As I mentioned to Danny, I do/did not necessarily mean to tear down the Catholic church by my statements, just to use an example from my own life to illustrate my point regarding the ignorance of scripture and it’s damage and, as someone else pointed out, I’d be likely to hear the same statement, “It was God’s will”, from the Protestant or other religions.
As far as that goes, I know that religion, at its best, is still man-made. The word in the bible chosen by God for religion in Greek is threskia which means “the outward show of piety” as opposed to the Greek word eusebeia, translated godliness and defined as “a real, true, vital, spiritual relation(ship) with God”
I know that it says:
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
And then, on the other hand, when some were trying to influence the jailers to give lashes to Paul in addition to the chains they’d already bound him with by pretending to preach his message in the streets, but doing so as obnoxiously as they could, he said:
Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
That’s pretty much how I feel now about Christian religions. Christ is preached; far out. …but I also know that the doctrines and traditions of men make God’s word “of none effect”. There is no perfect church. All of them have some wrong doctrine and, likewise, to varying degrees, all of them have some truth. If ‘Christ is preached’ people can be saved and receive the holy spirit and eternal life… ‘and I therein do rejoice.
I agree. Let’s not forget destructive as well. I don’t think I can adequately express how much but, as one who was victim to it I’ll say this: No one in the position of a minister of any kind has any right telling such a bald-faced LIE. Whether they are ignorant or knowingly “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”, either way it’s just as evil.
I see what you mean. I didn’t say we don’t need to have faith, just that faith was the MAIN ISSUE in the time prior to the outpouring of the holy spirit on Pentecost and nowadays the MAIN ISSUE is love.
Here they are:
Matt 16:17-19: 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Eph 4:11-12: 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Phil 1:1: 1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons
Tit 1:5: 5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, F2 and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
1 Tim 3: 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground F4 of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Very well put. Certainly there are leaders and ministries in the body of Christ. But just look at the word itself: It’s *leaders*, not bossers. It’s so obvious yet we don’t see it and we get bamboozled. A leader is one who goes ahead, leading the way. Then he/she comes back and serves what they have found to the others. As you point out, the role of a Christian leader is to serve. That is because what he is leading in happens to be love. God is love and the knowledge of Him is love. When Jesus washed the feet of the apostles what was He teaching them but the humble service of love?
As far as this all applies to Christians and the aspect of hierarchy, I can think of no better example than I saw in a very early “Sower” article from CES I read called “Pattern for Fellowship” which was, in part, a study of 1 Cor 14. In it they pointed out that after all the reproof regarding the improper conduct in their fellowship meetings, in verse 26, couched as an almost minor, deceptively simple statement is God’s solution to the whole mess. He doesn’t say “Well, what you need to do is get some strong, charismatic men and women to take charge” or “You need to believe for some gift-ministries in your area”. (sound familiar?) What He said was: “26How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” the context of this wonderful truth is not a leadership epistle, in fact this is set smack in the middle of what is considered the “milk” or basic principles to the believer. Stated another way, this is not addressed to leaders but to every believer in the body! I remember when I used to teach fellowship in my apartment and I would spend hours praying for God to help me by showing me what to teach, what to sing, who to call on, mostly, just focusing on how I could best bless God’s people, (and of course He always did) studying, doing word studies, etc. and When I read that article, years later, He brought those times back to my mind. Of course when all this was happening my understanding was firmly entrenched in the attitude of twi’s hierarchy. Reading that study was like taking off blinders. God’s instruction to “Let all things be done unto edifying” (love) is not to leaders.but to everyone. All the believers praying to know how to bless God’s people, preparing their minds in the word, looking to the needs of each other. That is what was wrong at their meetings. Their hearts were filled with one kind of self concern or another rather than looking to how to edify one another and all this probably confused by a super-imposed hierarchy. There is no need for a tiered hierarchy because if all set their hearts in love to edify one another, God will work in them and the one who has something to teach will teach and the one who has something to sing or to prophesy or minister, they will do so and all will be decent and in order as God is not the author of confusion.
We all have a leader, the best leader who is able to speak to us and work in us to love. His name is Jesus Christ.