More examples of these concepts are in order.
Inductive methods of study are common in the modern era of research.
Everyone knows, for example, that spanking your children contributes a great deal to making them violent later in life, right?
That’s what the inductive results are.
Well, I don’t think it’s quite that cut and dry, personally.
The problem is the people doing the research probably already believe that is what spanking leads to – in other words, they are confirming their biases.
However, the controls don’t allow for such factors as:
Is the parent visibly angry when administering discipline?
Is there an atmosphere of love in the home and acceptance before and after a spanking?
My hunch is that those 2 things are huge factors that would give completely different results.
The same error is unfortunately easily identified in pattern theology.
Take for example the part of the pattern that deals with the “Lord’s Supper”.
There is only one example of how Christians did this in the new testament.
Or, at least, that is what I was taught.
Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread (this, they say, means the church observing the Lord’s Supper), Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
It must be done on Sunday. And only on Sunday. And every Sunday.
To do any different is to sin and be worthy of condemnation from the Lord.
Nevermind that they only met to break bread once that Sunday and that it was “until midnight”.
Nevermind that there are no commands for any of these circumstances, only that “as often as we do it, we remember the Lord”.
No matter. Those are not part of the pattern, we are told.
On the matter of deacons, the New Testament also gives exactly one example of a deacon’s work in Acts 6:1-6 and thorough instructions of the same work in 1 Timothy 5 – caring for widows – yet this “pattern” is not restrictive.
The deacon may do whatever task the elders set him to – even such menial tasks as stocking bathroom toilet paper.
Now what, pray tell, is the difference between the two? Why is one restrictive and the other permissive?
I cannot tell. Perhaps someone will sometime in the future.
Let us be careful and be open with each other in love. This is the best way to avoid the pit of confirming our own biases.