On the heels of some sharp discussion regarding misquoting God...at the request of Jeremy...and, perhaps, against my better judgment...let's explore the concept of authority.
Before we begin, we need to get some things clear.
This discussion is based on the Bible as our standard. I assume you agree that the Bible is true and inspired. If you don't, this discussion really isn't for you. Check back later - I'll still post about other topics on occasion.
All commenters will assume the best motives of the other writers. Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they aren't trying to follow God, Jesus, and the Bible to the best of their understanding.
No one is required to answer outlandish hypothetical questions. Let's stick to the heart of the matter, not the peripherals.
No one will be condemned to the hot place or called a swine. Period. That's rude and will no longer be tolerated here. God alone is judge and jury. If you disagree, state why you disagree as positively as possible. If you don't understand what someone is saying, ask questions. If you can't stay on topic and discuss like an adult, please go argue somewhere else. No labels, no name-calling. I can and will delete comments, although I don't expect to have to do that, because I assume your motives are good and you just need this one not-so-subtle reminder.
Those are high standards, but I believe you can do it.
OK, let's start with an easy one.
All commands found in the Bible are binding on all believers? Yes or no?
I mean, surely we can agree that if the Bible commands it, we should comply without question, right?
Many would immediately agree. Yes, indeed, all of the Bible's direct commands are required to be followed if one wishes to enter into heaven.
Hmmm. The Bible commands animal sacrifices, abstaining from eating pork, and observing the Sabbath each week. How are you doing at keeping those?
Hold it right there, you say. We are under the New Covenant, not the Old. If the command is part of the Old Covenant, we are no longer obligated to keep that command, for Jesus nailed the Old to the cross and it no longer applies.
Fair enough. Let's say we can agree on that.
So, now we have modified our opening statement to say that if the command is part of the New Covenant, that is, in the New Testament, we must obey it if we wish to enter into heaven.
Having addressed those concerns, many would once again be willing to agree with our statement.
I still say they're wrong.
You heard me, they are incorrect. That statement is false.
Now, before you label me a heretic (which you can't anyway, because it's against the commenting rules...but I know you're thinking it...), consider that every Christ-follower I've ever met agrees with me, too, even if they've never thought about it, realized it, or admitted it.
Romans 16:16 "Greet one another with a holy kiss."
1 Corinthians 16:20 "Greet one another with a holy kiss."
2 Corinthians 13:12 "Greet one another with a holy kiss."
1 Thessalonians 5:26 "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss."
That's four direct commands in the New Testament. Hard to overlook. Pretty clearly stated.
Question: How many kisses of greeting did you share in yesterday when your church gathered? None? One or two? A hundred?
So, why don't we follow this one? The prevailing answer is that the greeting kiss was cultural. In American culture, the kiss has been replaced with the handshake, or occasionally with the hug. The argument has been for whatever greeting we use to be "holy".
We set aside the direct command to greet ALL the brothers with a holy kiss and instead substitute a different type of greeting.
This isn't splitting hairs. This is a huge point. We must get past this false notion that we follow every single command of the New Testament, for the truth is none of us do. The sooner we can admit that, the sooner we can begin a real, honest discussion about Biblical authority.
Therefore, the correct answer to whether a command is binding today is: "It depends."
It depends on the context of the command.
It depends on the cultural setting of the command.
It depends on the audience of the command.
And that's where the discussion begins.