- Jesus instructed to the Apostles to teach the world, make disciples, and then to teach them to observe what the Lord commanded (Matthew 28:14-20). To do what the Lord instructed is the pattern for N.T. authority (Luke 4:4, Luke 6:43-49, Luke 11:28, Ephesians 5:10, I Thessalonians 4:1-2, etc.).
- Whether it be the Old or the New Covenant, the Lord has directed His people not to add or remove from His will (Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Joshua 1:7-8, Deuteronomy 17:1-3, Proverbs 30:5-6, Jeremiah 7:30-31, Matthew 15:1-14, Acts 15:22-24, I Corinthians 4:6, Galatians 1:6-12, II John 1:9, and Revelation 22:18-19).
- When the people of God do something that He has not authorized it is called “strange” (Leviticus 10:1-2).
- One of my favorite examples of this is when David wanted to build God a house of cedar. The text is self-explanatory (II Samuel 7:1-17). In a like manner, what happened to Saul when he departed from the Lord’s desired course (I Samuel 15:1-35)?
- Rather than seeking to teach or practice things based upon what God has not said, we should be looking for a pattern to establish what is truly pleasing to Him (II Timothy 1:13). Remember, it does not take many sins to be condemned (James 2:10-12).
- The fact is, the Scriptures fully equip us to do all good works (II Timothy 3:15-17). If we cannot properly use the Scriptures for authority, we must not say or do the thing we’re considering.
- Even in matters of liberty, there are still guidelines that apply wherein we do not have free course to do whatsoever pleases us (Romans 14:1-15:9 and I Corinthians 10:23-33).
- An inability to have faith, which comes through the word of God (Romans 10:17), that something is right makes that thing sinful (Romans 14:23). Remember that!
Sometimes this discussion gets really stupid.
- Someone will seek immediately to argue and will say things such as: “where do you read about owning cars in the Bible?” Walking, animal transport, and modern transportation is authorized (Mark 1:16, John 6:16-17, John 12:14-15, and Acts 21:1-3). Let’s say for a moment though that someone couldn’t answer this question. Does someone’s inconsistency constitute authority to do something that is not written in the Scriptures? The fact is, even hypocrisy doesn’t authorize us to do something (Matthew 23:1-3). See: https://www.wordsoftruth.net/BulletinOctober192008.pdf
- When it comes to sinful things, people often want the Scripture that spells out something as a sin. They fail to understand that sin is the transgression of the Law of Christ (I John 3:4). For example, one may be engaged in an online [internet] act of a “virtual affair”. When exposed, that person says: “The internet didn’t exist in the first century. So, you cannot show me where the Bible says what I am doing is a sin.” This is the wrong approach. I shouldn’t have to show someone, who wants to please God, the Scripture that says something is sinful. They need to show it’s right (Romans 14:23 and I Thessalonians 5:21). Having said that, because sometimes things need clarity, there are plenty of Scriptural reasons as to why a child of God would not engage with someone on the internet in a sexual manner (Matthew 5:27-30, Matthew 26:41, Romans 13:13-14, Colossians 3:5-8, I Peter 2:11-12, I Peter 4:1-2, etc.).
What has happened is the invention of human reasoning to establish authority for things that God has said nothing about. Terms such as “generic authority” are used to license things to be said or done. Let’s discuss ideas such as these.
- One form of reasoning concerning “generic authority” comes about when someone seeks to do something by adding to an instruction. For example, many say that God wants the Lord’s Supper to be partaken of on the first day of the week, but they argue that God did not specify when using Acts 20:7.
- This is false, for God did specify when even in that very passage of Scripture. Notice: “when the disciples came together to break bread”. Later instructions undeniably teach this is to be done in one assembly, when together, with measures taken “tarry; wait” for all to be assembled (I Corinthians 11:18-33).
For more on this subject matter (generic authority), consider the following: