Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Those Were the Days: The SBC on Church Membership & the Lord's Day

Cue Archie and Edith at the Piano...

1915 — Resolution on the Lord’s Day

RESOLVED, That it is the sense of this Convention that no messenger to this body should depart from its session on the Lord’s day, set apart by the Christian conscience of the centuries, the law of our country and the Word of God as a day of rest and religious worship.

1916 — Resolution on Church Membership

RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention most urgently request all the pastors or clerks of Baptist churches within the bounds of this Convention to promptly notify the pastors or clerks of sister churches in any city, town, village or country place where such sister churches may be located of the removal of any of their members to said location, that these members may be reached at once and their activities held for the denomination.

Commentary:

Who knew that in 2007, the Convention's Resolution's Committee would think such resolutions infringed on local church autonomy? Silly 20th century Baptists! Think about that...

HT: Ben Cole & SBC Outpost

18 comments:

  1. I nominate the "Lord's Day" obligation as THE most unbiblical dogma in all Protestant Christendom ... bar none.

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  2. Is the 4th commandment a "moral" command (as well as having positive directions on how to perform it--which may differ under different administrations, OT & NT)?

    It is right, smack in the middle of the MORAL law ...

    Why did Jesus spend more time correcting the Pharisee's failures on the Sabbath than any other command, if this was a command destined for the dustbin? And it's not as though he only told them what they were doing wrong, but what they SHOULD BE doing. So, Jesus being the Mediator of the New Covenant, why be so quick to dismiss his teaching on the subject? Because that teaching came before the Cross? That's just dispensationalism, IMO.

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  3. A few things:

    * All of the commands were considered "moral." The division between ceremonial, moral and judicial is artificial.

    * Jesus was a Jew. He kept the Passover, told people to show themselves to a priest after being healed, etc.

    * Bringing up dispensationalism is guilt by association and doesn't deal with truth or falsity of the issue at hand.

    * Paul seemed to indicate in Colossians 2 that no one should judge us over a sabbath day, food, new moons. Doesn't sound like he advocated sabbath-keeping.

    * There isn't one convincing NT argument that the day switched from Saturday to Sunday.

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  4. All of the commands were considered "moral." The division between ceremonial, moral and judicial is artificial.

    This is an assertion bereft of a supporting argument. On the one hand it's true that they are hard to separate, but on the other, that does not mean the separation is a product of modern dogmatic categorization.

    Notice that AaronC justifies his position by saying "moral," but anonymous said moral without the quotes. There's a reason for that, does Aaron C know what it is?

    Jesus was a Jew. He kept the Passover, told people to show themselves to a priest after being healed, etc.

    This is irrelevant as a response, since Anonymous and other Sabbatarians are not advocating a Sabbath on the 7th day.

    * Bringing up dispensationalism is guilt by association and doesn't deal with truth or falsity of the issue at hand.

    Strictly speaking, it does not. However, it's dispensationalism from which, in modern theology, AaronC's position generally arises. Yes, we know that NCT advocates adopt it too, but NCT advocates are divided over a "Lord's Day" position and an outright denial of such a position; what's more they're trying to strike a compromised between dispensationalism and covenantalism. The Lord's Day position is virtually identical with Sabbatarianism; the latter is what Covenantalists consider "antinomian."


    * Paul seemed to indicate in Colossians 2 that no one should judge us over a sabbath day, food, new moons. Doesn't sound like he advocated sabbath-keeping.


    In context, that would apply to a position that would advocate a 7th Day Sabbath, celebrations of the Jewish feasts, etc.

    In addition the persons about whom Paul is speaking resemble either Ebionites or Elkesaites. They were also using their own view of Jewish customs and exceeding them, going beyond eating to drinking in particular. The problem here is twofold: imposition of Jewish customs on Gentiles and a growing ascetism - neither of which modern Sabbatarians advocate.

    Paul discusses Sabbath breakers in a sin list that follows the ten commandments in 1 Timothy.

    And notice that AaronC pays lip service to Colossians 2. On the one hand, he believes Christians should not be judged according to the terms of Colossians 2 as he defines them, but on the other he says it is THE most unbiblical dogma in all Protestant Christendom, bar none. If this isn't a judgment, then what is? If AaronC's position is true, then that would flow both ways, not one.


    * There isn't one convincing NT argument that the day switched from Saturday to Sunday.


    That is, of course, not the argument. Rather, the argument is that it switched from "the 7th day" to the "first day," or, the stronger argument, IMO, that it switched from the 7th day to the 8th day.

    I might also add that while the 1915 resolution was about the Lord's Day and the SBC was Sabbatarian at the time, one does not have to be a Sabbatarian to hold to a "Lord's Day" position.

    Further, my original comment was directed toward the issue of regenerate church membership. Now, this is interesting to me, because on the one hand we're told by AaronC that "the Lord's Day" is the most unbiblical Protestant dogma ever, and on the other the churches that can't seem to get their people into church on Sunday morning and are contributing to the RCM problem in the SBC are more often than not non-Sabbatarian.

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  5. >This is an assertion bereft of a supporting argument.

    OK, I'll offer an argument. In Romans 7, Paul argues that Christians are no longer under the law -- just as a woman isn't bound to a dead husband. Is he talking about the ceremonial aspects only? No, he isn't. In verse 7, he cites "thou shalt not covet" as part of the law that no longer binds us. Paul saw the law as one piece.

    >Notice that AaronC justifies his position by saying "moral," but anonymous said moral without the quotes. There's a reason for that, does Aaron C know what it is?

    Arguments over punctuation aren't very interesting.

    > This is irrelevant as a response, since Anonymous and other Sabbatarians are not advocating a Sabbath on the 7th day.

    No, but they do say that Christians are oligated to keep *a* sabbath, i.e., the Lord's Day. I deny that there's one shred of NT evidence to support such an idea.

    > However, it's dispensationalism from which, in modern theology, AaronC's position generally arises.

    Wrong. There were plenty of Christians who denied the Lord's Day obligation long, long before Darby and his ilk mucked up the world of theology.

    If I wanted to play the guilt-by-association game myself, I could name plenty of rotten things connected to the alleged Lord's Day commandment ... like Puritans punishing people over perfectly innocent activities on Sunday.

    > In context, that would apply to a position that would advocate a 7th Day Sabbath, celebrations of the Jewish feasts, etc.

    You seem to be suggesting that Paul was, in essence, teaching this: "You still must keep a Sabbath -- it's a divine command. Just don't let anybody force you into keeping it on the seventh day." Are you serious? Is such a demand for Sabbath-keeping consistent with the tenor of Paul's overall teaching?

    Also, where is the proper method of keeping the New Testament Sabbath outlined? How does it differ from the Old, besides just the day of the week? Must we still extinguish all fires on that day? Must we ban travel? Do any of the other Jewish elements apply?

    Besides all that, doesn't Hebrews teach that Christ is the one who gives his followers a "Sabbath rest"? Are those followers still bound to keep the shadow and type of that rest?

    > Rather, the argument is that it switched from "the 7th day" to the "first day," or, the stronger argument, IMO, that it switched from the 7th day to the 8th day.

    Is there a NT reference for the switching of the day? I'd like to look it up.

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  6. hostus twinkius7/24/2007 11:58 PM

    AaronC said:

    OK, I'll offer an argument. In Romans 7, Paul argues that Christians are no longer under the law -- just as a woman isn't bound to a dead husband. Is he talking about the ceremonial aspects only? No, he isn't. In verse 7, he cites "thou shalt not covet" as part of the law that no longer binds us. Paul saw the law as one piece.

    Response:

    So, are you asserting that Christians are no longer bound to obey the Law (i.e. the Ten Commandments)? Or rather, is the apostle asserting that we are no longer under the *penalty* of breaking the letter of the law since we are now united to Christ and serve in the Spirit?

    Isn't the purpose of the analogy of the wife whose husband dies to illustrate this very point? We are free from the condemnation inherent in law-keeping as sinners because we have been wed to another, even Christ (the perfect law keeper)?

    AaronC said:

    The division between ceremonial, moral and judicial is artificial.

    Response:

    So you say. That's an assertion without an argument. The ceremonial laws have been done away with as they foreshadowed Christ. However, the moral law is simply a reflection of God's holy character and are not primarily ceremonial in nature. The sabbath was commanded before Moses and before the Fall. God rested on the seventh day, God hates lying, adultery, idolatry, stealing, murder, etc., and we are to be like God, we are made in His image.

    AaronC said:

    No, but they do say that Christians are oligated to keep *a* sabbath, i.e., the Lord's Day. I deny that there's one shred of NT evidence to support such an idea.

    Response:

    The morality of the NT assumes an OT framework, otherwise passages like 1 Tim 8-11 make little sense if in fact the moral law has no place in the life of the believer as you seem to suggest. There is ample mention of the activities of believers on the 1st day of the week, such as gathering together in one place, setting apart their offerings, the first day of the week is mentioned multiple times (not to mention that Christ rose on the first day of the week and appeared to His disciples). To cast these facts aside because you don't like the Lord's Day ("I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.." Rev. 1:10) is highly questionable. What Christian wouldn't like the Lord's Day? It's sad that the position even has to be argued for. Heaven will be one eternal Lord's Day. Why would you have a problem with that which looks forward to it? The Super Bowl too important? Don't want to set apart a day for sacred use? It's your constitutional right to go to the mall on Sundays?

