The Ward - Brooks Debate
Brooks' Second Negative
"The Scriptures authorize a given local church to come together to break bread, tarry, and eat together the Lord's Supper in only one assembly on the same first day of the week.."
Brooks' Second Negative
To Mark and the Religious Debates Community:
Mark had many questions and presented many ideas which I will respond to first. Then I will present some thoughts as a rebuttal to his teaching.
One never knows how a person will respond to one's own ideas. Therefore, I give Mark the highest commendation for his spirit of good will. I feel well received in all that I have said, and pray that our gracious discussion will continue. Unlike Mark, this issue is not of grave importance to me, which I'm sure Mark has noticed. In fact, I should add that this issue in no way has a bearing on salvation, in my view of scripture. One can be in "disobedience" to some fine point and still be saved. However, I am still glad to contend for my position of freedom in the area of frequency for communion.
I also want to state in advance that Mark has clarified the scope of his proposition. He is referring to the frequency of taking communion on the same day, with reference to those who might miss the morning service and want communion in the evening service. With this in mind, I present my second rebuttal to Mark's position.
First: The questions and comments Mark made to my first rebuttal:
Mark: Will Ray contend that we can act OUTSIDE the boundaries of the perfect law of liberty and be RIGHT with God?
Ray: Because of the differences in our approach to scripture, Mark, this question is ambiguous. I assume you mean outside what you consider to be authorized practices based on the the New Testament. In the interest of time, I will say no, we can not act outside the boundaries of the perfect law of liberty and be right with God, though I might define those terms differently.
Mark asked: Ray, do you believe that God has revealed in His written word all that we need to know to please Him? Or, do you believe in modern day revelation in the sense that God is continually adding to His Word?
Since I do not believe that the primary goal of learning scripture is to please God, but rather to know God intimately, it is a question too limited in scope to give an accurate answer. Here is my attempt:
No, I do not believe that God has revealed in His written word all that we need to know to please Him. No, I do not believe in modern day revelation in the sense that God is continually adding to His Word.
What I DO believe (and what your two questions overlook as a possibility) is that God speaks supernaturally to men today, giving them specific direction for life and leading in what God wants them to do in their own personal circumstances. And these revelations are NOT additions to scripture.
Mark: What must one do, according to the position of Ray, to violate the doctrine of Christ on the Lord's Supper today?
Ray: This is your affirmative, and my job is to give a rebuttal to the single, agreed on proposition of frequency in the same day for communion. This question is irrelevant to that discussion, but in a spirit of good will, I will answer it:
It would be next to impossible, in my view, to violate it by a mere act of some kind, in our cultural context, the way we do church. I can think of only a few examples that would violate the Word of God in taking communion.
The focus of communion, in my view, is the individual meditation on the work of Christ in His death. Any activity in the assembly that would distract from that meditation would violate it. A failure to discern the body and blood of Christ would violate it. But nothing at all to do with the number of people, the frequency of observing, or the separate/fragmented assembly, would even apply.
Mark: If there is NO AUTHORITY to eat separately in the SAME ASSEMBLY, where would the authority be to eat separately in DIFFERENT ASSEMBLIES?
Ray: Mark, as I stated in my first rebuttal, to me this is a cultural and not a doctrinal issue. The different assembly is outside the scope of the passage. To you this means it is unscriptural. To me this means it is not addressed at all, and therefore we have liberty. You are assuming what you are trying to prove. I have not agreed that such is an error. I also don't believe we need authority to eat in different assemblies. This question assumes we agree on the means of authorizing, which we do not.
Mark: Authorization for New Testament activity, however, will be found in the doctrine of Christ and not in the Law of Moses, the Pentateuch, the Psalms, or the Prophets of the Old Covenant.
Ray: I realize that is your position, but it is not mine. We do not agree on the role of the Old Testament in the life of the Christian.
Mark: Ray, can't you see that there is ~authority inherent in the approved example~ in Acts 20:7?
Ray: No, Mark, and I hope you understand that the purpose of this debate is to prove this very statement ~authority inherent in the approved example~ valid. If I could accept your reasoning on this point, there would be no debate in the first place.
Mark: If one went to a foreign country, for example, and did NOT read the rule books of driving, but followed the approved example of others (i.e. driving on the left side of the road in England, let's say) would not that approved example be such that it is "authoritative", "binding", and "exclusive"?
Ray: Well, first, I don't believe that the New Testament authorizes practices as a RULE BOOK in the first place. Remember, our debate concerns methods of interpretation, specifically authorization. You continue to assume your position is true when you ask me questions.
Second, no, that would not be approved example. I would never, under any circumstances, consider what I was seeing as necessarily the right way to drive in another country. As a whole, it probably would be, but the validation is still the rule book, not the examples. I also doubt the British Constabulary would let me use the excuse "well, everyone else was driving that way" if I got stopped.
(Actually Mark, this example contains a fatal flaw for your argument, which I will be addressing later in dealing with the passages you presented.)
Mark: Maybe we need more study on how to establish Bible authority, or authority in general...especially in the areas of implicit authority???
Ray: Mark, this begs the question again. You say maybe "we" need more study. That only means that you think your job is to correct me where we differ. I agree that we differ, but I don't agree that a bible study with you on the nature of authority is the answer.
Mark: YES, it is a "covenant", but a law with regulations.
Ray: The new testament is not a law with regulations. It is a covenant engaged and followed by faith in God's power and His accomplishments in His Son on the cross.
Mark: Don't let Ray's appeal to "law keeping" and references to the OLD LAW diminish your understanding that in the NEW LAW, the law of Christ, there are regulations (albeit much better than the old law) that must be followed.
Ray: And I submit to the reader: Don't let Mark's appeal to the limitations of Specific Authority, Authority by Example, and the idea that the law of Christ contains "better" regulations lead you astray from Faith in the Completed work of Christ, by which we stand in His grace, not according to our works. We are approved because of what Christ has done, not because we follow a set of rules.
Mark: To EXCLUDE examples from authority is to take needful instruction OUT OF God's Word and leave us lacking.
Ray: How does it leave us lacking? This begs the question. Apparently you want a boundary where God does not give one. You, in my humble opinion, are forcing the examples given in scripture to be a source of authority that God never intended. Safety, Mark, is found in the arms of Christ, through faith in His work, not in following a prescribed method.
Mark: God saw fit for us to have the examples. They are for our benefit.
Ray: I agree with both statements, but that does not prove that they have authority, or are binding or limiting in any way. Proving the benefit that you believe it holds is the point of this debate.
Mark: Authority inheres in approved examples.
Ray: That is presumption. It begs the question. You keep saying inheres. You constantly beg the question. We need proof Mark. INHERENT is an assertion, appealing to natural law and pure logic. That doesn't work at all. It also violates the principle by which the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant. Our relationship with God is by faith, not law.
Mark: Just as much so as authority inheres in direct statements.
Ray: That is presumption, we need proof. You have provided no evidence whatsoever in any of your examples, scriptures, teachings, explanations, or affirming comments, that examples are authoritative. You have assumed it in every case.
Mark: One does NOT authorize a particular new testament activity with old testament law.
Ray: And your evidence for this? I use the Old Testament all the time for my activities in worship. You have to provide evidence that such is not allowed. Of course, even if you did, it has no bearing on communion frequency.
Mark: The careful student of "authority" already knows that "3A. SOME examples are binding" and "3B. SOME examples are exclusive/specific and thus are LIMITING".
Ray: Well, I reject both 3A and 3B. Does this mean I am NOT a careful student of authority"? Depends, of course, on what Mark thinks a careful student actually is. But I guess I'm not one, by his definition. That still doesn't prove 3A and 3B correct.
Mark: The following passages of Scripture are given to prove that God expects us to recognize the authority of EXAMPLES.
Ray: Great, some effort is now made to defend the authority of examples. I read these with great interest.
Mark: Hebrews 13:7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." Here is a command to follow the example of those doing right! Does God teach through approved example? Certainly? Do we KNOW that when folks engaged in worship in an approved example, that God's authority inheres in that action since it is approved by God? Of course.
I Corinthians 11:1, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." Another command to follow examples! Could it be that the new testament (the doctrine of Christ, the gospel, the faith, the law of Christ) does not simply authorize by command only? Could it be that when we read of approved (and disapproved) action in the new covenant, we KNOW wherein the authority of God permits and forbids?
Phillipians 3:17, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." More of the same inspired mandate to pay attention to approved (and disapproved) accounts of action and follow the approved ones as they are authorized by God! YES, examples are authoritative and can be limiting and binding.
Phillipians 4:9, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Not only were they to follow inspired oral teaching and written instruction, but the approved examples (what could be SEEN as opposed to merely TOLD) were ALSO to be followed.
