prove that there is a mouse on the moon eating green cheese
    i found that interesting.

    sense god created musical instruments for his praise
    (not 38,oops)
    ezic.28.12-16 or so i think.

    and all things created god called good.
    we do have a choice on how we enhance our relationship and others in praise of song
    i think it is extremely contrary to sound doctrine to call something god calls inherently good … bad
    i think i read about that somewhere

  21. rich constant says:

    is not the word of god all truth and god is constant in his word…
    if the new test was not written what is all scripture in tim.

    rich

  22. Keith Larey says:

    So…my understanding is CENI is man-made and not God-made (i.e., God told us how to interepret His word)? Enlighten me in lay terms. Thanks.

  23. Jay Guin says:

    Keith,

    This is the first post of a series explaining what's wrong with CENI. The links to the entire series are at http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/t

    I point out the flaws in the Regulative Principle (silence is a prohibition) at http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/t

    I argue the positive side — what I believe to be the correct way to read the scriptures — briefly in the CENI series but in much more detail at http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/t

    And, so, yes, CENI is manmade and not at all scriptural. God gives us his own directions in his word. I suggest that you read through the CENI posts — there aren't many — and post any questions as you go.

    May God bless your studies.

    Jay

  24. Keith Larey says:

    Hello Jay,

    Thanks for sharing the above information. I have difficulty believing the God of the universe left us a book that requires an Ovaltine Decoder Ring, but that's my problem. I have observed complexity in anything affords two things to some: the opportunity to make money, control over others.

    Once again, thanks for sharing.

  25. Jay Guin says:

    Keith,

    Are you saying that the Regulative Principle or CENI makes interpretation of the Bible simple?

  26. Keith Larey says:

    Nope. It seems God would have left specific instructions, e.g., the Holy Ovaltine Decoder Ring, for those matters that may affect one's salvation. :-) Having the man-made Regulative Priniciple or CENI decoder rings simply means to me that intellectuals have got to be here to help the uneducated, I'm chief among them, understand everything there is to know about the "Good" news and or other matters of salvation. No more, no less. I believe in one of your books you've written that grace is there to help us just in case if our Regulative Priniciple or CENI decoder rings fail us. Well, I'm paraphrasing your words. :-)

    Do We Preach Another Gospel? and But If You Marry… were absolute eye openers to me. Were they products of the Regulative Priniciple, CENI, both, or neither? Once again, I find that God's grace is sufficient for me and I am very grateful for your work.

    Keith

  27. John Grant says:

    Is there any place in the NT where one book is quoting a passage from another NT book?

    They were sure written over a long period of time. Examples and NI to be required from any earlier one could of been quoted as commands in those written later if that was the case. Why now?

    I realize there are references and quotes from the OT in the NT.

    I think when we discuss CENI with the conservatives, we first have to establish that Jesus and His sayings (teachings) are on a higher plane than even the apostles, much less anyone that wrote a book back then (Thomas comes to mind) contained in our NT or not.

    My son said in class that he liked reading and studying the red words and was quickly told, well, we must read more than just those to know what we should do. Seems we seldom read and study the red. Mostly study Paul.

  28. Curtis of Christ says:

    So, when Jesus Himself used CENI in places like Matthew 19:1-10 and Matthew 22:23-33, He was just using Calvin's teaching or something "Church of Christ preachers" came up with? I believe… NO. I KNOW that you are 100% incorrect in your premise and application of it. I pray for you that you come to see that.

  29. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Curtis,I’ve read the passages you cite and don’t understand how they might support CENI. Can you explain your reasoning?

  30. Alabama John says:

    Curtis,
    lets get back to the CENI that doomed women to hell for not wearing a covering while worshiping, especially inside a church building.

    Or, CENI that condemned those churches if Christ that had the Lords Supper more than once on Sunday since the example was "when they came together for that purpose. Other than Sunday wasn't even a thought.

    What a list we could make of CENI in years past that was to be, or, not to be, or hell was your destination.

    Much of that has changed and CENI for obtaining heaven or hell destinations keep changing as you would expect opinions to do.

    It'll be interesting to sit in heaven and listen to the old time preachers of different eras debate one another, but, wait, that is what these sites do in a degree isn't it..

    So many a great preacher I have known would turn over in his grave if he knew how far we have gotten off scripture with CENI.

  31. aBasnar says:

    Use CENI as a useful truth to understand and aply the scriptures, and it is fine. It even can have the power to unify Christians. Why? Because we agree on a way of reading the scriptures. Many debates among us have their roots in a different way of reasoning and reading. And not all of these are consistent or correct.

    As I said in another place: The scriptures are not silent. If we have the impression they are silent, it is because we haven't studied hard enough. Therefore I agree with the principle: Where the scriptures are silent we are silent as well. Because if we start speaking without knowing what the scriptures say on a given subject, we most likely will err.

    As for your first statement, Alabama John, this is one of my "hobby horses", and I'd like to challenge you:

    lets get back to the CENI that doomed women to hell for not wearing a covering while worshiping, especially inside a church building.

    Can you explain the hermeneutics that allows an application directly opposed to what is written? I know there are some attempts to do so, but is this a hermeneutic you'd apply also to other passages than 1Co 11:2-16? Is it commenadble to change hermeneutics in the middle of an epistle ("Ah, here's chapter 11, now we have to use this other method of reading the scriptures!" – BTW 2Pe 3:16)

    I would not doom the sisters who gave up on the headcovering after 1900 years – but what – based on Mat 5:19 or Jas 3:1 – will the Lord do with the teachers who introduced this change in the 1960s? The situation is so bad today that you face fierce opposition when you preach this text in the same plain manner as the Sermon On The Mount. They even threat you of leaving the church if they should be "forced" to really DO WHAT IS WRITTEN!

    As long as so many churches of Christ (progressives an conservatives alike) pick and choose in what they obey and what they explain away, I cannot see any consistent hermeneutic at all. CENI is applied in some areas, while IOEA is applied in other areas.

    IOEA = Ignore, Omit, Explain Away

    So before throwing eggs at CENI, I'd rather address IOEA

    Alexander

  32. Alabama John says:

    Alexander,

    Before we get more into the covering question, let me ask if where you worship do all the women wear a covering? Are they all the same, how big and how much is covered.
    Also in the opposite, for the men, what is their heads like in worship? Are they consistent?

    IOEA, I have never seen that before but like it.

    John

  33. Doug says:

    I think one question muat be answered, with a different answer than it has been historically answered, if the Church of Christ is to thrive and that is "what do we replace CENI-S with?". IMHO, the "S" should be simply dropped as it has never been a valid concept from the beginning and it has never been and can't be uniformaly applied. It has only produced Schism and unless the Churches of Christ elect a Pope, it will never produce anything but schism.

  34. Alabama John says:

    Doug,
    You are right in your thinking! That is what is killing our growth.

    Alexander,

    I grew up in a congregation in the 40-50 that every woman at a church service had to wear a covering. No exceptions. To not do so was not only disobedient, but, tempting the other sisters and a sin.

    In every case, women wore a hat of some kind.
    From Hugh, many with big feathers and all bright colors, to a small something with part being a veil cloth of some opposing color.

    Then, in the 60's, when hats for women went out of style, they became the veil that were bought at the catholic store until women started making them and selling them so we wouldn't be supporting a catholic enterprise.

    What debates we had. many in print as a history lesson.

    Even today there are a few preachers that still teach this around here and their member women still wear the big veil covering. Most obviously don't consider it scriptural though since when that preacher leaves or dies, most if not all quit wearing it.

    I too was raised in a time when a man didn't wear a hat inside. The USMC would knock you upside the head for doing so unless you were on duty.
    Even today it bothers me to see men wearing their ball caps and not taking them off at a ballgame when the National Anthem is playing.
    I can't imagine a man wearing one in Church during service.

    I hope you change on this as I see only disappointment and hard feelings coming your way and that is not what you the mark is you are shooting for.
    Folks that remain will stop inviting guests as their first impression of ya'll is usually their last. It will hurt your bringing folks to Christ and that is the real goal isn't it !

  35. aBasnar says:

    I have submitted to church leaderships of the opposite conviction for over 17 years – why should we as leaders expect submision as well? Of yourse, you are right, Doug, it is not easy – but there is more at stake than just this symbol of Headship and God's Glory.

