Does the New Testament Contain a Pattern? (3)

by R ichard Mansel

The purpose of this series of articles has been to prove that the New Testament pattern exists. Before something can be enumerated, its existence must first be established.

Several important points need to be made.

First, the New Testament pattern is no more or less than a standard that all men can follow./1 The Apostle Paul said by inspiration, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith, and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13, NKJV). The pattern means, “an example, mold or outline.”/2

Without a standard, there cannot be “sound words.” Actually, there cannot be any doctrine that can be verified as absolute truth. Scripture speaks of those who did “what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). This is presented as being contrary to God, not the heart of God’s plan. Without a standard, everyone can do what is right in their own eyes. Sin is a “transgression of the law,” so dispensing with the standard means there can be no law and no sin (1 John 3:4). The lack of a standard leads to universalism, which is soundly condemned in Scripture (Matthew 7:13-14; Mark 8:34).

Paul told the Galatians, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Paul presented a standard that all the preaching they heard should be judged against (cf. 2 John 9).

Jesus gave the Great Commission and told the apostles to go into all the world teaching what they had been taught (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:26). He established a standard that they were to follow and proclaim. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says that the Scriptures are sufficient for doctrine and righteousness and able to make us complete. If there is not a standard, then the Bible becomes an irrelevant book of suggestions.

Second, the New Testament pattern is not the reason for disunity. Critics claim that the recently-formed doctrine of the New Testament pattern is the cause of religious division. Those who profess this will have to prove that prior to this doctrine that complete religious harmony existed in Christianity. Furthermore, they must prove that all of Christendom, outside of those who believe in the New Testament pattern, is completely united.

Yet, we know that even those who do not believe in the New Testament pattern are completely divided. Furthermore, if all those who believe in the New Testament pattern died tomorrow, religious disunity would still plague the religious world for years to come. Obviously, the pattern is not the culprit; sin is (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:10-20).

To say that the pattern is the source of religious disunity is to work backward against all common sense and logic. Ancient people thought flies came from ruined meat. Each time they saw ruined meat, flies were there, so they concluded that this was their source. We now know this was the result of scientific ignorance. Likewise, to say that division is the result of the standard of God’s Word is to display Scriptural ignorance.

Third, the mishandling of the New Testament pattern does not negate its existence. There are those who have misapplied the pattern, causing division. This can easily and sadly be affirmed. Yet, the mishandling of the pattern and the presence of the pattern are two separate issues. The existence of so many people with eating disorders does not mean we should all stop eating food. Admittedly, more work does need to be done on how to properly apply the Word of
God. However, discarding it for the sake of faux unity is not God’s answer.

Fourth, truth will always be attacked. Paul said, “but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7; cf. Matthew 5:11,12; 2 Peter 3:15,16).

To say there is no New Testament pattern may sound good, and proclaimers of this doctrine will offer peace, love, and enlightenment in its place. Yet they are leading their followers down a dangerous path where God’s will is obliterated. False teachers appear to be loving and full of grace yet “inside are full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27). Remember, Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). And he is fabulously successful.
2/ Gerhard Friedrich, editor. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 8:247.

35 Replies to “Does the New Testament Contain a Pattern? (3)”

  1. I really did not gain much insight on the “New Testament pattern” from this article or your first two. You seem to be arguing in circles without ever nailing anything down. IF there is a N.T. pattern, what is it?

  2. Paul does not say that the “New Testament” is a pattern. He says that Timothy has heard the pattern of sound words from him.
    Where did Paul say that the pattern would be a book, and then give the table of contents for that book?
    Had Paul taught Timothy everything that is now in the New Testament? When John’s Revelation later came out, was it “old news” to Timothy? What part of the pattern had Timothy heard?
    Again, where does Paul EVER say that the pattern is a “book”? If he doesn’t, what part of the “book pattern” gives us the right to make this claim? And especially to then castigate those who have come to honestly held, but different, conclusions?

