Nov 27

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By this time, you may be wondering, well, just how do we ascertain “New Testament Authority,” as there are no commandments? This is true even with the Lord’s Supper, which we will continue to use as an example. There are no commandments: 1) thou should take the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week; 2) there is no commandment as to the elements that make up the Lord’s Supper, such as the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine; and 3) who is to take the Lord’ Supper?
Remember, we are using Martin Luther and his view of authority: “If the New Testament does not forbid it, then, that is authority for it!” We have seen just how wide open this view is; as it would allow, “cornbread and buttermilk,” as the elements that make up the Lord’s Supper. Of course, no one is using “cornbread and buttermilk,” but we could as there is no place in the New Testament that says, that they are forbidden! Just think how wide-open Luther’s view of authority really is: “If it is not forbidden!
Throughout this series of articles, I have written: “If the church did it under the oversight of the apostles of Christ, then, the church may do the same things today.” This needs one qualifying point, as some people, who are always looking for some “new thing” that the church did not do, under the oversight of the apostles. Allow me with approvel to simply add to my statement, calling attention to the words: “with approval.” I have read, which church are you talking about, the one in Corinth? You see, the church in Corinth did, or allowed several things which they did without “approval of the apostles!” Just so you can understand what I am writing about, allow me to point out what is meant. The church in Corinth allowed a man to have his father’s wife: “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife” (1 Cor. 5:1). Just here, allow me to put before you, is there anywhere in the New Testament, other than the passage we just quoted, and even here, the words, “forbidden” do not appear; thus, the Corinthian church was within Luther’s view of New Testament Authority! Common sense, would tell us that what was allowed by the church in Corinth was truly forbidden! But, “common sense,” is truly lacking in some people! Paul corrected the Corinthian church, in these words: “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (verses 2-5). I was once teaching First Corinthians in a Bible class, and made the point, that such a person, as written by Paul, that the Corinthian church was here commanded “To deliver such an one unto Satan.” Of course, I followed with Paul’s words, “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved.” There was in the class, a man who had been a preacher of the gospel (By “had been” is meant that he was no longer preaching.), who became so full of anger with me, that for months he would not speak to me! Therefore, the point of this paragraph is to show, that yes, it might be said there were “two churches in Corinth;” the one who obeyed the words of the apostle and the one that did not; however, it is easy to see, that one was approved of by the apostle and one was not! It is a shame that some within the churches of Christ would dare to use such a foolish question: “Which church are you talking about?
Therefore, the qualifying words, “with apostolic approval!” Less we forget the statement under review: “There is New Testament Authority for the church today to do what the church in the first century, under the oversight of the apostles, with approval did. If we read the New Testament with this view in mind, we can reach the right conclusion about New Testament Authority!” We can also see, clearly, that this was the “view” of the early church, as they looked to the “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Before concluding this article, let me to show the Greek word translated “for” is the Greek, “huper” and means: “for the sake of, instead, regarding;” thus, the apostles, not every Christian,” spoke in the place of Christ! The apostles had such authority; thus, my words, “with approval under the oversight of the apostles!” Meaning, the church today, may do what the church of the first did, with the approval of the apostles of Christ!”
In concluding this article, let me say, most Christians understand my point, even when they do not express it, in so many words! So, do you view the church of today in this manner?

Frank R. Williams

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