Thursday, November 14, 2002

Biblical Authority & The Silence of Scriptures: Does it Allow or Disallow?

by J.D. Tant
For hundreds of years, believers in the Bible have discussed the question of “the silence of the Scriptures.” Does silence indicate a lack of authority, and thus whatever is not specifically condemned is permissible? Or does silence mean there is no authority for whatever practice is under consideration, and therefore it is unscriptural?

These questions rose early in the church, as Tertullian (ca. 150-222) wrote of those who claimed that “the thing which is not forbidden is freely permitted.” Tertullian responded with, “I should rather say that what has not been freely allowed is forbidden.”