Continuing my evaluation of the following website (http://ex-churchofchrist.com/unbiblicalCoC.htm), it is clear the trend in being against has more to do with “I want to believe….” than it does any biblical exegesis. Below is another illustration of this.
An unbiblical doctrine, we are told, would be the following point:
Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) are an example of how we will be punished for wrong worship.
Nadab and Abihu were instructed to take coals of fire from the altar to burn incense before God. They took coals from a different fire. The symbolism is clear: The altar represents Jesus’ sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10-12) and incense represents prayer (Rev. 5:8). The symbolism of this passage only teaches that our prayers are unacceptable to God unless we go through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a teaching in humility. It is not our own obedience that is acceptable to God, but Christ’s sacrifice and Christ’s obedience through which we find access to God. This passage is actually comforting when we realize that our own efforts are not what put us in a right relationship with God, but it is what God has done for us, and our simple acceptance of that fact, that brings us to God.
RT – This is poor exegesis; in fact, it is eisegesis! This man does not allow the text to teach us anything except for what he calls its symbolic intention (in a New Testament context). Instead, he inserts what he wants us to understand and then passes it off as authoritative. The “symbolism is clear”? Is there something in the text to teach this is only a figurative matter? Is there something in the New Testament that teaches us this is only to be understood as a figurative matter? One might reply, “He did not say it was only symbolic!” Really? Perhaps, I misunderstood his words then. “The symbolism of this passage only teaches…” If the New Testament did not assign any symbolism to it, then only the presumptive ones do so. Nadab and Abihu did not understand it any exclusive symbolic way; they felt the literal force of the Lord’s wrath. From this, if one is smart (cf. Romans 15:4), we can learn much.
First, when the Lord prescribes something to be done in worship (or in any other context), then that which was prescribed is to be done. Second, for those who do not obey in His prescribed way, we understand how the Lord will respond (or potentially so). Commenting on 1 Peter 1:17, Peter Davids said, “It reminds his readers that it is not their persecutors who need to be feared, but God, who is not to be trifled with nor presumed upon, for his judgment is ultimate” (Peter Davids, New International Commentary New Testament on 1 Peter, p. 71, underscoring added by RT). Third, coupling this with Romans 15:4, those in a New Testament context are to apply the principle.
Moreover, what does he mean by his symbolism when he says we must “goes through the sacrifice of Jesus”? Does he mean we must offer our prayers to the Father “by the authority” of Jesus? I am unable to tell if that is what he means. If he does mean that, then why not understand this idea of going by the authority of Jesus as just a matter of symbolism, and not anything more? Again, he made a plainly false statement when he said “it is not our obedience that is acceptable to God, but Christ’s sacrifice…” Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, never thought of obedience as unimportant. This opinion of our web-article is not a New Testament teaching, but a personal theology of man. Paul wrote, “…and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, (Romans 1:4-6, ESV). Note the following things from this passage one learns. 1) the preaching of Jesus and His resurrection was according to the Holy Spirit, 2) this preaching was to bring about obedience from a person who, 3) called upon the Lord. Vincent Taylor wrote years ago, “Unto marks the object of the grace and apostleship: in order to bring about. Obedience of faith is the obedience which characterizes and proceeds from faith” (VWS, on Romans 1:5, E-sword). Peter wrote, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-23, ESV). Thus, to say that it is not our obedience that is acceptable to God is false at worse and misleading at best.
Finally, with regard to Leviticus 10, one learns the Lord (through Moses) instructed the High Priest and his associates the importance of hearing and obeying the His express will (10:10-11). The two associate priests offered “strange fire” (Exodus 30:9; unauthorized fire – ESV; from where they retrieved that “fire” is unstated). The point is, they were to offer only that which the Lord authorized; to offer what they did was presumptuous. There is nothing exclusively symbolic about it associated with prayer through Jesus; in fact, there is nothing at all associated with prayer and Jesus.
Is there an application of the principle in the New Testament? Not according to our author (except in a symbolic way). There is, however, from the vantage point of Paul, not only as he stated it in Romans 15:4, but also as he stated it in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.