By Connie W. Adams
The January 1993 edition of The Spiritual Sword contains a very good article by my friend and former school-mate, Roy H. Lanier, Jr., entitled “Faith and Opinion: A Study of Romans 14.” While brother Lanier works among those we generally refer to as “institutional,” he is far more conservative than most of those I would count in that camp. His article on Romans 14 is clear, thorough and pointed. In view of what some among us have been writing and preaching on Romans 14, especially as it relates to the marriage, divorce and remarriage issue, I thought our readers would appreciate and profit from the following section from this good article.
This Context Clearly Does Not Cover Some Things
1. This context does not concern unacceptable practices. Paul said esteeming a day or eating meats were both acceptable (vv. 5-6,14). For someone today to argue for the use of instrumental music in worship and cite this chapter as proof, he must first show that instrumental music in worship is acceptable to God! Paul clearly argues that the different practices he was considering were both acceptable to God. Does the Lord teach anywhere that instrumental music in worship is acceptable?
2. The context does not concern matters other than personal choice. All things mentioned here refer to desirable choices in one’s daily life. In this area God has left many of the choices up to the “sanctified common sense’ of knowledgeable Christians.
3. The context does not concern congregational matters. Nothing is said in this context about congregational work or worship. For someone to include matters of church activities or worship in this context is to be untrue to accurate heremeneutics.
4. Differences discussed here are not matters which make up the kingdom. Paul pointed out clearly that these matters were not as important as those which make up the kingdom of God (vv. 16-17).
5. These liberties of differing opinions must not cause disruption among brethren. Fellowship should be maintained in these cases.
6. These different practices cannot violate any other instruction of the Lord. Paul could not intend this fellowship be maintained when other teachings would be contradicted. One could not fellow-ship the doctrines of Balaam (Rev. 2:14), the false teachings of Hymanaeus, Alexander and Philetus (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17), nor the idolatry and sexual immorality of `that woman Jezebel’ (Rev. 2:2-21). The matter of adulterous remarriages tolerated within a congregation is not under consideration in Romans 14 since the Lord taught specifically about this (1 Cor. 5). Preachers who are unwilling to stand where the Lord stood in regard to adultery cannot ease their aching hearts from Romans 14.”
A recent report from Alessandro Corazza of Rome, Italy lists works which he has personally translated into Italian for the use and study of future generations among Italian brethren. Brother Corazza is now 67 years of age and was the first man converted in Italy after World War II. He wrote:
“Till now I have translated: The Infallibility of the Church (by George Salmon) , Revela tion (by Homer Hailey), Commentary on Hebrews (by Robert Milligan), Campbell-Purcell Debate, the entire Truth in Life series (60 work-books), TheNewTestamentBook by Book (all three by Roy E. Cogdill); I have published my own book Let’s Study the Bible (a correspondence course in 24 lessons, each lesson 16 pages), and edited for nine years a paper (Straight Paths). At present I am translating Robert Harkrider’s series, which will be complete about next June. During 1993 it is my intention to translate the Mike Willis Commentary on First Corinthians. In the future, God willing, I will translate commentaries on the entire N.T. My age (67) permits me to do many or few things, according to health, etc.
“I have always been persuaded that written things are a witness which cannot be changed. Nobody knows how much value in the future will be ascribed to works which were according to the Bible. Probably you in the States don’t care much about this point, but we in Italy, having only Catholic or Protestant literature, urgently need sound and clear literature for those who don’t find their light only in the Bible. I am also persuaded that through written means we can preach to more people than just by mouth. My only regret is that the best years of my life have gone and I cannot have all the time for this specific task.”
I have personally seen much of this work which this good brother has translated and have copies in Italian of several of these books and also received the journal he edited during its nine year tenure. It almost exhausts me just to think of the mountain of time and painstaking labor expended all with an eye to the future good of workers in Italy. His labor is not only commendable but also his wisdom and foresight.
The Two-Ness Doctrine
For many years gospel preachers have debated with those sometimes referred to as “The One-ness Pentecostals.” My first public debate was with one of their men, A.H. Payne of Porterdale, Georgia. It is their contention that Jesus is the only member of the Godhead, that he has simply existed in three different manifestations: in the Old Testament as God the Father, in the gospels as God the Son and now as the Holy Spirit. But all the time, we only had one divine person.
It is now being contended by some that when Jesus came to earth he divested himself of the qualities and attributes of divinity so as to be a man. Whatever miracles he performed were therefore not because he was divine but because he had these powers granted to him by the Father and they were bestowed on him by the Holy Spirit even as they were on the Apostles. Well now, if that is true, then while Jesus was on earth, we only had two functioning members of the Godhead possessed of the full qualities and attributes natural to them. We had a fully empowered Father and a fully empowered Holy Spirit but a man with no inherent qualities of divinity (only those granted to him). So, any way you slice it, if these brethren are to be taken seriously, while Jesus was on earth we had not three equal-in-power members of the Godhead but only two. Why does that not come out to being a “two-ness” doctrine?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 17, p. 3-4
September 2, 1993