Thursday, February 3, 2011

When Intentions Meet Examples


What happens when good intentions bump up against biblical examples? Specifically related to the church, what happens when an idea based in good intentions meets in scripture an example that is completely different? How should we handle this?

Let's take an example: the construction of large church buildings.

What happens when a church, after much prayer, believes that they are led by the Holy Spirit to construct a new building of some kind?  It could be an addition to what they already have or a completely new gathering facility. Either way, the outlay of money is significant but the reason is to minister to both the church body and the surrounding community.  Let's say the church doesn't even have to take out a mortgage but instead pays for it in cash (unlikely these days).  The new building is constructed with only good intentions.

When we look in the bible we never see a church construct a building in which to gather.  The early church met occasionally in the temple and Paul gathered with believers in the Hall of Tyrannus.  However, the general practice, especially outside of Jerusalem, was to meet in homes.  Also, please note that those buildings were not constructed by churches.  They already existed.

What do we do in this situation?  A church, with good intentions, believes that the Holy Spirit has led them to construct a new building.  They believe this so much that they even have a special service "dedicating the building to God."  They are determined to serve both the saved and lost through the new edifice.  Meanwhile, the scriptures never hint that churches should build gathering places.  Instead the model is generally home meetings, with occasional gatherings in pre-existing buildings.

In this situation we actually have a contradiction: a well-intentioned building project contrasting with no new buildings in the bible.  What do we do with this?  Must we follow the model we see in scripture, or are we free to do what we feel led to do?  What if they contradict each other?  Are the differences simply cultural and therefore unimportant, or are we to learn something from what the original church was doing?

These are important questions that need to be answered.  I think we all agree that either extreme is absurd and incorrect.  On the one hand we can't simply say that we have good intentions and/or say that the Holy Spirit led us, and then proceed to do blatantly unbiblical things (such as embrace false gospels or gross immorality).  On the other hand, we also don't have to follow the biblical model so exactly that we move to Israel or Greece, wear loose fitting garments, and read from scrolls.

But what do we do when the situation is, for lack of a better term, somewhat gray?  For example, what about buildings?

I believe we must begin with what we know for certain.  We know that the early church did not construct buildings.  They seem to have had more than simply pragmatic reasons for this.  Small gathering places led more naturally to community in Christ.  Also, they were then free to give to the poor instead of a building fund.  In the end, we know they didn't build church buildings.

What about those who say that they have good intentions, prayed about it, and were led by the Holy Spirit to build their new edifice?  My question to them is, "How do you know what the Spirit led you to do?"  If they say that they "just knew," then I start to really have doubts.  If they say that they were all in agreement, I could respond by saying that groups can make wrong decisions.  If they say that the felt positive about it, I could say that I feel negative.  This becomes extremely subjective.

We need to remember that the Holy Spirit inspired scripture and has given us all we need to know in scripture (for faith and practice).  The Spirit testifies to the truths of scripture.

In making decisions, we need to look somewhere objective.  We have that in the bible.

(There are certainly areas of freedom in this life that are not specifically addressed in scripture.  I think the use of alcohol, for example, is one of these.  It is not directly addressed in scripture - use not abuse - so we have freedom there.  In this post I'm talking about what is directly modeled for us).

When good intentions bump up against the biblical model, I'll go with the biblical model.  As for the construction of church buildings, it really doesn't matter what people's intentions are or how they feel about it. Those buildings go directly against what we have modeled for us in the bible.  The bible is objective in that we can read it and understand it.  We may disagree on its interpretation, but we can still comprehend it.

Intentions must bow before scripture both in what is commanded and modeled.  Otherwise, almost any issue can become subjective and lead to all sorts of damaging conclusions.

22 comments:

Arthur Sido said...

I thought you were going to be too busy to blog much?

A perfect example of this is St Andrews in Florida, building a huge new building (along with a seminary of sorts) to showcase Sproul. What happens when he goes home?

Eric said...

Arthur,

I'm out sick today. Bad cold/flu. So far I've been able to blog frequently, but I'm not sure how much longer that will happen.

As for Sproul - sigh. Why do they cry "sola scriptura" and then violate scripture on so many church-related things? The power of tradition.

Richie said...

This post is directly connected to the one from yesterday. Intentional? :)

I believe the bible allows for extra-biblical practice. The bible makes several references to tradition, but doesn't outline what those traditions were. So we have an endorsement, from scripture that there were church practices that were authorized, but not written.

