125 comments on “Church Discussion

  1. Why, thank you, Amos. It’s what I had handy in my phone. I saw this field of sunflowers on our way back from Loon Lake, Washington. It’s 30 min from Spokane and pretty close to the Canadian border.

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  2. Avid

    Yes – I believe there are those who shepherd today.
    They shepherd by feeding and careing for, God’s sheep.
    Much like Julie Anne, and others, care for God’s sheep.

    They are His Servants, His Ekklesia, His Disciples.
    Following, and obeying the Voice of…

    The “ONE” Shepherd
    The “ONE” leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  3. Avid
    You write @ NOVEMBER 29, 2017 @ 6:54 AM

    “They are needed.
    Amos doesn’t have authority to say that all brick and mortar churches are wrong.
    That Jesus is the only pastor therefore no legitimate pastors exist.”

    Are “brick and mortar churches” in the Bible? – Oh never mind…

    Seems you believe there are “legitimate pastors” today.

    But… How do WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Kings and Priests…
    Know who these “legitimate pastors” are today?

    Are the “legitimate pastors” those who teach infant baptism?
    Or, are the “legitimate pastors” teaching believer baptism?
    Which one do I believe? Which one do I follow?
    Which one is the “legitimate pastor?”

    Are the “legitimate pastors” teaching “Cessationism?”
    The gifts of the spirit are NO longer in operation?
    Or, the “legitimate pastors” teach “Continuationism?
    The Gifts are still in operation? You can Hear His Voice?
    Which one do I believe? Which one do I follow?
    Which one is the “legitimate pastor?”

    Are the “legitimate pastors” teaching “Complementarianism?”
    Patriarchy? The man is the leader? The man is the pastor?
    Or, the “legitimate pastors” teach “ Egalitarianism?
    Mutalaity? Man and women can lead? Women can be pastors?
    Which one do I believe? Which one do I follow?
    Which one is the “legitimate pastor?”

    Are the “legitimate pastors” teaching “Young Earth Creation?”
    The earth was formed in 7 days.
    Or, the “legitimate pastors” teach “ Old Earth Creation?
    The earth has been here for millions of years?
    Which one do I believe? Which one do I follow?
    Which one is the “legitimate pastor?”

    Well, you get the idea…
    Lots and Lots of pastors…
    Lots and Lots of different teachings…
    How can WE, His Sheep, KNOW who are the “legitimate pastors?”
    Because they take a “Title?”

    And,”Most” do NOT meet the Qualifications…

    Maybe you can ask your pastor/leader/reverends?
    If they meet the 17+ tuff qualifications?
    I’m sure they would NOT mind. 😉

    How many ”False Teachings,” errors, are these pastors allowed…
    Before they are NO longer *“legitimate pastors?”**

    NO thanks… I’ve been deceived by man too many times…
    I might make some mistakes, get some stuff wrong…
    But, I can only blame myself and NOT some “false teacher.”

    I’m-a-sticken wit da ”ONE” Shepherd…
    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  4. Thanks JA.

    Guys/Gals…

    The English word CHURCH means something.

    It refers to a building where religious meetings take place and/ an organisation of believers.

    The problem is THIS:

    The Greek word transliterated as Ekklesia which is translated as CHURCH in our English bibles does NOT mean either a building for religious meetings nor is it a meeting or assembly or gathering or organisation of believers.

    The word Ekklesia is a reference to the people of God within a city. Where you see this word in plural form it’s within a country or region.

    In Matthew’s gospel Jesus said, “I will build my Ekklesia”.

    Ekklesia is SINGULAR here.

    This same Ekklesia did not have a building for meetings nor were they organised. They fellowshipped from “house to house” according to Acts 2.

    Read it for yourselves.

    Whenever you say, “I go to church” or “where do you go to church” or “oh look at that beautiful church” then you are not referring to the same thing Jesus is talking about.

    And THIS is the problem.

    And it’s no small problem.

    You might LOVE this ‘thing’ you call CHURCH.

    But Jesus ain’t building it.

    He is building a SPIRITUAL HOUSE which is made up of LIVING STONES who are HIS SHEEP and his fold is ONE.

    ONE fold and ONE Shepherd and ONE body with many members.

    Christianity is a religion with 35,000 sects.

    Paul asked, “is Christ divided?”.

    We know the answer is a big fat NO.

    So is Jesus building 35,000 sects?

    Is that what he meant when he said “I will build my Ekklesia”.

    I don’t believe so.

    What I do believe is this…

    Christianity is a religion and God is calling his people OUT of IT.

    He wants us to walk in simple faith with him outside of “the camp”.

    He wants us to get away from the sects, the teacher heaping and the merchandise.

    He wants to guide us by the Spirit He gave us.

    The spirit we ignore when we teacher heap.

    The spirit that is within us which does nothing but exist for the sake of existing.

    If the devil is real… and music is his ‘thing’… we shouldn’t be surprised that one of the biggest things keeping us in ‘CHURCH’ is music which makes us feel God.

    As though turned down lights and fancy music equipment can bring us into the presence of God.

    Don’t be deceived.

    False teachers and prophets abound.

    And they’re some of the most popular ‘conservative’ teachers we love.

    Over and out.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Amos, unfortunately, the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic is that Christianity is just me and Christ. I think that was the basis of the monastic order – that somehow it was more righteous to lock yourself in a room with a Bible than to be in the midst of the church.

    But, here’s the problem, we are called to be part of a team. Christ’s bride is a body made of many members, not “atomistic” units that do not connect. We are called to come together, just as the disciples did on the first day of the week, to break bread, and Jesus appeared in their midst.

    But, being part of a body of believers has its own set of issues. Foremost among those issues is that we have an enemy who has sown his seed (wolves) in the midst of the church. I think, partly because of that, Jesus has chosen to send us people who tend the flock and who protect the flock from wolves. This is completely Biblical. Peter, through the Spirit, protected the Jerusalem church from Ananias and Sapphira, who were trying to buy influence in the church. Likewise, the apostles and elders gathered to decide on a doctrinal matter of great significance that led to the Judaizers being considered heretics. The church at that time accepted that decision as binding – they respected the authority and teaching of the elders.

    As far as the issues are concerned… I do struggle with that because many of them have split churches. I think that underlying this all is a sense of humility that is lacking in Evangelicalism. One of my former church’s core beliefs – one that prevents them from uniting with similar denominations – is also one that they would say is not ‘fundamental’. That is, they allow pastors from other denominations who don’t hold that belief to baptize, to marry, to preach and administer communion, but they would refuse to join the denominations. Now, I’ve researched the issue and I am in agreement, but I think that is is not so cut-and-dried as they claim. Nor do I look down on others who don’t hold the view with the same sort of disdain I was taught.

    But, I agree, some of these issue have very very broad implications, and they are significant enough that denominations have split and pastors have been removed from office for teaching one or the other. But, I’m not going to call someone a false teacher who holds any of those views simply because they hold that view. However, if a pastor says Jesus was a good teacher and not the Son of God, or that the Bible is just a collection of myths that we can draw whatever truth we feel from, or that Jesus was made up by the ‘apostles’ so that they could create their own religion, or that the disciples faked the resurrection, I would call him a false teacher.

    I think some of the other issues, even as fundamental as they seem, don’t rise to the same level. It would be wonderful if we could join together and work through the issues, but I don’t think that will happen on this side of heaven.

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  6. Julie Anne,
    I see A. Amos already commented on your photo, but will comment anyway.

    I love it too! I have always wanted to vacation in Washington and Oregon, so I had better get to work on that one.

    Keep reminding us of God’s handiwork! Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Part 1
    Mark said,

    Amos, unfortunately, the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic is that Christianity is just me and Christ. I think that was the basis of the monastic order – that somehow it was more righteous to lock yourself in a room with a Bible than to be in the midst of the church.
    But, here’s the problem, we are called to be part of a team. Christ’s bride is a body made of many members, not “atomistic” units that do not connect. We are called to come together,

    That sounds lovely in theory but from my experience is not how churches work in real life.

    Many Christians talk a good talk about loving Jesus, but they don’t actually get off their duffs and help other Christians.

    And the Bible does say if you are capable of doing good for another, you should do good for another. But most Christians ignore such biblical advise and instruction, I have noticed.

    Most American Christians I’ve seen are more concerned with conversion – how to get more atheists to believe in Jesus, or, how to evangelize native peoples living in remote African villages, or how to convert the wealthy, upper middle class who live in big American cities.

    I seldom see Christians who care about how to help other Christians who are hurting – hurting from divorce, financial problems, psychological issues, etc.

    Church is not just about ‘spreading the Gospel,’ nor is church supposed to be only about “worshipping the Lord and Bible study,” but I see a lot of Christians parroting such thinking all the time.

    I really resent it when Christians pop up to say, “You shouldn’t expect a church to meet X, Y, Z need, church is ONLY for sharing the Good News,” if we are talking about topics such as companionship, financial help, etc.

    There are even examples in the Bible of Christians supporting other Christians financially, or providing emotional comfort to each other in times of crisis, which Paul commends.

    I’m a never married lady with no children with a non-supportive biological family. The living family I have range from verbally abusive to non-supportive, so I cannot count on them for anything.

    According to the Bible, I should then be able to count on a “spiritual family” in times of distress – for encouragement and so on – but most Christians are not willing to play this role.

    Most Christians, especially the church going ones, would rather ‘Focus On Their Families’ – they already have spouses or living parents or grandparents who meet their needs, and churches are fine with that formula.

    So, if you’re single and childless, you don’t get even a “spiritual family” to help you out.

    So I am not convinced that church is only supposed to be about conversion, worship, or Bible study. (I am not saying Mark is saying that, but I have seen such reasoning constantly for years now on other web sites, and at times, on this one too).

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  8. Part 2
    Mark said,

    Amos, unfortunately, the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic is that Christianity is just me and Christ. I think that was the basis of the monastic order – that somehow it was more righteous to lock yourself in a room with a Bible than to be in the midst of the church.

    But, here’s the problem, we are called to be part of a team. Christ’s bride is a body made of many members, not “atomistic” units that do not connect. We are called to come together,

    I’ve tried attending churches and was ignored or overlooked, in part, due to the fact I’m never married, and have no kids.

    Churches do not know how to minister to single, childless adults, nor do most of them care to. Most married couples do not want to socialize with single women.

    Church people, especially married ones, love their ‘Pence Rule’ and ‘Billy Graham Rule,’ so they treat all single women like threats, not possible friends or people who may need their help.

    As a single woman, I do have needs of mine own, and yes, I expect to get them met at a church.

    I do not exist only to help others get their needs met.

    I spent years stuffing my own needs down to help other people, and contrary to what 99% Christians teach, me taking focus off me to help others did not make me feel better or warm and fuzzy inside, and I was still left with un-met needs.

    On this score, many churchy Christians get quite insensitive, are quite happy to tell you to get your own needs met, stop your whiny single whining pie hole already, and that church supposedly only exists to “share the Gospel.”

    I tried connecting in the past, went church shopping, and it was always the same negative experience, one reason of a few why I stopped going to church.

    Churches have forced me into being a Lone Ranger.

    I’m an introvert and am uncomfortable socializing. (Most churches are for extroverts).

    In the past I had to force myself to walk into a church all alone. It was very awkward, ten times more so when one is an introvert.

    I’ve walked in alone, been ignored. If I do get talked to, it’s usually with the assumption I’ll want to baby sit kiddos in the church nursery.

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  9. Daisy, I’m a little like you in that I’m single/no kids, but I did finally find a church that is pretty accepting. However, I attend with people I know, so it wasn’t that daunting thing of going alone.

    Most married couples do not want to socialize with single women

    It is harder to do that, but you can make friends with married women. I have found at this point that a lot of my friends are married, but they don’t have small children, which frees up more time.

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  10. Part 3
    Mark said,

    Amos, unfortunately, the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic is that Christianity is just me and Christ. I think that was the basis of the monastic order – that somehow it was more righteous to lock yourself in a room with a Bible than to be in the midst of the church.

    But, here’s the problem, we are called to be part of a team. Christ’s bride is a body made of many members, not “atomistic” units that do not connect. We are called to come together,

    That does sound lovely, but it presumes that most to all churches are competent or willing to do what they should be doing, but they are not.

    And what all churches should be doing is NOT restricted to only “sharing the Gospel,” “worshipping the Lord,” holding Bible studies, feeding the homeless, or converting atheists, but also, it consists of…
    Helping people who are already-Christian who are under-going tough times.

    However, from my own experience, and from reading that of others, churches massively fail at this. Christians are blind, blind, blind, or totally un-caring about other Christians who are in a down spot in life.

    I will admit to when I am in a weak spot and could use a helping hand up. But I get shamed or slapped across the face (metaphorically speaking) by other Christians if I do approach them admitting I am hurting and need help.

    Most Christians really have this “be a rugged individual, pick yourself up by your boot straps” philosophy, which is not biblical.

    (I am fine with people trying to be responsible for their own lives, trying to solve problems on their own, etc, but nobody gets through life 100% alone all the time on every issue
    In my own case, I’ve had no choice, because church-y people have not wanted to help me.)

    Churches left me to my own devices.

    For instance. I could not paper over my grief over my mother’s death by doing things such as going to a brick building every week and just participating in Bible studies, “worshipping the Lord,”
    Or by doing “do-gooder” activities, such as preparing sandwiches to hand out to homeless men.

    What I really needed and could have used from churches or Christians, but which churches and Christians I knew at the time REFUSED to provide me with:
    I really could have used one or two friends to just sit by me in the first few years after Mom died, and listen as I cried and poured out my heart.

    My own family believes in this stuff, as church people do: “Pick yourself up by your boot straps, go through life alone. Help and compassion are ONLY for atheists or homeless men sleeping in boxes. Take your mind off you by making sandwiches for homeless people.”

    I suspect that attitude comes from American secular culture, that we are supposedly each strong enough on our own and should not expect or look to outside help, not ever.

    It’s all well and good to say or believe that Christians should gather together and be a church, but most only want to sit in a pew, shake a hand, then go home.

    A few church types may want to do something like pack bags of beans and rice for Haitian hurricane victims they’ve never met.

    But none of these church-going jokers want to actually put in the time or energy to really “be there” for someone in their church who is…

    Going through a job loss, going through grief over death in a family, to sit with someone who has depression and just listen to them (give emotional support, which is FREE, doesn’t cost a thing but an hour from your month),
    churchy people don’t want to help someone going through a divorce, someone like me who is single with no family to lean on, etc.

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  11. Part 4
    And, in closing,

    Mark said,

    Amos, unfortunately, the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic is that Christianity is just me and Christ. I think that was the basis of the monastic order – that somehow it was more righteous to lock yourself in a room with a Bible than to be in the midst of the church.

    But, here’s the problem, we are called to be part of a team. Christ’s bride is a body made of many members, not “atomistic” units that do not connect. We are called to come together,

    I have no interest in showing up once a week to a brick building with a steeple on top (a church) where I cannot count on anyone to walk with, or sit with, ME through MY painful times in life.

    And cherry on top, I certainly have no interest in going to a church or hanging out with church people, where I get SHAMED, lectured, and scolded for –

    Wanting or expecting as such (expecting to get compassion or encouragement), where I am told by churchy people to only think about other people’s needs, or,

    Where I will be lectured that church exists only to convert pagan African tribes, handing sandwiches out to homeless men in U.S. cities, or where I’m told that church is only for “Bible study” and for “worshipping the Lord.”

    Didn’t Jesus say that pure “worship of the Lord” or “pure religion” was to help people, such as orphans and widows (to help anyone who needs it)?

    Church and “helping people,” as Jesus taught it, doesn’t mean to just passively sit in a pew every Sunday morning and listen to some preacher drone on from some Bible passage.

    If your faith is not going to help me in daily life with problems I’m having, or pain I’m in, I see no point in your faith, or in hanging out with others who profess that faith.

    If your church wants to give sandwiches and Gospel tracts to homeless people, atheists, or pagans in Africa, or debate what certain Bible passages mean with each other in Sunday school class, that’s all well and good, but it’s not helping me where I am and with what I am struggling with in my day to day life.

    And it’s not helping over “Average John and Jane Does” with their daily struggles, either.

    But we Average Janes and Joes are all told by church-y Christians to, “pick yourself up by your bootstraps, deal with your issues all alone, and go debate Bible verses in a church religion class, or make sandwiches for homeless people in our kitchen food ministry.”

    There is no real solid help offered to every day people – most churches will shove you aside and tell you, in a polite way, to ‘Get Lost’ and deal with your issues ‘On Your Own.’

    I think this is why the book of James tells Christians if you have no works your faith is dead and useless.

    Christians LOVE to profess Jesus and tell everyone to “go to church every week, don’t be a Lone Ranger Christian,” but do the people who preach this actually do what the Bible and Jesus teaches them (us all) to do –

    Or do you just “talk” about what Jesus said to do?

    What do you do with your church, what do you do when you go to church, or hang out with church acquaintances, do you help everyone who needs it (not just pagan tribal people, homeless men, and atheists)?

    If your church people aren’t actually helping anyone and everyone who needs it, I don’t see the point in going to your church.

    (And for the 1,000th time, I don’t think church is just for “sharing the Gospel,” “worship,” or “Bible study,” or helping or converting only pagans or helping only homeless people, so I’m not going to go, if that’s what you or your church are promoting or endorsing.)

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  12. Daisy,

    I walked out of my lifelong denomination. The more I saw the less interested I was in going. I tried to confront the ‘perfect’ us vs. them attitude I heard all over. The response I got was abusive – how dare I come and complain about what the church is doing.

    So, one week, my wife and kids went to the old church and I went to a different one. What I didn’t expect was the anxiety about getting in my car and driving to another ‘church’. I almost stayed home, and when I got there, I almost drove away. But, I’m happy that I got past the greeters, because I saw a huge difference between what was at my old church – stiff people seemingly afraid to express themselves in worship because they might do something wrong – and what was there. I heard a pastor talk about having struggles, not struggles in the past, but ongoing struggles. He talked about it being okay to be angry with God and be real with God. That God wanted to know the real us, not the us that we put on display each week on Sunday.

    After a few months, my wife was fed up with us going to different churches, so we tried to find a middle ground. I listened to an online sermon. “God gives us leaders to protect us from waywardness.” Nope. We went to a church a few weeks. “God has raised up elders because we make lots of mistakes and we need help.” Nope.

    So, I’m with you. My eyes have been opened, at least a little, to the subtle spiritual abuse that happens in the preaching, and I hear it over and over in churches we visit. My wife comes home from the old church and tells me how abusive the sermon was that week. That said, my new church is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination because there is that pervasive culture that “church” happens on Sunday where everyone gets their weekly pick-me-up (better than the weekly beating down). I attended a weekly “bible study” and what happened was about half the people in the group started talking about abuse in their pasts. The associate pastor was leading, and he was asking, “how do you move on from that.” In my case, “I don’t know.” There was no prescription or pamphlet on reconciliation. Just understanding that we were all in really hard situations and needed to be encouraged.

    So, yes, when I walked out of my old church, I didn’t know if I was ever going to find a true church. But, as far as I can tell, I found one, so I think they do exist, just few and far between.

    “I’m an introvert and am uncomfortable socializing.”

    Yes. It was bad enough for me when I thought I knew everything and had great things to offer everyone. Now that I realize I have all this baggage and junk to work through, it’s hard to even look people in the eye.

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  13. Mark

    “the only conclusion I can arrive at through your examples and logic
    is that Christianity is just me and Christ.”

    NOPE… NOT at ALL…

    Took awhile to understand…
    Jesus never said “Go to church.” He said “Church Go.”

    Since I left “Today’s Religious System,” early 90’s…
    I have been on a tremendous, exciting, fearful, Adventure…
    Meeting believers from all backgrounds. Seeing Miracles. Provision. Healing’s.
    Volunteering at Food Pantry’s, Missions feeding on the streets, Vets at VA Hospitals,
    Farms growing veggies for ministries working with the poor and hungry.
    Working with the homeless in NY. Training folks to work with the homeless.
    Very little money, NO bank account, Mostly NO pay. Just Faith. BUT God…
    Learning to trust God… Learning I can…
    Trust in the Lord with ALL my heart
    And lean NOT on my own understanding…

    There is lots to do when you become one of His Servants.

    The first couple of years was very tuff, very dark…
    Mostly just go to work, go to my apartment in a basement, and cry a lot…
    Couldn’t pray…
    Used to do ALL nighters… We were Spiritual Warriors. 😉
    Couldn’t read the Bible…
    Used to study for hours. Go to sleep at 6pm. Wake up 2am. 4 hrs quite time…
    Could NO longer walk into a building called church…
    And I used to be in 4, yes four, meetings a week… conferences galore…
    Shortest was 2-3 hours… The messages were mostly 90 minutes…
    Yeah – I had an addiction… Didn’t realize it till after I left…

    Could NO longer do anything considered, “Building the Kingdom of God.”
    Felt like a total failure, like God was thru with me, Angry with God…
    Look at all I’ve done for you… All the money I’ve given…
    All the people I’ve helped… All I’ve sacrificed…

    Walking by faith… Sufferering the loss of ALL things…
    Family… Friends…. Fellowship… Finances…

    But God… Don’t cha just love it when the Bible says… BUT God…
    Have a good time… Look up all the verses that say… BUT God…

    And I do NOT know how to explain it – other than – BUT God…

    Showed me that He, Jesus, just LOVED me, Amos…
    Whether I NEVER did another thing… To build the Kingdom of God…
    He Just LOVED me…
    Strengths… Weaknesses… character Defects… Sins… And ALL…
    He Just LOVED me…
    And I had to “DO” absoulutly NOTHING for HIM to LOVE me…

    That “LIGHT” was worth ALL the Darkness…

    And after 30 or so months…
    After NOT being a part of “The Sacred Religious System”
    God… Brought a river of people across my path…

    People who had been burnt, burn-out, kick-ed out, crawled-out…
    Of “Today’s Abusive Religious System.” The “Led.” And the “Leaders.”

    When I would meet a christian who was NOT attending church…
    I would say… “Yeah me too… for two – four – 10 – 15 years now…”
    And the stories of Abuse would flow…
    How the church leaders hurt them…

    Since I suffered at the hands of Abusive Leaders…
    I could relate, and listen, and believe them…
    And healing would begin…
    For both of us…

    BUT God…

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  14. I noticed this sentence from Daisy: I am told by churchy people to only think about other people’s needs

    As far as it goes, I would agree with the churchy people. But it begs the question that if they truly believed this, why don’t they in turn try to meet Daisy’s needs? When it comes to ‘helping others’ is she invisible or something?

    The motto of the local church ought to be ‘come with us we will do you good’, but you don’t need to tell me things don’t always quite work out like this.

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  15. A. Amos, WOW!

    Thank-you sir, for sharing your compelling testimony. Oh, how Christ used you today to minister to me, another fellowship of the abused saints. May our LORD continue to guide you, heal you, and lead you in ministering to us at just the right time….no walls needed, no hierarchal leadership needed, no “order of the service needed,” no offering and tithes needed, oh no! Just the power of God, the Holy Spirit, living inside of you and leading you to greener pastures and still waters.

    If I may confess something here without being thrown into the slough with the micro-organism riff-raff, I shall.

    I, not a born again Christian at the time, became pregnant out of wed-lock. Yes, I was a fornicating sinner who had some important commitments to fulfill before I was married to my fiancé. For days, I was considering having an abortion so I could fulfill my own lofty personal goals in life; no one would ever know, right? I was a basket case of indecision and my heart was burdened with pain. I would have to give up so much, everything I worked so hard for, if I were to move forward and have my baby.

    Our LORD had other plans for me; He sent a few “dechurched” believers to cross my path and minister the Gospel to me in love. I will reiterate those words….”sharing the Gospel in love.” These individuals were no longer a part of the corporate church, still loving and believing in Jesus as their personal savior, and still ministering to others, the life saving message of the true Gospel. These believers did not judge me harshly for not being “pure,” nor did they speak “down” as if I was some unintelligent form of life, nor did they promote a pastor, church, favorite religious television station or program, absolutely nothing religious that I was to become yoked with in order to “help” me make my decision…….these people loved Jesus, and loved me, a sinner desperately in need of Christ, at that crucial time in my life.

    I believe this is called the “fellowship of the saints.” For although, I was led to Christ at that time, I did not become a believer until after my marriage a number of years later, due to extreme brokenness. The only One I could turn too at that time in my life, was Jesus Christ, for no man or woman could help me with “religion”, only Christ had the answer, and the Bible became “living and alive” to me at that moment. And I loved reading and studying the Scriptures for myself from then on…..Christ’s work in me.

    And because of those “dechurched” believers, who ministered to others twenty four hours a day, seven days a week (being the Ekklesia of our LORD daily), I consciously made the decision, not to abort my baby. I was embarrassed, humiliated, and humbled all at the same time, for I had to confront many people, explain my the situation I chose to place myself in, and move on.

    Our LORD, by His mercy and His grace, still loved and cared for me while I was an unbeliever. Because of His power, moving and working through His sheep, I was blessed with a beautiful baby after my marriage, and to this day, I have absolute peace and contentment over the decision I made, with no regrets. Our LORD still loves and cares for His Sheep in such a pure and Holy Way.

    And because I do not belong to organized religion any longer, (I ran out of an abusive Baptist church with a sexually immoral Assembly of God pastor man, never looking back and never guilt ridden), the privilege of ministering Jesus’ love to others who are in need, is much, much easier than the “methods” I was taught by the Baptist hierarchy.

    I am saved. I am a believer in Jesus Christ as my Shepherd, my LORD and Savior. I am a follower of Jesus as my personal Master. And every second of every day, I know that I am loved by the One and Only King that will ever be, and that is going to come again, Jesus, the Christ.

    So A. Amos Love, I hear you and I believe that you are speaking so much truth here. I praise our LORD for those believers who love and seek Jesus outside of the Nicolaitan system, for many of those saints, are saving lives.

    I this truth well, and now have a heart filled with praise and thanksgiving. And I hope my story makes sense through my tears. I am overwhelmed with joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sorry, I left out a key word in my inept typing skills. The last paragraph should say,

    “I “know” this truth well.” Now that makes more sense!

    Like

  17. Amos, Katy, I’m not trying to say that you are somehow sinning by having left the organized church. I’m saying that you can’t use the Bible to claim that everyone should do the same.

    We know the church is infiltrated by wolves. We know the typical church culture tends to peg itself either in legalism or hyper-grace. We know that wolves are attracted to the positions of authority where they can manipulate, control and devour sheep. We know that it is tempting for an organized, incorporated body to fall into the trap of self-protection and self-preservation and denial rather than admitting guilt, repenting and reconciling.

    That said, there are also benefits to being part of an organized body. For example, it was gathered bodies of saints that helped fund Paul’s missionary journeys. Also, it was a gathered body of church leaders that recognized and made official that the Gentiles could be Christians without being circumcised. Paul’s letters were mostly written to gathered bodies. Whether we agree or disagree on “ekklesia” meaning an organized body, Paul didn’t have a copy machine to print up 1000 individual letters and distribute them. Instead, the letters were presumably read in the context of gathered Christians. We also see that while Jesus walked around and taught, he also taught within the context of the organized church, the synagogue. Paul also taught first at the synagogue in each city before he was rejected and took the gospel directly to the Gentiles.

    I’m also not of the opinion that Christians who are doing something “sub-optimal” are going to get punished by God. I used to believe that – that we could find chinks in the armor of those who were wrong on this or that doctrine. No! I think since you’ve chosen not to be in the “hospital”, God is bringing the hospital to you. That’s amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think your experiences mean that there shouldn’t be hospitals.

    I’m reminded of the movie about Patch Adams. He was studying to be a doctor and saw the great need outside the hospital. He rebelled against the system where he felt people were not being helped, and set up his own clinic (without a license). The thing that is interesting at the end is that it seems that his rebellion led to somewhat of a heart change in the medical profession away from the cold, detached professional into something that was more attached and caring.

    My hope is that people like you two, will bring that change back to the hospital. Ultimately, Adams found a healthy balance between being that attached and caring doctor, and yet the need to practice in a place that met the medical standards, not his back porch.

    I think the same sort of thing happened in the Reformation. The Reformers sought to bring needed reform to the church through the system. When they were kicked out of the system, people still recognized that they had the truth and they ultimately built another system. There were many good results of that, but also many bad, as it led to this idea that we could fracture the church along doctrinal lines rather than allowing for grace.

    Like

  18. KAS, “As far as it goes, I would agree with the churchy people. But it begs the question that if they truly believed this, why don’t they in turn try to meet Daisy’s needs? When it comes to ‘helping others’ is she invisible or something?”

    I think as Daisy said, in popular church culture, there are objects of grace and there are objects of legalism. For some reason, grace goes to the top and the bottom and legalism to the middle.

    What I mean is that, if some person off the street came in to my old church and said some “awful heresy” like it’s okay to be angry with God. The church would calmly and gently take that person aside and suggest a Bible study to work through the issue. They would have all the time in the world to struggle through the issue.

    But… if a lifelong church member said that, the teeth would be bared and it would be time for a whooping. A brief whooping because, of course, the leaders are too busy to spend time with all the leading they have to do.

    If a leader said that… well, it be pretty much like the first case. A Bible study with the pastor or elders where they had all the time in the world to struggle and hash through the issues. Maybe if that went nowhere in a year, there might be some church discipline if it was serious enough.

    So, yes, it’s easy for Christians to say that we should meet each others’ needs, but what we see is that it is easy to fund the leader going into the mission field, and it’s easy to use the mercy fund to save the homeless guy that walked in off the street, but the purse strings are more tight when the church starts looking at the needy in her midst.

    Like

  19. but the purse strings are more tight when the church starts looking at the needy in her midst.

    They don’t have to be though. This is a legitimate criticism, but some churches do support needy members. It is even possible your church supports them, but if you have never asked you simply do not know because of confidentiality.

    Mind you, I’m not defending the ones that don’t. This is why there should be transparency in funding.

    Like

  20. Churches I grew up in I wouldn’t label as tight with the purse strings, but I think the unwritten rule was that you never asked for help. The instances I heard about where families asked for help, they got financial help, but a decent amount of scrutiny, in combination with a sense of ownership. Like, “We helped the X family and they’ve not attended church for the last two weeks…”

    Like

  21. Katy, WOW!

    Very compelling testimony… 😉

    Yes – Jesus justs LOVES us… How cool is that?
    xxxxxxx

    I just loved this…

    “The only One I could turn too at that time in my life,
    was Jesus Christ,
    for NO man or woman could help me with “religion”,
    only Christ had the answer,
    and the Bible became “living and alive” to me at that moment.
    xxxxxxx

    “Our LORD, by His mercy and His grace,
    still loved and cared for me
    while I was an unbeliever.”
    xxxxxxx

    You excitment, passion, for Jesus and His Word is wonderful.

    I just had breakfast this morning… for four hours… With someone similar…
    With a women I met in Barnes and Nobles 8 years ago. Now my Friend…
    I gave a Bible to her and her husband then…
    They had filed for bankruptcy…
    And out of work…
    An architect…

    Lots of frree time and we spents months, and months, drinking coffee…
    And talking bout Jesus…

    I’ve stayed in touch…
    They are book people with NO tv in the house…
    Last year they both decided to read the Bible thru…
    Over and over again I would tell her – Jesus will teach you all truth.
    The conversations we have had, her questions, are mind blowing.
    She gets it.

    She was atheist for many years…
    But, two years before we met she had an expeience with God…
    And now believed God existed – Never part of a 501 c3…
    Never read the Bible… BUT God…

    Today – She has trust in Jesus… Faith…
    She is so excited about the scriptures…
    And what Jesus is revealing to her…

    She stepped out in faith…

    “and the Bible became “living and alive”

    Thanks for your testimoney
    You have overcome much

    Be blessed
    And continue to be a blessing. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Like

  22. Hi Mark

    I’m not trying to say that you are somehow sinning
    by being a part the organized church.

    (You should be where Jesus wants you.)

    I’m saying that you can’t use the Bible
    to claim that everyone should do the same.

    I’m NOT saying, “Christianity is just me and Christ.”
    There are many more stories about “Hearing His Voice Following Jesus.”
    It has been a great, rewarding, Adventure…
    xxxxxxx

    It does take a step of Faith to Believe, and Trust…
    That Jesus can lead you and guide you in to ALL truth…

    Paul, when Jesus got a hold on him said…

    Gal 1:10-12
    For do I now persuade men, or God?
    or do I seek to please men?
    for if I yet pleased men, I should not be ”the servant” of Christ.
    But I certify you, brethren, that
    the gospel which was preached of me is NOT after man.
    For I neither received it of man,
    neither was I taught it,
    but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Gal 1:15-16
    But when it pleased God,
    who separated me from my mother’s womb,
    To reveal his Son in me,
    that I might preach him among the heathen;
    immediately I conferred NOT with flesh and blood:

    Paul, got alone with Jesus for 3 years.
    Sometimes Being alone with Jesus has some benefits. Yes?
    xxxxxx

    Moses, was forty years on the backside of the desert.
    xxxxxxx

    That is what I’m saying…
    You, WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Servants, His Friends…
    Can get it for ourselves from Jesus… Directly… NO middle man…

    WE, His Sheep, can Hear His Voice, and Follow…

    The “ONE” Leader
    The “ONE” Teacher
    The “ONE” Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  23. Reading further: “But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”

    Also “Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me.”

    While I am not going to take a stand against people who have been abused by churches walking away and finding ministry apart from an organized body. I will say that looking practically at how things worked in the Bible, that there is an expectation that the ministers are ministering among an organized body. There is also an expectation that many, if not most, of the churches do not do well in following Christ, yet Christ (e.g. in Revelation, and through Paul) addresses them as a body of believers rather than as merely geographically distinguished individuals. In fact, Corinthians suggests quite the opposite. “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.”

