Home > Brandenburg, Fundamentalism, Methodology, Questions, The Church > Does God Accept Unscriptural Service or Work?

Does God Accept Unscriptural Service or Work?

January 31, 2007

You see the question above.  What do you think?  I would think that most of you would answer:  No.  God will not accept something unscriptural.  If it is unscriptural, then it doesn’t please Him.  Lots comes to mind, but let’s start with Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith, it is impossible to please Him.”   We are sanctified by the truth, not our feelings or opinions (John 17:17).   God is Holy.  I think of Caan.  God didn’t accept his well-meant labor.  Nor did God accept Saul’s early sacrifices or Uzzah’s touching the Ark.  Salvation itself is exclusive—“no man cometh unto the Father but by” Him (John 14:6) and “neither is there salvation in any other” than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).  Many will say a whole bunch of things, but Christ will say He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23).  Christ didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.  He’s a Divider.  He separates the sheep from the goats, the tares from the wheat.  We give God a lot of leniency where He doesn’t actually have it.

He’s longsuffering.  That’s for sure.  He’s merciful.  Definitely.  But He doesn’t accept the work that is done our way.  That’s wood, hay, and stubble (1 Corinthians 3).  Our labor is not in vain in Him (1 Corinthians 15:58).  Everything else is vain though.  He keeps giving us opportunities to get it right, but we have to get it right.  Everything we do should be regulated by Scripture and especially worship.  I mean, God will use His Word.  He will bless through His Word.  He even uses evil nations in His Divine Providence.  That doesn’t mean He accepts what they do.  You know all of that.  So…..

That brings me to a major application.  Does God accept what people are doing through unscriptural organizations?  Christ started the church and gave it His authority (Matthew 16:18, 19).  I know this is controversial, but I would rather you think of it as loving.  I hope you can assume that is how I mean it.  We don’t have a Scriptural basis to think that we can do it our way and have God accept it.  We shouldn’t think that we can add something to what God said and that He, the Perfect, Infiinte, All-Wise, Immutable God, will see that as permissible.  That we survive doing it for many years is not evidence that God is fine with it.

Think about the Wilds, Bill Rice Ranch, Bob Jones, Maranatha, Ironwood, Baptist World Mission, and more.  These are places that in most cases say that they are supplementing the church, aiding the church, going alongside the church to encourage and strengthen.  Those phrases sound nice.  At least for the cause of syrupy sentimentalism, perhaps I should just go along for the ride.  However, think of how offensive it is.  God has a way, but wooooaaaa, look out, this man, this hunk of flesh, this finite thing of depravity has a better way than God.  I can aid His way, supplement it.  He needs my help, like Judah needed Egypt.  God doesn’t need man initiated, man concocted institutions.  They will get in the way even if I can’t give you twenty reasons how they do.  They are a problem even if you can list a dozen ways that they “help.”

Our church or I don’t use any of these organizations.  I don’t endorse them.  I don’t push anyone in their direction.  I don’t want to encourage their existence any more than I want to push for the public school system.  The best a university like BJU (from where my wife graduated) can be is a better version than Clemson, another South Carolina school.  I don’t give any credit to their faculty or staff for doing “Christian service” there.  That would undermine and devalue what the Bible says about Christian service.  They cannot truly “make disciples.”  They don’t aid in the cause of sanctification.  How can one sanctify in an unscriptural way?

I do believe that God uses these people.  That doesn’t justify what they do.  God uses everyone in some way.  I believe He uses some people more than others and sometimes based upon the degree of Scripturality that they live.  I am not casting out everything they do.  Whenever they obey God’s Word, that’s good.  Whatever they do through a church—great!  They do get in the way of imparting a Scriptural model.   They do damage.

You might feel sorry for these people right now.  You might think that they deserve more respect.  Let’s together respect God and think about what He deserves.   We should delight ourselves in the Lord, not in our ways and not in our own understanding.

Let’s get the discussion going.

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  1. Travis Burke
    January 31, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t believe I have ever had the privilege of meeting you Bro. Brandenburg, but I Amen the blog and agree whole heartedly.

  2. January 31, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Hello, Bro. Burke. The way of the Lord is right.

  3. February 1, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Does this count as a “don’t touch this?” That would be “touch not.”

  4. February 1, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t know, brother.

    Are there some things that are a-scriptural that are not un-scriptural. Do you think some entities that are un-scriptural began as a-scriptural practices.

    I don’t think it is wrong for parents to band together and jointly meet their responsibilities as parents to educate their children–and to do so out from under the umbrella of a church. But if that entity were to grow into something else and claim to be meeting a function that a church should do, then it would be un-scriptural.

    What do you think?

  5. February 1, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    If we do it a different way than prescribed through a different institution than what Scripture teaches, is that obedience to Scripture, or disobedience? Does work with the means clearly prescribed by God gold, silver, and precious stone when it is done by a different means? I am saying, no. Not only is it temporal, but it is wrought with problems that begat more and worse ones.

    Your school illustration exists in places. I wouldn’t call it a ministry unless it was through a church. Is truth the curriculum of education? If it is, then education should be done under the authority of the church, even if it is home-schooling.

  6. Steve Schwenke
    February 1, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    There are many “ministries” out there – even in our local churches – that have absolutely nothing to do with Bible Based ministries. There is no way home-schooling should fall under the authority of the church; it falls under the authority of the father.

    I agree with the conclusion that God can bless an individual, even if he is off base on some things. The illustration I heard many times over was that the church is like a tool shed, and we are his tools. When He goes looking for a tool, we want to be clean, sharp, and ready for use. The only problem with this analogy is that we are all broken tools (we are still sinners!!!), and this illustration fails to recognize that.

    In the OT, there was Uzza who was struck dead for touching the ark, but David who God spared after adultery. Go figure…

    The bottom line is, we must not only claim allegiance to the Bible, we must practise it!

  7. February 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Kent said, “Is truth the curriculum of education? If it is, then education should be done under the authority of the church, even if it is home-schooling.”

    How far do you go with this? I believe all education should be education in the truth. Engineering, medicine, physics, chemistry, law, finances, etc…should all these studies also be under the authority of the church? Every single thought is to be brought captive to Christ. Therefore, every subject is in His domain. Does that mean the only place that can legitimately teach any subject is the church? I think that would be a stretch of the “pillar and ground of the truth” phrase, personally.

    If you concede my point (which I don’t know that you will), then the issue is not as clear, at least to me. I would agree that they shouldn’t be called “ministries,” but I don’t know that they are all “illegitimate” (I think you might use that term).

  8. February 1, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    It seems like we are warming up here. It isn’t a “ministry” in the Scriptural sense, unless it is Scriptural. Basically ministry in the NT is akin to service in and through Israel and the congregation of God in the OT. Imagine something that worked outside of Israel that was legitimate. Nothing would have been. It was considered a big problem if you were cut off from Israel. People have no problem outside of the domain of the church when there are no examples of that in the NT. God gave us a Bible to follow, not find out what wasn’t in it and do that.

    I don’t dismiss the legitimacy of parachurch organizations. A sports league. An airport. But it isn’t ministry. It would only be a teaching ministry if it was within the authority of the church. If the Bible is going to be taught, the truth, then it should be within the authority of the church. We have no examples Scripturally of taking it outside of the church. Yes, colleges can exist to teach people to do surgery, build a bridge, operate a computer, but not in the realm of truth of which the church is the pillar and ground. That is why, especially, elementary and high school education should be under church authority.

    Steve, I agree with a lot of what you say, but consider 1 Cor. 11:3 when it comes to the homeschool under the father. And the head of the father is whom? Christ. Christ is the Head of the Body. How does Christ head fathers? Through the church. The truth was kept in the family (Dt. 6) within the context of Israel, and the truth is kept today through the church. One can not legitimately teach truth to children outside of the authority of the church. We are body parts fitting into the body. When we don’t, we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.

