Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Speak Where the Bible Speaks"

"Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent." It has been a motto by which we in Churches of Christ have tried to live. However, we have often been inconsistent in how we view being silent where the Bible is silent. Does it mean we are forbidden to do anything that the Bible does not endorse? Or does it mean we have freedom? But still, it is good to be a part of a fellowship that wants to find its answers in Scripture.

I have been amused through the years by some of the funny things people have said to me -- confident that they had the backing of the authority of God. I thought of one of them last night. Years ago, when I was ministering in Crockett, Texas, there was a lady who was a chronic complainer. One evening, I had baptized a young boy (about 10), and this woman came to me right after the baptism. She told me he was too young to be baptized. I personally prefer to see people wait until they are mid-teens to make such an important life decision. But I can't make that decision for another person. Anyway, this lady said, "He's not even to the 'age of accountability.'" We have used this term for years, but it is not to be found in Scripture. So I asked her, "What age is that?"

Here was her answer: "Well, since Jesus was 12 when He was in the Temple and He was perfect, then we need to add one year to that -- since we are not perfect. So, the age of accountability is 13."

Now that is rooted in some deep application of Scripture!

My prayer is that we will continue to speak where the Bible speaks. But I also long for us to be silent where the Bible is silent. By the way, I interpret that to mean that in silence, we are not to bind.


Anonymous said...

Funny (but sad) illustration about the "age of accountability"

Can I add to your list? How about, "Were they baptized for the right reason?" Or my all time favorite, using "where two or three are gathered together" to talk about worship services when the context is discipline!

This is fun.

Kyle R. said...

I wish I had time to write an essay on this today.:)

Jonathan said...

I love Rick Atchley's saying..."Our motto has been speak where the Bible speaks and be silent when the Bible is silent. However, we seem to say it more like this: We speak where the Bible speaks and where the Bible is silent, we have a lot more to say." I think that captures it.

Jeff said...

Silence is so hard for most of us. When confronted with silence we often respond with blabbering of some sort. I guess the same thing happens to folks when the Bible is silent - someone feels obligated to fill the silence.