Jun 25

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Having failed to examined the word “patternists,” which was intended to be in last weeks article, we will do so in this fourth article in this series. Is there a “pattern” for the church in the areas of: organization, worship, and work? Many in the religious world laugh at the idea, as they see no “pattern” for the church in any area. Thus, they use the word “patternists” which is not really a word, but is used to prejudice the reader against the idea. However, the New Testament does use the word “pattern!”
In the eighth chapter of Hebrews, the writer is addressing the subject of the tabernacle which was built in the wilderness. First, the writer points out the priests: “ Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, (In fact, this was the nature of the Old Law.) as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Verse 5). The Greek word here use is “tupos” which means: “1) the mark of a stroke or blow, print, 2) a figure formed by a blow or impression, 3) form, and 4) an example.” Then, under number four these words are given: “4a) in the technical sense, the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made.” After reading these, here is a question: “Just how much freedom did Moses have in building the tabernacle?” Or, would “our writer,” referring to the man who wrote: “For simplicity’s sake, we can divide the group into two factions. One group is the traditional faction. This group is sometimes referred to by outsiders as ‘ultraconservative’ or “legalistic” or “legalistic patternists;” thus would you have to call God a “legalistic patternist” because he told Moses to “make the tabernacle … according to the pattern?”
However, the fact that Moses was a “patternist,” does not prove that the church built by Jesus (Matt. 16:18) has a “pattern” in organization, worship, and work! Here is a good place to ask: “Just what is “the teaching of Christ?” Let John answer the question: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Clearly, “the teaching of Christ” is that which we must continue to abide within! Is then a “pattern?” Is it a “form” that must be followed? Here give thought to Paul’s words: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form (tupos) of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). Note the word “form” is the Greek “tupos,” which is also translated “pattern!” In order to be saved, the Romans saints had “obeyed from the heart that pattern of doctrine (teaching, frw) which was delivered” them. If they had to obey that pattern of teaching in order to be saved; do we think we can do less and still be saved? If so, upon what teaching? Would “our writer” call the Roman saints “legalistic patternists?” Better yet, would he call Paul, the inspired apostle of Christ a “legalistic patternist?”
So, how about the “pattern” for the organization, worship, and work, of the church? Once more it is clear the denominational world see no “pattern” for any of these three areas in the New Testament! However, notice what Luke wrote about the action of the apostle: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed” (Acts 14:23). Are the words, “in every church,” strong enough to be a “pattern?” If not, just what would it take to be a “pattern? The same thing can be found when it comes to worship. Just look at what the churches did under the oversight of the apostles and accept it as a “pattern.” If they were not establishing a “pattern,” just what were they doing? The same thing is true about the work of the church. If we cannot read where the church under the oversight of the apostles of Christ did it, just where would do we go to get authority for doing it?
Jesus said: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If this authority is not within “the teaching of Christ,” just where is it? Therefore, if one means by using the words, “legalistic patternist,” that I am one who abides within “the teaching of Christ,” just mark me up as a “legalistic patternist!” How about you?

— Frank R. Williams

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