Rubik’s Cube Interpretation Part 3

This is the last in this series titled “Rubik’s Cube Interpretation.”  There will be more written on scripture interpretation as the months and years pass.  It is vital that the premise behind this series is remembered.  One can’t pull apart sentences, verses and phrases in the Scriptures to prove a point.  Proper interpretation must be done in context of the passage and also in light of what is stated through the entire Bible. In this writing attention will be drawn to how the women’s role is viewed in the Church of Christ denomination.

In the hard core Church of Christ women must remain silent.  When the church meets the women are to have no public role, except in the teaching of children and unbaptized members.  This is based upon two passages (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 14:34).  Because there are plenty of longer, well written thesis, papers and books on this topic, this writing will be kept brief enough to prove the current point on interpretation.

The Corinthian passage contains an important issue with the Greek (the original language of the New Testament).  The word for woman and wife is the same word.  The interpreter is to use the context to choose what is proper.

The women are to remain silent it says in 14:34, yet in 11:5 it gives instructions on what a woman is to do when she prays and prophesies when men and women are present.  Oh wait, correction, in chapter 11 it is most often translated wife, not woman.  Even though this is the same context and discussion all the way through chapter 14.

Paul, who was writing Corinthians, was addressing a trouble issue with three groups of people, namely, the tongue speakers, the prophets and the wives.  They were out of control.  This section of scripture is about order and not about putting ALL women EVERYWHERE in a non-speaking place.

Oddly, if it were about all women, where does this leave the single women OR the wives who do not have a believing husband?  In order to be obedient to verse 35 I personally heard one Church of Christ woman who did not have a believing husband, say she would have to choose another Christian man, who was the husband of another wife. That is outrageous.  One can learn through the context that this in no way is a blanket statement that all women, everywhere must never have a speaking role in the assembly.

1 Timothy does not concern the public assembly.  Paul was surrounded by women who were teachers of men and held deacon positions (Acts 18:26; Philippians 4:2-3).  So, once again, taking other passages into consideration and not pulling this Timothy phrase out to make a blanket statement for all places through all times, it is clear that women teaching the gospel in a man’s presence is not forbidden.

Specifically this passage is referring to women who are ignorant and have nothing to teach and likely to teach error, as Eve did to Adam.  In ignorance she fell to temptation.  This can be gleaned from the context of this passage.

One can plainly see that these two passages can be easily misapplied and misused and they are and have been.  In the hard core Church of Christ there can be no woman standing in front leading singing and worship.  Also in the hard core and many Churches of Christ there can be no woman giving the announcements standing in the front.  In Churches of Christ we will allow the women to pass the communion emblems sitting down in their seat from side to side but not serving them from front to back.  In the Churches of Christ a woman can make an instructional comment in an adult auditorium class setting while sitting in her seat but she is not allowed to make the same instructional comment from the front of the class.

What kind of messed up interpretation is this?  When passages are taken out of context what will soon follow is many contortions and stretching to enforce that interpretation.  It always leads to adding rules and laws that do not exist which is never a good thing.

Be Free

Rubik’s Cube Interpretation Part 2

In brief review the first article in this series concerned the old Rubik’s Cube in that there was a right way to solve it and a wrong way to solve it.  The wrong way was to take it completely apart and piece by piece put it back together so that it looked solved.

The issue with Rubik’s Cube Interpretation concerns the Church of Christ pulling sentences, phrases and verses through out the Scriptures to prove their various points.  However, the result is not a lot of wrong interpretations, a faulty way of looking at the Bible and a very bad theology.

The first example of faulty interpretation concerned instrumental music.  The second example, among MANY that can be provided, is a Pelagian Theology.  This theology can be summed up by saying we are all born sinless, perfect and it is later that we sin.  It is from this state that when we are presented with the Gospel of Jesus we can choose God or reject God which ever we want.  To paraphrase his thoughts is to say he felt that we need no Divine aid to respond to Jesus.

When encountering a hard core Church of Christ individual one of the first responses to the depravity of man is that we are NOT born in the sinful nature of Adam.  They will dance all around Psalm 51:5 making every effort to teach that this does not mean man is born sinful from birth.  But one can’t dance around a very large number of passages in the Bible that teach exact fact that because of Adam’s sin we are born sinful and fully deserving the wrath of God.

These passages include: Genesis 8:21; Job 15:14-16; Ezekiel 16 (which is a parable on this principle); Psalm 14:3; Psalm 58:3; Matthew 11:25-27; John 3:19; John 5:21; John 6:44, 65; Romans 3:10 and following; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2: 1 and following; 2 Timothy 2:26 combined with Luke 11:21-22. These are just a few passages.

Because of the Church of Christ belief that water baptism is the exact point one become a Christian it is then that the hard core Church of Christ primary concern is what about babies.  If we are born in sin and a baby dies, then they will go to hell.  They also feel that this gives credibility to infant baptism.  So to defend their view on baptism, they will go out of their way to teach that the Bible does NOT say something that it clearly states.  THIS IS PULLING TEXTS, PHRASES, PASSAGES AND VERSES OUT OF CONTEXT TO PROVE THEIR POINT.  One can’t honestly read Romans 5:12-21 and then teach that the sin of Adam had NO effect upon humanity.

No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him. (John 6:44).  The ill effects of the fall of Adam means that spiritually I am dead.  There needs to be Divine aid imparted to me, which is grace, for me to respond to Him. This is one of the most beautiful parts of God’s love towards His children, the redeemed.  The hard core Church of Christ simply denies this reality.

There will be one more article on Rubik’s Cube Interpretation.  Even though many more could be written, I think the ideological foundation has been properly set.  We will spend more time in other articles reviewing Baptism.  There are several resources on this site which explain about the New Birth.

 

Rubik’s Cube Interpretation

Sometime in the 1980’s decade the Rubik’s Cube became incredibly popular.  As a Jr. High school student I eventually got one and quickly went to scrambling the colors and then trying to solve the puzzle.

There were endless hours of working on this cube make every effort to getting every side exactly perfect.  It would take a genius to solve the puzzle without instruction or help.  I was no genius.  I was smart enough to get one side a perfect solid color but that was no big deal.  There were countless thousands of others who could accomplish that task.

Before a friend of mine shared his book with him, I had a way of tricking everyone into thinking I had solved the puzzle.  I would pull a corner piece off and then proceed to take every other part of the puzzle apart till all the pieces of the puzzle were off.  Then carefully find the proper colors and piece it all back together.

Obviously that is one way to solve the Rubik’s Cube, but that is not the proper way to solve it.  It was later that I learned the proper way to twist and turn and line up the cubes until it was perfectly uniform.

The hard core Church of Christ practices what I call “Rubik’s Cube Interpretation.”  This type of interpretation will tear thoughts, sentences of phrases out of context to justify a position.  To better define this let me give some examples.  In this post I will provide one example and then later posts will provide more.

One of the most identifying marks of the Church of Christ is their non-use of musical instruments.  They justify the lack of example in the New Testament for their use and go further to use Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 as strictly forbidding them.  Some will take it a step further and say that this also excludes, humming, hand clapping or anything that does NOT come for literal singing a lyric.

This is pulling a sentence and phrase out of context. Neither of these two passages concern a “worship service”.  Worship service, would be a foreign phrase among these Chrstiains. Paul, who through the Holy Spirit wrote BOTH passages, was talking about how to conduct the Christian day to day life. These passages have NOTHING to do with what type of music is permitted during the assembling of the saints.

There is a lie that needs to be addressed concerning the silence in the Bible in regards to instrumental music.  One does not need to go to the Psalms but rather can remain in the New Testament to show that instrumental music is proper in praising God.

The book of Revelation gives us a peek into heaven.  It is interesting to note that 5:8, 14:2-3 & 15:2 are all examples of how God is praised and in each of them singing and harps are involved.  This is NOT figurative, but rather literal instruments used in praising God.

So one can see that God accepted and approved instruments in praising Him throughout the Bible.  With the sure to come argument that there is lack of evidence to support instrumental music I would counter with there was NO evidence that dancing before the Lord was an acceptable praise to Him.  Yet David did it (2 Samuel 6:14) and it was approved.

As more examples are presented of this “Rubik’s Cube Interpretation” it will be more clear and evident of the thought being presented here.  One can NOT pull a phrase, sentence or verse out of context to prove their point.  It is cheating and not the proper way to interpret Scripture.

Be Free

Open Handed & Closed Handed Interpretations

This is the first of thousands of postings on this recovery site.  If you have found your way to this Church of Christ Recovery ministry it is certain that you are aware of the practices of the Church of Christ denomination.

