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IX. Practical Implications of Christ as Our Ethical Starting Point

The General Pattern of New Testament Ethics

The redemptive event / moral demand ("as I have loved you / love one another") pattern introduced in John 13:34 and 15:12-13 is further unfolded in the Epistles where we learn that the "gospel not only provides the basis of the Christian's moral position, but also defines that position."281 We will now turn our attention to some of the specific ethics required by the gospel.


Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . (Eph. 5:22-25).

The general ethical principle that believers must live in submission to one another is established in the preceding verse (5:21). Then Paul focuses in on a wife's responsibility to submit to her husband and a husband's responsibility to love his wife. Notice how Paul uses the indicative / imperative principle to press for obedience. He simply reminds them of the broader relationship between Christ and the church - of Christ's headship over the church, his sacrificial love on behalf of the church, and of the consequent willing submission to Christ by the church. In particular, the loving death of Christ is singled out as a motivating example. Because of his love for the church, Christ "gave himself up for her . . ." (v. 25). Paul apparently believed that "the mere mention of the similarity between the husband/wife and the dying Christ/church relationship is . . . sufficient to convince the readers as to the action they should take."282

Parents and Their Children

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:1,4).

The entire context surrounding these verses is Christ-centered. Paul uses such phrases as "in the Lord" (6:1), "instruction of the Lord" (6:4), "like slaves of Christ" (6:6) and, "as if you were serving the Lord" (6:7). Therefore, when Paul cites the fifth commandment of the Old Covenant (6:2-3), we must not isolate it from the union-with-Christ perspective that must now govern its applicability. Any reference to Old Testament commands must be contemplated in their relationship to Christ and the new age he has inaugurated.283 The parent/child relationship commanded in Exodus 20:12 is an ethically sound principle to obey in any age, but the authority for expecting conformity is no longer Moses, but Christ. Obedience to parents and love for children is here detailed because it is an appropriate lifestyle for those in union with Christ,284 not because it is a part of a supposedly "eternally abiding" Decalogue.

Christian Community

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus . . . [who] humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil. 2:1-5,8).

Paul's purpose in this passage is to dissuade the brethren from doing anything from "selfish ambition or vain conceit." And where does he turn for an impetus to obedience? "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus . . ." What more striking example is there than the humiliation Christ endured on behalf of his people? We should also observe how Paul carefully bases his teaching, not on an exodus / "do this and live" code, but on the cross / "as I have loved you" imperative. He was apparently convinced that if contemplating the mind and actions of Christ would not turn believers from "selfish ambition or vain conceit," nothing would.

For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" . . . May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Rom 15:3,5-7).

In this context, Paul is dealing with dissension that had arisen among the brothers over such things as meat and drink. It is once again the example of Christ that he holds up to encourage them to strive instead over things which make for peace and edification (cf. Rom. 14:19). It is not discord, but rather unity that should be the hallmark of those who "follow Christ Jesus." To "accept one another" is the only possible response to Christ's reconciling work that brought Jews and Gentiles together in one body (Rom. 15:7-12).

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other . . . Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 5:13-15; 6:2).

It is important to understand the backdrop to this passage. Paul's purpose in writing was to combat the influence of false teachers who were trying to bring the Galatians "under law." He reminds them that the gospel has called them to freedom, not bondage. It is his interesting and almost paradoxical use of the word "free" that needs careful attention. It is both a freedom from something - the law - and a freedom to something - loving service to others. In other words, though they have been set "free" from bondage to the Mosaic code, their liberty in Christ is not to be exploited for personal gratification. Instead, it must be channeled in loving works of service commensurate with the pattern of Christ's own sacrificial life and death. To "carry each other's burdens" is an ethic that renders the encoded law unnecessary and, more importantly, it will "fulfill the law of Christ." Such loving actions are what he later refers to as "the fruit of the Spirit" and concludes that "against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:23).

Dead to Sin - Alive in Christ

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Col. 3:1-5).

The motivation for these purifying actions is not the threat of the law, but the believer's resurrection status with Christ. Any negative effort against sin must be motivated by a positive effort to fix our minds and hearts on "things above, not on earthly things." It is in contemplation of our union with Christ (Rom. 6:11-13; 8:12) that unrighteousness of any kind will be seen as totally inappropriate (Rom. 6:1-2). In Christ, we are dead to sin and alive unto God. We have been set free from our bondage to sin so that we may be free to serve righteousnes.285

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Cor 6:18-20).

If there were ever a moral issue where Paul could have bombarded his readers with a barrage of Old Covenant regulations, it is certainly the subject of sexual immorality. But what is the basis of his exhortation? The price paid for their redemption! They are to keep themselves pure - again, not because of any threat of the law, but because their bodies have become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. If Jesus has purchased their bodies at the price of his own blood, how can they possibly continue to use those bodies for immoral purposes? Instead, they must "honor God" not with words only, but with their very bodies - bodies that no longer belong to them, but to their Lord.

Financial Giving

But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us - see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (2 Cor 8:7-9).

As in each of the preceding ethical issues, Paul once again points to the example of Christ. He reminds these believers that Christ willingly became poor that they might become rich. "The drawing out of the similarity between a given situation and that of the dying Jesus is again thought to be sufficient incentive to act in the desired way."286 If the unselfish and unrestricted giving of Christ does not motivate them to freely give, nothing will.

Unfortunately, in the history of the church, Christian giving has been too often equated with the "tithe" - the propriety of which was also "confirmed and extended by the State."287 With their attending promises of material blessing for those who obey and punishment for those who do not, Old Testament passages on tithing have long provided convenient proof-texts for those who seek to pressure God's people into providing financial support for one supposedly righteous cause or another. R. J. Rushdoony, in keeping with his Old Covenant (Reconstructionist) orientation, has this to say about this alleged "duty":

Too few tithe to God. A tithe is a tax paid to the sovereign God: it is His due . . . [The tithe] is simply a debt and obligation . . . Men know that the state takes very seriously any tax evasion; can they imagine that God is any the less angry when men evade His due tax?288

Those who seek to make tithing binding on Christians do so on the basis of inconsistent arguments. They admit that tithing is never enjoined in the New Testament. And yet, they allege that the ten percent principle must still be observed because although it was an Old Covenant standard, it has not been specifically rescinded in the New Testament and must therefore be continued. The same kind of faulty reasoning forms the rationale for enforcing infant baptism and Sabbath-keeping: "The New Testament is obviously silent on these matters, but . . ."289 This is not an appropriate way to handle New Testament truth. The problems associated with the Reformed hermeneutic that dips into the Old Covenant for binding law will not go away until the New Testament is afforded its proper place as the definitive norm for Christian duty.

John Mitchell's article, "Tithing, Yes!"290 illustrates the utter inconsistency of those who advocate tithing. He confidently asserts that tithing "is really the key that unlocks our full enjoyment of God's bounty."291 But the futility of Mitchell's position is revealed in the concessions he makes when dealing with the New Testament data. On the one hand, he tries to link 1 Cor. 16:2 with tithing by saying: "Paul seems clearly to be assuming that his readers already know about regular proportionate giving - tithing in other words."292 But then he turns around and admits the following two points which effectively destroy the notion that tithing is still appropriate in the new age:

1. But Paul does not require any fixed percentage. It is to be proportioned in accord with the degree of prosperity God has given. 2. For the person on fixed income in this time of raging inflation, it is extra hard to be too dogmatic. Let him give as he is able, but he should feel no guilt if he cannot manage a full tithe - the Lord has not seen fit to prosper him as much as others.293

Here, Mitchell concedes that ten percent is not a binding law upon the Christian conscience and that since no fixed percentage is mandated in the New Testament, no guilt should be incurred if one is unable to tithe. In light of these remarks, his opening statement that tithing is "the key that unlocks our full enjoyment of God's bounty" is stripped of any validity whatsoever.