    Also, “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, … Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

    Like

  24. Mark – I think some believers simply have to get away from organised church for a while to recover from misuse of authority or any number of things that might have got them down. I have done this myself. Got beyond the guilt of ‘not going to church’ on Sunday morning. My faith is not placed in the church.

    I don’t however recommend this as something positive, and it ought not to be too long in duration. I simply couldn’t get away from let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. This ‘meeting together’ has to be a bit more than getting together with a couple of others for a bit of fellowship and prayer, valid as that is. Can be an incredible blessing!

    I for myself certainly ended up being fairly heavily convicted that this neglecting to meet is sinful if persisted in.

    Like

  25. Mark

    You write…
    “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock,
    among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…”

    But what about “The Qualifications?” For pastor/elder/overseer?
    Which ones can WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, “Ignore?”
    Which ones are NOT important?

    You write @ NOVEMBER 29, 2017 @ 8:19 AM ( On the First thread.)
    “However, (c)hurches like to say that
    these are aspirational qualifications
    that none but Christ can meet.
    I think they do this so that when elders do fall into sin,
    they can try to claim that they are still qualified to hold office.”
    xxxxxxx

    That’s what I’m-a-thinkn… that none but Christ can meet.

    Are WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Church, His Disciples…
    Required to support “Today’s Corrupt Religious System?”
    With our Time, Talent, Treasure, Money? Our very lives?
    When the pastors, leaders, overseers, are UN-qualified?

    NOT any more – Thank you Jesus…

    And, “The System” promotes this “Title/Postion,” as important, essential…
    A “Title/Postion,” that by default, leads folks, deceives folks, to believe…
    “Our pastors, leaders, elders, overseers, ”ARE” Biblically Qualified.”

    Know many 501, c 3, IRS churches, who advertise? promote? will admit?
    “NOPE our pastors, leaders, elders, overseers, do NOT…
    Meet ALL the tuff Biblical Qualifications?”
    In 1 Tim 3 and Titus?

    If a pastor/leader/elder/overseer, does NOT meet the Qualifications?

    Shouldn’t they just remove themselves?

    And be a good example to the Flock?
    xxxxxxx

    Arent you, one of His Kings and Priests, required to know, find out, if?
    These, ”pastors, leaders, elders, overseers, “ARE” Biblically Qualified?”**

    Your, ”pastors, leaders?”
    Your families, ”pastors, leaders?”
    Your breterens ”pastors, leaders?”

    ”Be on guard for yourselves and for ALL the flock,”

    Like

  26. Mark
    Here’s a quick review of 17, Qualifications for pastor/elder/overseer.
    From 1 Tim 3, and Titus.

    1 – “Must Be” BLAMELESS – unrebukeable, without fault.

    2 – husband of one wife – married, male.

    Many are very sure about #2, married, male.
    When they dis-qualify female/elders – Yes?
    But, are real fuzzy with #1 – Must be BLAMELESS. 😉

    3 – rules WELL, manages WELL…
    his own house – have a family, children in subjection.

    70% of pastors say they do NOT have a good marriage.
    30% admit to having had an affair.

    1 Tim 3:4-5. One that ruleth well his own house,
    having his children in subjection with all gravity;
    For if a man know not how to rule his own house,
    how shall he take care of the church of God?

    4 – not greedy of filthy lucre — Not greedy for money.
    5 – vigilant — no excessive wine, calm in spirit.
    6 – sober — of a sound mind, self controlled.
    7 – of good behavior — modest, unassuming, reserved.

    Know many Pastors in Pulpits Preaching to People in Pews
    Who are Modest? Unassuming? Reserved?
    Calm in spirit? Sound mind? Wow – There goes a bunch more.

    8 – no striker — NOT quarrelsome, contentious.
    9 – not a brawler — abstaining from fighting.
    10 – not self willed — NOT self pleasing, NOT arrogant.
    11 – not soon angry — NOT prone to anger.
    12 – temperate — having power over, restraining.

    Well, Here’s five more ”I” do NOT qualify for. 😉
    Here’s five more ”Most” do NOT qualify for. 😉
    There can’t be many “Pastor/Elders” left after these five. Yes?

    13 – **holy — undefiled by sin, free from wickedness.
    14 – **just — righteous, virtuous, innocent, faultless.

    And their children must qualify also.
    “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” Titus 1:6

    15 – faithful children – believing, one who trusts in God’s promises.
    16 – not accused of riot – Strongs, asotia, unsavedness.
    an abandoned dissolute life, lost to principle.
    17 – unruly – disobedient.
    Hmmm? Got any teenagers?

    Now, that’s a tough list of qualifications. Yes?
    Which qualifications can WE, His Sheep, “Ignore?”
    Which qualifications are NOT important?

    I suggest, when folks show these 17 qaulifications to their pastor/leaders…
    And ask them, “Do you Qualify?”
    They do it Face to Face…

    If your pastor/leader does NOT like you asking…
    Run… Run for your life…

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  27. Mark

    Here’s another list you can use when checking out pastor/elder/leaders.
    To see if they Qualify.

    When I was in “leadership.” Oy Vey!!! 😦
    We were busy teaching the congregation to Obey and Submit, to us.
    Of course it was for their benefit… 😉 And God demanded it… 😦

    But, we did NOT spend a lot of time with…
    These 11, eleven, every day character traits for ALL His Disciples.

    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – By love “Serve one another?” Gal 5:13 KJV
    7 – Laying down their lives for the brethren? 1 John 3:16 KJV
    8 – NOT speaking of themselves, NOT seeking their own glory? Jn 7:18 KJV
    9 – NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles?” Mark 10:42-43. KJV
    10 – NOT giving themselves “Flattering Titles?” Job 32:21-22 KJV

    11 – Being clothed with humility? 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    11 – Humility – a modest, or low estimate of ones own importance.

    In my experience, the number of “pastors, leaders, elders, overseers,” Who actually teach, and practice these 11 – Who teach, and practice, “Submitting one to another” – Who teach, and practice, “NOT speaking of themselves, NOT seeking their own glory.” – Who teach, and practice, NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles.” – Who are “Clothed with humility” haveing “a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance,”

    Is Quite Small… 😉
    But mostly Non-Existant… 😉

    Hmmm? Are WE, His Sheep, required to Obey and Submit, to…
    These pastors, leaders, elders, overseers, who do NOT practice these 11…
    NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” NOT “Exercising Authority?”

    NOT any more – Thank you Jesus…

    I recommend to believers, who are looking for, must belong to, a fellowship…
    To take their time, months, even years, before they join, become members…
    To really ”SEE.” if these pastors, leaders, elders, overseers…
    ”ARE” teaching and practicing these everyday 11?

    If often takes awhile, months, even years, before…
    You recognize, “the unfruitful works of darkness” that are being revealed.
    xxxxxxx

    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, they which lead thee
    cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For the leaders of this people
    cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.

    Mat 15:14 KJV
    Let them alone: they be ”blind leaders” of the blind.
    And if the blind ”lead the blind,”
    both shall fall into the ditch.

    Like

  28. To A Amos, December 1, 2017, 12:32 P.M. comment thread……

    Excellent! Your love and care for your friend’s life and spiritual condition makes me want to go out and dance in the back forty, worshiping Christ in the middle of my field……with no judgement cast upon me from the religious critics of our day….Psalm 150:4 “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance…”

    This is precisely what the sheep of God do, they are interested in one another’s lives, break bread with one another (meeting in homes or wherever, no ecclesiastical brick and mortar buildings needed – with attached gymnasiums of course 🙂 ), pray together (after all, God said His House shall be a house of prayer – and this is our bodies, the new temple under the New Covenant), and fellowship with the priesthood of believers.

    Keep being a light for Christ amongst the darkness A. Amos, for the words of Jesus are a bold reminder of how His congregation/community/sheep operates; you already know these verses 🙂 🙂 :), “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so amongst you; but whoever would be great amongst you shall be your servant and whosever shall be first amongst you, shall be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 25-28

    Those verses mean so much to me from my Savior!

    And to KAS and Mark, may you be assured and reassured, that many of us who have come out of harlot church systems, bear no guilt nor shame for not attending a corporate church institution weekly. Upon running, bolting, sprinting out of the last abusive Baptist church, where the leaders bind the sheep in chains all the while claiming to know a jesus better than the rest of us, I personally, turned to many “theologians” seeking answers as to what exactly happened to me. Spiritual manipulation, indoctrination, and abuse are quite common within the church systems of this day.

    One of the several “men of god” that I listened too regularly was a Mr. Ravi Zacharias, in addition to others, to get “fed” my daily dose of their version of Christianity. To date, according to their definition of “god’ house,” the bricks and mortar are a crumbling and being demolished as sins of the religious elite are being exposed by the droves. I had to quit listening to Ravi’s philosophical ramblings after a few years for there was something “not quite right” with Ravi……the same exact conclusion I had after listening to John Piper for years and years. The revelations of truth and allegations concerning Ravi are no surprise to me, in fact, they are expected, for men and women of ecclesiastical power often believe they are above God, Jesus, the Christ, and the authority Jesus, in which all authority belongs to Him, per His quote.

    Seems like the religious love rebuking those whom have experienced the freedom and liberty in Jesus, the Christ, as our LORD and Savior. If in fact, all Scriptures point to Jesus, His teachings, and His Ways, why on earth cannot the religious experience joy and excitement that lives are being saved, spiritually and physically, due to the working of the Spirit in the life of one sheep, or a group of sheep.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Mark,

    While I understand what you are saying here in this comment thread, pertaining to churches being “hospitals,” through my experience in listening to some pretty disturbing analogies between the “church being a hospital for sinners,” I have come to the conclusion that given that analogy, most corporate churches are infested with a deadly case of “staff infection.”

    The male elder who came up with this hospital-church dissertation had an extra-marital affair with a young lady twenty years his senior. He is pitied, pampered, and “restored” into the church, often called upon to “pray over the rest of us.”

    No humility, no repentance……just loud silence on the part of his ‘sin.’ So, no thank-you to the hospital/church analogy.

    Like

  30. Amos, “Is Quite Small… 😉 But mostly Non-Existant… 😉”

    I think that is not because those people don’t exist, but because the leadership traits are not about charisma or bravado or being able to force your will on others, yet time after time, those are the people our culture looks to as leaders.

    Part of that, for example, that is completely upside-down is… why are so many spiritual leaders in their 20’s and 30’s? I think it was an economic decision, not a spiritual one. That is, if you’re going to invest $$ in sending someone off to seminary, he’d better be young so it is distributed over as many years as possible. But it is rare, if not nonexistent to find a 20-something pastor who isn’t, in many ways, puffed up.

    I was on the “leadership track” as a 20-something, and wow, I’m thankful circumstances made me leave that church because I was drawn to leadership for many of the wrong reasons. Someone I know closely that appeared to be drawn for the same reasons doubled down when the churches rejected him. He moved around until he was able to find a church desperate enough for leaders to elect him.

    Even my dad, who was pretty legalistic, toned down quite a bit as he got older and saw the results of his legalism in his family.

    Like

  31. Amos, “13 – **holy — undefiled by sin, free from wickedness.
    14 – **just — righteous, virtuous, innocent, faultless.”

    I think there is a tendency to make those superlative. But, consider this: ‘The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”’

    Now, is the Bible saying that Job was sinless? Without blemish? I don’t think so, in fact, it appears that God uses Satan’s harm of Job to bring about further sanctification when Job sought to justify himself against God.

    Neither do I say that someone is “holy” and “just” merely because they claim to be a Christian. I think the idea here is someone whose life has significant integrity. I think people who are in leadership and who fall, like Ravi or the elder Katy talked about, should be removed and disqualified from any further leadership. I think there is also a time consideration. For example, Paul was an accessory to the murder of Stephen and he was a persecutor of the church. He was converted after that. His former crimes did not remove him from leadership consideration. However, if he had done those things as a Christian or as a leader, I think he would be disqualified.

    But, we see that there ARE men so qualified in the Bible. Peter calls himself an elder. Paul calls Timothy an elder. Paul calls together the elders in the Galatian church before he leaves. The Bible says the apostles and elders met in Acts 15.

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  32. Katy – I think you have to judge each individual congregation on its merits. A man who did the job of pastor with no official title whilst I was in a Baptist church later on went on to be ordained into the ministry of the Church of England.

    I have no doubt that he continued to give the same care and teaching in his new role as previously. He may have had the title ‘reverend’ and the dog collar, but this does not disqualify him from being regarded as a pastor just because there are some (many?) who have the title but don’t do the job, or more likely, started out well and got warn down with church politics and recalcitrant sheep.

    The body of Christ, authentic believers, is found in all sorts of places. Outside the denominations, and a lesson I have had to learn, in them as well. In the days of charismatic renewal it was fun to hear speakers indulge in denomination bashing, and claim ‘what God was doing was 100% outside the denominations’, but I eventually had to see this was false. Older and more structured churches do not necessarily quench the Spirit. This often depends on how much hold tradition has on a particular church.

    Many new and lively fellowships that started because older churches quenched the Spirit ended up with structures little different from baptist churches.

    Rightly so up to a point, because small groups of believers still need someone to take responsibility when the local wolf with his ‘prophetic ministry’ or special ‘revelation’ others have never seen decides to come calling. Small evangelical charismatic groups were very prone to this. Some embraced abusive leadership, whilst others drifted into various deceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Like, “We helped the X family and they’ve not attended church for the last two weeks…”

    See that’s terrible. These things should be kept confidential for that reason and more. Sheesh!

    For instance, I know how much we spent internally on this type of thing, but not which church members requested assistance.

    Like

  34. Mark, the seven churches in Revelation is not referring to seven clubhouses or congregations.

    The Ekklesia that is in Philadelphia is simply the called out ones in that particular location.

    Jesus isn’t building clubhouses or sects or groups or meetings.

    He is calling out his people and they are the Ekklesia in that city.

    They fellowshipped in their homes.

    Philemon 1:2.

    They didn’t have a club or sect meeting in their home, which they called Ekklesia.

    The Ekklesia are the called out ones.

    Read Acts 2.

    The Ekklesia is singular and they (the Ekklesia) met from house to house.

    No churches going on here.

    It’s one Ekklesia (‘church’ if you like that word).

    Just one.

    So if the one Ekklesia singular met in tonnes of homes for fellowship then where is your singular clubhouse you think is a ‘church’?

    The word church is not Ekklesia.

    He word church was deliberately inserted into the KJV to meet the agenda of King James.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Katy

    You write @ DECEMBER 2, 2017 @ 12:28 PM

    “I have come to the conclusion
    that given that analogy,
    most corporate churches are infested
    with a deadly case of “staff infection.”

    HehHehHehHeh… 😉
    Good one…

    xxxxxxx

    Yes… You write…
    “…those whom have experienced
    the freedom and liberty
    in Jesus, the Christ,
    as our LORD and Savior.”

    Mat 11:28-29
    Come unto me, (Jesus)
    ALL ye that labour and are heavy laden,
    and ”I (Jesus) will give you rest.”
    Take ”MY Yoke” upon you,
    and learn of ME;
    for I am meek and lowly in heart:
    and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For ”MY Yoke” is easy, and my burden is light.

    2 Cor 3:14-17
    But their minds were blinded:
    for until this day remaineth the same vail
    untaken away in the reading of the old testament;
    which vail is done away in Christ.
    But even unto this day, when Moses is read,
    the vail is upon their heart.
    Nevertheless when it (your heart) shall
    Turn to The Lord,
    the vail shall be taken away.
    ”Now the Lord is that Spirit:”
    and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
    ”there is LIBERTY.”

    Like

  36. Mark

    I appreciate your reasoning.

    Have you considered the ANT?

    The ANT is small and insignificant – Or is it? 😉

    Proverbs 6:6-8 KJV
    6 – Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
    7 – Which having NO guide, overseer, or ruler,
    8 – Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

    Guide – 07101 qatsiyn
    KJV – ruler 4, prince 4, captain 3, guide 1; 12
    Thayers – chief, ruler, commander, dictator, ruler (of one in authority)

    Overseer – 07860 shoter {sho-tare’}
    KJV – officers 23, ruler 1, overseer 1; 25
    Thayers – official, officer./

    Ruler – 04910 mashal {maw-shal’}
    KJV – rule 38, ruler 19, reign 8, dominion 7, governor 4, 81
    Thayers – to rule, have dominion, reign, cause to rule, exercise dominion.
    xxxxxxx

    If God is asking WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Church…
    To, consider the ways of the ANT and be wise???

    And – If “The Ant” needs, NO guide, NO overseer, and NO ruler?

    Why do WE?

    Why do WE? His Sheep? His Ekklesia? His Church? His Called Out Ones?
    His Body? His Servants? His Kings and Priests? His Ambassadors?
    His sons? His Friends? His Disciples?

    Who can “Go to Jesus?” Directly? NO Middle Man?

    John 10:27 KJV

    MY Sheep, Hear MY Voice, I know them, and they Follow ME.

    It does take a leap of Faith to believe and trust that…
    You can Hear His Voice…

    And Jesus, can, ”Guide you,” ”Oversee you.” ”Rule you.”

    John 16:13
    Howbeit when HE, the Spirit of truth, is come,
    he will ”Guide you,” into ”ALL Truth:”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16 KJV

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader – One Teacher

    If NOT now… When?

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  37. Mark

    Have you considered 1 Samuel?

    Where Gods people, NO longer wanted God to rule them?
    And, they wanted a KING, to rule them?
    To be like, ”ALL The Nations?”

    And, God gives them their request, Kings?
    And, ”A Little Bit Extra?” 😉

    1 Sam 8:7
    And the LORD said unto Samuel,
    Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee:
    for they have NOT rejected thee, but they have rejected me,
    that I (God) should NOT reign over them.

    And how did having Kings turn out for Isreal? My.. My… Tsk… Tsk…

    When folks want a Mere Fallible Human,* to “Rule Over” them?
    To be THEIR leaders? THEIR teachers? THEIR shepherds?
    To have **“Authority” over them?

    And NOT God?

    God will give you what you ask for…
    And, ”A Little Bit Extra.” 😉

    1 Sam 8:11
    This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:
    He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots,
    and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots….

    Your King will take your sons.
    Your King will take your daughters.
    Your King will take your fields.
    Your King will take your vineyards.
    Your King will take your oliveyards.
    Your King will take the tenth of your seed.
    Your King will take your menservants.
    Your King will take your maidservants
    Your King will take your asses.
    Your King will take the tenth of your sheep.
    and you shall be the Kings servants…

    1 Sam 8:19-20
    Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel;
    and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us.
    That we also may be like ALL the nations;
    and that OUR king may judge us,
    and go out before us, and fight our battles.

    Hmmm? Kings don’t look like such a good idea now, do they?

    And Jesus, as man, refused when they wanted to make Him King.
    And Jesus, as God, was already The King of Kings.
    But, as man, HE refused…

    John 6:15
    When Jesus therefore perceived
    that they would come and take him by force,
    to make him a king, (King = basileus = Thayers = leader of the people.)
    he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

    Why would anyone choose a Mere Fallible Human to be…
    THEIR leaders? THEIR teachers? THEIR shepherds?

    When ALL are invited to “Come Unto ME.”

    The “ONE” Leader
    The “ONE” Teacher
    The “ONE” Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  38. “The word church was deliberately inserted into the KJV to meet the agenda of King James”

    Salty, I don’t wish to be awkward but … this made me look at my battered but legible bible of 1597 again. Published in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First! Almost certainly the Geneva bible, but Gen 3 (“breeches”) is unfortunately missing.

    It has church in both 1 Cor 14 and in Rev chaps 2 and 3 headed ‘meffage to the Churches’. In the text it spells church as Church, with a capital. The spellings and language used are both fascinating.

    This usage existed before the KJV. I would agree, however, that the KJV did employ translations to suit the Church of England, such as ‘baptise’ instead of ‘dip’, and the use of ‘bishop’ for ‘overseer’. This latter usage has survived to modern times such sa the RSV, but I’m not convinced it means a translocal leader with a mitre.

    I think you are making a bit too much out of the origin of the word ekklesia. It does mean called out, but called out to gather together, to assemble. The basic idea is of a local congregation. This is where I disagree with Amos. It’s not so much what he says as what he leaves out. The Lord’s prayer is not ‘my Father which art in heaven’, but ‘our Father which art in heaven’. The Christian life is corporate, and does require some amount of leadership/responsibility and organisation. The problems start when this takes on a life of its own.

    Like

  39. Not awkward at all.

    The Geneva Bible using the word church (and KJ retaining it) doesn’t mean the word belongs there nor that it is the same as Ekklesia.

    KJ translators had a choice what words to put in the KJV and they chose Ecclesiastically loaded words.

    I would encourage you to go through every ‘church’ verse and substitute it for: ‘gathering’; ‘assembly’ etc. It becomes pretty clear after a while that an Ekklesia is not a meeting but a people (not meeting). The assumption is that the people of god are only Ekklesia when in conference (some religious meeting). My point is that the passages in scripture seem to indicate otherwise.

    I’m not suggesting Christians don’t meet with believers to encourage one another in their faith.

    But if we all think that we must join a religious club run by a man who usurps a title only given to Jesus in the NT (poimen) and commands a salary to ‘serve’…

    In order to encourage others.

    Well, we are asking to be abused and manipulated into opening our wallets.

    I am free to meet with believers anywhere at anytime and use the money God has given me to meet the needs of anyone.

    I don’t believe we need to role play Paul the apostle in order to give to others. This is what is happening.

    First century believers fellowshipped simply in their homes.

    Yet believers today would use these bible books to justify their temple ‘worship’ and meetings and then condemn others for refusing to join ‘the clubs’.

    I ask again… is Christ divided?

    No one wants to answer my question.

    If Christ is not divided, then why are believers joining sects when Paul taught against such behaviour?

    Why?

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Amen Salty! Oh, how I respect your freedom and liberty in Christ Jesus.

    While I regard the hierarchal element that you are addressing KAS, which was purposefully and incorrectly translated into the King James Version of the bible, I too, have to legitimately disagree with your definition of the LORD’S Kingdom verses the little kingdoms of men and women.

    The “Ekklesia” of the original Scriptures, moves and works with the indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit. If in fact, ALL Scriptures point to Jesus, then we, as His sheep, do not require the leading of modern day kings, as A. Amos so beautifully pointed out with the Old Testament Scriptures. Or queens….wink, wink!

    If in fact, Jesus, our LORD, wanted men to rule over His sheep, then “HE” would have stated as much while He was instructing his servants how they were to live, but He did state, “It shall not be so amongst you,” and we have to interpret all Scriptures through the teachings of our Master, not simply take a verse here and there and add that “kingship or heavy shepherding” twist to it. No!

    Those church buildings we identify as “holy ground,” are no more holy than my living room floor, and Scriptures do state that where two or three are gathered, there I (Jesus) am also. And for the record, when offerings are given to the hierarchy of the visible church, most of the money collected RARELY reaches the souls that are in need amongst us. To the shame of the “c’hurch,” the money is spent on making the system look great and wonderful on the outside…….not caring much for the sheep on the inside. While spending money for the “latest and greatest” in competing with other 501 c. 3’s, it is safe to say that most sheep are neglected and left to their own devices to deal with hardships. Just ask those sheep who are struggling to pay their medical bills, put food on the table, and clothe their children appropriately for school…..then be told from the pulpit that they are “lazy” because they cannot make ends meet……..have heard that filth come out of so called “Christians” mouth, causing me to want to vomit……all the while “saving money for the new building fund.”

    After leaving a heavy shepherding, highly manipulative and abusive Baptist church, it is far easier now to give where there is a “need.” It has become easier to pray for others as the LORD leads, with no guilt or shame attached to my prayers, and it has become far easier to speak the Name of Jesus in the public arena, pointing people to our Scriptures in knowing exactly Who our LORD and Savior is, instead of previously stating, “Come to our church and “get to know jesus; he’ll make you healthy, wealthy, and prosperous!” Not joking there……most of the folks within my former abusive church, watched and worshiped every word that came out of those Trinity Broadcasting Networks’ pastors and “pastorettes” mouths……their “bread of life” so to speak. I won’t even go into how this sheep was treated when I denied following Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle, and Todd Bentley, in addition to a host of other important religious folks of their choosing. Nope….not at this time, but will say, “those so called believers (?)” sharpened their teeth quite beautifully, salivating at every opportunity to kill and destroy my faith in Christ alone, for salvation. Funny how that is in churches…..we are in the favor of hierarchy when we listen, follow, and worship their “people,” and when we choose not too, we are left along the side of the road, like “road kill,” after they have shredded us to pieces with their traditions of man.

    In fact, I just had an elderly woman, representing the Lutheran sect of Christianity, tell me that she is a believer because she was baptized as a baby, when through confirmation classes as a teenager, memorizing the catechism, and attends church every Sunday, sings the hymns of old, and adores her woman pastor, who is quoted in one of the local newspapers as saying, “I don’t take that verse in the Bible where it says that Jesus is the only way to heaven, literally. I believe there are many ways.”
    She stated that she loves hearing sermons from the “pulpit” from this woman and regards her to be quite “holy.” Fascinating conversation to say the least, for my dear friend has been brainwashed by the church “system” and is now promoting a false jesus, a universal one based on works salvation.

    And I do remember you saying, Salty, that you invite people into your home for meals (breaking of bread) in ministering to them. I love that, for the Spirit, Who indwells inside of you, is actually your “leader.” Wonderful testimonies!

    And I’m sorry KAS, that folks are making “too much” out of the meaning of the word, “ekklesia,” for perhaps the double mindedness and the double standards “word using” may be camping outside of thy front door. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Correct A. Amos……religious folks are still searching for a king to lord over their lives, or a queen (oh, those jezebel sermons are painful to dissect…..it’s like mounting an ant on an insect board for an entomology class assignment 🙂 ).

    I respect your Bible study here; that yoke quite easy to wear….very light. “Jesus.”

    Thank-you for all of your Scriptural truths for they are liberating in every sense of the “Word.”

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Hmmm? Ekklesia????

    Strongs Concordance has ekklesia coming from two words.
    Ek – meaning out of. Kaleo – meaning to call.
    A calling out, assembly and congregation.

    If Jesus is the “head of the body”, the ekklesia, the church?
    and “ekklesia” only means “assembly” or “congregation?”

    Does that mean Jesus is only “the head of the body?”
    When WE, His Disciples, His Body, are assembled?

    Do WE, His Ekklesia, the “body of Christ,” NO longer exist?
    When WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, are NOT assembled?

    Are WE, His Sheep, NO longer members of the “body of Christ?”
    When WE, be, home alone? in prison? solitary confinement?

    When do WE, His Disciples, become “the assembly?”
    That becomes “the church?”
    When two or three?
    More then that?
    How many?

    Ooops, another believer just walked in and bought me a cup of coffee.
    NO really, as I’m working on this comment and Mary walked in. 😉
    And I just gave her a book about prayer I brought for her.
    And WE, His Sheep, His Body, are talking about Jesus.

    Okay, she just left…

    Right now I’m in Barnes & Nobles, blogging, all by myself, NOT assembled.
    Is Jesus still my head? Am I still part of “ the body of Christ?”
    Am I still His Ekklesia? His Called Out One? His Church?

    Yup… 😉

    For myself, I kinda like using “Ekklesia” and, or “Called Out Ones,” when talking, “Church.” It reminds me and others “the Ekklesia of God” is always people. NOT Brick and Mortar buildings.

    In the Bible? DID His Disciples? ever? ”Go To Church?”

    I can see “Ekklesia,” Called Out Ones, “Church,’ referring to…
    Being “by myself,” with “two or three,” or an “assembly.”

    Because I, ALL alone, am, His sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church…
    And, WE, His sheep, His Ekklesia, scattered, are His Church….

    I recommend folks print out every verse with “Ekklesia,” in it….
    And read them over and over again…

    Ya Gots to getit for yerself – From Jesus…

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Like

  43. Here For your reading pleasure…
    are a few examples of “Ekklesia” “church.” Found in the Bible. 😉

    Church = assembly? congregation? brick and mortar building?
    OR
    Church = the Body of Christ, the called out ones? belivers? people? Hmmm?

    ”I” (Jesus) will build my church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (Is Jesus building a brick and mortar building?)

    the Lord added to the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (Is Jesus adding to a brick and mortar building?)
    If He adds a new believer in prison, solitary confinement?
    Is this person, all alone, now, part of His Body, part of “His Church?”

    great fear came upon ALL the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (Is fear coming upon a brick and mortar building?)
    Does fear only come when we’re assembled? a congregation?

    great persecution against the church entering into every house
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Were there assemblies in EVERY house?
    Or His Ekklesia in every house?

    Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Why did Paul enter into every house?
    Why NOT just where His Ekklesia were assembled?

    they assembled themselves with the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Did they assemble themselves with the assembly? 😉

    Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Only certain of the assemblies? Or certain of the called out ones?

    and had gathered the church together
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)

    And being brought on their way by the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    This is Acts 15. Did the whole assembly bring Paul?
    Or just a few of God’s Called Out Ones?

    Like

  44. And a few more…

    they were received of the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (they were received of a brick and mortar building?)

    set them to judge who are ”least esteemed” in the church.
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Hmmm? Must be a misprint? The least esteemed get to judge? 😉
    SEE that often in the, 501 c3, Non-profit, IRS Corporation church?

    If therefore the whole church be come together into one place
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)

    Christ is the head of the church and gave himself for it
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (brick and mortar building?)

    Christ also loved the church,
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Loved Only the assembly? Not the one at home? alone? in prison?

    feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Feed only the assembly. Or Feed His Ekklesia, wherever they may be?

    gave him to be the head over all things to the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (brick and mortar building?)

    the church is subject unto Christ
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (brick and mortar building?)

    he is the head of the body, the church
    (assembly?) OR ( the Body of Christ, the called out ones?)
    Or (a brick and mortar building is subject unto Christ ?)
    xxxxxxx

    Mark 7:13
    NLT – And so you “cancel” the word of God
    in order to hand down your own tradition.

    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect”
    through your tradition…

    ASV – Making “void” the word of God
    by your tradition…

    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God
    by your tradition…

    What ”Tradtions” have you been taught in your…
    501 c3, non-profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporation…
    that the IRS call church…

    That are Commandments of Men, Doctrines of men…
    That become your “Tradtions?”
    That “nullify” the word of God?”

    Like

  45. Wow Katy, that’s sad about the religious lady you spoke with.

    I haven’t heard many speak like that but I’ve been around a lot of ‘church goers’ who don’t praise God or seem to display much affection for Christ.

    Not to say every believer is meant to be an extrovert… and as one myself it’s easy to think every believer must think, speak and act like me (forgive me Lord).

    This word Ekklesia is an interesting one.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that the word ‘church’ in Acts 7:38:

    “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:”

    Here is a great example of how the word Ekklesia is used to describe the people of God in the Old Testament.

    The ‘church’ is not a new creation in Acts 2.

    The Ekklesia of God has always existed.

    We are the Israel of God.

    Those who are of faith are the seed of Abraham.

    And I don’t even subscribe to a particular school or theology.

    These are things which God has shown me just from reading my bible.

    Amazing what conclusions you come to when you stop teacher heaping and just read the bible and ask God to open your eyes.

    Like

  46. Katy – you won’t get much disagreement with me over your post above on 4th Dec. @ 4.22. A lot of what you write has a horribly familiar ring to it.

    Like

  47. Amos, been gone for a few days and I realize you still didn’t answer my line of reasoning.

    You know what a red herring is, right? It’s like pointing out all the squirrels to a dog. I don’t think we have a valid debate if all you can do is keep going back to the same reasoning. You say no one is qualified to be an elder, but Peter calls himself one and Paul called the elders together. You say that there is only one shepherd, but Peter tells the elders to ‘shepherd’ the flock, and Jesus tells Peter to ‘shepherd’ the flock.

    But then…. SQUIRREL!!!

    I don’t see the point in carrying on this debate.

    Like

  48. Mark

    Here’s some info from two Exxx-pastors who quit the profession.
    The first one was 33 years a pastor – The other 3 years.

    The Glass Pastor – “Casting Off The Task-Masters”
    http://theglasspastor.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/casting-off-the-task-masters/

    “Don’t get me wrong, for my part
    I did my best to play the role of ‘pastor’,
    but I always knew that I would not be able to really pull it off.
    First of all, I didn’t really buy it.
    There aren’t any church pastors in the New Testament,
    and I could never get past that.”

    Like

  49. “Why I Resigned From Professional Pastoring”
    http://eric-carpenter.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-i-resigned-from-professional.html

    “I wanted to find out whether or not pastors in the bible received salaries. Well, I found a lot more than I was looking for. Not only did I find no evidence for salaried pastors, I didn’t find any evidence for modern pastors at all.”

    “The more I studied the New Testament, the more I saw that modern pastors have little in common with biblical elders. The elders we read of in the bible were part of the church body; they were not outsiders. They didn’t have formal theological education. They didn’t stand out from the body. They were simply mature believers.”

    “I decided that I simply had to resign. I could not in good conscience continue to either receive a salary or continue to be a modern day pastor. There just isn’t any biblical basis for either.”

    Like

  50. And Mark

    A little warning…
    When you’re looking for a place to fellowship…
    You NOW have to ask the pastor/leader/reverend, If they believe in God.

    No kidding…
    There are, Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits

    Who do NOT believe if God.

    You can’t make this stuff up… 😉
    xxxxxxx

    The Clergy Project
    http://www.clergyproject.org/

    The Clergy Project is a confidential
    online community for active and former clergy
    who do not hold supernatural beliefs.
    The Clergy Project launched on March 21st, 2011.