  3. Good thoughts Richard! If the New Testament is not, or does not provide a pattern/model/standard for how to be a Christian and live as a Christian, then what other standard/model/pattern is one going to offer for one to be a Christian? The very individuals who have opposed these thoughts appeal to the exact same standard/pattern to say that they are correct in saying that there is no standard/pattern! In just exactly what documents do they read of the life of Jesus? Will they make their appeal from Catholic tradition or from the spurious Gnostic documents rather than Matthew through Revelation? Just exactly what standard/pattern would they have us follow?
    You’ve also given us some excellent thoughts in regard to the real cause of religious division. God has always demanded that men abide by his pattern/standard. God gave Israel the ten commandments. That was a pattern/standard for their behavior. But even so, they would not obey it. Was it God’s fault? Of course not. It is man’s sin that is to blame. Yet, those who suggest that a standard/pattern is at fault for religious division really point the finger at God and accuse God of being to blame. Such shameful behavior ought not to be heard from one who calls himself a Christian. The very idea of blaming God for man’s sin smacks of Calvinistic theology and not the truth of the gospel.

  4. I have read the articles and have a couple of questions:
    1. If there is a clear pattern, why not list the detail specifically of what one has to believe and how one is to worship in order to follow the pattern?
    2. If there is a clear pattern, why do those who claim to be patternists differ in their interpretation of what the pattern requires?
    Jim Wyly

  5. Dear Mr. Wyly,
    In answer to your questions:
    1. The fact of the matter is that we have gone into detail on the pattern in our preaching and teaching. We tell the details of the pattern when we talk about the plan of salvation. We tell the details of the pattern when we discuss the organization, mission, and worship of the church. We discuss the pattern when we talk about Christian living and how we ought to live to please God. The pattern has been and continues to be detailed by preaching and teaching the doctrines of the New Testament.
    2. I assume that you are referring to divisions among us. The fact of the matter is that even Paul himself admitted that there would be divisions. 1 Corinthians 11:19 says as much. Even when men were directly inspired of God there were divisions! Does that prove that they were not inspired? Does that prove that their message is wrong? According to the thinking that has been posited by some, then it must! That which proves too much, proves nothing at all.

  6. “I encourage you to read the post script of the article to see what has now been done to Bro. Maxey.”
    For shame! The real question is what has brother Maxey himself done? Brother Maxey is like the stray bulldog that roams around biting people and then wonders why he is chased away! Really now! Nothing has been done to brother Maxey that he hasn’t brought upon himself.

  7. Hello Mr. Cauley,
    1. You say: “There is a New Testament pattern and we set it forth in our teaching.” So set it forth in a list. Then a person can check whether the things you say are required are backed up by the New Testament. This “trust me; I have the correct take on the Bible” doesn’t take us very far.
    2. What the divisions prove, Mr. Cauley, is the “pattern” is not as “clear” as the promoters of pattern-theology claim; else they would be agreed.
    Jim W.

  8. I guess that we should take the word of an uninspired person as Al, than to take the word of the inspired apostle Paul. As Kevin brought out, if the New Testament does not contain a pattern, then why would there be divisions among them? I guess if the New Testament is not our pattern then we might as well just take the words of Al Maxey, Max Lucado, Billy Graham,etc., as our pattern. Go ahead, guys and gals, but I am going to follow the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  9. Mr Wyly,
    1. I have set forth the pattern in my preaching and teaching. My sermon outlines and articles are published on the Internet. You may go examine them if you wish. The exposure of God’s pattern is my constant effort in teaching and preaching the gospel. I’m not asking anyone to “trust me.” I’m simply saying study the things that I have preached on and written about. If the Bible teaches it, then accept it; if the Bible doesn’t, then reject it.
    2. So what about the divisions that Paul experienced in his day and time? Wouldn’t they also “prove” that the Holy Spirit’s teaching wasn’t clear? Why didn’t everyone in the first century agree? Your argument is this:
    If there is division, then there must be something wrong with the message. That’s false. Jesus brought division. Paul said there would be divisions. Division is a natural consequence of preaching and teaching the truth! But I’m sure that everyone where you worship is 100% united and there are no disagreements among you at all, are there? We all know that isn’t the case. The fact of divisions and disagreements doesn’t prove that the message is wrong. It simply proves that some won’t believe it!

  10. Excellent article Richard.
    In logical sense, the New Testament must contain a pattern for the successful Christian life or Jesus’ teachings such as found in Matthew 7:21 would make no sense. Those who say “Lord Lord” would therefore be saved simply on the merits of their personal beliefs.
    The New Testament clearly speaks against such things as you so well pointed out in your article.
    The Israelites were required to adhere to a strict pattern of worship. Failure to do so invalidated their worship and upon occassion cost the worshippers their physical lives. The story of Nadab and Abihu stand in clear testimony to the dim view God takes to stepping outside the pattern.
    Likewise in our service to God today under the New Covenant, we have no reason whatsoever to believe that God has in any way relaxed his view of manmade patterns for Christianity.
    Romans 10:3 stands in stark contrast to those who would think there is no divine pattern in the New Testament.
    Thank you for the article(s).

