An Experiment in Christian Dialogue: God’s Revelation is Limited

Angel with harpThe Springville (Alabama) Church of Christ bulletin contains an article copied from Wilson Adams in Biblical Insights, Vol. 6, No. 7, July 2006 arguing —

1 Cor. 2:9-13. It is impossible for you to know the mind of God unless it has been revealed. All of which means we must dispense with the “I think…” and focus on what the Author has expressed.

Eph. 3:1-4. God spoke, the apostles wrote, and we can read and understand. All of which means: if the apostles didn’t write it and we can’t read it, God doesn’t want it. That’s true whether you are discussing infant baptism or instrumental music.

The two cited passages read —

(1 Cor 2:9-13 ESV) But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

and

(Eph 3:1-4) 1For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — 2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,

Do these two passages teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority?

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24 Responses

  1. First of all, the cited passages do not seem to state whatsoever what this bulletin article alleges that it states. Actually it seems the author is practicing ‘private interpretation’, that is reading a meaning into the text that a plain reading would not support. Secondly, a plain reading seems to convey conclusions quite contrary to what this bulletin author concluded.
    So,
    “Do these two passages teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority?”
    NO.

  2. “Do these two passages teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority?” — Jay

    Of course not — authority, shmority!

    The word itself screams “legalism” and should be reserved for the “Pharisses” among us to use and to worry about.

    The rest, have the right to worship God with whatever, with whomever, and in whatever way(s) they feel like.

    There are no “rules” at all when it comes to the ways in which worshipping God is acceptable.

    If it can be imagined, it can be done, and God will always appreciate it and be pleased (so long as we really believe he will like it).

    After all, now a days, God is probably thrilled to take whatever kind of worship he can get. I mean, something is always better than nothing, right?

    Besides, there are a lot of crack-heads and stuff out there who are turned off by the old school and boring regular worship practiced by so many coc’s. What we need therefore, is some new really radical and extreme ways of worshipping God. Something that even the most far from God will take notice of and say, “Wow, that church over there has come up with some pretty trippy stuff…let’s go take us a look.”

    And our job is not to judge them, but to find out what other things we can do to appeal to even more of them.

    🙂

  3. Nothing in the cited passages says, exemplifies or implies that “… if the apostles didn’t write it and we can’t read it, God doesn’t want it.” So. even by CENI-S, it fails.

    Unless, of course, CENI-S can be construed to mean that by God’s silence about His silence in scripture means we can conclude that if the apostles didn’t write it and we can’t read it, God doesn’t want it.

    Oh. Wait. I guess it already has been construed that way.

  4. Sarcasm doesn’t really add anything substantial to the conversation, Hank.

  5. Yes it does, Keith.

    Plus, it’s funny. Funny because, had my comment been written by somebody else, that same somebody else would likely have received a bunch of “Amens” and “that’s what we’re talking about’s.”

    I mean, I could go back and copy & paste some people here who have written practically the same things. And then the “Amens” which followed.

    In fact, had I not dropped the smiley face guy at the end, and had you not pointed out my sarcasm….I am quite sure that the majority here would’ve actually agreed with my rediculous take.

    (They probably still do).

  6. It’s all rhetoric, though. It doesn’t answer the question Jay poses. It doesn’t advance the conversation.

    It isn’t substantial. Whether you employ it, or I do, or a billion others do.

    Jay asked a brief, legitimate question. You either agree that these verses lead to the conclusion described on the Springville site, or you disagree.

    Disagreeing doesn’t mean that the entire case for silence-as-prohibitive is groundless … just this particular argument in its favor.

    So, Hank, do you have an opinion on Jay’s question?

  7. Actually there was more oral teaching than the written letters contain. Most of the Apostles did not leave any letter or other writing, and still they are part of the foundation in Eph 2:20.

    Paul said, we have to hold fast to the Apostolic traditions whether by word of mouth or by letter (2Thess 2:15). This is a very touchy verse for all Bible-Only Christians. And that’s why I disagree with the cited texts above.

    The implications are clear to me: I have to take the testimony of the 1st and 2nd century church very seriously, because ahte they practiced quite often reflects the oral teaching – of course it will be in harmony with the scriptures, but it will also ckarify ambiguous passages.

    “Ugly” enough, this testimony confirms the practice of a-cappella singing.

    As for the question:

    Do these two passages teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority?

