Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 15, 1959
NUMBER 23, PAGE 1,10-14

New Testament Examples And Divine Authority

Roy E. Cogdill, Nacogdoches, Texas

(This is the seventh in a series of articles written in review of the book "We Be Brethren", J. D. Thomas, Abilene Christian College, Author)

We have already seen in this review that Brother Thomas was very much concerned in his book, "We Be Brethren" with getting rid of every rule or reason that would "exclude" the "sponsoring Church" plan of congregational cooperation or the building and maintaining of human organizations as a centralized agency through which congregations could cooperate in doing their work of benevolence. He recognizes no obligation to find authority for these practices that are today devastating the unity of brethren in Christ. He feels that all of us are under obligation to accept his judgment and that of others who think that these great promotions are perfectly all right and that we do not have the right to demand scriptural authority of some kind, if there are kinds, as the basis for their being practiced. We should let the "trained thinkers" among us — the professionally trained men — or as Kershner puts it — the "intellectual majority" determine such matters. They are "optional expedients" anyway and need no pattern or, for that matter, any authority, but can be brought in under the justification of the "silence of the scriptures" — "sanctified common sense" and as the true and correct "hypothesis" reached by "leaps of inference" made by the competent men in the church today, of which our brother certainly founts himself to be one.

We have emphasized in a former article that if these "cooperatives" are matters of "optional expediency" as Brother Thomas claims then one of two things must be true; 1) both the "congregational plan" and these "cooperative plans" must be authorized in the teaching of the New Testament, thereby giving us a choice, or, 2) neither of them is authorized by the teaching of New Testament Scriptures and the Bible is entirely silent as to how the church shall function in accomplishing its work.

If neither is specified (if one were specified, the other would be eliminated and excluded since these are coordinates) then both must be included in the general authority given or both are excluded by the authority of the scriptures because God has said nothing that "includes them". If this is not true, then scriptural authority means nothing and we can forget about it and "walk by sight" rather than "by faith".

Our Brother Thomas says that even "cooperation itself is an optional expedient".

"As before mentioned, COOPERATION ITSELF IS NOT A REQUIRED THING! It is not a Box "SP" type, required, matter that Christians have to obey without addition, subtraction, or change! Cooperation is an expedient method of doing required things! It is a WAY of preaching the gospel or of doing other things efficiently. It necessarily diagrams "below the wavy line", and there can be no pattern for cooperation because we do not have to cooperate in the first place. It is purely optional!" (Page 80 — Para. 4 — Page 81 — Para. 1)

Of course many of his "brethren" do not agree with him about that. Most of the principal advocates of "cooperative societies" up to this point have freely contended that cooperation is necessary. In his attempt to prove the "Herald of Truth" scriptural in the Birmingham debate, Guy N. Woods argued that if there were no scripture but the Great Commission of our Lord, that would be sufficient for its justification, for it is impossible to execute the Great Commission without cooperation between churches. Now Brother Thomas either doesn't know that some of his fellow "institutionalists" are so contending or else he does not classify men like Guy Woods among the "intellectuals". He is not a Ph. D. and probably does not rate as a "school man trained in logic" and is not therefore a "trained thinker". Brother Woods agreed with all of our charts on authority and said that he did not find any fault in them but that it simply wasn't a question of authority. Brother Thomas thinks brethren have made a terrible mess of understanding what authority is and how it is to be established.

He and Brother Woods and the other exponents of these "cooperative societies" should hold them a convention during some of their numerous lectureships and get together on the grounds of their defense.

"Interpreting Examples"

Our Brother Thomas is as confident of his ability to properly solve the problem of the binding and exclusive force of New Testament examples as they concern present day problems as he is that he can solve all other problems by his "Methods of Interpretation". In the matter of examples and how they teach us today also, he discounts and rejects all other efforts but his own as insufficient and inadequate.