  9. Lance Roberts
    February 2, 2007 at 9:19 am

    There are 4 ordained spheres, the church, the family, the government and the individual. One of the problems today is that some of these institutions take over duties prescribed to others. The government tries to run things that the church should be doing (welfare). The church tries to run things that the family should be doing (fathers should teach their children). In these parachurch ministries, it needs to be realized that these are all ministries of individuals in submission to the church. So for example, Vision Forum would be the ministry of Doug Phillips, and the ministries of the men who work with him. They are all in their own churches, and submit to the churches authority in the churches sphere of influence, and they minister as God calls them individually to their family and others.

    I’m sure glad Bill Gothard pursued his ministry, as it’s been a great witness to me over the years.

  10. Anvil
    February 2, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    So if Christ heads fathers only through the church, why then do we read and study the scriptures and pray in private, since we cannot then legitimately glean or pass on truth from the word or the Holy Spirit’s guidance? No doubt, we need the mutual exhortation and rebuke that comes from interaction with the people of God and hearing sound preaching to keep us from distorting the truth. However, if my only access to Christ my head is through the church, that sounds an awful lot like Catholicism, except on a local instead of universal basis. So much for Sola Scriptura and the priesthood of the believer. I guess I cannot come boldly before the throne of grace after all.

  11. Travis Burke
    February 2, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    What a great topic! I was so interested as to the responses that I would read. Every ministry is to be done under the authority of the church. What is “ministry”? Ministry is the function, purpose, service of the church. What is this? It is the Great Commission! It is the Edification and Maturing of the saints! The problem is….lets not dance around it…if one would say it must be done through the church-then the above mentioned “institutions” are illegitimate and unscriptural. Here is what divides people…then so are para church mission boards. What is meant by illegitimate? Eph. 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” God only gets the glory, therefore rewards according to, Scriptural obedience in ministries. UNTO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH. Good intentions…YES. Good men…YES. Were people reached…YES. BUT, 2 Tim. 2:5, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he NOT crowned, except he strive lawfully.” We must do all things by the Book!

  12. February 2, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Lance, can you give me an example from the Bible of the “individual ministry”? I’m interested where you get that.

  13. February 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Brother, Burke, I’ve preached through Ephesians and 2 Timothy, and I am telling you, I absolutely agree with what you are saying. If God will get the glory, it must be as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11, 12). We can’t go off doing it as the oracles of Kent.

    Anvil, our work must fit into the body or we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). Here’s a question. Does Christ head fathers outside of a church? He certainly is not acting as Head of a father when the father works unilaterally to a church. This doesn’t mean, as you seem to be implying (which seems to be simply a red herring, not an actual argument), that someone can’t read his Bible without church approval or pray without being in a church. 1 Cor. 3 says “ye are the temple of God.” We do our building as a part of a church, not separate from it. The unity of the Spirit is through the one body (Eph. 4). We can read our Bibles on our own, but the we come to the will of God through the agreement of the church, i.e. the unity of the Spirit. 1 Cor. 6 says that God has given matters to be judged by the church, not one man with a concordance and Bible dictionary.

    The Roman Catholic mention is so far off that it is incredible (ad hominem). RCC is based on tradition and a hierarchy. The true church is a congregation of saved, Holy Spirit indwelt people who observe all things Christ commanded. The Lord Jesus Christ walks in the midst of a church (Rev. 1:19-2:1). Headship implies authority. We operate under Christ’s authority through a church, not by ourselves as some kind of individual priest working unilaterally to His institution. The OT priest worked within the congregation of Israel. The priests that worked otherwise were false teachers and idolaters. Priesthood was more than a privilege, and mainly a responsibility.

    “So much for Sole Scriptura?” This is sole Scriptura. The idea that you can worship (minister) outside of the Lord’s institutition is ascriptura. People like to operate like free agents on their own terms. This is not how we see it in Scripture.

  14. February 2, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Kent,

    Following this reasoning, shouldn’t you also subscribe to the Regulative Principle?

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  15. February 2, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Don, I do essentially subscribe to the regulative principle, as I understand it.

  16. February 3, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Interesting… how far do you take that, do you only sing the Psalter, no instruments, etc? Just curious, I know there are quite a few variations on this and of course I am going off topic a bit here…

    Regards
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  17. February 3, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Don,

    Well, instruments are found in Psalm 150, and psallo means to pluck on a string instrument. I believe there are good arguments against total psalmody. Yes, there are some variations, but in principle, yes, I believe all worship should be regulated by Scripture.

  18. Anvil
    February 3, 2007 at 9:25 am

    There are a lot of things that can be covered here, because your statement about Christ heading fathers only through the church is a pretty sweeping statement. For now, let’s concentrate on the implication that you make using I Cor. 6 that personal study of the scripture cannot be used to judge matters. That’s certainly not what the Bible says the Bereans did, judging what Paul preached from the scriptures, not from the position of the church.

    I agree that we should pray and study the scriptures privately. My point (which is NOT simply that we cannot read or study the scriptures without church approval) is that given what you are saying, even if we do so, we cannot gain any insight from the scripture itself with the Holy Spirit’s leading — apparently you believe we have to process that in some way through the church. In practical terms, it means I cannot have a time of devotions with my wife and children simply from the scriptures — I would need to submit my “lesson plan” in some way for church approval, even if that only means taking the known church position. It sounds like it would mean pastoral approval, since that is equivalent to the “official” church position. Talking to other believers in the church (not all of whom have exactly the same position on every) would then seem to be insufficient. In other words, I cannot lead my home spiritually with Christ as my head, without going through the pastor, who then becomes in practice the vicar of Christ. It still sounds to me as if the conclusion is getting awfully close to Catholicism in this area, even if you think that’s only ad hominem. It might not be based on “tradition,” since the pastor claims also to be led by scripture and the Holy Spirit, but if his view of the scripture is the only acceptable view, in what way is that not practically equivalent to church tradition?

    However, let’s say that’s not what you mean to give you the benefit of the doubt. What do you think should happen if upon personal study of the scriptures a father would disagree with the pastor on a particular point? Must any such point then result in either taking the pastor’s position or separation? If the latter, how can a church made up of individuals, who will absolutely not have the exact same mind on every point, ever function at all? I always believed it was because there are certain doctrines we all hold in common (we could call them “fundamentals” if you like) that are absolutely agreed upon, without which agreement we cannot have fellowship. Of course, inside a particular church these would go beyond simply the 5 or so fundamentals that make up the basis of fundamentalism, but you still eventually arrive at items where each must be convinced in his own mind. In other words, the Bible makes it clear that there will not be absolute unity on every point, even within a church. Are you saying that our consciences as led by the Holy Spirit must necessarily come to the same viewpoint and application in every area?

    I understand that God uses the church to keep people from going off in their own direction based upon a wild interpretation of a particular scripture passage, but it still sounds to me as if you are saying that God can never lead anyone in any way personally (even from the scriptures) apart from the church. Ps. 119 talks much about being guided by God’s word. Any church, because it consists of fallible men, can go astray, even when it consists of true believers. God’s word remains the standard, and we can fall back on it, understand it, learn from it, and live by it, even when an entire church goes astray. The reason men can come of out of works that are headed the wrong direction and join up with one going the right way, is because they can, in fact, be led of Christ through his word, even apart from that group of believers.

  19. February 3, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Anvil,

    I think most people today can’t wrap their brains around this because they have been taught tradition in most cases and in most churches. I would appreciate Pastor Burke piping in with whatever analysis he has as well. I can tell he thinks on his own and we have independently come to the same position on this. Other people’s take on it is also welcome. Let me start on what you have said.

    If you are going to deal with what I said, you do need to deal with what I said, not with what you want to think that I’ve said. I don’t actually get your position. It didn’t come from me at all. You spin me into a pastor-pillar-and-ground position, when I didn’t say that. I don’t believe or practice that position.

    First, I never said that 1 Cor. 6 says that personal study of the Scripture cannot be used to judge matters. We judge matters using the Word of God. I am talking about the final judgment on matters of faith and practice is done by a church, not by one person. Notice that I didn’t say “pastor.” Do I think a pastor will lead? Please read Ephesians 4:11-16 to understand a Scriptural role of the pastor on this. When it comes to matters of liberty, notice what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1. I am not going to quote it, because I want people to look it up.

    I also never ever said, neither did you quote me saying, that we can’t “gain any insight from the scripture itself with the Holy Spirit’s leading.” Scripture has one meaning, Anvil. That meaning is perspicuous and it is lead of the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will be giving the same testimony to every Christian on that one interpretation, so we have the whole church judging, not one person. Did you notice that I would also say, not just the pastor either? I think I’m being clear. Someone besides Anvil tell me if I am not.

    I never gave the idea that someone needs to submit his “lesson plan” for church approval. However, a man should not be teaching his family a position different than the church. Give me a place from the Bible that teaches that. I’ve shown you numerous texts. You’ve given me hypothetical situations. I have some strong opinions about the nature of your hypotheticals. What Scripture teaches is fitting into the church, not fitting the church into you. I can understand someone not liking that in the age in which we live. Why is it that a church just keeps someone from wild interpretations? Is it implied that a church doesn’t keep people away from less-than-wild, albeit false interpretations? What is the value in any wrong interpretation or thinking it appropriate for someone to keep taking that position? I believe men are guided by God’s Word. Psalm 119 says that. Notice that for David that didn’t mean breaking away from the congregation of Israel. God’s Word gave Him a greater love for His congregation (Ps. 92:13; 122:1; 149:1; etc.). Commonly today, a man values himself and his family above the church. If he thinks that the church is going the wrong direction, he should be a force to make it change. I believe his decision to leave the church would be akin to the Lord’s decision to leave a church, when it has lost its candlestick.

  20. February 3, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I am preaching through 2 Corinthians on Sunday mornings and I thought the following thoughts might be of interest here.

    TWO MAJOR THEMES OF SECOND CORINTHIANS

    1. Paul’s defense of himself as a true servant of God and why the church should listen to him and not those that oppose him.

    2. An unfolding of what New Testament ministry is.

    Paul’s defense of himself coupled with his reasons for why the church at Corinth should listen to him is seen in 2 Corinthians 1:15-18; 2:1, 17; 3:1-6; 4:1,2, 5,6; 5:12-17; 6:3-13; 7:2-7; 10:1-13:8.

    The reality of New Testament ministry is seen as (1) Preaching the Gospel and (2) Perfecting (maturing or building up) the members of the church. Notice that this desire is expressly stated in 13:9. “And this also we wish, even your perfection.”

    The aspect of preaching the Gospel is seen in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7; 5:20-21; 6:1,2.

    The aspect of perfecting the members of the church is seen in the following passages where either his desire that they be perfected is revealed or the commandments pertaining to perfecting are given. 2 Corinthians 2:7-11; 3:18; 4:5, 13-16; 6:14-7:1; 7:8-16; 8:1-14; 9:6-11; 13:5, 11-14.

    Therefore, according to 2 Corinthians the preaching of the Gospel and the perfecting of the members of the local, New Testament church is true New Testament ministry.

    This is the continuation of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ who preached repentance and faith, had the believers baptized and organized, and then built (edified, perfected, strengthened) His church (Matthew 16:18).

    It is THE ministry that the Lord Jesus Christ left with the institution of the New Testament church as He commanded it to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” (Matthew 28:19,20). There you see the Preaching of the Gospel (“teach all nations”) and the Perfecting of the members of the churches (“Teaching them to observe . . .”)

    Application:
    Have you received the Gospel?
    Are you obeying the commands of the New Testament by faith? Are you being perfected?
    Are you in “the ministry”? There are many man-made organizations today that refer to themselves as “ministries involved in the ministry.” They teach the Bible, try to perfect the saints, train preachers, etc. Some of them seem big, influential, amazing, and powerful. But, are they really “the ministry?” Not according to the Bible’s definition of ministry. They have not been given “the ministry.” The ministry was given to the Lord’s churches!
    I’m asking you if you are a member of a New Testament church? Are you working with the rest of your church concerning preaching the Gospel to every creature and perfecting those that are born again and baptized into the church? That is New Testament ministry. That is a big deal! That is being in the same ministry as Jesus and Paul! What a privilege!

  21. February 3, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Again, here’s a man preaching through an epistle and separate from me coming to the same conclusion, Brother Mitchell. This is also what I have seen, Bro. Mitchell. Very good!!!

  22. Anvil
    February 4, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    First, the reason I gave you hypothetical situations is because I already assume that both you and I want to follow exactly what is written in scripture. However, hypothetical situations, especially the hard/unusual cases, show the parameters of application, which reveal more clearly the extent and direction of the belief. (For example different men can read the same passages on the church, believe strongly in the role and necessity of the local church, but have different ideas on the local/universal issue.) Like you I believe we should be part of a local church, not just warming the pew, but an active part of ministry as part of that church. I have not yet seen, however, how that ministry of the church usurps the place of the father of a family. I’m not saying that a father should be attempting ministry that is properly part of the church outside of the church. However teaching a family is the prerogative the father. The home as an institution predates the church, and is not supplanted by the church. Further, I don’t see the home as subject to the church in the way you do. Without neglecting the assembly, my family can still worship God as a unit apart from the church. (I’m assuming different times here from the times we gather together corporately for church services, NOT having services in place of church services.)

    When it comes to a position that may or may not be different from the church, how am I going to know if the position is or is not different from the church under normal circumstances? I’ve read a lot of church constitutions, and not one of them delineates every possible position of the church. If the official position of the church is not something that comes just from the pastor as the leader, where does it reside? If you say “the scriptures,” we are back to the original problem — you’re still saying that the interpretation of those scriptures is subject to the church or church position. The I Cor 11 passage you brought up is interesting, because it implies that to follow Paul, we have to judge how rightly he is following Christ. How do we do that? From the scripture, not from a church position. The ideal is complete unity of the believers, but that will never be attained before Christ returns or before we are in heaven, so it is still necessary to ask how filtering everything learned from the scriptures through the church works in practice.

    Regarding different interpretations, I would mostly agree with you that there can’t be two right interpretations of a scripture passage. However, if two in the church disagree on the right way to interpret that passage, how is it resolved? If all scripture passages were as clear to us as you seem to believe they are, there would be no disagreement on them among true believers. Even inside a local church, believers who are searching the scriptures diligently will not always come to the same conclusions. That doesn’t mean that they necessarily need separate, as they would for something that is different enough to be divisive.

    Finally, the question of how long someone remains in a group to be a force for change before deciding separation is necessary is something that has been debated for a very long time. Still, the only way that decision can eventually be made is from the Holy Spirit’s leading through his word. In that situation, the church will not really be of any help.

  23. February 4, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Anvil, I’m not sure that you are listening. Someone else listening here, please tell me if it really is that I’m not being clear here, and how. Your hypotheticals don’t prove anything. They might bring sympathy from someone who already agrees with you, but they don’t have any authority.

    First, why should I assume that we both want to follow Scripture. I can’t assume that with you; I don’t know you. Different men have different ideas about the church. That’s true, but what does it have to do with anything. Different men have different ideas on the Deity of Christ too. A church unifies on doctrine (Ephesians 4:1-5).

    Who said anything about a church usurping paternal authority? Fathers should teach their children Scriptural doctrine. How does not fitting into the church fit into that doctrine? Men should fit their doctrine and practice into the church—that’s what not being a heretic is all about (Tit. 3:10,11). We shouldn’t be factious. What NT truths does a Father outside of a church teach his family? If he isn’t fitting into the church, he’s disobeying half of the NT, where all the truth are in a local church context. You say you don’t see the family’s relationship with the church the same way I do. You don’t see it like Scripture. It’s easier if you make it about me or another pastor, but it really is about the Bible.

    The Holy Spirit inspired Scripture. The Holy Spirit indwells the membership of a true church. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not one person. You don’t want the pastor being a pope, and neither do I, but you sound like you don’t mind the other people in the church being their own individual popes.

    I’m glad you think the 1 Cor. 11 passage is interesting. Do you know what 1 Cor. 6-10 is about? Paul is saying that in matters of liberties follow his example. That is commanded. Church people ought to imitate (mimeo) church leadership in matters of liberty.