I think the limitation that is on that, is that traditions aren't supposed to be doctrines.

We really do have that kind of liberty to practice things not explicitly covered in scripture, as long as they don't contradict scripture. I don't see how building a place for the exclusive use of honoring God is in contradiction to scripture.

How about your wife? Did God tell you to marry her, or did the bible? Sure, the bible can give you wisdom on who to marry, but even God gave divine insight to people who were to marry specific people.

Note: The question "Wanna water my camels?" is not a good pick up line. *snicker*

The Bible's strength is that it is static, perfect for establishing doctrine and a place to appeal to for authority.

The Spirit's strength is that it is dynamic, perfect to lead us to places we are being called to. The Bible never "calls" us, the Spirit does.

As I wrote this, I was reminded that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, AND appealed to the Scripture in matters of authority and doctrine. That is the balance I believe we all need to have.

God bless, Richie
http://rcsthe.blogspot.com

Eric said...

Richie,

This post is connected with yesterday's. I guess I'm still just thinking it through.

I agree that we have freedom where scripture is silent. However, it is not silent on the construction of buildings. The early church never built any. That is the example we have set for us. If we are going to construct a new church building, then we are directly contradicting the biblical example.

If we are going to start contradicting biblical examples, we had better have a good reason for doing so. What's the reason? Can we really say that the Holy Spirit would lead us to do something that His inspired scripture does not?

As for marriage, the bible speaks positively about it. I had freedom in who I married, but I had to do it within the biblical definition of marriage. I don't really see the application of this example.

Your last few paragraphs concern me a bit. I'd appreciate if you would elaborate a little. It sounds like you are pitting the Spirit against the scriptures. I'm sure you aren't actually doing that.

Let me ask another couple of questions: How do you know what the Spirit is leading/inspiring you to do? Would the Spirit ever lead you to do something that goes against the scriptural example in something significant?

Richie said...

By no means am I pitting the Spirit against the scriptures. I believe the Spirit inspired the scriptures themselves, so they should be harmonious.

I do disagree that the absence of church building in the scriptures means we shouldn't be building churches. Synagogues were constructed, I think it is just a practical thing we do. I think cell groups have gotten popular, and people are meeting in the same "house to house" manner, increasingly more so.

My last paragraph was an illustration how we need both the Spirit and the scriptures. Both have their place in the life of a believer, and you cannot rely exclusively on one or the other.

Examples for doing something that contradicts the scriptures... I think Jesus gave the example of David going into the house and eating the bread that was lawful for only the priests to eat.

David clearly contradicted the letter, and biblical example.

In marriage, you don't give your wife a book. You spend time with her and relate to her, talk to her, etc. That is the substance of the relationship. We don't have a relationship with the Bible, we have a relationship with God.

Jesus said, my sheep know my voice, and they follow me wherever I go.

I confess, I'm still learning this and still growing (who isn't). I've done things and said "this is God leading me here..." and it was a big dead end, so in the end I'm like... did God lead me there, or did I take a wrong turn? Or did God lead me there to let me learn from it?

I think that is part of Christianity, corporately and individually to learn and know His voice.

I sincerely apologize for these sermon-like comments, not my intention. :)

Eric said...

Richie,

Don't worry - your comments aren't coming across as sermon-like.

I imagine that we agree on this issue much more than we disagree. This type of communication is limiting and therefore often makes disagreements seem larger than they actually are.

Where I'm struggling with this issue (not you but in general) is this: If we say we can contradict what is modeled in the bible, then where does this line of thinking stop? I believe this is one of the reasons the church in this country is so sick.

We have a relationship with Jesus, not the bible. I agree completely. I believe that because He loves His church, He has told us how to function in ways that most honor Him. This comes through both command and example. He hasn't left us to wonder.

Aussie John said...

Eric,

I agree with your idea that Biblical example is important, especially where priorities are concerned.

Most church buildings incur huge debt which has to be met from the collective budget, which means that a large part of the offering will be directed to paying, not only for bricks and mortar, but also, quite substantial interest payment.

Is a congregation justified in spending such money when the clearly obvious needs (spiritual, food, shelter,health, etc.), of the Jerusalem in which they have been planted, have not been met?

Can we justify ourselves by leaning on the silence of Scripture?

rodrigo said...

Eric-I really enjoy reading your blog and we have similar thoughts about God's desire for his Church.
I've been gathering with other believers in a housechurch setting for over a decade. I must say though that I am agreeing with what Richie is saying. I posted a similar comment as Richie on your Dec. 10 post A Few Important Conclusions. The last few paragraphs Richie wrote on his first post are better than I could write myself. However I do have a few examples I can give.

A HC our HC relates to had a situation where a woman was apart of their group for a long time. She was Catholic and also attended HC. One time she shared with the HC that she felt like God was leading her to stop attending Catholic Church and HC. She felt led to go to her unbelieving husband and offer that she would like to attend church with him at his childhood's denomination(A traditional protestant church) The entire HC felt good about this even though she would be going against scriptural example by attending a church building and spectator worship. When she presented her willingness to go to her husbands denomination, her husband responded in the positive and started attending church again and growing in the Lord.

Another personal example is that I grew up in a Mennonite home and I felt the Spirit's release on women not wearing coverings long before I had a good scriptural reasoning for it. It seemed that Mennonites were right on this until I read Steve Atkersons view in Towards a Housechurch Theology.

The early church did not have access to the scripture in the way we do today. When the bible refers to the Word it is not necessarily refering to scripture. The Word was refering to the spoken revelation of Christ by the apostles as well as other believers. The Christians were depending on the indwelling Christ to guide them into all Truth. Not all "apostles" were speaking truth according to Paul.

I would be interested to hear more of your thoughts on what Richie asked about David eating forbidden bread. Or Jesus vandalizing stores in the temple or Abraham sacrificing his son. I believe that they all were following the Spirit but one could find scriptural arguments against.

The church really needs people like yourself who take the bible seriously. But it also needs people like Richie to remind us that we our not just following a text but an indwelling Lord, and I am sure you agree with this and I am sure Richie takes the bible seriously. We just need to sharpen each other's swords and keep relating to the Truth.

Tim A said...

In my thinking the basis is not NT model so much as NT instructions we need to obey in order to be rewarded as obedient. When I look at any church building of any size or style, I know there is a pulpit and pews in there for one-way communication to dominate the saints gathering - 99% of the time. This is disobedient function. Buildings yank believers out of obedient function into disobedient function.

That is only one of the disobedient functions that will happen in the systemic elements of what WIll go on in a special building for crowd oriented gatherings and sorting people out into age and interest groups for comfort zone relationships.

I don't need a command "thou shalt not build buildings". I just need a heart for obedience. It is amazing the slick lies Satan dangles out there on a hook and how many saints bit when the Word is in plain English.

Eric said...

John,

"The silence of scripture." You are so right to mention this. Far too many things have been done "for the Lord" through the centuries that have no basis in scripture because "scripture is silent."

The more I read the bible, the more I see (as you have as well) that it is not silent on anything that truly matters in the life.

As for new church buildings, what a disaster! The amount spent is this country alone is obscene. I struggle to talk with other Christians about this issue because most simply don't see it. They are using pragmatics, as opposed to the bible, as their guide.

Eric said...

Rodrigo,

Thank you for commenting. I appreciate the interaction.

As for Richie, my guess is that if he and I sat down with scripture in front of us and the Spirit guiding us, we would come to agreement on a great deal.

I'm thrilled for you that you are gathering with others in a manner that is edifying. As for the woman who left to be with her husband, I think that's wonderful. She was putting his needs before her own.

I'm not sure that I completely understand what you mean in the 4th paragraph of your comment. How do you view the authority of scripture for us today? Does the Spirit guide us to do things we don't see in scripture? If so, where does this end? Is there anything we can't do as long as we don't violate commands of scripture?

Let me address the three biblical examples you mentioned.

As for David, his example shows that God's mercy supersedes the ceremonial law. This account, however, is no permission for us to then say we can contradict what we see in the pages of the NT.

As for Jesus in the temple, He was claiming that it is His house and that the "worship" there was corrupt. As God, He had every right to cleanse the temple of these sinful practices.

Regarding Abraham, he was obedient to God. God had no intention of him actually killing Isaac. It was a test.

What I'm really getting at in this post is areas where we see something set forth as an example to us in scripture. Meeting in homes is an example of this. We also never see churches construct buildings. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit ever guides us to violate examples of church life that carry theological significance.

What about new church buildings? If we say we need to build them because of need for space, then we are appealing to pragmatics as our authority. If we say the Spirit is leading us to do this, how do we know this? It can quickly become incredibly subjective. If we look to scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we see something objective.

Does the Spirit speak? Yes. Is the bible more important than the Spirit? No. Does the Spirit speak to us in the bible? Yes.

Eric said...

Tim,

I agree that all sorts of problems begin when we jettison the biblical model for man-made ideas. I want to ask, "Who are we to say that we know better about the church than the writers of scripture?"

francisdrakeprivateer said...

I see this as a battle between Tree of Knowledge of Good or Evil, and Tree of Life. Adam's decision making all over again every day!

Most of church fills itself weekly (more like weakly!) at the tree of knowledge.

Tree of knowledge is all about weighing up the pros and cons of a situation and answering from human intellect, God being excluded out of the decision. Or to be more precise God being subservient to the decision.

A good example is the "give us a king" story in the OT. The Israelites had made their mind up that they wanted to be like all the nations. This, despite God wanting them to be NOTHING like the nations!
God warns them off the idea with all sorts of truths about the damage it will bring.
God is clearly being rejected that he shall NO LONGER REIGN OVER THEM.
They insist, and God grants their wish, AND THEN ANOINTS SAUL THEIR NEW KING, WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
What!!!! I would have fried the lot of them!
But one of the principles of God is that he grants man his foolish freewill! This is most important to the nature of God.
Man was granted dominion over the earth, and man made his choices.
An examination of this decision by say Saul himself, or all those present, would produce the clear confirmation that GOD ANOINTED THEIR PLANS OF A MONARCHY.-
THEREFORE IT MUST BE THE WILL OF GOD!!!!
Er, no. God said it was rebellion. It was only because of God's father heart and mercy that he went along with their version of events.
This is why we believe so many Tree of knowledge ideas are from God

rodrigo said...

Hi Eric,
I wanted to respond to some of your questions. But first I want to reiterate that we do have a lot in common and I am responding as someone who is walking along with you in this search for Truth not debating for debating’s sake. I commend you for the leap of faith in your financial situation in leaving a job that you didn’t feel God was leading you in.

Having been exposed to this “housechurch theology” back in the early 90’s, I didn’t have all the good scriptural theological arguments that abound on the internet today. I just had this feeling that something was missing in our church. Something was wrong but I couldn’t articulate it like I can today. But I did have a passion for Christ and a desire to experience church like it was experienced by the early believers.

Because of the solid housechurch theological grounds it seems to be accepted and promoted by many from a strong intellectual basis. While this is helpful for debating and proving one’s point, I do see a danger of it moving towards a legalism that could place the Spirit in a box and potentially cause much division similar as what happened to the Anabaptist or other groups that determined to follow the Bible.

As far as your questions, I view the scripture as authoritative but not absolutely authoritative. This belongs to Christ alone. The scripture says that all authority is in Christ. Yes I do believe the Spirit can guide us to do things we don’t see in scripture. Although I don’t agree with the waste of finances going into church buildings, I don’t think I could say that the Spirit would never direct a church to buy or rent a building. Even Alan’s church fellowship does this.

As far as when does the Spirit’s leading end and where could following the Spirit take you--- The Spirit’s leading will never take you into sin, but it may take us beyond our intellectual understanding of Scripture. Our trust is based on our connection to the vine and that inner knowing in your knower that you know. When we are truly honest with ourselves and with God we can trust him, more than the certainties of our mind, to guide us. And I like Richie am still in the growing process of this. I think this is what John was referring to in 1 John 2:27, “As for you the anointing you received from him remains in you….but as his anointing teaches you about all things…” I realize this can seem very subjective, non-controllable, and non-provable to others, as well as scary, but it really isn’t. Because our dependence is on Christ not ourselves to keep us on track, and he is able.

Finally if you are interested in understanding more of what I was talking about in paragraph 4, I would recommend reading an article by Jim Fowler entitled “Christianity is NOT a Book-religion” at www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotbrel.html. He’s a systematic theologian and covers it in much more detail than I want to type.

Oh and by the way my real name is Rod. I have commented a few times on Alan’s blog also. I just typed my Spanish name into google when it asked, to give me a little more sense of confidentiality.

Eric said...

Rod,

Thank you for responding. I'm also thankful for your respectful attitude.

I agree that we also probably have a good deal in common.

However, I think we have a different understanding of legalism. I believe legalism occurs when we go beyond the bounds of scripture. If we expect someone to live in a certain way that exceeds the commands, teachings, or examples of the NT, then we have legalism.

I do not think it is legalistic to expect Christians to follow the biblical model in church life. God has given us that information to guide how we live, not just for basic information.

I agree that we follow Christ and not the bible. However, the loving Christ has given us a book to help us know His expectations. It gives us some measure of certainty for all key aspects of life. The Spirit leads us to follow what we see in scripture.

You wrote, "Our trust is based on our connection to the vine and that inner knowing in your knower that you know." I'll be honest Rod. This worries me if it ever leads you outside of the biblical model in theological issues.

Finally, let me respectfully say that I believe Christianity is most definitely a book religion. I believe this in the sense that God consistently revealed Himself through the pages of scripture to us. He still guides us through this book. The Holy Spirit is the person leading us. His leading directs us to what we know from the bible.

For example, in our daily life we may see a person in need. The Holy Spirit will prompt us to help that person. How do we know to do this? Is it some sort of warm feeling? No. We know it because the Spirit testifies to what we know from the bible.

Rod, I know you are my bother in Christ. We both want to follow the Spirit. We both desire to be obedient to scripture. These things unite us.

My question remains however: on what basis can we say that the Holy Spirit would ever lead us beyond what He has inspired in scripture?

When we leave the scriptural model behind, where do we end?

rodrigo said...

Eric, Sorry to hear that your family is sick. Our family went thru what sounds like the same thing last week. I know what you mean about missing time together with the Lord and his body.

I am sorry to hear that I am your bother in Christ :) ,but I think I know what you meant.

I did want to correct my statement about Anabaptist desire to follow the bible and the divisions occuring over disagreements on how it applies. This occurred later on in there history and not in the early stages. The early Anabaptists had a strong emphasis on sola Christus while the protestants had a strong emphasis on sola scriptura. Unfortunately many Anabaptists ended up dead in the end.

I strongly disagree with your statement that Christianity is a book religion. I don't think scripture reveals this by the text or example. Jesus said follow me not a book. He said it was possible to search the scripture and miss him. I believe that the scripture describes the living relationship that they were deriving from their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and not the other way around.

I also realize that I depend on the scripture more than what it may sound from my writing and you I am sure depend on the Spirit more than the scriptures than you may realize, but I feel that we do have a key difference in what we base our foundation on in this area.

I also very much consider you my brother in Christ and if I lived in your area would join your gathering. We would just have to disagree on this one area until one of us would change our viewpoints and that does happen. I know mine change sometimes.

I would be interested in others thoughts on this area who might be reading this blog as well.

May we all grow in our relationship with The Way, The Truth, and The Life!

Rod

Eric said...

Rod,

I'm glad we can have this important discussion is a loving, edifying, and helpful way. The only frustrating thing for me is the medium of the internet - it is so limiting in nature. Oh well.

Please let me clarify my beliefs just a bit. I believe we Christians all have a relationship with the living Christ. He is our reason for living, our Lord and Savior, and our joy. Without Him life is meaningless.

Christ has graciously sent His Holy Spirit to lead and guide all we do. It is only through His power that we can do anything at all that pleases God.

I believe the Spirit has in scripture provided us with direct teaching, principles, and examples to guide how we live our lives. The Spirit actively directs us through what He has given us in the bible.

In light of this, my conviction is that the Spirit would never lead us to contradict the scriptures in what they teach, give in principle, or provide in example.

Let me ask you a couple of questions because I really do desire to understand your position on this. What specifically do you believe the Spirit either has or might lead you to do that would contradict what is either taught, given in principle, or given in example in the bible? If you believe the Spirit is leading you to do this, what is the basis of your decision making?

Thanks.

rodrigo said...

Eric, I am heading off to a super bowl party so I can only comment quickly. I need more time than I have right now to process your question and to decide if we're really listening to each other or just sidestepping each other. In order to continue the conversation I would like to know if you read the entire article I recommended thoughtfully and if you have any thoughts on it in order to give us more of a basis to build conversation off of. I'll finish with a shameless plug for my home state. GO STEELERS

Eric said...

Rod,

I didn't read the article because our family is battling the flu. Additionally, I'd really like to know what you think personally.