"During the present controversy BRETHREN have formulated hypotheses of one sort or another in the attempt to determine when and how examples establish pattern authority. In the various writings that have circulated, lists of these hypotheses have been given often with dogmatic claims about their authority and finality. The scientific method was, however, used somewhat loosely in their formulation, and they were either not checked with all the possible facts or available data, or were not fully tested after their formulation, or both. To say the least the hypotheses that have been suggested are not qualified to pronounce with definite authority as to when an example is or is not binding; and they actually serve only to confuse, and to maintain tensions. Some of these inadequate hypotheses may have merit, but singly or collectively they do not fully meet our needs. Our "pattern principle" which states that "some examples bind and some do not — those that bind us clearly bound the New Testament exemplars, and those that are optional to us were optional to them, is the only hypothesis that we have seen that seems to stand all tests". (Page 76 — para. 1)

"The main reason our tensions have developed is because no one on either side has had a clear-cut criterion for interpreting examples. What we have needed is a clear method of knowing when we are dealing with a Bible pattern, that is applicable in all cases". (Page 82 — para. 1)

It may not require a Ph. D. to be that egotistical but it is bound to help. Here once again our brother tells us that he has solved the problem which he thinks all other brethren of every generation have failed to solve. He doesn't even grant that his brethren who are "institutional advocates" along with him have found the solution to the problem of "interpreting examples" in the New Testament. "No one on either side" has been able to produce the solution until he wrote his book. This book we are reviewing is a great book indeed! That is, if you take the author's recommendation for it. We hope that he will not think us too unkind if we are not as "high" on his solution or his book either as he is. The rest of us are not as "scientific" as our brother in our "methods of interpretation" or we would arrive at the same conclusions, so he thinks and says.

In the chapter which follows the above question, Chapter VI, he dismisses with a wave of the hand all other suggestions made concerning the study of New Testament examples and comes up with a profound (?) "hypothesis" which we suppose to be the product of his "scientific method" of "interpretation". The "Pattern Principle" for Examples, as he calls it is his own invention, he thinks, and his judgment is that it is brilliant indeed! In fact, he thinks it will, with the "Standard Diagram of Authority", solve all our problems unless we are determined to be "antis" and "legalists". This "Pattern Principle" on which he dotes so much is stated for us on page 91 of his book.

"What we now wind up with as we conclude Part II on the Solution of our problem is a major premise produced by our inductive reasoning thus far, and which is the finally formulated hypothesis derived from actual data and facts, gathered from the New Testament itself and tested with many illustrations. (In the process of formulating this final hypothesis the New Testament was read through several times, watching for certain data and in testing the hypothesis).

This major premise can now be used in syllogisms in the study of specific problems of interpretation or in the specific applications of Part III of this book. The minor premise will be supplied by each specific application studied. We must remember that in syllogisms, if both major and minor premises are true, and if the syllogism is properly constructed, THE CONCLUSION WILL BE TRUE, without exception.

The Major Premise, And "Pattern Principle" Is:

Any New Testament Example That Implies An Underlying Command, Which Requires Specific Action Or Attitudes Of Its Exemplary Characters, Establishes A Pattern, Which Requires The Same Specific Action Or Attitude Of People Today.

And conversely, Any New Testament example that does not imply an underlying command which would require specific action or attitudes of the exemplary characters, establishes no pattern whatever, and serves only to illustrate matters that are purely optional for people of today".

What is the meaning of this very formal and impressive statement? Well, to put it in eighth grade English it means:

If it is an example of something essential in the New Testament day, then it is essential now and is therefore a pattern that is binding upon us today.

And conversely, If it is an example of something that was purely optional with the people who carried it out then, then it is optional with us now and does not therefore set forth essential action for us today.

If it was binding then, it is binding now, and if it was optional then, it is optional now. Not many of us have studied in the "Humanities Division of the University of Chicago" or been privileged to take a course in Bible from the learned "Professor of Bible" in Abilene College but this great discovery and wonderful deduction so laboriously given birth by our Abilene professor has been recognized by every "cornfield preacher" in the country in generations past who had travelled outside of his own back yard! Anyone who does not know that much without the help of the "Professor of Bible" should be put back into the first grade of Bible study and started all over again. It is equivalent to saying, If it was necessary to salvation then, it is necessary now, and if it wasn't necessary then, it isn't necessary now. Isn't that a wonderful "hypothesis"?

If we were to use our professor's method of dealing with arguments, we would simply say, "This particular 'rule' is really only a truism and it affects commands and necessary inferences the same way", and feel that we had dealt it a master stroke that would result in its being forgotten from now on. (see page 82 — para. 3 — his book).

If ever anyone insisted that an example of a thing which was not binding in the New Testament day is binding now, we do not know of it. On the other hand, if anyone has ever contended that an example of a thing bound then by a commandment of the Lord would not under the same or similar circumstances be binding upon us now, we have not heard of it. So, in the profound discovery and great contribution which our brother thinks he has made, there is nothing whatsoever new and any student of the Bible even in the grades should be "flunked" if he doesn't know that much.

Furthermore, anyone who does not know that a binding example, approved or taught by the apostles, had to rest for its authority upon a command of the Lord, hasn't done much thinking and studying. In Matthew's record of the Great Commission given by our Lord to the apostles, Jesus commanded them in view of his authority to "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you". The only thing any apostle had the right to teach the baptized to observe was that which Christ had commanded. Whether the command is expressed in the scriptures or not, it is implied when the church practiced a thing under apostolic teaching and approval. The authority of Christ is the only thing that makes anything binding that is taught in the scriptures.

We have never seen so much laborious effort produce a greater "dud" than this which our brother calls his "pattern principle" for determining when an example is binding. We say about his great production what he said about a simple rule of Bible study in our book, "Walking By Faith".

"Again, this is the whole point — determining what is essential and what is incidental." Anyone knows that if something is incidental it does not set a pattern. A statement like this gives no help at all for determining when a thing is incidental and when it is an essential. It is not a "rule" which helm; our problem. but is merely a grow) of words without a point." (Page 84-Para. 4)

In this matter of examples as in his "Standard Diagram of Authority", he actually solves nothing for in the one we are left to determine where the wavy line belongs as we have illustrated and in the other we are left to determine when a thing was essential in the New Testament day and therefore essential action now. Of course, if we are willing to "offer idolatrous worship at the shrine of scholarship" as our Brother I. B. Grubbs says in his preface to "Exegetical Analysis", and allow our learned professor to locate the "wavy line" and specify what was essential in the New Testament day and therefore what examples are binding now, as he undertakes to classify them by his own arbitrary judgment in his book, instead of thinking independently for ourselves in our study of the Bible that our faith might be in God and His word and not in the wisdom of man, then these "rules" fashioned as "hypotheses" by our brother might prove something for him. Otherwise they make no contribution whatever for we must study the scriptures for ourselves in order to know what is incidental and what is essential in the service of the Lord.

In this same chapter, with a wave of his hand and sometimes even with a sneer, he dismisses some "rules" or statements, well recognized through the years in the study of the Bible as guides in the field of "Hermeneutics" or interpretation (understanding) of Bible truth. These "rules", many of them, say in principle what the "pattern principle" suggests. They are helpful when used as a guide in our study of the Bible in determining what is binding and when. They help us to determine when an example is a case in point. But we suppose that it is not uncommon for a Ph. D. with his highly developed ego to think when a plain principle dawns upon him that he gave birth to the idea!

Let us look at some of the "so called hypotheses", as he denominates the "Hermeneutical Rules", suggested in "Walking By Faith", Chapter VI, as he professes to answer and dispose of them in Chapter VI of "We Be Brethren". Brother Grubbs in his book, recently republished, "Exegetical Analysis," deals with many of these principles of Bible study and calls them "Hermeneutical Rules". But he was not privileged to sit at the feet of our great professor of Bible, in the Bible Department, of Abilene Christian College. If he had, he might have been more "scientific" in his "methods of interpretation" and known the difference between a "hypothesis" and a "rule". Our guess is that he did know that a "hypothesis" is a "conjecture, surmise, guess, theory, or supposition," and hence called his principles of Hermeneutics "rules." He was a great student and teacher of the Bible in yester-years and his book on Hermeneutics and Exegesis is a wonderfully helpful book. Brother Thomas sneers at the idea of "rules" and seems to be "hipped" on the word "hypothesis" and everything seems to belong in that class with him whether it is true or not.

