The Maxim I Like
Most catch phrases concern me, especially when one uses them at whim without reflection and deep background knowledge of the meaning and potential pitfalls. However, there is one I kind of like. Penned by nineteenth century Alexander Campbell, this maxim address Christian religious authority: “Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.” In other words, when the Bible teaches a concept, we follow it. When it is silent on a topic, there is freedom for personal decision.
However, like every maxim, there are shortcomings. For example, what about where the Bible is confusing? What about valid issues where the Bible is silent? Is not this maxim extra-biblical itself? Is it not self contradicting?
However, one could say an issue ain’t that important if it’s not biblically crystal clear. However, as we do life, some non-biblical issues do seem important, what do we do? I think we need to think Christianly, having a biblical worldview, learning how “God thinks” if you will. We need to not just look at the Bible as a rule book, which is essential, but also a map or compass. We need to understand biblical principles and precepts. Another source for advice could be a peek at the ancient, first and second century, Greek speaking, apostle taught Christian’s thoughts and writings. We also need to look at the issue with wisdom and reason, what is the best way?
In other words, Scripture is our foundation for our Christian beliefs, practices and rules. It adjudicates and is the authority for practicing our religion and our beliefs. When the Bible comes down on an issue, we ardently side with God’s Word, when the topic is nowhere to be found, we should not belabor the issue unless it goes against all reason.