    No, Eph 3:14 and 1Cor 2:9-13 don’t teach that.

    But how about 1Cor 11-14? And how much of these ordinances do we really observe?

    Alexander

  8. Alexander, I’d be interested to see how 1 Corinthians chapters 11-14 teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority …?

  9. If you start back in Ephesians 2 and read through to ch. 3, the only specific authority that Paul is writing about is his personal specific authority to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The mystery that was revealed to him is there in vs. 6.

    All of which means that it is bold narrative license to assert that the passage teaches that it is a sin to worship in a way that lack specific authority.

    Now on to the Corinthians cite.

  10. Seems like the 1 Corinthians cite just confirms that illumination is a work of the Holy Spirit. Those that don’t have the Spirit of God won’t understand biblical truth. Didn’t Jesus elude to this when asked about why he used parables to teach?

    I don’t see how either passage could be used to support the idea that it is a sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority.

  11. “All of which means: if the apostles didn’t write it and we can’t read it, God doesn’t want it. That’s true whether you are discussing infant baptism or instrumental music .” …

    Really? Are we therefore to conclude that, baptistries, song books, four part harmony, tuning forks, pitch pipes, song leaders, congregational singing, church buildings, etc are things that God doesn’t want us to use?

  12. No, Richard; I think most who defend the silence-as-prohibitive doctrine would tell you that the items you mention are covered by the doctrine of expediency.

    The citation is usually the story of Noah and his tools. Which, I believe, are never mentioned, but necessary to the construction of the ark and therefore expedient and permitted. Or so goes the explanation.

    The explanation is, of course, purely speculative. We don’t know whether Noah built the ark with tools, his bare hands, or with the assistance of God in miraculous ways – or numerous other possibilities. Tools are an assumption in the silence of scripture on the matter.

    I am completely at a loss to be able to explain to you how this passage, either, can be authoritative in proving the doctrine of expediency when the existence of the tools is completely assumed. It may be logical and probable, but it is by no means fact.

  13. Keith,

    Did you notice that Scot McKnight linked to the latest New Wineskins issue at Jesus Creed? Great publicity for the magazine.

  14. No! Excellent! Thanks.

  15. Dear Keith

    I’ll gladly point out a few things from these chapters:

    Alexander, I’d be interested to see how 1 Corinthians chapters 11-14 teach that it’s sin to worship in a way that lacks specific authority …?

    And I’ll try to make it clear, that these things – if not done correctly – are in fact sin.

    Actually, I start in chapter 10:

    (1Cor 10:7-10): Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us make trial of the Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer.

    Context: Paul is making an analogy between the Israelites and the church. They were baptized unto Moses in the Red Sea and the Cloud – we were baptized unto Jesus in Water and Spirit. They partook of a Spiritual food and drink that was Christ – we partake of a Spiritual food and drink that is Christ. We cannot be murmures, idolaters and fornicators and partake of the Lord’s Supper.

    Rule Number 1: A worshipping church must be a disciplined church striving for holiness.

    (1Cor10:18-22) Behold Israel after the flesh: have not they that eat the sacrifices communion with the altar? What say I then? that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have communion with demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

    Maybe this is a lesser temptation as in our days and culture no animals are sacrificed to idols. But the command to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols is one of the four binding rules formulated at the Apostles’ Council in Acts 15, three of them having to do with forbidden food.

    Rule Number 2: We cannot eat from the Lord’s Table and eat things that are forbidden to eat (meat sacrificed to idols, strangled meat and blood)

    (1Co 11:2) Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

    Now, this is a very important verse: We have to stick with the Apostolic traditions the way Paul has delivered them to the church. That’s actually an introduction to two distinct teachings concerning the assemlby and worship, that are summed up under this headline. The whole passage ends in verse 34: “And the rest will I set in order whensoever I come.”

    Rule Number 3: We have to hold fast to the Apostolic Traditions the way they were handed down to the church.

    (1Co 11:3-7) But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head.But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled. For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    In order to reflect the truths about headship and the glories of God, men and women (V15), men – representing Christ and God’s Glory – must remain uncovered in worship, while women – representing men and mens glory (her hair being her own glory) – are to be covered.

    Rule Number 4: Men must pray and prophesy bareheaded and women veiled.

    (1Co 11:16) But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom (= women praying unveiled), neither the churches of God.

    Rule Number 5: We cannot worship as WE please, the same rules that apply for all churches apply for us.

    (1Co 11:17-18) But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and I partly believe it.

    Rule Number 6: There must be no divisions in church.

    (1Co 11:20-22) When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord’s supper: for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you? In this I praise you not. … (1Co 11:33) Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, wait one for another.

    I think we know most aspects of the Lord’s Supper, but this one is a negected one: The Lord’s Supper is meant to be a full meal, a time of fellowship, a time where the rich ones prepare a feast for the poorer ones in church, a meal of love – a Love-Feast (Agape). This was not working well in Corinth; but whoever says: “Paul condems eating in church”, misses the point completely.

    Rule Number 7: The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated as a full meal.

    (1Co 12:4-7) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal.

    Rule Number 8: We have to know about our Spiritual gifts in order to use them in the assembly (and outside of it as well).

    (1Co 12:31) But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And moreover a most excellent way show I unto you => chapter 13 about LOVE

    Rule Number 9 (underlying all other rules): We should do everythng in love.

    (1Co 14:26-31) What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret: but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. And let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted;

    Actually: This will hardly be possible in an auditorium for 1000 and more people – these instructions are to be seen in the context of house churches. BUT: If our buildings hinder us to live out New-Testament-Commands, we’d better tear them down!

    Rule Number 10: All may participate for mutual edification.

    (1Co 14:33-35) for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.

    We should take note, that these words were written after chapter 11, where women are allowed to pray and prophesy. Silence should therefore be seen in the light of 1Tim 2 as a prohibition to teach in the assembly. That’s how I understand it anyway (and I want to keep that “short”).

    Rule Number 11: Women must not teach in church.

    (1Co 14:36-37) What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone? If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord.

    The same Word of God that came to us, came to all churches. We cannot have it our own way.

    Rule Number 12: We must obey the Lord’s commands.

    Surprized? Shocked? Puzzled? Annoyed? All these are commands concerning our worship, and a strong rebuke to the “Corinthian Spirit” of change, experiment and variation. If Paul would enter our worship today, he should immedeately feel at home and know what is going on. If we’d have to explain to him what we are doing there, then we made something wrong: We did not hold fast to (or did not restore well enough) the Apostolic Teachings.

    As for IM: The ambiguity in the Scriptures (silence alone is maybe not a sufficient argument) is clarified by church history: A-Cappella is an Apostolic Tradition as well.

    Alexander

  16. Alexander, thanks for taking time to explain your beliefs. I admire your consistency, a quality I find llacking among others who interpret scripture (either totally or primarily) as law or rules.

    And listing your conclusions as rules is where I would disagree with you.

    I like a cappella music. I worship and work at an a cappella-only congregation. I like other forms of worship, including accompanied singing. I have concluded that a cappella-only worship is nowhere required by God in scripture; He approved it in Old Testament eras and it is practiced in heaven, according to the Revelation to John. But to try to force my belief on my church as a rule or law of God would be wrong and divisive.

    And that is where I part ways with most of those who insist on a cappella-only worship.

  17. Actually, the Scriptures aren’t all about rules, but primarily about a relationship with God based on terms of a covenant. This covenant includes rules, but they are not the end of the means. But since you asked for something like that, I gladly provided this list 😉

    I’d also mention, that some of these “rules” allow for some interpretation (within certain limits), and we must not make our applications of the rules (based on our limited / growing understanding) either binding or a test for fellowship. I have no bone to pick with churches who honestly don’t see the a-capella-question as we do. And if a church was misled to encourage women to pray uncovered, that’s also nothing I would want to judge.

    This does not make the rules no rules anymore, but this tells us, that we have to strive earnestly to understand God’s will in all areas of life and worship.

    May He grant us peace, wisdom and love in doing so

    Alexander

  18. Again, my iPhone has let me down by making it difficult to proofread – “I have concluded that a cappella-only worship is nowhere required by God in scripture; He approved it in Old Testament eras and it is practiced in heaven, according to the Revelation to John” … should have read “I have concluded that a cappella-only worship is nowhere required by God in scripture; He approved instrumental-accompanied praise in Old Testament eras and it is practiced in heaven, according to the Revelation to John.”

    Sorry for the misstatement of my own views!

  19. Keith,

    Are back to the “they had it in the OT and heaven” arguments??

    Not much has changed over 100 years of debate has it?:)! There really hasn’t been put forth any NEW argument in favor or support of IM in worship…after all these years of discussion!

    :)!

    Seems like I’ve heard, read or studied somewhere that Christians today we are living under the New Testament rule rather than the Old Testament authority? Maybe I’m wrong on that one:)!

    And it also seems like I’ve heard, read or studied somewhere that Revelation is a highly symbolic book and gives us a picture of spiritual things in heaven.

    It is amazing that people can read about “four beasts” and a Lamb with “seven horns and seven eyes” and “golden vials full of incense,” and “a sea of glass mingled with fire,” and all of this is figurative except the harps.

    By the way, how many “harps” have you ever seen in an instrumental service? They are rarely used. You are more likely to find a guitar, drums and tambourine!

    And so back aids and additions…..if we must talk about them, nobody I know really enjoys this discussions, but if we must talk about them then let’s be clear about them.

    An aid is something that simply helps us to do what God authorized. When we use it, we must still be doing only that which fits the definition of what God said. It must not be different or another kind of act. If it is different, then it is an unauthorized addition. We should not oppose true aids that simply help us do what God said.

    Examples:

    (1) Glasses are truly an aid to seeing. When I use glasses, I am just seeing. It fits the definition of seeing. The glasses help me see.

    But hearing is another kind of sense in addition to seeing. If I am hearing, I am not just seeing. I am both seeing and hearing. Hearing does not fit the definition of seeing.

    (2) A cane can truly aid walking, because when I use it I am just walking. It still fits the definition of walking. The cane helps me walk.

    But riding is another kind of transportation. If I walk awhile and ride awhile, I cannot say I am just walking. I am both walking and riding. Riding does not fit the definition of walking.

    Progressives I know can’t stand these examples…but they still remain:

    (1) God told Noah to build an ark of gopher wood.

    Noah could have used tools (some type of hammer or saw-like cutting instrument…yes Keith even the ancients had tools:) to help him build the ark. When using them, he would be doing just what God said – build an ark. It fits the definition of building.

    But using oak would be different from what God said. It is not just using gopher. Oak does not fit the definition of gopher. Hence, oak is an unauthorized change in what God said.

    A little more serious examples now…

    (2) God said to bury in baptism and to baptize those who believe and repent.

    Any pool, large enough to bury someone in, is an aid to baptizing. If I immerse someone in a baptistery I am doing what God said – burying in baptism. It fits the definition. The baptistery helps me do what God said.
    But if I sprinkle or pour, or if I baptize a baby, I am doing something different from what God said. It does not fit the definition of burying a penitent believer.

    (3) God said to use bread and fruit of the vine in the Lord’s Supper.

    Containers help us serve the elements. When we use them we are doing what God said – eating and drinking the elements. It fits the definition.

    But if I add roast lamb to the Lord’s Supper, I have a different kind of food from what God said. It does not fit the definition of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.

    (4) Likewise in music, God said to sing, speak, teach, etc., emphasizing the understanding and spiritual meaning.

    When we use a songbook, we are doing what God said – singing. It fits the definition. The book helps us know what words and notes to sing.

    But if I add an instrument, I have a different kind of music from what God said. I am no longer doing just what God said (sing, speak, etc.). It does not fit the meaning, and it leads us away from spiritual emphasis and understanding.

    In the same way, we can show that lights, pews, restrooms, water fountains, pitch pipes, overhead projectors, etc., are legitimate aids to worship. We do not use them as acts of praise to God of themselves separate from the other acts we do to praise God. We use them only because, like Noah’s tools, they legitimately help us accomplish the acts of worship God has authorized

    Bottom line…..

    If God had authorized only instrumental music in Christian worship, we would be bound to have only instrumental music in worship to God.

    If God had authorized both instrumental and vocal music for Christian worship, we could obey God only by doing both.

    However, since God authorized only vocal music for Christian worship, the only correct conclusion is: vocal music is the only kind of of music divinely authorized for Christian worship.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Prater

  20. Robert, you close by saying:

    “However, since God authorized only vocal music for Christian worship, the only correct conclusion is: vocal music is the only kind of of music divinely authorized for Christian worship.”

    But if it is a conclusion made by men – you or I or anyone else, Robert – how can we teach it as God’s law … irrefutable, unassailable, unquestionable, unavoidable, uncompromisable?

    And – of course you know this – I continue to contest that “God authorized only vocal music for Christian worship.” He didn’t authorize worship in song; He encouraged it. He didn’t command it; He instructed it as something which helps us be filled with the Spirit rather than the desire for sin (something amply pointed out in the Ephesians passage).

    Yes, I’ve read the responses before to my “old” argument. The fact is, nobody taught me that old argument. I didn’t read it anywhere before I came to that conclusion. No one had to teach me a certain way of reading the Bible in order to reach that conclusion. I was about 13 or 14 years old when I came to that conclusion, and still can’t for the life of me figure out why God would permit something in the Old Testament, never mention it through most of the New Testament, touch lightly upon His approval of it in the final pages – and then expect us to reach the conclusion that He disapproves of it (as some believe, to the point of condemning us forever to the fires of hell if we practice it).

    I had close friends who were believers and worshiped at churches where instrumental and vocal praise was practiced. Their lives and words spoke of their faith in Jesus Christ. It did not make sense to me that God wanted for me to regard them as ailen sinners outside of His fellowship. It still doesn’t. I know that gnaws at the hearts of some of my brothers who see that as “ecumenism” (sp.?) but I see it as the fellowship of the Spirit, through whom all confess Jesus Christ as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3).

    I admit that I was a simple thinker then and remain a simple thinker now. I’m pretty well convinced most people are simple thinkers, and that God still loves us simple folk and wants to keep it as simple as possible for us to follow His Son.

    Satan is already doing enough to make it complicated!

  21. […] An Experiment in Christian Dialogue: In Reply to Robert Posted on March 29, 2010 by Jay Guin This is in reply to Robert’s comment. […]

  22. You know, this arguement is mute to me after I researched the original Greek words on the matter. Listen guys, if you are interested enough and take the time to do the research, you will find that the New Testament contains more than one word (psallo) that is translated “sing”. There is “humneo”, “ado”, and others. This would beg the question, ” Why?”….Why would there be more than one Greek word for sing if singing was all that was permitted? If psallo does indeed mean to sing only and not to play music, then why have ado (to sing) and humneo (to sing) as descriptive Greek words? Paul would have known whatever the Greek word meant. Yet in his writings, he used more than one word to describe what was to be done. Therefore, could he have intended to tell us that we are to sing and are permitted to play music also? Additionally, sing doesn’t just mean to sing only. It never did. Look back when the Israelites were taken captive by the Babylonians and they were asked to sing for them a song of Zion….what did they say? We hung our harps from the trees because we couldn’t sing….If singing meant to sing only, what did the harps have to do with it? Further, one thing that cemented the awareness that psallo really does allow for instruments was the translation of Romans 15:9….Paul is translating a verse from the Psalms which used the word “zamar”. Zamar meant specifically to sing with the accompaniment of instruments….When he translated it from David’s writings into the New Testament Greek…he used the word “psallo”. So Paul translated psallo for us….by using it for the word that meant to sing with the accompaniment of instruments. Argument over. We need to grow up and get over whatever childish attachment you have the error you have been taught about this subject and get back to winning the lost to Christ and stop trying to convert the saved.

  23. “We need to grow up and get over whatever childish attachment you have the error you have been taught about this subject and get back to winning the lost to Christ and stop trying to convert the saved.”

    Ka-bang! Thank you for reminding us BBaker! All this debate over a non-salvation issue.

  24. Jay,

    Others have already addressed whether the principle stated is a proper interpretation of the scriptures. The problem I have with the principle the article attaches to the two verses is the fact that the church that published the article is in clear violation of the principle. From just a quick review of the congregation’s website, they own a building, they use a song leader, they segregate themselves by age for bible classes, etc. All of these items violate the principle because none of them are specifically authorized in the NT.

    Robert and Keith have already discussed the “law of expediency.” Robert, I understand your expediency argument. But look carefully at the principle as it is stated in the article:
    “if the apostles didn’t write it and we can’t read it, God doesn’t want it.”
    Read it carefully. The argument being used is that if you can’t read it, God does not want it. The way this principle is stated, the “law of expediency” is a violation. You cannot read about buildings in the NT. You cannot read about bible classes in the NT.

    The fact that the church which printed the article cannot follow the principle clearly shows that it is nothing more than a rhetorical point used in argument/discussion and is not truly a principle by which the church determines its practices.

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