Saturday, February 13, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 35/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 35/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

35) Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." What is the expiration date of this verse? When did it become okay not only to disobey the Church's leaders, but to rebel against them and set up rival churches?

Simple Answer(s):

1) The second coming of Christ is the expiration date on this verse.

2) When there is a conflict between what religious leaders command and what God commands:

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Important Qualification(s):

1) Leaving a church is something that should not be undertaken lightly.

2) Although Rome's anti-christian attempts to usurp authority over Christ's church are extreme, there is real authority given to the elders of Christ's church, and they ought to be given qualified obedience.

3) Note that the command to obey our religious leaders is not the only such command in Scripture. We are also commanded to obey our parents:

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

And the king:

1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

But even the most zealous advocates for Romanism recognize that the obedience in these categories is to be a qualified obedience. The same goes for obedience to religious leaders as demonstrated by Peter's (and the other apostles') response to the Sanhedrin.

- TurretinFan


John Bugay said...

When did it become okay not only to disobey the Church's leaders, but to rebel against them and set up rival churches?

I would ask, "when do "church leaders" cease to be "church leaders"? Of course, Roman Catholics will cry "donatism" and that is a code word to the effect that once ordained, your "office" endures forever. But is that really the case in Scripture?

1 Cor 5: What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

How about in "tradition"? Irenaeus, as part of his brief mention of "apostolic succession," said, For they (apostles) wanted those to whom they left as successors, and to whom they transmitted their own position of teaching, to be perfect and blameless (1 Tim 3:2) in every respect. If these men acted rightly it would be a great benefit, while if they failed it would be the greatest calamity."

Who can say that "bishops of Rome" did not "fail" to "act rightly," and thus brought "the greatest calamity" on the church?

At this point, Irenaeus cares nothing for the "transmission of the deposit of faith." He has something in mind that Roman bishops (and others) can't live up to, and thus, that's why we don't hear Roman apologists like Steve Ray going around and citing this particular teaching from Irenaeus.

Pagey said...

Great series TFan! Thanks for doing it.

Matt Taylor said...

Is there an expiration date on Scripture? Is there a time when we will not longer obey the commands that God has given us?

Would you go it to why you think we will not have people over us helping us grow in our understanding of our God?

This is what struck me from your first answer. I would find it hard to put an "expiration date" on the commands of Scripture.

In Christ,

Turretinfan said...

"Is there an expiration date on Scripture? Is there a time when we will not longer obey the commands that God has given us?"

Some commands of God are for a particular time and for a season, as it were. For example, we no longer sacrifice bulls and goats, though those were commands of God - and even commands in Scripture.

"Would you go it to why you think we will not have people over us helping us grow in our understanding of our God?"

When we are in heaven, there will be a new order. Perhaps we will still have human leaders - but we should expect a new administration, not a simple continuation of this administration of the New Testament era.

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Pagey wrote: "Great series TFan! Thanks for doing it."

I'm glad you liked it. At the risk of boring readers, I have an extension to the series planned, and that extension will start, Lord Willing, immediately.

Garret G said...

Thank you Turretinfan-
I noticed that punching the Steve Ray label provides a collation of your replies in reverse order- I'm sure we, your faithful readers, would like a formal collation (in order if possible) were you so willing!
Thanks for all of your work, and may the Lord continue to use you mightily!
In Christ,

Turretinfan said...

Good point, Garret! Once the auxiliary series (addressing the three additional numbered questions and the fourteen un-numbered questions) is complete, I'm going to try to find a convenient way to provide all this material in one document, or at least in an easier to use format.

BJ Buracker said...


I'm curious. Do you know of a particular place in Scripture that commands or even allows for schism? Should the righteous ever split off and start a new body?

For instance, 1 Cor 5:13, which John cited above, dictates that the righteous should expel the wicked, but it does not suggest that the righteous should separate and begin anew. Are you aware of a passage that would suggest as much?


Stupid Scholar

Turretinfan said...

Certain kinds of divisions (even among believers) appear to be acceptable:

Acts 15:37-40
And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

The normative way of separating oneself from unbelievers who are in the church is by excommunication of the unbeliever(s). That's not "schism" in the strictest sense (just as the above example doesn't fit the strictest sense).

"Should the righteous ever split off and start a new body?"

I think the above example provides some precedent for that occurring, although splits shouldn't be undertaken lightly.

- TurretinFan

Garret G said...

Hi Tfan-
Devin Rose has a thing or two to say about you here-
God bless,

Turretinfan said...

Ah - here is Devin Rose's choice comment: "When I confronted Turretinfan on his blog with the contradiction about the Eucharist, he stopped publishing my comments and ignored my request to explain why he acted in this way."

Yeah, that was back when I tried to filter out comments that are junk. There's a reason he hasn't tried to come back now that comment moderation is off, I suspect.


Anonymous said...

SR asks:::>

"....When did it become okay not only to disobey the Church's leaders, but to rebel against them and set up rival churches?...".

There is no time when the people of God are to disobey God's Leaders.

However, one must qualify "who" qualifies for this "honor"?

Besides the verses already put over by TF, I would note a couple more:

Addressing the "True Elders" of Ephesus, Paul, it is recorded by Luke said this:::>

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

He being the primary qualifier, the Holy Spirit, Paul instructed Titus this way:::>

Tit 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Tit 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--
Tit 1:6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
Tit 1:7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,
Tit 1:8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
Tit 1:9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

I will now commit that the moment the RCC turns and is led to this level of Righteousness in Christ Jesus, follwing the lead of the Holy Spirit, I will welcome any one of them gladly with my whole heart and extend to them the righthand of fellowship as we should all True Believers!

As for the setting up Churches, I would note that too is under the direction of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit as is shown to us in these verses:

Act 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
Act 16:6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Act 16:7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Act 16:8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
Act 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
Act 16:10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Now, let the Disciple of the Same Lord Jesus and the Same Holy Spirit in today's worldwide earth learn from these Words of Peter, written by the hand of Silvanus, why both Jesus and the Holy Spirit directed Paul and his company away from those regions, prohibiting them from going into those regions and building with Christ, establishing those being called out of the world into the Truth so becoming His Church, there:

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

God had already given those regions to Peter to build with Christ the True Church and because the world wide earth is large enough for multitudes of Godly ministries to prosper and succeed in establishing the Truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom in the hearts of God Elect, Paul was sent elsewhere.

Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Andrew Suttles said...

TF - Nice job! I'd like to echo the sentiment expressed by Garret:

"I'm sure we, your faithful readers, would like a formal collation (in order if possible) were you so willing!"

Since the 35 "questions" were published as a PDF, it would be nice to see the questions and answers in a similar format side-by-side for reference.

M said...

BJ Buracker,

In addition to the material here, Steve Hays has a post on the schism of John the Baptist you'd probably find interesting: