Your blog post on “Biblical Balance on Standards” was excellent. I really appreciated it, but could you give one or two real life examples, I do not quite understand how it works out. If a church group has standards, what would be one, and would the hope be the individuals would eventually see and embrace the wisdom?
Thanks for the thoughtful follow-up question.
Everyone must follow the absolutes of the Word of God. Anything less is compromise. Within the absolutes, each one must follow the Spirit in applications or “standards.” This is a part of soul liberty. Soul liberty is not the liberty for individuals to disobey the Word, but the liberty to obey the Spirit within the Word. For example, modesty is an absolute for all, but the extent of application may vary per individual.
However, group issues are not matters of individual soul liberty, but matters of individual group unity. Who should decide applications of truth for a group situation? The answer is whoever will answer to God for the group—whether he makes those decisions or not. Whether the group is a marriage, a youth group, or a church, the one who answers to God as the leader must lead in these kinds of decisions. This does not imply that every decision made is best or right. It is simply a matter of group unity. Then, those in the group must defer for the sake of individual group unity. With this understanding, chafing is eliminated.
For example, pastors will answer to God for who and in what manner individuals minister on their church platforms in the communication of truth. Therefore “platform standards” of dress, music and so forth are fair. In such matters, pastors must obey the Lord the best they understand His leading. This does not necessarily mean each issue is a right and wrong matter in extent beyond that platform ministry. Again, the absolutes are right and wrong, but the applications for that may vary within the absolutes. It does mean it is a matter of individual group unity.
One familiar standard, modesty, is certainly a biblical absolute, but the extent of such may vary within that absolute. For the sake of group unity, however, a platform standard serves as a helpful safeguard against confusing or stumbling some in the audience. In some cases, but not necessarily in all, this could help someone come to better understand legitimate and appropriate applications.
In the matters of group unity, individuals need to defer to the decisions of leadership. On the other hand, pastors need to allow soul liberty beyond the platform in matters of extent.
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