The Fork in the Road: Beware the Pattern!

My article “Beware the Pattern!” appeared at New Wineskins earlier today.

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew I’d actually read Behold the Pattern! — several times, in fact.

For those not familiar with the background, some years ago, Goebel Music wrote that very long, very caustic book condemning the “liberals” in the Churches of Christ. Someone paid to have a copy sent free to every known “change agent” in the Churches. A got my copy from a friend.

You see, at this time, I hadn’t fully made up my mind on a bunch of things. So I read it. And then my mind was made up. There was no doubt at all which point of view most nearly reflected the heart of Jesus.

And I’ve been expecting my copy to come in the mail ever since.

By this way, the article is all about Hebrews 8 – 10, which condemns seeking salvation by duplicating a pattern.


7 Responses

  1. Jay—

    Your “Beware the pattern” link doesn’t work.

  2. Jay accidentally linked to the graphic, I think.

    Here’s the correct URL for his article:

    I’ve read “Behold the Pattern” a couple of times – even reviewed it at my own blog once (here), but I don’t think I could get through it again.

    Years before I attended there, Goebel Music preached at the church where I now work. I’ve received two gift copies from members who admired him.

  3. Thanks. I think I have the link repaired.

  4. I was given a copy as well when it came out. I still remember the Sunday morning when a good brother cornered me a church and said “Here is the truth” about all of your liberal mentors. I still don’t understand how anyone could feel good after reading it.

  5. I have read it to a long with Dave Millers books piloting the straight. I thought they were mean spirited and very convoluted in Biblical approach. It seems to me there was a longing for a Old Testament God to wage war with a New Testament church. And lets not forget our good friend Ken Sublett with his pontification of the pan flute. I wonder if these conservatives ever thought about how many liberals they have created.

  6. Guys

    I am absolutely stunned that any theologian could arrive at the conclusion that rules and patterns for the tabernacle could be misconstrued to mean “pattern theology” for worship.

    Pattern theology has led to about twenty versions of the correct pattern for worship,

    Amazing how Hebrews chapters 8-10 proclaiming the superiority of Christ to the Law could mean anything else.



  7. “Pattern theology” is based on a theological theory long favored by Calvinists and other early reformers of the Roman church. The theory is often referred to as a “regulative theory.” It’s not found in apostolic writings of course. But it appears that every legalist is convinced the “regulative theory” is from God. It follows then that God MUST have provided a pattern for us to follow in assemblies and in church business matters. A problem is that God did no such thing. So those who are convinced He should have given a pattern try to make up the deficiency. THEY create a pattern and attempt to impose it on all God’s people. Some are convinced. If they don’t like one pattern they hear of, they seek another pattern. But a pattern they must have! “Worship according to the pattern.” That’s the aim.

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