Culture, applications, and following the Bible

General Christian Theology
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Culture, applications, and following the Bible

Postby Bootstrap » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:46 pm

YorkandAdams wrote:At the end of the day, I am responsible for myself and my account to God. If I don't live out the applications in the way that God has convicted me, then I will be held responsible. Now rejecting commandments is a whole different beast. Throwing off the covering because you don't feel a "conviction" is not acceptable. I think most on the board would agree with me on this. We must follow biblical commandments, but how we follow them will depend on our convictions. These convictions lead to the application.

Obviously, you shouldn't let your feelings tell you when to obey, you should just obey.

But the same chapter that talks about covering the head talks about communion, describing it as something that is done whenever we get together, involving wine. Yet there are groups that usually do not have communion when they meet, and never have wine when they do have communion. And this communion also seems to involve a meal. Few groups have communion in a setting that also involves a meal. Paul describes the section on communion as "instructions". Some groups believe that celebrating communion in every worship service is an important part of our obedience, and that you must use real wine. Others believe that this is not something we need to do the same way they did.

That's just one example - but I bet we could make a list of passages that Mennonites traditionally apply less literally than some other denominations. As Mennonites, we tend not to focus on these. Other denominations focus more on the passages they apply more literally.

So how do we decide which things we should do the same way they did, using the same cultural application, even though the culture and setting has changed? How do we decide which commands directed to other people or groups are also commands for us now?
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Re: Culture, applications, and following the Bible

Postby Ernie » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:12 pm

Was the command given to a general audience, or to a specific audience?
If a general audience, than I think it should be obeyed today.

Early church history helps us understand whether they believed the command to be to a general audience or to a specific audience, but even then there are some variables.

So there needs to be some grace given to others who think it was a specific audience when we think it was a general audience, or vice versa.

Oftentimes if we think it was a specific audience and therefore not a command for today, we conclude that keeping the principle is a good thing, even if we don't follow the exact instruction. (e.g. Shaking the dust off our feet if people do not receive the Gospel.)

However, if Christians have trouble keeping the principle without following the exact instruction, then I think wisdom would instruct us to keep the exact instruction as part of our church tradition. (e.g. footwashing)
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Re: Culture, applications, and following the Bible

Postby Sudsy » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:32 am

And then there is the issue of frequency and timing regarding following a command. For instance, foot washing was an on-going practise when someone entered your home. Does a once or twice a year practise in a church building of already washed feet have the same affect that it did as an on-going practise in that day ? Or taking communion which goes from a weekly to a once a year practise in remembering the Lord's death until He comes ? Or water baptism whether there should be any delay between confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour and being baptised in water ? Etc, etc.
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