The Restoration Principle - Alfred T. DeGroot - Clement The InstructorAlfred T. DeGroot rejects a Restoration Movement because no church father such as Clement's Instructor taught it. Acceptance of instrumental music in worship is permitted because there is no New Testament Pattern and those who seek such a restoration movement are labeled "sects" by DeGroot and sectarians by Rubel Shelly and other latter day prophets of a new wine in a new wineskin worship.
Quotes are from The Restoration Principle, Alfred T. DeGroot, p. 39, Bethany Press
Alfred T. DeGroot The Restoration Principle
Alfred T. DeGroot Rejecting Tradition
Alfred T. DeGroot Subtracting Music
Alfred T. DeGroot The Instructor
Alfred T. DeGroot Cyprian
Alfred T. DeGroot Justin Martyr
Alfred T. DeGroot Lactantius
Alfred T. DeGroot Tertullian
Clement of Alexander is one of the proof-text persons used to prove that there was no interest in a pattern for Christian Worship.
Because DeGroot's motive is to denounce churches of Christ as "sectarian" for refusing to add instrumental music as worship, it is fitting that all of the "fathers" denounce instrumental music as a pagan force which had not -- during their times -- dared to be used in Christian worship. We will not the Instructor on instrumental music at the end.
Alfred T. Degroot notes:
In The Instructor Clement begins to refer to the Church, "which is made perfect by her royal Head." This is a good book in which to expect the setting forth of any singular plan for the church in its organization and life.
"The reading of Clement reminds one that he does not have to examine many books of the Ante-Nicene Fathers before he perceives that their interest is in a true Restorationism -- of a type, or types. That is to say, they are concerned, as in the case of the eloquent and admirable Clement, to recapature the altogether lovely and loving atitude toward men which he finds at its full beauty in Jesus." (P. 39)
Theirs are the attitudes and faiths Clement would restore. The Four Gospels, the Psalms, and the prophets are his principle sourcebooks. [I counted all the Bible references in Book I of the Instructor, and found them to total 222; 145 of these verses from the three sources mentioned: gospels 74, prophets 47, psalms 24] (p. 40)
DeGroot and the High Church want to dismiss the epistles and just make the church center around the gospel accounts. However, most churches still believe that the epistles are inspired.
If Clement agreed with DeGroot it seems that he wouldn't mention the epistles even ONCE.
Well, we don't just count what we want to count: The apostle Paul is referenced by name SIXTEEN times. The word "epistle" is mentioned four times. He refers to Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians and Galatians. First Thessalonians, First Peter, Philippians for a total of at least 34. The second book which relates to how we live in the world contains many more.
Pattern: Clement directed us back to Apostolic commands.
Clement speaks of commandments 26 times. The church is mentioned 14 times. He speaks fully of baptism for the remission of sins with the idea that faith brings one into the fold of discipleship. He clearly defines the "bread and wine" in figurative terms which denounces the modern notion of a "sacrament."
The clearly shows that there were shepherds plural over churches plural.
Alfred T. Degroot: "The lack of an apostolical diagramed church order is attested in the time of Tertullian by his failure to use such an idea just when it would have proved most valuable. Indeed, he regarded lightly "the faith of some, either too simple or too scrupulous (which) demands direct authority from Scripture," to use his words." (p. 77)
Pattern: Clement thought of a Christian System
For the life of Christians, in which we are now trained, is a system of reasonable actions-that is, of those things taught by the Word-an unfailing energy which we have called faith.
The system is the commandments of the Lord, which, being divine statues and spiritual counsels, have been written for ourselves, being adapted for ourselves and our neighbours.Moreover, they turn back on us, as the ball rebounds on him that throws it by the repercussion.
Whence also duties are essential for divine discipline, as being enjoined by God, and furnished for our salvation.
At the same time, we do not expect to find Alfred T. DeGroot's apostolical diagramed church any more than we look for it in any specific inspired writer. Clement of Alexandria would direct DeGroot and all inventors of "the core gospel minus the Epistles plus their revelations" back to that which they have repudiated.
Pattern: Commands, Examples and Inferences
But what is loveable, and is not also loved by Him? And man has been proved to be loveable; consequently man is loved by God. For how shall he not be loved for whose sake the only-begotten Son is sent from the Father's bosom, the Word of faith, the faith which is superabundant; the Lord Himself distinctly confessing and saying, "For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me; and again, "And hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me?
- What, then, the Master desires and declares, and
- how He is disposed in deed and word,
- how He commands what is to be done,
- and forbids the opposite, has already been shown.
Plainly, then, the other kind of discourse, the didactic, is powerful and spiritual, observing precision, occupied in the contemplation of mysteries. But let it stand over for the present. Now, it is incumbent on us to return His love, who lovingly guides us to that life which is best;
and to live in accordance with the injunctions of His will, not only fulfilling what is commanded, or guarding against what is forbidden,
but turning away from some examples, and imitating others as much as we can, and thus to perform the works of the Master according to His similitude,
and so fulfil what Scripture says as to our being made in His image and likeness.
Pattern: Reject the Human Guides
For, wandering in life as in deep darkness, we need a guide that cannot stumble or stray; and our guide is the best, not blind, as the Scripture says, "leading the blind into pits. But the Word is keen-sighted, and scans the recesses of the heart. As, then, that is not light which enlightens not, nor motion that moves not, nor loving which loves not, so neither is that good which profits not, nor guides to salvation.Let us then aim at the fulfilment of the commandments by the works of the Lord;
for the Word Himself also, having openly become flesh, exhibited the same virtue, both practical and contemplative.
Wherefore let us regard the Word as law, and His commands and counsels as the short and straight paths to immortality; for His precepts are full of persuasion, not of fear.
Pattern: Faith and obedience in Baptism for Cleansing
Chapter V.-All Who Walk According to Truth are Children of God.
Directly in point is the instance of the apostle, who says, writing the Corinthians: "For I have espoused you to one man, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ, whether as children or saints, but to the Lord alone.
And writing to the Ephesians, he has unfolded in the clearest manner the point in question, speaking to the following effect: "Till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we be no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the craft of men, by their cunning in stratagems of deceit; but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up to Him in all things,saying these things in order to the edification of the body of Christ, who is the head and man, the only one perfect in righteousness; and we who are children guarding against the blasts of heresies, which blow to our inflation; and not putting our trust in fathers who teach us otherwise, are then made perfect when we are the church, having received Christ the head.
Regeneration to Clement is the awakening to the Word of God and putting one's trust in it:
Chapter VI.-The Name Children Does Not Imply Instruction in Elementary Principles.
Further release from evils is the beginning of salvation. We then alone, who first have touched the confines of life, are already perfect; and we already live who are separated from death.
Salvation, accordingly, is the following of Christ:
"For that which is in Him is life."Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My words, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into condemnation, but hath passed from death to life.
This is not the means to salvation but the test of one saved.
Thus believing alone, and regeneration, is perfection in life; for God is never weak. For as His will is work, and this is named the world; so also
His counsel is the salvation of men, and this has been called the church.
Clement further notes:
And he who is only regenerated-as the name necessarily indicates-and is enlightened, is delivered forthwith from darkness, and on the instant receives the light.As, then, those who have shaken off sleep forthwith become all awake within; or rather, as those who try to remove a film that is over the eyes, do not supply to them from without the light which they do not possess, but removing the obstacle from the eyes, leave the pupil free; thus also we who are baptized,having wiped off the sins which obscure the light of the Divine Spirit,
have the eye of the spirit free, unimpeded, and full of light, by which alone we contemplate the Divine,
the Holy Spirit flowing down to us from above.
We are washed by the Word as Peter shows in 1 Peter 3:21. The Spiritual washing is by the Word or God Himself when we obey. This is the gift of A holy spirit.
And since knowledge springs up with illumination, shedding its beams around the mind,
the moment we hear, we who were untaught become disciples.
Does this, I ask, take place on the advent of this instruction? You cannot tell the time.For instruction leads to faith, and faith with baptism is trained by the Holy Spirit.
For that faith is the one universal salvation of humanity, and that there is the same equality before the righteous and loving God,and the same fellowship between Him and all, the apostle most clearly showed, speaking to the following effect:
"Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed, so that the law became our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith; but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Again, when it comes to understanding the church as the Body of Christ guided by the Word, Clement appealed to the Apostles and the Epistles and not to the prophets or the gospels:
Pattern: Clement made a clear distinction between the Old and New Covenant.
With the greatest clearness the blessed Paul has solved for us this question in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, writing thus:
"Brethren, be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be children, but in understanding be men. And the expression, "When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child, points out his mode of life according to the law, according to which, thinking childish things, he persecuted, and speaking childish things he blasphemed the Word, not as having yet attained to the simplicity of childhood, but as being in its folly; for the wordnh/pion has two meanings. "When I became a man," again Paul says,
"I put away childish things. It is not incomplete size of stature, nor a definite measure of time,
nor additional secret teachings in things that are manly and more perfect, that the apostle, who himself professes to be a preacher of childishness, alludes to when he sends it, as it were, into banishment;but he applies the name "children" to those who are under the law, who are terrified by fear as children are by bugbears;
and "men" to us who are obedient to the Word and masters of ourselves, who have believed,
and are saved by voluntary choice, and are rationally, not irrationally, frightened by terror.