  11. Very good series of articles. There is no doubt that the Bible has a pattern for us to follow. Indeed, I believe that God’s spiritual pattern is a reinforced theme for man’s physical ailments throughout the entire Bible. If we follow that pattern our lives will be greatly enhanced physically and spiritually.
    This pattern is not a “list” someone can produce.
    You want a pattern on how you should speak? The Bible tells us: Col 4:6 “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” It also tells us: 2Ti 2:16 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” And there is more on this topic!
    You want a pattern for how to conduct your marriage? The Bible has it! A pattern for worship? The Bible has it! A pattern for conducting your business affairs? The Bible has it! A pattern on how to dress? The Bible has it!
    Brothers, it is complete ignorance to say the Bible does not have a pattern for us. Yes, it involves loving our brother. Yes, it involves enlightment (coming to know God). Yes, it involves peace (the knowledge of forgiveness).
    You want the pattern? The text of the Bible is the pattern. 2Pe 1:3 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” There it is folks! God cannot lie and He just said through an inspired apostle that we have it all!
    Where does division come in? When folks ignore what the Bible has to say. When they add to what the Bible has to say. When they take away from what the Bible has to say. Unfortunately, since the beginning, man has not always followed God’s pattern. Adam and Eve didn’t, Cain didn’t, Sampson didn’t, Israel didn’t, Moses didn’t, Peter didn’t, Judas didn’t, no man has with the exception of Jesus Christ.
    While we may stray from the pattern, which was provided to give us hope and comfort, we know that if we continually are trying to hold to that pattern by God’s grace we will be saved. If we ignore that pattern and go our own way, God’s pattern says that our feet will go the way of destruction.
    God Bless,

  12. Richard,
    Very good article or should I say articles. It seems that those who want to defer from the true NT pattern also want to defer from what God has commanded His people to do. For instance, Noah was given a specific pattern to build the Ark. Moses was given a specific pattern to build the tabernacle and other things for worship. Why would NT Christianity be any different? Cain and Abel were each told what to do in order to worship. So it makes no sense for us to be able just to worship how we feel. I think that is what these guys like Al Maxey are really trying to do. Is worship the way they want to. Jesus stated in John 14:15, “if you love Me, keep My commandments”. If there was to be no pattern why wouldn’t He just say, “If you love Me, do whatever feels right in your heart to worship Me.” That would make more sense. Overall, great articles. Keep up the hard work!

  13. Thanks to all of you who are reading Forthright. I am humbled that you would spend time reading my writing.
    Those of you who have asked questions, thank you. I feel others have answered them very well. With three articles on this subject, there is not much more I could add.
    As has been said, there is no way that God would provide such thorough guidelines for us in the Old Testament and then come to the New Testament and say that we could do anything we wish. God has not changed. He still demands we follow and obey Him because He loves us and knows what is best.
    If a list were provided and someone disagreed with it, would that make the pattern invalid? No. That is why some people want a list. They want to discredit it. The gospel isn’t a list but a life lived in service to God.
    Luke 6:46 says, “But, why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things which I say?” Simple. It conflicts with what people want to do.
    As I said in this article, if there is no pattern, there is no standard.
    To Kevin Cauley, Kerry, David Hersey, Travis Main and Robert Lukenbill, I appreciate your kind words. Thank you for your stand for truth.

  14. The pattern is whatever we personally derive from the scripture that aids and comforts us as we strive to walk in the footsteps of Christ. The blessing of salvation through grace is just the beginning. From there I will attempt to improve each day, sin each day and receive forgiveness, and become increasingly closer to God. The patterns emerge as each of us deal with our individual shortcomings.
    I am happy that some need to adhere to a very strict doctrinal pattern, others need more lattitude. Frankly, in my case I have found the churches of Christ to be an impediment in my spiritual growth. Yet I know there is much good in this denomination and many good people. My fear is that the churches of Christ as a perceived entity does more to discourage spirituality than to encourage it. I can provide many specifics but find that all I end up doing is making people angry. It is best to simply part paths.
    Blessings to all.

