(1 Pet 5:5b-6) All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
I’m convinced that part of the psychology that drives many of us within the Churches of Christ toward legalism is the pleasure of feeling smarter than the church down the road. I don’t mean to imply any insincerity — far from it. Nor do I think this feeling of superiority is conscious. No, it’s deeply buried in our psyches, and this is one reason it’s so very hard to root out. Continue reading
Miller’s concluding paragraph begins,
Over a century ago, many churches of Christ were swept into what was then called “the digression.” The use of musical instruments in worship was one of the divisive issues that caused the breach. History is now repeating itself.
This is entirely true. The a cappella Churches of Christ separated itself from the larger remaining parts of the Restoration Movement over, among other things, the instrument.
It’s important to know and learn from our history. But Miller learned the wrong lesson. You see, the list of “divisive issues” that we split over is much longer than just the fight over the instrument — and we should learn entirely different lessons from why we split. Continue reading
Miller’s conclusion focuses on the articles of incorporation of the Richland Hills Church of Christ. You see, as is true of many Churches of Christ, the original articles specified that the church may never use “mechanical” instruments of worship and must take the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.
Moreover, the articles specified that only men who agreed with the founders on instrumental music may be ordained elders. The articles actually attempted to add conditions beyond those stipulated in God’s word!
The elders amended the articles to remove these specific rules. Miller is outraged.
But Miller forgets his principles. After all, the articles of incorporation were nothing but a creed — which I thought we in the Churches of Christ long ago rejected.
And don’t we believe that the elders have the spiritual leadership of the congregation — not a legal document? Do we really believe that elders should be bound by charters written decades ago by men long dead? Is that the Biblical pattern of church governance? Continue reading
On page 89, Miller begins to set up the classic “gopher wood” argument —
But does that mean that we must have authority for everything we do in religion? Everything? What about the many things we do that the Bible does not mention? For example, where is our authority for church buildings, pews, lighting, carpet, television programs, songbooks, and communion trays?
Did you notice it? The subtle change in argument? Miller is playing three-card Monte. While you’re not watching, he hides what’s really going on. Continue reading
Miller follows up his argument based on Colossians 3:17 with familiar arguments based on 1 Corinthians 4:6. I addressed this argument some time ago. See Going Beyond That Which is Written.
He also makes the argument that either all silences are permissive or else all silences are prohibitions. This argument is a classic false dichotomy. See this post for more on this flawed reasoning — The Question of Silence
Miller gives an example from everyday life to make his point. It’s a good example — Continue reading