Community Disciplines: Community Disciplines: Romans on Discipline, Part 2 (chapter 14b)

Romans 14 is quite controversial in the Churches of Christ today, because it runs so contrary to much of our preaching.

(Rom 14:6 ESV)  6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

In the last post of this series, we covered the first few verses of this chapter. Paul plainly declares that those who disagree on whether it’s sin to eat meat (non-kosher or sacrificed to idols) and on whether it’s a sin not to honor the Sabbath (or other holy days) must accept each other as saved — despite their doctrinal disagreements.

Both those who participate and those who refuse are saved by grace. Both will stand before God but only by grace. We must extend the grace we receive from God to others.

Paul notes that those who eat do so to honor God. Those who refuse do so to honor God. Some of our preachers would argue “the law of the excluded middle” and impose a dichotomy — either one honors God or the other. They cannot both honor God because both cannot — logically — be true. And, indeed, it either is or isn’t sin to eat non-kosher meat. One side or the other is wrong.

But God judges the heart — and both are honoring God with their hearts and so the worship of both is accepted.

(Rom 14:7-8 ESV) 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

On first reading, this is a puzzling verse. What does living and dying have to do with kosher meat? Well, Paul is starting with a broad principle — everything we do is “to the Lord.” We are Christians and therefore our lives and our deaths are “to the Lord,” that is, directed toward God as worship.

You see, “to the Lord” is the language of worship in the Septuagint —

(Gen 4:3 ESV) In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,

(Gen 12:8 ESV) From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

(Exo 12:42 ESV) It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.

Therefore, God accepts worship based on our hearts and not on our doctrinal perfection.

(Rom 14:9 ESV)  9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

“This end” is so that his people will live and die “to the Lord,” transforming their entire lives into worship of God. (Remember: Paul is still explaining how we become living sacrifices per Romans 12:1-2!)

(Rom 14:10-12 ESV) 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;  11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

V. 10 is, of course, a rebuke pointed directly at the legalists among us. It is sin to condemn those who have faith in Jesus. We will all be judged by God.

(Rom 14:13 ESV) 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Paul concludes this section of Romans 14 by insisting that we “not pass judgment on one another.” That’s the core community discipline for chapter 14. Stop being so judgmental!

Now, of course, there are some judgments that must be made. I don’t know whom to evangelize unless as I some idea who is saved and who is not. And there’s a place in the church for discipline, even disfellowship. There are boundaries. But these boundaries are far, far, far removed from where we often place them.

Whom must I not judge?

Paul does not carefully draw the lines in chapter 14 because he’d just spent chapters 1 – 8 explaining where the lines are. For example,

(Rom 3:21-22a ESV)  21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

(Rom 3:28 NAS) 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

(Rom 5:1 ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Rom 8:9-11 ESV) 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Obviously, those who are outside the faith are not saved and thus not covered by grace. God will not make them stand. But those who remain in the faith remain saved despite their doctrinal imperfection — so long as they don’t reject what brought them into the Kingdom in the first place: faith in Jesus and repentance (which is really an element of faith, as Paul uses the word). The road out is the same as the road in.


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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34 Responses to Community Disciplines: Community Disciplines: Romans on Discipline, Part 2 (chapter 14b)

  1. I have never understood how those who quote Romans 16:17 to “mark those who cause divisions and offences contrary to the teaching you have received” do not include Romans 14 in the teaching received!

    In effect, by their use of that verse (Romans 16:17) while ignoring Romans 14, they become those described who are to be marked.


  2. Romans 14 does a lot to destroy the demand for doctrinal purity within the church of Christ fellowship, but many refuse to acknowledge it.

    This is among the more obvious example of instances where we fail to “follow” the Text as persistently as we claim.

    Fortunately, we’re forgiven of every failure, even this one.

  3. Enterprise says:

    “Now, of course, there are some judgments that must be made. I don’t know whom to evangelize unless as I some idea who is saved and who is not.”

    Two thoughts from me today on this post.

    First, (just before I got to the above quote) I was caused to wonder about my understanding of Cain and Abel. Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted, Abel’s was and the typical explaination is that Abel did it by faith and Cain did not.
    Whether we allow for offerings other than animal, or not, we still conclude that Abel’s offering was done in the right way. What it if the issue wasn’t ‘what’ was done, but the attitutude in which it was done?

    It would still be true that it wasn’t done in the right way but now we focus on the heart and not the actions.

    Second, regarding the quote that tops this post. Knowing who is and who isn’t a brother is important. You know, it would be easier to just accept all teaching about how to become a Christian as long as Faith was first in that list. It would be easy to say those baptized ‘incorrectly’ are saved and in a right relationship with Christ but then….you wouldn’t be able to reason with them on that topic.
    That might not seem like a bad thing but what if they are not? I have authority to say that one baptized into Christ has put on Christ (and only God knows or needs know if that person is being deceptive) but I do not have the authority to say one who is not baptized (only believing) has put on Christ (and only God knows if he is accepted or not) but do I have the authority to not teach that such an unbaptized believer is not in Christ?

    mmmm. still thinking.

  4. Stephen Cureton says:

    Enterprise, Your questions are interesting. However, the Bible clearly warns us that we will be held accountable to what we teach (Teachers judged more strictly; and the measure we judge others will measured to us). This blog seems to lean heavily upon Grace (rightfully so!!) It’s God’s grace that makes us who we are, and the Holy Spirit guides us unto all Truth. So, only those who are spiritual “rightfully divides the word” while dillengently seeking Christ in word and deed.

  5. rich constant says:

    now i was a BELIEVER in Conservative CoC Traditional Doctrine for around (most of my life, i am 4th generation by the way) 50 years or so.

    i was baptized when i became 21 years old,i became legally an adult.
    one issue that i particularly liked was the preacher told me if you find Any inconstancy with the Doctrine ask a question.
    well Jay that set me on a path of discovery.
    after 50 years i have not found too many that don’t run from my questions in the Church of Christ.
    who is Paul talking to was there any diversity in tne roman church.
    if we as Christians learn anything from this chapter exclusion is not one of of the words that traditional theology is going to pay dearly for “promoting, or any form there of”, in judgement by the lord,to say nothing about the Split of instrumental music in 1901.
    which was just another form of exclusion brought on by the sociological anthropocentric traditional religious faith in Christ,”i now call legalism..
    i think most people would be well advised to study in depth why Paul held to such a high christology ,and learn the difference,
    in ROM 3:22 between an anthropocentric and a christocrintic position on the interpretation of that verse.
    Blessings all and happy thanksgiving week

    rich constant

  6. Bob Brandon says:

    “An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

    John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”

    Lk. 9:46-50. The Lord recognized the problem in His own day.

  7. Charles McLean says:

    The comment was made: “Now, of course, there are some judgments that must be made. I don’t know whom to evangelize unless as I some idea who is saved and who is not.”

    This kind of religious pre-sorting seems to run 180 degrees counter to the parable of the sower:

    “Behold, a sower went forth to judge the land upon which he might sow. He did not want to waste his seed on places where it had already been sown, so he set out to survey his area. He was careful to find out where the existing boundaries existed, so he did not sow in anyone else’s field, and he initiated a broad program of soil analysis to determine where soil might be fertile or not, so as to make his sowing more efficient. He worked quite diligently at this. In fact, in this process the sower developed considerable skills in soil sampling and fertilizer calculations and predicting crop results, to the extent that he has now suspended his farming operations entirely to tend to the more lucrative field of agricultural consulting. His original store of seed is still in prime condition and available for use by area farmers upon request.”

  8. Charles McLean says:

    Enterprise said: “It would be easy to say those baptized ‘incorrectly’ are saved and in a right relationship with Christ but then….you wouldn’t be able to reason with them on that topic.”

    Why would this be so? This line of thought suggests to me that we think everyone is as stubborn dogmatic and fear-driven on every doctrinal position as we are. So, the reasoning goes, if we don’t declare those sprinkled rascals to be heathen, so that they are threatened with the fires of hell, they’ll never even consider being immersed! If we admit that they are saved, then they’ll never be motivated to do what we say!

    After all, WE certainly are not about to consider any change in our ways unless somebody makes US smell a little brimstone..

    Those of us who have experienced significant changes in our understanding of scripture long after we were born again find this kind of thinking to be a bit absurd.

  9. Jay Guin says:


    You’re quite right, I think. “By faith” is not “by the right rules.” After all, Cain’s sacrifice would have been acceptable under the Law of Moses. God accepted grain sacrifices. The difference was faith not the rules for what to sacrifice.

  10. Jay Guin says:


    I am the author of the line “I don’t know whom to evangelize unless as I some idea who is saved and who is not.” I think it’s right.

    For over a century, the Churches of Christ have spent huge resources in trying the evangelize the saved. I’m more for evangelizing the lost.

  11. abasnar says:

    But is Romans 14 really about doctrinal purity?

    I do agree that Rom 16:17 cannot overrule Rom 14, but this is true the other way, too.

    Romas 14 starts with the following verse:

    Rom 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

    Opinions (KJV: doubtful disputations) not doctrinal issues. So you cannot say it is about doctrinal purity or Rom 14 sanctifies doctrinal imperfection. Although it is a given that we will always be imperfect, since we are always growing and learning. But that’s not what Romans 14 is about.

    It’s about:

    Rom 14:2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

    What may we eat? Maybe Paul uses hyperbole in this verse, because it goes beyond the dietary laws ofthe OT on one side and seems to go beyound the restirictions of Acts 15 on the other side. But the key word is “weak”, not “doctrinally imperfect”.

    Someone who is weak in faith, is someone who has not the freedom to eat whatever Christ allowed us to eat – maybe because he cannot believe Christ really said to Peter to eat all these ugly animals (Acts 9). Maybe – like some vegetarian I know – because the way animals are kept and butchered in mass-production is violating God’s character. Or for any other reason.

    The thing is: We do have clear doctrine concerning food! But we also may restrict ourselves if we have a weaker conscience.

    The same is true for the other examples:

    Rom 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
    Rom 14:6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

    While it is doctrinally clear that we are not under the Law of the Sabbath anymore, since all these special days were shadows pointing to Christ (Col 2); Christians may still keep them out of reasons we need not question or dispute.

    A fine point: While it is “doctrinally clear” that we are not under the Law anymore, it is not forbidden (!) to keep aspects or even the complete Law (as the Jerusalem church did). BUT this “freedom to keep the Law” may not cancel our “freedom FROM the Law”. Therefore Rom 14:1 – The weaker ones may not bind their weekness on the whole church. But also Rom 14:2 and the following verses: The strong ones may not hurt the consciences of the weak ones or even belittle them.

    We all should be diligent to do whatever we out of faith. You know, we can “live by faith apart from the Law” because we actually despise the Law and rules and regulations! But that’s not bliblical faith! We may so firmly proclaim “Faith only” while we actually mean: “No rules at all!” But that’s not the Gospel! That’s lawlessness, which is strongly condemned by Christ and His apostles.

    When I read Rom 16:17 in the light of the whole NT I see that those who caused such dissensions in the NT church were often people promoting lawlessness. Therefore it is a very important verse and warning, also today.


  12. Stephen Cureton says:

    abasnar, I agree with most of your explaination, however, extremism can be on both sides…. the extremism of no laws (lawlessness) and extremism of self-righteous laws (legalism). Many like to dispel Rom 14 by saying it doesn’t apply to doctrinal issues. However, all issues are doctrinal issues. Doctrine simply means teaching. Sound doctrine is healthy teaching (which is scripture in it’s proper context). That’s why we can have doctrines of devils. Sometimes we minimize Rom 14 by only comparing it against the Law. However, it applies to the Gentiles and their pagan laws as well. Again, I don’t disagree with much of your comments I just believe that the lawless one is wrong as well as the legalist.

  13. guestfortruth says:

    This chapter deal with optional matters about which we may disagree and still remain in fellowship with one another. Let me stress that this chapter does not deal with matters of obligation, matters essential- that is, matters about which God has legislated in his word. We cannot differ on obligatory matters and remain in fellowship with each other. To state it emphatically, this chapter does not deal with differences over doctrines. Fellowship is possible only when we abide “in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn. 9-11). We certainly need to know and keep clearly in mind that we can not fellowship those whore are out of fellowship with God.
    While considering the content of this chapter there are some things which need to be considered and resolved in the process. Some of them are: Does this chapter allow for the observance of such holidays as “Easter” and “Christmas” as special religious days? Do Paul’s instructions here forbid Christians eating together, especially if they eat together in the church building? Does Paul’s reference in verse 21 to drink wine justify drinking alcoholic beverages? How far do we take the principle herein taught regarding the giving up of our freedom for the sake of others? In other words, we must we refrain from every practice which some weak brother for lack of understanding and biblical study believes to be wrong.

    In Christ,

    Scripture sui ipsius interpres

  14. JMF says:


    Since I am weaker than you, GFT, I think you are sinning by not celebrating Easter and Xmas as Christ’s resurrection and birth, respectively. I also see examples of Jesus and Paul talking about drinking wine, and your refusal to do so and to opine against it doesn’t seem to follow their examples (in my weaker opinion).

    So I trust you’ll start doing those things to appease me?

  15. Charles McLean says:

    Jay said: “I am the author of the line “I don’t know whom to evangelize unless as I some idea who is saved and who is not.” I think it’s right.

    For over a century, the Churches of Christ have spent huge resources in trying the evangelize the saved. I’m more for evangelizing the lost.”
    Point taken, Jay. My statement may have just have been a knee-jerk reaction to just how we have traditionally determined “who is saved and who is not”. On the contrary, I think you are talking about recognizing the believers so that we can concentrate on those who do not believe, rather than proving why the folks in Fellowship B are not believers at all.

  16. Charles McLean says:

    Guest mentioned: “…matters about which God has legislated in his word.”
    Subject to correction, I assume here by “his word” you mean not Jesus (as John identifies “the word”), but the NT canon. Kindly point out where the NT refers to itself in any place as a law. Please be precise. Thanks.
    “We cannot differ on obligatory matters and remain in fellowship with each other.”
    Nonsense, guest. Believers do it all the time. I have believing friends who believe they are obligated to keep kosher. I have brothers who believe that we are obligated to follow the leadership of the Pope. I have sisters who believe we are obligated to observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. We manage to have fellowship together in spite of these disagreements. It is only those who make comprehensive doctrinal agreement their test of fellowship who find themselves unwilling to extend their fellowship to these other sons of God.

    If you decide you will not have fellowship with any believer who disagrees with you on anything significant which is addressed in scripture, that’s a personal decision. And a decision for which one is personally accountable.

  17. guestfortruth says:

    Freedom and Restrictions Regarding Matters of Indifference

    Textual commentary versus 1 and 2

    Verse 1: The instruction here is that we should “… receive kindly and hospitably, to admit to one’s fellowship and friendship, to treat with kindness” those who are “weak in the faith” But who are these individuals? First, it should be noted that they are not weak simply because they looked upon others with disapproval, for Paul also tells the strong not to “set at nought” those that are weak (v.10). Second, those who were weak were not “weak in faith” but rather “weak in the faith”. Those who were weak had faith that was strong to save; they had an obedient faith (Heb.11:6; Jam 2:17). The4 weak brother had such a strong motive to be pleasing to the lord that he refused to eat meat because he believe it would displease the Lord for him to do so ( Rom. 14:6) Winters summarized this point well:
    His opinions are bound on his conscience as a matter of faith, and they are so strong that he cannot or will not accept the freedom provided for in the gospel. Or else he is not mature enough in the faith to distinguish between that which is essential (fundamental) and that which is indifferent (cf.Heb. 5:12-14).
    His weakness was that he could be influenced or persuaded to do those things which violated his conscience. He could be influenced by the words or behaviors of others to go against what he believed to be wrong. When he did this, he sinned, ”,… for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).
    The” weak of the faith” are to be received, “but not to doubtful disputations.” In other words, he is to be received into fellowship, but not just for the purpose of attempting to change his opinions about these indifferent matters, for the purpose of arguing about them, or for the purpose of making “ his petty scruples the rule of the congregation.” Let me state emphatically here: those referred to as “ weak in the faith” are not the contentious, chronic complainers who insist on having their own way by arguing that it would be wrong to go ahead over their objection for they are “weak in the faith.”
    The weak brother is not binding where God has not bound; that is, he is not saying to others, “You sin by eating meat.” “If such had been the case, he would have been guilty of making a law which God did not make, of thus teaching the ‘doctrine of demons’ (1 tim.4:1), and in which case Paul would not have instructed that he be ‘received’. This distinction can been seen in Paul’s dealing with the question of circumcision. Circumcision was a matter of indifference; it was neither right nor wrong in and of itself. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6). In others words, one can be right with God either with or without circumcision.
    In order to enhance Timothy’s effectiveness among the Jews, Paul, by his own choice, circumcised him (Acts 16:3). But Paul would not allow others to demand (“compel”) that titus be circumcised for he recognized that they were trying to make a law where God had not made one. “To whom ,” Paul said, “ we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:5; see also vv. 3-4). In the case of titus , Paul was not dealing with those he described in romans 14 as “weak in the faith” He did not yield to their demands and allow them to bind on others something that God had not bound.
    Those who insist that orphans can only be cared for in the homes of individual Christians, that the fruit of the vine can only be drunk from a common container, or that meals can not be eaten by members of the church in a church building, can not hide behind the text of Romans 14. They are making laws where God has made none and we must there oppose them, as Paul did those that demanded that Titus be circumcised. If some brethren were to insist that would be sinful for them to stand when they pray instead to kneel, they should not be forced to stand.
    According to some, Those who advocates the use of mechanical instruments of music in our worship assemblies today is comparable to the “strong brothers” and one who opposes such practice is comparable to the “weak brother” in this chapter. This characterization comes from “free-thinkers” who care more about fellowship error than they care about the Truth and the church paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. They are dead wrong on at least two counts. First, Paul is not discussing what is done in assemblies of worship. Meat was not served in worship. Had it been, Paul would have condemned the eating of all meats for there is no New Testament authority for eating meat in the worship of God; it is not according to Truth (Jn. 4:24). Second, The use of Mechanical instruments in worship is not a matter of indifference (opinion or option). God has specified the kind of music which is acceptable in the New Testament worship (Eph. 5:19;Col 3:16) and thereby has excluded all other kinds. Those who have divided the church over the instrument are certainly not to be called “stronger brethren” and those who uphold the Truth are not definitely not “weaker brethren” according to Paul. Those who would make such statements are deluded because they do not love the Truth (2 Thes. 2:10-11). Fellowship with error is always wrong (Eph. 5:11) and cannot be justified by God’s Word no matter how hard some try.
    Verse 2: Notice here that the person who was described as “weak in the faith” is now described as being “weak himself”. Is now described as being “weak” himself. “He is weak in the matter of his belief, or it is his belief itself that is weak. But this weak belief reacts upon him and renders him weak, so that both are weak together, both he and it.” It is important also observe at this point that the one who is described as weak is the one who is overly-strict because of his opinions.
    The one who eats “all things” is the one who believes that it does not matter whether one eats meat, vegetables, or both. The other, because of scruples, believed that eating meat was wrong; therefore, he ate herbs (vegetables) only. The strong recognized the gospel teaching regarding meat: (1) “every creature of God is good” for food (1 Tim. 4:4), (2) Jesus had made “all meats clean” (Mark 7:19), and (3) God had declared to peter, “what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (Acts 10:15).
    The weak thought that to eat meat was sinful. This opinion may have resulted from the fact that this person was a Jew. He had difficulty accepting as food those things called “unclean” by the law of Moses.
    It may also have been that the weak Christian had come out of the paganism which was common among the Gentiles. They had worshipped idols by eating meat which had been offered in sacrifice. The difficulty for this individual was he could not disassociate the eating of meat from idolatrous worship.

