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Necessary Inference ,Acts 20:7, & Acts 18:8

February 27 2006 at 7:19 PM
Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ  (Login
from IP address

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Below is the transcript that is going on between a brother in Christ and myself. I will not be naming the brother in Christ. The reason that I am posting it this is because I just want to get my other brothers and sisters in Christ input on this.

Thank you,




My question is simply to read Acts 20:7 and tell me if they partook of the fruit of the vine.  


 ____________, A brother in Christ

Dear _________,  (my reply to this brother in Christ)

I am sorry that I “burst your bubble”. I thought for sure your point is that Acts 20:7 simply states they “broke bread” and we should not make assumptions in our interpretations. This is known as eisegesis, rather than the more noble exegesis -- i.e., we impose our theology upon the text, rather than drawing our theology from the text. To me personally, eisegesis is very poor hermeneutics which is why I do not use it.
Let’s read Acts 20:7 again.  Look this up in your own Bible. Is this correct? “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to partake of the fruit of the vine, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” No, that is not correct. It is a sin to take (replace) the words “break bread” out and add the words “partake of the fruit of the vine” to the Bible (God’s Word) (Rev 22:18-19 and there is at least two more places in the Bible where it said the same thing in which I forgot where they are at and I do not have time to look up right now) This is why I do not teach that. I try to be very careful of the things that I teach (James 3:1).  So, NI gives us permission to take away and add things to the book of life? I am sorry but NI just does not sound like a good hermeneutical methodology to me. This is another reason that I am very careful of the NI hermeneutical methodology.
To me NI is just human deductions or assumptions. Has anyone explain the word “assume” to you before. Am I inspired like Paul was? Does God speak to me thru the Bible or does he speak to in a burning brush or dream? My human deductions do not mean it is a divine decree. How dare I bind my human deductions on my brothers and sisters in Christ thinking that my human deductions are a divine decree from God himself. Can you image the reaction that I would get if I went up to a brother or sister in Christ and told them that my human deductions are a divine decree from God himself and that they must go along with my uninspired human deductions? Or tell them that my NI is true and the other people NI are false? They would be calling the man with the white coats and the padded truck to pick me up and rightly so.  It is very easy for me to see that hermeneutical approach leads to church splits.
The problem with those who embrace the CENI hermeneutic is they too frequently believe that what some mere man assumes or infers is EQUAL to what God Himself has commanded. Assumptions, then, very often become the basis for establishing authority with regard to the practice of the church. It matters not that God never commanded such a practice; it matters not that God never even mentioned such a practice, or spoke either for or against it; if I have assumed or inferred something from my study of the Scripture, then that is now perceived to be universal LAW binding upon all people everywhere, and if any dare to transgress these decrees they will forfeit everlasting life! This approach to the interpretation of Scripture has generated more schism and sectarian squabbling among us churches of Christ than just about anything else Satan has slipped into our midst.
To me, one of the main problems with CENI is inconsistency with regard to biblical authority. For example, washing each others feet is both a command and example. Do we do that? No. We excuse that by saying that was a cultural thing just like our brothers and sisters in Christ over there at Gal gender justice church of Christ website thinks that what God said about having women elders and preachers is also a cultural thing. Selectivity and subjectivity but not consistency are the strong points of this hermeneutical methodology. This is not to say that we should wash each other’s feet but we should follow the principle behind that. I try to look at the principle behind it or in other words, the context of it. In my studying of the Bible, I try to remember context, context, and context and not proof text, proof text, and proof text. In 1 Cor 11, you need to look at 1. context 2. context and 3. context of it.
 When you said, “I now realize there is a great barrier of some kind between “us” that I cannot bridge.” I have to admit that I see your point. There is a great barrier between “us”. “Us” meaning not just you and I but the other elders and preachers and some of the members of PBL, you and I. Yes, I do see your point. But we should still “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7)””Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5)” “One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5)
So our “bridge” of unity is in Christ (Romans 15:7), not in a practice. That is the bridge that we can cross on. You and I are both brothers in Christ.
Now let us go back to the end of the year, 1809 and listen to Thomas Campbell talk about CENI in proposition five and proposition six of his “Declaration and Address”:
Proposition Five --- "That with respect to the commands and ordinances of our Lord Jesus Christ, where the Scriptures are silent as to the express time or manner of performance, if any such there be, no human authority has power to interfere, in order to supply the supposed deficiency by making laws for the Church; nor can anything more be required of Christians in such cases, but only that they observe these commands and ordinances as will evidently answer the declared and obvious end of their institution. Much less has any human authority power to impose new commands or ordinances upon the Church, which our Lord Jesus Christ has not enjoined. Nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the Church, or be made a term of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament."
Proposition Six --- "That although inferences and deductions from Scripture premises, when fairly inferred, may be truly called the doctrine of God's holy word, yet are they not formally binding upon the consciences of Christians farther than they perceive the connection, and evidently see that they are so; for their faith must not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power and veracity of God. Therefore, no such deductions can be made terms of communion, but do properly belong to the after and progressive edification of the Church. Hence, it is evident that no such deductions or inferential truths ought to have any place in the Church's confession."
I am not saying that CENI is a waste. CENI is a tool that needs to be place lower on the pole. CENI is fine for our own personal use but not to bind CENI as law on others.
I will think about CENI more cautiously. I might not understand CENI and NI when it is used to bind law where God had never bind law. To me, that just do not make since.
Thank you so much for your email. Have a great day, brother.
Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ



Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ
West Palm Beach, Florida

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

What does “to break bread” mean to you?

February 28 2006, 1:08 AM 

Dear Poster,

Would you do us a favor by identifying yourself, please? I am trying to determine whether or not you truly represent what the PBL church teaches. You may … but I can’t know that for sure. Besides, I know that you would not want to misrepresent a group of people who might not be in agreement with you.

I have taken a quick view of the PBL website. I might be wrong in my assumption, but it appears that the PBL congregation is conservative. For example, in an article written by Maxie B. Boren, “WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY CRAVING ENTERTAINMENT,” the author states:

    We live in a world gone mad over sensationalism. … Believe it or not, similar attempts to get attention and draw crowds have also invaded the religious world. … Many religionists orchestrate rather extravagant and entertaining productions in their church buildings and over “evangelical” television, designed to compete with Hollywood. Nothing much surprises us anymore. Over TV, people are apt to view most anything, from fanatical snake handlers to the now defunct productions of Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggert, to the more sophisticated and pompous presentations of Robert Schuler in his Crystal Cathedral, or a Papal mass at “St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.” Indeed, “the beat goes on.”

    The haunting question is, has the trend toward “being entertaining” with a smidgen of “sensationalism” here and there made any inroads into the Lord’s church? As regretful as it is, one would have to answer in the affirmative. Many brethren have been affected to a great extent by what they observe others doing. If not by the secular culture, surely so by various religious groups capitalizing on the “entertain us” syndrome. Many of our brethren are so anxious for big numbers and acceptance by religious neighbors, that they are more motivated to imitate what some fast-growing Community Church has done and is doing, than they are in adhering to New Testament teaching. The tendency to want to entertain and draw crowds has been clearly observed in some quarters of the brotherhood. One illustration of this is in “vocal band” concerts at “youth rallies” and either during or following worship assemblies. That was “the fad” for a while and is still being done, but it has now graduated to concerts with “contemporary ‘Christian’ music bands” with their musical instruments. Mark my word, this is but a prelude to the re-introduction of instrumental music into the weekly worship assembly among these brethren. It may take a few years, but I am most fearful it is coming to that. To many, it doesn’t matter that the use of instrumental music is not authorized in the New Testament; it is a matter of “crowds and entertainment.” That is what takes precedence. Their mindset is clear: “be pragmatic…entertainment brings the people in…we’re in an ever-changing world and we’ve got to change with it…we’ve got to go with what works!”

( The above quote is for a poster with a generic ID “Concerned Christian” [yeah, right] and his disciples.)

Sounds like a conservative congregation to me! Notice “adhering to New Testament teaching.”

On that basis, again I assume that the congregation, or at least its leadership—if knowledgeable of how valuable CENI is—would find CENI more favorable than otherwise in proving scriptural authority over matters that we have questions or concerns about.

(For readers who need to know this: CENI is a guideline that helps us determine that there is scriptural authority: [C] if there is a specific command and/or [E] if there is an example and/or [NI] by necessary inference.)

I gather from your response to this brother in Christ that you are associating “necessary inferences” with assumptions. I disagree. I believe that inferences in and of themselves can be assumptive conclusions. But with the word “necessary” qualifying the word “inference,” as in “necessary inference,” the conclusion should no longer be in question.

I think that in order for this discussion to be productive and beneficial, it would be a good start if you let the readers know what you really think the segment in:

    Acts 20—“[6] And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. [7] And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight….”

Please notice the definite article “the” and the significance of the purpose “when” the disciples came together. What is the breaking of bread to you when the disciples gathered? Hopefully, you will give us a better insight of what you personally think of the verse.

Thank you,


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February 28 2006, 9:56 AM 

This hermeneutic is the whole reason this website and division in churches exists. I know this will shock you, but I agree with the person who posted this. CENI is irresponsible, as it relies heavily on men and their opinions. You can call it what you want, but at the end of the day, that's what it is. Someone's opinion. This is evidenced by all the stupid fighting it has caused.

I'm interested to see how this discussion goes.

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(no login)

Liars have their place in the LAKE OF FIRE

February 28 2006, 11:13 AM 

Of course Donnie knows that it is a long way from the West Coast to:

Chantilly, Virginia, United States.

He knows that break bread means to eat in drink in a UPPER room or a LOWER room and not just in Troas with Paul present.

Hope God has a juvenile section!

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(Login JC_1335)

Re: the kids are alright ...

March 1 2006, 12:00 AM 

"Hope God has a juvenile section!"


I do believe He does!

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3.

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This is Tom, Not PBLCOC

To answer Donnie's questions.

April 30 2006, 1:35 AM 

Hi Donnie,

First, I want to thank you for doing a good job on this website and for the hard work that you do.

My name is Tom, I do not represent Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ and the elders and preachers at Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ are not in agreement with me. I am sorry about the screen name. My mind went blank at the time and I just could not think of a screen name at the time.  To let you know where I am coming from. I am coming from the other side of the Church of Christ. This is the concerned members website and I am a concerned member. I am concerned member. I am concerned about the legalistic patternism in PBLCOC because "legalism kills. I am one of Al Maxey's Reflections readers and I agree with Brother Maxey about 99% of the time. If you are familar with Al Maxey's work, then you know where I am coming from. I should not be telling you this but as a matter of fact, the elders disfellowshiped me on Dec 1, 2005 for what they called "sowing discord and being a false teacher". I am not sure if I sure go into more detail, but one thing, I do miss the people there. I had some good friends there. I am also a member of the ex-church of christ board. Now I am sure that 95% of this website readers will not like me.

The main thing about interpreting the Bible is common sense. CENI, is a part, a small part, of the common sense way of interpreting the Bible. Readers, if Donnie will let me, I might do an detailed study of CENI and I could share my findings with you

Donnie, I am not at all interested in arguing or debating anybody right now. I have done that way too much in the past and I am tired of it. I tend to be a smart ______ (way too much)(I do not know of a good nice term to describe it at this time, sorry) and I need to get away from that.

Brother Maxey did a reflections article on "breaking bread" if you are interested in which I assume that you not interested in reading Brother Maxey's work. That is why I did not cut and paste it here. Acts 20:7 states the term "breaking bread". I have no idea if that is talking about the "Lords' supper" or a fellowship meal. I think they just "broke bread" what ever that means.

Donnie, I also want to thank you for your reply and I am sorry it took me a long time to get back to it. Donnie, I am not for sure if you are the moderator or not, but if you are, then you doing a good job. Thank you for that.

Readers, The Bible tells us that knowledge without love is nothing (this time you tell me where to find it.) Let everyone of us remember that. I tend to have a hard time of remembering that but I am trying to change that.

It is way past my bedtime so I will end it now. Have a great day.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Donnie, thank you for your question.               

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Donnie Cruz
(no login)

“What Is a Necessary Inference?” (by Wayne Jackson)

March 3 2006, 5:35 AM 

What Is a “Necessary Inference”?

by Wayne Jackson
Christian Courier: Questions
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Exactly what is a “necessary inference”? Is this form of reasoning a solid means of arriving at biblical truth? Many people do not think so. They contend that it is a slippery form of drawing rational conclusions. But this is not the case, as Wayne Jackson demonstrates in this article.

“I frequently hear ministers talk about a ‘necessary inference’ in connection with the issue of Bible authority. What is a ‘necessary inference,’ and is this a legitimate method of establishing scriptural authority?”

The word “inference” derives from Latin roots that signify “to gather in.” In logic (the science of critical thinking), it suggests the idea of gathering in data from various sources, and then drawing such deductions as are demanded by the evidence.

There are two kinds of inferences. “Reasonable” inferences suggest a likely possibility. For example, if one hears thunder and sees lightning, he may reasonably infer that it will rain shortly. And, based upon that inference, he may wish to take his umbrella when he leaves his house.

On the other hand, if an “inference” is characterized as “necessary,” this means that the conclusion drawn from the facts is irresistible. If there is snow covering the countryside in the morning, one may necessarily conclude that the temperature was below 32 degrees during the night.

Inference has fallen on hard times in the church these days. Those who wish to bring the Lord’s church into conformity with denominational practices suggest that nothing can be made a test of fellowship that is based upon inference. “Inference” restricts these “free spirits” to more rigidity than they can tolerate.

But inference is a perfectly legitimate means of obtaining truth.

There is an example related to Solomon’s dedication of the temple that enables the careful Bible student to derive some information that he could not know but for inference. Look at the following data.

At the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed a wonderful prayer soliciting Jehovah’s blessings upon the sacred house. An inspired writer subsequently notes that “Jehovah appeared to Solomon by night” in response to the petition (2 Chron. 7:12). The text does not mention precisely how the Lord “appeared.” That leaves the episode clouded in mystery, since there were various ways by which deity could “appear” to men. Other passages, however, allow us to arrive at the full truth relative to this incident.

In a parallel record, a sacred writer says that Jehovah “appeared” to Solomon “as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon” (1 Kg. 9:2). Well, how was that? This text does not specify. In yet another related passage, though, the Scriptures reveal the following: “In Gibeon Jehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream by night” (1 Kgs. 3:5). Putting the related information together, therefore, one reasons:

  1. If God appeared to Solomon in Jerusalem as he did in Gibeon.

  2. And he appeared to the king in Gibeon “in a dream.”

  3. Then it necessarily follows, then, that the Lord’s appearance to Solomon in Jerusalem was in a dream.

Let me cite a couple of examples that help focus upon crucial matters pertaining to Christian practice.

  1. Since the New Testament teaches that valid baptism requires both belief and repentance (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38), and inasmuch as babies can not believe, nor do they need to repent (seeing they have no sin), it follows necessarily that infants are not amenable to baptism. The logical use of necessary inference eliminates the sectarian practice of “infant baptism.”

  2. The first century church of Christ met each Lord’s day for worship. This is established by the phrase “first day of every week,” as reflected in the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 16:2 (as most of the modern translations reveal; see RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV). The preposition kata in the original text definitely means “every.” (See: Danker, F.W., et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, p. 512).

    Additionally, the New Testament record establishes the fact that the main purpose of the Sunday meeting was to celebrate the Lord’s supper. That is established by the infinitive phrase of purpose in Acts 20:7; the disciples were brought together “to break bread.”

    Since we know that the Christians met each Lord’s day. And inasmuch as it is clear that the primary purpose of their gathering was to observe the sacred communion. It necessarily follows that the early church, under the supervision of the inspired apostles, observed the Lord’s supper every Sunday. Churches today, therefore, who seek to be biblical in their worship, will emulate the apostolic practice. For further study of this matter, see the author’s commentary, The Acts of the Apostles – from Jerusalem to Rome.

The logical concept of “necessary inference” is a perfectly legitimate reasoning device. We use it most every day in common procedures, and it is no less valuable in arriving at scriptural conclusions.



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