A Command is Still A Command

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It has been argued that the command to gather for worship in Hebrews 10:25 is not really a command at all, but something of a suggestion that can be set aside for something more important, say, the civil authority’s desire to end in-person worship. So to proclaim as the Apostles, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) is not really appropriate since God does not here, nor anywhere else, actually command assembled worship.

Or so goes the argument.

But in Hebrews there is a verb form called hortatory subjunctive, a participle of means. It is used repeatedly as a command, often in a form that reads, “let us . . .” These statements are not options, but actual commands. See 4:1; 4:11; 4:14, 4:16; 6:1; 10:22; 10:23; 12:1; 12:28; 13:15; and 13:15. These are clearly commands, carrying the same weight as imperatives.

Therefore, the command to meet together is contained here:

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV)

If meeting together is not a command, then neither is the first part of the sentence, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” God in Hebrews is commanding the stirring up of love and good works, which includes gathering together. It is unimaginable that this can be seen as anything but an actual command.

Some members of the wider Evangelical church in Canada argued that the civil government has authority over the church in the matter of gathering together. This was widely disseminated through the Gospel Coalition Canada, but other churches, denominations, and fellowships had their own version. Placing an impossible interpretation of Romans 13 ahead of God’s command to assemble, they surrendered to the state in this matter.

Jesus said, “the gates of Hell will not prevail” against His church (Matthew 16:18). But it seems the gates of Hell are doing just fine. lately. Perhaps it is because the church is not pressing the attack!

It would be far simpler for the Canadian church to simply confess the sin of disbanding than to go through the mental gymnastics necessary to make the commands of God into suggestions. We are facing this again soon—this time let’s get it right.

From a Bible study sometime in 2005, on Tolerance

Holyoake’s 1896 publication English Secularism defines secularism thus:
Secularism is a code of duty pertaining to this life, founded on considerations purely human, and intended mainly for those who find theology indefinite or inadequate, unreliable or unbelievable. Its essential principles are three: (1) The improvement of this life by material means. (2) That science is the available Providence of man. (3) That it is good to do good. Whether there be other good or not, the good of the present life is good, and it is good to seek that good.
Define Tolerance as it is expressed today.
1. Tolerance is always from a superior to an inferior
2. Tolerance speaks of “giving rights” to others, rather than understanding rights are not one’s to give, but to acknowledge
3. Tolerance is changing
4. Tolerance by nature limits Christian expression
5. Tolerance is a myth, a smokescreen to hide opposition to religion and to place limits upon it.
Define Freedom
1. Freedom is independent from the state
2. Freedom is enjoyed, but may be removed by the government
3. Freedom is not a Condition for the operation of the Christian Faith
a.Christians under Nero were not free
b.Christian in many persecuted lands are not free
c.Real freedom comes only from Christ –John 8:32, 33
d.Christians are obligated to be faithful in spite of freedom or bondage
Are they the same?
1. Tolerance often is advanced as kindness or patience, and this is good–but it is not the idea behind tolerance.
2. No serious Christian is arguing for the right to be mean and cruel, but the definition of what is acceptable speech and behaviour is not up to the culture.
1. “Jesus is the only way to God.” (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Is this tolerant or intolerant? Can someone say this without meaning harm to those of other religions? Why or why not?
2. Is disagreeing with someone necessarily harmful to them?
3. Is it possible to believe that your beliefs are true only?
4. “I believe that all religions are equally true.” Is that a tolerant statement? Does this view really tolerate all other views?
5. How does Acts 5:29 fit with tolerance?

An Old Word on Modern Education


Robert Lewis Dabney

Robert Lewis Dabney (March 5, 1820 – January 3, 1898) was an American Christian theologian, Southern Presbyterian pastor, Confederate States Army chaplain, and architect. He was also chief of staff and biographer to Stonewall Jackson. His biography of Jackson remains in print today.

Read his booklet on education here.