In "Walking By Faith" we undertook in Chapter VI to deal with some principles well recognized by Bible students through the years as guides to a proper understanding and application of Bible teaching. Where all of these rules given in the chapter come from, we do not know but we learned them from some one. Some of the works along this line that have been helpful to us we might suggest in this connection. They are: "Principles of Interpretation" by Clinton Lockhart, copyright 1901; "Exegetical Analysis" by I. B. Grubbs, copyright, 1893-94; "Companion to the Bible" by Barrow, copyright 1867; "Messages of the Books of the New Testament" by Farrar; and even more recently — "The New Testament — A Survey" by Merrill C. Tenney. From all of these, and other sources in addition, these "rules" given in our Chapter VI were gathered. We, of course, stated them in our own language and developed them in our own way of discussing matters. We believe they are true, applicable, and helpful, though we have never claimed perfection for them or any other set of human, uninspired "Rules" that we have ever seen. Brother Thomas labored hard but was unable to do anything with them — any of them — as any fair reader must know. Evidently they were very disturbing to him and they well should be for they will disprove, if properly and fairly used in Bible study, everything that he undertakes to defend in present day issues.

We did not think of it being necessary to point out that these "rules" would apply to anything which the Bible teaches, whether by example, command, or necessary inference. Our effort was simply to take the same rules of Bible teaching that apply to whatever it teaches in any way and apply them to the study of examples. Brother Thomas treats the chapter and the "rules" suggested in it as though the Examples of the Bible constitute a separate study and can be properly understood and applied only when we have a different set of "Hypothesis" by which to study them. This is a violation of one of the first principles of understanding anything. Mr. Lockhart, in his book, "Principles of Interpretation", gives us in Chapter two, page 31, as an "axiom of Hermeneutics" this statement: "AXIOM: Every communication of thought, human and divine, given in the language of men, is subject to the ordinary rules of interpretation." Now Mr. Lockhart was a scholar of some renown, himself a Ph. D., if not from Chicago University then from some place else, and he understood that the same rules that applied to one form of communication in human language would apply to every other form equally as well. Our Brother Thomas doesn't think so. He thinks with reference to present day problems of cooperation we must have some "New Rules" of interpretation to guide to the proper point of view. (We forgot to mention it in the above list but we also have the book to which Brother Thomas once referred as very inadequate, "Hermeneutics" by Dungan.) Why approved examples should be construed and applied under any different set of rules to the rest of Bible teaching, Brother Thomas does not tell us. Evidently his conception is that unless he can "rule out" certain New Testament examples as binding, his cause is lost. We think he is right in that feeling and we do not intend to allow him to rule out those that are applicable to our problems now for he cannot do so scripturally and justly. It is confusing indeed when our Ph. D: scholars cannot agree on some simple rules of "interpreting" — (understanding) — the scriptures. "When the gods contend, men are confounded". No scholar we know of, in the class of Brother Thomas, or any other, who is recognized as such has ever contended that the examples of the New Testament must be interpreted by a different method or rule than the rest of the Bible.

The Rule Of Uniformity

This first rule discussed in "Walking By Faith", Chapter VT, gave our brother Thomas a good bit of trouble in his effort to get it out of the way and avoid its effect. The rule, of course, has to do with the fact that in New Testament scriptures when there is but one example of a practice, or when in every occurrence that practice was the same, unless some other passage of scripture can be produced authorizing another practice or that same thing practiced in another way, the very uniformity of the occurrences would indicate that example should be followed in doing the same thing under the same circumstances. In other words, it would be a case in point, and would certainly indicate what we should do In the introduction to the lesson of this chapter, we had this to say:

"When we can find the church practicing a particular thing or method in the New Testament record with evident apostolical approval, no one with any faith would question the correctness of the same practice today under the same or similar circumstances. If there are two or more examples of methods of doing the same thing, then either would be permissible under the same circumstances now and we would have a choice in the matter based on expediency. But the question with which we are concerned in this lesson is this: when there is an example of but one method of doing a thing in the New Testament scriptures is that one example exclusive of all other methods or practices?"

