It is wonderful to be able to discuss matters of doctrine as we are doing in this debate. The postmodern and pragmatic culture of America has created an environment in which few are willing to debate matters such as these. It is alleged that emphasis on the New Testament as pattern revelation is errant. As this debate continues to unfold, it will be evident that God's Word is on trial here. The Bible, and specifically pertaining to this debate the New Testament, is the objective, absolute, pattern revelation from God to man. It is only when that truth is accepted through loving obedience that men can enjoy the blessings and benefits of fellowship with Deity and the redeemed.
Answers to Al's Questions
True/False Questions for Al Maxey
In Al's introduction he wrote, "Brethren, the Family of God has been feuding and fragmenting for far too long, and, frankly, over matters that have absolutely nothing to do with our ultimate relationship with God or His children." If it is the case that the subject of the New Testament pattern has nothing to do with our ultimate relationship with God, then it is also true that the Bible is a perpetual lie and there is no God! Al's theory of micropatternism (this term is reflective of the fact that Al believes in a pattern, which can be found in the New Testament, albeit ever so small) deconstructs the truth and renders spirituality to a fusion of subjectively compelling elements. Al further states, "Satan is having a field day in the church, and I fear far too many of us are willing (or, at best, unknowing) participants." Al, you claim that many are willing participants working with Satan in his fight against the church. I would like to see the evidence you have to document this charge. Who is it that is willingly working with Satan? In your next rebuttal please provide documented evidence to support this indictment.
Maxey Alleges That Jesus Violated The Father's Pattern
While answering the question, "The chronology of Jesus' ministry in the Gospel of John contradicts the chronology of Jesus' ministry in the Synoptic Gospels," Al wrote: "I believe these are simply reflective of perceptive differences between authors, and may have far more to do with authorial intent and the audience to whom they sought to convey a particular message." Maxey's "perceptive differences" created what seems, according to Maxey, "to be two separate Passover celebrations that year -- one by Jesus and the Twelve, the other by everyone else the following day!" (Maxey, 2004). Maxey's perceptive dilemma is settled in his mind by alleging that Jesus observed the Passover one day early:
Accordingly, Maxey suggests that Jesus did not follow that which was written in the Mosaic Law. God looked at Jesus' heart and because His heart was into the Passover observance God relaxed his written standard and accepted Jesus' violation of the Law of Moses. If the Mosaic Law did not matter, then is it not equally true that Maxey's micropattern does not matter. What my opponent fails to acknowledge is that if at any point God's written law does not mean exactly what God said that it means, then none of God's law means anything.
Al charges that "patternists" follow human assumptions instead of Gods' Word. Al's perception of John's record of Jesus' last Passover observance is an example of Maxey's suppositional approach to fellowship and salvation, which is based on his subjective standard, not God's objective and absolute truth. Perception has to do with awareness and understanding. Maxey claims that the Synoptic writers recorded information from their awareness and understanding, which differed from the awareness and understanding recorded by John. However, the apostle Peter wrote, "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Pet. 1:20). God through Peter said that the Biblical writers did not give us their personal awareness and understanding. By taking Maxey at his word, he has the writers of Scripture giving their own private interpretations which places him in conflict with God and leads him into erroneous conclusions and sin.
Additionally, in his first paragraph under the heading, Hermeneutical Approach, Maxey notes that how men perceive the Bible, either as a book of "LAW" or a book of "LOVE," determines their approach to the Scriptures. If it is the case that the Synoptic writers and John wrote according to their perception, and their perceptive differences were authorized by the Holy Spirit; then it is also the case that God is not concerned with how men perceive His Word. The perceptive differences of men can't be a big deal according to Maxey's theory, as long as those perceptions are the outgrowth hearts directed toward pleasing God. When it comes right down to it, Maxey's theory about the composition of the Gospels makes their authors editors of previously written or spoken accounts, who added their perceptions aided by the Holy Spirit. According to Maxey's theory the Bible is a mixed-up mess, which is really acceptable with God because His will is for men to follow Him with the heart. In fact, if we follow Maxey's teaching to its logical conclusion, we must ask why it is that he agreed to debate me on the pattern issue. I firmly believe what I am writing with all of my heart and my heart's desire is to please God! If Maxey's doctrine is not a mix of pragmatism and postmodernism, with a sprinkle of "will worship," a dash of "ignorant worship," and equal parts of "vain worship," then what is it? Al cries against human speculation and then bases his theory on his personal speculation! Is Maxey's speculation the standard?