  18. Stephen Cureton says:

    GuestforTruth, can you tell me which of the seven churches in Revelation were not part of the “One Church”? When I read Revelations I noticed false doctrine( the teaching of the Nicolatians) I noticed Idolatry, sexual immorality, and other terrible sins. Yet I didn’t see where Christ commended either congregation for disfellowshipping with those other sinners. They had to still be a part of the “One Church” because they were given time to repent.

    I don’t promote disunity, nor promote the sins of six of the seven churches(one had no defects). However, I believe it’s a great sin to discredit someone whom Christ has accepted. The best we can do is first pray for them (intercessory prayers) and encourage them to do the right things by allowing the Christ in us to be lived-out through the fruits of the Spirit. We must bear the infirmities of the weak like Christ bear our infirmities while living in us.

  19. Jay Guin says:


    I must say that you’re misreading the text. Of course, one side was right and one side was wrong. But Paul’s solution wasn’t to insist that both sides agree. He commanded them to get along despite disagreeing.

    Those who insisted on abstaining from meat surely thought they did so for doctrinal reasons. Why else would they have been questioning the salvation of those who disagreed with them?

    (Rom 14:3 ESV) 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

    Why didn’t Paul rule in Romans on the Sabbath question? He certainly knew the answer, but he seems to have preferred to sort the problem out by other means — getting along despite the disagreement.

  20. Jay Guin says:

    GFT wrote,

    In other words, we must we refrain from every practice which some weak brother for lack of understanding and biblical study believes to be wrong.

    Really? Does that mean you refuse to use multiple cups? That you refuse to hire a minister because some few object to a “hireling minister”? Do you really let the church be run by the member with the least understanding and least Bible study?

    No, that’s just not what Rom 14 teaches. The prohibition is against tempting someone to sin against his or her conscience through peer pressure. And it teaches against judging, condemning, and looking down on others over these kinds of issues. And so we cannot allow our weakest members to judge, condemn, and look down on our strongest members.

  21. Jay Guin says:

    GFT wrote,

    Let me stress that this chapter does not deal with matters of obligation

    That’s the standard 20th Church of Christ line, but it’s plainly untrue. In the passage, those who refused to eat meat did so as a matter of obligation — or so they thought. In their minds, this was a requirement. After all, Paul spends half the chapter talking about not offending their consciences. Therefore, they saw it as a matter of conscience.

    NEARLY EVERY dispute the Churches of Christ have suffered in the last 100 years have been over WHETHER something is a matter of obligation. Are we obligated to hire no fulltime preacher? Or do we have a choice? Are we obligated to use just one cup? Or do we have a choice? Are we obligated to sing a cappella? Or do we have a choice?

    Just so, in Rom 14, one side argued that we are obligated to abstain from certain meats. The other side said we have a choice. One side said we are obligated to honor the Sabbath. The said it’s a matter of choice. Paul told them to get along — in the same congregation — by submitting to each other.

    He didn’t say that those pushing a “matter of obligation” argument get to win. Indeed, the ones arguing for obligation appear to have been the weaker brothers! But despite their weak faith, those with strong faith didn’t win either.

  22. Larry Cheek says:

    GFT you stated, “The use of Mechanical instruments in worship is not a matter of indifference (opinion or option). God has specified the kind of music which is acceptable in the New Testament worship (Eph. 5:19;Col 3:16) and thereby has excluded all other kinds.”

    These verses have been quoted as proof that the church was not to use IM in worship to the Lord. But, they are pulled completely out of context for that statement. There is absolutely nothing about the context that is directed solely to an assembly of the church. In fact you cannot find in the New Testament a discription of a worship service. Even more you cannot find a command or an example for Christians to assemble to worship God. We as Christians are to constantly worship God. If you think not, please explain to where in the scriptures that we are allowed to not worship God for a portion of time. The scriptures state that we are to assemble to edify and build each other up, the assembly is for our benifit. Do you believe that the early Christians understood that they only time they had to worship God was one day each week, as some of our brethern profess? Most will not voice that concept, but that is the way they live and display their lives to others. The Jews (the men)were commanded to assemble at Jerusalem each year for worship, but the New Testament church was never given such a command. The following verses are the the only instructions that I have found reguarding the proceedure of the church while being assembled.

    (1 Cor 14:23 KJV) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

    (1 Cor 14:24 KJV) But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

    (1 Cor 14:25 KJV) And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

    (1 Cor 14:26 KJV) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    You can be assured that I had been completely programmed just as you have by preachers in The Church of Christ as to the sinfulness of using IM. But, as has been mentioned in the context of Jays blog. If you study too greatly you will find many things that our predicessors have distorted and we accepted, partcially because they did not have the access to as much information as is available to anyone today.

    The following two verses are the only accounts of assembling on the first day of the week. Do you see these in the context of a command to worship?

