Brethren: Here is the sermon I promised you.
The funny word is pronounced adi-APH-orous.
A. Four local preachers were asked by phone: "If you were
asked why you use
instrumental music in worship, what defense or explanation would
you give them?"
1. Baptist (Pastor): "Really I hadn't thought about it. Instruments
used in the OT, the Psalms. Instruments are not in the NT, unless
2. Christian Church (Reverend): "Instruments were used in
the OT, the
Psalms. They are not specifically mentioned one way or the other
in the NT.
They are an aid, just like the songbook or pitch pipe".
3. Methodist (Reverend): He at first was a little sarcastic, "I
that I owe anyone a defense or explanation of my beliefs".
"Instruments were used in the OT (the Psalms); are not mentioned
in the NT
one way or the other, like a church building, electricity, air conditioning
and things like that".
4. Lutheran (Pastor): "Instruments were used in the OT (the
Psalms); are not
mentioned in the NT at all, it is something we consider as adiaphora".
(Asked to explain the term, he said that it means something neither
prescribed nor forbidden).
B. Brief refutations:
1. The OT (Psalms) argument:
a) We're not under the Law of Moses but under Christ (Rom. 6:14,
"for ye are
not under law, but under grace")
b) What about other OT practices? (burning of incense, animal
circumcision, Sabbath observance, etc.)
2. The Revelation argument:
a) A book of sign language. A harp does not stand for a harp!
b) What other signs in Revelation may be used in the church worship
C. The Lutheran's reply suggests the title
of the sermon: "adiaphorous religion"
1. Liddell & Scott: "adiáphoros" (accent
on the second "a"--BHR) "a privative, diaphero, not different; indifferent
2. Webster's unabridged:
a) adiáphorism, theological indifference
b) Adiáphorist, n. (Gr.
Adiaphoros, from a priv., día,
through, and pherein, to bear), a moderate or indifferent person; specifically,
given in the sixteenth century to followers of Melancthon, who
opinions and ceremonies to be indifferent which Luther condemned
c) adiaphoristic, a. pertaining to adiaphorism
d) Adiaphorite, n. same as Adiaphorist
e) Adiaphoron, n., pl.
adiaphora, an indifferent moral or religious
f) adiaphorous, a. 1.indifferent; neutral. 2. In medicine, neither
nor helpful 3. (Looks like the Lutheran preacher is more of a "Melancthonan"
E. This lesson has to do with this attitude, on the part of sectarians,
of brethren in Christ, concerning matters of faith.
I. OTHER CASES AT HAND:
A. Chilean brother:
1. "I am writing you to solicit the book, 'Genesis 1 and
the Writings of
Efraín Pérez', since it interests me very much to
know and to learn about
this theme, that inspite of not being of relevant, doctrinal importance
the salvation of a Christian, it is very convenient to instruct
this matter and to study Bro. Pérez' opinion and yours".
2. The defenders of Bro. Pérez' position, that Gen. 1 must
be made to
harmonize with the Geological Time-table of the evolutionists,
are saying in
Chile that this issue is merely an opinion, and of no relevance
soul's salvation. In other words, it is an adiaphorous matter!
A matter of
B. Preacher, J. B. Myers, and an elder, Boyd Gulliland, Bright
of Christ, Las Vegas, NV
1. John Robertson, preacher, Vegas Dr. congregation, sent the
questions to a number of neighboring congregations because visitors
city would call him and ask about the position on these issues
different congregations, and he wanted to be able to correctly
a) Do you foresee women elders, deacons or evangelist at your
church in the
b) Where do you stand on M/D/R? [Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage,
c) Does your church support institutions such as Colleges, or
d) Do you believe it is the church's responsibility to take care
needy in the world?
e) Does your church cooperate with other churches (pooling funds
meet the needs of others)?
f) Do you or your church agree with men such as Rubel Shelly and
who are determined to fellowship any and all who call God their
2. The two above-mentioned men insisted on meeting with Bro. Robertson
person, saying that the elders had refused to reply to the letter
request. Note some of the comments they made to Bro. Robertson
in the meeting:
a) They would not answer the question on M/D/R. Meyers said that
been studying the issue for 30 years and does not understand it.
Bro. Robertson that he was young and that he only thought that
(1) So, according to them, M/D/R is an adiaphorous matter!
b) On unity in their local congregation, Gulliland stated: "It
everyone has different opinions on what the Bible
long as we have the same thoughts regarding faith, repentance
we are achieving the desired unity".
(1) So, according to him, everything except faith, repentance
are adiaphorous matters.
(2) How is it that we all can understand the truth on faith, repentance
baptism, but cannot understand alike and be unified on other Bible
Is there no more to the "one faith" than those three
c) Both men on the issue of women elders, deacons and evangelists:
as we are at Bright Angel church (Bright Angel = name of street
- BHR) there
will be no women serving".
(1) Why not? According to them, anything beyond "faith, repentance
baptism" have nothing to do with unity in the church!
(2) How did they decide that this issue is not adiáphorous?
others it is!
(3) Sectarians, and brethren alike, arbitrarily decide just what
and practices are part of the faith and what parts are of opinion.
convenient! In other words: if we like a practice and it is not
we'll just call it adiaphorous and do it anyway!
d) Both men on the issue of monies from the treasury being used
human institutions: "We have no problem with supporting any
with the Lord's money".
(1) Here is another adiaphorous issue with them!
(2) How did they decide that?
(3) Meyers said: "There is no such thing as a treasury".
Yet the Bright
Angel church takes a collection each Sunday and from that common
the money is spent! Meyers denied the obvious. Or, are they acting
e) Both men on the issue of church cooperation said: "We
believe that the
NT church cooperated together and so must we".
(1) That statement doesn't touch the issue! The issue is this:
churches centralize work and money into the hands one eldership
then serve as the overseers of a brotherhood-wide work? (thus
(2) How could they oppose the Missionary Society of the Christian
using their statement above?
f) Both men stated that they would not have Rubel Shelly nor Max
preach at their church.
(1) Why not? They preach faith, repentance and baptism!
(2) What makes this issue different while the issues of institutionalism
and of the proper use of the first-day-of-the-week contribution
g) Both men, on all the issues questioned by Bro. Robertson, stated
"they are not important enough to preach on". When asked,
Why not? Meyers
replied: "The people would have no idea what I was preaching
have no concept of what institutionalism is".
(1) Bro. Robertson's reply: "They never will know unless
you do preach on
it. Should we not tell the brethren how the monies of the church
used? How can we take from them, use their funds, but not preach
on what we
are using them for?"
(2) Meyers' response: "These issues are not important enough
to preach on".
h) With Jude 3, "the faith", set before these two, Robertson
blank: "Do you consider these questions and issues that we
matters of the faith?"
(1) They would not respond.
i) At the end of the discussion, having been asked about 10 times
to draw a
line between matters of no importance and matters of doctrine,
not commit themselves to an answer, but said that it was time
C. Other interesting quotes from the above discussion:
1. "John, with your stand on these issues, you are going
to find yourself
all alone in this city. No one is going to go along with what
a) This is called a "scare tactic".
b) It show a total lack of conviction on Bible matters, and that
motivation in their lives is pleasing men, not God. Compare this
c) Gal. 1:10, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or
of God? or am I
striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should
not be a
servant of Christ".
d) Jn. 12:42,43, "Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed
on him; but
because of the Pharisees they did not confess [it], lest they
should be put
out of the synagogue: 43 for they loved the glory [that is] of
than the glory [that is] of God".
e) 1 Thess. 2:4, "but even as we have been approved of God
to be intrusted
with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who
2. Meyers said: "I am going to pray that on the day of Judgment
look over all the ignorance of his people regarding doctrinal
supply us an entrance into heaven".
a) This is salvation by ignorance. A premium is put on ignorance.
b) Why are we so ignorant on doctrine but have to be so right
How is that we can understand "gospel" (faith, repentance
and baptism) alike
but cannot understand "doctrine" alike?
c) The apostle Paul didn't want the brethren to be ignorant of
(1) 1 Thess. 4:13, "But we would not have you ignorant, brethren,
concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as
the rest, who
have no hope".
(2) Ignorance is perpetuated by refusing to preach on Bible subjects!
(3) Ignorance alienates from God, not saves people! -- Eph. 4:17,18,
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no
longer walk as
the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 being
their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of
ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart".
