Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 13, 1958

Ninety Years Later -- A Study Of Congregation Cooperation (No. 2)

Forrest Darrell Moyer, Napa, California

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles reproducing a speech delivered by Bro. Moyer.

II. Where Is God's Authority?

A. I think all of us here this afternoon will agree that it is in the New Testament scriptures. Paul shows that the scriptures furnish us completely unto every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17.) And he further admonishes us "not to go beyond the things that are written." (1 Cor. 4:6.) Man cannot go beyond the scriptures, beyond that which is written in His word. (2 Jn. 9.) Therefore, all operation and cooperation of the churches must be taught in the New Testament scriptures. Can we cooperate in a way or ways not revealed in the New Testament scriptures? We must say, "No, we cannot do so." Outside the New Testament it is unauthorized; taught in the New Testament it is authorized.

B. But how do we establish scriptural authority? How do we prove a thing to be scriptural? There are three ways that God sets forth His authorization:

1. The first of these is by an expressed statement or command, as Acts 2:38. A command authorizes the doing of the very thing that in itself is commanded. I have heard Matt. 28:19 quoted as authority for the kind of cooperation that has been engaged in. But the authority there is for the teaching. It is not for the kind of cooperation that is to be done. The command authorizes the doing of the thing that is commanded.

2. And then, there is by approved example, another way that God reveals His authority to us. By approved example we mean the practice of the early Christians that was divinely approved as Acts 20:7 — the partaking of the Lord's supper on the first day of the week.

3. The third way by necessary inference. We mean that from the scriptures we reach a certain conclusion and that no other conclusion can be reached. Though the thing itself might not be stated in exact terms, we have to reach that conclusion. This is illustrated by Matt. 3:16 where it says that Jesus, when he was baptized, came up out of the water. Now the Bible doesn't say that Jesus went down into the water, but it does teach that He did by necessary inference. There is no other conclusion that can be reached. We are not even talking about a reasonable inference. For example, advocates of infant baptism(?) sometimes. reason from Lydia's household conversion in this manner:

1) Lydia probably was married. Is it reasonable? Yes, but the Bible does not say so, and it doesn't necessarily imply it.

2) If she were married, she probably had children. Is it reasonable? Why, yes! But is it necessary? No.

3) And if she had children, it is reasonable that one of them might have been an infant. Reasonable, yes. Necessary? No. You do not have to infer that.

4) Since her household was baptized, this proves that infant baptism is scriptural, our denominational friends say.

But we will all say that this is not right reasoning. Why? It is reasonable, isn't it? The Bible does not necessarily imply and therefore does not teach that Lydia had an infant. But even if the Bible taught that she had an infant, it would not prove infant baptism for such would violate other positive teaching. Therefore, if a thing violates God's order, it certainly could not be a necessary inference. So by necessary inference, we mean that the conclusion reached must be a necessary one.

C. Thus, the action, the operation, and the cooperation of churches must be authorized either by expressed statement or command, by example, or by necessary inference. If not, it is unauthorized.

D. Now, how churches act or operate and cooperate is authorized in the New Testament or in the "will of God," in the "perfect law of liberty." I am afraid to teach or allow any kind of cooperation that is not taught by command, example, or necessary inference. It would be without God's authority and that constitutes "iniquity."

Therefore, the question is this, friends, are we going to cooperate in the way God planned or in the way man plans? Which will it be? Our answer must be in a resounding chorus, all of us together saying, "WE will act in God's way, as He teaches and as He directs."

Can you not see how this fundamental idea of God's authority must be understood? Now if all of us can understand that, and I am persuaded that we do, then that will cause us to realize that our practice must have the teaching of New Testament Scriptures behind that before we can engage in it or teach it. Any time a preacher or any other person begins to say, "Well, the Bible doesn't say this or doesn't say that," to try to prove something, you just mark it down — he doesn't have authority for it. If he did, he would just say, "The Bible does say this and it does say that."