Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 13, 1968

The Authority Of Silence

Hayse Reneau

"For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." (Heb. 7:14) There is a maxim set forth here that all who would please God must heed: God's silence is meaningful! Moses, by inspiration, spoke the mind of God. (Heb. 1:1; II Peter 1:21) Moses when assigning the work of the Old Testament priesthood said nothing about the tribe of Judah, therefore, we know that it was not God's good pleasure to have the tribe of Judah to serve in that capacity. He did, however, in no uncertain terms, specify who would fill the office: "And thou shall give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." (Num. 3:9-10) Now, since God had expressed His desire on this subject, if any would please him, they must abide within his revealed will. They were not allowed to speculate or be presumptuous about something of which he had said nothing. This is axiomatic to all people who will accept the Word of God without addition or subtraction. And the principle remains unchanged down through the ages, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God..." (I Pet. 4:11), also, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (II John 9)

The application of the foregoing is simple:

1. Music: God said nothing in the New Testament about mechanical instruments of music being used in praise to him. However, he did specify the kind of music he wanted, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph. 5:19) Again, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3: 16) Our praising God with mechanical instruments of music would be comparable to Israel appointing a priest from the tribe of Judah — God spake nothing concerning such. We must not be presumptuous!

2. The name God's people are to wear: God spake nothing of cake or cornbread, concerning the bread offering on the Lord's table. And likewise, he uttered not a word about orange juice, buttermilk or water (which the Mormons use) in reference to the drink offering. He didn't say thou shalt not use any of the foregoing. It wasn't necessary that he do so! He specifically stated what was to be used "Bread" -- unleavened bread, this was the only kind of bread ever used in the passover feast. (Ex. 12:8; Matt. 26:17ff) This passover feast, ordained in Exodus 12, was being observed at the time that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. (Matt. 26:26-29) In regard to the drink element, he said, "fruit of the vine," (Luke 22:18; Mk. 14:25) not WINE! Grape juice. GENEMA (fruit) of the vine; not GENEMA produced from the GENEMA of the vine!!

3. Sprinkling or pouring water on a person as a mode of baptism: God spake nothing about such, thus, one commits grave sin when he presumes that such would please God. Baptism is designated as a "burial," (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12) If one can understand what one means when reference is made to the burial of a dead body, he can understand the Bible mode of baptism. We might also note, the Bible element is "water." (Acts 10:47)

4. Infant baptism: God spake nothing, from Genesis to Revelation, about baptizing babies. Therefore, one acts without, and goes beyond the doctrine of Christ when he teaches or practices such. Baptism is for the sinner; the believing, penitent, confessing sinner. (Matt. 10:32; Acts 3:19; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16) Babies have no sin, therefore, no need for being baptized; because baptism is for the washing away of sins. "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)

We could go on and on with such illustrations, but the list would be far out of proportion in-so-far as this little paper is concerned. The sin of presumption continues to be paramount, not only in the denominational world, but also in the household of God. Actually the unity that many false teachers, in the church of Christ, are piously crying for could be realized if they would simply apply this rule: If God spake nothing concerning your teaching or practice; give it up — and unity can be had forthwith. How bad do you want unity? We must respect the authority of God's silence if we want to go to heaven! How bad do you want to go to heaven? Surely even though you may not want to give up an unscriptural practice in order to have unity you would do so in order to go to heaven, Cease subsidizing the institutions and societies, that are so rapidly reducing the glorious church of our blessed Lord Jesus into nothing more than a social institution, shaped and fit for nothing higher than the earth on which we live. Ah, unity precious unity, is it possible? Yes! And the "foundation stone" has been laid that it might be built upon, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." (Col. 3:17)

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