Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘church authority’

“But speak  the things which become sound doctrine” Titus 2:1

“Holding fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers – for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers ….” Titus 1:9,10

In my previous post I mentioned my belief that so much deception has been allowed to invade the church because of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Word of God. Of course, I recognise that church Leaders would not agree with that suggestion because they all , without exception, say they use and take their authority from the Bible  –  but the question is – which one?

I think, as a result of all the many different versions [and paraphrases] now in use, the green light has been given for preachers and teachers to make the Word of God mean just about anything they want it to mean. Who’s to say anything is truly right or wrong when what it all comes down to is a simple matter of man’s interpretation?

I write this as a lay person with no authority or qualifications – it is just my humble opinion, drawn from my own observations, experience and research. My contention being that we need to have the utmost confidence that the Bible we read is indeed the infallible, inerrant Word of God, preserved and protected by Him and not a hit and miss exercise of translation and interpretation.

If we don’t have that confidence, it inevitably de-stabilises our firm foundation, so that we then turn to other sources for our spiritual security. Our ‘leadings’, experiences and trust in personal prophecies become on a par with and even supersede Scripture in our daily walk…..   it’s miraculous, it feels right – so it must be right.  The danger is that we can then be led by seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1Timothy 4:1

I was first alerted to a ‘problem’ with the Bible when I began to hear preachers throwing out casual comments that a certain word or passage in the KJB was a ‘mistake’  – it either was translated wrong or it shouldn’t be there at all.  It bothered me then and it bothers me now that the reliable Word of God wasn’t so reliable after all!

So, gradually, the KJB has fallen out of favour, not simply because its language is now considered [wrongly I believe] archaic and hard for people to understand, but because its accuracy has been discredited [ironic when you consider the errors and cumbersome language in the other versions].  So -it’s goodbye King James – welcome The Message ! [For a Defense of the King James Bible see my Blog archive.]

Add to this the sentimental/mystical RC inspired tv series ‘The Bible’ and the latest portrayal of Christ in the film Son of God [not to mention The Passion of Christ] and the vain imaginations of man are complete. Naive and gullible Christians fall for it hook,line and sinker!

Anyway – I digress …..    To illustrate what I mean by preachers making the Bible say what they want it to say, I will give just three examples of what I came across, almost incidentally, while looking up other things.   I have named the last one as he is so well known.

The first was a sermon on Healing by a young visiting preacher on an Australian AoG church web site.  He claims the Holy Spirit is his friend and quoting from the Message Bible, apparently when Jesus returned to Heaven after his resurrection ‘ the Holy Spirit greets Him with ‘Great job!’ and Jesus replies ‘Now it’s your turn’ and gives Him a ‘high five’![my summary]

He relates [correctly] how in a certain place Jesus could do no miraculous works because of their unbelief, but then goes on to advocate prayer and taking authority over that unbelief to ‘break’ it. But where did Jesus ever do that?

Regarding Jesus telling some people he healed not to tell anyone, he seems to impute manipulation on the Lord’s part by likening it to when God said to Eve – ‘Don’t eat that’ – she went ahead and ate !  In other words – Jesus knew what people are like and that they would do the exact opposite to what He told them, so He could be certain of  their publicity ….   How much of that idea this young preacher got from The Message , I don’t know, not having read it myself. Maybe I should enlighten myself ….

Anyway – as I see it in John 2: 23-25  the reason the Lord told people not to publicise their healings was because he knew men’s hearts and that they were just seeking after ‘signs’ and not commitment to Him.

My next example happens to be another AoG preacher – this time a young woman. Her sermon was titled ‘The Great Involvement’  – immediately changing the commission for the church to preach the gospel of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into ” go to hurting humanity” – a Humanist Social Gospel.

She relates the story of Paul and Silas [Acts 16] , quoting from The Message Bible and using the ‘visual aid’ of a young lady from the audience and wrapping a rope around her.  She says Paul ‘bumped into’ the slave girl but chose to ignore her. So ” this chick says, ‘ok – you’re gonna ignore me, so I’ll follow you. Not only that  – in her messed up state she yells out: ‘ He knows the way’ –  I’d like him to help me find my way – but – he knows the way!”

She goes on to say – ” This went on for several days. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that. Paul – do you not see that this girl is troubled, she is possessed, she’s messed up, she needs someone to involve with her? But Paul went about his way”

She continues – ” after following them around for several days – finally- fed up with her [ruining his nice, polished sermon] – I love it – it wasn’t even spiritual!  The fact is – God doesn’t care how you get there – just get there! He doesn’t care.

After saying a few words about us getting involved in other people’s lives, she refers to ” a few verses earlier, when Paul came across a woman called Lydia, who asked him if he’d stop, get involved and come to her house, Paul said ‘yes’ to Lydia, but ‘no’ to the slave girl. Lydia was a wealthy woman and didn’t look as messy as the girl. She had a nice home and food she could give to Paul- she had benefits attached. Sometimes we have selective involvement. If I involve with you there’s a benefit here for me. There was no benefit with the slave girl”

Well, I hope you are as appalled as I am at this imputed partiality of the Apostle Paul – what a hypocrite she makes him out to be!! She also appears to rejoice at his supposed lack of ‘spirituality’!  Her complete lack of understanding is aided and abetted by her use of The Message.

My last example is notorious Mark Driscoll. He claims his ‘Resurgence’ movement is anchored by a theological foundation of

1.  Jesus -centred  Theology  2. Jesus – modelled Leadership  3. Jesus – empowered living  4: Jesus’ Mission

Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Till you hear his preaching…..  I won’t go into detail here but would direct anyone  interested in his treatment of the Scriptures to visit http://www.driscollcontroversy.com  where you can read his take on Gideon and Noah. Talk about turning the truth into a lie!!

must sign off now – please – if you see any mistakes, inaccuracies , untruths , I would welcome your correction. If you simply want to comment or add anything else relevant – feel free to do so.  God bless …. Maranatha!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The ‘church’ keeps changing and metamorphosing into something else – as fast as I think I’ve got a handle on what’s happening – it changes again , to go along with the latest fad. It’s scary that so many are now following church growth patterns [ all under the supposed guidance of the Holy Spirit] without even bothering to question or compare it all with the early Church pattern.

Rick Warren’s philosophy has invaded the church at large now , traditional, reformed or evangelical – it makes no difference, so that whereas at one time you could at least separate false doctrine from true, it has become almost too much to unravel ,  a mish-mash of influences that are affecting the very preaching of the Gospel itself.

I’ve known for some years about Marxism and what is called the Dialectic Process, but always associated it with politics, as I suspect most folks do. But I’m prone to search out the truth of a matter when faced with teachings/happenings that come across my path. I don’t like being in a fog [how well I remember being in those good old London, thick pea-soupers!] and the mental ones are even worse…..

So it is that I was able to learn more about the Dialectic Process [Diaprax] and it’s infiltration of the Church – hence everything has to change as the old ways are discredited and the new is in. The old sin- convicting Gospel has gone – enter the new Social Gospel. Even the faithful [to the Word], legitimate Churches seem to feel shamed into being more socially and politically active in the world, afraid maybe of being thought too ‘narrow?  The focus  is on ‘relationships’ with each other and the world – ultimately leading to another Jesus of course. 2 Cor 11:4

For a good understanding of what is going on, please take the time to visit the web site of Dean Gotcher  http://www.authorityresearch.com  He is also on You Tube, and Berit Kjos’  web site  http://www.crossroad.to/articles  for insights into the machinations of the UN.

I know there will be many Christians who will find it too burdensome to investigate for themselves, but it’s good to get into the habit of checking out things you hear or read with a little personal Bible study – especially if you have that little nagging doubt that something isn’t quite right.   It’s imperative that we become lovers of the Truth of God’s word – how else will we know if we’re being deceived?

Some will say – the Gospel is simple and following the Lord Jesus Christ and living in harmony with sincere fellow believers is all that God requires of us – he wants us to be as little children.

That is true initially – but God also requires that we mature and grow in our understanding and obedience of His word. [although 1 Cor 14:20 is said in the context of ‘tongues’ , I believe it applies to all spiritual things …]

The Lord gave Ministry gifts to the Church – Eph 4: 11-15  so that we needn’t be children who are tossed about by the false doctrines of cunning men. Sadly, today those Ministers are often failing us in that they tend not to want to be ‘negative’ and believe the Scriptural warnings are for others, not them – after all, don’t they pray to be led by the Holy Spirit ? Haven’t they done many wonderful things in His Name? mmm ….

I always try to approach my re-search with an open mind. I do not want to be prejudiced against any ministry or preacher because of what I’ve read or heard. This has been my position since the very earliest days of my Christian walk. I listened to what the JWs and Mormons had to say and read the literature they gave me, some of which sounded legitimate until I investigated further. I often discovered that the rank and file members , had the truth about their Leaders and origins hidden  from them. BUT – these enthusiastic cult members enjoyed the love and fellowship they had with each other and were convinced their respective Leaders could do no wrong, plus – all their thinking was done for them and even false prophecies didn’t appear  to bother them. {sounds a familiar pattern doesn’t it?}

Later, I came across an ad. by the Catholic Enquiry Bureau for anyone interested in finding out about their beliefs to sign up for a series of booklets – which I promptly did.  Again, my interest was in not wanting to dismiss them on hearsay.  Well, as you can imagine – it was even worse than I’d thought because the authority of the Pope and the church superseded anything the Scriptures might say, so they felt free to add all sorts of false ideas and commandments. Now I had it from the horse’s mouth.

It’s much easier and quicker these days to use the internet to look up the Horses’ Mouths web sites and You Tube videos of actual preaching. Plus of course the enormously helpful discernment ministries articles.