Our brother refused to meet this issue squarely and spent his time trying to prove that "uniformity alone" will not establish a "pattern" of authority. Well, he wasted his time for no one — absolutely no one! — contends that "uniformity alone" will bind the example on us today. Did not our brother notice in the same chapter that there are six other rules given that enter into the picture of helping us to determine when an example in the New Testament is binding? He even refers to them, though he does not deal with them, in his attempt to refute what the lesson teaches. Why then does he seek to create the impression that we are contending for uniformity alone? This is just another bit of his subtlety in trying to confuse the issue and avoid the truth by misrepresentation. Evidently he gives no one else credit for having much sense. We may not all be "trained thinkers" or belong to the intellectual majority" but it doesn't take a smart man to see that there is a difference in the uniformity of an example having some force and evidential value and its being absolutely conclusive within itself. The latter we did not and do not claim, brother Thomas to the contrary notwithstanding, and know of no one who does.

On this point we call attention to some of the professor's reasoning:

"First, 'examples of optional matters' could be uniform in their details. These BRETHREN have not even considered the possibility of dealing with examples grouped as optional things and as required things. To do so and to study through several cases of examples that are clearly optional might show uniformity in important details, but such uniformity would not change the examples from the optional group into the 'required' category." (Page 77 — Para. 2)

He has not given us much credit in alleging that we have not considered the "possibility of dealing with examples grouped as optional things and required things". Brother Thomas, that is what the whole chapter is about. It is headed: "When Is A New Testament Example Binding?" No one is silly enough to claim that all New Testament examples are binding or are examples of obligatory force upon us today. Every person with a grain of judgment recognizes that there are examples of incidental or "optional" nature. So does everyone know that a "binding" example is not optional and an "optional" example is not binding. What did you think we were "considering"? Your charge is very inconsiderately made.

Will brother Thomas deny that the uniformity of a New Testament example of a material or essential matter, approved by an apostle of our Lord, teaches and implies anything at all as to its binding force? Let us give our readers the benefit of another recognized man in this field. His conclusions and applications should be questioned freely but the principles of interpretation which he deals with are commonly accepted as worthy of careful consideration.

"(9) Religious truth may be gathered from approved precedent. — We learn from the authorized conduct of the children of God. If we can first be assured that what is done is approved, we can know certainly what we are at liberty to do under similar circumstaces. Indeed, if the conduct has been directed by men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we learn from the example what we ought to do. If the Scriptures are to be our guide from earth to heaven, then to be religiously right we must be scripturally right. Or the statement may be made stronger in this way: no one can be religiously right and scripturally wrong at the same time. Or, again; no one can be religiously wrong while he is scripturally right. Now, if the will of God has undergone no change since the New Covenant was completed, what was His will then is His will yet. And if those men did that will, and we do the same now, we will be accomplishing His pleasure.

" (2) We must also be careful not to confound mere incidents or accidents with the approved precedents. The disciples met together in an upper room in Jerusalem, and so they aid at Troas, but that does not make it binding on the disciples of to-day to meet in upper rooms. These were mere accidents or conveniences. And to elevate them into divinely appointed rules for the service of the Lord, would be to miss the purpose of the record altogether. The Master took all his journeys on foot, but it does not follow that we are only at liberty to travel in that way.

"But the question recurs, How shall we determine what is an approved precedent? How shall we be able to separate the many things done in the times of the apostles which are merely incidental, from those that were meant for our benefit, that we may know what to do ?

(1) Those actions performed by the apostles or other disciples in their day which have a divine approval, or, if done by an apostle, nothing has been said by inspiration in opposition thereto.

(2) Customs of the Church under the eye and sanction of apostles. For if, in an unguarded moment, an apostle should turn aside, he would not continue in that condition. And if it could be possible for one apostle to continue to err in his public character, it would not be so with all of them. A general custom is established in harmony with that which is allowed, taught, approved by the many. If we shall find the whole church engaged in a common custom in religious service, no matter how we may come to that intelligence, if we can certainly know that such was the custom everywhere among the disciples in the days of the apostles, such practice will show certainly what was the will of God". (Hermeneutics by Dungan — Page 95, 96, 97.)

Now the above quotation does not mean that a mere incidental custom always becomes law and is therefore binding or else we would have the holy kiss and foot washing bound upon Christian individuals. But in essential practices by the churches everywhere in carrying out their God-given duties, certainly this rule of the "customary" or "uniform" thing has some weight in spite of the contention of our good brother at Abilene. We would not argue that it must be conclusive "within itself" any more than we would contend that the circumstances of baptism within themselves are conclusive proof of immersion — BUT THEY ARE EVIDENTIAL OF IT.

But our brother in his book continues on this matter:

"An illustration of this point is that in all the examples and references in the New Testament about the partaking of the fruit of the vine, it is UNIFORMLY referred to as the "cup" (singular), both in literal and figurative usages. If uniformity in examples were the thing that establishes patterns, then we sin today if we use more than one container." (Page 77 — Para 2, Page 78 — Para 1)

We are surprised at this appeal. If this is the best our able professor at A. C. C. is capable of, he may be a "school man trained in logic" but it didn't take enough to make him a "thinker" — trained or otherwise.

In the first place, do you notice his switching his terms and changing subjects? Brother Thomas should know that in "references in the New Testament about the partaking of the fruit of the vine" there is nothing said about the container or proved about it whatever! The "cup" when it refers to "partaking of the fruit of the vine" does not have any reference whatever to the container! When the Lord gave thanks for "the cup"; when he said, "Take this, and divide it"; did he give thanks for the container and did he mean for them to take the container and divide it? How ridiculous can a smart man get?

When he said, "This cup is the New Testament in my blood", did he mean the container? Why certainly not! What does the singular prove about the container, Brother Thomas, in such usages'? Exactly nothing of course! The contention is nothing short of downright silly. Then why is the singular always used? By metonymy the "fruit of the vine" is represented by the container — "the cup" and so called — (singular) — because there is but one element — the fruit of the vine — (singular) — that Jesus ordained as communion with his blood. There is not a shred of evidence in this use of the singular form of "the cup" concerning how many containers were used then or should be used now.

But listen again!

"Again, the examples of the preaching of the apostles show that in all cases of conversion recorded in Acts they uniformly preached faith and baptism, but there were variations in the examples as to whether the people were required to repent or confess; so, if uniformity is the criterion of pattern teaching, then faith and baptism are required; but repentance and confession are optional!" (Page 78 — Para 1)

A man who professes to be a Gospel preacher whether he ever saw the inside of a college or not who can't beat that both as to Bible knowledge and reasoning should be ashamed of himself. We see more proof all of the time that our brother's idolatry for learning has warped him into thinking that others do not and cannot think.

Brother Thomas, there are some cases of conversion that do not specifically mention baptism. Does that mean that it is as optional as repentance or confession? If only one New Testament example mentioned it, it would be just as essential. Uniformity does not require "multi-occurrence" instances in' the record. Uniformity meant that the things recorded never happened and are not recorded

in any other way no matter how many times they were done. As to the illustration from the conversions that do not specifically relate repentance and confession, did the people repent and confess? Certainly! Our brother would not deny it. But how do we know they did? It is implied when it is not recorded specifically! Other New Testament examples of conversion supply the information that demands it in every case of conversion. But suppose repentance and confession were nowhere taught and could not be found in any New Testament example of conversion, would the Bible teach that it should or could be done?