    Alexander

  36. aBasnar says:

    So, Alabama John, you are a witness of a change. What most fail to see is that the loss of the headcovering brought along ather losses of church order (such as female eölders and preachers). This issue was brought up by you – and I would like to know more about the debates that were going oin back then – in the context of CENI. I see an IOEA in exactly this chapter. And I cannot see any way to justify that in the eyes of our Lord.

    You know, 100.000 people converzted to Islam in Great Britain last year. I am not sure whether it was one or two thirds of these that were women. Also in Vienna I notive women who converted to Islam in the quest for God. The Headciovering was obviously NO hinderance for these seekers.

    I know full well for whom it is a hindrance: For the modern type of women in our western societies, twice divorced and dominating. If we want to please them by IOEAing 1Co 11 I think we are heading the wrong direction. 1Co 11 probably addresses one of the major sins in our society today, and it is … I think on purpose … divisive. Think it through: If the goal of reaching people with the Gospel is better achieved by reducing the standards of the NT to what a modern man can accept, we won't see repentant but hardened hearts that are Christianized only only their surface.

    Alexander

  37. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Curtis,Are you out there? I’m still waiting on explanation for how those verses show that Jesus used CENI. You say you “I KNOW that you are 100% incorrect in your premise.” If that’s true, please be kind enough to explain how on earth those verses demonstrate my error — because I sure don’t see it.

  38. aBasnar says:

    It is interesting though, to try to find out what Curtzis could have meant with CENI in Mat 19:1-10

    There is definitely a C in this text – a command, Jesus and the Pharisees were discussing, namely the law on divorce and remarriage
    Then there is an E in this text, too, an example we can follow (although not Binding), namely staying unmarried for the Kingdom's sake.
    Then there is an interesting NI in this passage, a necessary inference. Why? Because we have statements in th OT where God sems to allow divorce, while in another text He says that He hates divorce. So Jesus "reasoned" why this is so, and the rusult is an inference (though inspired, but nevertheless)

    Mat 22:23-33 is different since the debate did not turn on a command but on the resurrection, and since the Sadducees only accepted the Torah Christ had to proove the resurrection from the five books of Moses – which, as we know, is rather difficult. He did it by "reasoning", so again He was making a "necessary inference".

    I'd like to know whether i got Curtis' idea or not …

    Alexander

  39. aBasnar says:

    I just came back to you post and want to thank you for the concerns you expressed:

    I hope you change on this as I see only disappointment and hard feelings coming your way and that is not what you the mark is you are shooting for.

    I think this is a two-sided story. On one hand, I can get these hard feelings myself (and I have to be aware of this and stay close to my Lord in order to avoid this). But for the better understanding: I have studied this chapter for more than 17 years, and I think i can sum up accurately every objection to it, and I can show in detail where the weak points are. Without much effort i could write a 200 pages book on this. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to boast or brag. But it takes a hole lot of humilty, patience and love to accept an "I don't see it this way" from a person who barely even read the text itself. Do you understand what i mean? When I am in a bad mood such answers can really upset me emotionally.

    Yes, I am aware that others may react with disappointment and hard feelings to this. Let me relate a story: At first, when we were merely contemplating the issue and had some private talk about it, many said: "But, Alexander, this is not a really big issue, isn't it? It's not that important, why should we deal with it?" You may know such an approach to God's word. The only fitting answer I know is: "Well I don't know how important this is to God, but it is important enough that He included it in His book. So we should take it seriously, yet at the same time in a balanced way." As long as such conversations remain on an "informal" level, everything seems fine – but a few days before we wanted to teach on this subject in church, the same person threatened: "If you make the headconvering a heaven and hell issue, I'll leave the church."

    OK: NONE of us ever saw it as a heaven or hell issue. This is an unfair exaggeration; but it reveals something different: See, when it is just treated as an open question, it is labeled as "not important" – yet when we wanted to put into into practice, it became such a big thing that it would be unbearable to remain in fellowship with us! This is way out of balance! It's ironic BTW that this brother's wife was once with a headcovering in church – not because of 1Co 11, but because she thought it looked nice. I always have to smile when I look back …

    Well, both are still in our church, we retreated from the issue (for a while) – but let me ask you, how do you see the spiritual attitude of such persons? Are teachers wise when they always give in if someone has a problem with "minors"? After all, if it is a "minor", it should be no big deal to do it anyway, even though you see it diferently (as long as it is not a sin).

    Be sure however, Alabama John, that we won't rush this and we will take emotions very seriously.

    Alexander

  40. Alabama John says:

    Alexander,
    The covering is not an issue today like it used to be.
    if a woman, maybe a visitor, comes into a service and puts on a covering of some kind, (and that has been debated to death), some may look, but it doesn't become an issue either way.
    It used to if one wore a covering others would too just because they did not want to offend the persons conscience that believed it was necessary. 1Cor 8:9-13 Becoming a tumbling block debate.
    Many women in an assembly were wearing a covering for that reason only.
    Then you get into hair or cloth debates?
    Change covering to musical instruments today and you'll get the reaction the covering had years ago.
    Many send you straight to hell practices debated very hotly in tents and old church buildings with one position seated on one side of the aisle and the other on the other side of the aisle. been to many of them. Most are not even remembered today.
    Both sides had their minds made up and were there to see their favorite son stomp the other one that was teaching error and causing folks to go to hell.
    Alexander, don't get in that situation even with an honest heart, consider Jesus at the well and how He talked and treated the woman.
    Patience goes a long way.
    Let God do the judging..
    I;m getting too preachy! Sorry.

  41. Doug says:

    Leadership is always earned, even in the Church. If you have earned the right to lead, then the sheep will follow. If not, the sheep may pretend to follow but their hearts won't be into the following. I know one leader who has told me that we should follow the Regulative Principle of Worship because it is "Safe". I look at the schismatic consequences of following the Regulative Principle of Worship and ask myself "What's safe about that?". I won't challenge that person's leadership but my heart isn't into following his lead either. It seems to me that "Safe" in this case is just another word for "Blind".

  42. theophilus.dr says:

    In some circumstances, CENI can be a useful approach to interpreting Scripture But it is flawed, and when it is held as a filter between brethren, it is an idol.

    When people who claim the name "Christian" and "brethren" disagree over an interpretation, or a method of interpretation, of Scripture to an extent that produces division, accusation, judgment, condemnation, eyes on and fingers pointed to one another, these "works of the flesh" should be a clear waving red flag that the Spirit is not in control and Jesus is not Lord. But the "brethren" are so busy seeing "red" when looking at one another, they can't see the red flag because of the background. Too often people dig into the meaning of Scripture until they find a comfortable place to "camp." Others form "camps" in a different place, and now it time to defend one's position. There is one inescapable conclusion from this chaos – no one is correct, no one has found the truth that the Spirit intended for us. Everyone is operating at a superficial and incomplete level. "Get the log out" so that you can discover that you have also missed the mark. What this means is that, instead of arguing, everyone needs to get on their knees together and pray and study together until the real truth of the Scripture is revealed. What are the signs that brethren have discovered the real spiritual truth? "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.." Where are we on that scale?

    "Are we there yet?" "Are we half-way there yet?" "How much longer?" "How long is 10 hours?" "I'm bored." "I need to stop." "You'd better stop fighting with your brother, that's what you'd better do!!" "Waahh." "Look, if you don't stop griping, I'm going to turn this car around and take you all back to Egypt!" Hmmm.

    If our eyes are on one another instead of on Jesus, how can we even know we are on the right path?

  43. Alabama John says:

    Alexander,
    Paul had folks circumcised when a grown man to fit in order to teach. Now to allow that to be done to you (and they didn't deaden either), sure took dedication and commitment. Most, including me would of simply left those people unschooled, untaught rather than let someone cut me there!!!
    Best to be saving folks than to be right in many cases.
    Jesus sure associated with a motley crew didn't he.

  44. aBasnar says:

    You are absolutely right with the "earned leaedership". Leadership is earned by faithful service in love over a long period of time, by an attitude of submission to the leaders you have been following along the way – that's the path to maturity.

    But have you notived that even leaeders of that sort are being disobeyed, mocked and not ben followed? It started with Jesus, Paul had many such experiences, even John was not well received by Diotrephes.

    So there is a need of the same attitude described in the first paragraph in the whole church. If this attitude is there, even hard issues will be followed in a spiritual way.

    As for the CENI-opinion of the leader you quoted: This is just a "tool" – but it is necessary to follow his lead anyway, unless he is causing you to sin. You don't have to agree, though; but you hould not opose him openly either (you may talk to him in private). We will always have different opinions on various matters, but leadership is ordained by God in order to lead the whole congregation in one direction. And they are going to be held responsible by the Lord for their leading, while the sheep are going to be held responsible for their following.

    Alexander

  45. aBasnar says:

    Yes, but I don't get the context to fit this in, Alabama John. Did Paul step over a border when circumcizing Timpothy? No, because that is not forbidden – not even in Galatians. It is forbidden to make circumcision and the Mosaic Law binding in order to be saved – that was the debate in Acts 15. If we circumcize ourselves in order to reach out to Jews in their synagogues (which makes BTW only sense if we are of Jewish background, so we don't fool them by wrongly pretending to be Jews), we show our willingnes to go beyond what is commanded or required. And that' a very good attitude (as Paul describes in 1Co 9).

    But take this one for instance: We have a large Muslim population in Vienna, especially in the district where I live. You see headcoverings everywhere. Shall we really dare to reach out to them? OK, let's dare! What does that mean?

    Are we willing to pray at least as often and regularly as they? If not, how shall we convince them of our sincerity in faith?
    Are we willing to at least abstain from blood and strangled meat, and maybe also Pork? If not, what shall we answer when they themselves point us to Acts 15 (BTW we teach in our church that we have to obey these four "necessary things")?
    Are we willing to making almsgiving a regular habit? If not, they would not take us seriously?
    Are we willing to fast regularly? I don't think that the Ramadan is biblical, but regular fasting is indeed – if we are not willing to abstain from food once are twice a week (as the early Christians did) how are we going to look pious to them?
    Are we willing to do our pilgrimages on a regular basis? No, we don't go to Mekka or any earthly place, but to the heavenly Mount Zion whenever we assemble as a church – I think we can explain this "little difference" to Muslims; but if we forsake these assemblies, they won't believe a word we say.
    Are our sisters willing to wear the headcovering before a Muslim apologists cunningly quotes from OUR Bibles in order to make us ashamed of our inconsistencies?

    Brother, we all have a long way to go when we want to take the example of Timothy's circumcision seriously. Actually, almost all Muslim religious habits have their roots in Early Christianity, even in the Bible (NT!) itself. They put us to shame, and we have nothing to offer to them, except a gospel that sounds like: "Oh, nothing really is required from you, you may live just like the rest of our degenrated western society … See, there is a whole lot more freedom and fun in Christ …"

    Alexander

    P.S. Just in case that you or anyone else came to the conclusion we could play the same game the other way round with our "wicked western neighbors". How would that work? Paul said something that may sound like that:

    1Co 9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law … that I might win those outside the law.

    Sounds like all things are permissible, but I omitted an important part of the verse (following the IOEA-hermeneutic):

    … (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) …

    We might dress as loosely as they do, in order to not be offensive to them, but then we would violate a direct command of God (1Ti 2:9).
    We might use the same kind of dubious humor as they do, in order to "laugh" them into the church, but again this stands in conflict with texts as Eph 5:4.
    Of course we should discard the hadcoverings and adopt an egalitarian view of male and female, because we surely don't want to offend them by political incorrectness, which – as we all know – forces us to IOEA 1Co 11:2-16 or 1Ti 2:9-15.
    We'd need to take a looser stand on divorce and remarriage, because that's the way people are today, and we shall bcome tlike them in order to win them, shan't we?
    And, "Hey, it's OK to be gay!" (no, it isn't acording to Rom 1:26-27)

    It does not make me happy to continue this list, because it is a portrait of too many contemporary churches, and this breaks God's heart, because by acting this way we mock His Holy Word.

  46. Alabama John says:

    I became all things to all people.

    Don't cast your pearls before the swine.

    WE must use our best judgment between these two! Where would you do the most good and save the most souls, not where would you get the most recognition.

    Save the many living under a bridge, those in prison, or spend all your time trying to save the muslims or in old days, the king?

    But sit around and debate? No, do something. God will do the judging of your heart far more than your results.