  15. George,
    The purpose of a standard is so that all can have the same truth and follow the same path. It isn’t some postmodernistic soup of personal opinions and feelings.
    Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Before time began, truth was established. I accept it or not. God decided before time began what would constitute salvation, how He wished to be worshiped, what discipleship meant, etc. We follow what He has given us or we will be lost. Grace gives us this honor to walk behind Him and to where His name.
    The church of Christ isn’t an inhibitor in your spiritual growth. This is at your feet, not at His body’s.
    If we leave the church, we leave the Lord. Please stay.
    Richard Mansel

  16. Greetings beloved,
    I grew up in the segment of the church of Christ (where each communicant partakes of the same cup during the assembly, 1 loaf (where each communicant breaks their piece from the loaf); we were taught that both are according to the New Testament pattern. We were told that historically Dr. J.G. Thomas of Putman Ohio, Presbyterian was the first to introduce individual communion containers in the Lord’s Supper; In G.C.Brewers Book, Forty Years on the Firing Line, he says “I was the first to introduce individual cups into the churches of Christ. So, tell me if the New Testament pattern has been violated by practices contrary to the 1 cup & 1 loaf? I’ve been told that regardless of the arguments we may use to the contrary, history tells us when these innovations were started and by whom.

  17. Keith wrote,
    This isn’t the place to discuss one cup/multiple cups. This is instead a place to comment on articles.
    I said in this article that it is regretfull that people have misapplied the pattern and divided. This issue has been hurtful to the church. However, this disagreement amomg brethren does not deny that the pattern exists as Maxey asserts.
    Richard Mansel

  18. Yes, there is a pattern in the New Testament. HIS name is Jesus Christ. And to brag (which is what you seem to be doing) because you are 99% like Jesus makes you just as much an inheriter of sin and death as me–because I’m only 1% like Jesus. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
    What I find, sadly, is that within the churches of Christ, we spend a GREAT deal of time trying to argue about who is doing more or less sin. While God says that it doesn’t matter, becuase we ALL are sinners. We ALL need the redeeming blood of Jesus!
    The mantra of speaking where the Bible speaks and silence where the Bible is silent is really a misnomer. We speak where it speaks and speak louder where it is silent.
    Here is a list of essentials for Salvation: (Get your pen and paper out….there will be a test later.) (1)Recieve the gift of salvation via Jesus Christ by claiming him as Lord of your life, transforming your old self into the image of the Creator’s Son–a home for His Spirit, through the symbolic death, burial, and resurection of baptism.
    (2) There is no #2. That’s it. Anything else you try to add is pointless. Jesus has dies for our sins. If you drink your communion from one cup or many–no matter which is correct or incorrect–Jesus’ blood cleanses you. No matter if you play an instrument while you praise or not–no matter which is correct or not–Jesus’ blood cleanses you. Whether you…..well, you get the picture.
    But then should we go on sinning (because the blood of Jesus already cleanses us? By no means. Rom 6:1ff. But we live by faith and we produce the fruit of the Spirit of God through the life of spiritual faithfulness.
    To argue that someone is going to hell because of some facet of his worship….is to argue your own deservance of Hell! We all deserve it. But we don’t receive it–becaue of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    May we stop arguing about non-essentials….and start telling the world that Jesus has washed me clean–and that he will do the same to any and all that (1) claim him as Lord.
    To God be glory forever and ever amen!

  19. “The purpose of a standard is so that all can have the same truth and follow the same path.”
    We may all have the same truth but it is impossible to follow the same path. We are different. Different genetics, cultures, abilities and capabilities.
    “It isn’t some postmodernistic soup of personal opinions and feelings.”
    I am no theolgian so I don’t really know what postmodernistic means. I do however believe that God created each of us differently and that opinions and feelings are important.
    “The church of Christ isn’t an inhibitor in your spiritual growth. This is at your feet, not at His body’s.”
    Well, I make a distinction between the body of believers as in Christ vis-a-vis the denominational Church of Christ. My readings of the scripture indicate a much broader inclusion of thoughts, beliefs and “patterns.”
    “If we leave the church, we leave the Lord. Please stay.”
    Again, I have not left the church. I just found a different “pattern”. After all, Even Peter and Paul had different “patterns” it seems.
    This is a difficult venue for a meaningful discussion at best. So much is left for interpretation and/or misinterpretation. Sort of like reading the bible, don’t you think?
    My e-mail address is Remove the . I welcome any discussions along these lines.

