Ideas for a treatise on Patriarchal marriage

I’ve thought about writing on this for a while, and I believe this is a topic of great need within the Church.

  • Patriarchy, at it’s simplest definition, is Father/headed led families. (Scripturally speaking, Father/husband headed families).

Both of these are affirmed throughout the Scriptures including Pre-fall and the Old and New Covenant. This includes examples ranging from Adam to the Patriarchs to David and the Kings and finally to Jesus, with the New Covenant revealed nature of the primary way God desires to be represented: our Father.

As we know, CBMW in their “complemenatarian” position has already been infected by feminism. Dalrock has done an excellent job of exposing that specifically in these two posts:

I’ve also discussed the concept some in terms of Patriarchy one, two, and three and the two options open to single Christian men: Patriarch or Monk.

I don’t see a need to “defend” Patriarchy as it is an inherently good system as it was created and affirmed by God throughout the Scriptures. Hence, the term treatise. However, it seems that a “defense” is needed because most Christians are entrenched unknowingly in the Necropolis (e.g. formerly churchianity) and are convinced by secular culture that Patriarchy is an evil system.

Some articles I’ve found on ideas stem from sources like these on the defense of Patriarchy. Included is part of C.S. Lewis’ section in chapter 16 of Mere Christianity.

So much for the Christian doctrine about the permanence of marriage. Something else, even more unpopular, remains to be dealt with. Christian wives promise to obey their husbands. In Christian marriage the man is said to be the `head’. Two questions obviously arise here. (1) Why should there be a head at all – why not equality? (2) Why should it be the man?

(1) The need for some head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent. Of course, as long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but I am assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next? They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote. If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

(2) If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As I have said, I am not married myself, but as far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say ‘Poor Mr X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.’ I do not think she is even very flattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own ‘headship’. There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly as a bachelor, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside. The relations of the family to the outer world -what might be called its foreign policy -must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests. The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?

In general, I think it would be best to approach this purely from a Biblical standpoint and contrasting them to the fabricated statements made by modern feminists trying to subvert the Scripture for their own gain. Such statements include things like “Women were treated horribly before Jesus’ time.” This gives any random Christian the false impression that women were treated terribly in the OT, which is simply not the case. Women were a protected and provided for class under the Law.

In any case, this is probably a massive project that I need help on in terms of compiling as many examples as possible from the Scriptures on the nature of authority, Patriarchy, and attempted christo-feminist hijacking.

When I say “marriage,” I shouldn’t have to explain that all marriage is Patriarchal marriage as that is what God has ordained as good. Made up human inventions that attempt to subvert the structures that God has created — such as “complementarian,” “egalitarian,” and “gay” marriage — are not marriage. They’re warped and corrupted monstrosities that do not honor God.

In all honestly, “gay” marriage is not a Christian problem. Let the world worry about things like that. The Christian problem is “complementarian” and “egalitarian marriage” as these are things that masquerade as Truth and lead Christians astray into falling into pits.

Anyway, what I’m looking for in the comments is:

  • Compilation of the Scriptures on God’s structure of authority marriage.
  • Writings and commentary on the structure of marriage with sound logical defense.
  • Examples of Christian organizational structures going off the mark on marriage. CBMW is obviously one of them.
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17 Responses to Ideas for a treatise on Patriarchal marriage

  1. donalgraeme says:

    Writings and commentary on the structure of marriage with sound logical defense.

    I know a number of the Church Fathers and Saints have written on this subject- compiling a list of their writings is not a bad idea, actually. Although there is a chance someone might have done so already. Just need to find it.

  2. Don Quixote says:

    DS posted:

    However, it seems that a “defense” is needed because most Christians are entrenched unknowingly in the Necroplis (e.g. formerly churchianity) and are convinced by secular culture that Patriarchy is an evil system.

    Sorry to ask a dumb question but, did you mean Necropolis? With two O’s? Is Necroplis a typo?

  3. @DS:

    He was pointing out a Typo. 🙂

  4. Bee says:

    Genesis 1:27 indicates that both male and female were created in God’s image. Later, I Corinthinans 11:3-9 amplifies, explains, and gives more insight into Genesis 1:27.

