- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Friday, 20 November 2009 10:47
Issues of truth and consequent Scriptural practices are not discretionary matters. The application of Scriptural principles to specific cases is discretionary. Overseers guide the assembly in such decisions (Hebrews 13:7, AV mg.). Decisions regarding the seriousness of substance abuse, the determination of railing, the appropriateness of certain apparel (not the overseers' taste), or the issues mentioned in the previous questions are discretionary. The decisions communicated by the elders and apostles in Jerusalem included this element (Acts 15:20, 21). Overseers will give account to the Lord in such matters whether they have gone too far or fallen short of the Lord's will in these matters. No doubt, the overseers would love to be like the children of Issachar, "men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1Ch 12:32).
Circumstances, cultures, and mores change so that what is appropriate in one location or generation may not be the same in another. Therefore, at times, overseers may change their views, not about truth, but about the application of truth.
If a believer in the assembly does not agree with their judgment about changing the application of truth, he is responsible to first judge his own heart as to his motivation and as to the importance of the matter. If he concludes the issue is important, he is responsible to express this courteously and reasonably to the overseers (see the principle in 1Ti 5:1 for addressing older believers). When he has committed this matter to the Lord in prayer (Phi 4:6, 7), he is responsible to carry out the other behaviors in that passage (vv 4-8, rejoicing, yielding, thinking positively) and to submit to the overseers (Heb 13:17).