by David Lemmons
I think it was at a Preachers’ Meeting in Greenfield, TN that I heard Lee Davis use the expression something like: “There’s not enough water in that argument to slosh in a bucket.” I believe that was the first time I had heard such an expression; though, if I recall correctly, Lee indicated at the time that it was not original with him. Of course the idea of the statement is that the argument was WEAK. Lee was saying that a conclusion had been drawn without adequate support from the evidence presented.
There is certainly a danger in “jumping to conclusions” in any area of life. Many things have been said, no doubt, between husbands and wives and in all other relationships which fall in this category. Such is especially dangerous and foolish when it involves spiritual matters, (i.e., teaching from God’s word). I subscribe to the fact that every Bible expositor needs to follow the “Law of Rationality.” I can recall hearing Roy C. Deaver cite and define this law numerous times. The “Law of Rationality” goes something like this: We must never assign to any proposition or claim any more weight than is absolutely demanded from the evidence presented.
As I prepared for Wednesday Night Bible Study this past week, I came across a lecture which contained a reference to the text I was studying, but had nothing to do with what I was studying. However, the lecture had an interesting title and I found myself sidetracked (as sometimes happens in my Bible study) and I read the entire lecture. There were some challenging and interesting statements made in the lecture by the brother, and he made some good points. The title of his lecture was: “Bridging Generation Gaps in Worship.” In discussing this topic attention was given to worship under the Old Testament, to synagogue worship, and to worship in the first century.
There was a statement made toward the end of this writing that, interestingly enough, was placed under the heading: “A FALSE CONCLUSION,” which I certainly believe the writer had drawn, although that was not the meaning he intended by supplying the heading. He made the statement about the reaction of a modern Christian visiting a worship assembly in the first century:
Even if the entire assembly was conducted in English (which did not exist), HE WOULD NOT RELATE TO ANY PART OF THAT WORSHIP (emphasis mine, DRL).
Surely all of us can recognize in this statement, even without having read the entire lecture, that this is an overstatement of immense proportions. I would submit to you, brethren, that if this is true where this brother preaches, the elders had better be doing a LOT of changing in their worship assemblies (which evidently is the desired result of this brother). Now I was with him on some of his argumentation, but when he put forth this very strong exaggeration, my reaction was to quit listening and to discount his proposition. Brethren, if we have the truth on a particular matter it is not necessary to use such tactics of argumentation as this obvious hyperbole.
The point of this article is that, as we teach, all of us ought to strive with all due diligence to avoid transgressing “The Law of Rationality,” because we are urged to use such care and caution in dealing with Scripture in numerous places in God’s word (Acts 17:11; Eph 5:6-10; 1 Ths 5:21; 2 Tm 2:15; 1 Jn 4:1). It really does our cause no benefit to draw conclusions which do not have the support of Bible evidence. Additionally, we need to realize that there are millions of examples of argumentation which “doesn’t contain enough water to slosh in a bucket.” Let us never be swayed into action by anything but TRUTH, which can stand on its own without the props of extended hyperbole and “needs-based” argumentation.
SOURCE: North Marshall Messenger, #510, January 9, 2000
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