To Christians Who Don’t Like the Church…

Dear Christian who does not like the Church:

I have have read your books.  I have browsed your blog posts.  I have even sat and listened to your complaints.  In fact, I may even share some of your criticisms; the most common being that the Church is not doing what it is supposed to do.  Usually this complaint is followed by your desire for the Church to be more involved in social issues, or environmental concerns, or just being more outward focused rather than inward focused.  All of these are valid concerns and things that many churches do poorly.

However, your solution to the problem is not valid.  You use your complaints to justify simply walking away from the Church and trying to have Christianity on your own terms.  You have decided it is going to be just God and you from now on with an occasional rendezvous with another Christian from time-to-time.

Unfortunately, it does not work this way.  You see the Bible tells us that the Church is God’s design and His ordained instrument for accomplishing His desires for this world.  Jesus said that He was building His Church and that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).  Notice that He did not say He was building a small-group Bible study or radio/television program or any other entity.  He was building His Church.  It is also the Church who is adorned as the Bride of Christ in Scripture, not your talking with fellow believers at Starbucks.

The New Testament epistles (all of the books outside of the 4 Gospels and Acts), give us guidelines concerning how this Church that Jesus was building should look and operate.  We are told that Jesus is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:22).  As the Head, Jesus deserves our loyalty and submission.  If Jesus is the Head of the Church and we reject the Church, does that not also mean we reject Him?  It reminds me of Augustine’s statement: “You cannot have God as your Father if you do not have the Church as your Mother.”  Augustine used the same argument that I am using here.  If you reject the Church, you reject the One behind it, Jesus Christ.

Scripture also tells us that all believers are baptized into the Church by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).  So, if you are a believer, you are a part of the Church.  This is not optional.  This means you belong to the Church and need to follow the guidelines in Scripture that tell us how those in the Church are supposed to behave.  Below are some of those guidelines:

  1. We know that all believers are gifted by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up others in the church body (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).  You cannot do this if you are not an active part of a church.  The gifts are not for you, but are for the benefit of serving others.  You must commit to others long-term if you are to effectively serve them.
  2. We also know that the Church has specific functions it must perform (baptism, communion, teaching of the word, public worship).  These are the bare essentials given in Scripture that churches must fulfill.  Are you doing these in your Bible study and/or occasional rendezvous with your Christian friends?  If not, you are not fulfilling your responsibility to be a part of the Church.
  3. We know that one of the purposes of the Church is to hold one another accountable in our Christian life.  We do not like accountability, but it happens in groups, not isolation!
  4. We know that the Church has Scriptural guidelines for how it is to be managed.  There are specific offices that must be filled to ensure that things are orderly and do not stray from orthodoxy.  Two New Testament epistles are dedicated to explaining the type of people that should be placed into the offices of pastor/elder and deacon.  These letters were not written to be ignored.  They are essential to how Jesus chose to order His Church.  Do you have pastor/elders and deacons at your meetings?  Are they qualified in character and gifted for their ministry?

You see, if you are a believer, you cannot simply leave the Church.  You are a part of the Church because you were baptized into it by the Holy Spirit.  If you are not part of the Church, you are not part of the body of Christ.  The real question is, are you an obedient member of the Body?  If so, you must act according to the way the New Testament says we are to act as members of the Body, which is in fellowship with other believers in the context of a church body that has pastors and deacons, as well as a body that practices baptism, communion, the teaching of the Word, and public worship.  Also, do not forget accountability.

When you complain that the Church is not acting as it should, you may have a valid argument.  However the solution is not to try to disengage from the Church.  The reformers in the Protestant Reformation did not walk away from the Church when they thought the Church had strayed from truth.  They acted to correct the Church.  We must do the same!  You can either work within an existing church to change it, or you can go to a church that is practicing correctly, or you can plant a new church that models the New Testament guidelines for the Church.

But you cannot leave.  When you fall out of fellowship, you are just as guilty as the churches you criticize of not doing what you are supposed to be doing.  So, if you have complaints, work to make change, but do not answer disobedience and unfaithfulness with more of the same.  No one said the Church was perfect, but it is the Body of Christ and He died for Her.  If Christ is so committed to His Church, should we not be as well?

Your Friend In Christ,

Tim

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70 Responses to To Christians Who Don’t Like the Church…

  1. Davo says:

    Hey, I like this! I’m definitely one of those who gets extremely frustrated with the Church. Were it anything else besides the Church, I would have long since given up on it entirely. I’ve nearly given up on it a number of times.

    But I believe that healing, restoration and reconciliation are at the heart of God’s desire for the world. So I keep going even though sometimes I want to scream. I try to appreciate the things that the Church does well. It doesn’t get everything wrong.

    I get frustrated by the blatant discrimination based on race, gender and socioeconomic status that I see in the church. However, abandonment won’t solve anything.

  2. Tim Farley says:

    Davo:

    Thank you for your thoughts. I agree totally with what you say. The Church is not perfect, but it does not get everything wrong either. The solution is not to walk away. It is to work within the community of believers and help it better model the Church Christ desires it to be. The issues of discrimination you mention are issues that frustrate me as well and that many in the Church are in denial concerning.

  3. Jeff says:

    Pastor Tim, you speak with passion, thanks.

    I agree with you in most of what you say but there are issues to consider. I think you may confuse the universal church with the local one. We are commanded to assemble as a chuch body for the reasons you so clearly stated. But that may be a different church than the one he/she is currently attending.

    There are several types of people that leave the church: There is the church hoppers that are looking for something a little more exciting than what their current church has to offer. There is the idealist that can’t understand that the church is made up of failed and hurting people so sometimes their actions reflect those human frailties. Then there is the person that believes that their church has not leaved up to the calling of the Lord. Perhaps they have tried to change it but found there was not the desire on the part of the rest of the congregation. If they feel the church is not striving to please God in obedience, worship and service then they have the obligation to find a church that is actively seeking to serve God.

    It is good to be faithful to your church, but what if you were worshipping in the Laodicean Church?

  4. Tim Farley says:

    Jeff:

    I agree with you. If you go back and re-read my post you’ll see that I said that Christians have a responsibility to work in the church they are in to make necessary changes, find a new church that is acting biblically, or start a new church that models New Testament teaching. I never said that a person must stay where they currently are (although some should). I am saying that Christians are called to be the Church and that involves being united to a local congregation where we live in community with other believers as we are called to do. We do not have the option of walking away from the Church and thinking we are somehow doing what Christ desires us to do. Christianity happens in community, not isolation.

    Also, while we are called to be a part of the universal Church, that happens in the context of the local church. So, you cannot say you are part of the Church without being part of a church.

  5. mikewittmer says:

    Tim:

    These are good words. May we all take them to heart. I remember Karl Barth’s words, that we can’t really say “credo ecclesiam” (“I love the church”) unless we love the specific one we are in.

  6. Tim, I thought better of you! I can’t believe what you have just posted!

    I don’t know where to start as I disagree with virtually all of it, bearing in mind that most of it is based on orthodox church tradition rather than truth of scripture.

    If you happen to be in a good church maybe you can present such a glowing report of the church system.
    If you are a pastor, maybe you can also say it, but that’s because you will, automatically, be blind to the other side of spiritual abuse.

    You are right that God is building His Church. Unfortunately He is in competition with countless Pastors who know far better than Jesus how to do it.

    Augustine might have believed that the church was our mother, but then he was a Catholic. I for one refute such pagan nonsense.

    I do not know of any church that deigns to follow the pattern of the new testament. If it did, it would not be led by a pastor! Where does it say churches are led by pastors. That idea is nothing but tradition.
    There are five ministries, I don’t read anywhere that the other four ministries are ruled by the pastor.

    Jesus denounced the very idea of offices in church, on more than one occasion. “it shall not be so among you”

    If anyone prays or prophesies with his head covered by a pastor or leader, he dishonours his head,(christ).

    You cannot operate in the gifts if you are not an active part of the church. What!
    Most church meetings are controlled by the previously decided agenda. The chance of the gifts being made proper use are minimal to never.
    1Cor14v26 describes exactly how a church should function, which is by the whole body at work. And it is not led from the front by a pastor!

    The functions of the church that you list are just not true. They are all easily done elsewhere as in the early church.

    Your final point 4) is grossly wrong.
    The epistles do NOT describe the sort of conclusion that you draw. Tradition produces that.

    For you to say that I am not part of the Body of Christ because I am not part of the sort church you describe is unbelievable!
    Do you really believe such stuff?

    The question I ask you is. ” Are you obedient to the Lord.” It sounds to me that you are undoubtedly obedient to your hierarchical tradition!

    You equate leaving church with “out of fellowship” and disobedience.
    I left the system out of obedience to the rhema word of the Lord, spoken to me and my wife over some time.

  7. Tim Farley says:

    Francis:

    I’ll give a more involved response a little later when I have time, but I think you miss my primary point. I am not saying that you have to be a part of a church that you think is unbiblical. If you think the church is a “system” that is out of order, then your responsibility is to either correct the system or plant a new church that practices biblically. However, you cannot just walk away from the Church as if that is the solution. The Church is God’s chosen instrument, flawed as it may be. We are to work within the community, not disengage from it.

  8. Ben A says:

    We have some good discussion here. Can you be a Christian and not be in a church?

    I’ve written a lot in this little box, but I keep deleting it. I’ll let Tim answer. It’s his blog and there’s so many paths to take.

    That said, I’ll throw in a few questions:

    How can we say that we fit into a group if we are unwilling to join it?

    How can we make the Church better if we are unwilling to make our church better?

    Are we more effective at being the body of Christ when we, as strong Christians, act alone? Or when many weak Christians act coorporately?

    And don’t forget what Bart, the greatest theologian of the 20th century says: “Don’t have a cow, man” [sorry Dr. W. I had to.]

  9. fivepeasinapod says:

    Hi Tim,

    As a recent “church leaver” I am very interested to read the continuation of this discussion. I was extremely saddened to leave my church and am actively seeking to find another, but one which as you suggested “you can go to a church that is practicing correctly,”

    I am finding this very difficult, but am being open to God’s leading and am willing to accept that all churches will have some faults. In saying this, there are some things that I just cannot stand with, nor allow my children to sit under. Sound scriptural teaching, adherance to the Word and a complete gospel are pre-requisites as far as I am concerned and unfortunately these are lacking in too many churches.

    During my time “out of church” I have been meeting with other believers in a variety of settings, among whom there are elders ie mature christians. We partake in communion and have actually had a baptism in our local river also.

    While I see the benefits of meeting under the banner of a local church, I do not believe this is essential to christianity, and as many churches now preach of themselves rather than Christ, this benefit is diminishing. I will have to stand with Francis Drake Privateer on this one, but am eager to read your response 😀

    Sorry for the lengthy comment – thanks for the room on your blog.

  10. Tim Farley says:

    Ben:

    The questions you ask are excellent ones. I too wonder the same things. Feel free to say as much as you would like in your comments (as long as you are in agreement with me 😉 ).

  11. Tim Farley says:

    Francis:

    Ok, I am going to try to answer your last comment. There are many things to be said, so please forgive me if I miss some things. We can fill in holes later if needed.

    First, let me acknowledge that our experiences in churches is probably much different given where each of us lives and the types of churches present in our countries. However, I do not believe we have the liberty of abandoning the Church when it is clear from Acts through Revelation that God has established it and will continue to work His will through it until He finally purifies it for Himself.

    I am surprised that you seem to discount that the New Testament gives us some clear principles of how a church should function. When you deny that there are offices prescribed by Scripture (not tradition) you seem to ignore important elements of truth. For example, what is the point of 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9, which give the qualifications for elders and deacons, if these offices are not supposed to exist in the church? Was Paul not writing Scripture? You can argue that pastors and elders are not the same, but that does not eliminate the fact that there are offices in the church and only those qualified are to fill those offices. 1 Peter 5:1-5 also tells us that the elders are to exercise oversight of the flock. In Acts 20:17, Paul called the elders of the churches in Ephesus to come to him and then charged them in v. 28 to fulfill their roles as overseers of the flock that the Holy Spirit had given each of them responsibility for. It is necessary to have elders in a church who are godly and understand doctrine in order to keep false teaching out of the church (Titus 1:5-9).

    So whether elders and pastors are the same is unimportant to my argument that churches are to be run in a prescribed way outlined in Scripture. It is to have elders overseeing the flock and deacons who assist the elders. These are offices that people are appointed to (Titus 1:5, 1 Timothy 3:1) and that have certain qualifications.

    The passage that you mention in Matthew 20:26 that you use to argue that Jesus rejected the idea of offices within the church does not say what you argue. The passage reads:

    But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must 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 ESV)

    Jesus’ prohibition is not against having leaders in the church, but it is against a certain type of leader. He is opposed to those who “lord it over” their subjects. Jesus instructs His disciples that they are to lead by serving. This is the same message that Jesus teaches the disciples when He washed their feet in John 13. Jesus is not ruling out leadership, but telling us the kind of leadership that is appropriate.

    You also seem to mis-understand 1 Corinthians 14:26 when you say that it is a picture of how the church should function. That is the exact opposite of what this passage is saying! Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 is that worship in the church must be done in an orderly fashion. He states that when people come together, “they all have a hymn, and a lesson, and a revelation, and a tongue, or an interpretation.” But he goes on to say that everything cannot be permitted. It must all be done for building up and orderly. This means limiting who can do what and when.

    I agree that the pastor should not do everything in a church. All believers should be involved using the specific gifts they have to build up the body. However, not every gift must be exercised in every service. Not every gift must be exercised in the same context. The exercise of spiritual gifts does not happen primarily in a church service, as you seem to imply, but in the day-to-day serving of others, most of which is not in a formal church setting, but as we have opportunity to come along another person who is of the same community of believers as us. The Spiritual gifts are given to each believer to build up the other believers of the church, how can you accomplish this if you are not in a community of believers exercising your gifts?

    When you say that you have made your decision concerning leaving the church based upon the rhema word of God, I wonder exactly what you mean. Has God spoken directly to you and told you to leave your church? Does that mean God has changed His plan concerning the Church and that we should all leave it too? The written Word seems to contradict the word you have received. I am left wondering how God could be building His Church on the one hand, but telling believers to abandon it on the other. What should I make of this? Has He told you to leave and directed you to another church? Or to just leave?

    Does the New Testament give us instruction on what the Church’s functions and organization are to look like? If so, and if God as not ceased His plan for the Church, then are we not called to be a part of the plan and participate in the building? If Christians are not part of God’s plan to build His Church, what are we to be doing? If building the Church does not happen in the context of individual local churches, how does it happen? If local churches are unimportant, why is so much written in Scripture about how they are to function?

    I’ll repeat Ben’s questions here:

    How can we say that we fit into a group if we are unwilling to join it?

    How can we make the Church better if we are unwilling to make our church better?

    Are we more effective at being the body of Christ when we, as strong Christians, act alone? Or when many weak Christians act corporately?

  12. Tim Farley says:

    fivepeasinapod:

    Thanks for reading! I am happy to hear that this blog is helpful to you. I am sorry to hear that you had to leave your church. I believe that there are times when this is necessary. I am not saying we should never leave a church. My argument is that we should not stay out of a church. We should join a community of believers that is practicing biblically as soon as we have opportunity.

    I would argue that if your “gathering” of believers is performing the functions of a church (communion, baptism, etc.) and seeking to have the order of a church (i.e. elders), then maybe you actually have a church (even if you do not call it that). Or, maybe you are closer to having a church than you realize!

  13. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    I think we might have a failure to communicate…
    When you say church, and I say church, It just ain’t the same thing.
    IMO – You seem stuck in “the traditions of men” Jesus warned about. Mark 7:13.

    I love “The Church of God.” The ekklesia, the called out one’s of God.
    And Jesus is the only head of the body, “The Church.”

    It’s the church of man, “The Corrupt Religious System” of Today,
    the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporations,
    That has given God/Jesus a bad name and so many are leaving.

    Why would you call a Corporation – “The Church?” AAARRGGHH!! 🙂

    You write…
    “what is the point of 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9,
    which give the qualifications for elders and deacons,
    if these offices are not supposed to exist in the church?”…
    …“and only those qualified are to fill those offices.”

    Hmmm? Do you really believe that? Are you qualified?

    I’ve never met an “elder/overseer” who meets Paul’s qualifications. 😉
    And their children have to meet some tough qualifications also.

    1 – **blameless** — unrebukeable, without fault.
    2 – husband of one wife — married, male.
    3 – rules well his own house — have a family, children.
    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.
    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.
    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”

    15 – faithful — 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.

    Now, that’s a tough list qualifications. Yes?

    If you think you qualify… Male or Female…
    Try measuring up to “1 – Blameless,” “13 – Holy,” and “14 – Just.”
    ( I couldn’t. I was convicted. Had to remove myself and tear up my papers.)

    If someone thinks they qualify?
    Is that pride and thus NOT without fault? NOT blameless? Hmmm?
    Will they remove themselves? When they recognize they don’t measure up?

    The Bible talks about elders/overseers and qualifications for elders/overseers.
    Can you have one with out the other? Well can you? 😉

    Which one’s aren’t important? Which qualifications can we overlook? 😉

    If some one says they are an “elder/overseer” and don’t meet the qualifications;
    What are they… really…???

    Jesus… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul… Jesus

  14. Tim Farley says:

    A. Amos Love: Thanks for reading and commenting. I believe all of your points have been addressed in the original post or the older comments, so I have nothing more to say at this time.

  15. Well said Amos.

    Pastor Tim you have all the answers, but then you are a Pastor and higher than a mere mortal like me.

    Sorry, but that’s what it sounds like.
    I find it strange that the bible has no reference to Pastors or anyone else ruling churches, but then I have never been to bible school so I wouldn’t know. In fact my bible decries anyone running the church, copying the way earthly institutions are done. (The princes of the gentiles love to lord it over one another, BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONGST YOU), sadly it is exactly so.

    You just don’t get it though, do you.
    Tim, you are defending an earthly invented institution. Well, I have news for you, the institution is an institution.
    The institution IS NOT THE CHURCH.
    The institution is just made up of members stolen from the church, and misled into believing if they follow your rules that they will be doing God’s will.

    I would still rather be a free heretic, enjoying hearing God’s direction in my life than tied into the monolithic structure that you describe.

    The hierarchical system has a propensity to become deaf to God and to go its own way. That’s why Jesus said “woe unto the pharisees” so often. The Pharisees had believed for centuries that they and their doctrines were the way to heaven, but Jesus made it plain that they did the opposite and actually shut up heaven.

    I believe that Church has for many shut up heaven, in that it makes the saints depend on church and pastor rather than God. It is easier to turn to someone visible than an invisible God. Hierarchical church destroys the priesthood of the believer.

  16. Tim Farley says:

    francisdrake: I do not know everything, but I am confident that scripture tells us that God has ordained the church as his primary instrument for accomplishing his will in this world. Scripture also gives us some clear guidelines concerning how that church should function. Would you agree? If not, perhaps we are reading different Bibles.

    My questions to you: Has God abandoned the church? What should a church look like, according to scripture? Should churches have elders and deacons? What are their qualifications?

    I can agree that churches are not perfect. Some probably have major problems. However, I do not agree with your solution. We are not called to abandon the church, but to call it back to biblical standards. If you think the church has gotten off track, work to corrrect it (even if that means starting a new one). Look at the Reformation as an example. Luther and the others did not abandon the church. They started a movement to correct the path of the church. That should be our task as well if we take issue with where the church currently stands. But we need to stick to the guidelines that are clearly in scripture, not make up our own.

  17. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    You write…
    “I am confident that scripture tells us that God has ordained **the church**
    as his primary instrument for accomplishing his will in this world.”

    IMO – The challenge is – Which “Church” are we talking about?
    1 – “The Church of God,” the body of Christ, the called out one’s, Jesus = head?
    2 – church of man, institution, 501 (c) 3, Religious $ Corporation, man = head?

    Did Jesus shed “His Blood” for a building, an institution, or a $ Corporation?

    Today, when people hear the word “Church,” what do they understand?

    Building with a steeple on it?
    Is that in the Bible?

    Pastor – in a Pulpit – Preaching – to People – in Pews?
    Is that in the Bible?

    I was in “Leadership” in “The Corrupt Religious System” of today. And we deceived the very people we were supposed to reach out to. We instructed them in – the church of man – it’s rules, it’s regulations, how to submit to us,
    leadership, and not much about hearing God’s voice, being “Led” by the Spirit, and obeying Jesus.

    Yes, God’s instument is “The Church,” the Body of Christ. NOT “The System.”

    Now, after leaving “The Corrupt System,” and I hear “Church,” I think of;

    The redeemed of the Lord.

    The habitation of God.

    The Israel of God.

    The body of Christ.

    Today, How many know and understand – they can become
    “the Church of God,” “the ekklesia of God,” The called out one’s of God?

    Today, How many know – “The Church of God” The body of Christ – are…

    Kings and Preist’s unto God.
    The Bride of Christ.
    Servants of Christ.
    Sons of God.
    Disciples of Christ.
    Ambassadors of Christ.

    Haven’t we deceived them, telling them the institution, the Corporation,
    the building, is the church?

    When all the time “you are” the ekklesia of God.
    The habitation of God. The Isreal of God.

    Haven’t they missed the awesomeness of God,
    The beauty of His Church, How we all become “ONE” in Him?

    Neither bond nor free, neither male nor female,
    No Emergent nor Traditional.
    No Complementarinism nor Egalitarianism.
    No Denominationalism nor Non- denominationalism.
    All obeying Jesus, All following Jesus, as one new man.

    If I’m a “king,” where do I go for my orders?
    Do I go to another king? Or to the King of Kings, Jesus?

    If I’m a “priest,” who is my authority? Another priest?
    Or Jesus, the “high priest” after the order of Melchisedec?

    If I’m “The bride of Christ” do I listen to another bride?
    Or should I go directly to Jesus, my husband?

    If I’m a “servant” do I take orders from another servant?
    Or should I be listening directly to Jesus my master?

    If I’m a “Son” Who do I ask for information, for guidence?
    Another kid on the block? Or my Father in heaven who loves me?

    If I’m a “disciple of Christ” a learner, a student, of Christ,
    who do you think wants to teach me? Could it be Jesus?

    Ambassador – dictionarey – the highest diplomatic representitive
    that one soverign power sends to another.

    Isn’t “The Church” **All believers,** individually, ambassadors for Christ?

    Since Jesus is the highest soverign power – then **All believers,** individually,
    are the highest diplomatic representive that Christ has on earth.

    No one, absolutly no one, is higher than anyone else.
    **All believers,** individually, are God’s ambassador,
    delivering His message to the broken-heartd, to a broken world.

    The Church…

    Kings and preist’s unto God.
    The Bride of Christ.
    Servants of Christ.
    Sons of God.
    Disciples of Christ.
    Ambassadors of Christ.

    Instead of asking people to go to church,
    why not ask them to become “The Church?

    Leave ”The Corrupt Religious System” of today, and…
    Return to the Shepherd and Bishop of your soul… Jesus…

    God loves me and forgives me all my sin.

  18. Davo says:

    Dude, why are you writing a freaking poem? It makes it hard to read.

    What are you getting at anyway? It sounds like you promoting some anarchist interpretation of the church (which should be taken as an attack; I’ve got no problem with anarchists). If the church isn’t to be organized the way it is currently, how would you suggest the body of Christ organizes itself?

  19. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: Davo asks the million dollar question. “If the church isn’t to be organized the way it is currently, how would you suggest the body of Christ organizes itself?” Please give your thoughts.

  20. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo – Tim

    You both ask…
    “If the church isn’t to be organized the way it is currently, how would you suggest the body of Christ organizes itself?”

    Hmmm? How is the Body of Christ to organize itself?

    The short answer is… You already know the answer to your question. 😉
    Does your body organize itself anyway it wants? (1,000’s of denominations)
    But, it’s too simple. People going directly to Jesus. No middle man.
    Those with “Titles” and “Position” lose their – Power – Profit – Prestige.
    And, you have NO faith in Jesus to teach, and lead, “His Disciples.”

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
    that he might instruct thee:

    In my experience, “Man’s Traditions” nullify “the Word of God.” Mark 7:13.
    And, if we don’t believe Jesus can build, and add to, “His church.
    Then we, as mere fallible humans, will have to step in and help God.
    How did that work out for Abramham? Ishmael any one…
    How’s that working *Today* with a “Corrupt Religious System” for 1700 yrs?

    It took many years, and many tears, to understand and learn more about
    “The Simplicity that is in Christ.” After all, we do have an adversary.

    2 Cor 11:3
    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,
    so your minds should be corrupted from **the simplicity that is in Christ.**

    How does a natural body work? The Bible does liken us to a body, Yes?

    When you walk; Which foot determines where you go?
    When you talk; Which lip determines the words you speak?
    When you Blog; Which hand determines what you type?

    See, you already know the correct answer. Yes?

    Aren’t the parts of your body connected to your head?
    Does your left hand tell your right foot what to do?

    NO, the head, Jesus, instructs every part of the body, always.

    Jesus said, My sheep HEAR MY VOICE, and follow me. NOT follow a mere human.

    Here’s how “the Body of Christ” organizational chart reads.

    {{{{{{{{ JESUS }}}}}}}}
    …………………Y………………..
    …….. every one else ……..

    Now that’s simplicity…

  21. Tim Farley says:

    A. Amos Love: I am a pastor and I assure you I am not in it for the “power, profit, prestige”. If that were my motivation I would be a miserable failure because I have very little of any of those things. I had far more of all three before entering the ministry.

    Yes, your model passes the “simplicity” test. Unfortunately, it fails the “biblical” test. It totally ignores the teaching of the New Testament that instructs churches to appoint elders and deacons to care for the flock (you can read First and Second Timothy and Titus for many passages regarding these “titles”). They are not manmade, they are God ordained.

    You also skip the passages, which can be found in Acts, that tell us that the early church appointed elders over the churches as they established new congregations.

    You see, the church is not just a bunch of individuals living independently under God. The church is a group of people organized to serve one another and accomplish the will of God in this world. The church is a body that is organized and interdependent. Its ultimate authority is Christ, but he has established how it is to be organized.

    What do you do with the clear teaching of scripture regarding elders and deacons? You seem to want to toss it out the window as if you have a better way than the biblical instruction.

  22. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    I was ordained. I was in “Leadership.” Oy Vey!!! 😦
    A lot of what you say is “Clear teaching of Scripture” I believed and taught.
    Now I know it as “Traditions of Men” and “Twisted Scriptures.”

    You mention elders. Yes the Bible mentions elders, but, nothing in the scriptures says an elder is a “Leader.” That’s a man made tradition. Nothing in the scriptures says an elder is a “Pastor.” Another man made tradition. There is NOT one person in the Bible with the “Title” “Pastor.” NOT one congregation “Led” by a “Pastor.”

    Didn’t you ever wonder why NO one, in the Bible, has the “Title” *Pastor?*
    And every *Pastor* I’ve met has the “Title” Reverend. Is Reverend in the Bible?

    ”Titles’ become “Idols.” ( Ezek 14:1-11. Idols of the heart.)
    “Pastors” become “Masters.” (Mat 23:8-10. Only “ONE” master, even “Christ.”)

    And that list of qualifications for “elder” is a real tough list. Yes?
    See above comment – September 20, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Could the list of qualifications be a test of someone’s “Integrity?”
    Ever meet anyone who fulfills the qualifications? Do you?
    I didn’t. Had to remove myself and tear up those precious papers.
    The freedom, the liberty, to be a “Disciple of Christ, to forsake all. Glorious. 🙂

    Why did Paul give qualifications if not important?

    An overseer, elder, “Must be”…

    That “must be” is the same Greek word as
    …You “must be” born again. John 3:17
    Seems to be a small word but very important.

    It’s Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Computer – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

    Bishops “must be.” Hmmm? Very important or…?

    Blameless… How important is this word?

    Webster’s – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.

    Synonyms – faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.

    Computer – that cannot be reprehended, (cannot be, rebukable, reprovable, )
    cannot find fault, not open to censure, irreproachable.

    Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.

    How many, who honestly examine themselves,
    seriously considering these qualifications,
    can see themselves as blameless, without fault
    and thus qualify to be an overseer, elder?

    And if you can see yourself as blameless;
    Is that pride? And no longer without fault?

    The Bible talks about bishops, and elders.
    And qualifications for bishops and elders.
    Can you have one without the other? 😉

    This is only one of many qualifications.

  23. Davo says:

    The structure you advocate for provides little flexibility for anything except an highly-individualized, internalized faith. However, such a faith is not what Jesus practice. In your understanding, is there any value in interacting with other members of the body of Christ? Should a conflict occur between members of the body, what should be the process of mediating and reconciling the conflict?

    Your interpretations of the texts mentioned by Tim seems very literalistic, polarized and over-simplified to me. Furthermore, your presentation of a possible alternative seems superficial. Care to expand on your thoughts?

    Also, can you type in normal paragraphs? Your writing is tediously hard to read.

  24. Davo says:

    Furthermore, you generalize your experience to everyone. I can respect and appreciate an individual’s unique experience and perspective. But not everyone’s experience is going to be the same as yours. While you have doubtlessly encountered money-seeking, hierarchical churches (which rightly deserve your criticism), not every church is stymied by such problems. Generalizing your experience to everyone makes for a bad argument.

    What denomination/tradition are you currently a part of?

  25. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo

    You write…
    “The structure you advocate for provides little flexibility for anything except an highly-individualized, internalized faith.”

    NOT so. Fellowship with others, ex elders and other brethren, who have left “The Religious System.” NOT advocating structure of any kind. Advocating becoming “sons of God” “Led” by the Spirit. Hearing “His voice” and following Jesus. Jesus said, in John 6:45, It is written in the prophets, And they shall be **all** taught of God. And in John 16:13, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. John 10:27, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Advocating following Jesus, NOT following man, or mans traditions.

    Yes, “interacting with other members of the body of Christ” is a joy. Meet on a very regular basis with two’s and three’s. Sometimes five and seven’s. One group for over five years of 10-15. We’re all brethren. learning from one another. When we come together, every one has a psalm, a doctrine, a revelation, an interpretation. All things are done for edifying. 1Cor 14:26. Every one can, and is expected to, participate in the gathering. When the meeting is “Led” by an indwelling Christ and “ALL” are participating it is glorious. 🙂

    The “Pastor in a Pulpit” model, denies the brethren the oportunity to exercise their “Spiritual gifts.” They listen to one person give their opinion, week after week, and become bored. And the “Pastors?” wind up with “Depression” and “Burnout.” The congregants become only spectators, looking at the back of someone’s head for an hour and a half once a week. “The Corrupt Religious System” want the common folks to become “Pew Potatoes” expected to – Pray, Pay, and Obey.

    Jesus took “His Disciples” out in the streets. They watched him preach the kingdom of God, (the rule, and reign of God in one’s life), pray for and heal the sick. Then Jesus sent them out to do the same. His Disciples served an apprenticeship. Jesus, in Mat 23:10, taught “His disciples” NOT to be called “Master/Leader” for you have “ONE” “Master/Leader” the Christ. “All “His Disciples” called themselves “Servants.” None called themselves “Leaders.”

    Jesus… my Lord and my God…

  26. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo – Tim

    You are part of a religious system that advocates strongly for having Reverends.
    Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews.

    Please answer these questions.

    In the Bible, How many people have… the “Title” Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many people are… referred to as Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many people are… ordained as a Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many congregations are… led by a Pastor/Reverend?

    **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,” is this a “Title” and “Position” in the scriptures?

    Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus

  27. Davo says:

    The “Pastor in a Pulpit” model, denies the brethren the oportunity to exercise their “Spiritual gifts.” They listen to one person give their opinion, week after week, and become bored. And the “Pastors?” wind up with “Depression” and “Burnout.” The congregants become only spectators, looking at the back of someone’s head for an hour and a half once a week. “The Corrupt Religious System” want the common folks to become “Pew Potatoes” expected to – Pray, Pay, and Obey.

    Again, you’re generalizing your experience to others. Your experience is real and valid, but you cannot generalize it to others. Many churches operate in the way you describe. I can’t speak for Tim or how he runs his church, because I’ve never been. However, you’ve clearly never been to my church. We have pastors and elders and all that. It doesn’t resemble the church you portray in the least. Sure, this model has its pitfalls, as does the model that you espouse.

    Just because your experiences with a certain model of church have been similar, doesn’t mean that all churches with that model are like the ones you experienced. That’s a faulty syllogism.

  28. Tim Farley says:

    I have to agree with Davo here. Your description of church does not fit with my experience. I have never been a part of a church that has a pastor set up as a dictator above the congregation who sits passively in the pews and has no part of the ministry of the church. I guess there may be churches like that. I will not argue there are not.