That is your problem, Brother Thomas, you have the job of showing us New Testament teaching either in command, necessary inference, or New Testament example — or in "principle eternal" — or by the "law of love" or in any other way that a thing can be taught in the scriptures where churches of Christ, 1) ever built and maintained human benevolent organizations to do their work; and, 2) that churches of Christ ever pooled their funds in one congregation and centralized control over those funds and the work done with them under one eldership as a means of cooperating in doing their work; and, 3) where one congregation ever made a contribution to another congregation when the receiving church was not in need; and 4) where one local church ever sent to any work at all through another local church as its agent. You will not need to worry about uniformity if you will just find a "single-occurrence" or "multi-occurrence", or teaching otherwise in the scriptures for any of these. We challenge you to produce it and quit playing "ring around the rosey" with Bible teaching on these points. We think you know that it cannot be found. Brother Thomas tells us that he read the New Testament through several times in preparing the manuscript for this book — (page 91 — para. 2) — evidently looking for it and we know if he had found it, he would have put it in the book and it is not there. The book is altogether negative so far as Bible proof is concerned. Of course, it is very positive in expressing Brother

Thomas' opinions and judgments.

We propose to find in the Scriptures what we practice in a congregation doing its own work of benevolence, under its own elders, out of the resources furnished by its own members, through the ministration of its own deacons and without building and maintaining another organization. We also propose to be able to point out from the scriptures how churches sent directly to the support of a gospel preacher in New Testament days.

We can also find definite Bible examples of how churches cooperated in supporting gospel preachers and how they cooperated with each other in time of need. Now when our brother can find what he practices in the New Testament, we will agree that there is more than one way of doing this work, but until he or someone else can, we will still be guided by the Bible in the only information it gives on these matters. Until you can produce New Testament teaching for what you practice, do not ask us to accept it.

We listen once again to our brother on the matter of "uniformity" in New Testament examples:

"To explore this important (and for those who hold the view crucial) argument further, we now note some instances of "single occurrence" examples, which the hypothesis would insist always establishes patterns. (We recall here that this is the only reason that such BRETHREN say that the example of the Acts 20:7 context establishes an exclusive pattern for the day upon which to partake of the Lord's supper — is the fact that it is a "single occurrence" example, and therefore the uniformity hypothesis applies in its case.) (Page 79 — Para. 2)

Here is another of the many instances of complete misrepresentation in which our brother engages in his book. Who insists that "single-occurrence" examples "always establishes patterns"? Exactly No One! Who are the "such brethren" who say "that this is the only reason that the example in Acts 20:7 context establishes an exclusive pattern for the day upon which to partake of the Lord's Supper"? Does Brother Thomas mean that such a contention is made because of the fact that it is recorded but once that it occurred? That is the inference if his statement makes any sense. The force of the argument is that no instance of "breaking bread" on any other day is recorded nor is there any New Testament teaching that it should be done on any other day. Brother Thomas must have read "Walking By Faith". He refers to it and quotes from it frequently in his book. Why did he not read it fairly and if he did, then why doesn't he represent it fairly? Compare the above statement quoted from his book with this paragraph on Acts 20:7 under the "Rule of Uniformity" — (page 22-23 — W. B. F.), the very rule our brother was discussing:

"(4) The fact that the Lord's Supper was observed by the early church on the first day of the week and only upon the first day of the week is significant. If it established the right to observe the Lord's Supper upon the first day, it also established that it can be observed only upon the first day for we have neither precept, example or inference of observing it any other day. Therefore, every other day is excluded."

From this it can be seen that the rule of uniformity is that where a practice occurred with apostolic approval in the work and worship of the New Testament church and that practice was uniform in essential elements, that is, it did not vary but always, whenever recorded, occurred in the same way, then there must be some weight and force given to the testimony concerning it and it establishes only that the same practice can be performed in the same way under the same circumstances today.

What our brother needs to prove is that the church of the Lord today has the right to practice something in its work or worship that is not taught in any way by New Testament scriptures. When he can find neither precept or example in the New Testament for what he is doing, how can it have divine authority?