    You said this: “The ideal is complete unity of the believers, but that will never be attained before Christ returns or before we are in heaven, so it is still necessary to ask how filtering everything learned from the scriptures through the church works in practice.” Here is the doctrine of no-complete-unity. Scripture teaches complete unity. How it works in practice is that when two people do disagree that they go with the position of the church. The church can settle it. That’s what we see in 1 Cor. 6. Is the a Scripturally qualified pastor going to have a good influence on this? Yes. He should (Eph. 4:11-16). Someone should stay in a church as long as Jesus would. Jesus didn’t leave until He removed the candlestick. In the NT, a person leaves a church three ways: sent, discipline, and death. If the church agrees to send, then he can leave. Why not trust Scripture?

  24. February 4, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Kent,

    I don’t know that you’re not being clear. What I do know is that what you’re saying hasn’t been heard by many people. So, it will take a long time for it to sink in. I’ve spoken with you personally quite a few times, and I still crank my head and stare at my monitor sometimes. I think I know what you might mean, but the concepts sometimes are so foreign (not wrong, just unfamiliar) it takes awhile to digest it completely.

    Keep hammering

  25. Lance Roberts
    February 5, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Kent,

    I don’t think you’re really addressing the issues that Anvil is bringing up, these are real issues. I’ve read some church charters, constitutions and statement of beliefs, and they always tend to leave a lot unanswered. So how would a father know that everything he’s teaching his family is approved by the church?

    I think a big point that’s being missed is that everything that applies to the group, applies to the individuals. When God gave the law to Israel, each individual was to keep it. When Christ gave us the Great Commission, each individual was to obey it. Since a group is always made of individuals, it’s pretty pointless (and I’m not even sure possible) to have any rules that apply to only the group and not the individuals. “Love one another” is a commandment for each individual and a ministry that each individual does. The ministry of reconciliation is for the church and each individual in it. There is no ministry without an individual doing something. The church is the sphere that the individual is part of, but he/she still has to do the action necessary for ministry.

    You almost make it sound that the majority rules, but I don’t see congregationalism as a democracy. The scripture should lead, and when an individual is illuminated by the spirit to see IN THE WORD, that his church is doing wrong, then after the proper steps have been taken, and the church still persists in going against the word, he has to separate. If my whole church decided that rock praise music was ok in the church service, I definitely would have to separate, no matter if every single person disagreed with me.

  26. February 5, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Lance. How can I say that Anvil is not bringing up good points? Shouldn’t we give a blue ribbon to everyone for participation? In the way I define good points, I don’t think he is. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect him or like him, whoever he is. He is not referring to passages except in the brief foray into 1 Cor. 11. I would like significant points brought up, and welcome them, but I don’t see his as good. I could suppose, however, that they are good in the sense that he is attempting to grapple with issues. I thank him and all for that.

    Individuals should keep God’s Words, but they do so in the context of a church. Churches don’t even need to have constitutions and written creeds. I think they help, but they are not required. So how does any church have unity without having these things on paper? Two people disagree and the church judges. Scripture calls for unity, not majority rule. The pastor leads and the church comes to agreement. I see this happen every week at our church, so it doesn’t seem difficult to understand to me. The members should study on their own and teach what they’ve studied to their children, but all of that teaching relates directly to and is practiced in the context of their own church.

    Isn’t “leave when Jesus would leave” a good answer? We have to decide when the church has lost its candlestick. I think continued false worship, your example, works. Those churches are, in essence, not welcoming us any more. However, we should exhaust attempts to help a church change through the Scriptural channels. If it is the pastor getting in the way, 1 Timothy 5:19,20.

    Lance and Anvil, the Scripture doesn’t have grounds for freelancing pastors or church members. Total unity is what Scripture teaches—one accord, one soul and mind, not tossed to or fro with winds of doctrine, one faith, one body, no schisms in the body.

  27. Anvil
    February 5, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    So to continue the line of thinking when a church has lost its candlestick, let me postulate one more situation. You can answer directly or not, as this discussion appears to be about finished with its usefulness anyway. Of course, if you were starting to convince me on a couple of your positions, I’d have a real problem, seeing as those are positions NOT held by my church, meaning even if you convinced me, I’d not be able to hold the position in any case. 🙂 Also, as Pastor Voegtlin noted, this position you are espousing is not one I’ve heard taught by many men, and your posts, Pastor Brandenburg, have so many points in them it’s like a shotgun or a lot of different hammer blows, rather than one large one. (That’s what I get for taking the opposing position, I guess!) So I have to limit my responses to be able to discuss this at all. Perhaps a blog/forum is not the best venue for a discussion of this nature, but we are all working with what we have.

    Regarding dealing with scripture, the problem is not that I don’t want to read or deal with the text of say I Cor 6-10 as you are asking, but that if I come to a different conclusion after reading it (and I have, though I don’t think I’m ready to debate your view of it yet), we’re down to “it means this,” “no it doesn’t,” and so on. I Cor 11:1 is a good example, because you see absolute obedience to Paul there, and I see obedience based on how well he models Christ, which I must judge by the scripture. Further, I don’t claim my scripture study skills to be the equal of any full-time man of God who really does study scripture, but that doesn’t mean I have no mind about what it means, either. However, to nail down the differences between how I am seeing what I read, and how you are seeing what you read, examples and hypothetical situations work quite well. It’s easy to give a generality like “scripture says you submit to the church,” but that doesn’t come anywhere close to dealing with all the complexities involved. Examples help (at least me) with this. So on to my last one for this discussion.

    Let’s say that you are not a pastor, but instead a well-studied, biblically speaking, layman at your church. This is a church where it is obvious that people love the Lord and are seeking to follow his Word to the best of their ability. This church has held a “balanced” KJVO position, as you define it, but hasn’t really thought about it in a long time, except for an occasional message, as the position has not changed across several pastors, and is thought of by most as a settled issue. You get a new pastor, and for several years still nothing changes on this front. After that time, the pastor begins to preach on the version issue, and eventually comes to the position that preservation is not in one manuscript/family but in the totality of the manuscripts (this situation is actually not all that hypothetical in many fundamental churches today).

    Being the studious, conscientious person you are, you go to the pastor, present your arguments, have many discussions with him, but he is not moved, and in fact tells you that he has preached the scriptural position, and that any disagreement with that position is disobedience. Still not convinced, you talk with other people in the church, and find that they are not concerned about this change, and believe that if the pastor is preaching it, he is getting his position from the Word, and they have not really studied it, so they are convinced that their holding the KJVO position was probably more or less traditional anyway. The pastor’s preaching is convincing to them, and they do not listen to you.

    Given that death is in God’s hands, and being sent from the church (assuming you even have the call and desire) is out of the question because of your disagreement with the pastor, what now? Stir up enough strife to be disciplined out? Obviously, you don’t even need to answer that, although some of that might happen while you are being “a force to make it change.” So where does that leave you? Abandon your conviction and take the church position, even though you believe in your heart it is incorrect? Just as it is possible that we think too much of ourselves by holding a particular position strongly, it could also be thinking too much of ourselves to assume that because of this issue, Jesus has removed the candlestick from this church. What now? I wouldn’t call the pastor’s new false worship, as you did with the “praise rock music,” although you might. What is the next step?

  28. Anvil
    February 5, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Oops. At the end of the last paragraph in the preceding post, I meant “call the pastor’s new position false worship.” Having left out the word “position” makes the sentence read very strangely. Sorry about that. One thing I do find better about SI is the ability to preview a post before posting. If that’s not possible here, I guess I’ll have to start composing in another program first.

  29. February 5, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    OK Anvil. I’m glad you’re here, taking what might be perceived as bashing. I’m glad you can be anonymous, because I think it helps you. And you have been respectful, I believe, FYI. I do feel as though some of this is not being listened to. You’ve probably noticed that Travis Burke and Bobby Mitchell see it my way. I could start naming pastor after pastor with whom I fellowship that I believe sees it this way as well. Pastor Voegtlin hasn’t been in a church that preaches expositionally, so I’m guessing he’s missed a lot of passages being preached. And not many churches period are as concerned today at holding themselves to what the Bible says. They are interested in cobbling together a consensus that doesn’t lower the common denominator too far.

    1 Cor. 11:1—imitate the Apostle Paul in liberties. 1 Cor. 6-10—liberties. 11:1, the end of that section. Paul has a number of principles to guide liberties in those chapters, but he ends with this catch all—people should imitate Godly leadership in the matter of liberties. As a “layperson,” I would be fine with that. I wouldn’t be disobeying Scripture, I would be selfless, and I would be engendering unity. A little later Paul writes, “Love seeketh not her own” (1 Cor. 13).

    The rest of this is a story. It was interesting. You should consider writing. This is what practice of Scripture would look like in this situation: First, I would hope that I wouldn’t be in a church that was like that. I don’t imagine it. It would need to be a violation of the teaching of Scripture. The one you are talking about could contradict Rev. 22:18, 19. That’s a serious passage. I would spend time talking with the pastor. If I was still unconvinced by means of his teaching, I would ask if he would consider transferring (sending) me to another church, one that I was sure had a candlestick. If he didn’t want to do that, then I would leave like Jesus would leave, no longer welcome there. When I see someone like this kind of person, I find out what the problem is and try to help in my own church. I have given people self-studies to help them “study” it out so that they can stay in fellowship. They often don’t. When they don’t, and they leave, we practice church discipline. See 1 John 2:19 on this.

    Thanks Anvil.

  30. Anvil
    February 6, 2007 at 7:00 am

    One last clarification (no more hypotheticals — I hear you cheering). The I John 2:19 passage refers to antichrists (opponent of the messiah). Is that how you see anyone who leaves your church over doctrine/conscience? Wouldn’t this also apply to the one leaving a church when he thought the candlestick was gone? His pastor could certainly see it that way. Discussion of the Revelation passage is probably more pertinent to one of the KJVO threads.

    What about Luke 9:49-50? It seems to indicate that you can still be for Christ while being part of a different group.

  31. February 6, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Anvil said, “One thing I do find better about SI is the ability to preview a post before posting.”

    I knew it! Anvil’s an SI guy! (Joke)

    Anvil, do you have an “edit” button on yours? I’m not real savvy – I have an edit button, but I probably have many other buttons that you don’t get, being merely an anvil.

    I can’t help you beyond that. I’m lucky to get this thing turned on.

  32. Anvil
    February 6, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Actually, no I don’t see an edit button at all. I’ve checked in both IE 7.0 and Firefox 2.0. Maybe I’m just blind. I don’t see it at the bottom of the page, the top of the page, or on the left.

    Maybe you have an edit button because you are one of the site owners/moderators/administrators.

    And yes, I post on SI as well — I stated as much in my first post here on JackHammer, when I mentioned having gone toe-to-toe with Pastor Brandenburg and not agreeing with the decision to remove his posting privileges there.

  33. February 6, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I knew that, Anvil. Just Messin’ with ya.

    I have an “edit” button right next to each separate comment, on the comment header. Must be the privilege.

  34. Adamant
    February 6, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    “As I passed by, and beheld your” doctrine, I found your discussion distressing. I fear that some have indeed taken up the doctrine of the Nicolaitans in suppressing God’s people. Has Rome taught you nothing as to how to avoid error in these important matters of the individual priesthood of the believer?

    By what form of hermeneutics can one change the literal meaning of 1 Corinthians 11: 3 “… the head of every man is Christ” to support the assertion that it really means Christ but only through His church? The Bible clearly identifies that Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man. (1Ti. 2:5) Jesus Christ is each believer’s High Priest. (He.7) Does not Roman teach that the meaning of “no scripture is of any private interpretation” gives it, The Church, the only authority to interpret the Bible? How is what is being said here any different from that position?

    Is there no understanding of the nature of spiritual gifts and spiritual ministry? Who gives every believer his spiritual gift(s)? The Holy Spirit does. Who decides what the administration of each believer’s spiritual gift(s) will be? Jesus Christ does. Who decides what the operations of each believer’s spiritual gift(s) will be? God the Father does. (1 Cor. 12:5,6,11) Where is the church in all of this?

    Is not ministry linked to the believer’s spiritual gift given to him by God? 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.” This is a much better verse for understanding ministry in the New Testament economy than Ephesians 3:21.

    This 1 Peter text connects the individual’s faithfulness in whatever his individual ministry is to the statement that God is to be glorified in all things through Christ. This can mean nothing less than if an individual does not minister faithfully the gift given to him by God then God is not being glorified as He ought. If we allow the Ephesians reference to simply refer to the collective body of the saints for the sake of argument (“in the church”), we cannot help but notice that the 1 Peter reference can be nothing other than individualistic in its nature.

    Furthermore, what are we to make of the term “steward”? A steward is one that has had a trust committed unto him; therefore, he is responsible to faithfully administer that trust as one that will be called into account. (See Lu. 12:42-48; 16:1-13; 1 Cor. 4: 1-2) Would we be departing from the truth of this text by stating that New Testament ministry is the stewardship of the individual believer rather than the collective body of the church?

    Consider these verses:

    1 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God, 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

    1 Corinthians 9:17, “… but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”

    Galatians 2:7, “But counterwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter:”

    Colossians 1:25, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.”

    1 Thessalonians 2:4, “ But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust of the gospel, even so speak we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”

    1 Timothy 1:11-12, “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

    1 Timothy 4:6, says in part, “…thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ…”

    Titus 1:3, “But in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour.”

    All these passages concerning God’s committing to Paul a personal stewardship of the Gospel surely seem to contradict the notion that “The ministry was given to the Lord’s churches!”

    What about Colossians 4:17 which says, “And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.” Notice first the individual and direct nature of the admonition, “And say to Archippus.” The admonition was to him personally though included in the epistle written to what we could safely assume to be his church. Next we notice the source of his ministry, “ministry which thou hast received in the Lord.” He was not assigned this ministry by anyone or any church, but he received this ministry by virtue of his positional nature, “in the Lord.” Again, we notice the stewardship nature of Paul’s admonition, “Take heed” and “thou hast received” and “thou fulfill it.” These phrases express his personal need to be responsible in his faithfulness concerning what had been entrusted to him as one that would give account. There is nothing collective about any of what is said here. It his ministry not the ministry of his church. Do those that hold to the contrary interpretation find it a bit curious as to why this admonition comes to Archippus from the distant Apostle Paul and not from his church or pastor if this ministry was indeed a church ministry?

    We can also look at 2 Corinthians 8:16-17, “But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.” Do we see collectivism or individualism in connection with these comments by the Apostle Paul concerning the actions of Titus? “[H]e accepted the exhortation” “being more forward” and “of his own accord he went” strongly suggest individualism to me. Titus did not check with his pastor, his local church, or even the Apostle Paul as he clearly acted of his own accord according to the text. But were his actions really just an independent streak against Biblically ordained authority revealing itself in improper behavior on his part in need of rebuke by the apostle, his pastor, or his church? In contrast to that kind of thinking we see the Apostle Paul actually rejoicing about the whole matter. This is because it was none other than God Himself that was leading Titus in his “independent” actions, “But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.” Yes, it is God Who is the source not only of the believer’s ministry but also the source of the administration and operations of the gift in the believer as we saw above in 1 Corinthians 12.

    If we continue in that same 2 Corinthians 8 passage, we see these words, 18 “And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us in this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord. and declaration of your ready mind: 20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. 23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24 Wherefore shew ye to them. and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.”

    Who is administering this ministry? Clearly Paul and his company are. What one church are they all connected with to make this ministry a ministry tied to a local church? There is not just one church involved herein. If fact, the man called “the brother” is participating in this ministry as a result of having been chosen by “the churches.” Yes that says “churches” and “churches” is plural. This ministry, therefore, cannot be the ministry of a singular church. It is indeed a ministry of all those involved as individuals. Extra measures for accountability were put in place by Paul. If accountability was already there because of “its a church ministry” why the extra measures?

    Yes, there is no doubt that ministry belongs to the individual saints not the just to the saints collectively.

  35. February 6, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Adamant. I’m sorry about your distress. I wish it were conviction. You were so far off that I just wag my head. It isn’t that what you wrote is bereft of any truth, just that overall you get it so wrong. I do wonder about guys that argue for “individual ministry” in light of Scripture. This is going to take a little while because you laid out quite a bit.

    First, Nicolaitines. People conquerors. I believe it is hierarchicalism, which is the church govt of Romanism already showing up. You see this in the writings of Irenaeus. They wanted a catholic church to combat the doctrinal and physical opposition. I have espoused nothing like this. It really doesn’t accomplish anything either by calling me a Nicolaitine. I’m guessing that if you and I had a five minute conversation with unbiased judges, we would find that you are at least three times more guilty of Nicolaitinism than I am. I’m as non-Nicolaitine as someone can get.

    With 1 Cor. 11:3, I added Colossians 1:18 and Ephesians 5:23. How does Christ head men? Through the church. Men submit to Christ through the church. Christ sits on His throne and rules in the midst of his enemies (Ps. 110:1-3). How does he rule? Through the church. Christ gave the church the keys to the kingdom through Peter. His rule and reign is represented in the church today. We pray directly to the Father through Christ; no one is disputing that. We can read our Bibles on our own and understand what the Bible means, but the church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Much more could be said here all over the NT, a whole book actually. The whole mediation thing is really more of a red herring, because it has nothing to do with what I have said.

    Spiritual gifts doesn’t support your position. The Holy Spirit divides severally as He will, yes, the Holy Spirit, for usage where? In the body. The diversity is for the sake of unity in the body (1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12). Romans 12:3 says essentially that if you think that you can do it on your own, instead of fitting into the body, you think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, which is why I have found with the “individual ministry” people; they think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. They don’t “need” the church.

    Wow, 1 Peter 4. I love the passage. As the oracles of God. The verbal gifts must be used as the oracles of God. What do the oracles of God say? Church, church, church.

    Stewardship. Yes. Notice how in your verses 1 Cor. 4:1, 2, you find stewards (plural) and ministers (plural). Each man does his stewardship in the context of the church. See 1 Cor. 3:16—ye are the temple of God. Not “you” singular, but “ye” plural. Our building is corporate. Sure each individual, a man, must be faithful, but faithful in a church, or it is not true worship. What you are trumpeting is that everyone can go build his own house, whatever he wants individually to do. That is way off.

    Your list of verses. None of them prove your point. Individuals in a church should be and will be ministering. Paul was given a special calling directly from God as an apostle, but notice that Paul was sent by a church (Acts 13), placing his apostleship under the authority of a church. When he gets back, he gives a report to whom? The church (Acts 15). Not the “saints collectively” by the way.

    Archippus in Col. 4:17 was in the church at Colossae. He was ministering within that church. It wasn’t a letter to Archippus telling him what kind of individual ministry he should have.

    In 2 Cor. 8:17, “of his own accord” is found here and in v. 3 of the same chapter only in the NT. How is it translated there? “willing of themselves.” That doesn’t mean he was going by his own authority, but that he was personally willing to go, not just sent, but also wanting to go on his own. It shows how loving and dedicated Titus was. It doesn’t mean he took off on his own. Look at the previous verse, it was in his heart to go. Look at the next verse, Paul says “we sent” him. “We sent.” That doesn’t sound like someone going on his own authority. Come on, Adamant! In 2 Cor. 8, these men to whom Paul refers, worked with him in all the churches he planted and then continued to come back to minister. His praise was in all the churches. All of the churches agreed on this one man. In other words, he wasn’t working on His own, but agreed upon by all the churches. The churches were cooperating with one another like we do when a church sends out a missionary and we support him through the church. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing the ministry through one of them. Wow, what a stretch for you.

  36. Adamant
    February 6, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Kent,

    You said, “With 1 Cor. 11:3, I added Colossians 1:18 and Ephesians 5:23.” In regards to this you are most correct, “I added…” Why didn’t the Spirit add it? Could it be because He meant exactly what He said not what you added to it to change its contextual meaning? Could it be that He said it that way exactly to thwart your and others predisposed supposition against the direct authority of Christ over man? Could it be that you are allowing an agenda to drive your interpretation here instead of allowing an exegetical interpretation of the passage to form your doctrine?

    You said, “Spiritual gifts doesn’t [sic] support your position.” No? Let me ask again who decides what the administration of each believer’s spiritual gift(s) will be? Who decides what the operations of each believer’s spiritual gift(s) will be? My understanding of this means that God Himself not only gives what gift He wants to the believer, but that He also is the one who decides these matters related to the what, how, and to what extent concerning the ministry of gifts. If you do not accept this, then what does “administration” and “operations” mean to you? Do you believe that a church member is free to follow God’s gift in the measure that it has been give to him, or do you see that as a matter of the church to decide? Should the church design ministry and plug people into it or should the church have ministry fitted to its members’ gifts?

    You said, “Romans 12:3 says essentially that if you think that you can do it on your own, instead of fitting into the body, you think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, which is why I have found with the ‘individual ministry’ people; they think more highly of themselves than they ought to think.” Romans 12:3 actually says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” I believe that agenda is again driving your interpretation. There is no mention here of doing things outside of the body. Its meaning is that we are not to think that we are capable in areas that God has not enabled us. Our thoughts are to be in line with the measure of faith God has given to each of us.

    You said, “They don’t ‘need’ the church.” I did not assert this and never would. Every believer must be a member of a New Testament church. The question is not one of “need” but of “control.” Is the believer led by God directly in his ministry, or must he be controlled by others?

    You said, “Wow, 1 Peter 4. I love the passage. As the oracles of God. The verbal gifts must be used as the oracles of God. What do the oracles of God say? Church, church, church.” Nice to repeat a mantra, but mantras don’t refute clear teaching. Here we see another clear example of your predisposed agenda driving your understanding of another passage.

    I said, “This 1 Peter text connects the individual’s faithfulness in whatever his individual ministry is to the statement that God is to be glorified in all things through Christ.” But you and others assert that only in the church can God be glorified. (Eph 3:21) This passage says what it says, and that is that an individual glorifies God through Christ by using his gift according to the measure that it was given to him by Christ. When believers stand before Christ they stand as individuals, not as churches. No man will get rewarded for what his church did. He will only be rewarded for what he did.

    Think about this, if a man is an evangelist and has his ministry duly under the authority of his church as you believe so that it is in actuality a ministry of the church, what happens if God directs him to another location requiring a change of churches? Does he take that ministry with him or does it stay at the other church? If it truly was a ministry of the church, does the church then appoint a replacement to continue its ministry? Seems to me that the ministry like the gift follows the man.

    Stewardship: As I said it is an entrustment. Paul says that he was entrusted by God with the Gospel. He who appoints the steward is the authority over the steward. If not, then it is not a stewardship. It is that simple. You have your concept of “the church” as the steward over men. I believe your problem lies at your understanding of what is the church. The church is the saints. The church is not the building where it meets. It is not an organization. It is the Body of Christ which is comprised of individual members. No one member is of itself “the church.” What one member does being a part of the body the church does. Whether for good or evil. If a man is ministering God’s gift, he is ministering as a part of the body. This is true whether he is doing it to his own church or to others assembled in their church or to others from a multitude of churches gathered in a neutral location. These scenarios are not a violation of only “in the church” ministry.

    You said, “Paul was given a special calling directly from God as an apostle, but notice that Paul was sent by a church (Acts 13), placing his apostleship under the authority of a church.” This is nothing other than an attempt at Bible Twister. “Apostleship under the authority of a church?” I thought the apostles were the foundation of the church? How can he be under and over at the same time? Are you suggesting that without them he would have no authority to be an apostle? Is not that exactly what Paul fought against in his appeals to the churches concerning his apostolic authority? He says that he was not an apostle of men or by man, but by God. “Yes, but God through the church!” you counter. Why then did not his church and pastor give direction to his ministry? Seems the Holy Spirit led him to Macedonia. Why didn’t they help him with finances? He mentions that only Philippi did this. And that support came from Philippi directly to Paul without Antioch’s involvement. Here you go, imagine Paul’s pastor there at Antioch waiting to receive a copy of their “missionary’s” letter. Why? to see what he has been doing? No, so that he has something authoritative to preach to his congregation other than the OT again. This all makes sense.

