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The Conditional Church

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in community, edification, fellowship, gathering | 1 comment

The Conditional Church

In my previous post – “Jesus, you forgot the conditional statements again” – I pointed out (in my sarcastic manner) that many (perhaps most?) of Jesus’ commands are offered with no conditional statements. So, for instance, when Jesus says, “Give to those who beg of you,” he did not tell his listeners to consider how they would use the gift before it is given. Although, of course, we often add our own conditional statements…

But, we don’t just add our own conditional statements to Jesus’ commands. We add conditional statements to commands concerning the church and descriptions of the church also. Interestingly, the conditional statements help form what we read in Scripture to what we already do or believe today. (Quite convenient, actually.)

For example, read through the following commands and/or descriptions and ask yourself this question: What “conditional statements” do I assume that author meant even though he didn’t include the condition when he wrote?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 ESV)

Surely there are many other passages that I could list. These passages above deal with gathering together and interacting with one another. How many conditional statements to we place on these commands and descriptions?

What kinds of conditional statements? Well, statements such ask these: “… if the leaders/elders/pastors permit it…”, “… if the size of the group gathering is not too large…”, “… if the person understand enough orthodox theology…”, “… if… if… if”.

We are good at adding conditions, especially when it comes to the church.

One Comment

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  1. 3-30-2012

    Ah, the old “Selective Sola Scriptura”! My favorite is the “Well that may be what the church did back in the culture of the first century but today…” condition. I think we are all guilty of this even when though it is much easier to see this in others than in ourselves.