Likewise a person cannot function as a New Testament Christian while he perceives the New Testament to be something other that Jesus' last will and testament.
Maxey's speculation suggests that Jesus and his disciples observed the Passover contrary to the Mosaic pattern. In fact Maxey plainly stated that Jesus violated the Mosaic Law! "Jesus desired earnestly to eat the Passover with His disciples before He suffered and died, but the Passover was not scheduled to be observed until after His crucifixion. Therefore, He observed it a day early!! His legitimate need superceded [sic] the law!!" (Maxey, 2004). This theory is an attempt to suggest that God will not hold His people to the pattern of His Word. The allegation is that Jesus had good intentions and was sinless; therefore, when people violate the law with good intentions, God does not hold them accountable to His Word. If Maxey's theory is correct, then Jesus was actually resurrected on Saturday instead of Sunday, which is a major problem for the authenticity of the New Testament. Albeit, the resurrection day would be a moot point because if Jesus did not eat the Passover as prescribed by the Law, then he erred: "For sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). However, the Scriptures are clear and to the point, Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The point in fact is that the Passover meal was observed on a Thursday evening, the 14th of Nissan, around sunset or 6 pm (Matt. 26:17, 19; Mark 14:12, 16; Luke 22:7, 13, 15; John 13:2ff). The priests working in the Temple would be the last of the Jews to eat the Passover. Because they had to burn the fat from the offerings, offer incense, cleanse the Temple, et al, they would not be able to eat their Pascal meals until at least 9 or 10 pm. When Judas left the upper room (John 13:30) he went to chief priests (John 18:3) before they had an opportunity to eat the Passover; therefore, the priests postponed their Pascal meal because of the urgency of the situation. The sun had yet to rise when Jesus was delivered to Pilate. Caiaphas and the others with him "went not into the judgment hall" because they had not as of yet had their Pascal meal, which the rest of the Jews had observed the night before. After delivering Jesus to Pilate they hurried to eat the Passover before sunrise, just as written in the Law: "And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire" (Exod. 12:10).
The answer to Maxey's perspective dilemma is easily explained. The problem herein is not between the synoptics and John, but between men who love the truth and men who do not! "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 The. 2:11-12). God's commandments are "righteousness" (Psa. 119:172). Those who seek to circumvent God's righteous standard have pleasure in unrighteousness; therefore, Maxey has pleasure in unrighteousness. In fact Maxey's doctrine is so vile and opposed to God's righteousness that he, by his teaching, makes Jesus one who had pleasure in unrighteousness.
What about the four cups? First of all, the Passover Pattern did not legislate what the Jews were to drink with their Passover Suppers. God obviously left the drink in the realm of generic authority, which allowed the Jews to make that decision. In the second place, Luke 22:20 notes that it was after the supper that Jesus took the cup of blessing, which distinguished between the meal and the cups. Finally, Al will God accept watermelon as an emblem at the Lord's Table? If we add watermelon as an emblem to the Lord's Supper and suggest that it represents the bloody flesh of Jesus as He was crucified, will God accept that from us? Your answer has to be yes. Based on your allegation that the Jews added to the pattern for the Passover Supper with God's approval, we can add to the Lord's Supper with God's approval. By following Maxey's methodology, we can bring anything we want into the worship of the church, and God will accept it. If our hearts are aimed at honoring God we can have holy water and prayer beads, and iconoclasm is no big deal, that is if the heart is into it. One wonders why Jesus gave men His word and then told men that He will judge them by His Word, if His Word is not the pattern for life and godliness.
