This is the theory that many religious groups use to explain many of the practices they have. We should always try to “speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent.” Some have taken that to mean that if the Bible does not say something is wrong by name then it is silent on that subject and we are free to do it. That is not at all what we should mean. Let us look at a few of the things that are wrong in principle, but that are not specifically mentioned in scripture.
Recreational drug use, gambling, racism, baptizing pets, speeding (along with many other laws of man), destruction of other’s property, abortion, pornography, rape, and child abuse are all things that are never mentioned by name in the Bible.
The list could go on and on. We must be sure that we don’t fall into the trap of believing in Adiaphorism. We must understand that God speaks on many things by stating the positive action to be taken and not mentioning all of the negative actions to be avoided. The golden rule is a perfect example of this. Jesus could have given a 500 page thesis on all of the things that we should not do to our neighbors (i.e. kick, hit, poke in the eye, pull hair, stab, shoot, choke, etc., etc.), but He instead told us how we should treat them and saved us and Himself a bunch of time and energy. His universal principle, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” even though it is stated positively is still prohibitive. Without the fuss of mentioning every sin that would ever be invented by man toward his fellow man, he managed to condemn them all.
To see the true biblical principle at work in our daily lives, let’s imagine the last time we went to a restaurant. Whether it was fast-food or sit-down there was a menu. On that menu there may have been something like this:
All sandwiches may be topped with Pickles, Mustard, Ketchup, Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, and are served with your choice of ; Baked Potato, French Fries, Onion Rings, or Hashbrowns.
Below this would be many different sandwiches listed. If you placed your order and specified “I want the Hamburger with Lettuce and Tomato and an order of Fries.” and the waiter/waitress returned with a Cheeseburger with Lettuce, Tomato, and Pickles (which you are allergic to) and a side order of Hashbrowns, what would you think, say or do. The server had obviously not done what you asked. Now let us follow the conversation that follows.
You: This is not what I ordered.
Server: What do you mean?
You: I ordered a Hamburger, this is a Cheeseburger.
Server: Oh no, it is just a Hamburger with cheese on it. I thought I would give you a little more than you asked for.
You: I didn’t want Pickles, in fact, I am allergic to them.
Server: Well you didn’t tell me not to put any Pickles on it.
You: I also asked for Fries, not Hashbrowns.
Server: Oh really, what is the difference they are both potatoes, just fixed two different ways.
You: But what about my order?
Server: Well, you should really have been specific about it.
You: I am not going to eat this, take it back and fix it.
Server: Fine, but you will have to pay for it and what you eat.
You: I am not paying for this it is not what I ordered.
Server: That isn’t true I brought you everything you asked for and even some extra. Why are you mad?
You: You did not bring what I asked for, you changed it. Good bye. I will go eat somewhere else.
Absurd isn’t it? However, this is exactly the conversation that the doctrine of Adiaphorism creates between people and God’s word. I know the excuse, “you didn’t say I couldn’t” never worked with my parents when they had been clear as to what I could do, and we better know it won’t work with God. Let us be sure we do what he said how he said and nothing beyond what he said.
Can you think of anything at your church that is done because God never said you couldn't? If you can consider
how displeased you would be in his place, and what wrath He will pour out on those who don't keep his