Does God's Silence Authorize?

by Kenneth E. Thomas

March 01, 2001

     In arguing that Jesus could not be a priest on earth, writing to the Hebrew Christians, the author argues that the silence of the Scriptures restricts rather than giving license to act. He wrote, "For it is evident that out Lord sprang out of Judah: of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (Hebrews 7:14). God has spoken or caused to be written His complete will for humanity. Since Christ's will is expressed in His "perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25), then anything not expressed in that law is not a part of His will for man.

     Jesus promised to guide the writers of His last Will and Testament into "all truth" (John 16:12-13). He either did what He promised or He failed. I happen to believe that He kept His promise and that agrees with what Peter wrote when he said, "according as His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Perfection, completeness, or spiritual maturity may be achieved by believing and following what has been revealed in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What has been revealed is so adequate that should any man or even any angel teach otherwise than what was "taught" and what had been "received" from these inspired men in the first century, Paul said "let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-11). The Lord Himself said: "He who rejects Me, and receives not My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). These very words of Jesus were what the Holy Spirit brought to the apostles' remembrance as promised (John 14:26; 15:26). These words became our New Testament.

     Paul wrote,

     "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles - if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given me for you, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, buy which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power" (Ephesians 3:1-7).

     This, and several other affirmations by these writers show that Christ kept His word and did indeed send the Holy Spirit to guide them into "all truth" just as He promised.

     To the church at Corinth the apostle Paul gave credit to the Holy Spirit, taking none for himself for what he had taught them and what had brought about their conversion to Christ (1 cOR. 2:1-13). Verse 13 says, "these things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." This is a case for verbal inspiration of the original manuscripts, even the very words used to express the will of Christ were chosen by the Holy Spirit.

The So Called "New Hermeneutic" Is Flawed!

     We are being treated to a "new hermeneutic" nowadays which claims that silence gives license to act. Meaning simply that if the Scriptures do not forbid a particular belief or practice, such is allowable with God's blessings. Can you even imagine the "Pandora's box" that such a principle opens? Can you even imagine the innovations that may be brought in through this same door? This kind of thinking and teaching leaves men free to "guide themselves," something that Jeremiah said he was incapable of doing (Jeremiah 10:23)!

Some Allowable Innovations Under This Reasoning Are:

1). Mechanical instruments of music in worship. Why? Because one cannot find the passage that forbids their use in worship.
2). Infant baptism. Why? Because there is no passage that says you cannot baptize infants in the New Testament.
3). Sprinkling and or Pouring of water for "baptism." Why? Again, no place in the New Testament does it forbid these practices.
4). Supporting the churches work by tithing, bake sales or assessments of the membership. Why? Again, there is no New Testament passage forbidding such. All we have are the examples of how the early churches received their income to do their work.
5). The United Christian Missionary Society for evangelism. Why? The New Testament doesn't forbid building and maintaining such organizations for evangelism. Some have argued the Lord said to "go" and "teach" but He didn't say "how" and so this is just a "how." Well, He did say "who" and the who is the local church, not some human institution supported by local churches. But you get the point surely. If silence gives license, anything not specifically forbidden becomes an authorized practice.
6). Sponsoring Elderships over brotherhood projects: Why? "Well it doesn't say not to set up such in our efforts to "cooperate" and get the job done, so...." Isn't this what our more "liberal" brethren have done?
7). Family life centers operated by the local church for social and recreational activities for the membership and their friends. Why? Well, why not? If silence gives license these are not forbidden don't you see? Some are attempting to justify such as a "tool in evangelism."

Enough of This Kind of Foolishness!

     Those who respect the Bible as the infallible inerrant authoritative word of God Almighty, likewise recognize the time tested methods for determining the will of Christ to be:

1). Direct command. This do=This is so simple that it needs no explanation.
2). An approved apostolic example = Something practiced in the presence of men guided by the Holy Spirit with their approval.
3). Necessary inference = Language is so constructed and premises are revealed allowing only one conclusion.
4). Two kinds of authority = General and Specific. General gives license to expedite. Specific limits to that which is specified.

     Any other "method" of interpretation leaves too much leeway for human logic and human error to invade into things which the Lord has not authorized in His will, and we are told that we must "abide in the doctrine of Christ," and that we must only act "by His authority" (2 John 9-11; Colossians 3:17). We must not add to or subtract from the word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but are to be obedient to the same (Revelation 14:13; 22:14,18-19).

by Kenneth E. Thomas

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