    (Acts 20:7 KJV) And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

    (1 Cor 16:2 KJV) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

    I am not trying to convince anyone that it is not a wise and proper work for Christians to assemble each first day of the week. Actually, we should meet more often than that. But, the point being that we have never been instructed in scribture to assemble for the purpose of worshipping God.

  23. guestfortruth says:

    The churches in asia were members of the One Church, but because of tolerance of false doctrine they were departing from the truth and also were tolerating sinful practices Moral and spiritual. As some churches that has been influence of denominaliotanilism that has been introduce in the bride of Christ. We have the examples of those congregations so we can see those examples and avoid the same mistake that was going on in those congregations. God gives opportunities to change and be restore to christ before their Lamp can be taken.

    In Christ,


  24. guestfortruth says:

    Our lesson deals with authority. An understanding of this subject is important because it affects unity, and the effectiveness of the church at work. Misunderstanding has created problems, divisions and apostasy. Psalm 133:1, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” That which disrupts unity is a serious matter for those who love the Lord. The only way to have genuine unity is to have an understanding of
    the truth and follow it. What do we mean by matters of faith and opinion? Matters of faith are those things imposed upon us because God has spoken concerning them. Matters of faith are those revelations in His Word that make up
    the faith or religion of Jesus Christ.
    Jude three speaks of “the faith” once delivered to the saints. Matters of faith are those points that are embodied in that faith, that exist by the Lord’s authority and direction, that are to be believed and practiced because they are revealed by God. Matters of faith are those truths that come to us by the Word (Rom. 10:17). For instance, the Bible reveals the terms of entrance into the company of the saved, the church, to be faith (Heb. 11:6), repentance (Acts
    2:38), confession of faith (Acts 8:37), and baptism into Christ (Rom. 6:3-6). These are matters of “thus saith the
    Lord.” The Bible reveals the avenues of worship to be singing (Eph. 5:19), praying (Acts 12:5), the Lord’s Supper
    (Acts 20:7), giving (I Cor. 16:2), and proclaiming His Word (Acts 20:7). We cannot add to nor take from
    what God has said. There is no room for deviation from them (Gal. 1:6-9: II John 9-11: Rev. 21:18-19: I Peter
    4:11; Col. 3:17). They cannot be violated without sinning against God’s authority.

    Matters of opinion are matters that demand and allow the exercise of human judgment. There are matters commanded and authorized of God (matters of faith) for which specific directions as to how to carry out
    these things are not given in every detail. The details have to be supplied nonetheless, and are supplied
    by human judgment. When God gives a command or direction, and tells how it is to be expedited, then
    the command and the way of carrying out that command are matters of faith. But when God has given command,
    direction, or permission for something without giving details as to how it is to be expedited, the command
    must be obeyed, but man must use his judgment to supply the details that God has not specified. Opinions are involved, and human opinions are not infallible and are subject to question and variation. We are to be charitable toward one another respecting matters of opinion.For instance, we are commanded to go and preach the Gospel. We are told to preach, and what to preach. These are matters of faith. But we are not told how to go. We must use
    our judgment. We may go in whatever way seems the most expedient, whether we walk, run, ride, fly, float,
    etc. One may prefer to walk, and another prefer to fly. It is a matter of opinion and we must allow each one
    to exercise his own judgment or opinion. We are commanded to teach, but the method of teaching is not specified.
    We may use chalk boards, radio, television, tracts, etc. When we teach we may use the lecture method,
    question and answer method, whatever one thinks best for the situation. It is a matter of opinion. We are told to baptize and this is a matter of faith. God has spoken.

    But where we baptize is not specified and that is a matter of judgment so long as we have an ample supply of
    water to immerse. That is a matter of opinion. The use of such judgment can not and must not alter the thing commanded — neither take from it or add to it. We are to carry out what is commanded. There is no right or
    wrong way of doing it when God has not directed which way, and the way we choose does not violate His will in
    any other way. Some ways may be better than others. But which way one chooses is a matter of opinion.
    In matters of congregational efforts, someone must decide which opinion will prevail. Obviously, everybody cannot do everything “his way” because there may be several ways of accomplishing something. Those with the responsibility and authority to decide in matters of opinion for the congregation are the elders of the church. They have the oversight and are the overseers (I Peter 5:2: Acts 20:28). Their decisions are to be obeyed and respected by the members (Heb. 13:17). They decide only in matters of opinion, not matters of faith, because the Word has already been revealed concerning matters of faith. In matters of opinion, there must be charity and consideration
    one of another.
    To illustrate further, consider the FINANCING of the work of the church. First Corinthians 16:1-2 and Second Corinthians 9:6-7 teach we are to give — a free-will offering, as we have been prospered, as we have purposed, cheerfully and liberally. There is no authority for fund raising through raffles, pie suppers, carnivals, rummage sales, business ventures, etc. But as to how the collections may be gathered, there is room and need for human judgment. Some may wish to “pass the plate by the people.” It would be just as acceptable with God to “pass the people by
    the plate,” though possibly not as expedient. This decision requires judgment. Consider the MUSIC in worship.
    God has spoken, and in every pas- sage, He says sing. He did not say to just “make music” (Eph. 5:19; Col.
    3:16). For this reason we reject socalled translations that include the words “make music” which God
    never said. No man has the right to introduce another kind of music that does not have God’s authority. Playing
    instruments produces another kind of music that is not authorized and therefore wrong. But whether
    we use song books, have two or four songs, sing four part harmony or all sing the melody, are matters of judgment
    and opinion. On these matters God has not spoken, although the command to sing must be expedited some way.
    Regarding the WORK with which the church is charged, we are to preach the Gospel to the lost (to save the lost), edify the saved (to preserve the saved and/or recover the fallen), and render benevolent aid to those who are in need as we have opportunity. For each of these areas of work we have a “thus saith the Lord.” These are matters of faith as to what the church can and cannot do with God’s authority. Unless an activity is authorized, it cannot be
    lawfully expedited in any way. No man, board, or any group has the right to saddle upon the church secular
    education, entertainment, and such things as building gymnasiums for fun and games. No man can arrange some unauthorized organization to do the work of the church. The government of the church is sufficient to do the work the Lord has given the church to do. It is not the work of the church to be involved in secular schools, politics, athletic games, nor to usurp the role of the home or the civil government.

