Monday, November 21, 2005

...prophecy included in Revelatshuns...

I had a radical thought a few days ago. I’m sure I’m not the first to have this radical thought, which means it probably isn’t that radical after all. However, with that rousing introduction, read on!

I was raised in the church of Christ (as evidenced by my lowercase "c") and I still hold onto much of the teaching I received (I still flinch when people say pastor, for example). One of the major lessons I was taught has become a motto, or very nearly a mission statement, for the church of Christ: Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent.

I was taking a shower the other day and I started thinking about that phrase and the foundation for it. It seems to me that the phrase itself is not a Biblical concept. Obviously those words are not in scripture (which I didn’t know until I was in high school), but neither is the basis for the statement.

The closest we come to this idea is in Rev. 22:18-19. However, it appears that the author is talking about the words of prophecy included in Revelatshuns rather than the entire Bible. Of course, there was also no Bible when Revelateshuns was written, nor did the authors know that their writings would be included in a collection, so how could the verse be written with the whole Bible in mind?

I’m interested in what others think about this subject. I haven’t explored scripture exhaustively to discover if "Speaking and silence" are somewhere else, so if there are some valuable verses out there, please share them.


Sam said...

I think that the concept of "speak where the Bible speaks..." is really just a bloom that has it's roots in the "better safe than sorry" mentality that many of the more conservative churches of Christ have i.e. "No, the Bible doesn't speak against having a youth minister, but it doesn't give us permission to have one either, so we'd better not." This scripture in Rev. is basically a classic example proof-texting (believing something & then finding a verse to back it up).

Some may believe that there is nothing wrong with this mentality, but I would beg to differ. I think that almost every person that is held up as being righteous and a role model in the Bible has been some sort of a radical. Certainly, they did not live their lives to be safe and correct. The point is not to be radical, of course. The point is to be sold out for God, and thus not concerned with safety at all. This is what is wrong with the "better safe than sorry mindset." At is core is selfishness and a concern for being safe and in the right.

That sounds very harsh, and I do not believe that every person who is conservative in their beliefs is selfish. However, if comfort and correctness are the reasons for the conservative mindset, then, I think, we have a problem.

Neal W. said...

Those of us raised in the Church of Christ (the lowercase 'c' is a habit I've defeated) learned to treat the entire Bible as a legal document ("where does the Bible authorize that???").'s not. It includes legal documents (Leviticus), where silence may be binding, but it's just plain silly to read a letter like a legal brief. We've paid no attention to genre and thus taken much of the Book out of context. The authority of silence is just...silly. Plus, we CoC'ers speak plenty where the Bible doesn't speak...we just don't want to admit it.

Ben said...

I'd like to say something about the pitfalls of literalism (as it applies to any subject), but I think that clause will do just fine. Compassion transcends language. Have I said too much?