Of this the apostle himself shall testify,calling as he does the Jews heirs according to the first covenant,
and us heirs according to promise:
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, till the time appointed by the father. So also we, when we were children, were in bondage under the rudiments of the world: but when the fulness of the time was came, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons " by Him.
See how He has admitted those to be children who are under fear and sins; but has conferred manhood on those who are under faith, by calling them sons, in contradistinction from the children that are under the law: "For thou art no more a servant," he says, "but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
What, then, is lacking to the son after inheritance? Wherefore the expression, "When I was a child," may be elegantly expounded thus: that is, when I was a Jew (for he was a Hebrew by extraction) I thought as a child, when I followed the law; but after becoming a man, I no longer entertain the sentiments of a child, that is, of the law, but of a man, that is, of Christ, whom alone the Scripture calls man, as we have said before. "I put away childish things."
Pattern: The Bread and Wine are Figurative
Here is to be noted the mystery of the bread, in as much as He speaks of it as flesh, and as flesh, consequently, that has risen through fire, as the wheat springs up from decay and germination; and, in truth, it has risen through fire for the joy of the Church, as bread baked. But this will be shown by and by more clearly in the chapter on the resurrection.But since He said, "And the bread which I will give is My flesh," and since flesh is moistened with blood, and blood is figuratively termed wine,
we are bidden to know that, as bread, crumbled into a mixture of wine and water, seizes on the wine and leaves the watery portion,
so also the flesh of Christ, the bread of heaven absorbs the blood; that is, those among men who are heavenly, nourishing them up to immortality, and leaving only to destruction the lusts of the flesh.
Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. Let no one then think it strange,when we say that the Lord's blood is figuratively represented as milk.
For is it not figuratively represented as wine? "Who washes," it is said, "His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape.
In His Own Spirit He says He will deck the body of the Word; as certainly by His own Spirit He will nourish those who hunger for the Word.
And that the blood is the Word, is testified by the blood
Pattern: Clement had harsh words for those who believe that they have graduated from the Apostles:
And it occurs to me to wonder how some dare call themselves perfect and gnostics,with ideas of themselves above the apostle, inflated and boastful,
when Paul even owned respecting himself, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forth to those that are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
And yet he reckons himself perfect, because he has been emancipated from his former life, and strives after the better life, not as perfect in knowledge, but as aspiring after perfection. Wherefore also he adds, "As many of us as are perfect, are thus minded, manifestly describing perfection as the renunciation of sin, and regeneration into the faith of the only perfect One, and forgetting our former sins.
For if rulers are not a terror to a good work, how shall God, who is by nature good, be a terror to him who sins not? "If thou doest evil, be afraid, says the apostle.
Wherefore the apostle himself also in every case uses stringent language to the Churches, after the Lord's example; and conscious of his own boldness, and of the weakness of his hearers,
he says to the Galatians: "Am I your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Alfred T. DeGroot again: "Perhaps there is such a thing, from a modern point of view, as carrying the restoration of a certain ethic or cummunity-way-of-life too far. Then he appealed to Book II. (p. 40)
We can understand why the writer would use Clement of Alexandria but then reject him just as he is about to discuss the prevailing ways of society. If Clement denounced instrumental music as pagan and idolatrous "at the feasts" we can bet that he would not approve it "during church." Therefore, a restoration movement would have to not add secular music.
Because DeGroot's motive is to discount churches of Christ rejection of the addition of instrumental music as a "sect" and because he appeals to the church fathers for proof, we point you to the Instructor, Book II
Pattern: Clement of Alexandria repudiated instrumental music or any theatrical performance as secular and degrading.
Let revelry keep away from our rational entertainments, and foolish vigils, too, that revel in intemperance. For revelry is an inebriating pipe, the chain of an amatory bridge, that is, of sorrow. And let love, and intoxication, and senseless passions, be removed from our choir. Burlesque singing is the boon companion of drunkenness. A night spent over drink invites drunkenness, rouses lust, and is audacious in deeds of shame.
For if people occupy their time with pipes, and psalteries, and choirs, and dances, and Egyptian clapping of hands, and such disorderly frivolities, they become quite immodest and intractable,
beat on cymbals and drums, and make a noise on instruments of delusion; for plainly such a banquet, as seems to me, is a theatre of drunkenness.
For the apostle decrees that, "putting off the works of darkness, we should put on the armour of light, walking honestly as in the day, not spending our time in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness."Let the pipe be resigned to the shepherds, and the flute to the superstitious who are engrossed in idolatry.