  20. Well said, George.
    The patternists won’t admit it, but they are choosing a long, difficult-to-interpret list of “essentials” for fellowship and/or salvation. (Sounds kind of like the Pharisees to me…to whom Jesus had the strictest rebukes!). Matt 23.
    Either you are saved by a long list of “to do’s” or you are saved by grace through faith. It is an either/or. You cannot have both. So as Paul said, you may try to earn your salvation by following a list (he called it the Law, referring to the OT), but the stipulation is you better be able to follow it 100% or it doesn’t work. Rom. 2:17-29. So get started with sacrifice, temple worship, circumcisions, etc. and do it perfectly. OR, the other option, you can claim Jesus Christ.
    You CANNOT do a little of both. (Now, granted… if you truly claim Jesus, then your life with show it–Gal. 5, James 2, et al.) But trying to earn your place in the “one true church–i.e. the one where everyone correctly interprets the pattern” so that Jesus will recognize you and grant you salvation is preposterous! Doing 25 or 30 or 50 things correctly, doesn’t make you any more worthy of his sacrifice. Quite the opposite, really.
    Praise, love, joy, peace, patience, tenderness, compassion, gentleness, caring, compassion, hospitality, humility, etc. are all shown in the life of those truly affected by His blood. Specifying that one must obtain the entire list BEFORE salvation is ludicrious and quite plainly, false doctrine.
    We accept HIM as LORD. And then get out of His way as he affects us from the inside out…due to His own Spirit within us.
    To demand some intricate list of rules to be included into a particular congregation or brotherhood is what both Jesus and Paul spoke to be a gross manipulation of the sweet gift of God! Matt. 23:2-14, Mk 11:17, Rom. 2:25ff, Gal. 5:6
    “For it is by GRACE that you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–NOT BY WORKS, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
    Correct me if I’m wrong, brother Mansel, but it sounds like Paul just said that I am saved by grace….not by following your elusive pattern (found no where in your 3 articles, by the way).

  21. I have followed this for a while now.
    But any group or church that sings songs written by a woman or a man not of the Church Of Christ are fellowshipping with people not of the faith of Jesus and are to be marked.
    Follow the old paths and depart not from the truth.
    In Jesus name.

  22. Jeff, you are absolutely right in that we are saved by grace through faith. I believe it wholeheartedly and teach it every Sunday.
    I see the pattern as filled with grace. Why do we deserve the Word of God? Why do we deserve God telling us how to live righteously and godly in this present age? Why do we deserve to know how to worship God in Spirit and in truth? Why should God give us a standard so that all men could know the same truths? We don’t. It is only by God’s grace that we have this privilege.
    I have an entire article on how we are saved by grace. I have another one that says that we cannot possibly live well-enough to merit salvation. Go to the Forthright Home page and click on “Square One” column and you will find them. One is near the top and the other is at the bottom. I hope you will read them. You will agree with them. Thanks for asking
    Richard Mansel

  23. Jeff wrote: “Correct me if I’m wrong, brother Mansel, but it sounds like Paul just said that I am saved by grace..”
    Jeff we are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH. There is a difference between being saved by grace and being saved by grace through faith. The grace of God that bring salvation has appeared unto all men (Titus 2:11-12), but all men will not be saved (Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23).
    And if there is no pattern to which we are saved, then anyone could make up any doctrine they wish because, as you say, there is no pattern. There would be no way to judge what is right and what is wrong in religion. But Jesus has said, that we must worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn.4:23-24). The truth is the word of God (Jn. 17:17).

  24. Where exactly do you find this written in scripture?
    It probably is right beside the list of other improper church doctrines like song books, padded pews, money to orphanages, Sunday school, 4-part harmony music, church buildings, communion trays, pulpits, microphones, youth ministers, office copy machines, computers, bulletins, etc. Which by the way, I’ve yet to find mentioned either.
    This is a grand example of speaking VERY loudy where there is no biblical mention.
    Either a song has a scriptural message or it doesn’t. The author is irrelevent.
    Which bring us right back to finding this elusive list. Either you can sing these or you can’t. You have an opinion, and I have a different one. But that doesn’t stop us from being brothers….no matter what name is on the sign in front of my place of assembly.
    We are brothers, not because we do things the same, but because we share a Father and a Brother.
    Thank you for making my poing so clearly.