R. C. Sproul, certainly one of the most respected contemporary Reformed theologians, also tries to defend tithing with little success. His explicit admission that the New Testament is silent about tithing nullifies his assertion that the ten percent principle is the binding starting point for believers. How can he impose tithing as "law" when he openly concedes the following points?

Nowhere does the New Testament specifically require tithing for Christians . . . The New Testament does not give us a specific instruction about tithing . . . we have no specific guideline in the New Testament of percentages.294

Since the New Testament does not "require" tithing nor give any "specific guideline" for establishing a fixed percentage, is the only instruction on giving to be found in the Old Testament codes? Traditional teaching on giving would certainly make one think so. And yet, even those who would impose tithing on believers freely admit, "nowhere does the New Testament specifically require tithing for Christians."295 Why then, do they insist that a failure to tithe is "stealing from the kingdom of God"?296 It is because they have not given the New Testament its due when it comes to the subject of giving. The fact that tithing is not imposed in the New Testament is not an oversight, it is deliberate! Under the New Covenant, the motivation for giving is not law, but love - a love for Christ and his people that is not measured in terms of percentage points, but in terms of willing sacrifice (1 John 3:16; 4:19-20). Pieter Verhoef has, with great sensitivity, put his finger on the crux of this issue:

[Tithing] has lost its significance as a schema of giving under the New Covenant. In this respect we have both continuity and discontinuity. The continuity consists in the principle of giving, and the discontinuity [consists] in the obligation of giving in accordance to the schema of tithes.297

The New Testament may not require tithing, but it certainly expects Christians to be a caring, giving people. The pattern is not ambiguous. Giving is to be regular, proportionate and sacrificial. In many ways, the New Testament paradigm is much more demanding than the Old. Under Mosaic law, duty was discharged when the appropriate percentage had been offered. Under the terms of the New Covenant, everything belongs to Christ and stewardship extends to all of one's earnings and possessions, not just ten percent. It is the same with the Old Covenant principle of one day in seven set aside unto God. In the new order, every day belongs to the Lord and must be lived accordingly.

What is needed is a New commitment to sound hermeneutics, and an honest approach to new Testament revelation that does not drag with it remnants of an order that has long passed away. The Christian conscience must not be fettered with the old chains of tithing, Sabbaths, dietary restrictions, or any other Old Covenant encumbrance that would interfere with the blood-bought freedom to serve - motivated not by law, but by love. Do you need some kind of guidance as to how you should give? Let these words direct your mind and heart: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

Special Days

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ (Col. 2:16-17).

The keeping of days - and in particular the Sabbath, has always been a source of sometimes heated debate among professing believers. A proper understanding of this passage would go a long ways in resolving these conflicts. It is of special importance because it reveals a great deal about Paul's attitude toward the Mosaic economy, about the Christian life, and about the significance of Christ in the former age.

A heresy combining gnostic and ascetic philosophy with elements of Judaism had found its way into the church at Colosse.298 One of the affects was confusion over the observance of "special days" and "Sabbaths" in particular. Adventist Samuele Bacchiocchi tries to disassociate the reference to "Sabbath" in this text from the official Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment because of this mixture of philosophy and religion.299 It is totally unreasonable, however, to think that Paul would characterize anything other than the Mosaic Sabbath as a "shadow" (cf. Heb. 8:5) whose "reality" is to be found in Christ. That this reference is to Jewish institutions is further substantiated by comparing the language of Isaiah:

Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations - I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them (Isa. 1:13).

Fairbairn summarizes his understanding of the text by saying:

Thus the distinctively sacred days appointed in the Mosaic law, together with its stated festivals, its distinctions of clean and unclean, and . . . other things of a like outward and ceremonial nature, are here placed in one category, and declared to be no longer binding on the consciences of believers, or needful to their Christian progress. And for this reason, that they were all only shadows of things to come, while the body is Christ . . . they were no more than imperfect and temporary prefigurations of the work He was to accomplish, and the benefits to be secured by it to those who believe; and as such, of course, they fell away when the great reality appeared.300

Fairbairn also quotes Dean Alford's opinion that the Sabbath day as a special observance is no longer significant under the New Covenant:

If the observance of the Sabbath had been, in any form, of lasting obligation on the Christian Church, it would have been quite impossible for the apostle to have spoken thus [in verse 17].301

Similarly, Bandstra observes:

Since the reality is here, the things of the shadow no longer constitute a norm for judgment. Evidently, Paul judges that the Old Testament regulations on food and feast days were not binding for the New Testament church. This was even true of the Sabbath commandment, and Paul's negative evaluation soon led to a new interpretation in the early church, namely, that Christians should not observe one day of rest, but that every day should be set aside and dedicated to the Lord . . . Christ himself gives the reality of rest, of which the Sabbath was the shadow. Likewise, Paul speaks of Christ as the true food and drink present in some measure in the old dispensation . . . Paul's main point in Col. 2:17 is to show that since the reality of Christ is present, the things of the shadow no longer form the norm for judging Christians.302

Fairbairn, however, felt that even though the Sabbath was fulfilled in its "shadow" aspect, its abiding New Covenant counterpart is the Lord's Day.303 He bases this on the alleged parallel of the shadow of circumcision being replaced by baptism in the new age.304 But the New Testament never defines either the Lord's Day or Baptism as replacements for Old Covenant institutions. This is typical of the way the New Testament is handled by those who find it difficult to let go of Old Covenant establishments. It is to permit moot presuppositions to force untenable implications on the New Testament in the absence of any clear explicatory revelation. It raises a basic hermeneutical question. Is it ever appropriate to defend doctrines with such obvious Old Covenant roots in the face of New Testament silence? A case in point would be the following defense of infant baptism by Henry Verduin:

There is no direct command in the New Testament to baptize infants. This objection is usually offered with a great deal of gusto as if it settled the whole matter in one sentence. And it sounds very conclusive to a great many people. But the truth of the matter is that it is worth nothing for the settling of the matter at hand. For we who believe in Infant Baptism can match this true statement with an equally true statement, which runs thus: Neither is there a direct command in the New Testament to withhold baptism from infants . . . There is no direct command in the New Testament either way. Therefore the question of the validity of Infant Baptism has to be decided on indirect evidence.305

Then, on the basis of such alleged "indirect evidence," he enforces this "command" upon the Christian conscience with great vigor by saying:

Knowing the zeal of the Lord for the holiness of His covenant, we dare not withhold baptism from our little children . . . if God says they are in the kingdom we must say so too . . . The children of believers are said to be holy . . . [to withhold baptism] robs the little lambs of the fold their just rights. And it puts the conscience of parents to sleep. It causes them to think that they have done well by their children when they have done ill by them.306

This is a dangerous form of logical progression. A proposition that lacks any positive exegetical grounds is alleged to be "truth" simply because there is no opposing exegetical evidence to the contrary. Thus defended, the baseless "truth" is then imposed upon believers as "law." It is the way many of the Old Covenant practices have been enjoined on believers, effectively circumventing the New Covenant "canon" clearly stated in Gal. 6:15-16.

While the New Testament cannot be used to defend the perpetuity of any Old Covenant "law," it is not silent about the Sabbath, or on the subject of an appropriate use of baptism. As our text makes clear, the Old Covenant Sabbath was nothing more than a "shadow." Under the New Covenant, its reality is to be "found in Christ." Our union with Christ is not something to be celebrated one day in seven, but every day. Furthermore, just as Joshua led the faithful into the promised physical rest, so also will Jesus lead his people into the ultimate "Sabbath" that awaits them in the age to come (Heb. 4:8-11). While in one sense our rest in Christ has already begun, we are also exhorted to persevere in our pursuit of the eternal rest that yet awaits us. Neil Lightfoot provides this insight into Hebrews 8:

The author who has so much to say about the better hope and the better way of life in the New Covenant cannot be understood as enforcing the observance of the Mosaic Sabbath. The rest that he speaks of is not a thing they are keeping but something that can be entered (vv. 1, 3, 6, 10, 11) . . . This rest . . . will be like the keeping of a Sabbath. As God in the beginning entered His Sabbath, they too will enter theirs - "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them."307