What about Maxey's reclining argument? The original pattern to eat the Passover "in haste" (Exod. 12:11) was obviously no longer binding upon the Israelites once they had escaped from the Egyptians and were in the Promised Land! Exodus 12:12 explains the need to eat the Passover with their loins girded, shoes on their feet, and with staff in hand. The reason for this was that they were about to make their exodus! This part of the Passover Pattern was temporary and obligatory, just as regulations placed on spiritual gifts was temporary and obligatory. Maxey's strongest argument against the New Testament pattern falls apart when it is put to the acid test of Bible authority. Jesus never violated the pattern of the Old Testament, not one time. God's law regulated how the Passover was to be observed. Violation of God's law is sin (1 John 3:4; Rom. 5:13). Jesus never sinned (Heb. 4:15); therefore, Jesus did not violate God's law or pattern for the Passover observance.
Implications Based On Maxey's Passover Arguments
First of all, if Maxey is correct in his allegation, then God must apologize to Nadab and Abihu. Those two sons of Aaron offered fire that God did not command them to offer, and then for violating His law God executed them. If Maxey's speculation and perception is correct, then God killed these two priests because they did not have their hearts in the right place. Where is a hint of this speculation in the Bible? God identified the problem by telling us that the fire they offered was fire that He commanded them not (Lev. 10:1).
When Uzzah helped God's people move the ark and the oxen pulling the new cart shook making the ark unstable, Uzzah, out of the goodness of his heart, reached forth his hand to stabilized the ark and for this the Lord killed him (2 Sam. 6:1-8). If Maxey's speculation and perception is correct, then God likewise needs to apologize to Uzzah. God's pattern of authority specified that the Kohathites were to carry the ark on their shoulders with staves (Num. 4:4-15). Not even the Kohathites were allowed to touch the ark. The specific reason God killed Uzzah is identified in First Chronicles 13:10: "Because he put his hand to the ark." Uzzah was trying to do something good in his own eyes. His heart was obviously aimed at pleasing God, but he died because he did not follow God's pattern. The next time David decided to move the ark he instructed the priests to move it according to the pattern. Notice that he said, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever" (1 Chr. 15:2). David further identified the exact reason God killed Uzzah, "For that we sought him not after the due order" (1 Chr. 15:13). David learned something from his previous failure that Maxey has yet to learn, God will not change His Word! God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2), and Maxey's theory makes God a liar because, according to Maxey, Jesus violated God's pattern and He was accepted and sinless in so doing. Someone needs to do some apologizing, but it is not God!
If Maxey's theory is correct, then the book of Hebrews is an uninspired waste of paper and space. Had the Hebrews writer been aware of Maxey's theory, if Maxey's theory were true to the mind of God, then why is it that He wrote, "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (Heb. 7:14)? The writer of Hebrews was arguing the fact that Jesus could not have been a priest on earth. Why? Because God said that the priests had to descend from Aaron, and Jesus was from another tribe. But then along comes Al Maxey who when asked, for example, if the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship is sin, answers: "It is never characterized as such in Scripture, thus it would be rather presumptuous of me to do so." How presumptuous of Maxey! The writer of Hebrews teaches us that when God says something that is what He expects nothing more nothing less. When God said to sing in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col.3:16), that is exactly what He meant. If God wanted another kind of music in worship He would have told us what He wanted. There is no more authority from God for mechanical instruments of music in worship than there is for Jesus to be a priest on earth! I am not as amused as Maxey is about this matter. No sir, this is serious business. The eternal destiny of the souls of men and women depend on how we approach God. If we fail to approach God by following exactly what is written in the New Testament then we will be eternally damned, or God has a lot for which to apologize. Maxey challenged me "to show me where God has made such a declaration. In fact, I would challenge Darrell to provide even ONE passage, in either OT or NT writings, that even HINTS at divine disapproval of instrumental accompaniment to singing in a corporate worship setting." When the fallible Maxey infers that God's will for the Levitical priesthood was Divine disapproval of Jesus being a priest on earth, then he will have his passage.
Al's Observations About Hermeneutical Approaches
In regard to Maxey's idea that the Bible, specifically the New Testament, is not a pattern but rather a love letter, I agree in part. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Thus, men learn how to approach God in love, by keeping Jesus' commandments. We are Jesus' friends if we do what He commanded us to do (John 15:14). Failing to keep Jesus' teaching is the same as failing to love Him, regardless of the intentions of one's heart (John 14:24; 1 John 2:4). John wrote, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3); and, "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him" (1 John 2:5). Yes, the New Testament is a love letter. It declares God's love toward man: "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:9). The New Testament reveals God's love toward us and how we can reciprocate that love, by doing all that He revealed to us in the New Testament. Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). If we reject any part of Jesus' teaching, we reject Jesus Himself and will be eternally lost if we die in that condition. Jesus Himself said:
The people to whom Jesus referred are people who in their lives thought that they knew Jesus. They thought that they were serving Jesus, but they did not do what Jesus told them to do; therefore, they are lost. If Maxey's teaching was true teaching these people would be saved because their hearts were obviously aimed at pleasing Jesus.
Maxey's Jesus Is The Pattern Or Is He?
Maxey was asked, "Preaching Christ involves preaching a pattern of authority that is binding upon the church today"; to which he answered:
Maxey stated further, "When I examine the Scriptures, I do not search for a pattern to impose, but rather for a Person to imitate. HE is my pattern." Yes Al, I love to sing "Where He Leads I'll Follow," and I also love to sing, "Give me the Bible" which sums it up for me in the words: "Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken … Precept and promise, law and love combining"! Maxey also says, "Yes, HIS will is binding upon the church today, but inferences [emphasis added] and assumptions [emphasis added] drawn by fallible men [emphasis added] are not." Later in his negative Maxey further clarified his position on inferences: "When God specifies, man must obey. It is when men assume or infer or seek to deduce such legal regulation in the face of divine silence, and elevate said personal perceptions to the standing of divine precept that I must voice a strong objection."
Notice how Maxey has placed himself in conflict with the apostle Paul. To the church at Corinth Paul wrote, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). Yes Paul preached Christ (1 Cor.1:23). He preached about imitating Christ (1 Cor. 11:1) and he also addressed several areas in which the Corinthians were violating the New Testament pattern and sought to correct those errors. Those errors included division: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor.1:10). What does it mean to be united in the same mind and the same judgment? Zodhiates states:
Findlay states, "gnome is the application of noús in practical judgment (Findlay, n.d., 763). In order for the Christian mind to be united with the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) and with all other Christians, it must follow the same standard, which must be determined though a process which includes judgment i.e., inference by fallible men. In case you have not recognized it yet, Maxey is alleging that nothing that is implicitly taught (teaching which requires fallible men make inference) is or can be binding on men living today. He attempts to govern his position by qualifying his inference position to matters about which the Scriptures do not directly dictate. However, to infer any matter means that a matter was implied not directly stated; hence, in the absence of a direct statement what is not specifically stated (i.e., silence) an inference must be made to determine the intention of the author or speaker. Maxey's position is oxymoronic in its best case scenario.
Hebrews 7:14 is one of several passages demonstrating that fallible men must make inference from the silence Scripture in order to please God. God did not say that no other tribe could serve as priests in the Levitical Priesthood, God expected men to infer that truth because He said nothing about the other tribes! Hebrews 7:14 is the only verse of Scripture needed to demonstrate the fallacy of Maxey's false and damning doctrine.
Notice Matthew 22:31-32: "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." This reference goes back to the burning bush (Exo. 3:6, 15) and was originally given years after the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. From the use of the present tense the Sadducees, fallible men, should have inferred from God's silence that at death men are not annihilated and cease to exist. God expects men to do that which Maxey opposes. By arguing against inferences drawn by fallible men, Maxey has no hope at all; because as a fallible man, Maxey must infer from the Scriptures that he can even be saved and in fellowship with God and all of the saved. This is true because the name Al Maxey is expressly stated no where in all of Scripture. The Scriptures are silent in regard to the name Al Maxey! Paul said that brethren are to be of the same mind and the same judgment; hence, Christians must make inferences from the Bible and properly apply them. Maxey, are inferences from fallible men, except from you, unacceptable, or are you implying that you are infallible?