    Did Paul have any letters from his church to present to other churches recommending him? No! Remember what he told the carnal Corinthians. Antioch’s recommendation of Paul was to God’s grace and that was not for an introduction to it.

    Now concerning Titus again. You said, “Look at the previous verse, it was in his heart to go. Look at the next verse, Paul says ‘we sent’ him. ‘We sent.’ That doesn’t sound like someone going on his own authority. Come on, Adamant!” Come on? Would you care to read the whole context? Look at the first mention of Titus over in chapter 7 and verse 6. It says there that Titus had come from Corinth to Paul and company. Then in 8:6, Paul says that he would like for Titus to finish what he begun in them. He did go on his own and then went to Paul and now was going to be sent back with these others.

    You said, “In 2 Cor. 8, these men to whom Paul refers, worked with him in all the churches he planted and then continued to come back to minister. His praise was in all the churches. All of the churches agreed on this one man. In other words, he wasn’t working on His own, but agreed upon by all the churches. The churches were cooperating with one another like we do when a church sends out a missionary and we support him through the church. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing the ministry through one of them. Wow, what a stretch for you.” Let’s not assume things, Kent. What proof do you have to make the statement “these men… worked with him in all the churches he planted”? There is no implied understanding of just what set of churches “all” refers to. Once again I’ll ask what one church oversaw this ministry? If connection to church is of absolute importance, why isn’t the emphasis on a church rather than on his being chosen by the churches? The Spirit chose to highlight not one church he was with, but that he was chosen by many churches. It leaves your philosophy hanging without support. It seems to indicate the same kind of cooperation that you decry concerning para-church ministries. So called para-church ministries are comprised of church members using their gifts to reach others in cooperation with other from other churches. Exactly what is seen here.

    Too long here, but again why did Paul “under the authority of Antioch” have to be the one to write to the church at Colosse and include an admonition to Archippus about his need to be faithful in his ministry? If the true authority was his church, Paul’s voice from Antioch is unnecessary.

  37. February 7, 2007 at 2:03 am

    Adamant,

    Of course, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, also wrote Col. 1 and Eph. 5, in addition to 1 Cor. 11. The Father is the Head of Christ. Do we have any Scriptural understanding of that from other contexts? Sure we do. We compare Scripture with Scripture. You disregarded other support I gave for this point, but it stands. Your play on my words “I added,” does nothing for your argument.

    More than a single individual is responsible for how a person ministers with a gift divided to him by the Holy Spirit. Timothy would not have used his gift, 1 Tim.4:14 without the laying on of hands, so there several are involved with the “how” of Timothy. The bishop, the episkopos, the overseer, is a also responsible for the oversight of the usage of those gifts. You only get oversight within a church. I believe that the charismata are gifts the Holy Spirit divides to the body, so I believe it is uniquely suited to that body. It is the Lord working into someone what he needs in order to fulfill a particular function in the church. Yes, the Lord is working through all of it in a church. And differences are for the sake of fitting into the body.

    You missed one important thing with Rom. 12:3. Each member receives a measure of faith, not all of it. That means that to get it all, everyone must work together in a church, so that a member must fit in, not just work on his own individually. Each body part fulfills a corporate function. Yes, each will stand indvidually before God for how he faithfully utilizes that gift, which, of course, should be love, which is not about self, but about God and others—not an individual agenda but an others in the body agenda. He will stand before God as an individual and he should hope that he has ministered as unto the oracles of God, which would be to fit the ministry into the church.

    If God the Holy Spirit directs someone to someplace else, the church won’t be clueless about that, since the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 3:16) with the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:1-3). God uses the church to direct someone by sending him.

    Aspects of Paul’s ministry as an apostle have no modern parallel. Everything that Paul does must be taken within that context. It stands that He was sent by a church. He was doing the work of that body through her sending. When he shifted directions with the Spirit’s lead, surely he would have known that this was assumed by the church. He was going to plant churches, following the Lord’s leading as He did, but with the authority of the Antioch church. Paul was entrusted by the Gospel. God send Him through the church. The church is His body, so when the church sends, it is God sending. Apostleship and the church were in cahoots with one another, God was working through Paul as an apostle outside of a church; just a like the pastor of a church leads a church, but is still under its leadership. Why assume Titus wasn’t sent? Just because it doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I would assume that the church sent him. That’s how God works.

    My assumption that they were working for Paul comes from Paul’s knowledge that those churches praised these men. Paul was there to find it out. He didn’t get a telephone call. They praised them to him in person.

    Paul under the authority of the church at Antioch still had a unique relationship with these churches he started. He was also an apostle, that’s why he wrote inspired writ to Colossae. He had the authority from his church, through her sending, to write to Colossae.

    The work the men chosen out by the churches was doing was a work that the churches cooperated to do. Each church chose to cooperate with those other churches. They were churches not an association, convention, mission, camp, or university.

  38. February 7, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Have we met Adamant, or do I know you?

  39. Adamant
    February 7, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Kent,

    Your agenda driven explanations are not sourced in any of the texts, but rather are forced into them by nothing else than shear force of pre-supposition.

    If we cannot shape our discussion around exactly what is said, we have no common ground to which to move forward.

    Your idea that Christ’s headship is somehow disconnected from the members of the body is Romanish. They need a visible head of their church and you demand the same. The head of the body is connected to the head, and it needs no surrogate to actually perform its function. The head is the controlling force of the body for the parts. The parts do not need to be controlled by the whole of them to know what to do. This is exactly why the head of every man is Christ and not the body as you in error insist. The body is the body and not the head. Rome would agree with you, but not me.

    Your idea that Paul could write to Colosse because he had authority from Antioch follows Romanish thinking as well. Since when does one church’s authority overrides another church’s own authority over its members. If Paul writes to the churches because of his Antioch given authority, you raise Antioch above them like Rome lifted herself above others as well. Rome would agree with you again, but not me.

    You refuse to answer specific questions because you can’t answer them. I’m sorry, but until you determine to look at only what is in a passage instead of what you want to insert into it, this discussion is pointless.

  40. February 7, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Adamant, I will adamantly write my answers in bold.

     Your agenda driven explanations….

    “Agenda-driven” is two things. One, it is ad hominem. Second, it is poor judgment of my motives. I think you are agenda-driven, but what does that accomplish, except to make you seem desperate?

    are not sourced in any of the texts, but rather are forced into them by nothing else than shear (SIC) force of pre-supposition.

    It’s tough to know what to say about this. Since most of the New Testament was written to churches and Paul started churches, and that worship in the OT was only through the congregation of God, it seems that I have the whole Bible on my side, and that you are making something up with your “individual ministry” position. You don’t answer what I write. You didn’t say anything about my “measure” position, which is completely contextual. That is BASED IN THE TEXT. I start with everything done in and through the church because that’s what I see through the whole NT, so that is my pre-supposition, and your pre-supposition is seeing people free-agents, unilateral, going at it on their own, which not a Scriptural pre-supposition.

    Your idea that Christ’s headship is somehow disconnected from the members of the body is Romanish.

    First, I didn’t say it was disconnected from the body. That was the position you have been advocating, so this is hard for me to wrap my brain around either figuratively or in reality.

    They (SIC) need a visible head of their (SIC) church and you demand the same. The head of the body is connected to the head, and it needs no surrogate to actually perform its function. The head is the controlling force of the body for the parts. The parts do not need to be controlled by the whole of them to know what to do. This is exactly why the head of every man is Christ and not the body as you in error insist. The body is the body and not the head. Rome would agree with you, but not me.

