Friday, October 13, 2006

More on Roast Lamb

Wolves work in packs. Since my response to my critic, he has sent all kinds of people out of the woodwork to trouble me. First, he called me a legalist. (is that an ad hominem argument?) When I responded that he wanted to introduce the instrument, he explained, "Indeed, my own personal preference, and I have asserted this repeatedly over the years, is for a cappella expressions of praise and devotion. I have no desire whatsoever to introduce instrumental accompaniment into the church; nor do I have any desire whatsoever to condemn those who choose to use it."

Here is an example of postmodern thinking: "I prefer my way but won't condemn those who prefer otherwise." Ted Kennedy says he opposes abortion but won't condemn a woman who chooses to abort. Hmmm?

Myself, I don't think the subject is up for preferences. Jesus is King and Lord; only He has the right to "prefer." The church is not a democracy. You and I don't have a vote. The unanimous evidence of Jesus, the church, and the Scriptures supports only a cappella singing. There is no evidence for instruments of music in our worship of God.

There is as much Scriptural support for instrumental music in worship as there is using roast lamb in the Lord's Supper. One might argue like some, "Now roast lamb was present when the LS was instituted. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29). Wouldn't eating roast lamb touch our hearts and remind us of what Jesus did for us? I like roast lamb. I could draw closer to God eating roast lamb in addition to the bread and cup."

All the above arguments don't matter. Jesus did not command us to eat roast lamb in the Lord's Supper, and we have no example of the church using lamb in the Supper. Further, there is no implication in Scripture that they used lamb to remember the body and blood of the Lord.

If we granted the four cups of wine argument, we could also allow in roast lamb. We could allow in purgatory, polygamy, gambling, a clerical priesthood, a pope, and many other things on the same grounds. We could open the door to self-made religion completely, because silence doesn't prohibit anything--according to some.

Saul felt free to offer a sacrifice at Gilgal. He also felt free to offer up sacrifices instead of utterly destroying the Amalakites animals. Self-made religion.

Ahaz felt free to build an altar and move God's altar to the side. Urijah the priest apparently didn't condemn it, because he built it for Ahaz. Hezekiah tore it down and removed all the unclean things Ahaz brought into the temple.

Jesus opposed self-made religion and the traditions of men. He knew that humanly-devised worship practices would be uprooted (Matt. 15:1-14). As far as his own life, Jesus never acted on his own authority but always did the will of the Father (John 5:17, 30; 8:28-32; 12:48-50; 14:31). To suggest that Jesus used wine to fulfill the instructions of the Passover is to deny what Jesus said he would not do.

Quoting Rabbinc literature is not helpful here, since Jesus did not live his life according to Rabbinic teaching. He taught that obeying the teachings of men rendered worship vain.

Jesus used the fruit of the vine in his instituting the Lord's Supper. That is why it was there! That is where the fruit of the vine takes on religious significance. It reminds us of his blood shed for our sins. Jesus used this cup in fulfillment of His Father's instructions for the new covenant and the new kingdom, not as a means of fulfilling the Passover.

The presence of the wine is incidental, since Jews had wine at their formal meals. They also had plates and bowls, tables and cushions. None of this has anything to do with Exodus 12; it has everything to do with eating a meal.

Now, where is the specific evidence that Jesus himself states he is using the cup to observe the Passover? Don't quote Rabbinic tradition. Jesus didn't live by that.

Having wine at the feast is no different than my having a glass of water at the pulpit. Now who would suggest that the glass of water is a means to worship God? No one. What is the water for? To keep my throat from drying out. Just because they had fruit of the wine present doesn't mean they considered it as a means of fulfilling the passover meal. Most people can see the difference between an incidental and an addition. Apparently, others don't or won't.

Using instruments of music in the worship of the church is an unwarranted, unauthorized, humanly devised act. It is presumptuous and goes beyond the teaching of Scripture. To suggest that Jesus practiced anything humanly-devised, when the Scriptures condemn such presumption is to suggest that Jesus did not obey the Father's will. I would hate to be guilty of saying such a thing about my Lord.

The hermeneutic of staying with the word and not going beyond is clear in Scripture. Jesus practiced this hermeneutic. So should we.



RP said...