    I Corinthians 11:3-9 is the deciding Scripture between complementarians & egalitarians, and Patriarchalists.

  5. feeriker says:

    Between the Scriptures themselves and the writings of the early church fathers, I really think that there is already ample work avsilable on this subject. The challenge isn’t so much one of defending patriarchal marriage as it is of weaning Christians away from contemporary culture and dispelling the toxic idea that much of what the Bible says on this subject is “specific to the culture and historical period in which it was written.” This of course means putting an end to “Cafeteria Christianity,” the probability of success of which, to put it kindly, is about on par with that of choosing your ancestors.

  6. eyesofsamson says:

    Notice that the ESV has decided to include egalitarian eisegesis in their new text. Not sure why I’m still surprised at how far they’re willing to go.

    http://www.esv.org/about/pt-changes/

  7. Ugh, not surprising in the least, but the ESV was a fully serviceable translation.

    Though the tendency for Biblical Translators to throw their souls away still amazes me.

  8. @ eyesofsamson

    That’s terrible.

    The good part about the Genesis 3 and 4 translation is that they have multiple meanings to them. When you change the wording, it shuts down the alternative meaning which is also important to understand. Namely,

    1. Wives desire to rule their husbands (sinful desire) and therefore stand opposed to his rule, which we see by the example in Gen 4.

    2. Wives desire their husbands (godly desire) and therefore submit to his rule, which we see by the example in Song of Songs.

    That’s the wife’s choice under the rule of her husband. It’s up to her whether to choose good or evil.

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  10. Broderick says:

    The new ESV of Genesis 3:16 does not seem at all egalitarian to me. In fact, I think it’s quite good. The first clause of the new translation simply says that the desires of the wife in her sinful state are contrary to those of the husband. True. The woman’s wishes are opposed to the man (Genesis 3:16) just as Sin’s wishes are opposed to Cain (Genesis 4:7, same phrase in Hebrew). The change from “and” to “but” in the second clause more clearly signifies she will resent headship. All added up, the new ESV states that the wife will be rebellious and, though she will resist, is intended to be under the headship of the man as was God’s design.

    If anything, the new translation is more clear on the virtue of patriarchy and in better concordance with the rest of Scripture. In the old ESV version, it could be interpreted (incorrectly, in context of the rest of the Bible) that the headship of man over wife was part of the curse of original sin and that the “sanctified” couple is egalitarian. The new ESV translation is superior in its use of “but,” because it establishes that even though a wife’s sinful nature tries to pit her desires against her husband, she is STILL intended to be under the headship model established in Genesis 2:18-23 and reiterated in the New Testament (e.g., Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:11-15). The curse is that the wife will want to actualize her contrary desires, even though by doing so she will blow up the relationship and destroy her attraction toward her husband.

    Note that all the curses of original sin are descriptive, not prescriptive. The curse on Eve is that (1) she will have pain in childbearing and (2) her desires will be contrary to her husbands. God is not commanding that she must have pain in childbearing, but stating that she will have pain. Likewise, God is not commanding wives to be rebellious, but stating that wives will be rebellious. God has already prescribed that the woman be the helpmeet of the man, so it is clear that this is NOT part of the curse. Thus, the sanctified wife is submissive and rids herself of the rebellious Eve, just as the sanctified man casts off the old Adam to become more Christlike.

    Excellent blog, by the way! This is all great stuff.

  11. @ Broderick

    It does capture the battle with sin more accurately. I agree with that.

    It does NOT capture the “good choice” as I mentioned though. The same word for desire in Gen 3 and Gen 4 with Cain is also used in Song of Songs to represent good sexual desire between the husband in wife. In other words, if a wife choose what is right (e.g. submission and obedience to her husbands rule) the sexual desire between them will flourish.

    On the other hand, if she is mastered by sin and thus rebellion then both her and her husband are at odds with each other which is what the new ESV translation for Gen 3 and Gen 4 indicates.

    I like the ambiguous one better because it represented both choices. The new one only represents the sin path.

