Church of Christ Slogans - Where the Bible Speaks, We Speak. Where the Bible is Silent, We're Silent.

For those of you who don't know, I went to college at Great Lakes Christian College, a Church of Christ/Christian Church college in Lansing, MI. Currently I am attending a Nazarene church. I have no personal attachment to either brotherhood (that's what Churches of Christ like to refer to themselves as) or denomination. I do admire the founders of both tremendously. Both churches, on the whole, have strayed tremendously from what they were intended to be. The writings and lives of most founders of denominations are incredible reads, but the lives of most of those who attend the churches that are offsprings of those Spirit led beginnings pale in comparison to the faith and lives of those founders.

Right now, I can think of three Church of Christ/Christian Church slogans. If you know one that I am forgetting, please post a comment and remind me of it. They are in the order I will be writing about them in.

  1. Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we're silent.
  2. No creed but Christ.
  3. In essentials unity. In opinions liberty. In all things love.

First we will deal with #1.

Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we're silent.

This is the slogan I have the most problems with. I agree completely with the first half. Where the Bible speaks we should speak.

"Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)"

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16)"

But I have a terrible time accepting the last half. We do not always need to be silent were the Bible is silent. Scriptural silence brings freedom, a freedom to be led by the Spirit. This is not a freedom to try and manipulate the Scriptures into saying things we need it to say in order to speak up on every subject.

The Bible doesn't really deal with abortion. The Bible doesn't really deal with abusing our bodies with fast food all the time. The Bible doesn't deal with a leader in the church being manipulative. The Bible doesn't deal with a lot of things that most believers would say are things that shouldn't be done.

We can look at it the other way too. The Bible doesn't tell us how to be a good Christian in a democracy, although I do think God knows what that would entail. The Bible doesn't tell us how to have a godly family, although I do think God will guide us in how to do that. The Bible doesn't give us explicit directions on how to do many of the things He wants us to do. He gives us His Spirit to teach us and train us day in and day out.

Now before you have a fit and try to convince me that the Bible does address these issues, I ask you to read the verses again with your newfound freedom that the Bible doesn't have to explicitly say something is right or wrong in order for it to be so. Examine whether you are stretching what the author of those verses intended them to say in order to make them address the subject you want them to address. We are free to be led by the Spirit concerning what is right and wrong, which will allow us to be free to allow the Scriptures to say to us what they are meant to say.

"When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all. (Rom 2:14-16)"

"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (Jer 37:33-34)"

Our lives are complex and different. The only way to cover how God wants each one of us to live was to remove the law from the books and place the law in our hearts. This does not excuse us from being faithful to the teachings of the Bible, but it does demand more than being faithful to the Bible.

"A certain ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.' " He replied, "I have kept all these since my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Luke 18:18-25

Jesus' demand on the rich, young ruler was far greater than any command in the Old Testament. What God desires of each of us might vary although it will never contradict Scripture. God might want us to do something that far surpasses any of the demands that He made on us through Scripture. God is free to continue to speak to us through His Spirit.

I know that is a dangerous and scary road to go down. But it is the road laid out in Scripture. It seems like all glorious things given to us by God can be turned into terrible things. The more glorious, the more dangerous.

So I am going to take the liberty and change this slogan.

Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we let the Spirit lead.

Watch out for the potholes.