If the fourth commandment was a shadow, then there is no longer any reason to connect the Sabbath with any day. Just as the typical offerings of lambs were rendered unnecessary by the sacrifice of Christ, so connecting the Sabbath with a day is unnecessary because the reality of the type has come in the person of Christ. Hence, Herman Ridderbos sees the following as an implication of Col. 2:17:

The fact that Paul speaks in this manner concerning the Sabbath proves that for him the fourth commandment of the Decalogue no longer had any abiding significance. In addition, as appears probable, the observance of the first day of the week was not viewed as the New Testament's prolongation of the Old Testament Sabbath.308

Many regard Sunday as the "Lord's Day" of Rev. 1:10, or isolate Sunday as a special day in the New Covenant based on an alleged one-in-seven principle embedded in the Fourth Commandment. However, the key texts employed to substantiate Sunday worship (Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7-11; I Cor. 16:1-3) do not provide an exegetical basis for dogmatism,309 and the identification of Sunday with the "Lord's Day" in Rev. 1:10 does not rest on evidence in the text itself.310

The New Testament teaches that there are no special "holy days" in the new age. Believers are free to view every day the same, or to observe a day to the Lord as they see fit (Rom. 14:5-6). What is important in the New Covenant is to enter into the true Sabbath rest that comes through faith in Christ, to serve one another in love, and to assemble regularly to encourage, exhort and admonish one another in the gospel (Heb. 3:12-13; 4:3; 10:24-25).

The New Covenant and the Priesthood of All Believers

As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for. But you aree a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:4-9).

Throughout this study, we have offered considerable evidence to show that Christian ethics has historically been Old Covenant oriented. This sad fact has had an undeniable affect on the life of the visible church. Ever since the fourth century, Israel has been used as a model to defend the concept of a "Christian State," and to justify hierarchical church governments. Judy Schindler notes that as the visible church moved further and further away from its New Testament model,

the Old Covenant order of the priesthood was applied more and more exclusively to the one bishop as high priest, and very little stress given to the priesthood of all believers."311

Just as there was a people of God in the old age, so also in the new age is there an "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16). It is an identity no longer defined nationally, however, but spiritually, as "living stones." That which was once a geo-political entity has become "a holy nation," no longer offering the blood of animals, but "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." It is "a spiritual house," built not on the silver and bronze bases of the Tabernacle, but on the "cornerstone," the "foundation" of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). Most importantly, no longer is its ministry the exclusive right of the Levites, but of the new "holy priesthood" comprised of all of its members. Paul clearly connects this concept of total body priesthood with the proper functioning of a local church:

. . . in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Rom. 12:4-8).

The writer of Hebrews declares that "when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law" (7:12). This is of crucial importance on two fronts. First, it speaks of a new priesthood. When Jesus appeared, he became the promised "high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 6:20). This was not a continuation, but rather a total superceding of the Old Covenant Levitical priesthood, along with all of its encoded institutions. But, secondly, this verse also establishes that a new priesthood requires new law. This one passage alone negates any attempt to carry a single stipulation from the Old age to the New. Not one statute imposed at Sinai and administered by Aaron and the Levites has any ongoing jurisdiction over God's New Covenant people. It is the "law" of the new High Priest, summarized in his "New Commandment," that exclusively defines his righteous requirements. Jesus has become the one "High Priest" of the New Covenant, and his people - all of his people - are the "sons of the Levi" (Numb. 3:6; Deut. 21:5), a new "royal priesthood" entrusted with the privilege and authority to offer "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." The specifics of these "spiritual" duties are clearly defined in a number of new Testament passages (e.g. Matt. 5:1-7:29; Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15-16; Rev. 5:8).