  25. “Here is a list of essentials for Salvation: (Get your pen and paper out….there will be a test later.) (1)Recieve the gift of salvation via Jesus Christ by claiming him as Lord of your life, transforming your old self into the image of the Creator’s Son–a home for His Spirit, through the symbolic death, burial, and resurection of baptism.”
    So there IS a pattern! And evidently you bind this pattern upon others because you say this is necessary for salvation! How about all of the people in the world who don’t believe in this pattern for salvation? They disagree with you. You are causing division with them! Obviously, you are wrong and your pattern is wrong because there is so much division in the religious world today!
    I have spoke tongue in cheek, but I believe the point to be clear. Even those who deny the pattern must have some kind of pattern.
    I would note that Jeff’s pattern says nothing about the church. It says nothing about heaven. It says nothing about worship. It says nothing about the specifics of Christian living. It says nothing about the specifics of the plan of salvation. It says nothing about evangelism. It says nothing about the edification of the brethren. And yet, he says, that is the ONLY pattern that one need observe to please God. Jeff has just cut out from his pattern about 90% of the teaching of the New Testament. He has taken from the word of God in so doing. Such is the tragic mistake of those who oppose the New Testament pattern.
    Jeff says, “Either you are saved by a long list of “to do’s” or you are saved by grace through faith. It is an either/or. You cannot have both.”
    In so saying, he completely ignores Titus 2:11-12 which says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteousness and godly in this present world.” The grace of God teaches, teaches, teaches! That is how we are saved by the grace of God, by being TAUGHT the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s grace teaches us how NOT to act; it denies ungodliness and worldly lust. Ooops! Can’t have that! That’s a list of dos and don’ts! But who is right? Jeff? Or the Bible? The Bible, of course. God’s grace also teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly. But ooops! According to Jeff, we can’t have that! Nope. Can’t have any dos or don’ts. It’s either/or, after all. So Paul must be wrong about this! No, friends, Jeff is the one who is wrong. Paul, as inspired of the Holy Spirit, wrote this passage to teach us that God’s grace TEACHES us to live in a certain way. A way in which we MUST live to be pleasing to God and that way involves dos and don’ts. Too bad Jeff doesn’t read his Bible or he would know these things.

  26. So before this gets out of hand. Let me say that I’m not disagreeing with you. I agree that there are principles of life that we should follow. I agree that the New Testament has guidelines of what it means to be a Christian.
    I have a problem when we (as humans) make an assumption about some controversial “issue” and then demand that others view it the same before we will accept them as brothers.
    We are all brothers if we are sons of God and co-heirs with Christ.

  27. We are arguing semantics a little bit here.
    I am saying that you CAN sin and still reach the Kingdom of heaven. As a matter of fact, I do sin, and am still a member of the Body of Christ. Whether or not I get your ENTIRE list correct or not. Whether I am a sinner or not does not affect my salvation. This is the message Paul taught in Corinth. They, like you, are confused. And think that I’m saying you SHOULD sin because grace will cover it. Rom 6
    We don’t sin anymore (or try our hardest not to) because we have died to that old self and have taken on a new identity in Christ Jesus. I don’t want to do that old life anymore.
    But does my very salvation depend on the constant, every day, 100% following of the laws? NO! Emphatically No! Thank God, NO!. My salvation depends on my identity in Jesus because I’ve claimed him as Lord.
    The gospel of Law. or of lists. or of legalism preach that you must be correct all the time or risk burning in hell. God came to SEEK and SAVE the lost. Not HIDE from and DESTROY those who couldn’t find Him.

  28. Jeff said,
    “But does my very salvation depend on the constant, every day, 100% following of the laws? NO! Emphatically No! Thank God, NO!. My salvation depends on my identity in Jesus because I’ve claimed him as Lord.”
    Jesus said,
    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
    (Matthew 7:21)
    I’m going to heed the words of the one who died for me. If He says “DO” then I must “DO”.