The huge deceptions that have arisen within  Christian churches are, I believe, the result of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Bible as the inerrant and  infallible word of God, together with a faulty view of eschatology [end time things]. I will enlarge on this in my next Post.

see you soon,   Maranatha!

 

Read Full Post »

Matt 23:8-12      But be not called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ and you are all brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant, and whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

       At the outset, let me clarify that I am not advocating disrespect or lack of honour towards those who serve the church – I am simply questioning the way our church hierarchical systems are accepted as scriptural, when they clearly are not.

So, having mentioned in my previous post my thoughts and observations of the divisions that exist between ‘Leaders’ and ‘Laity’, it led me to wondering about the title and leadership role of the Pastor and how it became an office raised above that of Elders and how did the Elders become raised above ‘ordinary’ church members?

I’ve been wrestling with this Leadership and authority in the church thing and trying to get what the scriptures actually teach about it –  I hope and pray with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

As I’ve found so often with other subjects eg the Rapture, there are times when I’ve had to step back from the ‘given’  teachings and look at the scriptures afresh – forgetting all that’s already been taught to me by others.

I’ve found it very helpfull sometimes, when there appears to be a contradiction or conflict, to temporarily set aside a particular verse[s] to try to get an overall picture in a very general way of how the early church viewed things – what they actually practised and taught.

For example – when faced for the first time with the ‘Gap Theory’ for the Genesis account of creation – it was very useful to see if it was in harmony with what the Lord Himself taught and the early church believed.

In the same way – when it comes to the scriptures used by Pastors and Leaders to enforce their authoritative rule over their respective churches [usually as a last resort to shut up dissension]  – Hebrews 13:17 – if we step back to get an overall view of the Lord’s and the Apostles’ teachings and practise – we see that this verse cannot be understood in the   way wordly ideas and hierarchical systems are.  According to Matt 10:25-28 it is to be the exact opposite !

The pattern for the early church is found in Eph 4:1-16 which shows that the church leaders became leaders by virtue of their functions in the Body of Christ via the gifts of God. They are God’s gifts to the Church:  apostles, prophets, pastors teachers, evangelists. They are there as Ministers [Servants] to all the members – themselves included. Nobody is to have the pre-eminence under Christ – He is the only Head. Indeed Diotrephes is singled out for his bad example.  And Paul has much to say about exalting and following particular men in the church. 1 Cor 3:1-11 & 21-23.

In overseeing the church – it must be by mutual submission – functioning for the benefit and welfare [physical and spiritual] of all. There is no authoritative Hierarchy in sight!

So, how come the Pastor in particular has become so elevated to ‘lead’ the church? It simply seems to be a left-over from the priestly systems of the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions – themselves a left-over from the old Jewish sacrificial system. This was originally instigated by God of course for the sins of the people, but replaced by the Mystery of God in Christ and His once for all time sacrifice – fulfilling  the old covenant and bringing in the new. We are all now priests with direct access to God and we answer to no-one else but Christ our Head.

The church is now to be led by Elders, recognised by their God-given gifts ,  no-one thinking too highly of themselves , submitting and serving one another . What they preach or teach is to be judged by the members and nothing is to be kept secret or hidden.

The fact is that almost all Pastors are the head and in almost total control of their church. Yes- he may consult with and listen to the Elders and Deacons, but his is the ultimate authority and voice in any decisions – right or wrong. There is always that fear of going against God’s wishes by not ‘submitting ‘ to him.

Ironically, there can be a strange supposed humility in showing one’s submission and in some cases even one’s conscience is put in subservience.

Further up the hierarchical ladder is the denomination or power group the individual church is affiliated to, so in his turn, the Pastor and his church come under what has become known as ‘covering’.

In many cases, all this means is that the Pastor will always be supported or backed up should any dispute arise at church level. Covering in other instances becomes something much more sinister and causes all sorts of fear and superstitions. The practise is totally unscriptural as far as I can see. Christ is surely the only covering a believer needs!

Because of this hierarchical system many ‘ordinary’ church members’ God- given gifts lie unrecognised and so the church doesn’t function to its full calling.

By accident I came across a web site for church Leaders and I was truly appalled by the wordly advice it was giving. This should not be so if we are truly following the Lord and being led by His Spirit into all truth.

I am indebted to the many web sites and Blogs that have enlightened me with their insights and obvious concerns about the current state of the church – often confirming the vague suspicions I’ve  had when things haven’t seemed quite ‘right’ to me.

I think the Lord is graciously  forgiving and opening many a believers eye , showing we are not as alone as we sometimes think we are. There are many bad things that invade the internet – but it can be [and is] such a wonderful resource for the truth seeker.

As always, I hope what I’ve written will help and re-assure people. I do not claim to be an expert and this blog is purely my own musings – so please excercise your own God-given judgement and discernment in the scriptures to put me right where you think I am wrong.

Many blessings,    Eileen

PS    I know there are many good, faithful and conscientious Pastors out there. I am in no way doubting their integrity – I’m simply questioning the system they are part of and take for granted.

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: