The Book of Rules

Thanks to the Naked Pastor.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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21 Responses to The Book of Rules

  1. Bob Brandon says:

    There’s probably a compressed file for ours, but then I’d have to carry a main frame around. Reminds of West Publishing’s annual three volume local, state, and federal court rules publication.

    Of course, putting our rules down on paper violates our religious equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: we can discern the rule, and we can discern the proffered biblical basis for it, but the more we discern the rule, the less we can recognize the biblical basis, and the more we discern the scriptures offered, the less we can discern the proffered rule.

  2. I laugh out loud, hysterically, and cry at the truth of it.

  3. Charles McLean says:

    Isn’t that stack supposed to be invisible? Or at least delivered with plausible deniability? “We didn’t deliver any rules! And nobody says they saw us deliver any rules, so that means everybody saw us not do it. Therefore, res ipsa loquitur, the rules don’t really exist at all. Until you break one.”

    Is it true that the main difference between conservatives and progressives is that progressives offer their rules on a .pdf file on CD, while conservatives print theirs on paper, just as the apostle Paul did?

    Just another unauthorized innovation on the slippery slope to perdition, I say. Next thing you know, they’ll be putting this file on a chip and implanting it in the back of your hand…

    Bob mentioned: “…our religious equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle…”

    Okay, THAT’S clever! I intend to steal it wholesale, without attribution. It explains so much that I read from conservative CoC folks. Now, I get it! Or don’t get it, rather. Which pretty much settles it for me.

  4. Robert says:

    One our prime rules is don’t talk to strangers even in church.

    Another prime rule is, flock together in your zone of conversational comfort. No strangers allowed.

    And by all means, do not ask your friends to church. If you do they will see why your so strange.

    We have a long way to go if we are going to show the world who Christ is unless we our church to the world.

  5. laymond says:

    Bob, A college professor was trying to brainwash his class about relativism. He said, “You can’t be absolutely certain about anything.” One of the students then asked him, “Are you certain about that?” The professor replied, “Absolutely!”

  6. Bob Brandon says:

    And your point, laymond?

  7. Alabama John says:

    We, the perfect ones, see error in everything.

    Obviously the one speaking has not read all the rules himself or he would know that thanking him for “joining our church” is wrong.

    The proper response buried in that stack would be thank you for “placing membership”

    When will ya’ll learn to get it right!

  8. laymond says:

    No point, everything doesn’t have a point of debate Just satire

  9. Doug says:

    Having spent the first part of my life in one of the left wings of the restoration movement, I quickly learned about the rule book once joining a CofC. The only problem was… it wasn’t explained to me, I just learn about a new rule when I go out-of -bounds of the rule book. For instance, when I asked an Elder if the Elders ever visited members of the Church (going on 8 years and I haven’t had an Elder in my house yet unless I invited him for dinner). Or when I reminded a life group that it was the Roman Catholics who canonized the bible (boy, the silence was deafening). It is a bit nerve racking feeling your way along understanding the rule book. I figure in about 30 years, I might have it learned though, if I live that long. But, at least I don’t see the looks of outright hostility that I remember seeing as a young boy when our family would stop for Sunday services at a rural CofC while traveling. Now that was downright scary! I figure the congregations at those churches thought we were a vanguard of the piano playing Christians that were plotting to take over the church.

  10. TP says:

    More than a bit of truth in this little comic…

  11. David says:

    The plot is working.

  12. laymond says:

    Doug like on this blog, walk softly when you speak of the canonization of the bible.

  13. aBasnar says:

    But seriously: What’s so wrong about rules? Aren’t they necessary as soon as only two people agree to do something together even for only a few moments, not to speak about living together for a lifetime. Each marriage has rules, normally unwritten ones. A church of Christ called to be a visibvle example of God’s Kingdom lives by Royal Rules, which are set forth in the Bible, of course, but – and that leads to unwritten rules! – we sometimes have to be more specific in our applications than it is spelled out in scripture (here we go: Necessary Inferences – only naive ones can believe we can get by without them).

    So, we may get a grin out of the cartoon, but there is a serious (and I’d say even necessary) side to it. It’s better to be open about it than to pretend we only go by scripture. There is no church on earth that goes by the Bible alone, not ONE. It does not work.


  14. Ted Howard says:

    Oh but to have a “book of rules” that was complete and concise with initial directive, self explaining that would lead the CHURCH as GOD the Father wants the CHURCH to be lead. One that would not vary in direction nor speed…when is the CHURCH going to realize that the bible as we have it…is NOT and I repeat…NOT ALL THERE IS TO GOD!!! It is a simple road map that GOD left us to find the TRUTH…to find our way back to HIM through JESUS the CHRIST ! The Apostle Paul even tells us that “AS MANY AS ARE LEAD BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD”…PUT YOUR FAITH INTO ACTION AND BE LEAD BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD !!! Oh but no…the church has to have a written set of rules that justifies themselves in their doctrine…a written set of rules that is not written down anywhere…the bible IS NOT THE COMPLETE SET OF GOD RULES

  15. aBasnar says:

    Being led by the Spirit …

    Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    Rom 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!
    Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
    Rom 8:17 And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.

    Just to be clear about it: This does not rule out special guidance, but this text does not speak about such (or new, additional revelation), but about
    a) relationship
    Being led by the Spirit means to approach God like the Son of God with the same willingness to suffer as He did, and the same promise to rule after we have suffered.
    And b) sanctification (for this we have the read the previous verses):

    Rom 8:10 And if Christ is in you, indeed the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised up Christ from the dead shall also make your mortal bodies alive by His Spirit who dwells in you.
    Rom 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
    Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.

    Again being led by the Spirit is focussed not on receiving new revelations (which can happen, but is pretty rare), but about being “ruled” by the Spirit, mortifying our flesh.

    Mortifying our flesh is really necessary when it comes to submission. A woman submitting under her head the man mustr mortify her flesh, because – naturally – she will not want to. A Christian has to submit to a church leadership, which also means death to self, because naturally we don’t want to.

    Many reactions to any “set of rules” (written or unwritten – and not limited to this discussion) are not the voices of crucified Christians, but of the flesh in rebellion.


  16. Emmett says:

    Paul contrasted the ministry of death with the ministry of the Spirit – the ministry of condemnation with the ministry of righteousness. Only through Christ is the veil over our hearts taken away. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is transformation into His image. Those who insist on a set of rules are making the same mistake Paul chastised the Judaizers for – imposing a yoke that neither they nor their ancestors were able to bear. There is no need of a rule book when one is being transformed by the Spirit into His image…

  17. aBasnar says:

    Only through Christ is the veil over our hearts taken away.

    But that’s what the Bible really says, Emmet:

    2Co 3:14 (But their thoughts were blinded; for until the present the same veil remains on the reading of the old covenant, not taken away.) But this veil has been done away in Christ.

    Not the veil on our hearts, but the veil that covered the true meaning and goal of the Law of Moses! And this is exactly what Christ did in the Sermon on the Mount, Emment: He brought to light what the essence, the Spirit of the Law, is. This Spirit sets us free. Not a Spirit apart or as a substitute to the Law. We don’t have a rule- or lawless faith, because those who practice lawlessness will be shut out of the Kingdom by Christ himself (Mat 7:23).

    So, on the contrary: We DO have rules, commands by which we are to live, as Christ Himself said in Mat 28:20. It is extremely unfair and misleading to preach a “faith only-gospel” (which is a false gospel and therefore np gospel at all) and then afterward “suggest” a few of the “good advices” (some translations really render it that way!) of our Savior to be (once in while) taken into consideration.

    We have a King! A real King with a strong will and a rod of iron! I fear we have lost sight of Him … therefore we belittle rules and make fun of them as if Christ never meant his words to be taken seriously.


  18. Doug says:


    You sure come across as one serious dude. I can’t see you ever stripping down to your underwear and dancing for Jesus like king David… My favorite drawing of Jesus is the “laughing Jesus” picture with Jesus having his head tilted back and laughing his head off. “I will dance…I will sing… To be mad for my king… Nothing Lord is hindering the worship in my soul”. Let’s laugh and dance a little on our way to Jesus old pardner. 🙂

  19. aBasnar says:

    There are times for laughter and times for mourning …

  20. Doug says:

    See… there you go again!

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