    Also, if you haven’t read, both Eve and Adam were not cursed. They were punished. This is an important distinction.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/not-curses-but-punishments-genesis-3-part-1/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/not-curses-but-punishments-genesis-3-part-2/

  12. Bee says:

    Important point in studying Genesis and the whole OT. The original Hebrew did not have commas and periods. Their placement was added by our translators.

    I referenced Genesis 1:27; it is possible that translators have the commas in the wrong location.

  13. Broderick says:

    @ DS

    Thanks, I had not read those two articles. I agree with the distinction on curse versus punishment, and will be more careful on that distinction in the future. To say that God “cursed” man and woman would imply that God was responsible for future sins because of original sin, which is clearly false. God punishes sin, and those who sin under the law are cursed (Deuteronomy 27:13, Galatians 3:10) according to their corrupted nature (i.e., since birth – Genesis 6:5 and 8:21, Psalms 51:5 and 58:3), but not according to their God-given nature as fully realized in Christ. Of course, Galatians 3:13 then tells how Christ redeemed us from this curse of the law.

    I agree that the dual meaning of “desire” is now gone from the new ESV Genesis 3. I am personally OK with that – it counters the tortured interpretation that sexual desire, submissiveness, and headship are part of the punishment. Because of the similar phraseology, it may be possible (though perhaps debatable) to infer that the meaning in Hebrew is identical between Genesis 3 and 4 yet subtly different from Song of Songs, and the new translation captures this. This means we must look elsewhere for the “good choice,” which is readily found everywhere in the Bible.

  14. Daniel says:

    Lewis’ view seems to be a common (complementaritan?) error:

    “as long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but I am assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. … one or other of them must have a casting vote.”

    This is not Biblical leadership. It limits a husband’s authority to nothing more than a tie-breaking vote. This is after he takes every potential decision to his wife for discussion. This is after she is invited to disagree with him at every turn. Only after exhausting every argument and reaching an impasse is he allowed to declare a deadlock and exercise his marginal advantage by having the last word.

    Is this the example of Christ and the church? Is this how Christ submits to his Father? Is this how Christ is the head of every man? Is this how your head governs your body? Is this how rulers govern their subjects? It would be anarchy!

    Ephesians 5:23-24 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

  15. @ Daniel

    Yep. Anything resembling complementarism is playing up men and women as equals and only giving lip service to husbands as authority in marriage.

  16. Robert Williams says:

    Years ago, prior to the public disgrace of Doug Phillips, he wrote a manifesto, “The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.” It’s since been taken down but here is a copy. (Many people will balk at #22 stating that unmarried women should remain at home under the care and authority of their fathers; I believe it’s the least well-supported tenet.)

    The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy

    Vision Forum Ministries Editorial Note:

    From time to time, God in His providence, allows not only for the testing of his saints, but for divisions, schisms and heresies to arise, that from such, His Church will grow in maturity and purity of faith, doctrine and practice. It is in the context of such “testing times” that God’s people are often reminded to “open the lost book of the law,” and return to the ancient paths — the eternal, unchanging truths found within the pages of Holy Scripture.

    Central to the crisis of this era is the systematic attack on the timeless truths of biblical patriarchy. This attack includes the movement to subvert the biblical model of the family, and redefine the very meaning of fatherhood and motherhood, masculinity, femininity, and the parent and child relationship. We emphasize the importance of biblical patriarchy, not because it is greater than other doctrines, but because it is being actively attacked by unbelievers and professing Christians alike. Egalitarian feminism is a false ideology that has bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers. In conscious opposition to feminism, egalitarianism, and the humanistic philosophies of the present time, the church should proclaim the Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy as an essential element of God’s ordained pattern for human relationships and institutions.

    There have been public statements recently against “legalistic patriarchy” and “hegemonic patriarchy” which have convinced us of the need for this kind of summary statement. We are anxious that what we actually teach be understood.

    By way of background, we want to emphasize that we affirm the historic creeds and confessions of the Christian church (e.g., Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, London and Westminster Confession, etc.) and understand them to present a balanced view of our faith. The Christian faith centers on Jesus Christ and is grounded on the written word of God. These are the truly vital concerns of life.

    Biblical patriarchy is just one theme in the Bible’s grand sweep of revelation, but it is a scriptural doctrine, and faithfulness to Christ requires that it be believed, taught, and lived. The following are a list of affirmations which describe the perspective of Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries, Phil Lancaster of Patriarch magazine and R.C. Sproul, Jr., of the Highlands Study Center. This document, drafted by Phil Lancaster, with the advice and counsel of others, is offered in an attempt to clarify what we mean by “biblical patriarchy.” We view this as an accurate working document, and invite feedback from anyone as we attempt to improve this statement over time.

    In what follows, the number of words devoted to a tenet does not necessarily indicate the relative importance of that topic, but may rather indicate our sense of how much explanation is necessary given how unfamiliar or disputable the topic may be. Here, then, are the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.

    God as Masculine

    1. God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine. God is the eternal Father and the eternal Son, the Holy Spirit is also addressed as “He,” and Jesus Christ is a male. (Matt. 1:25; 28:19; Jn. 5:19; 16:13)

    The Image of God and Gender Roles

    2. Both man and woman are made in God’s image (their human characteristics enable them to reflect His character) and they are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. They share an equal worth as persons before God in creation and redemption. The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man. (Gen. 1:27-28; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; Eph. 5:28; 1 Pet. 3:7)

    3. God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established at the beginning, before sin entered the world. (Gen. 2:18ff.; 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; 1 Tim. 2:12-13)

    4. Although sin has distorted their relationship, God’s order of authority for husbands and wives has not changed, and redemption enables them to make substantial progress in achieving God’s ideal for their relationship. (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22ff.)

    The Authority of Fathers

    5. A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector, with the authority and mandate to direct his household in paths of obedience to God. (Gen. 18:19; Eph. 6:4)

    6. A man’s authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leadership is a stewardship from God. (Ps. 103:13; Mal. 3:17; Matt. 11:29-30; Col. 3:21; 1 Pet. 3:7)

    7. The authority of fathers is limited by the law of God and the lawful authority of church and state. Christian fathers cannot escape the jurisdiction of church and state and must be subject to both. (Rom. 13:1ff.; Eph. 5:21; 6:4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.)

    Family, Church, and State

    8. Family, church, and state are parallel institutions, each with real but limited authority in its ordained sphere. As the keeper of the keys of Christ’s kingdom, the church is the central and defining institution of history. As the primary social group, the family is the foundational institution of society. (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 25:11; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Tim. 3:15)

    9. Every Christian father and family ought to be a submitted and committed part of a local church, subject to the authority and discipline of the church through its elders. (Heb. 10:24-25; 13:17)

    10. The church is defined by its orthodox confession and faithful teaching of God’s word; by the presence of the Holy Spirit; by the rule of qualified elders; by the biblical administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; by regular meetings for worship, instruction, breaking bread, and fellowship; and by the exercise of discipleship and discipline. (Gal. 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Tim. 3:1ff.; Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:20ff.; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 5)

    11. Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church.(1 Tim. 3:5)

    Men & Women: Spheres of Dominion

    12. While men are called to public spheres of dominion beyond the home, their dominion begins within the home, and a man’s qualification to lead and ability to lead well in the public square is based upon his prior success in ruling his household. (Mal. 4:6; Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 3:5)

    13. Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home,” the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home, although her domestic calling, as a representative of and helper to her husband, may well involve activity in the marketplace and larger community. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:4-5)

    14. While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.). The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)

    Procreation

    15. God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” still applies to married couples, and He “seeks godly offspring.” He is sovereign over the opening and closing of the womb. Children are a gift of God and it is a blessing to have many of them, if He so ordains. Christian parents are bound to look to Scripture as their authoritative guide concerning issues of procreation. They should welcome with thanksgiving the children God gives them. The failure of believers to reject the anti-life mindset of the age has resulted in the murder of possibly millions of unborn babies through the use of abortifacient birth control. (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 29:31; 30:22; Ex. 20:13: 21:22-25; Ps. 127:3; 128:3-4; Is. 8:18; Mal. 2:15)

