Discerning Truth Versus Human Tradition (Part 6)
Understanding Collective, Concurrent, And Individual Obedience
Outline By: Brian A. Yeager
A. I cannot number the many times that someone amongst erring churches of Christ has said that Jesus feeding people (John 6:1-15) is authority for “church potlucks”.
1. Question: Where did God command, give an approved example, or infer that the local church is to come together to eat a common meal (Colossians 3:17)? NOWHERE! That should end this discussion!
2. Question: Is a miracle of feeding 5,000 to confirm the word & messenger (Mark 16:20 and Acts 2:22) the same as a “church potluck”?
3. Question: What did Jesus say, in that same context, when the miracle was missed and the matter became about food (John 6:26-27)?
4. Even though we’ve handled this matter on several levels, consider this question: Even if Jesus concurrently, with the Apostles, had provided a social meal just for the fun of it (which was NOT the case), would that be the local church in action and thus an approved example? NO!
B. Clearly, there are things the church cannot do collectively that one or more Christians may engage in with authority (i.e. I Corinthians 7:1-5).
1. Marriage, and sexual activity within that marriage, are authorized between two Christians [concurrent action] (Hebrews 13:4).
2. Following the logic that if a Christian or two Christians can do something then the church can collectively, that would mean collective sexual activity (which would surely be wrong – Romans 13:13-14) would be authorized. Who would own that conclusion?
II. Body: An Individual Christian Does Not Make Up The Local Church (I Corinthians 12:14).
A. The difference can be seen in handling sin among saints (Matthew 18:15-17).
1. First, you individually go to that brother (Luke 17:3-4 and James 5:19-20).
2. Secondly, you bring others [concurrent action] (I Timothy 5:19).
3. However, it is not until this third step that, even though more than one Christian is involved before this point, the whole church [assembly] is involved in collective action (I Corinthians 5:1-5).
B. The difference can be seen in helping needy saints (I Timothy 5:3-16).
1. We have an individual role in helping [on several levels] truly needy saints (Matthew 25:31-40).
2. We see language that draws the individual out from among the collective in helping widows and the fatherless (James 1:26-27).
3. We also see the difference in concurrent action (Acts 11:27-30) and collective action (I Corinthians 16:1-4) in aiding truly needy saints.
C. The difference can be seen in eating common meals together (I Corinthians 11:16-34).
1. While the church is not to assemble for a common meal as a work of the church, multiple Christians can organize and meat for a meal together concurrently (Acts 2:46).
2. Hospitality is the work of Christians, through their own oversight and means, not the church collectively (Acts 16:15, Hebrews 13:2, and I Peter 4:9).
3. However, such is clearly individually permitted (Romans 12:13), but not a work of the kingdom of our Lord (Romans 14:17).
D. The difference can be seen in teaching (Colossians 3:15-16).
1. When Paul taught, it was not the church teaching (Acts 20:20).
a. Paul chose the when, where, and had the oversight (Acts 20:17).
b. Same thing I do when I open my house and teach as a preacher of the Gospel (Acts 28:30-31), rather than a preacher in the assembly (Acts 20:7).
2. When Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy taught, it was not the church teaching (II Thessalonians 1:1).
3. It takes the whole church’s involvement, organization, and oversight for the church to be teaching collectively (Acts 15:22-30).
III. Conclusion: The body is not one member, but is a collectivity (I Corinthians 12:12).
© 2014 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager