Shelby G. Floyd
In regards to the Constitution of the United States of America, there are two different ways of interpreting its meaning and application to the citizens living today. The Non-Progressives believe it should be understood in its original meaning as interpreted by the three branches of government when it was inaugurated. The Progressives believe that it should be interpreted subjectively to whatever they want it to mean to fit their philosophy and prejudices.
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Historically, its application has been based upon the case law hammered out for over two hundred years. If it is not sufficient for today’s world, the founding fathers included the amendment process. In my view the Constitution should be understood in the fair meaning of the words as they were used when it was signed into law. Therefore, in regards to the Constitution I am Non-Progressive.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
In the same way and by the same principle I am Non-Progressive in regards to the Constitution of the Kingdom of God—the church of the living God. A summary of the Constitutional Principles of the Kingdom are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and The Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 8:1-13). The New Testament is the full text of that Constitution. God has spoken to us in these last days by his Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). The faith has been “once delivered” [hapax—never needs repeated] unto us by the inspired apostles (Jude 3), and we must contend for its integrity. This revelation is complete and thoroughly furnishing us unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Near the end of the first century false teachers came along teaching that Christ did not come in the flesh and that he was not the divine son of God. They were called Anti-Christs. Jesus was both the Son of God and the son of man—deity and human (Romans 1:3-4). These propositions were well founded on irrefutable evidence both internal and external. John the apostle wrote several letters near the end of the century to warn the church not to be deceived by these false prophets (2 John 7-8).
John was very specific in how the members of the church should deal with these wolves in sheep’s clothing:
2 John 9-11
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
PROGRESSIVES IN DOCTRINE
The words “goes on ahead” translate the Greek (proagon-προαγων) and is defined to mean “to proceed, go forward: in a bad sense, to go further than is right or proper,” Thayer, page 537. This simply means that to be Progressive is to go forward, to advance or take the lead in order to transgress the limits of true doctrine. Therefore, we should in this case be Non-Progressive. The Progressives who transgress or “run ahead” of the doctrine delivered unto us by Christ and the apostles “do not have God,” which means they have no fellowship with him. If Progressives are determined to “run ahead” beyond the doctrine of Christ, we cannot give them encouragement and welcome them into our homes and churches, for to do so would be to “takes part in his wicked works!”
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IS A PROGRESSIVE INNOVATION
False teachers usually seek to change the worship in order to bring in other false teachings. This has been the norm since Jeroboam changed the time, place, sacrifice and priests in the Jewish worship. Both in the past and today some are calling for a change of the music of the worship from singing to worship accompanied with instruments of music.
In the Adult Gospel Quarterly, November 16, 1975, page 33, we have these comments:
“Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that a bideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son.” It is of interest to note that the phrase “goeth onward,” here, is translated from a Greek term from which we derive our English words, progress, progressive, progression. Thus, the passage, literally construed, runs, “Whosoever becomes progressive and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God.” When division arose in the churches of Christ over the use of instrumental music in worship (no such practice existed in the churches before 1859), those who used it styled themselves “progressives.” and they stigmatized those who adhered to the original mode of worship (singing God’s praise unaccompanied, Eph. 5:19), as “non-progressives.” There is a very definite fitness in these terms though unintended by those who used them. Instrumental music is not in the teaching of Christ. Our Lord never authorized it, no apostle ever sanctioned it, no New Testament writer ever commanded it, no apostolic church ever practiced it. To use it, in Christian worship, one must indeed be progressive! One must progress beyond the things which are written. There are some things in which it is best to be non-progressive. John solemnly affirmed that those who progress beyond the teaching of Christ, have not God.
That sums up the truth on this subject briefly and succinctly.
DO NOT GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN!
In regards to the Constitution of the Kingdom of God then, we must be non-progressives. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he stated that in the attitude and action of the apostles they should learn not to go beyond the things that are written:
“Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6 NIV).
Let us then in regards to the doctrine of Christ be Non-Progressives!
Copyright © 2016 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142