    Doing the work of evangelism, edification, and benevolence, requires many human decisions because every detail in doing that work is not revealed in Scripture. Who shall we send into the mission field? Where shall we send them?
    How much is adequate support? What equipment is needed? Shall we conduct classes? Where shall we assemble? Who is to teach at what time? How do we care for the needy such as orphans, widows, the destitute, etc.? All these things are required in doing the work, but the manner of doing it is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of opinion. Somebody decides. As for carrying for the homeless, the church is not designed to be the home. It cannot be the home. There are no elders over a home. But the church provides for the homeless by providing a home. How these provisions are to be supplied falls into the realm of the unrevealed but necessary judgments.
    One other illustration makes the distinction between matters of faith and opinion very clear. Hebrews 10:25, I Corinthians 11:20, Acts 20:7 all teach the command to assemble on the first day of the week. No man can set that aside without violating God’s will. But still there are matters of judgment that must be determined. Where shall we meet? At what hour on the first day of the week do we meet? How long shall we assemble together? All these things
    are matters of human opinion. To ignore these principles of faith and opinion is to ignore the difference between the Lord’s church and denominationalism. It is to invite confusion, strife, and division. Departure from these principles has brought havoc to the church too many times — from liberals as well as those who would bind human
    laws. Those who ignore God’s authority by loosing what God has bound, or binding what God has loosed, create
    problems for God’s people. We have no right to dismiss any matter of faith. We have no right to make any
    matter of opinion a matter of faith. History shows how disrespect for this distinction has created barriers
    between both individuals and congregations, and has retarded the cause of Christ. The denominational
    world is often guilty of disregarding matters of faith. Brethren have also been guilty of confusing matters of
    faith and opinion. We need to recognize the difference, abide in His authority, have authority for all that
    we do (Col. 3:17), bind what God has bound, and loose what God looses.

  25. JMF says:


    You were kicked off this site once for constantly pasting material without giving attribution, no? Why do you continue to do this? You’ve been asked not to do this by the authority (no pun intended), so I am curious to know how you can justify being so obtuse.

  26. JMF says:

    You offer counter positions to the writer here, so your posts are useful. It is good (and enjoyable) to see contrary views. So I imagine I’d speak for many in saying that we’d love to see you argue your view(s)…but just be respectful and play by the rules.

  27. GuestForTruth wrote:

    No man has the right to introduce another kind of music that does not have God’s authority. Playing
    instruments produces another kind of music that is not authorized and therefore wrong.

    He asserted that singing and playing are two different kinds of music. He assumed that “sing” means “sing without playing instruments.”

    Neither his assertion nor his assumption are necessarily true. In fact, they are not true.

    Ephesians 5:19 speaks of singing and making melody in the heart. Both of these are in the heart. Here singing is a form of ado and making melody is a form of psallo. These same two words are in Psalm 98:5 in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Bible Paul used when quoting the OT. It says:

    Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

    And, before you say, “But that’s the Old Testament!” Consider also that Revelation 15:2-3 says that the 24 elders sang while holding harps of God in their hands. Unless you would contend that the harps were mere stage props held for effect, here is a passage where singing and playing go together. Ado is the word used here for “sing.” This is the same word used in Ephesians 5:19.

    So, before drawing the conclusion that “sing” means “sing without playing” and that the melody of Ephesians 5:19 means making melody only on the human heart as an instrument, you might ought to look closely at the use of these words elsewhere in both Testaments.

    There are at least 4 other places in the book of Psalms where ado (or another word for sing) and psallo> appear together. Some (not all) of these specifically speak of the “melody” being instrumental music. These are Psalm 27:6; 33:2-3; 57:7-9; 109:1-2; 147.7 & 149:1-5. At least one other passage in Revelation (14:2-3) has both ado and a sound “like the sound of harpers playing on their harps.” The linguistic background of the word translated “sing” in Ephesians 5:19 will not support the above assumption and assertion.

    So, how can what you say about IM be considered a matter of faith and not of opinion?

  28. guestfortruth says:

    erry ask “So, how can what you say about IM be considered a matter of faith and not of opinion?

    Some pertinent Passages:
    Matthew 26:30 “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
    Mark 14:26” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
    Acts 16:25 “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
    Romans 15:9 “and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
    “ For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.”
    1 Corinthians 14:15 “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
    1 Corinthians 14:26 “ How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
    Ephesians 5:19 “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,”
    Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
    Hebrews 2:12 “saying: “ I will declare Your name to My brethren;In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
    James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.”
    Hebrews 13:15 “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

    The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11), The apostle Paul told to the disciple Timothy in his second letter “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” In God’s word we find How faith come to us as is mention in
    Romans 10:17 “ So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” All actions of faith are actions that come by hearing the word of God. The action of worshipping with a mechanical instrument in the church is not an action that comes from hearing God’s word. If it was all the members of the church should play an instrument. Therefore , the action of worshipping with a mechanical instrument in the church is not an action of faith. The inspired writer to the Hebrews wrote :” But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. All actions that are not of faith are actions that are not pleasing God. And the action of worshipping with the mechanical instrument in the church is an action not of faith. So the action of worshipping with the mechanical instrument in the church is an action that is not pleasing God.