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  48. Jason Smith says:

    You refer to CENI as a Church of Christ (or Calvinistic) hermeneutic. The problem with this is that “CENI” is NOT a hermeneutic. It is not a way of interpreting scripture. It is the foundation to all communication. God, just as any person, communicates His will by telling us what He wants, showing us what He wants. He gives us the ability to take what He is communicated in these ways and then make implications about His will for us. This is the way a parent tells their child what they want, a teacher gives instruction to a student, etc. Once again, CENI is not a way of interpreting scripture, but the way God communicates His will to us.

    And one cannot reject CENI (or better: tell, show, imply) without telling, showing, or implying. You will communicate your disagreement in one of these three ways.

    Those (people or churches) who want to do things in worship and/or work that God has not told them or shown them in His word that are pleasing to Him are shooting in the dark. There is no way to know whether something is pleasing to God (or displeasing to God) if He has not shown us or told us that it is. Just assuming something is good or pleasing to God does not prove that it is. If we do something that we deem “good” or “from God” when God has not spoken on such or told us to do such, then we are doing what we want, not what God wants. God’s silence neither prohibits or permits. It is silence.

  49. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jason wrote,

    “The problem with this is that “CENI” is NOT a hermeneutic. It is not a way of interpreting scripture. It is the foundation to all communication.”

    Hmm …

    My wife just left to go to the grocery store. I told her, “Please bring me some Diet Cokes.” If she brings back something in addition to Diet Cokes, has she acted in rebellion against me her husband? Or does the answer depend on something else? If so, what else?

    Under a CENI approach, silence is a prohibition. (The argument does as a matter of history trace back to Calvin and Zwingli). I was silent on bananas. Does she have authority to buy bananas? Or are bananas necessarily inferred by “Diet Coke”? I don’t see how. So what’s the answer?

    Ponder this long and hard and you’ll find that the answer depends on the nature of my relationship with my wife and the nature of my own character. What kind of person would I have to be and what relationship would my wife and I have for “Diet Coke” to deny authority to buy bananas?

    And so, you see, CENI omits quite a lot when it comes to human communication. In fact, to claim that humans can only grant authority by these three means is to take a very legalistic and unrealistic view of how humans relate to each other.

    Here’s the reality. I don’t have to “authorize” my wife to buy groceries at all. We love each other. We trust each other. And if she wants to buy bananas, she doesn’t need my approval or authority — by command, example, or necessary inference. Her authority comes from our relationship and trust. In fact, while I suppose there’s an element of authority there, we never ever think or talk in those terms. It’s not a particularly useful concept in defining what to buy at the store.

    Occasionally, she makes a mistake and buys something like I don’t like. I divorce her when that happens, of course, because she should have acted based on clear authority!! And that, of course, is sheer foolishness and obviously so. I don’t care because perfection has never been and never will be the standard. I judge her heart and know she was trying to please me, and therefore I continue to love her and remain happily married even when by mistake she buys food I hate.

    If you are in a loving relationship with someone else — a wife, a child, a parent — then this should be beyond obvious. You do not relate to someone you love based on CENI authority. You’d wind up at each other’s throats over trivialities! And who would want that kind of a relationship?

  50. Pingback: Muscle & Shovel": Chapters 26 -27A (Authority and Worship) | One In JesusOne In Jesus

  51. Jason actually reveals Jay’s argument while trying to argue against it. He claims about people who are not of his own tribe: “Those (people or churches) who want to do things in worship and/or work that God has not told them or shown them in His word…”

    This is exactly the basis for the expanding CENI– to combat people who feel free to do things to which we object. Jason applies it in exactly this way.

    I see pretty serious consequences to this as a basis for all communication — nothing grandiose about this proposition! Dad shouts at Little League Junior, “Get a hit, buddy!” This is obviously a command, so failure to get a hit would be rebellion. Also, one can necessarily infer that if Junior does NOT get a hit, he’s no longer Dad’s “buddy”, because those are clearly connected in the same verse. Dad sidles up to Junior and says, “Hey, pull my finger!” Not only is this a command from Dad, but the resulting methane explosion is an approved example.

    I do wonder about scripture under CENI: Does “Jesus wept” require us to cry at funerals? Does Peter’s tax-paying fish constitute the approved example as to how to settle with the IRS?

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