For, in truth, such instruments are to be banished from the temperate banquet, being more suitable to beasts than men, and the more irrational portion of mankind. For we have heard of stags being charmed by the pipe, and seduced by music into the toils, when hunted by the huntsmen.
And when mares are being covered, a tune is played on the flute-a nuptial song, as it were. And every improper sight and sound, to speak in a word, and every shameful sensation of licentiousnes"-which, in truth, is privation of sensation-must by all means be excluded; and we must be on our guard against whatever pleasure titillates eye and ear, and effeminates. For the various spells of the broken strains and plaintive numbers of the Carian muse corrupt men's morals, drawing to perturbation of mind, by the licentious and mischievous art of music.
The Spirit, distinguishing from such revelry the divine service, sings, "Praise Him with the sound of trumpet; "for with sound of trumpet He shall raise the dead. "Praise Him on the psaltery; "for the tongue is the psaltery of the Lord. "And praise Him on the lyre."
By the lyre is meant the mouth struck by the Spirit, as it were by a plectrum. "Praise with the timbrel and the dance," refers to the Church meditating on the resurrection of the dead in the resounding skin. "Praise Him on the chords and organ." Our body He calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings, by which it has received harmonious tension,
and when struck by the Spirit, it gives forth human voices. "Praise Him on the clashing cymbals." He calls the tongue the cymbal of the mouth, which resounds with the pulsation of the lips. Therefore He cried to humanity,"Let every breath praise the Loan," because He cares for every breathing thing which He hath made. For man is truly a pacific instrument; while other instruments, if you investigate, you will find to be warlike, inflaming to lusts, or kindling up amours, or rousing wrath.
For says the apostle, "Let the Word of the Lord dwell in you richly."1 And this Word suits and conforms Himself to seasons, to persons, to places.
In the present instance He is a guest with us. For the apostle adds again, "Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to God." And again, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and His Father." This is our thankful revelry.
And even if you wish to sing and play to the harp or lyre, there is no blame. Thou shalt imitate the righteous Hebrew king in his thanksgiving to God. "Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; praise is comely to the upright," says the prophecy. "Confess to the Lord on the harp; play to Him on the psaltery of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song."
And does not the ten-stringed psaltery indicate the Word Jesus, who is manifested by the element of the decad? And as it is befitting, before partaking of food, that we should bless the Creator of all; so also in drinking it is suitable to praise Him on partaking of His creatures. For the psalm is a melodious and sober blessing. The apostle calls the psalm "a spiritual song."
Finally, before partaking of sleep, it is a sacred duty to give thanks to God, having enjoyed His grace and love, and so go straight to sleep. "And confess to Him in songs of the lips," he says, "because in His command all His good pleasure is done, and there is no deficiency in His salvation."
Further, among the ancient Greeks, in their banquets over the brimming cups, a song was sung called a skolion, after the manner of the Hebrew psalms, all together raising the paean with the voice, and sometimes also taking turns in the song while they drank healths round; while those that were more musical than the rest sang to the lyre.
But let amatory songs be banished far away, and let our songs be hymns to God. "Let them praise," it is said, "His name in the dance, and let them play to Him on the timbrel and psaltery."
And what is the choir which plays? The Spirit will show thee: "Let His praise be in the congregation (church) of the saints; let them be joyful in their King." And again he adds, "The Lord will take pleasure in His people." For temperate harmonies are to be admitted;but we are to banish as far as possible from our robust mind those liquid harmonies, which, through pernicious arts in the modulations of tones, train to effeminacy and scurrility. But grave and modest strains say farewell to the turbulence of drunkenness.
Chromatic harmonies are therefore to be abandoned to immodest revels, and to florid and meretricious music.
Alfred T. DeGroot in The Restoration Principle denounces churches of Christ as sects for defending the non-introduction of instrumental music because the church Fathers did not suggest the need for a Restoration Movement. We believe that Clement has proven DeGroot wrong.
DeGroot counts Scriptural passages, cannot find any from the Epistles and therefore concludes that his "church" idea was not based on the revelations by the Apostles. We have counted the Epistle passages and shown that "the rest of the story" proves that in relationship to the church -- where we live and work -- Clement of Alexandria sees the words of the Apostles as the authority of Christ. And those "gnostics" who believe they are superior to the Epistles will have the law bounce back into their faces.
Therefore, the historical urge of Luther, Calvin, Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell and the literate student everywere to have a Restoration Movement back to the church of the New Testament is still valid.
Kenneth Sublett Comments Welcome
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