    However, you still seem to have some non-biblical ideas about how a church should function. What are the roles of elders and deacons? You still have not told me. Scripture makes it clear that the early church appointed them and we have guidelines for determining who qualifies. So what do we do with this information? You seem to say no one is qualified based upon your overly-literal understanding of “must be”. The early church appointed them. I am pretty sure the people were just as sinful in those days as they are now.

    You also seem to think that everyone should have the same role in the ministry of the church. That is just not so! Yes, everyone should be involved, but each person’s role is different based upon their gifts and abilities. Read 1 Corinthians 12.

    Also, there are mentions of “pastors” in scripture. They are elders, who have the task of “shepherding”, or more literally “pasturing” the flock of God. Check out Acts 20:28-30; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 5:17. Every church should have a plurality of elders, not one who rules as dictator. However, even among elders, some are called to “labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

    Unless I throw out a lot of scripture, I cannot come to a model of church that you promote.

  29. Davo says:

    Furthermore, the role that we assign the word “pastor” probably fits better as a combination the roles played by either those called “priest” or “prophet” in the ancient world. Priests administered the temple (as pastors often administer in the church). Prophets spoke the word of God (as pastors often do from the pulpit). The words that they speak are frequently and incorrectly conflated to prescient statements. While one can debate whether the words of a prophet may also be interpreted in light of future events, the words that prophets spoke had direct application to the present situation of their audience. Perhaps the scripture scantly uses the word “pastor” or “reverend” as you suggest. However the roles that these figures play correlate strongly to the roles that priests and prophets played in the scripture. And, I’m pretty sure that both “prophet” and “priest” is used abundantly throughout scripture.

  30. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    You write…
    “Your description of church does not fit with my experience.”

    Well, finally, we’re in agreement here. Pheeewww!!

    You’re part of “The Religious System” of Today. The Institutional Church.
    I left “the Religious System” in the early 90’s to find Jesus, the “Truth.”
    What you call church and what the Bible calls church are two different things.

    Jesus is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out one’s) “The Church.”

    You write…
    “You seem to say no one is qualified based upon your **overly-literal** understanding of “must be”.

    Nope. NOT my understanding. Paul’s understanding.

    Seems Paul left us a way out “if” we can’t find someone who qualifies.

    In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, to ordain elders in every city. But in verse 6 Paul **leaves a way out** (?) saying, “If” any “be blameless.” This is a very large, little, word: “IF.” This “IF” is found many times in scripture. In verse 7 he explains why he leaves an opening. For a bishop “must be blameless.” I just never met one “leader/pastor/elder”
    as nice and as humble as one might be, who could live up to that “one qualification,” never mind all the other qualifications. Paul didn’t say “they” can grow into being blameless. To be ordained elder/overseer “they” must “be” blameless.

    Titus 1:6 If any be blameless…
    Titus 1:7 For a bishop “must be” blameless…

    I don’t know the state of one’s blamelessnes 2000 years ago… But, Today…
    Who do you know **Today** who is “blameless,” without fault? Are you?

    And “If” this qualification is NOT important?
    What other “Qualifications” are NOT important?
    Which “Qualifications” can we overlook?

    Only God, and sometimes me,
    know the hidden motives of my heart.

    Only God, and sometimes me,
    know “the idols” of my heart. Ezek 14:3-7

    Can “titles become idols” – of the heart?

    Doesn’t God then talk to us, and direct us,
    according to those “idols” of the heart?

    Jesus… I’ve returned to the shepherd and Bishop of my soul… Jesus…

  31. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo

    You write about and defend your pastors and your church, Yet you know something is wrong with the system you’re in. Because – You write in your first comment…

    “I’m definitely one of those who gets extremely frustrated with the Church. Were it anything else besides the Church, I would have long since given up on it entirely. I’ve nearly given up on it a number of times.”

    I was also frustrated. A while back, I started to notice that some of what I thought was “truth” from the Word of God was actually “traditions of men” “hand-me-down religion,” that makes the Word of God of non effect. (Mark 7:6-13)

    I also noticed, that when you start to touch a man’s traditions he gets pretty upset. He rarely takes the time to hear the whole story and take it to God to see if it is truth. It’s often hard to admit that we have believed lies. Or that people we respect, taught us lies. I have been deceived by others, those I loved, and deceived myself.
    Don’t know it all now. So, in some areas, I’m still deceived. Oy vey! 😉

    When we’re deceived, we don’t know we’re deceived,
    we don’t always realize we’re believing a lie. 😦

    When we believe the lie we start to die…

    I started to notice that what I was taught about **Today’s** “Pastors/Leaders,” wasn’t lining up with what was found in scripture. For starters… When searching for what a “Pastor/Leader” does **Today**… in the Bible, I had a very rude awakening. I found…

    NO – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews.
    …… When folks come together, every one has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. 1 Cor 14:26. Every one can and is expected to participate. Today, for the most part, we have pew potatoes.

    NO – Pastors, as CEO’s of 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax deductible, Religious corporations.

    NO “disciple of Christ” “calling” another brethren – Pastor, or “My” Pastor.

    NO “disciple of Christ” “calling” them self – Pastor or Leader.
    ……”ALL” disciples called themselves “Servants of Christ.” Hmmm?

    NO “disciple of Christ” having the “Title”or “Position” – “Pastor/Leader.”
    …… Today that “Title” is written on – Diploma’s on walls, business cards, office doors, Sunday morning bulletin, street signs, and more. And everyone knows who the “Pastor/Leader” is. Why? Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation, took on the form of a “Servant.” Seems that “Title” became an “Idol?”

    NO “disciple of Christ” “Exercising Authority” over another believer.
    …… I was taught; You submit to me, NOW, your “God Ordained Authority,” And, one day, when you’re a Pastor, people will submit to you. 😦 Power. Profit, and Prestige, is highly esteemed among men. Guilty. Oy Vey!

    NO – Pastors, separating themselves from the body, as “Clergy-class.”

    NO – Pastors counseling anyone.

    NO – Pastors marrying anyone.

    NO – Pastors burying anyone.

    NO – Pastors visiting the sick.

    NO – Pastors wearing special clothes.

    NO – Pastors going from one congregation to another. What’s up with that?
    …… Elders, plural, matured within the group, when, if, appointed, they were known. Today – Pastor, Paid, Professional, is hired, and fired, NOT known.

    And the list goes on…
    You could probably think of a few yourself.

    IMO – Not of much of what we see **Today,** with “Pastors/leaders,” in “the Corrupt Religious System” has any reference in scripture.

    Seems it’s mostly – “hand-me-down religion. Seems “The Traditions of Men” are “mighty” in power to distract and deceive.

    Jesus warned us about making “the word of God” of non effect through our traditions; Yes?

    Mark 7:13 KJV – Making the word of God of **none effect** through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 ASV – Making **void** the word of God by your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 NIV – Thus you **nullify** the word of God by your tradition…

    Of course, these thoughts, NOT new to me, got a lot of believers thrown in prison. Some paid with their life. History declares… “Christiandumb” is often a bloody sport. 😦

    Especially…
    When you challenge the “Traditions and Doctrines of men” in power.
    Especially…
    When those with “Titles” and “Position” see their “Power, Profit, and Prestige,
    being questioned and diminished by those who “want to be “Led” by the Spirit,
    by those who are challenged – **to follow Jesus.**

    NO – Tim and Davo – your model does NOT exist in scripture.

    Jesus… King of Kings and Lord of Lords…

  32. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: You wrote “I don’t know the state of one’s blamelessnes 2000 years ago… But, Today…
    Who do you know **Today** who is “blameless,” without fault? Are you?”

    While you may not know the blamelessness of the people 2000 years ago, the Apostle Paul did. He wrote:

    None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks after God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10-12)

    Paul later writes about himself:

    For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:15-25)

    So, Paul tells us that no one, not even him, measured up to the standard of “blamelessness” that you seem to want to apply to the qualifications for elders and deacons. Yet, they did appoint elders and deacons and Paul tells Timothy to appoint them. How can this be? Blameless must not carry the weight of “perfection” that you apply to it.

  33. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    Maybe your correct and I’m putting to much on “must be blameless.”

    And “If” this qualification is NOT important?

    What other “Qualifications” are NOT important?
    Which “Qualifications” can we overlook?

    Today, How many wives can an elder have?
    I mean the divorce rate today in the church is the same in the world.
    And 77% of pastors say they don’t have a good marriage.
    They should be happy. Yes? Let’s not focus on this marriage stuff.

    Today, Does an elder NOT have to “rule well his own house?”
    Or, “have faithful children not accused of riot or unruly?”
    After all, teenagers today are tough to raise, lets excuse this one. Okay?

    And it’s a lot more expensive to live today so we shouldn’t look down on
    someone who is “greedy of filthy lucre.” Let’s excuse this one also.

    What other “Qualifications” are NOT important?
    Which “Qualifications” can we overlook?

    Jesus… The only “ONE” who meets all the “Qualifications.”

    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

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

    I’m in agreement with David… The Lord is my Shepherd…

  34. Davo says:

    Thanks for sharing about your experience. You are right; you don’t have to look hard for examples of where I criticize the church.

    I wonder, why do you think Paul spent so much time discussing the qualifications of pastors and elders if clearly no one would ever meet those qualifications or fill those roles? Seems like a waste of time and papyrus to me.

    Your refusal to answer questions perplexes me, but at least you stopped generalizing your experience.

    In your quest to resurrect the early church, I wonder… do you share everything you have with other fellow Christians? Have you lately sold your possessions and given to anyone as they have need?

  35. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: “Maybe your correct and I’m putting to much on “must be blameless.””

    Thank you for acknowledging that I may be right. Now, would you please answer the questions I have been asking over and over again about why the church appointed elders and deacons and why we find qualifications for them in scripture if the church is not to have them?

  36. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo – Tim

    Davo writes…
    “I wonder, why do you think Paul spent so much time discussing the qualifications of pastors and elders if clearly no one would ever meet those qualifications or fill those roles? Seems like a waste of time and papyrus to me.”

    Tim writes…
    “why the church appointed elders and deacons and why we find qualifications for them in scripture if the church is not to have them?”

    I too have asked these questions. I do have some thoughts about this. When I first realized that I didn’t measure up to the “Qualifications” it was a troubling time. BUT, wanting to hold on to the Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, and Reputation, that comes with being in “Leadership” I learned to overlook and cover up those character defects. Eventually God got thru to me. I had to humble myself, admit I didn’t meet the “Qualifications” and forsake all. I had to remove myself from “Leadership” and tear up my papers. I had to stop making excuses for myself and others who did NOT “Qualify” to be an elder/overseer.

    It seems God has NO problem testing and proving His children. Asking them to do things that they can’t fulfill. God’s ways are NOT our ways, are they?

    1 – We have the Ten Commandments.

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

    I don’t seem to be able to “fulfill those requirements.”

    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 “fulfill those requirements.”

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

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

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

    Nope… not this one either…

    6 – How about – Go… make disciples…
    How many “Disciples of Christ” 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 Christ.”

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

    7 – Then we have Luke 6:27, But I say unto you which hear, **Love your enemies,** do good to them which hate you.

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

    And the list goes on, and on, and…

    So one possibility for Paul’s “Qualifications” is; **it’s a test** of someone’s “Integrity.”
    If they don’t meet the “Qualifications” will they humble themselves? Will they admit they don’t meet the “Qualifications?” and will they remove themself from the “Position?”

    And realize the highest calling is to be a “Servant of Christ?”

  37. Davo says:

    Nobody meets all of the qualifications laid down throughout the entire of the Bible. Nevertheless there are examples of leaders all throughout the Bible. What would you say about leaders like King David or Moses? They didn’t meet the qualifications. Yet God chose them. David is called “King” and “Son of God,” the same titles you attribute to Jesus. The scriptures recall David violating virtually every qualification. Was David wrong to be King? Was Samuel wrong to anoint him? Was God wrong in instructing Samuel to do this?

    Why don’t you answer some of Tim’s questions instead of just responding with verbose, illogical arguments that are only tangentially related to the questions we pose?

  38. Just because something appears in the bible, doesn’t mean that God willed it.
    There is such a thing as Permissive will.
    There is such a thing as mankind’s freewill.
    This appears right in Genesis when God says to Adam NOT to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However before he made the world, God had a plan to encompass Adam’s rebellious exercise of that precious FREEWILL thing.
    We should never underestimate the exercise of freewill in its intrusion in history.

    Take the monarchy in Israel. Everyone takes it for granted, yet it was established in rebellion.

    1Sam8…….the elders of Israel come to Samuel…..v5………….make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
    The main error here is wanting to be like all the nations, when in God’s eyes Israel was nothing like all the nations. Ex19v5………….then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people……v6..and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
    v8. And all the people answered and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do.
    Oh yeah. Really!
    Back to 1Sam8v7. And the Lord said to Samuel, hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say to thee, for they have not rejected thee, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM.
    God tells Samuel to listen to them but send a stern warning of the consequences of their demand.
    The king will take their sons and daughters, their fields, vineyards, olive groves. The king is going to make their lives hell and rob them blind,—–read it!
    He finally says to them,v18. And you shall cry out in that day because of the king whom you shall have chosen, AND THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY. Wow!
    (I wonder if the reason that some of our prayers are never answered is because we have made choices which mitigate against God handling it?)
    v19……………. Nay, but WE WILL HAVE A KING OVER US,….. V20THAT WE ALSO MAY BE LIKE ALL THE NATIONS AND THAT OUR KING MAY JUDGE US AND GO OUT BEFORE US AND FIGHT OUR BATTLES!!!!

    Talk about blatant rebellion.

    Now, was the establishment of a monarchy in Israel a good idea? Was it a God idea?

    Before anyone jumps in with Deuteronomy17v14, where God talks about a king, You will see that everything about it is the opposite of what the elders were wanting from Samuel. It is obvious that Dt17 was just pragmatism on the part of God. Dt 17v20 says,”That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren.”
    This is the opposite of what we find in ALL kings, even those in the church.
    Jesus spoke about Moses permitting divorce, because of the hardness of our hearts, but never because divorce was God’s plan)

    Although a high percentage of the OT is about the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah, it could be considered that the whole monarchy period was entered into against the express will of God.

    When something like the monarchy of Israel has been happening for what seems like eternity, it is hardly surprising that this “norm” is considered to be God’s will, and nobody ever asks why. Or if anyone does ask why, they get shouted down because nobody can contemplate anything different, nor do they want to.

    Should the church also be ruled -like all the nations? Is the Holy Nation, just like all the nations?

    I believe that the establishment of a monarchy in the Church of the Lord Jesus has the same roots as the establishment of Israel’s monarchy did. I am sure there will always be a good argument in its favour, but it is still rebellion against God’s reign

    Strangely, after giving the rebellious Israelites Saul as king, he anointed Saul with the Holy Spirit, and it was said that he was counted amongst the prophets.
    So there we have it, God anointed an act of rebellion.
    However what would have happened if God had rejected their demand for a king? They clearly would have done it anyway, and made their own choice, and they would then have had a king WITHOUT an anointing.

    So the anointing of the Holy Spirit is in itself NOT a sign that we have got things right. It is merely a sign of a merciful God, who sends his Spirit to guide us into ALL truth.
    If we would listen.

  39. Tim Farley says:

    Francisdrake: “So the anointing of the Holy Spirit is in itself NOT a sign that we have got things right. It is merely a sign of a merciful God, who sends his Spirit to guide us into ALL truth.”

    And that same Spirit has convicted me that God’s guidelines in scripture for how the church is to function are truth. You seem to be saying you have been told otherwise. By who? Scripture tells us specifically that Israel’s demands for a king were wrong. It does not tell us that elders and deacons in a church are wrong. In fact, the early church appointed them and Paul says that they should be appointed in every church and gives guidelines for doing so. So, unless you have some clear revelation from God that this is wrong (and Paul and the Apostles were wrong), why should I, or anyone else go against what scripture seems to teach?

    I will say one thing and maybe you will agree: the Bible advocates a servant leadership as exampled by Jesus. Jesus definitely led his disciples, but he did so by serving them. That is our model. Elders and deacons are to serve their people, not lord it over them. But that is not an argument against leadersip, that is an argument against a certain kind of leadership.

  40. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    You write…
    “That is our model. Elders and deacons are to serve their people, not lord it over them.”

    That’s one of the great problems with “the Corrupt Religious System.” They think
    The ekklesia, the Church, the called out one’s are “Their” people.

    The called out one’s are NOT “YOUR” PEOPLE.” they belong to God.

    They are God’s people.

  41. A. Amos Love says:

    I have some question’s about “your” use of the word “leader.” 😉
    The word “leader”seems like a “high place.” Yes?
    Jesus always took and recommended the **low place.** Yes?

    Seems Jesus has a different take on “Leadership” for **His Body.**

    Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of NO reputation,
    and took on the form of a **Servant.** Php 2:7-8. 😉

    How do “you” reconcile the use of the word “leader”
    when “Jesus” told **His disciples** NOT to be called “leader?”

    Jesus, in Mat 23:10 KJV, told **His disciples** “NOT” to call themselves
    “Master / Leaders,” for you have “ONE” “Master / Leader” “The Christ.”

    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders,
    for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders,
    you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader.
    your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

    Jesus told **His disciples** NOT to be called **leaders** and NONE did.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    **His Disciples** all called themselves **Servants.**
    None called themselves “Leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “Servant-Leader.” None.

    If Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to call themselves “leaders”
    and someone calls them self a “leader” or thinks they are a “leader;”

    Are they NO LONGER a “Disciple of Christ?” Oy Vey!!! 😉
    Or, are they just a **disobedient** “Disciple of Christ?” 😉

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important? 😉

    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

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

  42. A. Amos Love says:

    If Jesus told His disciples not to be called master/leader
    and someone calls them self a leader or thinks they are a leader;
    are they a “disciple of Christ?

    If that is our choice, “disciple of Christ” or “leader”
    which one do you choose?

    Don’t titles become idols and
    pastors become masters? (Ezk 14 Idols of the heart.)

    Have you considered the ant?

    An ant is small and insignificant. Or is it?

    Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
    Which having
    no guide,
    overseer,
    or ruler,
    Provideth her meat in the summer,
    and gathereth her food in the harvest.
    Proverbs 6:6-9

    Guide – 07101 qatsiyn from 07096
    KJV – ruler 4, prince 4, captain 3, guide 1
    1- chief, commander, dictator.
    2- ruler (of one in authority)

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

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

    Just about every seminary of the IC has in it’s mission statement
    that they are “training leaders.”

    But Jesus told His disciples not to be called master/leaders.

  43. A. Amos Love says:

    In my experience with having been in “Leadership.” And…
    In my experience with the “Title” and “Position” of **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,”

    “Titles” become “Idols.”

    An “Idol,” an addiction, difficult to lay down, hard to walk away from.
    Because, **Today’s** “Titles” come with something “A Little Bit Extra.”
    Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Reputation, Recognition, etc…
    All “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14:1-7. All those things Jesus spoke against.
    All those things that are highly esteemed among men.

    Luke 16:15
    …but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men
    is abomination in the sight of God.

    Jesus told “His Disciples” NOT to “Exercise Authority.” Mark 10:41, Mat 20:25.
    Peter, 1 Pet 5:3, said, Neither as being lords over God’s heritage… but, examples…

    In my experience…
    Everyone who assumes the “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader,”

    No matter how loving, eventually…
    No matter how humble, eventually…
    No matter how much a servant, eventually…

    Will “exercise authority” and “lord it over” God’s sheep. (Guilty as charged.)
    That’s always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.” 😦

    When you assume the “Title” and “Position” of **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,”
    by default – you are “Exercising Authority” and “lording it over” God’s heritage.

    Didn’t you ever wonder why NOT one person, in the NT,
    has the “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader?”

    Jesus… The only Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

  44. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: You seem fond of adding meaning to words that you know is not intended by the writer. When I say “their” people. I mean the group of people to which they belong, not that they own. When I use the word “lead”, I am speaking of servant leadership as described in scripture, as I already explained, not “reign” as in “lord it over them”. Are you even trying to understand my point of view? It does not seem like it. I am explaining my view and backing it up with scripture. You keep going off on tangents.

    When you are ready to have an honest conversation where you are actually trying to honestly discuss this issue from a biblical view, we can continue. If you insist on going off on tangents to make a point that is only relevant in your mind, I am not going to bother any longer.

  45. Tim Farley says:

    Amos wrote about his experience: “No matter how loving, eventually…
    No matter how humble, eventually…
    No matter how much a servant, eventually…

    Will “exercise authority” and “lord it over” God’s sheep. (Guilty as charged.)
    That’s always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.”

    When you assume the “Title” and “Position” of **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,”
    by default – you are “Exercising Authority” and “lording it over” God’s heritage.

    Didn’t you ever wonder why NOT one person, in the NT,
    has the “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader?””

    Well, that has not been my experience. Plus, who/what gives you the authority to set up something other than what God has determined? Are you more knowledgeable than God about how the church should function? And, what about the titles elder and deacon? How about Ephesians 4:11-12? Seems like a list of titles to me (including pastor/shepherd/teacher).

  46. Davo says:

    Amos, how many times can you copy/paste and reword the same thing? You’re not actually bringing any new evidence to the conversation, just restating what you’ve already said. You refuse to respond to any questions we put forward. All you do is proof-text verses without giving them any context. In fact, your entire argument is devoid of historical context, consideration or evidence.

    This isn’t really a discussion about what the Bible says, Amos. You’re just copy and pasting. If you want to have a discussion, I’m all for it. Until you respond with anything more than meaningless drivel, I’m out.

  47. A. Amos Love says:

    Sorry for the misunderstanding about “their.” Please forgive me.
    I’m glad you don’t see “the Church of God” as “your” church, “your” people.

    You write…
    “When I use the word “lead”, I am speaking of servant leadership as described in scripture,”

    “servant leadership” is not in the Bible. It’s a man made term not found in scripture.

    Every “Disciple of Christ” called themselves “Servants.”
    NONE called themselves “Leaders.” NONE called themselves “Servant-Leader.”

    You write…
    “Are you even trying to understand my point of view?”

    I’ve lived your point of view. I’ve taught your point of view. Oy Vey!!! 😦

    Then God challenged me about “The Commandments of Men,” “The Doctrines of Men,” “The Precepts of Men,” “The Philosophies of Men,” that all lead to “The Traditions of Men,” that nullify, make void, and cancels out, “The Word of God.”

    I realized I don’t “Qualify” to be an elder/overseer. Do you?
    I do “Qualify” to be a “Servant of Christ.” Thank you Jesus. 😉
    I no longer desire the recognition. I no longer want people to follow me.
    Now desire folks to hear “His Voice” and follow Jesus.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    My people have been lost sheep
    **Their shepherds** have caused them to go astray…
    Jer 50:6

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

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

    Elder and deacon were NOT “Titles” in the Bible, they were “Servants” and NOT Leaders. Jesus taught “His Disciples” NOT to be called Leader. No one went around calling out to say – Good morning Elder John. Or – My Elder is John who’s your Elder. Or – good morning shepherd Peter. Or – Who’s your shepherd, my shepherd is Peter. The only “ONE” with the “Title” Shepherd is Jesus.

    And why did you change from “Qualifications” for elders, to now they are just guidelines?

  48. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo

    you write…
    “You refuse to respond to any questions we put forward.”

    Sorry, trying the best I can. My keyboard is burning up.

    Ask me again, what question do you want answered?

    And please answer these questions.

    In the Bible, How many people have… the “Title” Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many people are… referred to as Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many people are… ordained as a Pastor/Reverend?
    In the Bible, How many congregations are… led by a Pastor/Reverend?

    **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,” is this a “Title” and “Position” in the scriptures?

  49. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo

    Can you name one person in the Bible called pastor?

  50. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim – Davo – privateer

    I have seen the dangers of “Titles,” of being known as “pastor/leader.”
    “Spiritual Abuse” for both the “leader” and those “being led.”

    I’m not not new to “ministering healing” to those who have
    been “Spiritually Abused” by **Today’s** “Pastor/Leaders.”

    Folks who have been *burnt,** burnt out,** kicked out,*
    and *crawled out* of “Today’s Corrupt Religious System.”
    With it’s leaders, submission to spiritual authority, Tithes and offerings,
    and other unbiblical “heavy weights” put on folks shoulders.

    I also spend a fair amount of time with pastors,“so called leaders,” who can’t do it anymore. Trying to run the show and please so many masters. Trying to please the denominational leaders, please the congregation, the congregations leaders, your own family, and of course Jesus. Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

    Serving so many masters, that’s tough, Yes?

    Peaching every week… and it better be good, being the CEO, the team leader, counciling, marrying, burying, smiley face. etc. etc.

    “Pastors/Leaders,” and their families, pay a horrible price, attempting fulfill a “Title” and “Position” NOT found in scripture.

    This is info from a website helping burned out Pastors.

    http://www.pastorcare.org/PastorCare/Health___Healing.html

    • 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
    • 71% have felt burned out or depressed.
    • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
    • 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.
    • Over 1600 pastors in the U.S. are forced out of their positions each month.

    Think we might have a problem with “pastor/leader?”

    Read that again. This is not possible.
    77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
    70% of pastors feel depressed or burnt out.
    70% Don’t have a close friend. Hmmm?

    That’s who is running the show.
    That’s who is “Spiritually Abusing” God’s sheep.

    1600 pastors a month, that’s 19,000 a year, leave or are pushed out. Wow!!!
    That’s a lot of broken hearts, disappointments, feelings of failure, pain, abuse.
    That’s 1600 families a month suffering “Abuse” from a “Corrupt Religious System.”

    Some more statistics. This is serious business. Yes?

    http://pastoralcareinc.com/WhyPastoralCare/Statistics.php

    # 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …………..Many pastor’s children do not attend church now
    ……………because of what the church has done to their parents.
    # 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
    # 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
    # 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

    Tim – No – the model for church you promote is NOT found in the Bible.

    We are “the Church.” NOT a building, an Institution, or a Corporation.

    Jesus – The only head of the body “the Church.”

  51. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: I have already expalined that a pastor is an elder and gave specific passages to back it up. Please go back and interact with that comment. I see no reason why I should retype it here. I use the terms guidelines and qualifications interchangeably. I do not put the weight of perfection that you do on them. I have already explained my reasons why, which you seem to ignore.

    My questions that you have failed to answer: Why are there elders and deacons appointed at the churches in scripture? Why does scripture tell us to appoint elders and deacons? And why do we find their qualifications listed in scripture? Why should I follow your plan for the church rather than what we find in the New Testament? Do you have a better plan than God?

    No church is perfect. It never will be because it is made up of imperfect people. But God has given us instruction on how it should function. I will follow his word since I believe he knows what will work best to accomplish his will in an imperfect world until Jesus returns.

    You are good at pointing out the possible flaws and imperfections of the church model outlined in scripture, but you do not seem willing to acknowledge that there are serious flaws with your personal model. Davo mentioned those in an earlier comment. You see, there is no perfect church. Your model is as flawed (or more flawed) than that which you ridicule.

    When given the option, I think it is best to error by following scripture rather than personal, subjective experience.

  52. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: All of those statistics are great, but they do not say churches should not have leaders. It only means that the expectations or role of the leaders may be flawed. That is a totally different subject.

    Can you at least admit that we find elders and deacons at the churches in the New Testament, along with instruction to appoint them and lists of qualifications for them? Please answer this question before going any further with any other points you may want to make.

  53. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    You write…
    “Can you at least admit that we find elders and deacons at the churches in the New Testament, along with instruction to appoint them and lists of qualifications for them?”

    Yes, you are correct, I can admit we find elders and deacons being appointed at the churches in the NT. I agreed with that in my first comment. September 20, 2010 at 7:05 am

    In your comment to privateer – February 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm
    You write…
    “what is the point of 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9,
    which give the qualifications for elders and deacons,
    if these offices are not supposed to exist in the church?”…
    **…“and only those qualified are to fill those offices.”**

    Yes, you are correct, I can admit – “and only those qualified are to fill those offices.”
    I agreed with that statement then and I agree with it now.
    “and only those qualified are to fill those offices.”

    At one time I thought I was part of “Leadership” building a biblical “Church.”
    At one time I thought I was a biblical “elder/leader/pastor/teacher.”

    Then there came a time where “I knew” I didn’t “Qualify.”
    Then there came a time when I understood we were NOT building a biblical “church.” We were building a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation.“ With hierarchy, a chain of command, lording it over God’s heritage. We were building a city and a tower to heaven in order to make a name for ourselves.” Gen 11:4. We covered ourselves with a lot of “christianese.” A language that sounded like we were called of God to to be His “God Ordained Authority.” How people needed to obey us. Doing so many things NOT found in the Bible. Having so many “Titles” NOT found in the Bible. We were NOT building “The Church” found in the Bible. We were doing a lot of good things, just NOT God things.

    I removed myself, I walked away from “Leadership.” I walked away from “the Corrupt Religious System” I supported for so many years. I walked away from the church of man, from eating the left over pig food, wasn’t worthy to be His son, was willing to just be just his servant, and I walked into the arms of a loving Father who forgave me all my sin, calling myself an elder when I didn’t “Qualify,” and killed the fatted calf. I now have food to eat that you know not of.

    No – the elders you see appointed today are appointed to run a business, a corporation. Appointed to run the church of man. The elders of the Bible all called themselves “Servants.” None would “exercise authority” or “lord it over God’s heritage.” When you take a “Title” you automatically are “exercising authority” and “lording it over.”

    “Titles” become “Idols.”

    If people are looking to you, and submitting to you, and NOT to Jesus, your “Title” has become an “Idol” to them. You have come between Jesus and “His People.”

  54. Tim Farley says:

    Amos: I am at least happy to hear that you agree that elders and deacons existed in the churches of the New Testament and that scripture tells us to appoint them in our churches. I think this conversation has come to the only conclusion that it can at this point, so I will leave it that we have come to an agreement on something: elders and deacons are the biblical norm.

  55. Davo says:

    We were building a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation. … No – the elders you see appointed today are appointed to run a business, a corporation. Appointed to run the church of man.

    No doubt this is true of some churches. But if this is what the hierarchical does church, every church that I’ve attended fails miserably. Perhaps that’s because our goal isn’t to make money. I know that flies in the face of everything you have experienced, but maybe you should stop generalizing your experience to everyone.

    If people are looking to you, and submitting to you, and NOT to Jesus, your “Title” has become an “Idol” to them.

    Again, this hasn’t been my experience with the churches that I attend. You’re little, “Titles become idols” platitude is quippy, but like all platitudes, they fail to encompass the complexities of real life.

    Do you understand what I mean when I say, “Stop generalizing your experiences to others”?

  56. A. Amos Love says:

    Davo

    You write,,
    “You’re little, “Titles become idols” platitude is quippy,”

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

    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
    For I know not to give flattering titles;
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
    Job 32:21 KJV

    … Son of man, these men have **set up their idols in their heart,**
    …I the LORD will answer him… according to the multitude of his idols;…
    Ezek 14:1-11

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about, and exhort us to, “hew down “the graven images” of their (our) gods?” Deut 7:25, Deut 12:3, 2Chron 34:7, Isa 21:9, Jer 51:47 Mic 1:7.

    Don’t we make the “Title“ Pastor a “graven image?”
    “Engraven” on diploma’s, that are hung on office walls, “Engraven”on business cards, that are handed out, on the Sunday morning bulletin, on the street sign, on books, on websites. And everyone who reads them knows who “the Pastor/Leader” is. Yes?

    Is that “self-honoring” and “seeking glory?”
    Seems Jesus warned “His disciples” about those things.

    Jesus said in John 5:41, I receive “NOT” **honour** from men.
    John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive **honour** one of another,
    and seek not the “honour” that cometh **from God only?**

    John 8:54 Jesus answered, If **I honour myself** **, my honour is nothing: **
    it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

    John 7:18 He that **speaketh of himself** seeketh his **own glory:**
    BUT, Jesus said in John 8:50, And I seek NOT mine own glory…

    Has the “Title Pastor” become a “graven image?”

    Micah 1:7
    And all the “graven images” shall be beaten to pieces…

    Isa 42:8
    I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to “graven images.”

    Jer 50:38
    A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of “graven images,” and they are mad upon their idols.

    A land of “Titles and idols” in the heart. Ezek 14:1-11, Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors, Youth Pastors, Single Pastors, Reverends, Right Reverends, Most Right Reverends, Doctors, Doctor of Divinity, Popes, Fathers, Priests, Clergy, and the list goes on, and on, and…
    Are any of those “Titles/idols” in the Bible?