    The scripture clarifying itself. Related of our spiritual worship the inspired writer to the Hebrews wrote “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Heb.13:15) the question is : Which Instrument in Ephesians 5:19? But here is the “kicker.” Let us assume that the original
    meaning of psallo—to touch, pluck, twitch, or twang—is the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:19. Since the object on which the action of touching, plucking,
    twitching, or twanging does not inhere in the word, one would have to rely on the context to determine which instrument Paul intended. Surely no one would argue that one could
    worship God acceptably by snapping a carpenter’s chalk line in the assembly, or shooting an arrow by flicking a bow string, or plucking hair. As evidenced in the lexical sources, one can
    psallo on all of these objects—a chalk line, a bow string, or hair. Hence, assuming that the original, radical meaning of psallo was intended by the Holy Spirit in this passage, even then sanction for mechanical instrumental music in worship cannot be extracted from its use in Ephesians 5:19. Why? For the simple reason that the instrument/object on which the
    action of psallo is to be done is explicitly stated in the passage. It is the human heart—the mind of the worshipper. Since one cannot physically, literally touch, pluck, twitch, or play
    the mind, it is obvious th at the Holy Spirit spoke figuratively. He was calling attention to the fact that while one engages the lips and vocal chords in order to sing (adontes), it is essential
    that the worshipper also engage/enact the heart and mind as well (psallontes). Comparing Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 proves that this conclusion is precisely what the Holy
    Spirit intended to convey:
    Ephesians 5:18-19
    Be filled speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs singing [making melody] (psallo) in your heart to the Lord
    Let dwell teaching admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs singing [with grace] in your heart to the Lord
    Colossians 3:16
    The reader will observe that the Bible is its own best interpreter. The corresponding elements of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 match up exactly with each other, with the use of psallo
    in Ephesians 5:19 paralleling “ with grace” in Colossians 3:16.Hence, “making melody” and “with grace” both refer to what occurs spiritually on the inside of the worshipper while he
    or she is physically singing on the outside. As B.W. Johnson explained in 1889: “While the lips sing, the heart must join in the melody by an uplifting to God. Too much singing in the churches is only of the lips” (2:202). Nineteenth century Presbyterian commentator Albert Barnes adds: “The idea here is that of singing in the heart, or praising God from the heart. The psalms, and hymns, and songs were to be sung so that the heart should be engaged” (1847b, p. 106, emp.
    added). F.F. Bruce concurred: “in their hearts as well as with their tongues” (1984, p. 380).
    Representing the best in current evangelical scholarship, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary well summarizes the linguistic data and the proper application of that data to a correct understanding of psallo in Ephesians 5:19— The verb “to make music” is psallo, from which “psalm” is
    derived. It can mean playing a stringed instrument (literally, “to pluck”) or singing praise to the accompaniment of a harp. Here it describes the heart’s inner melody that keeps in tune with audible praise or may be independent of any outward expression (Wood, 1981, 11:73, emp. added). The action of psallo takes place in the heart independent of the outward expression of singing. Grammatical Parallels
    A precise parallel may be drawn between psallo and many other Greek verbs. The word baptidzo means to dip, immerse (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 131). A person can be immersed in water (John 3:23), fire, i.e., hell (Matthew 3:11), persecution and suffering (Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:49), or the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). Observe that water, fire, suffering, and the Holy Spirit do not inhere in the word baptidzo/immerse. Immersion is an action that may occur with reference to a variety of elements or substances. Observe further that being immersed in water or fire is a literal use of baptidzo, while being immersed in suffering or the Holy Spirit is a figurative
    use of baptidzo. Another example may be seen in the Greek verb ballo, to throw. One can throw seed on the ground (Mark 4:26), dust into the air (Acts 22:23), a fishhook into the sea (Matthew
    17:27), a person on a sickbed (Revelation 2:22), or even fear (1 John 4:18). Observe that seed, dust, fishhooks, sickbeds, and fear do not inhere in the word ballo/throw. Observe further
    that throwing seed, dust, and hooks are literal uses of ballo, while throwing a person on a bed of affliction or casting out fear are figurative uses. A third example is seen in the Greek verb luo, to loose, untie. One can loosen a prisoner (Acts 22:30), a sandal (Acts 13:25), grave clothes (John 11:44), angels (Revelation 9:14), sin (Revelation 1:5), or Satan (Revelation 20:3). Observe that
    prisoners, sandals, grave clothes, angels, sin, and Satan do not inhere in the word luo/loose. Observe further that loosing prisoners, sandals, or grave clothes are literal uses of luo, while loosing angels, sin, and Satan are figurative uses. A fourth example is the Greek verb phero, to bear, carry, bring. One can carry, bear, or bring a cross (Luke 23:26), spices (Luke 24:1), an animal (Mark 11:2), food to eat (John 4:33), disgrace (Hebrews 13:13), or people’s problems (Numbers 11:14). Observe that crosses, spices, animals, food, disgrace, and problems do not inhere in the word phero/bear. Observe further that bringing a cross, spices, an animal, or food are literal uses of phero, while bringing disgrace or bearing people’s problems are figurative uses. Many other examples could be cited. Please do not miss the point: the initial, literal meaning of psallo, to touch, pluck, etc., does not include or even imply the object on which the plucking takes place. Objects have included bow strings, carpenter lines, hair, lyres, etc. The specific object must be indicated in the context. To pluck on a mechanical instrument would be one possible literal use of psallo, whereas to pluck on the human heart is a figurative use of psallo—which happens to be the precise usage in Ephesians 5:19.

    The pertinent Passages of the New Testament only authorize singing in worship. And Instruments are not pleasing God because they are not of faith. ( Rom. 10:17; Rom. 11:6). Just as simple as it is.

    In Christ,

    “Scriptura sui ipsius interpres”

  29. Jerry says:

    Guest for Truth,
    You are still assuming what you need to prove: that is that the words used for “sing” in the New Testament mean “sing without instruments.” You cannot even talk about acapella singing without using more than the word “sing”. This means you cannot talk about singing without instruments without adding words to the text of the Scriptures.

    In fact, all of the words used for “sing” in the New Testament have backgrounds that include instrumental music. The word for sing in Ephesians 5:19 (ado) is in Revelation 15:2-3 along with harps of God (also in Revelation 14).

    I gave you a list of passages in Psalms where in the Greek translation of the Hebrew, the LXX, ado and psallo are used together as sing and make melody. Several of these have instrumental music in the immediate context. None of them imply that each individual worshiper both sang and played the instrument.

    All I am saying is that we need to examine the linguistic use of that expression, “singing and making melody,” very closely before making claims about what Rabbi Paul meant when he used those words. He was very familiar with the Psalms – and when he quoted it, he used the LXX. In the Bible he used, these words can include the use of instrumental music along with singing. My question remains: how can you be sure that instrumental music is not used when he practically quotes one of those passages in the Psalms I listed above (Psalm 27:6) in Ephesians 5:19.


  30. Bruce Morton says:

    One of the remarkable aspects of Ephesians 5:18ff. has to do with Paul’s use of the LXX with the addition of “in your heart” versus the references to instruments in the LXX passages.

    That and the parallelism with 5:11 announce a great deal about the purposes in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. The parallelisms have not been discussed much within the Restoration Movement (or in the other Ephesians commentaries I have read that span the last 75 years — a significant omission). It may well be that part of the reason has to do with a lack of sensitivity in the West (US and Europe) regarding the subject of song and music.

    For example we do not think that music itself can be associated with evil. It is a foreign concept to us. And yet Paul’s parallelism does precisely that! He contrasts “debauchery” (Gk. asotia) with song — specifically song. But asotia expressed more than “debauchery.” It carried a sense of chaos. And this fits exactly with what ancient writers wrote regarding Asian cult music — which depended on new sounds, new instruments to keep large groups of spectators entertained.

    I know you have probably read my posts on this subject on this weblog, so I will stop with the above. But will offer to send a publication (by 21st Century Christian) to you if you would like to browse. It takes in the subject of IM and the background and context here.

    You can reach me at MortonBLSL7 at earthlink dot net. I also welcome others contacting me as well. I am giving out a limited number of copies to folks who visit this webforum.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  31. Jay Guin says:


    Your comment re “faith” and “opinion” includes a fatal error: You assume that “faith” means “authorized by command, example, or inference in the Bible.” But “faith” means faith in Jesus. If you (and your sources) would call Bible things by Bible names, the whole argument would disintegrate.

  32. Ray Downen says:

    Enterprise wrote: Knowing who is and who isn’t a brother is important. You know, it would be easier to just accept all teaching about how to become a Christian as long as Faith was first in that list. It would be easy to say those baptized ‘incorrectly’ are saved and in a right relationship with Christ but then….you wouldn’t be able to reason with them on that topic.
    That might not seem like a bad thing but what if they are not? I have authority to say that one baptized into Christ has put on Christ (and only God knows or needs know if that person is being deceptive) but I do not have the authority to say one who is not baptized (only believing) has put on Christ (and only God knows if he is accepted or not) but do I have the authority to not teach that such an unbaptized believer is not in Christ?
    mmmm. still thinking.
    How good it is that Enterprise and others who have contributed to this blog are thinking and sharing their thoughts by writing. Another consideration as to whether or not unbaptized sinners are “in Christ” is that the Spirit is given (God’s gift) to those who HAVE repented and HAVE been baptized. One of the texts called to our attention by Jay points out that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ do not have Christ. Does that shed light on whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation?

    And when the apostle Paul speaks of us having been baptized INTO Christ, what did he mean if not that it’s when we are baptized that we are then saved?

    I’m trilled to read a post from a brother who understands that the verb sing does NOT mean sing a cappella. I’m sorry to read a post by a brother who wants to change the meaning of the verb. I’m convinced that we who freely use musical instruments in God’s service should be in full fellowship with others who prefer no instruments in their “worship” assemblies. Yes, Romans 14 applies to the matter!

  33. guestfortruth says:

    You know that in different parts of the scriptures where the word “Faith” is mentioned, could be the teachings , gospel or individual trust, if we don’t read the context becomes a pretext. And the article started about “The Faith” there are occasions where the word faith is mentioned and means believe and for sure we need to believe in Jesus as the Son of the living God, but we can’t ignore his word as our rule of faith where the biblical faith comes from. You misread the comment about matters of Faith and Opinion. The point was that all that pertain to “the Faith” (Pistei) that comes from the word of God , our pisteos must be founded in the promises of God. I said :” Matters of faith are those things imposed upon us because God has spoken concerning them. Matters of faith are those revelations in His Word that make up the faith or religion of Jesus Christ.” Why do we believe; what we believe? I did not said that “faith” means “authorized by command, example, or inference in the Bible as you are painted” when in the Scriptures we read the context in all passages that talk about faith you will find that sometime the inspired writers talk as “THE FAITH” that is the whole Gospel as it is written in God’s word . You are misunderstanding the part about “opinions” that we understand as “expediency” (opinion are matters that demand and allow the exercise of human judgment.)
    if we are going to the biblical concept of faith according to God, is not just believe “trust” (Pisteos) the inspired writer said “ “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” This reading refer to things hoped for. “things” is that within the veil (Heb.6:19) – heaven itself, all that heaven is an all that heaven holds. That which ties us securely to that within the veil is our hope, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stead fast” (heb.6:19). Our hope is the product of and is undergirded by our faith. Our faith is the product of the word of God” . “ So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).Obviously, therefore, where there is no word of God there can be no biblical faith. Because there are other types of people understand as faith (believe) but with no God’s warranty.
    But, my faith which comes by hearing the word of God rest solidly upon the sufficient and conclusive and compelling evidence that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be – the inspired, the infallible, the inerrant, and the all-sufficient word of the living God. When this fact (of its being what it claims to be) is established, then it itself in many areas becomes my evidence. And I accept many teachings upon no grounds other than the fact that the bible so teaches. The word becomes my “shield” (Eph. 6:16). We defend the faith and the faith defends us. My faith is not a blind faith. It rest solidly upon conclusive and compelling evidence. Things, hope, faith, word, evidences” The word “ believe” share the same Greek root (pistes) and what you are mentioning as Faith (pisteos) . Example: Phil.1:5-7 “5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” I stress that faith – in the Bible sense of the word- means taking God at His word. Faith does not mean absence of evidence. In fact, faith requires evidence, and there can be no faith where there is no evidence. The very existence of the Bible presupposes the need for evidence. John said: “ …..but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing, ye may have life in his name” (Jn.20:31).
    Failure to distinguish between matters of faith and matters of opinions is one of the main causes of division. Christians “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17). The bible is the divinely inspired word of God (2Tim. 3:16-17). One must follow the Scriptures (Rev.22:4); and where the Lord has given explicit instructions, one dare not change them. He must neither add to nor subtract from the word of God (Deut. 4:2;2 Jn. 9, Rev. 22:18,19). Where God has spoken on any subject, man’s acceptance of what He has said is in the realm of faith (Rom.10:17). Yet, there are areas in which the Lord has not given instructions- areas in which He has left decisions on how to do the things He has authorized to the judgment of Christians. This judgment must be in harmony with New Testament principles ( 1 Cor. 14:40). Hence, there is divine law and human judgment (expediency).
    If the principle involved in distinguish between matters of faith and matters of human judgment were understood, many of the divisions that exist among those who claim to stand foursquare for the truths of the gospel would be healed. Most of the divisions among the followers of Christ have not been over matters of faith, but over matters of judgment….over things not in the scriptures (opinions).

    In Christ,

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