In summary, there are four important issues concerning the priesthood of believers. First, a functioning priesthood is essential and basic to the spiritual well being of God's people. Secondly, any church tradition or practice that has the effect of stifling the functioning of all believers as priests must be rejected. Thirdly, we must realize that believing people, not buildings, constitute the "house of God" (1 Cor. 3:9). When confronting fidgety children, parents will often tell them to "sit still and be quiet," then solemnize their admonition by adding, "this is God's house." Is this the concept we want to pass on to our children? They certainly need to learn not to be unruly when the saints are assembled, but should it not be respect for the true dwelling place of God - his people - that governs their behavior? Fourthly, in light of our equally shared priesthood, we must do away with the historical (and inappropriate) "clergy/laity" distinction. Howard Snyder points this out by saying:

The New Testament simply does not speak in terms of two classes of Christians - "minister" and "laymen" - as we do today. According to the Bible, the people (laos, "laity") of God comprise all Christians, and all Christians through the exercise of spiritual gifts have some "work of ministry." So if we wish to be biblical, we will have to say that all Christians are laymen (God's people) and all are ministers. The clergy-laity dichotomy is unbiblical and therefore invalid. It grew up as an accident of church history and actually marked a drift away from biblical faithfulness . . . It is one of the principal obstacles to the Church effectively being God's agent of the Kingdom today because it creates the false idea that only "holy men," namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry.312

The New Testament, indeed, makes a distinction between leaders and people (1 Thess. 5:12-13). But this distinction assumes the priesthood of believers, and does not swallow it up as the "clergy/laity" practice has in the past.


281. Bruce Kaye, "Law and Morality in the Epistles of the New Testament," Law, Morality and the Bible, Downers Grove: IVP, p. 74.

282. Dennis Winter, "Motivation in Christian Ethics," Law, Morality and the Bible, p. 211.

283. Herman Ridderbos, Paul and Jesus, Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishers, 1958, p. 284.

284. Kaye, p. 75.

285. Rom. 6:11, 18, 22; Anthony Hoekema, A Christian Looks at Himself (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), pp. 49-53.

286. Winter, p. 212.

287. H.F. Jacobson, "Tithes," Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, IV, New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1893, p. 2364.

288. R.J. Rushdoony, "Tipping," Chalcedon Report, April 1982.

289. Raymond Zorn, "Review of The Law and the Prophets," Westminster Theological Journal, XXXVII:2, 1975, p. 294.

290. John J. Mitchell, "Tithing, Yes!," Presbyterian Guardian, October 1978, pp. 6-7.

291. Mitchell, p. 6.

292. 293. Mitchell, p. 7.

294. R.C. Sproul, "What about Tithing?," Tabletalk, 3:5, 1979, p. 10.

295. 296. Sproul, p. 10.

297. Pieter Verhoef, "Tithing--A Hermeneutical Consideration," The Law and the Prophets, John Skilton, ed., Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974, p. 127.

298. Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1977, p. 346.

299. Bacchiocchi, pp. 346, 368.

300. Patrick Fairbairn, The Revelation of Law in Scripture, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957, p. 472; A.J. Bandstra, The Law and the Elements of the World: An Exegetical Study in Aspects of Paul's Theology, Kampen, J.H. Kok, 1964, pp. 90-93.

301. Quoted by Fairbairn, p. 473.

302. Bandstra, pp. 92-93.

303. Fairbairn, p. 474.

304. Fairbairn, p. 474.

305. Henry Verduin, "Baptism," The Reformation Sentinel, 1:1, 1977, pp. 17-18.

306. Verduin, pp. 23-24.

307. Neil Lightfoot, Yesterday, Today, Forever, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977, p. 97.

308. Quoted by Bandstra, p. 92, note 79.

309. Bacchiocchi, pp. 90-131.

310. D. Vincent Price, "Searching for the Imperative: Interaction with Lord's Day Argumentation," Searching Together, 9:4, 1980, pp. 13, 20.

311. Judy Schindler, "The Rise of One-Bishop-Rule in the Early Church," Searching Together, 10:2, 1981,p.5.

312. Howard Snyder, The Community of the King, Downers Grove: IVP, 1977, pp. 94-95.

This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him. Jon Zens. Searching Together. Summer-Winter 1997, Vol. 25:1,2,3. Pages 72-82.