The Ward - Brooks Debate
Ward's Second Negative
"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.."
Ward's Second Negative
Greetings to Ray Brooks and the readers of this good Bible study!
We continue our good Bible discussion of whether or not "the Scriptures teach" that members of a local church must eat together in the same single assembly OR whether they are allowed to eat separately: some eating in one assembly and others eating in other assemblies on that same day. The reader will notice that Ray did not prove his proposition from Scripture in either his first or second affirmative.
Ray wrote as if I did not negate his contentions that he put forth in support of his position. Ray has not used "Scripture" to prove his proposition; he has merely asserted that since we are under the new covenant we are to be sincere (our "purpose" needs to be good and directed toward showing forth Christ's death) and God will be pleased with our worship. Ray also errs in teaching that God has not regulated the frequency of the Lord's Supper and that eating separately is ok. This is in contradiction to God's teaching in Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 11 on the subject of eating together being acceptable and required. The scriptures teach that separate eatings are unacceptable!
While there are many side-issues over which Ray and I disagree (some extremely important spiritually), I have decided to stay with those areas of disagreement that I believe pertain directly to our disagreement on the proposition at hand. Ray, if you believe I have overlooked anything, please bring it up so I can deal with it.
What do "the SCRIPTURES" teach? Has Ray proven that "the SCRIPTURES teach" that some saints in a local church can eat in one assembly and others in another assembly with God's approval? Certainly not.
I again want to commend Ray for answering the questions I asked of him so honestly. It should be evident from his answers, however, comparing them to my answers and the scriptures I have put forth, that Ray lacks scripture that upholds his position. We will continue to expose the weaknesses in his argumentation on this good Bible subject.
RAY's SECOND AFFIRMATIVE POINTS REFUTED
Ray advanced the following in his second affirmative, which we will take up at this time:
1. Ray urges me to not bring up Acts 20:7 and I Cor. 11 anymore
2. Ray answered my questions 16-20 (which we will show wherein he errs)
3. Ray pleads with me to show wherein his hermeneutic is wrong
4. Ray asserts that being under the new covenant, we are not regulated regarding worship activities, especially concerning eating the Lord's Supper together.
1. ACTS 20:7 & I CORINTHIANS 11
Ray's position is erroneous, much due to God's teaching in Acts 20:7 and I Cor. 11. If I were Ray, I would be bothered by my bringing those passages up, as well! God teaches that separate, fragmented observances of the Supper are wrong; Ray continues to support that practice. Ray notwithstanding, I will continue to bring up these passages that GOD INTENDED for us to deal with on this good Bible topic. To leave them off, would be to overlook applicable, Biblical instruction from God to man as to how we are to properly observe the Lord's Supper! Ray leaves them off and supports a practice that God's Word does not uphold.
- The approved example in Acts 20:7 in which the scriptural eating was together in the same, single assembly (not fragmented)
- The disapproved example in I Corinthians 11:17-34 complete with remedies and instruction for scriptural observance (the Corinthians were not eating together and were taught to do so)
- Every time disciples ate separately in the New Testament they were wrong; scriptural observances were together (same, single assembly).
2. Ray's Answers to My Questions 16-20
My Question #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?
Ray's response: Yes.
Mark replies: Ray's answer is correct and such a FACT proves that purpose is NOT directly tied to frequency in the sense that Ray has contended earlier. Ray contended earlier that "purpose" had to do solely with the matter of our intent in observing the Supper: show forth and honor the Lord's death. In my first negative I pointed out what the Scriptures teach about purpose. Purpose is essential, as is the frequency God reveals in His Word. Ray argued earlier as though one had to understand the "purpose" of the Supper in order to be able to properly understand "frequency". Such is wrong and Ray's answer above actually proves such to be the case.
One could have the right "intent" and observe the Supper on the wrong day, in the wrong assembly, with the wrong elements or various other ways and would be wrong: proper intent is essential, but not enough!
My Question #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)?
Ray answered: Yes.
Ray is honest, but amazes me with this response. Ray is as wrong as he can be about this. Acts 20:7 is an approved example that we can READ OF in scriptures. The disciples at Troas came together for the purpose of eating the Lord's Supper in this example. We DID NOT "see it in person". Yet WE CAN follow it! The disciples CAN come together (in the church today) to break bread on the first day of the week. Ray denies as much (in his teaching) when he answered the question the way that he did! Error does not have to be consistent, and we can see the error in Ray's argumentation and hermeneutic in this regard. Since we CAN follow examples we read and Ray teaches that we CANNOT, we prove Ray wrong on this matter. Ray, will you change in your last affirmative and hold to the truth on this matter? We pray you will.
Paul's APPROVED EXAMPLE in Acts 20:7 that we are supposed to follow (according to the passages we previously cited that proved that God commands us to follow approved examples) must not be overlooked. Paul waited in Troas to meet with the saints and the church came together "to bread bread". They ate together. This is an approved example of following Jesus' command "This do in remembrance of me". At Corinth, the church was WRONG in eating separately. Ray contends we can eat separately, but has no scripture to prove such.
My Question #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?
Ray answered: No.
I Corinthians 11: 20,21, "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating everyone taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken."
The BIBLE plainly teaches that it WAS part of the problem at Corinth for them to "take before other" and such made it impossible for them to observe the ~Lord's~ Supper. Thus, Ray errs again. The remedy for this part of their problem, which Ray avoids, demands eating together, having communion as God intends, in the same, single assembly after tarrying one for another (I Cor. 11:33).
My Question #19. Would you agree that the term "communion" means joint participation, fellowship, a sharing together in some activity?
Ray answered: Yes.
But Ray's proposition is that "the Scriptures teach" that saints can eat separately: not together, not in joint participation, not having communion, not sharing in the activity. God wants it together; Ray says separately is ok and has no scripture to support his incorrect view and proposition.
My Question #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?
Ray's response was lengthy and we encourage the reader to refer back to his second affirmative and re-read his reply. Ray basically states that God told them the rules for the Passover and they had to follow it for such was "training" and involved a "process". Ray asserts, without proof, that since we are now under the new law, that we are not regulated in worship, but are to simply praise God for the work of the Messiah!
The truth of the matter is that the new testament contains rules and they are to be followed today! Worship is not without regulatory guidance/instruction from God in the new testament (John 4:24; Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:17-34; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16,17; I Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 9:7; I Tim. 3:15; I Cor. 14)!
Numbers 9 is a great passage to study on this issue. Notice that without revelation from God they could not act. In the new testament, we only find authority to eat together and separate eating is rebuked! That should teach us all that God wants saints to eat together in the same assembly (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:33). Its just not that hard to understand.
3. Ray's "hermeneutic"
Ray wants me to deal with his hermeneutic and point out wherein he errs. I want to be loving, but as direct as possible in exposing Ray's mistakes. Please take the following in that light.
Generally speaking, Ray's hermeneutic is wrong because it does not properly consider all the ways in which authority can be transmitted or received. For example, Ray does not believe that applicable, approved examples of specific authority would show us the limitations of God's Will on a matter. Further, Ray does not even apply the specific authority from commands (direct statements) as seen from his comments about I Corinthians 16:1,2 and his assertion that contributions may be made into the local church treasury on days other than the first day of the week. Ray also has admitted in this discussion he sees no authority from inference (though he recognizes the hermeneutic I use does). The proper hermeneutic takes the TOTALITY of God's instruction on a topic, harmonizes it, and then proceeds to make proper application. In this, Ray's hermeneutic fails miserably.
Ray failed to give scripture for eating separately and had a very hard time with the truth that the Acts 20:7 and I Cor. 11 passages deal directly with this issue. Ray tried to dismiss those passages from being applicable as he contended that we should only follow examples that we "see in person" (which would eliminate ALL Bible examples!). He also asserted that we cannot duplicate the issues today that Paul corrected in I Cor. 11.
Ray's hermeneutic errs in the following ways:
- Ray's hermeneutic is an "explicit only" approach and we showed that wrong in the third affirmative (See Ward's Third Affirmative - subheading: "The Error of an 'Explicit Only' Hermenutic" [sic - mjw])
- Ray's hermeneutic says we CANNOT (i.e. are not ABLE) to follow written approved examples today; like the first day of the week Acts 20:7 observance (See his answer to my question 17). But we CAN and MUST follow these examples when they are applicable approved examples of specific authority in matters we are to engage in today (like the Lord's Supper).