Ray: I now answer these passages, and remind Mark and the reader that these comments also answer the DRIVING IN EUROPE example/analogy that Mark gave me.
Thank you for these scriptures and your explanation. As far as I am concerned, the debate is ended, and you have successfully disproved your entire position, as I am about to explain. Thank you especially for that last sentence. It killed your entire argument with one stroke.
Please note: your entire argument hangs on the nature of scriptural authority, specifically your position that examples are authoritative. But I must insist, and I do insist, that your argument rests on the fact that these examples are WRITTEN in scripture. You believe we MUST follow REVEALED examples in the TEXT of SCRIPTURE. Your position demands it.
IF you agree to this, here is my argument. Your four scripture passages appeal to the believer to follow the example of someone they are personally watching. All four references tell the believer to imitate the believers they are in fellowship with. Even Paul says "imitate me". He was in fellowship with these people.
My point, Mark, is that these scriptures admonish me to follow the examples of men in my church, not the men recorded in scripture itself. I am not in fellowship with Paul, watching his moves. Therefore, the example that scripture appeals to are my own elders, pastors, ministers, older brothers in the Lord that I should emulate. This is obvious to me, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. But it excludes the written record of examples. I can not watch the men that are recorded. I must watch the men I know personally to follow this teaching of scripture.
Also, your last sentence killed your argument. You said "SEEN and not TOLD". Well, my brother in Christ, Mark, SEEN is the Pastor and brother in my local church. TOLD is the bible and any other record I might read about a faithful brother.
I am happy to continue our discussion, but unless you change your application of EXAMPLE from these passages, and unless you find better passages, your argument is lost. COMPLETELY.
Mark: Other scriptures might be given, but these should suffice (shouldn't ONE scripture really suffice?)
Ray: A primary rule in interpretation regarding the number of scriptures needed to defend a point, is that one scripture NEVER suffices. The testimony of two or three witnesses is needed. And that applies to scripture also. We need at least 3 scriptures to discuss the issue. One verse is a proof text hardly worthy of the time of day.
Mark: IF in our study of a matter, we see that God has been specific, then we have no authority to proceed in a different manner! This is at the root of this discussion.
Ray: I agree that it is the root of our discussion. But we do not agree that where God has been specific, that we have no authority to proceed in a different manner.
Mark: If you can't eat separately in the same assembly, where in God's Word would you find authority to eat separately in DIFFERENT assemblies on the same day?
Ray: Simply put, Mark, the scope of I Cor 11 does not cover this possibility. A different assembly is not covered there. And unlike you, I don't believe in the limiting factor. To argue the limitation you would simply be begging the question.
Mark: Ray admits defeat when he notes that two assemblies are NOT the subject of I Cor. 11. THE assembly (sole, single) for the purpose of breaking bread (I Cor. 11:33) is under consideration.
Ray: No, I'm not admitting defeat, I'm stating that the scope of the passage does not include this possibility. Your job is to prove the limiting factor.
Mark: I challenge Ray to find authority for multiple assemblies "for the purpose of breaking bread" on the same first day by the same church.
Ray: I don't believe authority is needed. We are free in Christ to decide this for ourselves. Prove, Mark, that the scriptures are LIMITING. You assert this constantly, but you don't prove it once.
Mark: These are but two examples, wherein present day situations could occur with a church that has only one assembly on Sunday! Ray is simply wrong in his assertion on this matter.
Ray: I have a very good answer to this, but I'm going to be polite and not cause a stir. Suffice it to say, your examples do apply to our discussion, but I don't believe if I attended every Restoration Movement church in the USA for the next 50 years I would observe either example occur one time. Enough said.
Mark: Ray doesn't believe that "weekly communion" is mandated, therefore he thinks this particular discussion is of critical importance to but a few "churches". In reality, since the Lord actually does require us to observe the Lord's Supper every week, it has a far greater application!
Ray: Well, maybe so, but the WEEKLY frequency of communion is NOT the subject of this debate. The frequency on ONE SUNDAY is the subject.
Mark: To my Question #1 Ray agreed that my "practice" is a scriptural one. He just believes it is not the ONLY WAY to scripturally observe the Lord's Supper. I can show a pattern from the law of Christ, but Ray asserts that you don't have to follow it. Thus, our discussion continues.