    Who said that Christ was visible on earth? I believe that Christ heads the church from heaven, as I have said, getting that from the TEXT IN PSALM 110:1-3. When Christ walks in the midst of the churches in Rev. 1:19-2:1 IN THE TEXT THERE, He is not visible. When He knocks on the door of Laodocean church, He is not visible. So you are arguing a straw man here. No one has even said this. You are arguing with an invisible man, so that is fitting on this point.Is the woman in 1 Cor. 11:3 an invisible woman? Christ heads every man and He does that invisibly. I ask, How does he do that? Check out the whole NT, and you see He heads men through the church. What’s your problem with fitting into a church? Why can’t you trust how God works? I’m sure when Christ is heading every man, that every man can know what to do, because He has a Bible of which the church is the pillar and ground. However, He will fulfill what He has to do through a church, because that’s how it gets done according to the whole NT. You are scraping to find a way not to do it through a church by stretching the interpretation of passages, and I have seen this before. Apostates, of course, do it. They chafe under authority, so they like to work on their own, speaking evil of dignities.

    Your idea that Paul could write to Colosse because he had authority from Antioch follows Romanish thinking as well. Since when does one church’s authority overrides another church’s own authority over its members. If Paul writes to the churches because of his Antioch given authority, you raise Antioch above them like Rome lifted herself above others as well. Rome would agree with you again, but not me.

    I think you can be sure that Rome likes your Augustinian and Platonic universality and lasciviousness, not my local only ecclesiology. Ultimately, who cares what Rome thinks. What does the Bible say? I mentioned that Paul was an apostle, so he did have authority to write an epistle to Colossae. Perhaps you missed that with your selective vision and memory. You can feel free now to read everything I write. Since he was an apostle and was inspired of God that would make what he wrote to be God’s Word (1 Thess. 2:13 IN THE TEXT). Since inspiration has finished, we don’t have an exact situation like that today.

    You refuse to answer specific questions because you can’t answer them. I’m sorry, but until you determine to look at only what is in a passage instead of what you want to insert into it, this discussion is pointless.

    You are correct if I do not see the “individual ministry” view in Scripture. I would have to put that in to get it out. Classic eisogesis on your part.

    Enjoy your anonymous day! 🙂

  41. Adamant
    February 7, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Kent,

    FYI, the use of the adverb “sic” is meant to indicate that what is read is what is intended. It is Latin meaning thus or so. When added to a quote by a second author it indicates an acknowledgment that a word which seems not to fit (i.e. spelling error, verb tense, parallelism, etc.) is what was written by the original author and is not an error in copying by the latter.

    Your usage of it is a non-conforming use as there is nothing wrong with the word “shear.” Shear is defined as “an applied force or system of forces that tends to produce a shearing strain.”

    Also sic was not necessary for the pronoun pair of “they” and “their.” The are both plural pronouns of the third person. “They” and “their” refer to the understood antecedent of Romanists whose doctrine are “Romanish.”

    However, it most certainly should have inserted by you after the second word “head” in my sentence, “The head of the body is connected to the head [sic].” I should have written “body.”

    Finally, be sure to use the “[ ]” bracket marks as they denote editorial comment inserted into the quote rather than the “( )” parenthesis marks which indicate a parenthetical expression by the original writer.

    Sorry for being off topic, but wanted to a help to you somehow.

  42. February 7, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Hey Adamant,

    I think in the rapid fire writing of a blog, we are doing our best to keep out spelling and grammar problems, but we don’t. I wanted to see how you would be about having [sic] placed next to your material. After all, we’re just “helping” each other. Your protestation is tell-tale. You are willing to point out your own error, but not willing to take the pointing of your error by another.

    You wrote, “…by nothing else than shear force of pre-supposition.” Your usage of “shear” is, if you were to actually read the definition in a dictionary (or perhaps you did), in the sense of a “tool for shearing.” A tool for shearing applies force for a shearing strain. Unfortunately, it is not found once as an adjective in Webster’s Unabridged dictionary on p. 1761 in the NINETEEN different definitions. 🙂 On the other hand, under “sheer,” there are 8 definitions and the first four are as adjectives, since “sheer” is an adjective. The second definition read: “2. unmixed with anything else: We drilled a hundred feet through sheer rock.” That is exactly how you used the word. You can be thankful for anonymity.

    In your last post, you wrote in your correction of me, “…Romanists whose doctrine are “Romanish.”  Doctrine is singular, so it needs a singular verb “is.”  Now if you said “doctrines,” the verb would have been “are.”

    Now enjoy your anonymous evening.

  43. February 7, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Maybe next month we can discuss all the ins and outs of grammar and composition!!!

    🙂

  44. September 22, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Just out of curiosity, isn’t it getting more difficult to even FIND a church that is Biblically run and prioritized as our Heavenly Father would have it? I see that this topic ended quite some time ago…however, I believe that “church” has become a game that “Believers” play…and its become a contest of who can entertain the best…or bus in the most people…or collect the highest offering.

    I’m noticing a real “pulling away” from the organized church and more people looking to return to the Biblical basics as taught in Scripture. Quite a large number of Believers are turning to Home Church or Home Fellowship. Speaking from experience, we opted to go this route August 2006.

    House church or Home Fellowship is an informal term for a group of Christians gathering regularly or spontaneously in a home or on grounds not normally used for worship services, instead of a building dedicated to the purpose. Another term with the same meaning is “Home Church”. Here are some reasons why people may Home Church.

    1. Historically, The Home church is the biblical church. All of the churches in the New Testament era were small assemblies that met in homes. While setting up institutional forms of “church” may or may not provide a way to honor God, the movement toward the institution and the human authority that tends to accompany hierarchical institutional structure are not theologically neutral.

    2. Our culture desperately wants to change our doctrines so that it might re-make Christianity to conform to its notion of “civil religion” and “political correctness.” The house church has always been anti-cultural for this reason, just as Jesus said that his disciples should be in the Sermon on the Mount. That sermon outlines how the powerless disciple can be salt and light in a dark world (Mt. 5:13-14), how to withstand evildoers (Mt. 5:39) by showing God’s love to the world through suffering at the hands of persecution from bullies (Mt. 5:39), foreclosing landlords (Mt. 5:40), and occupying Roman authorities (Mt. 5:41). It speaks of giving and lending to the most hopeless credit risks (Mt. 5:42). It speaks of a praying community (“Our Father, who art in heaven …” Mt. 6:9) that fasts (Mt. 6:16), gives of itself (Mt. 6: 21), and depends completely on God (Mt. 25). It speaks of the need to judge those who would be authorities in spiritual matters (Mt. 7:15).

    3. Christians who meet together in homes usually do so because of a desire to return to the simplicity of Church meetings as found in the Bible and specifically the New Testament. Rather than formalized meetings and doctrine, the first Christian church showed a simplicity of fellowship and practice in the New Testament. Instead of seeing Christian belief and practice as series of Church meetings, the return to Biblical Church stresses a way of life that is lived towards others. This is expressed well by the over 50 counts of the phrase “One Another” found in the New Testament starting with the words of Jesus, “Love one another.” (John 13:34). Some Bible passages that indicate the atmosphere of Early Church life include:

    Faith: (Acts 2:38) – “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”.

    Lifestyle: (Acts 2:42) – “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers”.

    Participatory meetings: A.(1 Cor. 14:26) – “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it”.

    B. (Colossians 3:16) – “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”.

    C. (Hebrews 10:24-25) – “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.

    Meeting in homes: A. (1 Cor. 16:19) – “The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house”.

    B. (Acts 20:20) – “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicaly, and from house to house”.

    C. (Romans 16:5) – “Likewise greet the church that is in their house”.

    D. (Colossians 4:15) – “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house”.

    E. (Philemon 1:2) – “To our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house.”

    If you have found a church that is doctrinally sound, strong & obedient to the Word of God… a church that is run according to God’s design according to scripture, take a moment to drop to your knees and praise God for such a church. Not all of us are as blessed!.

  45. Bobby
    September 22, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    If you click on Debbie’s link you will find a perfect example of the fact that a wrong understanding of the church leads to un-Biblical philosophies and practice. Be sure to read “What is the church?” to see to what I refer.

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