- Ray's hermeneutic does NOT recognize plain Bible teaching that let's us know that one of the problems at Corinth was that they were not eating "together", but were fragmented (See his answer to my question 18).
- Ray's hermeneutic does NOT recognize the limiting nature of specific authority (See all his articles from his first negative on in this good discussion).
- Ray's hermeneutic teaches, "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." Whereas, GOD teaches that "...faith without works is DEAD also" (James 2:24,26)! Ray is just wrong about the matter. God desires an obedient faith; Ray contends for "faith by itself".
- Ray's hermeneutic teaches, "Jesus never mentioned the frequency. If it was important, He would have said something." This is yet another example of Ray's hermeneutic not taking the TOTALITY of Bible info on a subject before coming to a conviction or conclusion. Our Lord said Himself that He had "many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL truth:" (John 16:12,13). Jesus explicitly tells His apostles that He DID NOT give them ALL the instruction they needed, but it would come! Ray states that if Jesus didn't mention something, it was not important. See the error here?
- Ray's hermeneutic contends that we are under grace and such excludes obeying God's laws in the new testament. But, once again, GOD'S WORD teaches us that Christ is the author of salvation unto all them that OBEY HIM (Heb. 5:9) and we WILL be judged by the "perfect law of liberty" (See James 1:25; 2:12).
- Ray's hermeneutic says, "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... " Ray's hermeneutic (not Ray's belief, mind you) is that we have no rules in worship, but God regulates worship activities (See I Corinthians 14, for example)! What about those rules, Ray?
Also, Ray noted the text of John 4:21ff and asserted (via his hermeneutic) that when Jesus told the woman that worship would no longer be in the mountain or in the temple, that Jesus was pointing out that "prescription for worship is irrelevant..." but that we could use "our human spirit" to commune with God acceptably (implying that you can worship your way and I can worship my way and we are BOTH acceptable). In reality, Jesus went on to talk about worship in spirit and in truth (in both verses 23,24) which IS regulated worship! Will worship (doing it man's way) is wrong; worshipping as God has authorized or prescribed (in truth, as well as in spirit) is demanded in these verses! The PLACE was not going to be limited to the mountain or the temple in Jerusalem (for churches would be all over the globe since the commission was to go into all the world per Matthew 28:18-20 & Mark 16:15,16), but "loosing" with regards to geographical location is NOT THE SAME as "loosing" with regards to the day, the elements, the purpose, the assembly, the tarrying, and the eating together the Supper in the same single assembly! The two are not related and Ray leaps to talk about relationship and no prescription for worship! How are we to know what God wants without reading His Will in His Word?
4. IS WORSHIP "BY FAITH" REGULATED OR NOT REGULATED ACTIVITY?
From Ray's second negative, note the following:
"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..."
Ray's view on John 4:24 is wrong. Worship is to be "in spirit" (from the heart) and "in truth" (according to God's direction). John 17:17 and John 8:32 speak of the truth of God's Word. Jesus said, "IF ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31, 32). Isn't our "worship involving the Lord's Supper" then, to be according to the "word" (i.e. the truth) as Jesus said? Certainly it is. Go back and see Ray's attempt to interpret John 4:24 "in spirit" and "in truth" in his second affirmative!
In this discussion so far, the best Ray has been able to do is assert two things without proof:
(1) that "as often as" means we can eat the Lord's Supper any day of the week we choose and yearly, quarterly, monthly, or any frequency man would choose is ok (which doesn't even address separate eating vs. eating together in the sense that even if frequency were open to any day of the week and any number of times in a day, God still requires saints of a church to come together to eat, tarry one for another and eat together) and,
(2) that new testament worship is unregulated (albeit Ray has ~some~ regulations like "intent/purpose/sincerity" as being a requirement).
The burden of proof in this proposition is on Ray. I have countered his assertions in both the first and second negatives. Ray chose not to deal with my rebuttal material. Ray may or may not address my counter remarks in this speech. That's his choice. An affirmative speaker should prove his proposition and then show why the counter rebuttals are incorrect. This Ray has not done. The negative can show wherein the affirmative fails and then put forth counter material to show the error of the proposition being discussed. This I have done.
We look forward to reading Ray's last. I urge the readers and Ray to carefully consider ALL that has been put forth. I appreciate so much Ray's willingness to continue in this good Bible study. May God bless us as we continue.
[-end of second negative by Ward]
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