Most Church of Christ teach that they are the ONLY ones who are going to heaven.  They teach that they have been around since Acts 2.  They teach many things that if you want to be considered “worthy” of heaven then you must follow every one of those things.  All of these are LIES.

The TRUTH is that the Church of Christ members are not the ONLY ones going to heaven.  The Church of Christ has NOT been around since Acts 2 but rather history tells us they came about in the United States of American in the 1800’s and officially recognized 1906.  Additionally the only way you can be found worthy of salvation is through faith in Jesus.

These are not the only lies the Church of Christ has promoted over the years.  It is the desire of this ministry to draw you into a relationship with Jesus and away from hard core Church of Christ.

A logical and wise question to ask at the beginning of this recovery journey is:             “What things must we agree on to be considered followers of Christ?

This is a fair question because we need a common ground for our faith.  So there are valid and important questions like, “How much should can differing churches agree on and still remain a church that is “approved by God?”  Or, “What things to various members have to agree on in order to consider themselves both Christians?” These are things we need to ponder.

If you follow the hard core Church of Christ model there are some leaders who believe that if you do not see the things the way they see it then you are not a true follower of Christ.  Then there are other preachers or ministers who are a bit more relaxed but still have a list, be it documented or undocumented, on what basis one is a true believer or not.

So on what points must we agree and on what should be considered points of opinion or areas where we can agree to disagree?  For we can’t agree on absolutely everything?

OPEN HAND and CLOSED HAND

There are some things that are OPEN HANDED and some things that are CLOSED HANDED.  Regardless of what you have been told, the things in the CLOSED hand are FEW and those things in the OPEN hand are MANY.

To explain, those things in the open hand are things that as we study, grow in our faith and discuss, are things that we do not have to agree on.  These topics and issues in the open hand are things that we might disagree on but at the end of the day we still love and accept each other as fellow Christians, followers of Christ and members of God’s family.

The closed hand are topics, issues and items that in order to be called a Christ follower, we must believe and support.  These are fundamental issues of the faith that must be accepted by all who call themselves Christian.

Looking at Church of Christ history, the founder of the denomination, Thomas Campbell, was a Reformed (Calvinist) theologian.  So he was completely different than where the Church of Christ movement is today.  His son, Alexander, who was more influential than his father in many ways, was a Pre-Millennialist when it came to the end times.  This also is different than the main line hard core Church of Christ of today.  So one can see that these items are things upon which there were and are disagreements.  There is no way to find 100% agreement upon everything.

To explain a bit more specifically in the closed hand we would put only a very few things.  They would include:

  • There is One God
  • God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • God created the universe
  • Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • The Bible is God’s inspired word
  • Jesus was crucified, buried and raised again

In the open hand we would put a LOT of things.  These are topics, issues and items that we may find disagreement but they are not of first importance or fundamental.  They would include:

  •  Bible translation or version
  •  Women deacons or public ministry role for women
  •  How often communion is taken
  •  Calvin, Armenian views of theology
  •  End times (eschatology, millennial, pre-millennial, post millennial, a-millennial etc.)
  •  Instrumental music in worship, types or styles of music.
  •  Total abstinence or permissiveness of drinking alcohol

And the list could go on for a long time.  Neither of the lists is exhaustive but allow me to assure you that in its completion the closed handed list is extremely short.  There are very few things in the closed hand.

The issue is many fundamental Christians and most Church of Christ members reverse this.  They place almost everything in the closed hand and few things in the open hand.  The result is everything becomes a “heaven or hell” issue.  If you don’t agree with them you are doomed to hell.

The result in the Church of Christ is that there is a minimum of over 20 splits all of whom believing that they have the proper interpretation of Scripture on every point.  The Church of Christ had and has an unhealthy diet of putting down other fellow Christians in other Christian churches and in turn this has led to them devouring themselves.

Their twisting of the scripture, wrong interpretation and thinking is so perverse and like the Pharisees that many in the Church of Christ have turned on themselves.  They are devouring even their own.

Walk away in freedom.  If you are a leader in a Church of Christ, lead BOLDLY away from this Pharisee thinking.  Your salvation has to do with your faith in Jesus Christ and not that you agree with everything the Church of Christ believes.

As a reader you will not agree with all of the postings on this site NOR ARE YOU EXPECTED TO.  This introductory writing is in efforts to remove the shackles from you. You do not have to be a cookie cutter believer and act, think, believe and interpret everything just like the Church of Christ does.  There are only a few things we must have total agreement on to be called Christ followers.

Be Free!