Can I Prove it is Wrong and Sinful?
It is said that God does not obligate us to prove what is wrong; he obligates us to prove what is right. “I do not look for prohibition; I look for permission,” say some. I believe the Bible requires us not only to prove what is right – but to reprove what is wrong and sinful.
Sin is a transgression of law (1 John 3:4). Vine says transgression means, “to go aside” or to “go beyond.” All who go beyond the doctrine of Christ, for religious teaching and practice, have to be guilty of transgression – sin (2 John 9). Since transgression of law is sinful and since going beyond the doctrine of Christ is transgression, religious teachings and practices not found in the doctrine of Christ are sinful.
The doctrine of Christ cannot be limited to only the teaching about Jesus. Caiaphas, the high priest, understood the teaching (doctrine, KJV) of Christ shown by when he asked Jesus “of his disciples, and of his teaching” (John 18:19). The teaching of Christ was his personal teaching, just as the disciples were his personal followers. To act without authority from Christ’ s teaching is sinful because John said it is transgression, which he defined as sin.
The teaching of Christ prohibits sinful transgression. Jesus is our example. When he accused the Pharisees of “transgressing the commandment of God” (Matt. 15:3) he was not proving what was right; he was reproving what was sinful and wrong. He proved it was wrong to make hand washing a ritual of religion. We’d be well served to follow his example.
The faithful Christian is to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). The prohibited fellowship is with sinful doctrines and practices. To reprove unfruitful works of darkness is proving what is sinful and wrong.
Elders are shepherds of the flock (local church of Christ) over which the Holy Spirit made them overseers (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2-3). A novice cannot be a qualified shepherd (1 Tim. 3:6). A shepherd must be mature and able to prove what is right as well as to prove what is wrong and sinful (Titus 1:9). To qualify as a functioning elder a man must hold “to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers.” In short, he must reprove what is sinful and wrong by his knowledge of the doctrine of Christ.
There is an old maxim that says, “The specification of one action is the exclusion of another.” The New Testament specifies singing as the kind of music offered in worship to God. There are other kinds of music but they are not mentioned in the New Testament in connection with worship. Is another kind of music in worship included in the teaching of Christ, or does one go beyond the teaching to find it? Going beyond the teaching of Christ is transgression of Christ’s law and John said that is sin. Dear friend if another kind of music than singing in worship is not included, by the very nature of language, it is excluded.
Based on these thoughts, I confess that I look for permission and prohibition. I intend to prove all things and hold fast to what is good and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22).
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