Copyright © 2001, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

      A statement is proven by the presence of evidence and not the absence of evidence. In the popular CSI program the accurate catch phrase is "follow the evidence." That is, something positive must be there that points one in a specific direction over other possibilities. This is called the "weight of evidence." You can't make a case for something without evidence for it!

      As often is the case, some pieces of the puzzle are missing. Some details are not there. But this does not mean that one conclusion is just as good as another. Usually the bulk of facts point to one view over others as being the truth of the matter. For example, if one were to just go with the positive evidence given in the New Testament about the act of baptism, total immersion in a body of water would be the conclusion supported by that evidence. While every case of baptism is not listed and some details of the baptisms that are listed are not given, there are enough facts given to say that we are "being led by the Spirit" to see that total immersion in water was the original design.

      It simply won't do make a case without giving positive evidence to support it. Those who want to pour or sprinkle for baptism simply say that there is no evidence against these modes and there is an absence of any mandate to stay with the original design. These are not arguments from evidence but from the absence of evidence. The "it doesn't say not to" idea proves nothing. (This could be applied to other "issues" as well.)

      Because Churches of Christ believe that God has given us the New Testament to learn of the beliefs and practices of the church under Apostolic oversight, we go to it to give documentary evidence for what we teach and do. This is "following the evidence." This is sound.

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West-Ark Church of Christ