The Ward - Brooks Debate
Ward's Third Affirmative
"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.."
Ward's Third Affirmative
To Ray Brooks and the readers of this Bible discussion, Greetings! I want to compliment Ray on his clear and forthright approach in this good Bible study. I am deeply impressed by his good attitude and the way in which he clearly, yet lovingly, tries to address areas of disagreement in this discussion. Ray is not ashamed of his beliefs, even though we differ greatly on many matters. At the root of our differences is how we interpret the New Testament and how we apply the authority of the Scriptures. I continue to encourage the readers (including Ray, of course) to open your Bibles and minds to the discussion and see what things are so (per Acts 17:11). Please continue to consider the points we are both making in light of God's Word.
PROPOSITION PROVEN: BUT NOT TO RAY
In my first and second affirmative articles, I have shown from GOD'S WORD that:
- Worship is to be in spirit AND IN TRUTH (John 4:24). "In truth" means according to God's revealed will for us living today, according to the new covenant. But Ray rejects this as meaning that we have any regulatory guidance or law concerning New Testament worship even though I referenced "vain worship" in Matthew 15:9 and Ray even believes you can pervert the Supper if you mess up on the "meditation part".
- Jesus requires we eat the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:24-26). We can observe both approved and disapproved examples of such in the new testament (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:17-34). Ray doesn't want us to apply I Corinthians 11's instruction today, unless we have identical circumstances to that happening at Corinth. Ray rejects my teaching that God's instruction in I Corinthians 11 about scriptural observance of the Supper applies to all of us, including verse 33, "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another."
- The church is to come together to break bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
- When the church comes together to eat, the members are to tarry one for another and eat together (I Cor. 11:33).
- Eating together requires eating together in the same assembly, not eating separately in the same, or in DIFFERENT assemblies (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11::17-34).
WE STAND DIFFERING: BUT STILL DISCUSSING
Here, in my estimation is where we presently stand in this discussion, I pray that Ray will address these and correct me if I have misunderstood his beliefs.
1. Ray and I do not go about establishing authority the same way.
2. Ray contends that some "disobedience" is acceptable (He wrote, "One can be in "disobedience" to some fine point and still be saved."); I strongly reject that notion! (See Matthew 23:23)
3. Ray contends that I Cor. 11 cannot be applied to a church with more than one assembly on the same first day of the week. I disagree and point out that since "eating together" is required, it excludes multiple observances on the same day (whether in the same or different assemblies).
4. Ray does NOT believe we need to have authority from God from the new testament scriptures for what we believe, teach and practice today...that is, the scriptures are not ALL-SUFFICIENT. He waffles on this a bit (see explanation below) but the reality of his position is that you need MORE THAN SCRIPTURE to get it right today. I contend the Scriptures are ALL-SUFFICIENT and that God does not lead us into truth today separate and apart from the written Word (John 8:31,32; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 John 9).
5. Ray does not see that inherent in ALL APPROVED EXAMPLES is the very authority from God (permission) to engage in that act! I contend that the very fact that actions are approved of God necessitate the authority of God to engage in those actions! Applicable approved examples show us what we MAY or MUST do today (may=liberty; must=mandatory).
6. Ray asserts that the new covenant is without laws, regulations, and stipulations. I contend the Bible teaches otherwise (James 1:25; James 2:12; Gal 6:2; Rom. 6:17; 2 John 9).
7. Ray contends that the frequency of the Supper is not limited (that "as oft as" really means "as oft as ye CHOOSE"). I contend the Scriptures teach us weekly first day observance in the approved example of Acts 20:7 (this is the only day of the week in the entire New Testament authorizing the church to break bread).
Ray disagrees and asserts that "as often as ye" really ~means~ "as oft as ye CHOOSE" for in his second negative he wrote, "...For the record, I believe it DOES imply 'do as oft as ye CHOOSE'." The error of such can be easily illustrated by comparing the following two statements:
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death til he come." (I Cor. 11:26).
"For as often as you have a birthday, you will age another year."
So does our birthday come just anytime we CHOOSE? Note that Ray's contention is that the language "as often as" implies "as often as you CHOOSE"...but such is not really the case! Such is a bare assertion, without proof. The text in I Cor. 11:26 simply does NOT tell us "when" or "how often" to observe the Lord's Supper ("as often as" is not all that God revealed on the matter), but other passages help us on that instruction (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:33).
8. Ray argues FOR and AGAINST the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures. Note the paragraphs Ray wrote (from his 2nd negative):
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. 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.
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.
We can't have it both ways. Either the Scriptures ARE all-sufficient, or they are not! If the Scriptures are not sufficient and we need these modern day "directions", then the revelations ARE additions to scriptures (else they would be included). I appreciate Ray explaining his position to us so we can know what he believes the truth of the matter to be. If I understand his belief, Ray says God is not adding to Scripture, but Scripture does not contain all we need to know to please Him! We need MORE guidance from God IN ADDITION to written Scripture to please God (according to Ray). The BIBLE says when we READ, we can UNDERSTAND (Eph. 3:4). I hope all the readers, and our beloved Ray, can see the fallacy in this position.
The BIBLE says the scriptures can furnish us to EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Tim. 3:16,17)! We should contend for the all-sufficiency of the written revealed word, as we have it today! I truly believe that Ray is sincere, but his position that God has left us lacking, when He calls it "the perfect law of liberty", "the faith once for all delivered", "the gospel of Christ...power of God unto salvation", etc. cannot be supported.
The TOTALITY of God's Word on any given subject, harmonized properly, is God's truth on the matter. With our present discussion concerning the Lord's Supper, when you look at all the passages of Scripture on the subject, God has required "eating together" (among other things) as part of scriptural observance. I Corinthians 11:33 teaches this by way of a command, from which we can draw an unavoidable conclusion, "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another." Tarrying is essential, and after scriptural tarrying occurs, scriptural eating can take place. Do we tarry so we can "eat separately"? Certainly not! We tarry in order to eat together! The Corinthians were wrong in at least two things (1) hungry & drunken and (2) taking before other (at different times per verse 21. The needed remedies? Eating at home to satisfy hunger was the remedy to #1 (per verse 34) and tarrying and eating together was the remedy for #2 (per verse 33)!
The approved example in Acts 20:7 is an account of a scriptural observance of the Supper in obedience to God's requirement to eat the Supper. Eating the Supper is not a matter that is "optional"; rather, it is "obligatory"! The totality of God's information provided on the topic must be considered and harmonized. While we may not have identical circumstances to Corinth, we are still bound to follow the commands of God and other applicable examples and implications from the Word, which include tarrying and eating together in the same single assembly! We can see that the example in Acts 20:7 (in light of all other Bible teaching on the matter) is an approved example, and that it is limiting and binding in nature. The saints ate together (in the same single assembly) in Acts 20:7 and the saints at Corinth were instructed to do the same (I Cor. 11:33)!
Ray, however, does not believe that we need authority from God to act today. He wrote:
"...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..."
"...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..."
Ray then wrote near the end of his second negative:
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.
When God told Noah to build an ark of GOPHER wood, Noah had SPECIFIC INSTRUCTION or AUTHORITY to use GOPHER wood (Gen. 6). If Noah used any other wood, he would err. The specifying of gopher wood (use of specific authority) EXCLUDED all other types of wood (things in that same category: wood). This is the nature of specific authority. Such is the case in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in the home, at work, with the authority of civil governments, and all other walks of life. SPECIFIC AUTHORITY is a prescribed course of action that excludes other courses of action in the same area of that which has been specified.
Concerning examples: SOME examples are approved and others are disapproved. How do we know if an example is approved or disapproved? If the action is sinful it is disapproved. If it is scriptural it is approved. It's just that simple.
Within the category of approved examples (those God permits, allows, authorizes) there are two basic types: those we MAY follow and those we MUST follow. Those we MAY follow are optional, but are authorized as liberties (Rom. 14; I Cor. 8). Those we MUST follow are mandatory and are required (I Cor. 11:26; Acts 20:7). We have to pay attention to the totality of teaching on the subject matter to ascertain the difference in the two.
THE DRIVING ON LEFT SIDE OF ROAD IN ENGLAND EXAMPLE
In teaching that examples can be authoritative and even specific, limiting, and binding, I used the example of folks driving on the left side of the road in England. I wrote:
"...We have numerous examples of specific authority in all walks of life. 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"? Certainly! Maybe we need more study on how to establish Bible authority, or authority in general...especially in the areas of implicit authority???..."
Ray had responded (in his second negative):
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.
Ray is now contending that the example of folks driving on the left side of the road is NOT an approved example! Ray, did you really mean to write (see from his second negative, "...Second, no, that would not be approved example..." There are only two kinds of examples (in the broadest sense): approved and disapproved! How could Ray contend such is NOT an "approved example"?
While I AGREE with Ray that you can't always "follow the crowd" and be approved; I strongly DISAGREE that observing folks as they drive on the left side of the road in England is NOT an approved example! We don't merely "follow the majority" to know that something is authorized; but, an approved example is authorized by the very fact that it is approved! Ray, is Acts 20:7 an "approved example" or a "disapproved example"? Note: I AGREE it is an "account of action", but did God approve or disapprove of the action?
Please note a few things that are IMPLICIT in my example. These are things that are not "written" in the explicit wording of my illustration, but that are still true (and just as strongly so, I might add) and are applicable to the TOTALITY of the situation under consideration.
- In England, the transportation signage (like speed limits, yield signs, exit information, etc) is set up for left hand side of the road driving (as opposed to right side of the road driving). In fact, if you drove on the right side of the road over there, you would be facing the backs of the speed limit signs!
- In England, the diagonal parking along the side of the road is set up for left side of the road driving.
- In England, the traffic lights for four lane traffic is set up for left hand side of the road driving.
Ray is simply WRONG about the nature of the example of folks in England driving on the left side of the road not being "approved" and "binding" on the roads of England. Ray, do you believe the example is NOT approved? Do you believe that the folks are NOT LIMITED to driving on the left hand side of the road? Do you believe that the example is NOT one that is BINDING on others to follow in that land?
I was over in England the summer of 1976, drove all summer and did NOT read the rule book associated with the driving regulations. I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt Ray, that when I was driving on the left side of the road, following the example of others, that such was not only APPROVED, but was LIMITING or BINDING.
While such cannot be said of ALL examples, we are concerned in this study with the scriptural observance of the Lord's Supper. The TOTALITY of instruction (both explicit and implicit) concerning the Lord's Supper teaches us that the Lord's Supper is to be eaten TOGETHER. Such excludes separate/fragmented eatings whether in the same or different assemblies on the same day in the same congregation.
When I asked Ray what would we have to do today to violate the Supper, Ray wrote:
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.
Is "proper meditation" then, part of God's requirements for us in the new covenant for scriptural observance? Sounds like Ray really DOES believe in some stipulations, regulations, or law in the new covenant!
The BIBLE says that worship is to be "in spirit and in truth" per John 4:24. I truly believe that Ray (in his explanation above) is very interested in the "in spirit" (from the heart) part of worship. We AGREE that such is a necessity! But Ray, in my estimation, is not giving proper attention to the "in truth" part of our worship. To be pleasing to God (and yes, Ray, we MUST strive to please God), we MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth (according to His revealed will for us).
EXAMPLES: THOSE WE CAN "READ ABOUT IN SCRIPTURE" AND THOSE WE CAN "SEE TODAY IN FAITHFUL BRETHREN"
Ray believes he has a major point when he takes the passages I used to prove that God's Word teaches that we are to follow approved examples. Ray tries to LIMIT ME to the written examples in the Bible and he wants to EXCLUDE the written examples from the Bible from the ones he is going to follow!
I believe that we are to imitate all applicable examples (whether in Scripture or in person that we can see today) that are approved examples. The rule, standard, or pattern that we would use, however, would be the written revealed "perfect law of liberty" to measure any example by (written in the Bible OR seen today). I can follow any man or woman as they follow Christ per passages like I Corinthians 11:1. Ray has no point here.
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.
"Doctrine" is teaching. This is a matter of "teaching" and "practice" (i.e. serving the elements of the Lord's Supper multiple times on the same first day of the week in the same church). Doctrine is important as 2 John 9-11 teaches! Ray does not yet see that the requirement to EAT TOGETHER precludes the second, third or fourth serving. A second assembly (per se) is NOT outside the teaching of God's Word, but eating separately is wrong per this text! Eating separately is what is wrong; eating together is required (I Cor. 11:33)!
THE NEW LAW: THE LAW OF CHRIST: IS A LAW WITH REGULATIONS
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.
The BIBLE teaches that the new testament IS a law with regulations. I Cor. 9:21 teaches we are UNDER THE LAW TO CHRIST. Gal. 6:2 teaches those who are spiritual are to restore the erring and SO FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST. James 1:25 and 2:12 teach we are to be DOERS of THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY and we will be judged by it.
As noted above, Ray believes we must follow the stipulation of properly thinking about the death of Christ during the observance of the Lord's Supper or we are wrong! Straighten this out for me in your next, please Ray.
