I thought some of you might find this article from the January 1975 edition of the Spiritual Sword entitled “We must neither bind nor loose where God has not done so” by James D. Bales interesting. If more people had listened to this back in 1975 and followed his advice and interpretation we would have had a healthier dialog over the last 40 years. I may be reading into this too much but is he saying silence = freedom?
“Since God is God, man must be in submission to God’s will. The Old Testament emphasized that…The same principle is found in the New Covenant. We are to do what Jesus commanded…How could one speak as God’s oracles if he were free to loose where God has bound and to bind where God has loosed (1 Pet. 4:11)? If we do this, there is an end to Divine authority, and the human authority each individual is the only authority in Christianity. We are under Christ’s covenant (Heb 8:5-13, 9:15-17, 13:20). Can we take from or add to the Covenant?
Be Sure God Has Bound It
Since our obligation is to follow the will of God, we must be sure that we view as bound only that which God teaches is bound. We are not the authority. We cannot bind or loose of our own will, although we may fail to do what God has willed. Our failure does not change God’s word. Therefore, when our position is challenged we should not be afraid to re-study our position and consider the arguments brought against it and the scriptures to which appeals are made. This does not mean that one never makes up their mind about anything, but it does mean that one is willing to listen and ready to study.
Be Sure God Has Left Us Free
There are places wherein God has left us free. This does not mean that we are free from the law of God but that the law of God has made us free in these cases. However, concerning our freedom we must realize: First, we are never free from the law of love which considers the impact on others of one’s use of his freedom. Our duties are one thing but our rights are another. Our duties we must do, but it is not obligatory that we follow our rights, or privileges, wherein Christ has made us free. Of certain rights Paul said: ‘But I have used none of these things’ (1 Cor 9:15). This did not mean that one must forego his rights just because someone might not like what one is doing.
In dealing with our duties and our privileges (rights which we do not have to exercise), we must keep in mind that it is our duty to teach others what we believe God has bound and what we believe He has left free and we should not bind on others. In other words,we must not expect them to accept it simply because we said so. We should try to get them to see what the Bible teachers, while always being open to be corrected by the Bible wherein we need correction.
Christians are not the authority. They are under authority. Therefore, their determination should be to be bound where God has bound and not to bind others where God has left us free.”