Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Freedom of Application

Mark Lauterbach:
I was recently with a group of men we are training for leadership. We had a lengthy discussion of how to cultivate liberty and call for obedience. They came up with a great question to ask for application. After noting the principle or doctrine, we ask, “Where does this show up in your life?’ That makes for good fellowship. We ask if they are applying it, but we do not ask if they are applying it a certain way. Moreover, we respect the work of the Spirit of God in them in their application. As a matter of fact, without yielding to their application, we appreciate the many ways the principle may be applied.

When pastors must make methodological decisions, they must do so without making moral issues of them. A method for applying doctrine is not better or more consistent or superior. It is just a method. It is one thing to ask people to follow a decision because it seems consistent with what we believe. It is another to tell them that the method chosen is righteous and if they do not agree with it is because of defects in their own understanding. You have to meet at some specific time for corporate worship, but there is nothing holy about 8 AM. You will meet somewhere, but meeting in a house is not more like the NT church than meeting in a facility.

To allow diversity of application is an expression of confidence in the power of the Gospel in his people. To seek to impose uniformity of application is unbelief, an attempt to make sure we get the fruit God wants in the lives of others.
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