    Currently, the community’s 500 plus members use it to
    network and discuss what it’s like being an unbelieving leader
    in a religious community. The Clergy Project’s goal
    is to support members as they move beyond faith.
    Members freely discuss issues
    related to their transition from believer to unbeliever…
    xxxxxxx

    Mark
    Would you ever, in your life, believe…
    You would have to interview a pastor…
    Before attending, or joining, a 501 c 3, IRS Coporation…
    To see if the Paid, Profesional, Pastor, actually believes in God?
    xxxxxxx

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  51. Mark

    Here is a site that talked about it…

    Preachers Who Don’t Believe in God
    http://www.cbc.ca/tapestry/episode/2012/06/21/preachers-who-dont-believe-in-god-2/

    “Losing faith in God is common,
    but what happens when your paycheque depends on your belief?
    A study from Tufts University tells the story
    of several pastors who no longer believe.
    Some are still working in churches,
    preaching sermons,
    and counseling the faithful.
    They say they do not have the skills for a new job
    and, in some cases, are unable to confide even in their families
    for fear of what their newfound disbelief may do.”
    xxxxxxx

    Could this be why?
    When pastor/elder/overseers realize?
    They Do NOT Qualify?
    They NO longer Qualify?
    According to 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    They do NOT remove themselves?
    And become a good example to His Flock?

    But, their paycheque?

    Hmmm?
    ”what happens when your paycheque depends on your belief?”

    O course, when their paycheque depends on their beliefs.
    1 – Must Be BLAMELESS.
    2 – JUST,
    3 – HOLY,

    NO longer means…
    What you think it means… 😉

    And they willingly ”Ignore,” and, or, “Twist,”
    The 17+, very tuff Qualifications.

    Hmmm? Should WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Servants…
    Support “A Religious System,” with our Time? Talent? Treasure?
    That ‘Hires” and “Supports?”
    pastor/elder/overseers?
    Who do NOT Qualify?

    Do you know any “Titled,”pastor/elder/overseers?
    Who meet ALL the Qualifications?

    Which Qualifications can WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, “Ignore?”

    Like

  52. So, your argument here boils down to… there are bad/unbelieving/… church leaders, therefore leaders are wrong.

    Let’s take this hermeneutical approach to scripture:

    “So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6)

    “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
    “So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Rev 2)

    It is pretty widely held that the Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolas who was one of the seven chosen in Acts 6. Now, applying your hermeneutic to this, you are saying that the apostles (and church) sinned greatly in Acts 6 having the congregation choose the seven simply because one of the seven turned out to be a wolf.

    In fact, you are now accusing Jesus of sin. He chose 12 apostles and named them apostles, yet one (Judas) was a wolf and ultimately betrayed him.

    So, you might think that your logic/hermeneutic make sense and you certainly are pushing it as hard as you can, but following your logic puts me in the untenable situation of accusing Jesus of sin.

    Or, on the other hand, bad men in the pulpit is just another non-point/red herring tactic that is continuing your avoidance of answering why Peter is not a shepherd when Jesus told him to ‘shepherd the flock’.

    Like

  53. “why Peter is not a shepherd when Jesus told him to ‘shepherd the flock’.”

    It’s the difference between usage as a verb and as a noun. To me this qualifies as ‘disputes about words’ Paul warns against. If a man does the job, that is what he is. If he doesn’t, he isn’t. Simple as that!

    Like

  54. Thanks A. Amos, for that wonderful Bible study!

    Ya know, I grew up with animals on our farm; black angus cattle, Yorkshire/Hampshire/and a few Durocs = hogs, chickens (the flock was my farm responsibility during my growing years), ducks, wild turkeys, and black Suffolk sheep. Dad bought a few sheep during my early teen years and cared for them like he did his own children, sometimes spending all night in the barns during lambing season. And he wept, literally, when he lost one of those tiny lambs during birth or when the mother flat out rejected her lamb, not allowing it to nurse. Fortunately, other mothers would accept the orphaned lamb and take it on as one of its own. This was beautiful to witness!

    In observing sheep during those years, as well as fitting, training, and showing them in the ring, it became crystal clear to me exactly why our LORD names Himself as our primary Shepherd, while we, His children, are called His sheep.

    The analogy is spot on! And to date, I have never had one of those pastors, elders, deacons, or deaconesses, or any other “important religious individuals – ya know, the ones that say you aren’t Christian because you don’t live up to their rules, regulations, and traditions of men,” ever weep over me in any way, shape or form, let alone, over my spiritual condition or well being…….they have not cared for me in the Way that Jesus does. This is fact!

    I watched Dad care for those sheep, lovingly, not harshly. I saw the joy in his eyes and heard it in his conversation, during his daily chore routine (he wasn’t a whiner and a complainer, nor a reviler), and I witnessed the emotion and the tears when one lamb or grown sheep died in his small flock. Each life was important to him…….each individual.

    I have never witnessed that in the 501c. 3 thing we call “church.” Too much competition; too many know-it-alls, too much corruption/manipulation and control, too many pastor/preacher men and women that we are supposed to listen too and follow (and give big bucks too), and too many voices blowing in the wind.

    And too many who choose not to “follow Jesus’ voice/Way” through His Word. So as for me and my house, I will choose to have Jesus as my only Shepherd, for He will never leave me nor forsake me.

    It is Jesus’ promise to me, to us……and He never lies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Mark, what is a ‘pulpit’? Where do I find this pulpit in my Bible and if it’s not in my bible where on Earth does this pulpit come from?

    It not from Jesus or the Apostles… where?

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Salty, that’s another hermeneutical approach that leads to erroneous conclusions. For example, do you sing from a hymnal? There are no hymnals in scripture. There are no books in scripture, only scrolls. Are we allowed to print on books? Are we allowed to read the holy scriptures on a website? Again, not mentioned.

    In Westminster circles, there is something called the “Regulative Principle of Worship” and it often leads to these sorts of hogwash conclusions. Mostly, it is exactly what you are doing – pointing to something that you find irritating and trying to use an argument of silence.

    But….
    There’s no example of offerings being taken during worship in Scripture
    There’s no example of baptism in worship in Scripture
    The only time we are given for the church meeting is at night
    There are no examples of women teaching in worship
    Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper with wine and unleavened bread. We are sinning if we use grape juice or leavened bread.
    The Lord’s Prayer is never used in worship
    The Apostle’s Creed and other creeds are never used in worship
    There is no example of anyone praying in worship other than elders/apostles
    There are no examples of pictures or statues or representations of anything (i.e. “idols”) where there is worship

    I used to believe in a God like that – one that made us parse scripture for shreds of evidence to justify each thing that we did, because otherwise we were sinning, but I realized over time that we are given great freedom.

    If you have trouble worshiping pulpits, then I guess you should avoid churches with pulpits. In my church, the pastor puts his Bible and notes on a cocktail table and mostly walks around, so I guess you could go there.

    Like

  57. Mark, so glad you brought up ‘worship’.

    John chapter 4 is interesting.

    The woman at the well points to TWO locations for ‘worship’.

    Jesus says, “neither, lady”.

    Worship isn’t this thing we do and some place.

    It’s a matter of heart and mind in a believer and you need not ‘go’ anywhere to ‘do’ IT.

    Like

  58. And mark,

    What is ‘churches with pulpits’ referring to?

    Given the ‘church’ in the NT is a reference to PEOPLE and not a building, place nor an organisation which commands membership fees for ‘service’…

    What are you referring to?

    Where is this place called ‘church’ in the bible?

    What on earth are you talking about?

    Christianity. Correct?

    Religion made by men.

    Nothing to do with Jesus Christ.

    Best to avoid it altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. “At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), ” (Acts 1:15a)

    “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

    “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)

    I think you are scripture twisting. The saints “gathered together” and yet somehow it’s sinful “religion made by men” to give that gathering a name?

    Like

  60. Mark, you assume wrongly that I think Christians shouldn’t gather at all.

    I gather with believers all the time.

    We just don’t have a program, and we don’t have a million dollar facility with salaried staff and a CEO and a guy called ‘The Pastor’ (who isn’t in the bible except for Pastor Jesus).

    What you speak of is Institutional Christian Religion.

    It has nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.

    If you want to go to a place you call ‘church’ and do the church thing then you’re at liberty to do that.

    We are simply pointing out that this thing called church isn’t what Jesus said he would build.

    Nor is it glorifying to our Heavenly Father.

    I’m quite sure God hates our temple worship and religion as much now as he did then.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. I was reading this discussion when it began, and just now read the last few comments. Maybe you all would like an example of a church– MY church. My wife and I moved to this small town over a year ago and are Christians, but we are just starting to become involved in the church. Of one thing I’m sure– We have 5 Protestant buildings and 1 Catholic. There must be other gatherings in homes or rented buildings but we haven’t become aware of them yet. This probably isn’t God’s ideal for a church.
    Yesterday, we had the largest gathering in years, or maybe ever. My wife attended, but I had to work. You see, our neighbor recently passed away and she was something of a celebrity. It took over two weeks for the town to arrange the funeral. She was Catholic, and the Catholic building has been beset by problems. It’s new and beautiful but cold, damp, and moldy. Until a couple weeks ago the Catholic part of our church has been gathering in the Lutheran building while workers did mold eradication. Sadly they felt obligated to gather at different times.
    The funeral yesterday was held in the Catholic building but my wife still saw mold. The priest talked on so long she fell fast asleep. Thankfully, she was not in a window seat, as I’m unsure we have someone like Paul visiting. BUT she does remember the priest saying one thing about our neighbor. She wanted our church to have unity, and prayed and worked into her 90’s toward that goal. Now perhaps she just wanted to convert everyone. But I’d like to think it was a noble cause.
    What do you all think of my church so far?

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Mark

    You write @ DECEMBER 9, 2017 @ 8:21 AM…

    “In my church,
    the pastor puts his Bible and notes on a cocktail table
    and mostly walks around, so I guess you could go there.”
    xxxxxx

    Was Wondering…

    We spent some time on the 17+, very tuff Qualifications for elder/overseer…
    And extra time on 1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?

    Does your pastor meet ”ALL the Qulifications?”
    In 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    Have you asked?

    Like

  63. Hi Dave AA

    Always a pleasure to hear from you.

    Hmmm?
    “What do you all think of my church so far?”

    Still thinking…
    And reading…

    Like

  64. Katy

    Thanks for the stories about growing up with the animals… Nice, really cool.
    And your observations…

    Much agreement when you write…
    “I will choose to have Jesus as my only Shepherd,
    for He will never leave me nor forsake me”.

    In John 21:15-18, KJV version…
    Jesus asks Peter 3 times, lovest thou me?
    Then tells Peter, Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep.
    Some modern versions say, “shepherd my sheep.”

    When Peter, in 1 Pet 5:2, tells the elders to shepherd…
    It depends on which Bible version you use…
    1 Pet 5:2 KJV – Feed the flock of God which is among you…
    1 Pet 5:2 RSV – Tend the flock of God…
    1 Pet 5:2 NLT – Care for the flock…

    I’m-a-thinkn, today…
    Just cause someone, cares for His sheep, feeds His sheep, tends His sheep.
    Like Julie Anne, Kathi, and so many others on this site…

    Does that mean Jesus, called them to call them self “a shepherd?”
    And speak of themselves seeking their glory?
    With a “Title?” And special privlages? As the special class? Clergy class?
    With their own parking space?

    NOPE…

    Do they have the right to call themself pastor? Or leader? Or reverend?
    Senior pastor? Executive pastor? Lead pastor? Doctor? M,Div?

    Do WE, His Sheep, have to call someone by their religious “Titles?”
    “Titles,” that do NOT exist in the Bible?
    For one of **His Disciples?

    NOT any longer – Thank you Jesus. 😉
    xxxxxxx

    Near by where I live, there’s a, “Petting Zoo.” Some animals are fenced in, caged, Buffalo’s, Eagles, Snakes, keeping the public, and animals, safe. And – Some animals we can “Feed.” You guessed it, Sheepies and Goats. This area is fenced but open and folks can pet the sheep and goats, and “Feed” them. “Care” for them. Just put a couple of quaters in a machine and out comes a handful of pellets. And the folks can “Feed,” “Care for” the Flock.

    But, because I feed sheep, can I now put that on my resume? Shepherd Amos?
    Do I now ask people to call me by the “Title” Shepherd?

    Good Morning Shepherd Amos? 😉
    xxxxxxx

    Most know, ”Today’s Religious System,” is ”BROKEN.”
    Folks are leaving in droves – Becoming ”NONES,” and ”DONES.”

    Many leave because of Spiritual Abuse…
    From pastor/leader/reverends who do NOT meet the Quaifications.

    I’m-a-likein, what King David said…
    The Lord is my Shepherd…
    He leadeth me…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  65. Mark

    You end with @ DECEMBER 8, 2017 @ 8:43 AM
    “…bad men in the pulpit is just another non-point/red herring tactic
    that is continuing your avoidance of answering
    why Peter is not a shepherd
    when Jesus told him to ‘shepherd the flock’.

    I thought we, had already agreed about Peter… You said I was right. 😉
    I wrote on the original thread @ NOVEMBER 27, 2017 @ 10:20 AM…

    Much agreement when you write @ NOVEMBER 26, 2017 @ 12:35 PM
    “So, you’re right, Peter did not call himself a shepherd. JESUS DID.”

    Yup – That’s the point…
    Peter did not call himself a shepherd.

    I’ll add today… And Peter did NOT take the “Title” shepherd.

    And, what about Peter, teaching the elders, in…

    1 Peter 5:3 KJV,
    Neither as being lords over God’s heritage,
    but being ensamples to the flock.

    And the example Peter was to the flock…
    And the example Peter was to his fellow elders…

    Was to call him self “a Servant.” and “a Messenger.”
    2 Pet 1:1* Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
    (apostle = apostolos = a messenger, one sent on a mission.)

    Peters example was, NOT to call him self shepherd.
    Peters example was, NOT to take the “Title” shepherd.

    And, best I can figure…
    In the Bible, the other elders, followed Peters teaching and example.

    And the example the other elders, were to the flock…
    And the example the other elders, were to their fellow elders…

    Was to NOT call themselves shepherd.
    Was to NOT take the “Title” shepherd.

    But, I cudda missed that… In the Bible…
    Can you name one “elder” who called them self a shepherd?
    Can you name one “elder” who took the “Title,” shepherd?
    xxxxxxx

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds
    have caused them to go astray,

    Notice it says – THEIR shepherds.

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  66. A Amos wrote: Was Wondering…

    We spent some time on the 17+, very tuff Qualifications for elder/overseer…
    And extra time on 1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?

    Does your pastor meet ”ALL the Qulifications?”
    In 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    My question to Amos or anyone else is: when Timothy was giving these instructions about bishops/overseers, did he expect Timothy to actually find anyone who met them?

    If no, what was the point of giving them if nobody met them.

    If yes, why shouldn’t we expect this to be possible today?

    Like

  67. KAS, really great question and TBH I don’t know if Paul expected Timothy to find such an ‘overseer’.

    When I read the text I think it seems like he I saying, “if any man desires to oversee the household of God (the ‘church’/ekklesia), let him first be proved as a perfect man”.

    The qualifications list isn’t a joke.

    If Paul was giving Timothy a genuine list then not one man that I know of who assumes the title of Pastor fits the bill.

    Not one.

    If Paul is saying, “hey Timothy, if any man thinks himself to be a leader then test him against this unbelievably high standard to put him back in his place”.

    Either Paul is giving a real list for a real ministry of overseership OR Paul is saying, “if anyone thinks himself to be capable of being the head guy then let him be proved perfect first”. Which is near impossible given the qualifications list.

    Either way, we have a situation in Christianity where men assume titles where scripture doesn’t allow them to and few if any meet Paul’s strict criteria (if Paul was actually giving Timothy a real list for seeking ‘leaders’ or guides/overseers).

    I appreciate your question.

    You are engaging in discussion.

    Many don’t want to ask questions.

    Like

  68. Amos,

     Again, a red herring. You say that we agree, but then you quote approvingly, "There aren’t any church pastors in the New Testament,"
    

    I thought we agreed that Peter was a church pastor (shepherd = pastor), so I’m not sure even you know what you’re saying. I sure don’t.

    Salty,

     "I’m quite sure God hates our temple worship and religion as much now as he did then."
    

    “When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions), and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” (2 Chron. 5:11-14)

    Perhaps God was displeased later with the “religion” that the Israelites brought, but at this point, he was seemingly very happy with the temple and its worship, so much so that he manifested his glory in the temple building.

    I think this makes my point more clearly. You are merely assuming that God hated the temple without actually testing that against the word of God. In fact, the opposite is true. When Jesus clears the temple, the prophecy is quoted “Zeal for your house will consume me.” When Jesus visits the temple at age twelve, he tells his parents, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” So, in fact, we see that God’s hatred of false temple worship does not thereby probe that God hates temple worship or the temple.

    “Which is near impossible given the qualifications list.”

    I think you have the same problem my abusive church had, but from the upward-looking perspective. You seem to refuse to believe the work of the Holy Spirit. In my former church’s case, they felt that when they saw a besetting sin, they had to badger and discipline the sinner until he repented or left. They felt like they had to apply inordinate pressure to get someone to shape up, and when they did, of course it was this amazing work that “God” had done. I think in the same way, you deny that God could raise up people who are qualified. It seems that, even though God promises to raise shepherds (plural) it’s okay for you and Amos to deny the work of Holy Spirit in doing just that by moving the goalposts.

    “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.”

    Yes, we have a situation, and I think we should be boldly calling out those (like Ravi) who no longer meet those qualifications, and we should be boldly calling out those who seek ministry who don’t meet the qualifications. We should also be calling out systems of church government where barely-adults are sent off to seminary for the purpose of becoming “old guys (elders)” and then getting put through the diploma/ordination mill where they become the Lord’s anointed just because we turned the handle on some crank. I think it’s a huge red flag when someone points to their office (pastor/elder/doctor/…) as the reason you should defer to or obey them, but I’m not going to 100% dismiss everyone as being a false shepherd on that basis. I’m going to hear what they have to say and discern whether it sounds like the voice of the chief shepherd.

    Like

  69. Amos,

    “We spent some time on the 17+, very tuff Qualifications for elder/overseer…
    And extra time on 1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?”

    And did you read my response or are you just ignoring it because it’s convenient.

    Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas were sent to the “Apostles and elders
    “And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.” (Acts 21)
    “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.” (Acts 20)
    “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed” 1 Peter 5

    Now, I don’t expect you to understand this, but you have very few options here:

    1) The Bible uses the word “elder” in some sort of common sense, not really meaning elder, because, of course no one is really qualified to be an elder.
    1a) That means Peter is a liar.
    2) The Bible uses the word “elder” like most have taken it, and that means that the men that the inspired text calls elders met the qualifications of being blameless, just and holy.
    2a) Maybe blameless, just and holy are standards that can be met by more than one?
    3) The word “elder” just means “old guy” and has no religious significance.
    3a) If I’m not blameless, just and holy, does that mean I can stay young forever?

    Now, let’s talk about Peter. If he is correct in calling himself an elder, which we presume because we believe 1 Peter to be inspired and inerrant, then he must meet the qualifications. Yet, we have a seeming contradiction. Jesus called him Satan to his face when he was rebuked. Peter denied Jesus three times. So, how can someone who is called out for his sin be called blameless or holy? By your definition, I don’t think he can. Yet, he calls himself an elder. So…. is he an elder who is blameless, just and holy, or is he a liar and not an elder?

    In the same way, if Timothy is sent to appoint elders in every city, then Paul is either sending Timothy on an impossible mission (Salty’s apparent conviction), or Paul expects that people have been raised up by the Holy Spirit to meet those qualifications, in every city.

    Like

  70. Mark,

    The modern day religious institutions calling themselves ‘church’ or ‘churches’ say THEY are the House of God.

    We hear it all the time.

    “Welcome to the house of the Lord this morning”.

    The New Testament couldn’t be clearer…

    It is His PEOPLE (not in some meeting) who are His temple. His Ekklesia is his HOUSE.

    We have absolutely no need to rebuild meeting places, replicating temple ‘worship’ and ordinances.

    The early Ekklesia met simply for fellowship in houses without some dude presiding over their meetings.

    I see no modern day ‘Pastor’ in the New Testament.

    I see mature, godly ‘elders’ (aged men) who are exhorted to oversee the younger babes in the faith.

    This… THIS is not the same thing as what the Institutional church called ‘leaders’ or ‘Pastors’.

    All of THAT comes from Roman Catholicism.

    To ignore this historical fact is to be completely blind and I’m amazed Christians cannot see it clearly.

    The ones who can ‘get it’.

    They come out of her.

    Harlot Religion.

    I have got no serious grievances with the Institutional ‘church’, personally. I haven’t been abused by anyone.

    I simply believe God doesn’t want his people to join themselves to sects.

    That’s all.

    I don’t need a club to walk with God, serve others and share Christ with the lost.

    Nor do I expect some club to meet my needs.

    God meets all my needs.

    Like

  71. And Mark…

    The word elder simply means aged person.

    It isn’t automatically referring to males who are older unless the context states it’s an elder male.

    Do a word search on elder in the NT and you’ll find elders who are women.

    Elder isn’t some religious position or title of leadership.

    It’s simply a distinction made regarding the maturity and age of the person.

    It’s not hard.

    Like

  72. Julie Anne,

    Thank you so much for giving us our own discussion thread. During the last full year that we’ve carried on this debate—we’ve started and stopped this discussion on so many different threads that its really hard for everyone to see all the ground that we’ve covered in this debate. It’s really nice to have a dedicated thread.

    Few years ago we got to vacation in Washington state. It was so beautiful. We drove for several hours and enjoyed just drinking it all in. Even the side of the road was so picturesque. That picture is very nice. Makes me want to visit Washington state again.

    Like

  73. Salty,

    If elders were only older people—why did the Apostle Paul say to Timothy “Let no man despise your youth?” Paul was speaking to Timothy as a young elder in the church!

    Then there’s the young Stephen who was appointed to church leadership.

    Then there’s Junia the female Apostle. She wasn’t just an older lady in the church. She was ordained into church leadership.

    Then there’s Phoebe the deacon. There’s Chloe the pastor. The whole book of 2John was written to a lady in church leadership.

    “This letter is from John, the ELDER. I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth–as does everyone else who knows the truth.”

    I don’t have my research notes in front of me at the moment and I’m about to run to work but I do remember reading about how the wording in the Greek is referring to her as a church leader.

    The New Testament continually refers to church leadership when saying things like:

    “This they did, sending their gifts to the ELDERS with Barnabas and Saul.”
    Acts 11:30

    “As a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and a partaker of the glory to be revealed, I appeal to the elders among you.”
    1Peter 5:11

    I could go on and on because the whole NT supports the concept of church leadership. If they were just older people in the church, then there wouldn’t have been a need for the list of leadership qualifications for selecting the right people.

    Like

  74. Mark – KAS

    You ask some reasonable questions, and have rasonable thoughts…
    I have also wondered about these things…

    Mark writes @ DECEMBER 10, 2017 @ 9:59 PM

    “…then Paul is either sending Timothy on an impossible mission…”

    KAS writes @ DECEMBER 10, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

    “…when Timothy was giving these instructions about bishops/overseers,
    did he expect Timothy to actually find anyone who met them?”

    “If no, what was the point of giving them if nobody met them.”
    xxxxxxx

    How about this question…

    Was God giving Moses and ”impossible mission?”

    ”What was the point” of God, asking Moses, to go up the mountain?
    And bring back ”The Ten Commandments” for the Isrealites?
    If NOT one Isrealite was able to meet them? Obey them?
    xxxxxxx

    Gods ways are higher than our ways…
    Gods thoughts are Higher than our thoughts…

    Like

  75. Avid Reader – continuing your thoughts that elders are not just older and hopefully mature believers, why did Paul say to the elders at Ephesus:

    Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God …

    They are appointed to this by the Holy Spirit himself. This is not needed just to get old – believe me, I’m working on this.

    Isn’t there a lot packed into that short phrase above?

    Paul immediately goes on to warn against the wolves who will appear, wanting disciples to followers of them rather than Jesus. How utterly up to date the NT is!

    The existence of the fake does not mean the real thing doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Amos, “If NOT one Isrealite was able to meet them? Obey them?”

    This is not a correct analogy. The law was given as a tutor to help the Israelites understand their need for the Messiah, who would fulfill that law. In some ways, the law was given as the standard for righteousness (e.g. natural law), and in some ways, the law was given specifically to point to the pain and death caused by their sin on the innocent lambs and the need for a savior.

    However, now that we have the perfect fulfillment of that law, we don’t say that it’s okay to do otherwise. Even the most convinced antinomian doesn’t say it’s okay to bear false witness, commit adultery, murder, dishonor authority, etc.

    So, if Timothy is the bearer of the NT equivalent of the Ten Commandments, as you speculate, while it is “impossible” to fulfill, we must still do our best. Although we may never find someone blameless like the “chief” shepherd, we can still find people who are worthy of being followed, like Paul, Peter, Timothy and others who are called out as such.

    How do you handle the obvious plurality here?
    “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4)

    Like

  77. KAS

    How can WE,

    WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Ambassadors…
    His Friends, His Bride, His Servants, His Disciples…
    His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Church…
    His Body, His Followers, His sons…

    Know, ”the real thing?”

    Know who, “are appointed to this by the Holy Spirit himself?”

    Like

  78. Mark

    “This is not a correct analogy.”

    Well – I’m-a-thinkn, This is a great anaolgy. 🙂

    Gal 3:24 NASB
    Therefore ”the Law” has become our tutor ”to lead us to Christ,”
    xxxxxxx

    And Paul, and most likely Jesus…
    Give 17+, very, very tuff Qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus…
    For elders to be appointed as oveerseers.

    So one possibility…

    For Paul, and most likely Jesus..
    Giving 17+, such very tuff Qualifications…
    Is… these standards, rules, qualifications, ”MUST be”
    1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?”

    Are much like ”the Law.”

    And, ”has become our tutor to lead us to Christ?”

    Because, after knowing many Mere Fallible Humans,
    Who covet these “Titles/Postions.”
    Always seem to fall short…
    UN-Qulified…

    So, when you are looking for someone?
    To be your shepherd? your teacher? your leader?

    I recommend the “ONE” who referred to Himself as…

    “The “ONE” Leader
    “The “ONE” Teacher
    “The “ONE” Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  79. Mark – KAS

    Yup – I’ma-athinkn, ”The Law” is a great example.

    Seems, in the Bible, God has NO problem…
    Commanding His people ”To Do” many things that they can’t fulfill.

    1 – We have the Ten Commandments.

    How well did the Israelites do with obeying just 10? In the wilderness?
    How are you doing with the 10?

    I ain’t ben so gud bean able to “obey those ten commandments.”

    2 – Then there’s The Greatest Commandment in the NT.

    How are you doing with loving God with all your heart, soul and mind?
    How are you doing with loving your neighbor?
    How are you doing with loving yourself?

    I don’t seem to be able to “ Obey The Greatest Commandment.”
    Love God… Love your neignbor… as you Love yourself…
    Well, Maybe sometimes… 😉

    3 – Jesus said “fear not”and “worry not.”

    I don’t seem to be able to “Obey those commands.” Always?
    How’s that been working for you?

    4 – How about Pro 3:5-7
    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
    and lean NOT unto thine own understanding.
    In “ALL” thy ways acknowledge him,
    and he shall direct thy paths. (Hmmm? The Lord directs? leads?)
    Be NOT wise in thine own eyes:
    fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    Do you always “Trust in the Lord?”
    Do you acknowledge Jesus in “ALL” your ways?
    Have you “departed from evil?”
    I don’t seem to be able to ““Obey all those commands.”

    How’s that been working for you?

    5 – How about – Pray without ceasing? 1 Thes 5:17

    Nope… NOT this one either…

    More comin…

    Like

  80. Here are a few more that come to mind…

    6 – How about when leaders teach you – Go… make disciples…
    How many “Disciples of Jesus” have you made? Hmmm?
    Not converts, or confessions of faith, or repenters of sin.
    Not someone who joined “your church,” or became “your disciple.”

    BUT, a living, breathing, “Disciple of Jesus.”
    A believer… Learning directly from Jesus. NO middle man.

    Had to eventually admit… I NEVER made a disciple of Jesus.

    I Never figured out…
    How do you get someone to “DENY Themself?” Mat 16:24-25 😦
    How do you get someone to “lose their life for Jesus sake?”
    How do you get someone to “Forsake ALL?” Luke 14:33 😦

    I haven’t been able to make any True “Disciples of Jesus.”
    How about you? How are you with “fulfilling this command?”

    7 – Then we have Luke 6:27-30,

    But I say unto you which hear,
    Love your enemies,
    do good to them which hate you, (Do Good? He’s kiddin, yes?)
    Bless them that curse you, and
    pray for them which despitefully use you.
    And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek
    offer also the other; (NOPE – Haven’t fulfilled this one – YET?) Oy Vey!!!
    and him that taketh away thy cloke
    forbid not to take thy coat also.
    Give to every man that asketh of thee; (Every man? He’s kiddin, yes?)
    and of him that taketh away thy goods
    ask them not again.

    This one is certainly a challenge. I don’t do so good with this one.
    How about you? How are you with “Obeying this command?”

    And the list goes on, and on, and…

    The benefit has been…
    As I tried to live as Jesus commanded – and I came up short…
    over and over again – again and again…

    With ”ALL MY” failures of His Commands, His Law…

    I finally had NO confidence in the flesh…
    I had NO place to Go…
    But to Go To Jesus…
    He’s the best… 😉

    Yes – ALL those Laws, Commands, led me to Jesus…

    And Jesus still loves me – Glory to God –

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  81. Mark

    Could another possibility be…

    For Paul, and most likely Jesus..
    Giving 17+, such very tuff Qualifications, IS…

    ”It’s a TEST?

    God does test and prove “His People” A Lot in the scriptures. Yes?
    Deut 8:2 NKJV, Gen 22:1 NKJV, Psalm 66:10-12 NKJV, Psalm 26:2 NKJV. etc.

    ”Could this be “A Test” of someone’s “Integrity?”

    Why would someone, a believer, assume the role of pastor/overseer?
    And say they are a pastor/overseer?

    If they they do NOT qualify to be an pastor/overseer?”

    ”Could it be a lack of “Integrity?”

    Hmmm?

    Like

  82. Mark

    What would you call someone, who called them self a pastor/overseer…
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a pastor/overseer?

    What would you call a medical Doctor, who said they were a Doctor..
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a medical Doctor?

    What would you call a Lawyer, who said they were a Lawyer…
    And they knew they did NOT qualify to be a Lawyer?

    Would you recommend a Doctor or a Lawyer to a friend?
    If you knew they did NOT qualify to be a Doctor or a Lawyer?

    Or, would you warn your friend?They do NOT?qualify?
    Would you take the time to warn the Doctor? The Lawyer?
    That you know – They do NOT qualify?

    Wouldn’t it be dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on
    A Doctor, or a Lawyer who does NOT qualify?

    In my experience…
    It is dangerous and expensive to trust and depend on
    pastor/overseers who do NOT qualify.

    Could that be why “The Corrupt Religious System” of today
    Is in such a mess and folks are leaving in droves…
    pastor/overseers – who do NOT qualify?

    The Bible warns us, a lot – About False apostles, many False prophets,
    False teachers, False Christ’s’, False anointed one’s, etc..

    Cursed is the man who trusts in man. To NOT trust in princes.
    Let NO man deceive you.
    And The list goes on…

    And lot’s of scriptures about trusting and following Jesus.
    xxxxxxx

    Could another possibility be…

    For Paul, and most likely Jesus..
    Giving 17+, such very tuff Qualifications, IS…

    ”It’s a TEST?

    ”Could these qualifications be “A Test” of someone’s “Integrity?”

    Why would someone, a believer, assume the role of pastor/overseer?
    And say they are a pastor/overseer?

    If they they do NOT qualify to be an pastor/overseer?”

    ”Could it be a lack of “Integrity?”

    Hmmm?

    Like

  83. Avid and KAS,

    The “elder woman” in 1 Timothy 5:2 is the same word elder ‘presbyteros’ that you’re claiming is a religious leadership title.

    Read 1 Timothy 5:2. Is this elder woman a religious leader or is the write simply distinguishing between the older woman and the younger. The text seems pretty clear to me it’s making an age distinction.

    Nothing to do with addressing some religious leader called ‘elder woman’.

    Think about it.

    And I’ve got no idea how old Timothy was. All I know is that the word elder simply means mature/ aged. That what the word means no matter how much you wish it to mean a religious leader.

    Fact: none of these ‘ordained’ (appointed elders: ie: older mature believers selected to look over God’s baby believers) had temple buildings constructed with little offices with Senior Pastor or Elder on the Eldership Board plastered on it.

    They are simply older, wiser believers who can guide younger folk.

    I know lots of people like this who provide godly counsel to younger people in the faith.

    None conmand a salary to ‘serve’. None presume themselves wise enough to be appointed into a religious position seen nowhere in scripture.

    The funny thing is about the verse Mark quotes…

    “And he gave SOME Apostles, SOME teachers, SOME apostles…”

    Not one person seems to question what the meaning of SOME is.

    Haha.

    God gave SOME what?

    Some people?

    God gave some people apostles, teachers and pastors.

    Only some?

    A few?

    Not all?

    Not every.single.saint.

    Wow.

    Just SOME.

    Gotta wonder about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. Salty

    Great question…
    Nice to see “SOME” being questioned…

    “Not one person seems to question what the meaning of SOME is.”

    Haha.

    “God gave SOME what?”
    xxxxxxx

    I usually get a “Very Blank Stare,” when asking that question… 😉

    Like

  85. Mark
    Hmmm? Eph 4:11 KJV?

    And he gave ”SOME,”
    apostles; and ”SOME,”
    prophets; and ”SOME,”
    evangelists; and ”SOME,”
    pastors and teachers;

    Mark – Have you ever looked at the ”SOME?”

    Who does the ”SOME,” refer to?
    No really, do you know who ”SOME,” refers to?

    Does the “”SOME,” refer to the saints?
    Does the ”SOME,” refer to apostles?

    Did he give ”SOME,” saints, apostles?
    And ”SOME,” saints, prophets?
    And ”SOME,” saints, evangelists?
    And ”SOME,” saints, pastor – teachers?

    Or did He give ”SOME,”
    apostles,
    prophets,
    evangelists,
    pastors – teachers
    to “ALL” the saints?
    to “”SOME,” saints?

    Does every congregation
    get all five, or is it four in Greek?
    an apostle,
    a prophet,
    an evangelist,
    and a pastor – teacher?

    Do ”ALL” the saints get to learn
    from “”SOME,” apostles?
    from “”SOME,” prophets?
    from “”SOME,” evangelists?
    from “”SOME,” pastor – teachers?

    Or, only ”SOME,” saints?

    If I don’t get to learn from an apostle; Am I deprived? Not complete?

    When you’re in a room
    or better yet a congregation,
    with an apostle,
    and a prophet,
    and a evangelist,
    and a pastor – teacher,
    Who is the leader?
    Who submits to who?
    Who submits to God?
    Is the pastor – teacher in last place?

    If they are “Titles” and not functions of the body
    does the pastor submit to the evangelist?
    the evange….

    My brain hurts….

    Does anyone know who ”SOME,” referrs to?

    Mark –
    Do you have “apostles and prophets” where you fellowship?
    If you do NOT have “apostles and prophets”*
    Why do you have **”pastors/teachers?”

    If there are over 500,000 pastors in the USA.
    Where are all the “apostles and prophets?”

    If there are NO “apostles and prophets,” Today?
    Why are there still pastors?

    In the Bible, How many people are… called pastor?
    In the Bible, How many people are… ordained a pastor?
    In the Bible, How many congregations are… led by a pastor?

    If the “Title” pastor is not in the Bible; Why do so many have that “Title?”

    When did pastor become a title? A profession? A paid position? An idol?

    Just wondering and wandering.

    Like

  86. Dave AA

    Welcome to the discussion. Thanks for sharing, that was interesting. Hope things work out with that mold situation.

    Like

  87. Salty,

    There appears to be some confusion in our discussion. I wasn’t referring to 1Timothy. I was referring to 2John.

    Again I wish I had my reference notes in front of me at the moment. But I do remember reading about in the original Greek, 2John is a reference to female leadership in the early church.

    Like

  88. Amos,

    God doesn’t play games with us. God doesn’t trick us. God didn’t give us a set of specific instructions and qualifications for church leadership and then say—oops that was just a joke!

    Nope. God gave us detailed qualifications for church leadership to help us know the difference between the wolves and the real shepherds or whatever you want to call them.

    Amos, I’m surprised that you’re still saying that the very title of pastor which comes from the pages of scripture is somehow unscriptural. That ignores a lot of NT verses. That ignores the whole context of Ephesians 4:11 that there’s a need for pastors, teachers, etc to build up the flock.

    If the argument is that we can only do what the disciples did, then we can’t drive cars because the disciple never drove cars.

    Instead I choose to believe the words of Christ when He told Peter to “Feed my sheep.”

    There’s a reason that Jesus told Peter to do something that some still argue is only Christ’s job to do. If you want more verses on that let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

  89. Amos wrote,

    “If the “Title” pastor is not in the Bible; Why do so many have that “Title?””

    Amos how can you say that when Ephesians 4:11 is where we get the title pastor from? Last I checked it’s in the Bible.

    Like

  90. Avid,

    The word ‘pastor’ comes from the Greek word transliterated ‘poimen’.

    This Greek word appears around 16 or 17 times (I forget the exact number) in the NT.

    In ONE instance it is Pastors (plural). “Some pastors”.

    In EVERY other instance it is translated as Shepherd.

    Ask why this is.

    And WHO just WHO do you think is this Shepherd in the 15 or so verses?

    Hint: he’s a King.

    And he’s coming again.

    I do not argue that God gives SOME saints guides to encourage and exhort them in the faith.

    But the verse says plainly, “HE GAVE”.

    Not “men appointed themselves as leaders”.

    Ironically, the word leader and leadership doesn’t appear much if at all in my NT.

    The word servant appears a lot.

    Interesting.

    Avid, the word elder is elder whether in Timothy, Jude or John.

    Same Greek word.

    Just means older or aged mature person.

    Not a religious title or leader.

    That’s all it means.

    Like

  91. Just for info from an etymological dictionary:

    Pastor (n.)

    late 14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), “shepherd,” also “spiritual guide, shepherd of souls,” from Old French pastor, pastur “herdsman, shepherd” (12c.), from Latin pastorem (nominative pastor) “shepherd,” from pastus, past participle of pascere “to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat,” from PIE root *pa- “to feed; tend, guard, protect.” The spiritual sense was in Church Latin (e.g. Gregory’s “Cura Pastoralis”). The verb in the Christian sense is from 1872.

    Shepherd is simply Anglo-Saxon for the same idea.

    Like

  92. Amos and Salty,

    You’re dancing and backpedaling.

    The POINT is that SOME is plural. Not singular. PLURAL.

    If Jesus gave SOME pastors, then you can’t be faithful to the Bible and say that there is only ONE pastor. Not only that, but it is JESUS who is giving us these gifts. Not the father, but Jesus.

    So, throwing a bunch of verses out about qualifications and ONE and whatever doesn’t answer the question.

    Why can only one (JESUS) qualify as a pastor when the Bible says that there are more than one (SOME) who qualify.
    If the Bible says that SOME qualify, meaning more than our sinless Christ, then perhaps you are raising the bar too high on the qualifications for pastor/elder.

    Let’s stop the red herrings and pulpit pounding and actually have a debate, shall we? I’m tired of chasing squirrels.

    Like

  93. Can you point to the scripture that says that a “shepherd” who calls himself a “shepherd” is no longer qualified to be a shepherd?

    You might have a problem with this:

    “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

    Isn’t that a catch-22? If calling oneself a shepherd disqualifies you from being a shepherd, then doesn’t Jesus violate your standard here? Or is it an extra-Biblical standard you are trying to apply? Are you trying to add to the word of God?

    Like

  94. Also, I don’t believe in the inerrancy of Biblical translators.

    archipoimén: chief shepherd http://biblehub.com/str/greek/750.htm (occurs once)
    poimainó: to act as a shepherd (the verb) http://biblehub.com/str/greek/4165.htm
    Some verses:
    “AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.” (Matt 2:6) – note “ruler” will “shepherd”
    “”Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28) – purpose of overseers is to “shepherd”
    poimén: a shepherd http://biblehub.com/str/greek/4166.htm

    4165 is a “cognate” of 4166, which is similar to how shepherd is used in English. That is the noun (shepherd) is the person who does the action (shepherd), just like a baker bakes and a miller mills and a smith smiths.

    So, I think it is making a completely unnatural distinction, one which doesn’t exist in the Bible, to say that someone who mills, who calls himself a miller is somehow the antithesis of a miller.

    Strongs clarifies a bit… “4165 /poimaínō (“shepherding, pastoring”) is distinct from “feeding” (1006 /bóskō). 4165 (poimaínō) focuses on “tending” (“shepherding”) (WS, 274), which includes guarding, guiding, and folding the flock and is only provided (ultimately) by Jesus Christ – the Shepherd, who calls under-shepherds (such as elder-overseers) to guard and guide His people by His direction (1 Pet 5:1-5).”

    So, to (I think) Amos’s point, throwing some food at a goat in a zoo does not capture the essence of what makes a shepherd a shepherd. A shepherd does that, too, but also guards and guides.

    Salty, yes, poimen has three uses: 1) shepherd of actual sheep, 2) Jesus referring to himself as a shepherd, 3) the shepherds Jesus has given the church. Just because (3) only occurs once doesn’t make it any less scripture.

    Like

  95. Amos, “Mark –
    Do you have “apostles and prophets” where you fellowship?
    If you do NOT have “apostles and prophets”*
    Why do you have **”pastors/teachers?””

    That’s a good point, and one that I’ve had to revisit in the past few years. My old church was cessationist, which meant that they believed that “apostles and prophets” were offices that ceased with the completion of scripture, because once scripture was complete, there was no more need for inerrant communication from God in written or spoken form.

    My new church would say that these gifts represent types of spiritual gifts that are given to each believer, and that each believer has a responsibility to cultivate all of the gifts in their ministry to each other regardless of their “primary” gifting.

    So, I would say I honestly don’t have a good answer for you. I still lean towards the first because I was steeped in that the most and it makes the most sense from a literal reading of scripture, but it’s not something that I really feel like digging into exhaustively because I think I can still be charitable on both sides of the argument.

    If you want the cessationist answer, the qualifications for Apostle are given in Acts, and they include having seen the risen Jesus.

    “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.”

    It is intriguing that this is parallel to what happens in the Old Testament. There are 12 tribes of Israel, but Joseph’s “Tribe” is turned into Ephraim and Manasseh. In a similar way, Judas’s “Office” is given to Matthias and Paul. Yet, to the non-cessationist point, there are others who are called apostles in the NT, for example:
    “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd…” (Acts 14:14)
    “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” (Romans 16:7)
    “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” (1 Cor. 9:5)
    “and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Cor. 15:5-9)
    “But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.” (Gal. 1:9)

    It is possible that in the modern church we don’t really know how to distinguish between the offices, and thus everyone who is “gifted” is thought to be a pastor, whether they are an apostle, evangelist, prophet or pastor (or teacher).

    Like

  96. Mark,

    Consider this verse:

    “[Jhn 10:16 KJV] 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] ONE shepherd.”

    This is our Lord Jesus Christ speaking.

    I am not a bible worshipper.

    Jesus IS the word of God, sharper than any two edged sword. It is HE who is alive and the discerner of thoughts of the heart.

    I don’t read Paul‘s ONE instance where he used the words “some pastors” and think, “well, Paul did say that Christ would give us some (a few) pastors to guide and lead us DESPITE Jesus saying there’s ONE Shepherd (same word POIMEN).

    I’m not one of those “well if the bible says it then that settles it” Christians who ignores things which appear to contradict.

    And as I’ve said before, I do not believe the body of Christ DOES NOT have overseers and guides IN THE FORM of godly, mature elder believers.

    But these people are not salaried religious professionals like priests and popes and bishops and any other name you want to give to a self appointed ruler over the sheep fold of Jesus Christ.

    If HE GAVE us indeed SOME (a few) ie, not many ‘shepherds’ (surprisingly translated pastors in this sole verse) then you can bet your life on it that THEY DO exist.

    But I’m guessing they are highly likely not in the shape and form that we think they are.

    That is, they’re not the bible college grads with no life experience who love Centre stage with their lengthy “dear father god father lord thanks Jesus amen oh father god” waffley prayers and polished sermons, who are earning 100k plus per year to serve God’s people.

    There are servants in the body of Christ.

    Guiding and tending to his flock.

    He is the great shepherd of he one fold.

    And if HE has given a few people or a few shepherds this task… then he’s done it.

    And people don’t self appoint to do it.

    We aren’t building his Ekklesia.

    He is.

    And please don’t accuse us of leading you and others on some word game chase.

    I’m a genuine believer who seeks the lord and shares Christ. I’m not playing games mark. Your snide comment makes it sound like you hate being confronted with a challenging view to your love of Institutional Christian Religion.

    🤢

    Like

  97. Amos wrote,

    “Do you have “apostles and prophets” where you fellowship?
    If you do NOT have “apostles and prophets”*
    Why do you have **”pastors/teachers?””

    Amos, the Bible never required that the apostles/prophets/pastors, etc all have to be in the same place at the same time.

    Here’s the logical fallacy—saying that all brick and mortar churches must be wrong unless we can prove that apostles, prophets, pastors etc are all at the same place at the same time. That’s a huge jump in reasoning that doesn’t make any sense.

    According to the Bible, these offices are needed to help “equip the saints for works of ministry to build up the body of Christ.”
    Ephesians 4:12 (BSB)

    I agree with Salty that there’s a huge difference between self-appointed pastors and those that God has chosen and gifted. No one here is saying you have to support the self-promoted ones.

    Like

  98. Avid, “bricks and mortar churches”.

    What is this referring to?

    The word Church is a reference to the called out people of God.

    That means the people who attend those “bricks and mortar buildings” may be members in particular of the Ekklesia in that town, but the meeting itself or the organisation is not the Ekklesia.

    The members remain a part of the Ekklesia even when not in fellowship or conference.

    Christ is building whatever his Ekklesia is.

    It’s singular.

    I will build my singular Ekklesia.

    The question is, what just what is he building?

    1 Peter: a ‘spiritual’ HOUSE.

    No bricks and mortar ‘churches’ slash ‘house of the Lord’.

    It’s his people.

    Christ is building up His kingdom in the hearts of his people globally and we do not need bricks and mortar buildings to assemble with other believers for fellowship nor do we need men to spoon feed us their version of doctrine and pay for the privilege.

    The NT says over and over that God will teach his people. The Holy Spirit seems to be dead and buried in Christendom. For everyone is learning not from some teachers but every man has heaped up many for him or herself.

    Where is the man or woman who goes into their bedroom and kneels before their spirit Father and prays for him to teach and guide them.

    Here’s a person I’d be keen to fellowship with.

    You’d learn a thing or two from them.

    Self appointed pastors or leaders aren’t in Scripture unless you count Diotrophes.

    He loved to have the preeminence amongst them.

    Sound familiar?

    A true pastor would not take a title to take the preeminence from among the people of God.

    I am yet to meet a so called Pastor who is genuine and humble and doesn’t take money from the sheep of Christ to serve.

    Where’s that guy?

    Liked by 1 person

  99. Salty,

    Have you ever read the book—Tramp For the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom? You’ve probably read The Hiding Place. Both are really powerful books. Most of us here know the story of how Corrie and her family saved lives in Holland during a very dark time in history. Then they were betrayed and arrested.

    In the book Tramp—Corrie writes about how her worst fear was being sent to a German concentration camp. As long as she was in prison in Holland she felt safe. But then the day came that her and her sister were loaded onto a train and shipped right where she had heard so many horrific stories about.

    Corrie describes how they didn’t have any water for three days during the trip because every time the train cars doors were opened and a bucket of water given, only the women by the door got it all. Plus there were so many women crammed together that they couldn’t lay down. Women would faint in a sitting position because there was no room.

    When they arrived at the camp, it was a brutal place. Most of you reading this know how horrific those camps were. Corrie is enduring this suffering at a later age in life—she’s in her mid-fifties. Yet in the middle of so much pain, Corrie and her sister brought the light of the Gospel to a very dark place. There’s a really powerful part of the book where she describes what it was like to lead Biblestudies in that camp. She describes how one night they were in the barracks and she was ministering to the ladies when one of the worst guards starts coming their direction.

    The other ladies are trying to signal Corrie to hide the Bible that they had so carefully smuggled into the camp. Yet she continues on—teaching from the Bible and deciding to lead the group in a song. The female guard stops and listens. Then to their surprise, the guard asks them for another song. The guard says she likes the songs. As Corrie describes, “In a crude sort of way, she became a friend.”

    Corrie describes the suffering they endured. Having to stand for hours in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn while the roll was taken. Yet she also talked about how all that suffering “was worthwhile” worth it because that was the only way she was able to lead many of the other ladies to Christ before they died.

    In the book Corrie writes about what it was like to look at the crematoriums everyday and wonder if you were going to live or die. Yet in the middle of that darkness, the Holy Spirit starts talking to her and her sister about what to do after the war. Betsie tells Corrie, “God showed me that after the war we must give to the Germans that which they now try to take away from us—our love for Jesus.”

    Corrie writes, “One week before the order came to kill all the women of my age, I was free. I still don’t understand all the details….” So she goes out to minister as the Holy Spirit leads her. As you read the book, you can see she’s doing the real work of the ministry:

    1) Strengthen the weak
    2) Heal the sick
    3) Bandage the hurt
    4) Bring back the ones that wandered away
    5) Look for the ones that were lost
    6) Feed the sheep

    Some say that people doing the work of the ministry should work full time and never take a salary for ministry. Well, what type of job can a mature lady in her fifties find who just walked out of a concentration camp? How’s she supposed to hold that job down while obeying the call of God to travel and minister around the world?

    The rest of the book is really powerful stories about the last twenty years of her life while she was ministering to the deep wounds after the war. She describes traveling all over the world. When she first goes to America, no one wants her to speak. This was before her book came out so people didn’t know who she was. Yet she pressed on, in traveling and looking for ministry opportunities until the doors opened. For the rest of her life, she was able to minister to a lot of people.