While Paul knew only Christ and Him crucified among the Corinthians, he addressed their departures from the New Testament pattern and sought to correct them. Maxey quibbled, "IF these 27 books ARE the divine pattern, then what constituted the pattern for the first two decades of the existence of the church?" The apostles gave that pattern through their teaching. Paul said, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels" (2 Cor. 4:6). That reassure was the body of words that were to be taught and followed: "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). Before the original autographs were penned the pattern was taught by inspired men. When a church departed from that pattern while those men were living, another inspired epistle went forth to redirect the brethren back to the pattern. While Paul addressed the doctrinal departures of the Corinthians, he preached Christ. It is not possible to follow Jesus without also following His teaching, unless of course Maxey's fallible inferences are allowed to stand as the pattern.
Faith That Leads To Salvation
Maxey does not understand what it means to come to God by faith. Notice the doctrine of Maxey:
By revelatory Maxey does not mean pattern revelation. He does not mean that regulations to be obeyed lead the obedient to salvation. The important question is, "What does God mean when His Word discusses coming to Him by faith?" Hebrews 11 is a great place from which to study this timeless truth from God's Word. From this chapter it is observed that "by faith Able offered … and was righteous" (v. 4). "By faith Noah … prepared an ark … and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (v. 7). "By faith Abraham … obeyed … offered up Isaac" (vs. 8, 9, 17). All of this hinges around verse 6: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Faith comes by hearing God's Word (Rom. 10:17); therefore, faith that brings one to God is faith that hears God's will through His Word and responds in obedience.
Notice that the Bible says that the gospel is God's power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Romans 1:17 serves as the transitional statement with the gospel as the revelation of God's righteousness which is procured by faith. God's righteousness is revealed from faith (the noun form of faith as in Heb. 11:1) unto faith (the verbal aspect of hearing and doing God's revealed will or pattern as in Heb. 11:6). The Jews addressed by Paul in this epistle were following the wrong standard of righteousness, their own righteousness not God's righteousness (Rom. 10:3; cf. Psa. 119:172). The gospel system of salvation, the system of faith, i.e., the doctrine of Christ, is to be followed and practiced by those who wear the name of Christ (1 John 3:7-10). Man's relationship to God is based on faith, which is more than just belief, but an appropriate response based on the pattern, which the doctrine of Maxey denies. In fact, as will be revealed when Maxey answers the true or false questions which adjunct this affirmation, Maxey cannot believe that a sinner living today must be baptized in order to be saved and be true to his doctrine.
Were The Pharisees Patternists?
Maxey repeatedly alleges that brethren who are described as patternists are the modern equivalent to the Pharisees of the old dispensation. According to the Bible, what was the problem with the Pharisees? Was the problem strict obedience to the Mosaic Law? Strict observance of the Mosaic Law was never a problem in God's eyes. The Bible says that Zacharias and Elisabeth "were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6). Their walk was one of obedience and God was well pleased with them. Keeping God's law is God's will. In regard to Saul of Tarsus' keeping of the Mosaic Law, the Bible says that he was blameless (Phi. 3:6). If law keeping was a negative thing, then the aforementioned people would have been blamed, not blameless. Keeping God's pattern is righteousness and results in one being blameless.
The problem with the Pharisees did not reside in their observing the Mosaic Law. As has already been proved, keeping the Law of Moses was God's will. The problem resided in the fact that the Pharisees went beyond the pattern and taught their own doctrine. Jesus said, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mat. 15:9). Additionally, when the Pharisees taught the truth in regard to God's pattern, they themselves would not follow the pattern. "Therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not" (Mat. 23:3). The Pharisees were proud religious leaders who refused to serve God in humble obedience to His will.
Maxey teaches his own doctrine, not God's. Maxey will not submit to God's pattern for men today; therefore, Maxey is the equivalent to a modern day Pharisee, not those who desire to humbly submit to the New Testament pattern for salvation and fellowship with the redeemed. The heavy burden from which Christ sought to release men (Matt. 11:28-30) was the burden of the Mosaic Law. His yoke is His teaching, which is nothing like the burden of the Mosaic Law. I cannot imagine having to go to Jerusalem three times a year to worship, as was required under the Mosaic Law. In Christ I do not have to go to Jerusalem to worship (John 4:21). What a relief! That is one of many examples of how the yoke of Jesus' New Covenant teaching is so much easier to bear than that of the Mosaic Law. Maxey's doctrine is the binding of a burden as heavy as that of the Pharisees of old, because like those Pharisees, Maxey also shuts "up the kingdom of heaven against men:" for will he not go in, neither will he suffer "them that are entering to go in" (Matt. 23:13).
Maxey Violated His Own Specific Vs. Silence Argument
Maxey wrote: "When God specifies, man must obey. It is when men assume or infer or seek to deduce such legal regulation in the face of divine silence, and elevate said personal perceptions to the standing of divine precept that I must voice a strong objection." But the Mosaic Law, as stated by Maxey, clearly stated the day on which the Passover was to be observed. According to Maxey's doctrine, because God specified Jesus was bound to obey, but according to Maxey He did not obey and God approved anyway. The final interpretation in regard to which of God's laws must be obeyed and which of God's laws can be set aside must be determined by Maxey's perception. Al Maxey is the classic, twenty-first century pragmatic, postmodern theologian. The application of Maxey's doctrine makes perception the standard; how eclectically pragmatic of Maxey.
The New Testament Writings Are Not The New Covenant
Maxey spoke as an authority on the New Covenant, but never came out and stated what he believes the New Covenant to be, other than to allege that he is certain that the New Testament writings are not the New Covenant. The Greek term diatheke is found in the New Testament thirty-three times. Sometimes it is translated with the word "covenant" and sometimes with the word "testament." In the Hellenistic literature of the day, diatheke was used exclusively to denote a last will and testament (BGDA, 1979, p. 183). Regardless of how this term is to be translated its "essential characteristic of a testament is retained, namely that it is the declaration of one person's will, not the result of an agreement betw. two parties, like a compact or a contract" (Ibid.). The New Testament or Covenant is the declaration of Jesus' will for all men living this side of the cross. Jesus is the testator of the New Testament. A testator is one who arranges and disposes of his effects by will and testament (Zodhiates, 1993). Jesus disposed of His effects, blood purchased salvation, by means of His testament. "The diatheke is God's disposing, the mighty declaration of his will in history, by which he orders the relation between himself and us according to his saving purpose, and which carries with it the authority of the divine ordering" (Bromiley, 1985, p. 161). The twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the disclosure documents of that specific testament. These documents may not be changed in any manner because they are the final and binding will of God for humanity until the Lord comes again (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19; John 12:48; cf. Rev. 20:12). While discussing why the term diatheke is defined as it is, one writer noted:
Dungan discussed the pattern in the same sense as did McMillan, whose quote seemed to amuse Maxey. Lest the practitioner of perceptive pragmatics becomes overly amused, let Dungan speak further:
To the church of Christ in Rome Paul wrote, "Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:16b-17). Interestingly, the word form translates a Greek term signifying model or pattern. The pattern of doctrine obeyed is the gospel i.e., Jesus' testament, the New Testament. The New Testament is complete with commands to be obeyed, promises of blessings for those who obey from the heart, and promises of eternal torture for those who do not obey. This is Jesus' will, it is His testament. As was proved in my first affirmative, which Maxey failed to answer, the gospel of Christ is the faith, the law of Christ, the doctrine of Christ, it is Jesus' testament!
Unlike Maxey, Jeremiah the prophet would not be amazed at this truth, because he foretold of the coming of the New Covenant in which God would put His laws (that's what he said Al) in our minds and write them in our hearts (Jer. 31:31-34). It behooves men to do like David and say to God, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psa. 119:11). Maxey's quibble about the twenty-seven books of the New Testament coming after the testament itself has already been answered. The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the apostles was the equivalent to the sixty-six books of the Bible. Furthermore, the inspired Psalmist said to God, "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psa. 132:2b). How true it is!
All men living today will be judged by Jesus' Word (John 12:48). Will Maxey please tell us what part or parts of the New Testament are not Jesus' Word? What part of the New Testament writing will Maxey affirm are not Jesus' Words, i.e., His teaching or doctrine? Through many hours of studying textual criticism I learned to be precise with what the Bible, and specifically the New Testament is. It is the revelation of God's will for man, every word of it! Now Maxey, you are obligated by your denial of this timeless, absolute truth, to please tell us what part or parts of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament writings are not Jesus' Words. We long for your answer.
Salvation Is Not In The Church
The more I read from Maxey's pen the more I wonder why he would even attempt to affiliate himself with the churches of Christ. Maxey failed miserably when he vaguely attempted to answer the truth that salvation is in the church of Christ and not outside of the church of Christ. I will give him credit for being consistent in as much as if Maxey were to concede to this absolute truth, he would at that moment violate his entire micropattern of perceptive, eclectic, pragmatic, postmodernistic, theology. You see, Maxey does not believe in the absolute truth that no sinner is or can be saved before the moment he is baptized according to the law of the gospel of Christ!
Unbeknown to Maxey, Jesus and His church cannot be separated. This truth was learned by Saul of Tarsus the hard way. Saul made havock of the church (Acts 8:3). When Jesus confronted Saul He asked, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4). If Maxey had been there he could have called a point of order. "Wait a minute Jesus, your perception is not as keen as mine; you cannot be equated with the church!" But alas, He is. The Bible, not anyone's perception, says that the church is the body of Christ (Col. 1:24). Baptism which is absolutely essential for salvation (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21), is into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27), it is into His body (1 Cor. 12:13). No accountable person living this side of the cross can be saved outside of the church of Christ! Al, this truth is not going to fade away because of your perceptive theology.
The Doctrine Of Christ Is Objective Genitive
Maxey, by nature of his pragmatic approach to salvation and fellowship must take the objective genitive position, i.e., the doctrine of Christ is teaching about Jesus coming in the flesh, to maintain his postmodern approach to salvation and fellowship. Al, I must state that I am amused at your weak and feeble attempt to use Barnes to support your objective genitive position. Why didn't you provide the context of his statement? Are you so shackled in Plato's cave that you can only perceive what you can use in your eclectic toolkit of deconstructionism? Let's provide the readers of this debate with the subsequent sentence in Barnes' Notes: "Macknight understands by it the doctrine taught by Christ and his apostles. It would seem most probable that this is the sense of the passage, but then it would include, of course, all that Christ taught respecting himself, as well as his other instructions" (Barnes, n. d.). Albert Barnes simply did not agree with Maxey.
Like Maxey I too see connective material between First and Second John. We should, they share the same oral source; the Holy Spirit. Every word of both epistles is Jesus' and given by the Holy Spirit, don't you agree Al? Notice First John 2:3: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." Why there is no perception to it is there! We know that we know Him by keeping His commandments. Maxey, do you suppose that the Holy Spirit foresaw the perceptive period of postmodernism and wanted men today to know, in an absolute sense, that we can know the Christ! The Bible is such a wonderful book. Additionally John wrote, "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." What does it mean to be in Him? To be in Him is to have Him in us (John 15:4-7). How do we stay in Him? The Bible says by keeping His word. Robinson correctly observed this is an "indefinite relative clause with modal an and the present active subjunctive, 'whoever keeps on keeping'" (Robinson, n. d.). One who keeps on keeping His Word abides in that word. He abides in the teaching or doctrine of Christ. The genitive construction is not the interpretative key to the "doctrine of Christ," God's Word is. The doctrine of Christ is the totality of Jesus' teaching, which included but was not limited to what Jesus declared Himself to be (cf. Mark 4:2). Hatcher observed:
Contextually, regardless of the remote or overall context of the New Testament writings, Maxey's objective genitive is without merit. I further agree with Hatcher who stated, "It is my opinion that the main reason that one argues for an objective genitive is because they have a desire to loosen the bonds of fellowship which God has establish" (Ibid., p. 2).