  29. “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9)
    *** Q: According to the Hebrews writer, to whom is salvation given?
    “But does my very salvation depend on the constant, every day, 100% following of the laws? NO! Emphatically No! Thank God, NO!. My salvation depends on my identity in Jesus because I’ve claimed him as Lord.” (Jeff)
    *** Q: According to Jeff, to whom is salvation given?
    There seems to be a contradiction here…

  30. Richard,
    Thanks for your thoughts here. I particularly found interesting the following statement: “Sin is a ‘transgression of the law,’ so dispensing with the standard means there can be no law and no sin”.
    I had not thought of it in those terms, but you are absolutely right. If there is no law, there is no sin. Since the pattern IS the law, if there is no pattern, there is no law, and therefore no sin. If there is no sin, all will be saved, and none condemned. Yet we know from Matthew 7:13-14, that few will be saved and many will be lost. If many will be lost, there must be law by which to judge them. Just a few verses down, in Matthew 7:21-23, we find that Jesus will say to some, “depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” How can Jesus do this is there is no law/standard by which to judge?

  31. While this site is not the place to deal with the cup and class issue; nevertheless my questions pertain to the New testament pattern for worship. Some say that instrumental music is contrary to the New Testament Pattern for singing; while others say that cups & bread already broken into pieces is contrary to the New Testament Pattern for the Communion; Some say that the New Testament pattern for teaching the church is the assembly arrangement thus making Sunday Schools or bible classes contrary to this Pattern.
    So, brethren how do we determine who is right regarding the observance of patterns? Is taking the Lord’s Supper exclusively in an upper room following a pattern? Is washing feet a pattern? Is the Holy kiss a pattern? There are those who practice the aforementioned that contend they practice these because they are abiding by a New Testament pattern!

  32. Keith,
    As I said in my article, we do need to do more work on our hermeneutics. We won’t all agree so we shouldn’t have that as our goal. If we solve all the problems of the New Testament, some will still disagree.
    How we make application of Scripture is a very important issue. I want to, in the future, write some articles on hermeneutics. They would be very helpful to me in my spiritual journey.

  33. The obvious question to you all is this: Are you saved? This minute, this hour, this day? Why or why not? (I’m guessing you’ll answer in the affimative)
    If so, then is it because of your following of some “Worship pattern?” OR because you follow Christ? I said in my very first post that there IS a pattern. HIS name is Jesus Christ. If you are following him and living 100% like Him then you are without question, saved.
    I’m a little hesitant to believe this is why you claim salvation, because of 100% religious perfection. It is rather because Jesus’ blood cleanses any impurities and/or discrepancies.
    So again I ask, “How is it that you can claim both grace and works merit salvation?” You’ve all again missed the point. CAN you be a sinner and go to heaven? Yes. Should you keep on sinning just to prove this grace? No, by no means.
    Is there a standard? Yes, it has never changed in the history of the world. Jesus himself said, “BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.” It’s what he wanted from Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and from us. Therefore, let’s all just be perfect. That would be easier. God wouldn’t have had to have an elaborate plan. He wouldn’t have had to send his Son. And Jesus wouldn’t have had to die.
    However, we’ve all sinned, we’ve all fallen short. We are all in need. No list of things you can do will earn you salvation. You can’t EARN it. You can’t do enough. Or be good enough. Or say enough.
    Again, as I’ve already said… you are in desperate need of His saving blood. As am I.
    This supposed list of essentials is a fancy way of doing what the Catholic church did in the Middle Ages. They said only the clergy were good enough and smart enough to learn to follow enough of the religious rites to get salvation. And the laity could buy their sins forgiven. What a terrible grossification of the Gospel.
    And yet, by demanding some list that I may or may not understand. That I may or may not get right. That I may or may not do…. I risk burning in hell. This elusive list (that still hasn’t been produced) creates congregations full of people scared to death of mis-stepping. Jesus came that we might have LIFE and have it to the full. He did not come that we might have terror and fear and death. His grace is available to all. (Not all take it, not all want it, regretably. But all have access to it. A FREE gift. No work to earn it. My work and yours earns death. Every time.
    By the way, a commom diversionary tactic by the legalistic minds of our brotherhood is to attack, attack, attack. And never to defend their own claims. If there is a pattern: a list of worship styles that are acceptable. Then please give us this list. If there are a certain number of things that are and aren’t acceptable, then let’s list them out. You won’t do it.
    Do I have to take communion every Sunday? What if I’m sick? What if I’m out of town? What if I’m in a coma? What if I’m upset at my sister? The command was to think of Jesus every time we take it. Your example in Acts 12 was they met on one particular Sunday to take it. It doesn’t say they met every Sunday. Can you take communion of Sundays? Of course. Acts 2:42 lists that the early believers met daily. If you don’t take it every day, are you going to burn in hell?
    The problem with examples and lists is that they are subject to subjectiveness. You can claim some examples and leave others out. This is a very poor way to invoke a theology. If you believe that you HAVE to do EVERYTHING that shows up in the Bible, then you are missing quite a few particulars….like preaching all night–Acts 12, greeting each other with a kiss, and a multitude of others.
    I’ve given my list. (1) Claim Jesus through baptism.
    Where is yours?