    There’s a story in the book about what it was like to speak to a congregation in Africa whose lives were being threatened. What do you say, when you know most likely most of the congregation is about to be killed? Corrie tells the story of how nervous she was while doing that Biblestudy in the concentration camp when the guard walked up. Yet she also described how when we are most afraid that’s when God gives us the most courage to keep going. Shortly thereafter she finds out that many in that congregation were killed for their faith.

    There’s another story in the book where she’s speaking behind the Iron Curtain. Many of you know that she traveled with Brother Andrew to minister to the persecuted church. So while speaking in this brick and mortar church she notices that the congregation seems to not being hearing anything she’s saying. She feels led by the Holy Spirit to rebuke demonic powers. She does. Then goes on with her sermon. Afterward the local pastors have this big theological debate about whether demons exist. It was humorous because while they were going around and around in circles debating theology, Corrie was doing the real work of the ministry to bind up the wounds.

    Anyway, there are many people out there who are called by God to be pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. There are many good people out there who fit the qualification list that God gave us to help us see the difference between the wolves and the real ministers. I shared this as an example of someone doing the real work of the ministry.

    Like

  100. Avid

    You write @ DECEMBER 11, 2017 @ 12:14 PM

    “God doesn’t play games with us. God doesn’t trick us. God didn’t give us a set of specific instructions and qualifications for church leadership and then say—oops that was just a joke!”

    Hmmm?
    I never said God plays games with us.
    I never said God tricks us. (But He does. Often.)
    I never said the qualifications were just a joke.
    xxxxxxx

    Here is what I said…

    Could another possibility be…

    For Paul, and most likely Jesus..
    Giving 17+, such very tuff Qualifications, IS…

    ”It’s a TEST?

    God does test and prove “His People” A Lot in the scriptures. Yes?
    Deut 8:2 NKJV, Gen 22:1 NKJV, Psalm 66:10-12 NKJV, Psalm 26:2 NKJV. etc.

    ”Could this be “A Test” of someone’s “Integrity?”

    Why would someone, a believer, assume the role of pastor/overseer?
    And say they are a pastor/overseer?

    If they they do NOT qualify to be an pastor/overseer?”

    ”Could it be a lack of “Integrity?”

    Hmmm?
    xxxxxxx

    Woundn’t you, Avid, agree…

    If someone, a believer, takes the “Title/Postion” of pastor/overseer?
    And they call them self pastor/overseer?

    And, they they do NOT ”Qualify” to be an pastor/overseer?”
    According to 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    That wanna-be pastor/overseer has “a lack of “Integrity?”

    Like

  101. Mark

    You write @ DECEMBER 11, 2017 @ 3:39 PM
    “Can you point to the scripture that says that a “shepherd” who calls himself a “shepherd” is no longer qualified to be a shepherd?”

    “Isn’t that a catch-22? If calling oneself a shepherd disqualifies you from being a shepherd…”
    xxxxxxxx

    Well, I never said what you said I said in the way that you said I said it. 🙂

    I never said… Like you seem to say I said…
    “…a “shepherd” who calls himself a “shepherd”
    is no longer qualified to be a shepherd.”

    I never said… Like you seem to say I said…
    “… calling oneself a shepherd disqualifies you from being a shepherd…”
    xxxxxxx

    Please… Do NOT put words in my mouth

    I have enough of my own.

    Or hadn’t you noticed? 😉
    xxxxxxx

    Here for your reading pleasure…

    Have you noticed? In the Bible? In the NT?

    1 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” called them self pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or Poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?

    2 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” called tanother Disciple pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or Poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?

    3 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” took the “Title/Position” pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or Poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?

    4 – NOT one of ”His Disciples” was “Hired” as a….
    Paid, Professional, Pastor, Poimen, in a Pulpit?
    Preaching, to People in Pews?
    Weak aftr Weak?
    In a church?
    xxxxxxx

    NOPE… pastor/shepherds WE, His Sheep, His Servants, see Today…

    Ain’t nuttin like “pastor/shepherds” WE, His Sheep, find in the Bible.

    If being one of ”His Disciples” is important?

    If WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Body, His Servants…
    Desire to be one of ”His Disciples?”

    Wouldn’t ”His Disciples?” “In The Bible?”
    Be a good example to follow?
    Be a good place to start?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    THEIR shepherds
    have caused them to go astray,

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray;
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  102. Mark

    What dis-Qualifies a shepherd/overseer… Is…

    They do NOT meet the 17+ qualifications listed in 1 Tim 3, and Titus….

    Would you like the list? I have extras… Plenty to go around. 😉
    xxxxxxxxxx

    What dis-Qualifies a shepherd/overseer… Is…

    They are NOT… they can NOT live up to…
    1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?”
    xxxxxxx

    Was Wondering…

    We spent some time on the 17+, very tuff Qualifications for elder/overseer…
    And extra time on 1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?

    Does your pastor/overseer meet ”ALL the Qulifications?”
    In 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    Have you asked?

    Like

  103. Avid

    The word pastors, in Ephe 4:11… Is NOT a “Title.”

    In the Bible… can you name…
    One of *His Disciples” who took the “Title,” pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?
    xxxxxxx

    Was Wondering…

    We spent some time on the 17+, very tuff Qualifications for elder/overseer…
    And extra time on 1 – Must Be BLAMELESS? 2 – JUST? 3 – HOLY?

    Does your pastor/overseer meet ”ALL the Qulifications?”
    In 1 Tim 3, and Titus?

    Have you asked? 😉

    Like

  104. Avid, I haven’t read Corrie’s books but I’ve read about Brother Andrew.

    I also enjoyed Amy Carmichael’s autobiography. It make me sick to read about those abused kids she was saving.

    This.is.ministry.

    Humble service.

    We all (us who believe) have ‘a’ ministry.

    The capacity to serve with the gifts God has given us. And those gifts are all different.

    I know there are teachers among us. Gentle hearted guides. Evangelists who preach Christ in McDonald’s to new friends and at bus shelters.

    Real believers doing real service for Christ.

    And no doubt much of it goes on in secret to only be seen by the Lord and it likely has little to do with organised religion.

    I’m greatly encouraged by the stories of such men and women who love the lord and who seek to save those who are lost.

    God is working in his people.

    I’ve no doubt about it.

    And whatever the Ekklesia is… Christ said he would build it and I’m sure we can trust him to do just that.

    Like

  105. Amos,

    Does Corrie Ten Boom fit that list of qualifications?

    If you’re saying that qualified pastors today can’t use the title pastor because the disciples never did, then by that same reasoning, we can’t drive cars because the disciples didn’t drive cars. Should we limit ourselves to only riding donkeys and walking when doing ministry? That’s how the disciples did it.

    Like

  106. Amos, you ask a lot of questions. Would you like to answer some?

    I asked you whether the people the Bible calls elders met the qualifications. I don’t see any point in discussion whether my pastor meets the qualifications if you can’t explain what they are.

    Like

  107. Salty, I just don’t think you do well trying to play Amos’s game.

    Re: DECEMBER 11, 2017 @ 5:06 PM, I think I agree with pretty much everything you say…

    The concern I have is that you lump all these things together, defining a pastor as a:
    Self-appointed
    Young
    Salaried
    Seminary graduate
    Taking center stage
    Praying long prayers

    I completely agree, but that’s still a bunch of fluff. The question is, when you say that there are true shepherds, what do they look like?

    So, Jesus was a Rabbi. He walked around and crowds followed him. His reputation spread so much that he had to do his ministry outside of towns because he couldn’t enter a town without being swarmed. He didn’t have a job. He was a paid professional minister. Judas was the treasurer. Jesus began his ministry around the age of 30. He was not afraid of taking center stage – he taught in the synagogue. He taught from a boat. He taught from a mountain. He taught thousands of people.

    So, many of the things you list as negatives about pastors are true about Jesus, too, yet you don’t write him off as being disqualified.

    I’m trying to understand what exactly is your concern. It seems like you are arguing a straw man. You create an image of a pastor that is so horrific that no one would ever want one, then you seem to attach that to every so-called pastor who has any of the characteristics you list.

    I agree with you that what we have today is far from what the Bible intended ministry to look like, but I’m not sure that I agree that every so-called pastor is a usurper.

    My fundamental problem with the modern pastorate is that it is top-down, not bottom-up. That is, in the Reformation, lines were drawn in the sand over Prelacy – the idea that the Pope/Church Leadership could appoint a Priest over a congregation that the congregation had not chosen and deemed qualified. However, we’ve come full circle, just changing the names of the actors.

    In my former church, a kid goes to Bible College and the denominational Seminary. Generally, only the pastor or church leaders get to weigh in on whether he’s qualified to go to seminary, and since many of these kids have conversion or rededication experiences in college, it’s questionable whether he’s “known” to these people. The seminary trains these kids in the denominational distinctives, and they are quizzed regularly as part of their vetting process. At the end of the vetting process, they are declared pastor material. They enter the pastoral meat market with all of the other pastor material, and congregations looking for a pastor typically have them preach once or twice, and the more discerning congregations might have a 30 minute Q/A. After that, there is a congregational vote as to which of the choice steaks will be their next pastor.

    So, to further Amos’s point, I can maybe disqualify a potential pastor with a few questions, but I can’t qualify him. In fact, there is NO ONE in that process that really can declare him qualified. So, it seems the entire process is the opposite of what should happen. That person should be KNOWN first, then SENT, not sent, then known.

    But, the problem comes down again to theology. Pastors today follow the model of Paul (unfortunately the only model we have written out). Paul became a Christian, then went to “seminary” for three years. Then he returned to the church and got quizzed and offered the right hand of fellowship, at which point the Holy Spirit sent him out. So, that is our model for today. The results…. not so good.

    Like

  108. Mark – Not sure how to put this, but I’m afraid in this discussion – which is a valid one – Amos is engaging in monologue rather than dialogue. The same typo occurs three times in this one thread, for example, which speaks of simply repeating by copying the same arguments verbatim. There is very little if any interaction.

    You have raised a similar point to one I made in your post above this one as to whether elders met the qualifications outlined by the apostle. Salty did comment on this.

    Since human nature hasn’t changed, I reckon we could expect the same number of believers to meet these qualifications to the same extent today as was the case in the early church. If not, it makes you wonder just why they are included in the NT.

    Like

  109. Salty, re: Ekklesia

    Again, I don’t think that anyone here is arguing that a physical building is what Jesus has promised to build up. A church is a body of believers. Our language does not necessarily provide the precision you desire, but neither does Greek.

    For example, you say:

    “Christ is building whatever his Ekklesia is. It’s singular. I will build my singular Ekklesia.”

    Yet, consider Revelation 1:4: “John to the seven churches that are in Asia”. I guess you would be surprised to find that the original Greek has plural Ekklesia.

    That’s enough to disprove your argument.

    But to help further understanding, some Ekklesia entymology: “among the Greeks from Thucydides (cf. Herodotus 3, 142) down, an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating”

    So, there is the concept of the Ekklesia not primarily this idea of the “called out” ones, but more that the Ekklesia is a group of people that gathers for a purpose. So, it is not unfitting for someone to say that they are going “to church” – meaning going to a gathering of people for the purpose of worship.

    It is a mistake to equivocate the word “church” to mean a church building when it is being used in the Biblical sense, but that is a pretty well-known and well thumped issue.

    I don’t know that we have any Biblical clarity on whether “Institutional Christian Religion” is somehow inherently evil. Consider that God directed ancient Israel to be a Theocracy. That was institutional in pretty much every sense of the word. The Priests were the institutional judges, the Levites were much of the legal educational system.

    No matter what organizational structure you try to claim the church should be, there will always be positives and negatives. For example, an institutional church generally has the resources to minister to the flock in ways that individuals don’t have. On the other hand, an institutional church might also have more means to shield themselves from scrutiny if there is a problem. However, I think an individual is just as likely to blame and deceive to protect their own reputation as a church is.

    One thing that I haven’t heard a response to… if the church wasn’t structured somehow, how could Paul send ONE letter to the “churches of Galatia”? Almost all of the letters in the New Testament were written to churches, which means that there was enough organization that the letters were somehow distributed to the right people – whether they were read at the gatherings, passed around, copied or whatever. There was enough of an “institution” that Paul could expect his letters to have an effect. In Corinthians, we see that there is a back and forth exchange of questions and answers, again, suggesting some sort of institution with a means of gathering input from multiple groups.

    Like

  110. Amos, “Please… Do NOT put words in my mouth… I have enough of my own.”

    Granted.

    At first, I asked you to clarify.
    Then I tried to put what I thought was your viewpoint into words

    But, I think your request is very fair. If you’re not interested in explaining and clarifying what you seem to be very passionate about, and are upset when I try, then I don’t see the point in continuing.

    Like

  111. Mark, you asked me what I think shepherds look like.

    Shepherds guide.

    Given that it is God who gives us them (according to Paul) we can trust that they exist and are among us.

    My point is that the religious institutional calling itself church has established a method for appointing ‘shepherds’ in a framework which comes from pagan Roman Catholicism.

    It’s toxic.

    God is perfectly able to raise up mature godly people to do his work amongst his people.

    I don’t doubt it and I’ve experienced it away from the four walls.

    I’ve seen godly mature elder people serving me and loving me and guiding me in the Way.

    It goes on outside the walls when his people seek his face and ask for it.

    If his people aren’t seeking truth and are heaping teachers do you expect God to do this?

    Like

  112. Mark, I’ve already answers the ‘churches’ question.

    The use of Ekklesia plural is always when it’s referring to a region or country. Never in a city.

    To the church in Corinth isn’t plural. Yet they didn’t have a single meeting place did they? They would have still been fellowshipping in houses. Yet these fellowships are still not Ekklesia. The People are.

    You haven’t disproved my view at all.

    Jesus never said he’d build ‘churches’ or ekklesias for that matter.

    He’s only got one body and one fold.

    He made it pretty clear.

    And I’m not playing any game like you accuse. Nasty.

    Like

  113. Mark, I don’t know how many letters Paul wrote. None of us do. But I am feeling pretty confident that they probably didn’t worship the text like Christians do today and spend inordinate amounts of time straining over what Paul really meant about XYZ.

    Meanwhile ignoring clear statements about loving one another and taking care of the poor.

    You get my point

    Like

  114. Amos,

    Jesus said that we would know them by their fruits.

    It’s a waste of time to walk up and ask someone if they meet all the qualifications. Of course they will say yes. But according to Jesus’ instructions—we are to look at their actions to determine whether they meet the qualifications or not.

    Remember In Revelations 2:2 (BSB) Jesus commended the Ephesians because “I know that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and you have tested and exposed as liars those who falsely claim to be apostles.”

    There’s the real apostles and there’s the false apostles. It’s our responsibility to discern both based on their fruit. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Matthew 7:18. We are all smart enough to discern by watching them without ever having to walk up and ask them that question you wanted us to ask!

    And Amos, I stand by my previous comment—God doesn’t trick us. God doesn’t give us a list of specific instructions and then say—oops that was just a joke. Nope. God gave us the list of ministry qualifications to discern between the real and the fake. God is still gifting pastors, apostles, teachers, etc, to go forth and do the work of the ministry, even though you are never going to accept that.

    Like

  115. Amos,

    Whenever God tests someone in the Bible—God tested them by giving them instructions and seeing whether they would follow them or not. God never played games with them by moving the goalpost or trying to trick them. Nope. There’s a pattern in the Bible where God gives instructions and expects people to follow them.

    Let’s not forget what Jesus said when the devil tried to twist Scripture to tempt Him. But Jesus declared, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

    God doesn’t want us playing games with Him either.

    Amos, it feels like you’re grasping at straws for a way to discredit the reality that God put that list of ministry qualifications in the Bible because God is still calling people to serve in the ministry. It’s really that simple.

    Telling people that they can’t use the title pastor is just putting an extra burden on them that the Bible never put. Telling people that it’s perfectly fine for a doctor to receive a salary for his work, that nurses should get paid, that every other career out there should get paid—except Heaven forbid that those preaching the Gospel and doing the work of the ministry should be able to support their families—that’s attacking the call of God on their life. That’s attacking the resources that are needed to spread the Gospel. That also doesn’t make any sense.

    We go to work everyday and receive a paycheck. That’s a Biblical concept according to Jesus who said “the worker deserves his pay.”

    So why is there so much resistance to the idea that resources are needed for the Gospel? If you read Tramp for the Lord—well it cost money for Corrie to obey the call of God to travel around the world and heal the deep wounds after the war. She kept having to buy bus, train, and plane tickets.

    To those that say that no one should get a salary for ministry—did Jesus still work as a carpenter while He was traveling around? Nope. He was a paid professional minister who set the example for us.

    No one here is saying that you have to support some big mega pastor. All we’re saying is that the nobodies who are actually doing the real work of the ministry need resources to do it. Corrie Ten Boom couldn’t have gotten around the world without buying bus/plane/train tickets. If Jesus needed money to do ministry and had enough ministry resources to have a designated accountant to keep track of it—let’s not bury our heads in the sand and try to pretend that no one else does.

    Like

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