Consider the following "laws" contained in the new covenant: Prove all things (I Thess 5:21); be an example of the believers (I Tim. 4:12); love not the world (I John 2:15); love your enemies (Mt. 5:44); husbands love your wives (Eph 5:25); children obey your parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1); let every soul be subject unto the higher powers (Rom. 13:1); thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Rom. 13:9). There are numerous others, but these are enough to disprove Ray's assertion that the new covenant is without laws, regulations or stipulations! Laws and grace are not mutually exclusive!
Mark wrote in the second affirmative:
To EXCLUDE examples from authority is to take needful instruction OUT OF God's Word and leave us lacking.
Ray responded in the second negative:
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.
Since God gave us all we need in the written Word (2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3; James 1:25; 2:12), if we DELETE or TAKE AWAY some of that Word (like the examples God saw fit for us to learn from) then we are lacking in needful instruction from Him! I have already shown commands to follow approved examples. Take away the approved examples and you will NOT have ALL of God's revealed truth.
Mark wrote (second affirmative):
One does NOT authorize a particular new testament activity with old testament law.
Ray responded (second negative):
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.
When you go back to the old law to try to justify actions today, you fall from grace (See Gal. 5:4; Acts 15:1-10; Heb. 8:5-13). The things written before are helpful (See Rom. 15:4) but are not "authority" for our actions today. The new testament, the perfect law of liberty is what we will be judged by (James 1:25; 2:12) and NOT the old testament.
Mark wrote in the second affirmative:
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 then asserted (from his second negative):
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.
I have used 2 John 9 numerous times in this discussion to prove the scriptures are LIMITING (you can't go beyond the doctrine of Christ), but Ray still rejects the proof. Did we read any counter from Ray that 2 John 9 is not LIMITING in nature? The scriptures also teach us NOT to go beyond that which is written in I Corinthians 4:6. We are to follow (and stay within the boundaries of) the pattern of new testament teaching (See Rom. 6:17; Heb. 8:5).
THE ERROR OF AN "EXPLICIT ONLY" HERMENUTIC
Mark asked in the second affirmative:
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 answered in his second negative:
Yes, it is an excellent summary of my position.
Yet, remember Ray has properly taught that we are NOT to ADD TO the elements of the Lord's Supper! God didn't EXPLICITLY say "don't add to the elements of the Supper" did He? But, Ray properly applies the implicit teaching from a passage like 2 John 9 (whether he knows it or not) to not adding "jelly" to the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in observing the Lord's Supper!
But, Ray is inconsistent on the matter of properly applying explicit AND implicit authority on other things, like eating together being required, the assembly for the purpose of breaking bread being required, the first day of the week being required. Ray believes they are all scriptural, but are not limited, and therefore he ADDS to those: you can eat separately if you want to, you can eat outside the assembly if you want to, and you can take on any day of the week, if you want to! See the point?
Mark wrote (second affirmative):
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 responded (second negative):
Contributions can be made 24/7 for any amount for any reason to the local treasury. You bet.
Ray offers nothing from the "word of God" (Scripture) on this, but gives us his bare assertion! I Corinthians 16:1, 2 apply to us today. God has given us his Will for giving into the church's treasury. Ray does not (yet) see the nature of specific authority herein.
Mark had asked in the second affirmative:
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 had answered in his second negative:
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.
Ray LIMITS the subject matter in I Cor. 1:10 wherein we are to speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together to the person and work of Jesus on our behalf! Paul, however, addressed numerous issues in I Corinthians that might divide the brethren and wanted them to be united in the same mind and same judgment on these matters. These included such DOCTRINAL matters as: "preacher-itus", taking a brother to court, a man who had his father's wife, church discipline, marriage issues, and yes, even the eating of the Lord's Supper! Truth is not ambiguous, and if we unite on truth we will be of the same mind and the same judgment. There is no basis to LIMIT the subject matter to what Ray said, especially after looking to what the inspired writer PAUL actually wrote!
There is nothing self-evident about using examples as authority.
Ray! Certainly you can now begin to see that IF folks were APPROVED in what they did, THEN we can KNOW that they had PERMISSION (authority) from God to do such! This should be self-evident. IF folks were DISAPPROVED in what they did, THEN we can KNOW they DID NOT HAVE PERMISSION (authority) from God to do such! Can you now see the point?
AUTHORITATIVE, PERMISSIVE EXAMPLES
Mark's Question #9, "Do you now agree (having read my second affirmative and clarifications) that SOME EXAMPLES are "authoritative", "binding", "limiting"? Why or why not?"
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.
FINALLY, we are coming to some agreement. This is great. I AGREE with Ray that some examples are permissive. Ray now needs to see that inherent in those examples IS the AUTHORITY (permission) to engage in those acts IF WE WANT TO (because they are permissive, and not obligatory). After that, if Ray can see that there are some examples that are authorized (approved) that are examples of applicable, specific, mandated instruction being carried out, he will hopefully realize that those are are binding, limiting, and a requirement!
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.
The church in question served the Lord's Supper prior to preaching. After the sermon, during the invitation song, a person comes forward to become a Christian. After the baptism, in the same assembly, another prayer is offered for the bread and the new Christian is served (solo). Then, a prayer is offered for the fruit of the vine and the new Christian is served (solo). Then, a person in the audience who is an erring Christian wants to repent and make things right with God and brethren. The same assembly continues. After prayer is offered for the sins of the erring saint, another prayer is offered for the bread and the restored saint is served (solo). Then, another prayer is offered for the cup and the restored saint is served (solo). Three different eatings in the same assembly! Ray, is this a scriptural situation? Why, or why not?
5 MORE QUESTIONS FOR RAY
I AGREE with Ray that the use of Bible questions are doing good in this debate. Please consider the following in the interest of furthering the cause of this good debate. My answers follow below.
11. Are the following stipulations found in the new covenant to be obeyed by people today:
a. husbands love your wives (Eph. 5)?
b. servants obey your masters (Eph. 6)?
c. obey civil government (Rom. 13)?
d. children obey your parents (Eph. 6)?
e. a widow can marry whom she will, only in the Lord (I Cor. 7:39)?
f. "This do in remembrance of me..." (thus, eat the Lord's Supper - I Cor. 11:24)?
12. You have previously stated that you believe that I Corinthians 11:33 applies to us today, but not the "tarrying". Since the only verb of action required "when ye come together to eat" IS to "tarry" one for another, please explain ~just what~ IS required/applicable to us from this verse?
13. When the church eats the Lord's Supper today (scripturally), does God want the saints to eat:
14. Why do you believe you can't ADD to the elements of the Supper? What passage would you use to help someone who wanted to ADD "jelly" to the elements?
15. Is eating together required by God in scriptural observance of the Supper?
MY ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS
11. a. YES b. YES c. YES d. YES e. YES f. YES (I Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:2; I John 5:3)
12. Since I believe that "tarrying" IS required of all of us today in scriptural observances of the Supper, I would not have answered (previously, as you did) that tarrying does NOT apply to us today.
13. A. TOGETHER (per the command of I Cor. 11:33 and the approved example of Acts 20:7).
14. We have specific authority for "unleavened bread" and "fruit of the vine" as elements for the Supper in the New Testament (Matthew 26; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:17-34). 2 John 9 teaches that we are not to go beyond the teaching (not to trespass) of Christ. We are "fenced in by the Word of God", or LIMITED by specific authority in this matter.
15. YES. Eating together is required by the command in I Cor. 11:33 and the approved, limiting example of Acts 20:7 in light of the total context on the subject matter.
BOX CHECKING MENTALITY???
Ray does not believe we must follow God's prescribed methods in scripture (given what he wrote about what he termed "box checking mentality". Ray wrote, "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. "
I believe we must do BOTH. We must have a personal relationship and know God as intimately as we can AND obey His prescribed methods which He has given us to follow.
Remember, I contend we are to worship God BOTH "in spirit" AND "in truth" per John 4:24. I admit to being "guilty" to the charge of following God's prescribed courses of action in order to please Him! Please note what the BIBLE teaches, "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to DOCTRINE (emph mine, mjw)...Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the DOCTRINE (emph mine mjw); continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both SAVE THYSELF (emph mine, mjw) AND THEM THAT HEAR THEE "(emph mine, mjw) (I Tim. 4:13, 15,16). James 1 teaches us to be DOERS of the Word. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 teaches that we are to KNOW GOD and OBEY the gospel or we will be lost. Why not BOTH, Ray? Why not take the biblical position that we are to know God AND follow His prescribed course of action? Pleasing God is a demonstration of LOVE for God (See I John 5:2,3).
Eating together is taught by COMMAND and APPROVED EXAMPLE in I Corinthians 11:33 and Acts 20:7 (when viewed in context with all the teaching on the subject). We must have authority for what we do (Col. 3:17)! We cannot practice things outside the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Please give your full attention to Ray as he gives us his thoughts in his third negative and first affirmative (as we change places in the discussion for the second half). Again, I appreciate and admire Ray for his good attitude and determination to press me wherein he thinks I am wrong. May God continue to bless this good Bible discussion.
[-end of third affirmative by Ward]
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