  34. “So likewise you, when you have done all those things commanded say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
    If we follow the pattern we will still require God’s grace to save us.
    Works don’t save us. They indicate we are bearing fruit and bringing glory to God.
    How can you separate Jesus from His Word?
    Richard Mansel

  35. Here is Jeff’s list for what one must do to get to heaven.
    “(1) Claim Jesus through baptism.”
    Then why did God so confuse everyone so as to give us everything that He gave us in the New Testament? If that is the ONLY thing, then surely, God could have made it A LOT easier and just given us one simple statement such as you have given us. But instead, what do we have? We have lists of sins that we are not supposed to commit. We have behavior corrected at the church in Corinth regarding how they partook of the Lord’s Supper. Why forever for? Paul must have been such a narrow minded legalist that he just didn’t have the great wisdom that our brother Jeff here has! He NEVER should have written that letter to the church at Corinth. What a ultra-conservative view point Paul had. And what about all of that talk about RIGHTEOUSNESS that John does in the book of 1 John. Why forever for? Surely John knew that all one had to do was the ONE thing that Jeff has given us. Why worry about living righteously? And Peter’s epistles are so full of warnings regarding false teachers. For crying out loud Peter! Don’t you know that the ONLY thing that matters is what Jeff has told us? I guess Peter just got it wrong! Jude too for that matter! And what about that legalist James. Whew! Now that guy really was messed up. I’m telling you, Jeff could have REALLY straightened him out. All that talk about works salvation and everything. If only he had had Jeff to tell him that the ONLY thing that mattered was accepting Christ through baptism then surely James wouldn’t have written all of that legalistic stuff that he wrote. Wow Jeff, I sure am glad you opened my eyes. Now I know that 90% of the New Testament has nothing to do with my going to heaven and I can just ignore it because after all, I’ve been baptized. I’ve got my ticket punched! I’ve arrived!
    Jeff said: “I said in my very first post that there IS a pattern. HIS name is Jesus Christ. If you are following him and living 100% like Him then you are without question, saved.”
    Just curious, Jeff, whether you keep the passover or not. Jesus did. I’m also wondering if you observe the Sabbath day. Jesus did. Also Jeff, tell us whether or not you will be gathering 12 apostles together to teach your gospel. I mean, Jesus did. And what about turning water into wine. After all, Jesus did. Hmmmm. There are a lot of things that Jesus did that you obviously don’t do. But he is our pattern! We must do everything that he did!
    By the way, why don’t you give us the specific pattern Jeff? You’ve said that Jesus was the pattern, but where is the specific pattern. Why won’t you answer the same question that you have asked of us? Hmmmm? Why won’t you tell us in detail what the pattern is in following Jesus that we MUST DO in order to be saved. This patternist mentality of yours, Jeff, is going nowhere. You simply haven’t answered the question that you have asked of others. You haven’t given any details regarding what your pattern entails! Jesus is the pattern. Ok, where are the specifics?
    Now, am I not doing exactly the same thing with Jeff that he has done with those of us who believe the New Testament is the pattern? It is obviously absurd. Well, so also are all of the things that Jeff, Al Maxey and many others have said regarding the New Testament pattern as well. When one applies the same logic that they are using to the very things that they say, then it is obvious that they so are lost in self contradiction that it is really sad indeed to see. Jeff, I’m praying for you that you will recognize the truth and begin to respect ALL of God’s word, not just the bits and pieces that you like. You say that our standard is subjective? Hardly. It is rather this idea that nothing in the New Testament really matters except baptism. That’s truly a subjective view of things.

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