    AaronC said:

    Wrong. There were plenty of Christians who denied the Lord's Day obligation long, long before Darby and his ilk mucked up the world of theology.

    Response:

    So what? They were wrong. They had heart problems with it too.

    AaronC said:

    You seem to be suggesting that Paul was, in essence, teaching this: "You still must keep a Sabbath -- it's a divine command. Just don't let anybody force you into keeping it on the seventh day." Are you serious? Is such a demand for Sabbath-keeping consistent with the tenor of Paul's overall teaching?

    Response:

    Paul is addressing a Jewish audience. He didn't have to explain to them the necessity of Sabbath-keeping. He is addressing Jewish festivals, feast days, and the additional Sabbaths observed by Jews in relation to them. He is not throwing the 4th commandment out the window.

    AaronC said:

    Besides all that, doesn't Hebrews teach that Christ is the one who gives his followers a "Sabbath rest"? Are those followers still bound to keep the shadow and type of that rest?

    Response:

    That passage is referring to the eternal Sabbath rest (i.e. heaven).

    AaronC said:

    Is there a NT reference for the switching of the day? I'd like to look it up.

    Response:

    There is not a verse that says "the Sabbath has been switched to Sunday", you already know this. There are many examples of believers gathering on the first day of the week, etc, as I said before. If this is your argument, why do you go to church on Sunday? Or are you a Seventh Day Adventist minus the Seventh Day?

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  7. > So, are you asserting that Christians are no longer bound to obey the Law (i.e. the Ten Commandments)?

    I believe that the consistent teaching of Paul is that people need not be Jews in order to become Christian. They are not obligated to keep Jewish covenantal law, but are under the Spirit and under Christ's law of love. The Ten Commandments are part of the Jewish law and belong to the immature state of redemptive history. As a moral law, it's certainly inferior to the teaching of Jesus. The Ten Commandments don't even contain the commandment to love God, to be sacrificial toward others, to deny yourself for others' sake, to be humble and forgiving, etc.

    The idea that Paul would have expected Gentile believers to keep the sabbath doesn't fit the tenor of his doctrine.

    > To cast these facts aside because you don't like the Lord's Day ("I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.." Rev. 1:10) is highly questionable.

    This is a valiant effort, but none of what you cite here establishes a Christian sabbath. Yes, Christians met on the first day (although there's lots of evidence that they met much more often than that). Yes, there's a reference to a collection on that day. Yes, John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. Gluing these citations together still doesn't get you a sabbatarian Lord's Day obligation. That comes from tradition, which is where you're getting it.

    > So what? They were wrong. They had heart problems with it too.

    Just because someone doesn't find a Lord's Day obligation in the Bible doesn't mean there's something awry with their hearts. That's a pretty uncharitable assessment of some very good people.

    > That passage is referring to the eternal Sabbath rest (i.e. heaven).

    Well, I don't know about that. The concept of Christians spending eternity in heaven is very obscure (some would say nonexistent) in the New Testament writings.

    > If this is your argument, why do you go to church on Sunday?

    Most people attend church on Sunday because that's the prevailing tradition. (In the New Testament, the idea of "going to church" is foreign, anyway.) As for the correct day, I can just as well argue that "exhort one another daily" mandates daily church attendance, not just Sunday attendance.

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  8. Aaronic: your aversion to having your comments labeled with the description "dispensational" doesn't save you from the adjective.

    All you're doing is slapping the label "human tradition" on views you don't agree with, and demanding a kind of juvenile "prooftext" version of biblical argumentation, when various Scriptures are put forward in more involved, "meaty" argument.


    One argument for the abiding moral nature of the Sabbath/Lord's Day goes as follows:

    1. God desires regular meetings with his people.

    2. God established his propriety over a certain amount of our delegated time (1 day) back in the Creation of the world.

    3. All the biblical evidence points to his using HIS day for his meeting with us.

    4. Man does not have the right to change that day, only God does.

    5. Jesus is God.

    6. Jesus meets with HIS people, and sets HIS own pattern.

    7. Starting on the day he rose, Jesus started meeting with his people on the first/eighth day.

    8. Most the post-resurrection meetings, and ALL of them where attention is drawn to the DAY on which they met, were on the first day.

