God’s Law Of Exclusion

Ed Johnson

Although the Bible does not specifically teach it in so many words, God’s law of exclusion is taught in principle. Many times when we, as Bible teachers, point out that a certain practice cannot be included in worship, we are told, “But it doesn’t say not to.” It’s as important to respect the silence of the scriptures as it is to respect what is spoken. We must “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent” That principle is taught time after time in the scriptures.

God told Noah to make the ark of gopher wood (Gen. 6:14). God didn’t need to tell Noah not to use oak, ash, or any other kind of wood. Noah knew that God instructions to use gopher wood excluded all other kinds of wood. The Bible says that Noah did, “according to all that God commanded him” (Gen. 6:22). Noah was a great builder because he respected God law of exclusion.

In Leviticus 10:1-2, we conclude that God had given Nadab and Abihu instructions (commanded) what He wanted or would accept in worship to Him. This command would exclude anything other than what God said He wanted. These two sons of Aaron offered something different, something that was excluded. They offered up “strange fire” before Jehovah and lost their lives as a result. This was strange fire which, “Jehovah had not commanded.” The fire they offered was excluded under God’s law of exclusion.

Elisha instructed Naaman that his leprosy would leave him if he would wash seven times in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:10). Naaman’s feelings were that the rivers Abana and Pharpar in Damascus were, “better than all the waters of Israel” (2 Kings 5:12). Whether or not Naaman’s evaluation of the rivers was correct, the point was that Elisha’s instructions to wash in the Jordan excluded all other rivers. Naaman washed in the Jordan and God cleansed his leprosy. Naaman was cleansed because he respected God’s law of inclusion (the Jordan River) and God’s law of exclusion (all other rivers). In our worship of God, what the New Testament authorizes automatically excludes what men may want—“that which Jehovah had not commanded” (Lev. 10:1).

…The observance of the Lord’s Supper is to be on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). By identifying that day, God automatically excluded any other day on which we may observe the Lord’s Supper. The fact that man may prefer another day for the sake of convenience, makes no difference. Any day other than Sunday, the first day of the week, is excluded.

Likewise, in our worship in song we are given a directive. We are to “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Without belaboring the subject, a careful and accurate analysis of these two verses makes two points: 1) Vocal music is the kind authorized. This excludes the only other kind of music—instrumental. 2) These verses describe the action being taken—singing—as “speaking to yourselves” and “admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs.” This indicates a reciprocal action, making the singing mutual. These verses exclude any other kind of music, such as instrumental. They also exclude any other form of delivery such as solos, duets, quartets, or choirs. And this would certainly exclude singing those “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”—a form of worship—as entertainment. No where in God’s word is worship authorized as entertainment. A saving faith must be based on hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17) and respecting that word’s law of exclusion.

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Author: Editor

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