    Didn’t Jesus make Himself of no reputation,
    take on the form of a servant, and humble Himself? Phl 2:7-8”

    Don’t “titles” make a reputation whether you want it or not?

    Didn’t Jesus say I receive NOT honor from men?

    Don’t “titles” create honor whether you want it or not?

    If someone says their “title” or “position of leader” is not an “Idol,” an adiction, a drug, just ask them, well if it’s not an “Idol,” then just get rid of it, your “Title” is NOT in the Bible, lay your title down, lay down the power profit, prestige, honor, glory, reputation, recognition, etc..that comes with “Titles” and “Position.”

    Just walk away from your “reputation” as a leader, become a bretheran, become a servant, take the low place,
    become a “Servant of Christ.”

    Ever try telling a “Senior Pastor” that his “Title” is NOT in the Bible. And he doesn’t meet the “Qualifications” for “Elder/Overseer?” Ouch!!! 😦

    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

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

  57. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim – Davo – privateer

    I’ve ben following this blog for awhile. Just saw this today.

    I’ve Resigned from Professional Pastoring
    I’m not sure how else to say this, so here it is: I’ve resigned from professional pastoring.

    After much study of scripture, prayer, discussions with some of my friends, and reading good books, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer in good conscience remain a salaried pastor. I cannot find it anywhere in the bible, so I’m not going to do it.

    Read the rest here.

    http://eric-carpenter.blogspot.com/2010/09/ive-resigned-from-professional.html

  58. One of the problems of this sort of debate invariably revolves around semantics. This has already been highlighted more than once over the meaning of “church”. Amos and I being on one side and Tim and friends on the other.

    However I suspect that I might be on my own over the following crucial understanding of a word.

    Just to be absolutely clear I shall nail my colours to the mast right from the beginning.

    If what I claim is true, then it has a massive knock on effect the understandings of other scriptures. It also untangles much confusion.
    So here is my premise.-

    “NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE DO WE FIND THAT ANYONE IS EVER APPOINTED TO BE AN ELDER.”

    Immediately I hear everyone shouting 1Tim3v1-13, and Tit1v5 at me, so lets look at them.
    1Tim3.
    The words in this whole passage are most specific. They clearly and absolutely address the appointment of overseers and deacons.
    There is not even one mention of the word “elder”.
    To claim this is about the appointment of elders is an abuse of scripture, and plainly dishonest. If anyone can demonstrate otherwise please advise me.

    Tit1v5
    …………….set in order the things that are wanting and ORDAIN ELDERS in every city, as I had appointed thee.
    Yes, the words are most clear, however verse 5 is clearly qualified in its meaning by what follows.
    Tit1v7
    For a bishop (overseer) must be blameless, as the steward of God…………..

    The context, and normal rules of language, makes it clear that Paul is calling Titus to ORDAIN OVERSEERS,- FROM THE BODY OF ELDERS in a church.

    Lets look at an imaginary example which might help clarify my point.
    Suppose a denomination wishes put more emphasis into the children’s work.
    A memo is sent around to all their churches, worded thus.-
    “It is the intention to advance the children’s ministry in the community. Therefore, for the new creches we shall be establishing in each church, we request that you all appoint women. All creche helpers must be mature and have experience with children………”
    I ask two questions which directly relate to Titus.
    1) Is this memo is about appointing anyone to be women?
    2) Is this memo about appointing women to be creche helpers?
    Take your pick.

    This sentence construction is entirely normal and regularly used. It has an abundantly clear meaning. There is absolutely no doubt about what the denomination wanted to do, and it certainly was not about appointing anyone to be women.

    To claim that Tit1v5 is about appointing people to be elders flies in the face of normal language construction.

    I have deliberately kept this comment to one single issue, to hopefully make any response more precise.

    I will hopefully get around to who I believe the elders were in a later comment.

    Frank.

  59. Tim Farley says:

    francisdrake:

    I appreciate your response and how you use scripture to make your point. However, I disagree with your conclusion. I believe that the titles “overseer” and “elder” are synonymous, not separate designations. So, we can talk about ordaining/appointing elders or overseers and we are talking about the same thing. Why do I think this? There are three reasons. I will give you the strongest reason last.

    1. Titus 1:5-9 makes the most sense if we understand that the word elder and overseer are interchangeable terms. Otherwise, Pual seems to change the subject in mid-stream. It also seems to make the most sense when we compare the qualifications of the two in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7. They are pretty much the same.

    2. In 1 Peter 5:1-5, Peter tells the ELDERS to “shepherd the flock” and exercise “oversight”. These are the same functions performed by the OVERSEERS according to Acts 20:28-30.

    3. In Acts 20:17, Pauls calls the ELDERS from Ephesus to come to him. In verses 18-35, Paul instructs that group of ELDERS. However, in verse 28, Paul does not call them ELDERS, but OVERSEERS.

    I see no reason to believe that an overseer and an elder are not one in the same, just different words.

  60. Tim, I shall try to directly address your specific points as mentioned.
    However to enable me to do so, I again need to nail another of my colours to the mast.
    So my next premise.
    “NOBODY CAN EVER BE APPOINTED TO BE AN ELDER – SIMPLY BECAUSE THE WORD ONLY REFERS TO AGE AND/OR MATURITY.”

    (Also, that the various words regarded as referring to leadership are NOT simply interchangeable at will.)

    My basis for making this assertion is that key references giving any definition to “elders” in the bible are juxtaposed against “younger”, disqualifying any claim to an “appointed” status for the word.
    In addition to this, all elder members of a society were elders in their tribal community or family, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE WORD MEANS. Any older man or woman is an elder, even if he is an idiot.
    Even if a member of a previous/historic society was given an appointment it never negated the eldership of the family heads.

    1Tim5v1. Rebuke not an elder, but exhort him as a father, AND THE YOUNGER MEN AS BROTHERS.
    v2 the ELDER WOMEN as mothers and YOUNGER WOMEN as sisters.

    Titus2v1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.
    v2 That the ELDER MEN be sober minded etc…..v3that the ELDER WOMEN LIKEWISE……..v4That they may teach the YOUNG WOMEN……….v6 YOUNG MEN LIKEWISE exhort…….

    To isolate “elder” as the single appointed status of the four categories of person indicated in these passages, makes a mockery of the family type relationship Paul is describing for the church.
    Take note, that it is a very dysfunctional family when the father decides to invest himself with an “appointed” status, rather than the one he comes upon by being a husband and father and rearing loving offspring.

    Additionally Paul also says to Timothy earlier in 4v12- Let no man despise your youth, but be an example of the believers…………etc.
    This shows that maturity is not only about age but conduct, and that Timothy, whilst a young man may still exhort an older man but only as he would a father etc. ie. not because Paul has appointed him an “elder” over these other men (or women).

    So your points.-
    1)
    a) 1Tim5v9. Yes, overseer may be interchanged with elder, because all overseer MUST be appointed from those who are elders (mature saints). However all elders aren’t appointed to be overseers.

    b)Come on Tim, there is no way its a change of subject. That is unless you count it a change of subject when someone talking to you, happens to calls, “pastor” at the beginning of a conversation and “Tim” at the end.

    c) I believe that my view makes total sense when we compare the qualifications in Titus1 and 1Tim3, because they both describe requirements for overseership. This is not a point that I am disputing. I am just pointing out that the passages are NOT about eldership. (Other than the obvious eldership qualities of an overseer.)

    2) 1Pet5v1-5 The elders who are amongst you………feed (shepherd) the flock, and exercise oversight…….
    This chapter again is proof of my view on eldership not yours. The use of the word “elder” in verse 1 is juxtaposed against “younger” in verse 5. …..In like manner you younger submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea ALL OF YOU be subject to one another.
    To claim this passage demonstrates appointment of elders is an astonishing abuse of language. Indeed, the second half of v5 illustrates the true view of God’s leadership principle, humility to one another, rather than depending on a badge.
    Yes this passage does call on the elders to feed the flock etc, simply on the basis that they have already done the journey of faith ahead of the younger ones, and as fathers of faith it is their responsibility.
    3. I can only repeat the same as above. Yes he calls the elders, the mature ones, and tells them to conduct themselves rightly to feed the flock of God.

    Tim, chapters like Acts 20 give no proof one way or another. Both you and I could claim it as our evidence.
    Understanding this, and the other verses, all hinges on whether a saint has to be first given a badge of office before being considered mature enough to serve God in the body of Christ, and I simply do not think that this view stands the test of historic culture or the NT scriptures.
    However I can see your viewpoint better than you can see mine. This is because, like Amos, I have been where you are, in various aspects of leadership in church.
    That game is now anathema to me because, as explained previously, I view it like demanding a king, rebellious against God’s personal reign over us.

    Frank

  61. Tim Farley says:

    francisdrake:

    “NOBODY CAN EVER BE APPOINTED TO BE AN ELDER – SIMPLY BECAUSE THE WORD ONLY REFERS TO AGE AND/OR MATURITY.”

    Seems like an odd statement given Titus 1:5 “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained in order, and appoint ELDERS in every town as I directed you…” Did Titus have an impossible task given to him by Paul? Was Paul wrong?

    Also, Acts 14:23 “And when they had appointed ELDERS for them in every church…” If it impossible to appoint elders, what do we make of these passages?

    Yes, an “elder” can refer to an older person, but it can also refer to an office. Do you have access to any theological dictionaries? I am sure that any of them will give a discussion of the Greek word “prebyteros” that will show the different ways the term can be used. I would recommend the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. It gives a lengthy discussion of this term, showing how it was used in the OT, NT, and in extra-biblical literature. It is not simply limited to people who are “older”.

  62. A. Amos Love says:

    privateer

    Cutting and pasting your comments where I can read them a few times. Good stuff.

    ““NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE DO WE FIND THAT ANYONE IS EVER APPOINTED TO BE AN ELDER.”

    Huh.. Er… What? Oh my gosh… Nope, I can’t find one person **Appointed** elder.
    Just as I can’t find one person with the “Title” pastor or reverend. It’s NOT written.
    What a concept… 🙂
    Appreciate your insights and how you explain them.
    That’s a new one. Praise God. 🙂
    Good stuff. I’ll have to think about it a little more. Like the idea a lot.
    Never looked at elders like that before. Understood meaning older but had no way to discourage elder as an office or elder as someone more special then others.

    Be blessed in your search for Truth… Jesus…

    Mind if I plagiarize your writing?
    Or, use it as part of my research about “The Corrupt Religious system?”

    To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research. 😉

  63. Tim,
    In response to your suggestion that I try to understand the Greek.-
    I my whole journey in this area of thought began many years ago when God challenged. I had listened to a bible teacher emphasise from 1Tim5 that it was wrong for anyone to challenge any of the Elders. Something in my spirit was offended by this statement.
    Up to this point I had not given it a thought. When I read it for myself, as I explained previously, I saw that the verse was juxtaposed against younger men and also against young and older women.
    That was when God challenged me to start following the Greek. So yes, I have been checking the Greek, probably from before you started school.
    However I have never had my mind preprogrammed by the vested interests of bible college. I have had most of my understandings initially given in revelations, dreams and visions, which I have followed through the bible in English and Greek enough to satisfy my convictions.

    Incidentally, when God first told me to check the Greek of 1Tim5v1, I was so shocked that I started to pray strongly that He would prove me wrong! I so desperately wanted to drop the issue because I could see the ramifications of it as far as the institutional church was concerned.
    It felt like I had been handed a grenade with the pin missing. I literally wept because I was frightened by what I was seeing, and I knew I was alone in my thinking. As I read the Word, I found that my heart leapt whenever I saw a verse which seemed to contradict what I had seen. I was free! Then I found that God kept saying “read it again”. So I kept going back to these verses, and I would suddenly see that it actually reinforced the same principle.
    My heart would sink again. Despite my best efforts I could not escape being chased by God. Finally, I had to give up running from what God was showing me, and allowed God to continue with the journey. This has been happening for the last, nearly, 30 years.

    Tim said “”Seems like an odd statement given Titus 1:5 “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained in order, and appoint ELDERS in every town as I directed you…” Did Titus have an impossible task given to him by Paul? Was Paul wrong?””

    I have already answered this at length Tim. If you read beyond that verse you will find that he was actually instructed to appoint overseers, from the elders. (I assume that you know the verse numbers are not in the original.)

    I have no illusions of persuading you to my viewpoint, when your mind is made up otherwise. Someday you might understand.
    I would however remind you what Amos was emphasising earlier. That is Jesus decried all claims to status, and said, “let it not be so amongst you”. Try at least not to lose sight of that, or of the fact that none of those mentioned in the NT went around with titles like we see in church today.
    In the mean time, stay blessed.
    Frank

  64. Tim Farley says:

    francisdrake:

    Thanks again for your thoughts on this issue. I found one thing you said particularly interesting:

    I have had most of my understandings initially given in revelations, dreams and visions, which I have followed through the bible in English and Greek enough to satisfy my convictions.

    I just returned late last evening from a pastors conference where there were about two hundred pastors gathered to enjoy music, preaching, and fellowship. What am I to make of the fact that almost all (if not all) of those pastors would say that they had been “called” by God into pastoral ministry? A few, maybe more, would likely even say that they too had received a vision or dream that communicated such a call. Not only that, but what about the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of pastors all around the world over the last 2000 years who would say that they had been “called” by God to be pastors? Again, many of them also receiving “visions and dreams” to communicate such a call.

    Why does God call people to be pastors if it is unbiblical? Why would he give you a vision and another person one that is contrary?

    You mention that you “followed through the bible in English and Greek enough to satisfy my convictions.” I too, as well as many pastors before me who have been called into pastoral ministry, have searched the scriptures to the point where our convictions are satisfied on this issue. What would you make of that?

  65. Tim,
    You asked “Why does God call people to be pastors if it is unbiblical? Why would he give you a vision and another person one that is contrary?”

    This is so easy, so easy.
    I have already alluded to it in previous comments.
    To me, the fact you ask the question at all shows that you just don’t understand certain biblical principles.

    God appointed Saul as the first King of Israel. He even anointed him with the Holy Spirit.
    Yet he also said that the THE DEMAND FOR A KING WAS A REJECTION OF GOD’S REIGN over Israel.

    Therefore the demand to have earthly kings (pastors, priests etc) reigning over the church is equally a rejection of heavenly reign (Jesus). Especially when God called us ALL a royal priesthood, not just a special few.

    However if God refused to be involved in church at all, then it would be left solely up to Satan to arrange those appointments. Satan arranges enough appointments (and anointings) as it is. Therefore God continues to call pastors.

    In the doctrine of the church for thousands of years, the belief has been that hierarchically is how church MUST be run, and there is no other way in the minds of both good and bad people. There is no opening for God to speak otherwise. If someone sincerely wants to serve God, this is how they interpret it.

    Therefore it is easy to understand why these men hear words from the Lord of that nature, they are like you, blind and deaf to any other word.

    For centuries the tens of thousands of pastors in the church taught that the gifts of the Holy Spirit had ceased with the death of the apostles. They all absolutely knew that this was correct doctrine and frequently persecuted those who spoke in other tongues as witches.
    If God whispered to any of these men about the gifts of the Spirit, they would have dismissed it as a heretical thought from Satan. Their ears and eyes, even as believers were hardened against God IN THAT AREA.
    The fact that most of everyone else, millions even, believe something gives it absolutely NO extra credence, if it is wrong.
    Frank

  66. Davo says:

    However if God refused to be involved in church at all, then it would be left solely up to Satan to arrange those appointments. Satan arranges enough appointments (and anointings) as it is. Therefore God continues to call pastors.

    What evidence to you have that Satan arranges appointments and anointings? Can you cite examples?

    You said, “God continues to call pastors.” If God arranges an appointment, how can what God ordains be wrong? Are pastors wrong for following the call that God places on their lives?

  67. Tim Farley says:

    francisdrake:

    Your logic fails on two levels. First, we know that Israel’s demand for a king was wrong because the Bible specifically tells us so. There is nowhere in scripture that tells us that elders and deacons in the church are wrong and contrary to God’s “better plan” for her. The burden of proof falls on you to show why your view is true. You have no scripture to back it up.

    And secondly, and even more importantly, even if you can prove that leaders in the church are the same as Israel’s demand for a king, you still have no grounds for rejecting what God has instituted (regardless of His reasons for doing so). In OT Israel, the king was God’s annointed leader. It was not approved by God to reject him and not submit to his authority. Even David knew this. That is why David refused to raise his hand against the “LORD’s annointed” even when Saul was out for David’s life. What God has instituted, we must follow until God changes the plan. We do not have the authority to change his plan.

    So, if God has instituted elders and deacons for the church as outlined in scripture, who am I to reject them? What gives you the authority to reject them?

    You dismiss the fact that millions have been called by God as the deceptive work of Satan in their lives. Perhaps the same could be said of you and your own thinking on these things? Especially when they seem to be so contrary to the written word of God? Why should a person believe you and reject the teaching and beliefs of the entire Christian community over the lifetime of the church? That seems like a pretty arrogant statement to me.

    Are we not to test the prohets by the written word? Maybe we should cease with the “dreams and visions” and stick to talking about the written word that does not fail. I am left with the conviction that your teaching on this matter is severely lacking biblical support.

  68. A. Amos Love says:

    Tim

    You write…
    “I just returned late last evening from a pastors conference where there were about two hundred pastors gathered to enjoy music, preaching, and fellowship.”

    **What am I to make of the fact that almost all (if not all) of those pastors would say that they had been “called” by God into pastoral ministry?**

    Tim “what would you make of the fact” if you met with two hundred pastors, who said they were “called” by God into pastoral ministry in these three denominations I’m familiar with.

    We have the…

    “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” Who are they ordaining?
    How are these pastors, (called of God?) doing as a witness for Christ?
    Seems same sex marriage for their clergy is okay now. Tsk. Tsk.
    Seems they are splitting again. Some aren’t happy with elder/leaders.
    Could there be a large deception going on here? Among pastoral ministry?

    “The Episcopal Church of America” Who are they ordaining?
    How are these pastors, (called of God?) doing as a witness for Christ?
    Seems same sex marriage for their clergy and Bishops, is okay now.
    Seems they are splitting again. Some aren’t happy with elder/leaders.
    Could there be a large deception going on here? Among pastoral ministry?

    “The Catholic Church of Rome” Who are they ordaining?
    How are these pastors, (called of God?) doing as a witness for Christ?
    Seems their priests/elders/overseers have been getting caught. ooops.
    Some aren’t happy with the elder/leaders, popes and priests.
    Could there be a large deception going on here? Among pastoral ministry?

    I think, you would think – These pastors, who believed they were called of God, were **deceived.** Or, God, Himself, could have sent these pastors a strong delusion so they would believe a lie, because they didn’t have a love for the truth. 2 Thes 2:10-11. After all, What these pastors believe is certainly false, and they are saying – God “called” me to be a pastor.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

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

    😉 Take a guess, what do you think, I think, about these pastors of these three denominations who say they are “called” of God, and then go along with same sex marriages.

    Nope – can’t find anyone with the “Title’ and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader” in the Bible. These are all part of “The Corrupt Religious System.” NOT “The Church of God” in the Bible.

    Jimmy Baker, Jimmy Swagert, John Piper, Francis Chan, Ted Haggard. Eddie Long.
    So many wonderful examples of “pastoral ministry” to choose from.

    By the way, the Bible says nothing about “pastoral ministry.”

    The only one I can find in the Bible with the “Title” – Shepherd – is Jesus.

    Jesus… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul

  69. Tim Farley says:

    Amos:

    Surely, even you see the hole in your own argument. I do not need to prove that everyone who claims to have been called into pastoral ministry has truly been called. I am positive that there are frauds. Even scripture tells us that this is true (1 Timothy 6:3-10). However, I do believe that many have truly been called. And if that is true, then who are you (or anyone else) to say that those who have been called are doing something wrong? If God has called a person to pastoral ministry, it cannot be wrong – unless you are saying that God contradicts himself. The only way your argument stands is if you contend that every single person in the history of Christianity who claims to have been called by God into pastoral ministry is lying or deceived. Is that your argument?

    Also, I am not aware of what stance most of the pastors you mention above take on same-sex marriage, but I know you are wrong about John Piper and Francis Chan. Neither of them support it. Know what you are saying before you say it.

    The only one I can find in the Bible with the “Title” – Shepherd – is Jesus.

    You obviously have failed to read 1 Peter 5:1-4. Peter tells the ELDERS to SHEPHERD the FLOCK (sounds like they are shepherds to me). He then goes on to say that one day the chief Shepherd (Jesus) will return to reward those who have done so faithfully. What do we learn here? Elders are shepherds of the flock serving under the authority of the chief Shepherd, Jesus. Sounds similar to Acts 20:17-30, where Paul speaks to the ELDERS and tells them to care for the FLOCK. He also refers to them as OVERSEERS in verse 28. And, of course, we also have Ephesians 4:11, which tells us that Jesus “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the PASTORS and teachers…”. The word translated “pastors” by most translations is the Greek word “poimen”. It is literally the word for a shepherd or herdsman. It is the same root word used to describe Jesus as the chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4. So, if Jesus gave us “poimen” (pastors/shepherds), how can you say there are no others?

    So, either tell me why I am wrong in my interpretation of these passages, or drop the silly one-liners about pastoral ministry not being found in scripture. It seems overwhelmingly obvious to me that it is.

  70. Tim Farley says:

    Amos, Francisdrake, Davo:

    I am closing this post to any further discussion. It has become obvious to me that there is nothing else productive to be said. I think that scripture is clear to anyone who reads it that elders and deacons are proper and biblical. In fact, it is hard to arrive at any other conclusion in light of the New Testament.

    I usually do not close posts, but this one has reached its end.

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