Ray: Indeed, you don't have to follow it, and the discussion does continue.
Mark: To my Question #2 Ray asserted that we are NOT to ADD TO the elements of the Supper, but we MAY BE able to SUBSTITUTE for such! No Scripture was given (there is none to support such a theory). This goes to the matter of establishing and applying Bible authority concerning scriptural observance of the Lord's Supper.
Ray: The elements are not the subject of this debate.
Mark: I wonder if Ray would AGREE that we could use 2 John 9 as a supporting scripture to his answer "It is not scriptural to add to the elements." I AGREE WITH RAY that you can't ADD TO the elements because God has authorized unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine with SPECIFIC AUTHORITY in His Word! (See Matthew 26:2,18,19-29). We KNOW that Jesus did NOT use leavened bread, but unleavened! Why? Because Jesus did NO SIN and He instituted the Lord's Supper during the time of Passover when leaven was NOT ALLOWED. But this SAME SPECIFIC AUTHORITY that LIMITS us to not ADDING TO the elements would also, of necessity, prohibit us from SUBSTITUTING FOR those same elements. I wonder where Ray gets "authority" from God to potentially substitute for the elements (I Thess 5:21)? Ray, will you now admit that we are not authorized to substitute for the elements?
Ray: The elements are not the subject of this debate.
Mark: I disagree. Ray contends above that "Scripture does not tell us WHEN to take it." But, God DOES TELL US WHEN to take it (See I Cor. 11:24,25; Acts 20:7). Inherent in the approved example in Acts 20:7 (first day of the week) is the authority to take it then! Either that authority is specific/limiting or it is generic/open to options. God has not left us lacking, when we look at the EXAMPLE of APPROVED action on this subject. NO OTHER DAY than the first day of the week is found in all of God's Word with regards to scriptural observance by the church than "the first day of the week" (Acts 20:7). We properly conclude that such is specific.
Mark: Once again, as you have so many, many times, you appeal to the authority inherent in approved example. You have yet to prove that such authority is inherent. You have yet to prove it is binding. You have yet to prove it is limiting.
Mark: Ray cites a passage (which we appreciate) and asserts that it teaches that weekly is not the only scriptural frequency for eating the Lord's Supper. I Cor. 11:25 reads, "After thesame manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." This passage does NOT tell us WHEN, or HOW OFTEN to eat the Lord's Supper. That is found elsewhere in Scripture. The passage does NOT say, "...this do ye, as oft as ye like.." Let us be careful with God's revelation.
Ray: For the record, I believe it DOES imply "do as oft as ye CHOOSE".
Mark: While it is TRUE that some churches met in the houses of Christians, it is NOT TRUE that Acts 2:46 is talking about the Lord's Supper. Acts 2:42 is talking about the Lord's Supper! Ray, please straighten this out in your next. Thanks.
Ray: Ok, I'll straighten it out. I believe it IS talking about the Lord's Supper. But, Mark, remember, even if it isn't, my hermeneutic is different from yours. If they met daily, they have the freedom to take communion daily. That is the point. You may disagree, but you have not disproved me.
Mark: Since God DID LIMIT eating the Lord's Supper to "the first day of the week", so we must.
Ray: Mark, God didn't limit it, that's inferred by you. You keep asserting your means of authority, but not showing it to be valid.
Mark: Ray mentioned being under a covenant of grace. Such does NOT exclude regulations.
Ray: If it has regulations, then it's not grace.
Mark: I am not aware of any covenant that is without stipulations
Ray: The new covenant is a covenant without stipulations.
Mark: Even if such could be the case, the new covenant is full of stipulations!
Ray: I guess that depends on what you call a stipulation. I see none.
Mark: Ray argues (and may believe) that unless God commands something explicitly or prohibits something explicitly in His Word, we are "free". Is that your current position Ray?
Ray: Yes, it is an excellent summary of my position.
Mark: Such is not a proper treatment of either God's Word or the application of authority.
Ray: Mark, that's an assertion. You need evidence. Got any?
(It also shows a major confusion, possibly even a rejection, of the nature of the new covenant relationship we have with Christ, on your part. Don't worry Mark, I'm not attacking you. I find this confusion inherent in the teaching, practices, and mindset of many people today. You are still my brother and acquaintance in Christ. But the matter of new covenant relationship requires a proper understanding of the relationship of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant. It is my position that many believers are weak in this area, including you.)
That is not a challenge to your salvation, acceptance by God, or anything else. I still appreciate you. We just disagree on what a proper treatment of Gods' word and application of authority is.
Mark: We must take revelation (God's Word) and proper reasoning (including the implicit authority from God's explicit teaching) in order to know God's complete will.
Ray: Mark, once again, you have to give evidence that the proper reasoning includes implicit authority as you have been applying it.
Mark: We have spent much time (and are prepared to spend much more) on the matter of specific authority. One does not have to "guess", but can KNOW that specific authority LIMITS. When God said "gopher wood" in Genesis 6 to Noah, this specific instruction ruled IN gopher wood...thus excluding/prohibiting other types of wood. When God said to Naaman in 2 Kings 5 to dip seven times in the River Jordan, that specific instruction authorized ONLY Jordan, ONLY 7 times, and ONLY dipping (but the word "only" is not in the text!). Substitutions, additions, or subtractions are simply not allowed in areas of specific authority. Since we can learn from examples (they are authoritative) and they can be examples of following specific authority...they can LIMIT us. We cannot go beyond what is written.
Ray: Using old testament examples to make a new testament point concerning obedience to regulations will always kill your argument. You say you are prepared to spend much more time on specific authority. Good, you will need to do that. You have asserted and used your position, but you have made precious little attempt to defend the validity of approved example, much less that it is limiting, binding, or authoritative at all. The one time you did attempt to prove the validity of examples was a failure. I used your own passages to show that your understanding of approved example is in error and that your entire position is at stake if you maintain those passages as your evidence.
Mark: Ray, do you now admit that the passage applies today INCLUDING the COMMAND "tarry one for another"?
Ray: Not including the command to tarry, not hardly.
Mark: If not...please explain the passage (how it applies, but not the tarrying... isn't "waiting" what is being commanded in the passage?) Thanks.
Ray: I cannot answer you and plainer and more directly than I did in the first rebuttal. Therefore, here is my paragraph again. If this does not help you understand my position on the "tarrying", there is little more than I can do.
Yes, it applies to us today, except that tarrying is not necessary, as all assemblies today begin at a set time, so that there is no need to wait on anyone for the elements to be served. Everyone who is going to come is present at the time communion is taken. Those who don't come to that assembly aren't going to take the communion.
Mark: I gave a scriptural reference (which Ray decided not to copy and paste when he quoted me above) in my answer when I wrote, "Eating together can be done 'by faith' (Rom. 10:17; I Cor.
Ray: Your reference was not copied because the argument you gave was subjective, and the verse did nothing for your position. I did not quote it because my point was to show that your argument was nothing more than an unscriptural personal bias based on your own opinion of what can be done "by faith". It had no substance. You simply asserted what you believe about what CAN'T be done by faith. The scriptures had nothing to do with that point. Mark, if you intended those scriptures to support that negative, then I will say right now, that's bad reasoning at best.
Mark: Where is Ray's passage to support engaging in multiple, fragmented observances "by faith"?
Ray: Once again, "As often as you eat". It's all a matter of principles of interpretation.
Mark: You can't throw out God's requirement to "tarry one for another" by having another assembly! The Corinthians were told to tarry because they were not eating together! See the point?
Ray: Yes I can throw it out, because if it is a real requirement, then it is being met. Our set time each Sunday eliminates the tarrying. We are together already. Nice try.
Mark: Ray really believes folks could eat it as individuals and don't even need an assembly to eat!
Ray: (Technically, I should get on to you for saying this. I never claimed this, never stated ANYTHING about the individual or not needing an assembly. I never even addressed this issue at all. I don't know where you got this from, but it is nowhere to be found in the text of my first rebuttal.)
However, since you brought it up, I actually do believe both of these things. And I have OFTEN taken communion on my own, with no one else around, in my private worship.
Mark: Ray, is it your position that IF the saints eat in an assembly, they have to eat together, but they don't really have to eat in an assembly?
Ray: This question is meaningless, as it contains an inherent self-contradiction. Ask a philosopher.
Mark: Ray is incorrect in his view stated above in that there were fragmented observances at Corinth and churches who are not eating together today are having separate/fragmented observances (whether in the same or in different assemblies)! All the specifics are not the same, but the issues DO exist today!
Ray: The fragmented nature of the Corinthian church has no relevance to the way church is conducted today. The issues do not exist in any form at all.
Mark: I fear that Ray has not been exposed to this issue enough. I know of one congregation that served the elements of the Lord's Supper three times in the same assembly! (And all those folks were present IN the assembly the first and second times the elements of the Supper were served!) #3 above by Ray simply is NOT true! Ray, since I proved that your #3 above simply is not true, will you now agree that I Cor. 11 is applicable to our discussion?
Ray: I will not agree that I Cor 11 is even relevant to this example. There is more information needed. Here are the questions I would ask:
Why is communion served 3 times in the same service? Who is receiving the elements each time. Where is the need for waiting if the audience contains the same members in all three communion servings?
This example is strange. I've never seen it before, I admit. But I Cor would not apply unless the group were getting drunk or people were coming and going during the service. Good try, but it doesn't work.
Mark: There is no authority for a "make up service" in the law of Christ.
Ray: That depends on how you view authority, remember? You have to prove that eventually, Mark.
Mark: This second assembly is authorized for singing, preaching and prayer, but we are questioning the provisions being made for the absent: ~maybe there will be a serving and maybe there won't~ in this assembly. There is no authority for such in the law of Christ.
Ray: That depends on how you view authority, remember? You have to prove that eventually, Mark.
(that was cut and paste on purpose)
Mark: I knew when we started this discussion that it would center on a proper application and understanding of specific authority. This is at the crux of this study. Ray states above that he does not agree that "specific authority" is "...binding or exclusive, ESPECIALLY (emphasis mine, mjw) regarding examples in scripture.
Ray: Yes, I sort of guessed it would too.
Mark: God said give as we have been prospered on the first day of every week in I Cor. 16:1,2 (check the Greek construction to note the "every") and Ray's position (if he is consistent) will allow contributions on other days of the week! Is that right, Ray?
Ray: Contributions can be made 24/7 for any amount for any reason to the local treasury. You bet.
Mark: Until you see the LIMITING nature of specific authority, we will stand miles apart on this.
Ray: Yes, we will stand miles apart on this. And I'm ok if we do. I'm also ok calling you brother if we do. I'm also ok with my own salvation if we do.
And until you prove the limiting nature of specific authority, instead of just asserting it every time you refer to it, we will continue to stand miles apart on this.
Mark: I cannot understand what rule of Bible interpretation you use as to decide WHEN you WILL have something be specific and limiting...and when you won't?
Ray: This is your affirmative, and it is your job to defend your method of interpretation in your half of the debate. I will have to wait for my affirmative to answer your question.
Mark: If you won't do it with a specific command ( like on giving) how can we agree as God would require per I Cor. 1:10?
Ray: Glad you asked that question. I regard the agreement of I Cor 1:10 as a reference to the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is on the basis of His work and His alone that I regard us as brothers, if we are united in our views of Him. The current debate topic is irrelevant in every way to our unity as brothers.
Mark: All examples let us know if God approves of the action or doesn't. Such is authoritative. Such may be limiting. We have shown this above.
Ray: No, you have not shown it, you have assumed it was limiting and authoritative. You have assumed it throughout both affirmatives. You have a strong underlying belief that examples are authoritative. That is a tautology for you, a self-evident principle of interpretation.
For the record, Mark, if it is a tautology for you, then logically you can't defend it, for you would have no defense, and you would not believe you need one.
But sorry, you do have to defend it, that's what this debate is about. If it is truly a tautology for you, we are at an impasse, but I don't want to stop the debate for that reason.
Mark: I am happy to have provided for numbers 1-6 above in this affirmative article. I am in the lead, but having proven my proposition in my first affirmative (but not convincing Ray yet) it serves a great purpose to deal with the problem areas of understanding and key areas of difference. We have shown (again) that specific authority applies to aspects of the Lord's Supper under consideration in this discussion. We have explained that the "doctrine of Christ" is synonymous with the new covenant, the faith, the gospel of Christ, the New Testament, the law of Christ. If we travel beyond the authorized limits, we sin today (whether in word or deed). I have also shown that while not all examples are limiting, or are examples of specific authority, some are. Specific authority, by its nature, is limiting and exclusive. This is axiomatic (self- evident); although not to everyone. The requirement of eating together in the assembly for the purpose of breaking bread answers numbers 5 & 6 above.
Ray: Yes, you have answered the definition issues. No, you haven't shown that examples are anything but examples. You have asserted, but not proven.
Mark: "This is axiomatic (self-evident); although not to everyone".
Ray: There is nothing self-evident about using examples as authority.
Thanks for covering my six issues. We are not in agreement on much, but you did make an attempt. I appreciate that.
Mark says: 5 MORE QUESTIONS FOR RAY
Ray says: I think your questions accomplish more than anything else we're doing.
6. Do you agree that folks today must have God's authorization from His revealed Word to properly act in a matter of worship unto Him? Why, or why not?
Ray: It depends on what you mean by properly act, but I would say yes. However, please remember, Mark, that I would include the 39 books of the Old Testament in that authority for the Christian, which you would not. In addition, my concept of scriptural authority contains a more liberty based hermeneutic of far greater scope than yours does.
7. Since EXAMPLES are part of God's intended revelation to mankind, would you agree that inherent in all APPROVED EXAMPLES is the AUTHORITY to act and inherent in DISAPPROVED EXAMPLES is the prohibition to act that way (all else being equal)?
Ray: No, I would not agree with that. First, APPROVED EXAMPLE needs to be defended. Why do you believe God considers the examples to be APPROVED? Examples, in my view, are historical accounts of the actions of people, nothing more. In general I would say that examples, at best, tell us what happened, so that we know how they conducted themselves. But to assume, and it is, my friend, nothing more than assumption, that their actions were meant to be authoritative, needs far more defense than anything you have yet provided.
8. When the Lord commanded "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8), He did not explicitly state "...EVERY Sabbath day." By what principle of authority or hermenutic do you ~KNOW~ God meant EVERY Sabbath day? (This obviously goes to frequency and deals with implicit authority from explicit statements in God's Word).
Ray: The word Sabbath, or Shabbat, is based on the Hebrew word for the number 7. God meant EVERY Sabbath because the word itself means 7th day.
You are using a principle from the Law of Moses in proving your point. By your own exegesis, this example is irrelevant to your position. By my exegesis, it is irrelevant because the New Covenant operates under the principle of FAITH, not LAW. I would regard this example as having no bearing on the matter at hand.
9. Do you now agree (having read my second affirmative and clarifications) that SOME EXAMPLES are "authoritative", "binding", "limiting"? Why or why not?
Ray: Having read your second affirmative and clarifications, as you are applying the words "authoritative", "binding", and "limiting", my answers are:
Examples MIGHT BE authoritative in some instances, but only in the sense of PERMISSION, NEVER in the sense of REQUIREMENT. Examples are never binding or limiting.
10. Do you now acknowledge that "tarrying" is inherent in "eating together" (i.e. that you cannot eat the Lord's Supper together without waiting for one another until the appointed/set time to eat in that particular assembly)?
(This should be axiomatic).
Ray: In our current assemblies, I still maintain, in spite of your examples, experiences, and hypotheticals, that the situation does not occur under ANY circumstances in the present day. Even your experience in that one instance of 2 or 3 servings of communion in the same assembly needs far more clarification before I Cor 11 would even be relevant to the discussion at hand.
Now for some points of my own in rebuttal:
One thing you need to know about my approach to scripture: I interpret everything in the word of God in light of a personal relationship with God. The position you are defending regards what I would call a "box checking mentality". By box checking, I mean that you believe we must do everything according to a prescribed method, and when we have completed the activities according to the prescribed or "authorized" method, then we can be confident that God is pleased and we are walking in truth and light.
I disagree with this approach to Christianity, and I do not interpret the scriptures, Old or New, in terms of box checking. In the box checking mentality, the only goal in Christian living is to please God. In a personal relationship, the goal is to know God intimately, in fellowship. The box checking mentality short circuits that process by allowing a preoccupation with rules and regulations to become the reason for living.
Mark, I am confident in my position, but I would like to understand how you draw your conclusions. If I wasn't confident that my position is true, I would never have agreed to debate you, but I do want to understand where you come from. Explain how you come to the conclusion that SPECIFIC AUTHORITY from examples is valid, and how you conclude that such authority excludes all other options. I genuinely want to understand your position.
At this point, you have provided answers to most of my questions and issues. In order to make your case, you will need to defend in detail the validity of Specific Authority, and the Authority of example. You say that such authority is inherent. My friend, inherent or not, I don't agree with that position, and you will have to provide an explanation as to how you derive the INHERENT nature of authority from examples and specific authority.
I await your third affirmative with great interest.
- Ray Brooks
[-end of second negative by Brooks]
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