    Education & training of children

    16. Education is not a neutral enterprise. Christian parents must provide their children with a thoroughly Christian education, one that teaches the Bible and a biblical view of God and the world. Christians should not send their children to public schools since education is not a God-ordained function of civil government and since these schools are sub-Christian at best and anti-Christian at worst. (Deut. 4:9; 6:6-9; Rom. 13:3-5; Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:15)

    17. Fathers are sovereign over the training of their children and, with their wives, are the children’s chief teachers. Christian parents are bound to obey the command personally to walk beside and train their children. Any approach to Christian education ought to recognize and facilitate the role of fathers and mothers as the primary teachers of their children. (Deut. 4:9; 6:6ff.; Ps. 78:3-8; Prov. 1:8; Eph. 6:4; )

    18. Educational methodology is not neutral. The Christian should build his educational methodology from the word of God and reject methodologies derived from humanism, evolutionism, and other unbiblical systems of thought. Biblical education is discipleship, a process designed to reach the heart. The aim is a transformed person who exhibits godly character and a trained mind, both of which arise from faith. The parents are crucial and ordinarily irreplaceable in this heart-level, relational process. (Deut. 6:5-7; Lk. 6:40; 1 Thess. 2:7-12; 2 Tim. 1:5; 2 Pet. 1:5-8)

    19. Since the educational mandate belongs to parents and they are commanded personally to walk beside and train their children, they ought not to transfer responsibility for the educational process to others. However, they have the liberty to delegate components of that process. While they should exercise great caution and reserve in doing this, and the more so the less mature the child, it is prudent to take advantage of the diversity of gifts within the body of Christ and enjoy the help and support that comes with being part of a larger community with a common purpose. (1 Cor. 12:14ff.; Gal. 4:1,2; 6:2; Eph. 4:16)

    20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example. (Deut. 29:10-11; 2 Chron. 20:13; Prov. 22:15 with 13:20; Joel 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:33)

    21. The Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world. Christian parents need to adopt this perspective and be motivated by the generational promises of Scripture, and church shepherds need to promote this outlook within their flocks. By the grace of God, as fathers faithfully turn their hearts toward their sons and daughters and the youths respond in kind, the next generation will build upon the faith and improve upon the faithfulness of their parents. (Ps. 78:1-8; Is. 59:21; Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:17; Gal. 6:9)

    A father and his older children

    22. Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives. (Gen. 28:1-2; Num. 30:3ff.; Deut. 22:21; Gal. 4:1,2; Eph. 6:2-3)

    23. Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father. (Gen. 24:1ff.; 25:20; 28:2; Ex. 2:21; Josh. 15:17; Jdg. 12:9; 1 Sam. 18:27; Jer. 29:6; 1 Cor. 7:38; Gen. 24:58)

    The sufficiency & application of Scripture

    24. Scripture is the believer’s sufficient guide for all of faith and practice, and Christians must believe and obey whatever it teaches and commands. The Bible provides the Christian — through precept, pattern and principle — all that is necessary to make wise decisions concerning the many ethically complex issues of life. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3)

    25. Fathers need to exercise discernment in the choices they make for their families and not simply drift with the cultural tide. Egalitarian feminism is an enemy of God and of biblical truth, but the need for care goes beyond this threat. The values of modern society are often at odds with those that accompany a biblical worldview. For example, fathers need self-consciously to resist the values of individualism at the expense of community, efficiency at the expense of relationships, and material well-being at the expense of spiritual progress. The world and the worldly church will cheer many choices that are detrimental to family sanctification. (Rom. 12:2; 1 Jn. 2:15)

    26. While God’s truth is unchanging, the specific application of that truth may vary depending on facts and circumstances unique to each believer. Also, those who are further along in sanctification will see some issues more clearly than those who are less mature. For these reasons great charity must be maintained between believers who have differences of application, and liberty of application must be respected. However, an appeal to the doctrine of Christian liberty must never be used in an effort simply to avoid submitting to what Scripture plainly teaches. Believers should also bear in mind that things which are lawful may not be expedient if the goal is personal and family holiness. The biblical rule in judging behavior is charity toward others, strictness toward oneself. (Gal. 5:2-3 with Acts 16:3; Phil. 3:15; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 1:10; 6:12; 9:27; 10:23; Gal. 5:13)

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