Those were two pretty straightforward questions that I asked at the end of my last comment. I'm not trying to prove a point or win an argument. Rather, I just want to know what you think.

As for the Super Bowl, I'm kind of pulling for the Pack, but I don't care a whole lot one way or the other. My teams are long out of it.

rodrigo said...

Eric-I wanted to respond back to help you better understand where I am coming from. However, I also like to be thoughtful in my posts, and not just give quick answers, so I wasn’t able to get back right away. I thought that I did answer at least the first question in the story of the lady who felt God leading her to attend church with her husband. Although this may put her in obedience to some aspects of scripture, it also led her into a church situation that would have been contradictory to the biblical example of building ownership and participatory meetings.

Also the example of feeling released from the biblical admonition for women to wear coverings before I could intellectually give a good argument for what I think the scripture really was meaning.

As far as your second question, the Spirit does not contradict the nature and essence of God and how he responds. The scripture, being the written record of God’s activity with man, also does not contradict the nature and essence of God. However life is too complex and our ability to interpret scripture is too fallible, or at least everybody’s ability but our own  is. And our wonderful Savior knew this when in Acts 1:4 he commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them in John 16:12&13---I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes he will guide you into all truth….Jesus knew that they needed more than WWJD and the written word. They needed the Living Word to reside in their inner being.

In John 14:26, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said. Notice Jesus did not say, why don’t I just give you the Bible right now, because you certainly can’t live the Christian life without it. No, the Apostles lived the Christian life without it. The disciples knew that the Father’s house had many dwelling places and that Jesus was going to prepare them so that they could be with the Father in the same way that he was with the Father. Jesus was the firstborn of many sons.

In John 14:23 Jesus said, If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make our home with him. Notice that the ability to obey him is based on love, not on one’s ability to read the Bible or come up with correct interpretations. So the Apostles went out to 80 percent illiteracy and to people with no available scripture and said we want you to be Christians, but first we need you to learn to read the scripture that we write, so that you can determine truth and not be led astray.

No, they told them the same thing Jesus told them- 1 John 2:27, As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things…just as it has taught you, remain in him. Apparently they believed one could be taught by an internal guidance once one was initially given the Gospel and came to the awareness of Christ in you the hope of glory. Remember these people do not have access to the Bible. You asked how you can check this internal guidance. By honestly checking our hearts and motives. Are we truly loving Christ? Do we seek out wisdom from others who we know love Christ? And, does it fit with the Spirit of the scriptures?

So, my security does not rely on my ability to interpret scripture or a written code but rather on him who is able to keep me from falling and who lives in my inner being, teaching me his Truth by illuminating scripture to me through revelation, or by using the voice of another person which was actually Jesus speaking through someone else. Or maybe it’s an inner urging or a sudden understanding that pops into my mind.

rodrigo said...

(a continuation from previous post)

This is a non-exhaustive answer to your questions and there is much more I could write.
However, I am definitely not a scholar and many of your questions regarding the basis for my beliefs may be better answered by a scholar. That is why I highly recommend reading the article Christianity is NOT a Book-religion at www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotbrel.html. I feel that if you read that I would not have to type so much  because we would have a common understanding to build off of, or maybe you would say, I agree with Jim Fowler but not you Rod, you are misunderstanding what Jim is saying, or you would understand better what I am saying based on what he says. I know that’s an awful sentence but I don’t feel like correcting it.

If you wait too long to read it, which you are welcome to do, you might want to respond to me by e-mail as I may not notice your addition to your blog. I assume you have my email from my postings? I don’t have my own blog so I am not aware of all the technical details.

I did want to answer the three biblical examples yet.
Yes, God’s mercy supersedes the ceremonial law, but that is a judgment we make while looking back on the situation, not necessarily David’s basis for disobeying the ceremonial law, which is all he knew at the time, and which God required.

Yes, it was a test for Abraham, but nonetheless God was asking Abraham to do something inconsistent with his character. Although Abraham may have had a hunch that God would provide a lamb, it wouldn’t have been a test if he was sure.

I agree, Jesus had every right to cleanse his temple, but if Jesus would ask me to do that today I could probably come up with a few good scriptures as to why I shouldn’t. (However, I don’t think he would ask me).

Eric said...

Rod,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and explanation. I'm guessing that in the actual living out of the Christian life we would agree on most issues. Thanks again.