Few things make me angry than misrepresenting people and misleading people. While Christ responded with anger and love, I try to do the same. In the following, my reply to the rejection of following biblical examples and patterns found here: “PATTERNISM IN CHURCHES OF CHRIST: A TEMPLATE FOR SIN.”
You are a poor blind guide in this matter. What prejudice that you show in judging patternists by your own pattern! Don’t you know that we are to be imitators of the Christian example (1 Cor. 4:16-17, 11:1; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9; Heb. 6:12; 3 John 1:11))? Do you not know the words for example and pattern are the same (2 Tim 1:13; Rom 5:14; 6:17; 1 Thess 1:7; Phil 3:17; 2 Thess 3:9; 1 Pet 5:3)? Has Christ not set a pattern for us in worship? Do you not follow a pattern for baptism and the Lord’s Supper even if just simply calling them these names? Open your eyes. You who call others Pharisees! For the Pharisees were not patternists according to the Word. Their pattern was their traditions. These were man-made inventions, which went further to neglect God’s instructions (Matt 15; 23; Mark 7). Pharisees were just as much liberals as they were legalists. Do not be a white-washed tomb and condemn churches for having the same problems that so many had in the first centuries. You’re not going to change any minds with this contempt.
Can you not open your eyes and see the spiritual worship of singing alone? Or are you hard of heart and dull of hearing? Do you not see that God commanded just singing and how completely sublime it is? How completely disgusting to alter what God has made perfect? Yes, we’re all guilty in profaning the image of God, and yet let’s not profane the blood of Christ and His words which are spirit and life. Do you not know that preaching, praying, and singing in unknown languages were condemned in 1 Corinthians 14:9–15? Why? Why not do anything in the assembly? It didn’t matter how beautiful it was to hear another tongue, or that this ability was a gift from God. It was misused. For all worship including making melody was to be of the spirit and the mind (1 Cor 14:15). Yet, they excluded the mind. They had not set the Christian pattern, example in worship. See also that Paul was no “legalist” for correcting them to repent. No matter the beauty of musical instruments, there is no message that could be taught by them other than verse 7 and 8 of 1 Corinthians 14. Yet, we must stand against such additions for we are convicted by the words of Christ that we must observe all things (Matt. 28:19), and to do otherwise is sin. God blessed us with His grace, but not to keep us from striving in love to obey His words. Until “progressives” stop griping and start teaching His words, how will we “patternists” repent? I’ve read words upon words condemning legalism and not a word that confronts darkness with the light. Have you become as much a Pharisee in “liberalism” as those that you despise for “legalism”?
Let us look to the planks in our own eyes now. You said, “What about those earliest Christians who, for perhaps two generations, got along quite well before many of the proof texts were written, and for sure before they were widely distributed? Were those early believers not able to worship God acceptably?” This statement is a common speculative conjecture. These Christians received all things for life and godliness in the 1st century via prophecy from the Spirit of Christ. Paul expected the Corinthians to have understood the teachings of the Lord concerning the Assembly and the worship in and out of the assembly. They did not lack except correction.
On another point, a careful study of the Scriptures show that the Scriptures were collected together in the 1st century and distributed to all. http://Godsbreath.wordpress.com/2007/05/03/new-testament-collection/
May God bless us all in the grace and peace in Christ.