Today I received in the mail four copies of Phillip Owens’s booklet, “Is There a ‘Pattern’ in the New Testament that God Wants Us to Follow?” Though Owens is of the non-institutional persuasion, it is mentioned in passing only on the first page.
He has some good things to say, in the face of supposedly patternless people who disparage those of us who teach that the New Testament does present a pattern for faith and practice.
Here are a couple of quotes:
Though each [New Testament] letter was initially sent to specific individuals and churches concerning local circumstances (see I Tim. 1:1-2; Gal. 1:1-2), they were intended to be circulated among others, read in the assemblies (Col. 4:16; I Thess. 5:27), and applied to every circumstance that was related (see I Cor. 1:1-2; 4:17; 4:17; 16:1).
How do we know what to do, or “uncover this pattern”? First, Jesus’ teachings, attitudes seen in His actions and words, and His desires are examples for us to follow in every way (see Matt. 7:24-29; Col. 1:27; I Pet. 2:21). Since Jesus said that His words would form the authoritative basis of judgment for every person, He implied that His words were authoritative until the end of time (see Matt. 7:21-23; Jno. 12:48). We are to live as if Jesus were living in us by His teachings (Col. 3:1-4; Gal. 2:20). As we often and rightly sing, “He the great example is, and pattern for me.”
You can request a free copy of this 20-page booklet at this website.