Is the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16:12) teaching about the Pharisees and Sadducees existing in the flesh? Is the doctrine of the Lord, the doctrine which the deputy believed, doctrine about Jesus coming in the flesh (Acts 13:12), or was the faith (v. 8), which has already been proved in this debate to be the totality of Jesus' teaching? If the "doctrine of Christ" is teaching about Jesus coming in the flesh, what are the" principals of the doctrine of Christ" (Heb. 6:1)? Are they teachings about the fact that Jesus' fleshly body had two legs upon which to stand? What is the "doctrine of baptisms" (Heb. 6:2)? Is it teaching that water came in the flesh? Is it teaching about water being composed of H2O instead of some mystical composition? What is the "doctrine of Balaam"? What is the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans" (Rev. 2:14-15)? Teaching about Balaam and the Nicolaitans existing in the flesh? Is it a matter of perspective? According to Maxey it does not make any difference anyway because the New Testament is just a love letter. Al, do we even need the New Testament to be saved? Will people who sincerely worship the gods, but have never heard of Christ, be saved? Will they Al?
The New Testament A Misnomer?
Is the name assigned to the collections of books from Matthew through Revelation a misnomer? Do we have it wrong about the New Testament of Jesus Christ? Should the name New Testament be replaced with something more descriptive of Maxey's perception of it? Maybe Matthew through Revelation should be called A Collection Of Writings Containing The Bantam, Pint-Sized New Testament Of Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that Matthew through Revelation is the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
Maxey Needs To Answer The Arguments
In my first affirmative it was noted that the terms gospel, the faith, the doctrine of Christ, the commandments of Christ, the law of faith, are descriptive of the same body of writings. Maxey did not do what he signed on to do in this debate. Maxey did not attempt to disprove this disprovable truth he merely attempted to make an objective genitive argument from Second John 1:9, which was weak and beggarly at best. Maxey needs to at least try to prove that these terms are not descriptive of the same body of teaching. He can rant and rave all day long about legalism and patternism with the best of them, but he just does not seem to want to deal with the text. If I believed Maxey's theory I would not want to deal with the text either. Any disagreement could be settled by alleging that it is all a matter of perception and that we need to rally to the Man, not His plan!
In my first affirmative I asked Al, "Al, do you believe that the reference to the 'doctrine of Christ' in 2 John 9-11 is to Jesus' teaching known as the gospel?" to which he replied "No, I do not," and then proceeded with his objective genitive argument. Anticipating as much, I also asked, "Al are the gospel of Christ and the commandments of Christ one and the same body of teaching, or do you believe that gospel is for the world and doctrine is for the church?" Will Al answer the question before him? Will we find an attempt to answer my synonym argument in Maxey's second negative? Will Maxey deal with the text or will he continue to rant and rave about those pattern following legalists.
The Form of Sound Words
To Timothy Paul wrote, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1:3). As noted in my first affirmative, the word translated form means a concise standard. Paul referred to that which we now have as the New Testament. If not, then Maxey needs to set forth argumentation to prove that Paul meant something other than that specific body of teaching known as the New Testament. Will Maxey deal with the verses set forth in this material? That is yet to be seen.
Al, while your "linen sheet stands at the ready," let me present you with another perception. I assume you drive a car of some sort. According to Maxey's keen perception, he would have to agree with a mechanic who stood before him with a hand full of nuts, bolts, diodes, and computer chips, which he took off of him car, and said; "Maxey, I can't remember where these go. Hey, they are just nuts, bolts, diodes and chips, they are not your car, so we will just throw them away, they are not important!" If Maxey approached his car as he does his Bible he would have to agree and say, "Yes, my perceptive mechanic friend, let us rally around the car, not the parts!" Maxey would not drive very far like that, and the truth of the matter is that he cannot deny and violate the New Testament pattern and go to heaven either.
The problem with Maxey is that he does not acknowledge God's Word as the authoritative standard which it is. He fails to do that which is commanded by Paul, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). A student of the truth will look and the pattern and discern that which is permanent and obligatory and that which was temporary and obligatory. He will learn what is demanded and what is allowable. He will learn how to use the pattern to present himself to God with no need to be ashamed. What he will never do is suggest that the New Testament is not the last will and testament of King Jesus!