It Doesn’t Say “Not To”

by Greg Gwin

Imagine this: you walk into a fast-food restaurant and order a hamburger, fries, and a coke - the all-American meal! But then, you notice that it seems to take an unusually long time to get your food. Finally, the gal at the counter brings up your order - piles of food on three separate trays! "What's all of this?" you ask. "Well," answers the waitress, "it's one of every item on our menu. Your bill comes to $85.68." You protest: "I didn't tell you to bring me all of that food!" "But,” she replies, "you didn't tell me not to."

Could this happen? Of course not! We all know that when you specify what you want, you automatically eliminate other options. We operate with this understanding every day. In fact, this logic is so standard, that we don't even think about it. When you order something from a catalog, call in a pizza, or write a grocery list, you naturally assume that it is understood that you want only what is specified, and nothing else.

What's the point of all this? Simply that in religious matters we ought to employ the same logic. God has perfectly revealed through His word what He wants us to do in His service. We should naturally assume that since He has told us what He wants, other things ought to be left out!

For instance: What about music in worship? The New Testament specifies singing - there is no mention of instrumental music in New Testament worship. Since God has told us to sing, and nothing else, we ought to do just that. Someone answers, "But it doesn't say not to play instruments." The Scriptures don't have to say “not to” - that's the whole point!

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