Sunday, April 9, 2017 am                                                NT Church Index 2017

Authority 5 – Necessary Inference (1)

     We have been studying the importance of authority as it relates to our study of the New Testament church.  If we are to reach agreement we need to understand how to establish authority.  We have shown there are 3 ways authority is established – CENI.  In our last lesson we examined how we use examples to establish authority, including commands to apply examples AND some rules to consider (based upon common sense) as we apply examples.  Typically, examples are based upon commands and deal with HOW they are carried out.  The same is true with Necessary Inference (aka, necessary conclusion, unavoidable conclusion, etc.)   In our lesson today we want to talk about necessary inference in more detail.  As with examples, we will see how it was used in the first century to reach conclusions.  We will also consider some rules to properly apply Necessary Inference.

     As with examples, NI is rejected by many today.  Typically, this is intended to broaden the bounds of fellowship and promote greater tolerance of subjects that divide us, rather than seeking for genuine unity.  The problem with this of course, is how far such things will lead us into error.

     Again, as we examine this subject I make an appeal to using common sense and reasonable logic as we look at what scriptures say. 

 I.                     Necessary Inference used to establish authority in the New Testament

a.       What is necessary inference (aka necessary conclusions, unavoidable conclusions, necessary implication, etc.)? 
“That which, through neither expressly stated nor specifically exemplified, yet is necessarily implied by the clear import and meaning of the language used.”  (Walking by Faith, Codgill, 14)
It is an inference or conclusion that is reached by putting together all that is said on a subject using reason and logic, and thereby you reach the ONLY reasonable conclusion.

b.       For example:  If someone tells you that they are 55 years old – you have a statement of fact (precept).  But suppose, no one told you their age, but you had their birth certificate which stated they were born in April 1962.  Based upon the current date, with calculations (reasoning, applying proper research) you can necessarily conclude they are 55 years old. 
The simple math equation.  You can tell someone I’m thinking of the number 5.  Or you can say, I’m thinking of a number.  It is the answer to the equation: 3+2=?
These are simple illustrations, but we do reason to conclusions all the time.  Detectives will often solve crimes with a necessary conclusion – they investigate and put together all the “clues” and reach a definitive conclusion as to who committed the crime.  AND then they present their findings to a jury that puts together all the evidence and through necessary conclusion reaches a verdict of guilty based upon the evidence, “beyond a reasonable doubt” as they are instructed. 

c.        The Bible talks about reason –
The term reason in English can mean to think or discuss in a logical manner.  To form conclusions or inference based upon facts or a premise. 
In the New Testament, the word means to engage in an exchange or to discuss or argue a point. 
Isaiah 1:18 – let us reason together (to prove or decide something).   1 Peter 3:15 – a reason for the hope that is in you – where the word simply means that the mind is expressing a thought.  The point is we are to logically make our case. 
Acts 17:2, 18:4, etc. – Paul reasoned with the Jews from the scriptures
Hebrews 5:14 having our sensed exercised, we can discern good and evil.  In this text, by applying principles of scripture, we reasonably conclude whether or not we should participate in a particular behavior. 

d.       The use of necessary inference in scripture

                                                   i.      Jesus – Matthew 19:9, “therefore what God has joined together, do not let man separate”.   Jesus was asked about divorcing for any cause.  Jesus appealed to the beginning when God made male and female and then He quoted, Genesis 2:24.   He then CONCLUDES, as our text states.  That expression is not found in the Old Testament but it was a necessary conclusion that was authoritative.
BTW, “One man WITH one woman” can also be necessarily concluded with these same verses, along with other passages condemning homosexuality. 

                                                 ii.      God of the living – Matthew 22:29-32, see also Luke 20:37, “But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord…”
NOTE also that Jesus said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God…”  Again, Jesus rebukes them for their failure to properly deduce the intended meaning of the text.

                                                iii.      John 5:39 – you search the scriptures for eternal life.  “these are they which testify of Me.”

                                                iv.      Luke 12:54-57 – vs. 57, noting that they can look at the sky and judge the weather, Jesus notes, “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?” See also John 7:24 – where Jesus said to judge with righteous judgment.   Make judgments!

                                                  v.      Acts 10, recounts the conversion of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert.  After being told to send for Peter, we find Peter on a housetop in Joppa where he has a vision.  In this vision he is told by God, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.”  (Acts 10:15) He has the vision 3 times and is told to go with the men sent to him. (10:19-20).    Do you ever wonder why God didn’t just say, “Peter, I’m sending you to Cornelius, a Gentile.  I want you to baptize him and accept Gentiles into the church”?  We are NOT told.  But Peter reached a necessary conclusion, by putting together the facts he had. He even took brethren with him (vs. 23) to witness what was about to happen. 
Furthermore, as Peter is teaching Cornelius and his household – the Holy Spirit falls upon them (the Gentiles) and they begin to speak in tongues.  (Acts 10:44-46).  NOTICE Peter’s response, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (10:47)  This is a NECESSARY INFERENCE that they needed to be baptized so, Vs. 48, he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

                                                vi.      Acts 15 – they reached a conclusion.  In reading the occasion and discussion that takes place we have approved examples presented as part of the reasoning process (Acts 15:3-4, & 12);  Peter (15:7-11)  - NOTICE that he relates the conversion of Cornelius and then recaches a conclusion (vs. 10-11). 
Then James appeals to the example Peter mentioned and then appeals to scripture (15:15-16, based upon Amos 9:11-12).
NOTICE then vs. 19, “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…”  He reached a necessary conclusion. 
In writing a response, the apostles, elders and brethren noted: 1) Some went OUT from them and troubled the brethren in Antioch, etc.  
2) “To whom we gave no such command” – a no time had the apostles taught Gentiles needed to be circumcised and keep the law.
3) Vs. 28, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things…”  NOTICE they appeal to “the Holy Spirit” thus implying their conclusion was from Him, even though nothing says there was a divine revelation on this occasion.  

                                              vii.      Many more examples could be given.  These show it was used by our Lord and inspired men to reach conclusions.   We can and should do the same thing as we study God’s word.

To Be continued.