I used to stand where you are: safe and warm in my comfort zone of CofC doctrine which has been entrenched in the hearts of the "faithful brotherhood" for the last 60 or 70 years. Take my advice: just completely ignore Maxey. From an Aristotelian logic perspective, he consistently wipes the floor with your arguments. Maxey's style, class, and graciousness all make you appear a rude, dull-witted, petulant bully. You can't answer his arguments, so don't continue in your attempts. "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." You and other weak "like-minded brethren" will be in my prayers.

Phil Sanders said...

Dear RP,

I don't usually respond to anonymous posts like yours.ogger, but I chose to this time. I felt JBlogger was at least sincere. I wanted my readers to hear you speak. I believe your comments reveal a lot about you.

Frankly, I have not used any names in my last two posts. I felt dealing with issues and attitudes to be more important.

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Ti 2:24-26)


JD said...

Phil, while I do not find myself agreeing with your explanation of the cups (which I admit could be my own ignorance) ... I feel that the response above by rp is repulsive. You answered with greater calmness than I would have. Good going.

RP said...


I apologize for the unkind tone of my earlier comment, and I ask for your forgiveness of my sin against you. I doubt my apology matters much to you, but it is important to me that you know my comment was indeed sincere. That is, in my humble opinion, the more you responded to your critic, the more your position got lost in the weeds. I am not one of the "wolves" that has been "sent" by anyone to "trouble" you. I am simply frustrated beyond all patience with my brothers who immediately assume that those who disagree with their particular brotherhood flavor of the "party line" simply need a good dose of II Tim 2:24. Do you honestly think this verse applies here? Do you honestly think that I am or your critic is held captive by the devil to do his will?? I believe your comments reveal a lot about you as well. "Wolves" seems pretty ad hominem to me, but forget about the wolves for a moment. Instead, just answer your own argument: do you "prefer" One-Cup? Non-Class? Non-institutional? No? Then do you condemn those that do "prefer" these positions? No?? If so, according to your so-called logic, you must confess your own postmodern leanings! There is as much Scriptural support for instrumental music in worship as there is for a Song Leader, a Praise Team (i.e., multiple Song Leaders), the Church owning real estate, Bible Classes, Missionary Societies, Bible Colleges, Multiple Cups, Located Preacher, etc. etc. What you call an expedient (or incidental), I call an addition....and vice versa. "Most people can see the difference between an incidental and an addition. Apparently, others don't or won't." Hmmm..."Self-made religion." Hmmm... I grew up in the Church, and I've heard all of the arguments and all the pat answers and proof texts. I sincerely believe that you are indeed comfortable in your position as one of the "sheep", and all dissenters are merely "wolves". I DO pray for you, my brother, and all of our brothers of all flavors. Jn 17:20-22 My original comment was just for you, not your readers, as is this one. I have no desire to hijack your blog with my "hobby arguments". I solicit no reply; I only hope you consider how you yourself may be, perhaps unwittingly, "not sparing the flock".

Phil Sanders said...

Dear RP,

I thank you for you apology and appreciate the tone of this new post.

I do believe the devil holds people captive to do his will. I suspect he dupes most and blinds their eyes, so that they don't even know they are doing his will. I am reminded of how many people call themselves Christians and yet support abortion, thinking that abortion is not a problem.

The devil works hardest at deceiving us, because we are God's people. He already has the rest.

My preferences have little to do with what is right. What I was trying to do is show the fallacy of putting "preferences" in the same category as God's instructions. It is a common tool of the devil to re-define, to relabel, concepts, so they are no longer offensive ("gay" for homosexual).

In your list, you often confuse what is an expedient with that which is not. I believe that expedients are justified, because they help fulfill God's instructions. Multiple cups, located preachers, song leaders, pitch pipes, Bible classes, church buildings, and many other things are authorized because they do aid in the fulfilling of God's instructions.

The difference between an aid and an addition is not that difficult. Instruments, missionary societies, and other things are additions because they go beyond the instruction (Ahaz's altar) to fulfill their own desires.

One critic has been riding a hobby of trying to prove permissive silence for some time. His arguments are weak, and full of assumptions and sarcasm. I am not impressed with his scholarship.

Wolves seek to gain advantage over as many as possible and split churches over non-Biblical issues. When people support a view that permits what God has not instructed, they do not imitate Jesus. They are wolves.

RP, what makes you think I am comfortable? I am not comfortable; I am convicted that what I teach is true. I am also convinced that the use of instruments of music in worship is as sinful as adding an altar to the worship of the Temple. That's not blind complacency--it is conviction.