Over at topix.com, I’ve been having an interesting conversation with a reasonable-sounding Church of Christ person who goes by the handle, “Nova”. This is dealing with the CofC doctrine, “Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent”.
Nova’s thesis is this:
“In (Joshua 6:1-5) God commanded the people to do certain things. Do you find anywhere where the Lord told the people NOT to make any noise at all in verses 1-5)?Notice what Joshua said in (Joshua 6:10)-
10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout,( nor make any noise with your voice), neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
Notice that the opposite of what the lord commanded was restricted by God. He had not commanded them to shout any other time than on the seventh day.Would it have been wrong for any of the people to talk during the first to the six day while walking around Jericho? Yes it would be wrong.
Did the lord at any time command the people to be silent in (Joshua 6:1-5). No, He did not have to. He just commanded what he wanted to be done. He did not have to state the negative.”
My Thesis is this:
“To the issue of using the voice, God ONLY commanded that the Israelites shout on the 7th day – it is all we have from Scripture. So, FROM SCRIPTURE, we have Joshua assuming God wanted silence, and adding to God’s original command. You say Joshua interpreted what the Lord said, and I agree – and we can assume from the conclusion of the episode that God was pleased with Joshua’s interpretation; his assumption; his addition.
There are other things that God also did not “not command”, and Joshua didn’t speak on these – he didn’t interpret, assume or add. For example, God didn’t say, “Don’t speak” – but he also didn’t say “Don’t eat!”, but Joshua didn’t add it. God didn’t say, “Don’t sleep!”, but Joshua didn’t add it. There were good reasons for this.
Or, to put it another way, Joshua used his God-given common sense to add to God’s specific instructions. Not sleeping or eating would have been counterproductive to a fighting force about to take part in a seven-day siege. But silence? Why silence? Perhaps Joshua knew that the Israelites would be more focused for the task at hand if they were silent. Maybe Joshua knew that they might start grumbling again if they talked, and then then the whole operation would fall apart. We just don’t know.
All we know is God said to shout, and Joshua added to be silent (or interpreted God’s word to mean silence; or he assumed God wanted silence), and the result? God was pleased – and the walls came a’tumblin’ down.
It doesn’t take away from the glory of God – it adds to it, because it says that God’s grace extends to trusting His people to make good decisions. And while sometimes we screw things up, from time to time, His trust is proven.”
There’s a lot more to the conversation, but that’s the gist of it.