    9. Pentecost was on the first day.

    10. So, God CALLS the meeting, not us. Divine Jesus indicated by his example before he left us that he planned on meeting with his people each week on the first day. In other words, he set the pattern, HE (GOD) changed the day. And from the testimony of Acts, the first believers recognized that pattern, and attended Divine Jesus' called meetings. Those consistently take place on the first day. A further extension of the pattern.

    11. Then, when we get to Revelation, and we find John in the Spirit on the Lord's Day--what is this Day, if not the day that Jesus is meeting with his people? What else would YOU call that Day?

    12. John is taken up to heaven, to where the heavenly worship service is taking place--this is the service that we join in once a week, when we are supposed to be getting a taste of heaven. That is the imagery the writer of Hebrews invokes at the end of chapter 12. "We are come to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem."

    As Calvin said: True worship actually takes place in heaven.


    So... We don't call meetings for God to attend, God calls the meetings. And he doesn't leave it up to us to determine when HE's calling the meeting. The SON OF GOD calls meetings weekly to meet with his people. He started doing that before he left for heaven, and he continues to meet with us "in the Spirit" according to the pattern he left for the NT church--on the first day.

    This is no more complicated than the doctrine of the Trinity. If the NT Sabbath is "unblbilcal" because there's no verse that says states it so baldly, then the same argument could be made for the Trinity, since it isn't stated so baldly either.

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  9. > ... demanding a kind of juvenile "prooftext" version of biblical argumentation ...

    No, I'm not looking for a proof-text that says it all in a nutshell. Far from it. But I'd like something more than a bunch of

    stitched-together inferences, and that's all you've got. You try to compensate with contempt, but that doesn't help your argument.

    The idea that God demands some special once-a-week gathering is sheer fiction from a NT perspective. But even if you could prove it, that

    still falls far below the contention that we ought to refrain from work on Sunday and regard it as a Sabbath.

    You balk at it, but it's true: You're exalting your tradition, scraping together what little you have to make it work. It doesn't.

    Theologically, you're shooting blanks.

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  10. Contempt? Where has anything "anonymous" has written dropped to the level of your discourse?

    Stitched together inferences? That is called an argument. All that material is strictly biblical, so the argument is built on solid premises.

    By mocking it, you aaronic, are the one too contemptuous. Its beneath you to touch it. Too bad.

    You posited that Paul declared the law abolished in Romand 7. Your single point was answered, but you didn't bother to refute the rebuttal. That's true contempt.

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  11. > Where has anything "anonymous" has written dropped to the level of your discourse?

    What level is that? I haven't attacked anyone personally. I simply stated that I believe you're holding the Lord's Day obligation out of pure tradition ... and that you're molding the Scriptures around that tradition. There's no invective in stating that.

    I, on the other hand, have been identified with dispensationalism, told that I oppose your view simply because I dislike the Lord's Day, and that I'm "demanding a kind of juvenile 'prooftext' version of biblical argumentation."
    It's certainly not the worst I've been treated on this blog ... not by a longshot. But I sure wouldn't paint ME as an excessively abrasive element on Triablogue, considering the ultra-nasty discourse that abounds here.

    If you think I'm the one arguing at a low level of civility, it's only proof that you guys can dish it out in spades ... but you can't take it.

    > You posited that Paul declared the law abolished in Romand 7. Your single point was answered, but you didn't bother to refute the rebuttal.

    It wasn't a rebuttal. It was your opinion about what Paul meant, minus a supporting argument. My view is that Paul's plain language -- that we're "no longer under the law" -- is what he meant. But you're saying that he meant we're no longer under the law's penalty. The burden of proof is on you to establish that meaning before you promote your opinion to the level of a rebuttal.

    > Stitched together inferences? That is called an argument. All that material is strictly biblical, so the argument is built on solid premises.

    But everything I've appealed to is from the Bible, too. For that matter, everything a Jehovah's Witness appeals to is in the Bible. That doesn't mean a JW argument thereby rests on solid premises.

    Anyway, maybe you're right about this getting too rancorous. Maybe I am a tad testy. I'll bow out here and give you the last word.

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  12. hostus twinkius7/25/2007 11:52 PM

    For the record, I'm not the anonymous poster. You referred to some of my comments while addressing "anonymous".

    Firstly, you didn't respond fully to my counter-arguments. You didn't address the point of the widow analogy of Romans 7 (which is the only text you cite to support your position). Read Romans 7 in its context again.

    You also didn't address what I said about the Sabbath being established BEFORE the Mosaic covenant, before the fall, etc.

    Secondly, you've made no argument to prove that the division between ceremonial, moral and judicial is artificial. You've just said it, but not proved it.

    Thirdly, you've made no argument establishing your version of NT morality. Since you have effectively cast the Ten Commandments in the dustbin, you've got nothing but some generic "love" taken out of its' context. As I said before, the Ten Commandments reflect God's holy character. Obedience to God's commandments is not becoming a Jew to become a Christian. Obedience to the commandments doesn't justify a sinner before God, since no one can keep the commandments perfectly. We are saved by Christ, not our obedience. So, don't try to pin that one on me. I'm not a legalist. However, obedience to God's commandments is the desire and goal (by God's grace) of every Christian. Otherwise you're an antinomian. Apparently you're comfortable with that.

    You said:

    As a moral law, it's certainly inferior to the teaching of Jesus.

    Response:

    Are you kidding? Jesus explained the spiritual nature of the moral law. He corrected the Jewish misunderstanding of the Ten Commandments.

    You said:

    The Ten Commandments don't even contain the commandment to love God, to be sacrificial toward others, to deny yourself for others' sake, to be humble and forgiving, etc.

    Response:

    Huh? You should spend some more time reading the OT. It will help your understanding of the New. When Christ summed up the Ten Commandments it is indeed odd that He said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    If your assertion is true, it is also odd that He said "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:17-19).

    You have to twist and turn the verses to force them into your antinomianism.

    You said:

    The idea that Paul would have expected Gentile believers to keep the sabbath doesn't fit the tenor of his doctrine.

    Response:

    Did he expect Gentile believers to not steal, or commit murder and adultery? Did he expect them to flee from idolatry? Why? It doesn't fit the tenor of his doctrine?

    You said:

    This is a valiant effort, but none of what you cite here establishes a Christian sabbath. Yes, Christians met on the first day (although there's lots of evidence that they met much more often than that). Yes, there's a reference to a collection on that day. Yes, John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. Gluing these citations together still doesn't get you a sabbatarian Lord's Day obligation. That comes from tradition, which is where you're getting it.

    Response:

    And where do you suppose the tradition came from? Did it just fall from the sky? If I'm just gluing citations together, what do the verses mean? They just met on the first day--a meaningless detail. Does the Holy Spirit inspire words with almost no meaning, repeatedly, when it is mentioned in several contexts? Particularly with regard to the Lord meeting with His people and the church gathering together over time?

    You said:

    Just because someone doesn't find a Lord's Day obligation in the Bible doesn't mean there's something awry with their hearts. That's a pretty uncharitable assessment of some very good people.

    Response:

    No, it's not uncharitable. There are some very good men who are wrong. I didn't say they weren't Christians. I said they have a heart problem with something every Christian ought to love, just like you do.

    You said:

    Well, I don't know about that. The concept of Christians spending eternity in heaven is very obscure (some would say nonexistent) in the New Testament writings.

    Response:

    Whah? Maybe some more reading of the NT is in order also. Start with looking up "eternal life" in your concordance.

    You said:

    Most people attend church on Sunday because that's the prevailing tradition. (In the New Testament, the idea of "going to church" is foreign, anyway.)

    Response:

    "Going to church" is foreign to the NT because the Roman Empire was not exactly amenable to letting Christians build churches.

    You said:

    As for the correct day, I can just as well argue that "exhort one another daily" mandates daily church attendance, not just Sunday attendance.

    Response:

    No, you couldn't just as well argue that. If you could, then please do.

    You said:

    My view is that Paul's plain language -- that we're "no longer under the law" -- is what he meant.

    Response:

    That is a very superficial reading of the text. Is Paul abolishing the law? What does "under the law" mean? Again, read the context carefully.

    You said:

    The burden of proof is on you to establish that meaning before you promote your opinion to the level of a rebuttal.

    Response:

    Sorry, the burden of proof is on you since you were the one making the original assertion, an assertion rejected by Reformed theology.

    You said:

    But everything I've appealed to is from the Bible, too. For that matter, everything a Jehovah's Witness appeals to is in the Bible. That doesn't mean a JW argument thereby rests on solid premises.

    Response:

    It also doesn't mean that your argument thereby rests on solid premises either.

    Remember, you said " I nominate the Lord's Day obligation as THE most unbiblical dogma in all Protestant Christendom...bar none." So far, you've strung together Romans 7 and Colossians 2. If the Lord's Day is THE most unbiblical dogma in all Christendom surely you've got a more solid argument than this...

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  13. Well, I'll take that "last word" since I was so generously offered it.

    I'm just a visitor here too. So if you and I are both here visiting, and we both know there isn't any velvet glove treatment around here, doesn't seem to serve much purpose to come in, sound off by blasting a theological position--long held to be eminently biblical--as "THE most unbiblical... bar none" (offer no supporting argument) and then get critical about anyone's tone, least of all someone like myself simply making observations--such as that your points (even if you repudiate dispyism) sound identical to C.I. Schofield's. Does it help or hurt to know that? Beats me, its just a fact. I've know idea why you took that illumination like a personal attack.

    As for which takes priority: my tradition or Scripture, I'll let others examine the biblical argument I offered. May not be "convincing" to you, but it might be the "one convincing argument" (your words) for someone else. I make no apologies about believing doctrine established on a full and complete canon--Genesis thru Revelation. I don't need a "NT-only" argument.

    You also made it sound like no one addressed any part of your
    biblical appeal. Which is a startling claim, given at least two detailed replies by other contributors. At least you recognized that a string of bare assertions and appeals did not an argument make. All we know right now is: you don't "like" my argument. You didn't challenge even one premise! You just waved the hand and proclaimed "Tradition!"

    Oy vey.



    The following is all "just opinion" about what the text of Rom. 7 means. I haven't offered an explanation yet, but Gene did. But his was just an "opinon". So here goes. Just remember, folks, according to aaronc-reasoning this is no more reliable than a JW's opinion.

    Rom. 7:6 says we who are united to Christ (a product of justification) are discharged from the law, "so that (purpose) we slave." We slave "in the spirit" (sphere or source of empowerment) not "in the letter" (same usage). Paul's repeated point throughout is that the "letter" never had any real power anyway.

    So, what are we slaving about? Who is Master? How do we know what he wants us to do? Is it mystic? Or do we actually read it? Do we still deal with indwelling sin in this body that keeps us from knowing and doing right instinctively? (see v.24) Do we still need the teachers Jesus gave as gifts to his church (Eph. 4:11)? Does Paul actually say here in Rom. 7, "covet--don't covet, its no matter now"? Not hardly. He says the law is holy, just, and good AS IS. He says that he "delights in the law of God after the inner man" (v.22). No unsaved man delights in God's law in his heart of hearts. He HATES it as a matter of course.

    Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid (Rom. 6:15). Sin is lawlessness. Sin is obeying another Master other than God. Who defines righteousness? Where shall we find such a definition? Who shall correct our errors? By what standard?

    aaronic referenced Rom. 6:14, "no longer under the law," a statement that follows a future tense verb with imperatival force (command): "Sin shall not have dominion over you." aaronc states that he is the one taking this statement at face value. How is "law" the strength of sin? Is the law sinful? (may it never be Rom. 7:7). It is sin's strength because it condemns (1 Cor. 15:56). But the law doesn't belong to sin, but to God, to the Spirit (Rom. 8:2,4).

    So, does "under the law" (and see Gal 5:18) mean ruled by the law or condemned by the law? aaronc's "opinion" is that it obviously means rule, and we are free from rule. Well, I know that I just read that I'm a slave, so as a Christian, I'm ruled by a lawgiver. That's MY "opinion". "Not under law" means we are not under CONDEMNATION, of law, not out from under rule of law.

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  14. > Well, I'll take that "last word" since I was so generously offered it.

    OK, if you're going to be a wise guy, then I withdraw my generous offer.

    I suggest both you and Twinkius read Acts 15. There was problem facing the early church: Gentiles coming in and wondering how they should live. If the apostles had been of the Reformed faith, they would have directed these converts to the Ten Commandments. But the apostles weren't of the Reformed faith. Read what they required of the Gentiles. Nothing about the moral law and certainly, absolutely, not a syllable about some requirement to keep Sunday as a special Lord's Day or Christian sabbath.

    Not one command appears in the New Testament about keeping Sunday as a sabbath day, and you know it. And yet, you search high and low for any veiled inference, any reference to the first day that you can turn into a proof.

    The strength of these arguments is equal to the a Catholic quoting "all generations shall call me blessed" to support the adoration of Mary. They don't necessarily demonstrate what is being asserted. Reformed citations do prove that, at least in Corinth, believers were gathering on the first day and took up a collection. Big deal! To go from that to a Lord's Day obligation is a gargantuan leap over the Grand Canyon. How do you justify it??

    You're not impressed that there's no NT reference to the Christian sabbath because you draw your truth from Genesis to Revelation. OK, then I repeat the question I asked earlier: How do you know what your sabbath obligation is under the New Covenant? Must we still extinguish all fires? Must we refrain from travel? How do you know which requirements have passed and which are still in force? Maybe the requirement to refrain from work passed away with them other elements -- how would you know??

    Answering Twinkius:
    It's not antinomian (a favorite Reformed taunt) to believe that Christians no longer live by the rule of Moses. Christians live by the law of love and there's nothing vague about that. Everyone who loves a person treats that person well, with or without a written code to dictate every act. What idiocy if a person were to say, "I love my mother, but I don't know how to treat her unless someone gives me a detailed code." How insulting if someone reminded me of my obligation not to steal from my mother, lie to her, kill her, etc. And yet, that's what you guys are doing in the realm of religion. Despite everything in the NT about living by the Spirit and living by love, you think we still have to consult "the manual" in order to know what's right and wrong in any given case. God has written His law on the heart, but you still want to drag stone tablets around with you. (And anyone who doesn't want to is an "antinomian.")

    Also, "eternal life" (or "life of the age") doesn't prove anything about going to heaven. The prevailing idea of the New Testament is that the earth will become new and God will dwell here with men.

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  15. And as long as I've taken back my last-word offer:

    Paul wrote, "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" Here he's addressing the antinomian question. But if he had taught the Reformed view, why would he even write such a thing? Wouldn't he answer the objection by simply reminding them, "You are still under the law as a rule of life, it's only the penalty of the law that you are dead to." That doesn't fit at all.

    And he also wrote, "So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."

    Again, this doesn't fit your view. Paul says his readers died to the law so they could (1) bring forth fruit, (2) no longer let the flesh control them and (3) serve in the Spirit. He's talking about living the spiritual life ... sans the law. The Reformed notion of law is a square peg that you're trying to force into Paul's doctrine. It doesn't work.

    One other thing. Smearing your opponent with "Scofield" is an argument unworthy of you. Yes, I think that even a cursory reading of the NT reveals a difference between living under the Old and New covenants. It's not TOTAL, as Scofield would teach. But it's certainly there. Still, I object to Scofield's "parenthetical church age," his dispensational divisions and his nutty end-time scenarios as much as you do. He's a crackpot.

    To say, "That's just like Scofield" is like someone saying, "The Reformed faith and the Mormon faith are alike: They both believe in baptism ... they're the same; they both believe in the application of water to converts." That would be silly, wouldn't it?


    Answering Twinkius:
    > "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:17-19).

    You have to twist and turn the verses to force them into your antinomianism.


    If this saying of Jesus indicates that the Jewish law is still in full force today, then you'd better start keeping kosher, and celebrating the feast days. Also, get circumcised if you haven't already. Otherwise, you're liable to be an antinomian.

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  16. Reply to aaronc

    "I suggest both you and Twinkius read Acts 15."

    Why are you directing us to new Scriptures when you refuse to address the ones cited previously? Did you read 1 Tim. 1?

    We use Acts 15 all the time to defend the propriety of church councils. That council refused to lay the Gentiles under circumcision--and by implication ALL the ceremonies of Judaism.

    "Nothing about the moral law"

    Did you even read Acts 15 to bone up before you posted this? The council continued the Gentile's obligation to the the 7th commandment--and by implication ALL the rest of the moral law (moral-ceremonial being a distinction you already rejected as "artificial", again without offering an argument).

    But you are going to tell us how those men of Jerusalem "would have" argued if they agreed with Reformed theology? Please. They wrote as they did addressing a specific issue, so unless you can show by exegesis how what they wrote directly contradicts Reformed teaching on law, you have no argument here either.

    You want to be a teacher on the subject of the law, "even though [you] do not understand either what [you] are saying or the matters about which [you] make confident assertions." Paul had your predecessors in mind when he wrote on THIS VERY SUBJECT to Timothy.

    You're not impressed that there's no NT reference to the Christian sabbath

    No, I flat out denied your assertion that there wasn't such. In fact, I appealed to Jesus, in the New Testament, the Minister of the New Covenant, teaching the proper use of the Sabbath (See Mark 1:29-2:28). The essential obligation of the day is unchanged. Later I argued from the New Testament witness that God changed the day itself, leaving the obligation unchanged.

    Your response? Hand waving. "Tradition!" No, its tradition that refuses to grapple with the argument. I on the other hand am happy to address every new text you run off to.

    Trying to connect NT sabbatarianism to Romanism in general, or their marian adoration (as defended by an acontextual prooftext) is comical. Analogy (poor one) minus any connecting argument. Not that it bothers me, because now that you posted that snipet from Luke 1:48, the difference in the two claims are obvious to anyone who reads this thread--a Scriptural argument versus a prooftext. Right. Exactly the same.

    Finally, trying to argue from what Paul "should have done if he agreed with you" is only going to work if you can show that what he DID say doesn't fit at all a Reformed interpretation. Paul isn't addressing antinomianism per se in his question (Rom. 6:1) but argues against licentiousness. And the way he does that is by appealing to "union with Christ."

    Licentiousness is motivation for unrighteousness (or sin, which equals lawlessness, 1 Jn. 3:4), just as Union with Christ is motivation for righteousness (sin's opposite, which equals the opposite of lawlessness). So, Paul shouldn't argue any different than he does in Romans 6, if he agrees with the Reformed view.

    Your interpretation of Romans 7:1-6 was addressed earlier, so I won't rehash it. Once again the issue is union with Christ as the energizing motivation to live holy. Living a "spiritual life sans the law" (without reference to morality) is an oxymoron. Paul says the law is spiritual (v.14); it is holy, just and good (v.12); and he delights in the law in his heart (v.22). He certainly isn't delighting in circumcision or sacrifices! So what "law" is he delighting in? The moral, of course. The Spiritual.

    You appeal to the "law of love" (which is nothing but the New Testament expression of the Old Testament "Love the Lord your God" and "Love your neighbor"). You say its now written on our hearts, so more worry about what's written down. So, do you think it was pointless for Jesus to give teachers to his church to teach, reprove, correct and train in righteousness, 2 Tim. 3:16? How do we know what "righteousness" is? What is the teacher supposed to "reprove" in your behavior? Or are you a Perfectionist? Is he supposed to say, "tsk tsk, that's not loving now...!" every time you sin, ah, that is: do lawlessness?

    Aaronc's law-analysis is far too simplistic--all or nothing. But even a superficial reading of the Old Testament would reveal the two greatest legal distinctions: eternal and positive. Unless one subscribes to a "divine command" theory (which is that ALL law is simply God's whim), then there is law that proceeds from God's changeless character (be holy for I am holy), and positive law (do such and such for the time being). Aaronc plainly believes in positive law, because he says that God dispensed with ALL his OT moral commands.

    But unless he agrees that there is a changeless morality (which finds its expression in various places in Scripture beside the 10 commandments, as well as partially in the secular codes of men, Rom. 2:14-15) when he removes law as rule, he also removes morality. "For where there is no law, there is also no violation/sin" (Rom. 4:15, cf. 3:20 & 5:13).

    So, is there this permanent morality or not? If yes, we ought to be able to find it in Scripture. We ought to be able to distinguish exegetically between what is applicable to us, and what isn't. Aaronc would have us believe there is NO WAY to figure this out. Is he correct? Is the only portion of Scripture practically and morally relevant to us found from Acts forward? See, fundamentally in God's economy, there is no difference between what is legal and what is moral. Because all immorality will be judged legally, or already has been judged legally in Christ.

    Remember, Aaronc says that using the full canon for moral instruction would bind us to the details of the Mosaic Law. Really? But Hebrews says otherwise. Hebrews says "don't go back to ceremonies. They are fulfilled in Christ." And we've already argued that Paul is a distinguisher of "parts" as well as "uses" of the Law. Paul should not be pitted against himself at any point, but rather harmonized.

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  17. hostus twinkius7/30/2007 10:54 PM

    AaronC,

    I've already said this, but I'll repeat myself one more time. We are not SAVED by our obedience to the Law, however God expects our obedience to His commandments. After all, when you sin, it is by *breaking* the commandments. How else will you discern what sin is and is not?

    You haven't really interacted with my previous comments, you have just jumped from one lily pad to another.

    You want to cite Acts 15? What was being addressed there? The question being addressed was whether or not Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. Now, do you expect the council there to give a full systematic theological response about obedience to the Ten Commandments? No, I wouldn't. But what was the answer? "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these ESSENTIALS: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols [Hmmm, sounds like something to do with a commandment or something]....and from fornication" [wow, where did they get that one?]. So, your cap gun is firing blanks.

    And it IS *antinomianism* to believe that Christians have no law to obey but the law of "love". Christians are not UNDER the law in the sense of judgment, but they are to obey the law by God's grace. Otherwise you're *against law*, thus antinomian. That's the accurate term. We would not know what "love" is were it not for the Ten Commandments which *define* biblical love to God and to our neighbor.

    And yes, you do need to be told how to treat your mother. Otherwise God wouldn't have to tell you to honor her.

    You need to read your Bible as one book with two sections. Not two books where the newer version is better than the old. It is leading you to false conclusions and causing you to misunderstand and misapply the Scriptures. That is a brotherly, sincere exhortation...

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  18. hostus twinkius7/30/2007 11:00 PM

    Just so as to clarify my last comment, the NT is better than the Old in the appropriate sense. We have greater light and greater revelation through the NT, and Christ has come and fulfilled the OT types and shadows. We are under the covenant of grace not the covenant of works. However, the NT has an OT framework. To miss this is a mistake...

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