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Anti-ism in the church
Anti-ism in the church
Tonight we are going to be dealing with a topic known as anti-ism. This simply denotes someone who is actively against something. Often times we use the term “anti” in referring to congregations of the Lord’s church. What does this term mean? Let me give you a biblical example:
Acts 15:1: “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Here, we had some Jews that were saying that unless these Gentiles were circumcised, they would not be saved. Now we discover later that circumcision was not binding on the Christian, but these Jews were trying to make it binding based on their opinion and the traditions of the Old Law. You have to understand that there was a small split within the churches of Christ, especially in the 1960 era, when some started drawing lines of fellowship over certain issues. Some them included the following concerns:
1. They say that the Lord’ Supper can only be taken out of 1 cup.
2. They are against having a local preacher.
3. They are against separate Bible classes. All should be in the same location.
4. They are against women teaching any Bible class.
5. They are against the church funding an orphan or giving to anyone other than a needy saint, to include supporting mission work, etc.
Tonight, I will focus our discussion of the first of these. “The Lord’s Supper can only be taken from 1 cup.” I think we can all agree that we need to allow God’s word to be our guide on these matters. In order to use the Bible as the only authority, we need to understand some simple, basic principles that will help us to see if the Bible supports the anti view. Bible authority can come in 3 different ways, direct command, apostolic example, or by necessary inference. Not only must we use these to find our authority we must also use the whole council of God. Without these principles a person cannot teach the plan of salvation because you cannot find one verse that just lays out the entire plan of salvation. You must use all of God’s word to find out exactly what it takes to be saved. It kind of like a puzzle you have to put all the pieces together so you can see the complete picture.
I think most us understand what a direct command is and what an apostolic example is, but I want to explain the meaning of necessary inference.
Hebrews 10:25: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some is…”
In this passage we see that we are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. The Bible doesn’t give us an exclusive pattern on where to meet, it just says to meet. So this means that it is up to us to determine where we will meet. Perhaps it will be in rented building, or one that we purchase, or outside under a tent or a grove of trees, or maybe in a person’s home. So you see necessary inference simply means there are some things that are not specified and God has left it up to us to determine, in this example, where to meet. This is sometimes called a matter of expediency. Just about every one of the views that the anti-brethren hold, all boils down to matters of expediency, but unfortunately they have made these matters of opinion binding when God’s Word does not. I have no ill will toward these brethren and not all of them hold everyone single one of these views. Let’s look at the first one.
1.Does the Bible teach that we can only partake of the Lord’s Supper from one cup?
Matthew 26:27: “And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.”
You see they would say that Jesus used just one cup, so we should use just one cup. However they fail to understand that Jesus is using a figure of speech known a Metonymy (met tawn eme). A metonymy is defined as a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another associated with or suggested by it. For example, someone might ask did she like her lemonade? Then they might respond yes she drank the whole cup. You see the cup represent the lemonade and not the cup itself. We use that form of speech all the time. We might say the pot is boiling but we understand that the liquid is what actual boiling and not the pot. Let me give you 2 Biblical examples.
Genesis 6:11: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Moses wasn’t talking about the dirt or the water; he was talking about the people that are on the earth. The same thing is true with our next verse.
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Again He is talking about the people, and not the earth. So you see when Jesus was talking about the cup, He wasn’t giving any special meaning to the cup itself. He was talking about the fruit of the vine. Now think about this, if we are to take the one cup literally and take this passage to the extreme, then this would mean that we could only partake of the fruit of the vine from that very cup, and the cup would have be passed around from congregation to congregation on every Sunday which of course is impossible to do. Sometimes it helps to take a thought to the extreme to show error in it.
When it comes the Lord’s Supper, we see that the bread and the fruit of vine are to be used; however, how these items are to be dispersed are matters of expedience. This is an example of necessary inference. You can use one cup, perhaps a tall glass or short glass. You could use multiple cups. When it comes to unleavened bread you could just pass the bread around by itself, or you have it on a tray. None of these are wrong, because they are matters of expediency. So if a congregation wants to drink out of one cup, good for them. They have that right, but no one has the right to make their way of partaking the Lord’s Supper binding, but this is what the anti-brethren have done.
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