3. Gulliland's statement regarding Robertson's desire to correctly
the different neighboring congregations when asked about their
a) "You are not a spokesman for the Bright angel church of
Christ; you have
no right to tell others what we do and do not teach".
b) He sounds like the Methodist Reverend above in Intro., A, 3.
c) This is false representation! Robertson was not setting himself
as a spokesman for anyone! But they were telling Robertson what
shouldn't preach, if he wanted not to be alone in the city, and
if he wanted
people to follow him!
d) Jesus told the seven churches of Asia what they did and did
and practice! So did inspired writers to NT churches.
e) Compare their statement with Paul's: Acts 26:29, "And
Paul [said], I
would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou
only, but also
all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these
II. THE FAITH OF JESUS IS NOT
A MATTER OF INDIFFERENCE
A. Faith of Jesus
1. Rev. 14:12, "Here is the patience of the saints, they
that keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus". 2:13, "I
know where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast
my name, and
didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness,
one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth".
2. 2 Jn. 9, "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the
Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same
the Father and the Son".
3. Jude 3, " Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to
write unto you of
our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting
contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered
4. Acts 2:42, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles'
fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers".
5. 1 Tim. 4:1, "But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later
shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits
doctrines of demons,
6. Eph. 4:5, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism."
B. Importance of Doctrine
1. 1 Tim. 1:3, "As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when
I was going
into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach
2. V. 10, sound doctrine, "for fornicators, for abusers of
men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there
other thing contrary to the sound doctrine".
3. 1 Tim.6:3, "If any man teacheth a different doctrine,
and consenteth not
to sound words
4. Titus 1:10-11, "For there are many unruly men, vain talkers
deceivers, specially they of the circumcision, whose mouths
stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which
not, for filthy lucre's sake".
5. Gal. 1:6-10, "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing
from him that
called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; 7 which
another [gospel] only there are some that trouble you, and would
gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should
unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you,
let him be
anathema. 9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any
preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received,
let him be
anathema. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
or am I
striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should
not be a
servant of Christ".
6. 2 Cor. 11:4, "For if he that cometh preacheth another
Jesus, whom we did
not preach, or [if] ye receive a different spirit, which ye did
or a different gospel, which ye did not accept
7. Rom. 16:17,18, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them
that are causing
the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine
learned: and turn away from them. 18 For they that are such serve
Lord Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and fair
beguile the hearts of the innocent".
C. "Unity in diversity" (unity in "gospel",
diversity in "doctrine") denies
the N.T. plea!
1. There is no distinction between "gospel" and
as to substance,
but are terms which represent the body of teaching in the NT.
a) Mark 8:31, "And he began to teach them, that the Son of
man must suffer
many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests,
scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again".
b) 2 Tim. 4:2-5, "preach the word; be urgent in season, out
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
3 For the
time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but,
having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own
and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto
But be thou sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work
evangelist, fulfil thy ministry".
(1) An evangelist (gospel proclaimer) preaches the word, "with
longsuffering and DOCTRINE, because some brethren won't endure
III. ADIAPHOROUS RELIGION IS
A. Col. 2:20-23, "If ye died with Christ from the rudiments
of the world,
why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to
21 Handle not, nor taste, nor touch 22 (all which things are to
with the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men? 23 Which
have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and
the body; [but are] not of any value against the indulgence of
B. Matt. 15:9, "But in vain do they worship me, Teaching
doctrines the precepts of men".
C. Acts 26:9,10, "I verily thought with myself that I ought
to do many
things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this
I also did
in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons,
received authority from the chief priests, and when they were
put to death I
gave my vote against them".
1. 2 Kings 5:10,11, "And Elisha sent a messenger unto him,
saying, Go and
wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again
to thee, and
thou shalt be clean. 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and
Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and
call on the
name of Jehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and
A. The deciding factor: Is it according to the pattern? 2 Tim.
"Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from
me, in faith and
love which is in Christ Jesus".
B. Col. 3:17, "And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed,
[do] all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through
C. Rom. 4:3, "For what saith the scripture?".
D. Jn. 4:23,24, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the
shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the
to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship
worship in spirit and truth".
E. Matt. 6:10, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in
heaven, so on
F. Brethren: Call others and find out what they believe and practice.
provides accurate and current information for study and opens
opportunity for teaching.
1. All four preachers mentioned in the Introduction were invited
discuss the instrumental-music-in- worship issue, and all declined,
the Lutheran "Pastor" who accepted the possibility of
a public discussion on
the topic. (He had asked what the brother in Christ believed and
the topic and of course was given a biblical defense of the matter-
3:17; 1 Pet. 3:15, "but sanctify in your hearts Christ as
ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason
the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear".