The Ward - Brooks Debate
Brooks' Second Affirmative
"The Scriptures teach that the Lord's Supper may be observed by some members of a local church in one assembly and others in a later assembly (or assemblies) of that same congregation on the same first day of the week.."
Brooks' Second Affirmative
To Mark and the Religious Debates Community:
I now present my second affirmative for this discussion.
First, I need to address an issue and make a disclaimer.
In your three affirmatives and your first negative, you have placed all of your emphasis on the two passages Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 11. The majority of your position is based on what you derive from these two passages. For the first half of the debate, that was fine. You were in the affirmative making your case. However, we are now in my half of the debate. In this half I am presenting my own position. Using scripture and reason, I am presenting you the understanding that I have.
Your concern, Mark, is that I am failing to address these two passages, as duly noted in this statement from your first negative:
Ray overlooked the facts already presented in this discussion:
Mark, in my first affirmative, I did not overlook the facts presented by you concerning these two passages. I am aware of them, but they do not have anything to do with my position. In my affirmative, I am not responsible for addressing the facts already presented. My job in this half of the debate is not to address your previous objections or even take them into account. My job is to present, according to my perspective, why I believe what I believe.
We discovered, and agreed, in the first half of the debate, that we establish authority from scripture by different means. In this half of the debate, I am presenting my position from my own hermeneutics. Your responsibility now is to show my own hermeneutics in error, or to show the logic fallacies in my position. By continuing to address Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 11, you are appealing to a different means of establishing authority. To put it bluntly, your comments in your first negative regarding these two passages are irrelevant in this half of the debate. These passages do not address my position, nor are they valid by my hermeneutic. It will not suffice to simply repeat your comments from your perspective. You are now obligated to refute my position on its own grounds. This you have not attempted to do, yet. I hope your second negative will focus more on refuting my position, and less on establishing yours.
Please be aware of the following. I want there to be no confusion. I will no longer direct any responses to those two passages. My comments will be directed toward my own position, why I believe it, and some specific points that further clarify my position. It is also important to recognize that you addressed NOTHING I said concerning my methods of authority, and you said VERY LITTLE about purpose in your negative. You are, of course, free to make them, and out of courtesy to you, I will read them. But they will not be responded to. It is time to focus on a my position and why I hold it.
Now for some to Mark's questions in Mark's negative:
5 MORE QUESTIONS FOR RAY
My answers follow below.
16. Do you agree that IF God specified a frequency for the Lord's Supper (whether once weekly, once a month, once quarterly, or once a year) that REGARDLESS of the frequency specified man could honor Christ and show the Lord's death til He come by observing the Supper in harmony with THAT PARTICULAR frequency?
17. Do you really contend that we are NOT ABLE to follow the approved, applicable WRITTEN examples in the New Testament (Since you "argue" you are to only follow the ones you see, while alive today, in the lives of your fellow brethren)?
18. Do you agree that the Bible teaches that part of the problem at Corinth was that the church was not eating together, but was eating in a fragmented, divided fashion?
19. Would you agree that the term "communion" means joint participation, fellowship, a sharing together in some activity?
20. In Numbers 9, God gave instruction for those who missed the first opportunity to observe the Passover. Some could take and some could not, given God's instruction on the matter. Please compare this to your view of those who miss the Lord's Supper on a Sunday and want to partake at a later service. What "scripture(s)" do you refer to as to who is allowed to partake and who should not?
It is this question that is most relevant to my disagreement with Mark, and I will use it as the launching pad for the remainder of my two affirmatives. This is an excellent question, well phrased, that defines the issues. I will now begin addressing this question.
Since the Passover is the basis for communion, this question is highly relevant to our discussion. God's restrictions on those who miss Passover, and the basis of those restrictions compared to the authority governing the Lord Supper, will shed much light on our discussion. First, we need to examine the restrictions for those who miss Passover.
Numbers 9 tells us that a person who was either ceremonially unclean from touching a dead body or away on a journey could still celebrate the Passover exactly one month later. They would be required to obey all of the Passover rules when they did so. It also states that anyone without these exceptions (the journey or the ceremonially uncleanness) would be cut off for not celebrating at the proper time.
These requirements and exceptions reflect the nature of the Old Covenant. Under the Law of Moses, the Jews were required to meet many specific obligations (Ex 19:5-6) as shadows of the coming Covenant (Heb 10:1) , which would free all men from the law (Rom 6:14 and Gal 5:18) and enable us to walk under grace. Under this Old Covenant, details, specific requirements for all observations were given (Lev 23). It was a Covenant based on law, and that law was a training ground (Gal 3:24) for preparing Jewish people to recognize and understand the work of Messiah when He appeared.
When Messiah came, He confirmed the fulfillment of the law on many occasions (Luke 4:21, Matt 26:56, John 18:9, Acts 3:18). He declared His own work and teachings to be the fulfillment of the law of Moses. Ultimately, His own death fulfilled the Passover Feast, and provided forgiveness of sins for all people who would receive Him.
With this transition from Old Covenant to New Covenant, there was also a transition in the NATURE of Covenant. The first Covenant was built on law, rules and regulations that were observed in order to train the understanding of Jewish people. The new Covenant, being the concrete understanding of Messiah's work and provisions, eliminated the need for rules and regulations, because training was no longer necessary. The new Covenant operates by faith, specifically, faith in the work of Messiah Himself. By faith we accept what He has done for us, and by faith we walk in relationship with Him. (Gal 3:25, Heb 10:22) Specific rules and regulations for formal worship no longer have value, because worship is in Spirit and Truth.
This is a verse that my opponent uses also, but I believe his interpretation directly contradicts the meaning and intent of the Spirit of God in this verse. Worship in spirit means that we are to be involved in supernatural worship, as opposed to worship according to a set of rules that govern conduct in worship. Jesus is setting up a contrast to the "mountain or temple" question asked by the woman. She wants to know "where it is prescribed". Jesus points out that prescription for worship is irrelevant; it is my human spirit, made alive by the indwelling Holy Spirit, that communes (fellowships) with God the Holy Spirit. Such is the power of worship in spirit. Worship in truth refers to the truth of Who God is and what Messiah Himself has done. This is evidenced by the fact that all types of worship described in the New Testament (singing, praying, words of knowledge and messages in tongues, speaking truth to each other, have to do with proclaiming truth, not preparing or training the worshiper. It has nothing to do with worship according to an established order or written requirement. It has to do with honoring the revelation of God's character and confessing the power and reality of what Jesus has done to deliver us. When we worship in Spirit and Truth, we worship supernaturally, recognizing God's work on our behalf. That is genuine worship. We abandon the foolish legalisms of men's ideas in order to embrace the spirit-to-spirit relationship God offers in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself provides the disclaimer that proves my point. He said a time is coming when neither the Temple nor the Mountain would be the place of worship. With this comment, Jesus declares worship to be about a relationship. By making it a relationship, the rules and regulations concept becomes irrelevant. Worship by approved or authorized methods is irrelevant in relationship, as Jesus indicates by denying that where we worship means anything. In addition to this, the point of worshiping our Lord and Savior by taking communion is to honor His work on our behalf. The timing and location of this is irrelevant to our Lord, as Jesus Himself made no attempt of any kind to address this issue. He knew that believers gathering for the purpose of honoring His sacrifice were sufficient grounds for eating the bread and drinking the cup.
Since we under grace, not law, there are no regulations concerning time and frequency. Since we walk by faith, and operate under a Covenant of faith, any attempt such as Mark is making, to codify the situation, puts our fellowship with God at risk. Oddly enough, Mark believes that my rejection of the time restrictions displeases God. My position is that Mark's insistence on a time restriction displeases God. However, the difference between us is that while Mark would say (I think) that my rejection of the time restrictions puts my salvation at risk, I would not say that about Mark. There are thousands of saved men and women who live completely misguided lives as to what God really wants from us. Lots of people go to heaven, never knowing that they could have had a quality of relationship with God while here on Earth that would have been much greater. I believe Mark is in that position. He sacrifices true relationship with God for the sake of trying to please God. It is, in my view, a sad exchange.
Mark, God is not primarily pleased by obedience, He is pleased by faith. Faith by itself DOES please God, and often results in God doing things in our lives that our mere personal obedience would actually prevent Him from doing. I hope my arguments and points in this second affirmative will receive your undivided attention, and that you will forsake Acts 10:7 and I Cor 11 in order to provide a relevant and useful rebuttal to my position and hermeneutic that I can respond to in due time.
This concludes my thoughts for this affirmative. My position stands proven based on the nature of the transition from Old to New Covenant since we are under grace and not law, and we operate by faith, the timing of communion is irrelevant to God and to our purpose in taking it. The timing was relevant to the Jews on Passover because they were doing something as training. The timing was part of the process. In communion it was not, as we observed. Jesus never mentioned the frequency. If it was important, He would have said something. The purpose of communion, like all worship, is to acknowledge God's work through Messiah. The timing of such an act is irrelevant.
I await Mark's second rebuttal with great interest.
- Ray Brooks
[-end of second affirmative by Brooks]
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