Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a Wrap (Laodicea - Summary Thoughts)

I did not present Canon 60 because it is missing from many manuscripts and is therefore of questionable status. The content delineates a biblical canon of all the current books save that of the Revelation.

As one commenter had noted, this synod set down canons in increasingly legalistic rigor.  Though many of them were instituted with good intention—many with solid scriptural backing—the synod set down laws where instruction would have sufficed.

Someone may ask what is wrong with setting written rules since governments do this on a daily basis.  First, God has made evident that the life of the believer is not one of adherence to laws, commands, and precepts but of an outworking of gratitude for the abundant grace and mercy received through Christ.  That life of grace is at odds with the life under law.  By adding rules of conduct we are no better than the spiritual leaders in Malachi or the Pharisees of Jesus' day.

Second, these laws tell us that scripture is not sufficient.  The thing is like this: since God did not give us enough particulars for ecclesiastical affairs, we must make laws prohibiting certain practices as a necessary safeguard for our circumstance.  This type of reasoning allows the culture to define the application of scripture in a way that mimics situational ethics—the only difference being that the group has an higher beginning ethical standard.

In the end these are doomed to fail.  Whereas Nicaea laid down what it taught and practiced, Laodicea has moved into the realm of determining what is good and proper for all by their unique church standards.  I could not help but think of Christ's warning to this church in Rev 3:14-22 where the diagnosis is that this church thinks it is rich and abounding, when in actuality it is lukewarm to the Lord's things, wretched, and pitiable.

No comments: