Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why Home Fellowships Can Help Abused Women and the Institutional Church Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 15, 2017

HF Potters House (2)

Originally published March 31, 2015

In our vision for a return to the way Judeo-Christian assemblies were done for about the first 300 years, let’s look at why home fellowships can help abused women and the institutional church cannot.

I would like to use this article as a catalyst for argumentation. The article was posted (author is not clearly stated) by Anna Wood who co-authored a book with Jeff Crippen, a Reformed pastor. The book can be found here.

The post is titled, What domestic abuse victims need from the church. My contention is that abused women cannot get what they need from “the church” as demonstrated over and over and over again. In fact, clearly, as also demonstrated over and over and over again as well, the institutional church adds to the abuse and becomes a co-abuser.

Why is this? The article offers a perspective from which to answer. This issue also speaks to the differences between home fellowships and the institutional church, hereafter “the church.” In an institution, it is easy to sign on the dotted line, give at the office, and pretend. Pastors can bark from Calvin’s Geneva pulpit all they want to; all folks have to say is, “Hey, I am a member in good standing, and as often heard, humble and incompetent—it’s not my gift and I am not qualified.” Likewise, in said article, the author’s call to “get involved” is going nowhere in the church in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

To the contrary, home fellowships are comprised of people who are sick of playing church, are weary of being mere spectators, and are not looking to walk into an arena with hungry lions, but know it could lead to that. They are also confident in the Spirit-filled laity and recognize where 500 years of academic popeism has brought us. In addition, they have a literal view of reality versus the functional dualism that drives orthodoxy. What am I saying? I am saying that home fellowships have a radically different worldview than orthodoxy and this will lead to aggressive participation in all kinds of needs.

Let me further this point by using the article at hand:

Statistics say that one out of four women in the United States experience domestic abuse of some form in their lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic abuse. When those who have suffered are members of the Lord’s church, the faithful among them have an obligation to help them. And, if we know of someone in the community who is being abused, I also believe we have an obligation to help if we can. When, for whatever reason, we shy away from this obligation, either through ignorance or willful refusal to get involved, we lay waste to the Gospel we claim to believe. Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.

What abuse victims need from their fellow Christians is pretty simple and straightforward. We need you to be Jesus to us. Do what He would do, say what He would say, were He the One ministering to us. Isn’t that what we all need from each other, anyway? Christians are called to stand in the place of Christ here on the earth and be His representative and do the works He would do. To fail in this is to fail in serving Christ.

Whoa, what a minute here! This is entirely unrealistic because of the message constantly drilled into the heads of Protestants. We are “all just sinners saved by grace.” We are, according to one prominent evangelical, “enemies of God.” According to yet another, “we hate God.” On the one hand, it is constantly drilled into the heads of those in the church that “when you are dead, you can do nothing,” but on the other hand we really think that parishioners shouldn’t think twice about getting involved in a domestic abuse situation?

First of all, getting involved in domestic violence is not “pretty simple.” Actually, it can get you killed by someone who doesn’t much appreciate your intervention. Moreover, getting the facts and evaluating the situation biblically is far from simple. Now couple that with the constant total depravity of the saints mantra heard in the church and it is little wonder that few will get involved in domestic abuse needs. The completely upside down worldview of the church makes laity involvement in domestic abuse nothing more than a pipe dream.

And, “Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.” This complaint is not only a mere symptom, but is not even a symptom of the real problem. Congregants not only fail to defend the oppressed, they either turn a blind eye or defend the defender of the abusers—the church. Ever heard of SGM? Ever heard of ABWE? Ever heard of the SBC? In case you haven’t noticed, they are not only still in business, but business is booming! Why? Because regardless of what happens in the church, it is the only ticket to heaven. “What? so billions of people should go to hell because some bad things happen in the church that is made up of sinners? Well, get a grip—where there are people, there is sin!” That is in quotations because this is exactly what we hear in response to a “cry for justice.”

So far, if you are keeping notes, we have two reasons the church cannot help abused women: 1. The total depravity of the saints resulting in a few “experts” attempting to minister to a massive throng 2. Salvation is found in the institution, and therefore the institution will be defended at all cost. Better that a few suffer by themselves rather than all of humanity being sent to hell.

Before we move on to the next points, a little more clarification: why does the church defend abusers? It starts with its worldview. Without going into a lot of detail, we must first recognize that Calvin and Luther are the church’s heroes, and then recognize what their “theology of the cross” was all about. This is a philosophy that interprets all reality via the suffering of the cross. As Luther stated, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” Luther, as well as Calvin, split reality into two epistemologies: the cross story and the glory story. Only preordained leaders can lead the great unwashed masses in the cross story—only the preordained can save humanity from the story of man, or the glory story. As Al Mohler once said, “pastors are preordained to save God’s people from ignorance.”

fake-church-sign-first-baptistHowever, theologians of the cross and the spiritual peasantry have something in common: we are all just sinners saved by grace. So, everything going on in the material realm is fairly insignificant—it’s just the same old sin and dance anyway. But by the same token, theologians of the cross are preordained of God and invaluable. And besides, many are icons of the institution that keep the money rolling in. Sure, you can reject this theory and opt for another one, but in the process you will drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why ABWE defended and protected Donn Ketcham until the bitter end.

Need another example among myriads? What about Jack Hyles? The guy was a mafia don dressed in Bible verses and is still a spiritual hero among many Baptists. David Hyles, Jack’s son, was also a well-respected pastor in the church who had affairs with at least 19 women and is a suspect in an unsolved murder. Yet, to the best of my knowledge to date, David Hyles is still invited to speak at Baptist conferences/churches and receives robust ovations. Jack Hyles remained in the pulpit until his death in 2001 and was succeeded by his son in law Jack Schaap who is presently in prison for statutory rape. Jack Hyles is notorious for his quip, “If you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen” and is still revered among many Baptists as the best preacher since the apostle Paul.

The article continues with its list of things abuse victims need from “the church.” But the thesis of this article is that the church is not only unable to supply these things, but becomes a co-abuser. In contrast, the original Christian model for fellowship is well able to help and more likely to do just that.

First on the list is “The Pure Gospel.”

The church long ago got away from the pure gospel. We water it down, mix it up and serve it with a side of fun. No wonder it doesn’t save. It can’t save. It’s poison. We need preachers dedicated to the truth of God’s Word who are willing to stand up and preach that truth without changing it one iota. We need Christians who long after righteousness. When we have that–the pure Gospel preached and lived–we’ll see more Christians helping abuse victims and we’ll see less abusers masquerading as Christians.

Uh, ok, not sure how to add to this. It’s a stunning admission while calling on the same church to do something about the problem it has created. We don’t need “preachers” to do anything. Preachers have been preaching long and hard for thousands of years and the results are evident. We need God’s people to stand up and get back to the first works of home fellowship. The laity waiting on the experts is long traveled and worthless. More of what is beginning to happen needs to happen more and more. Ordinary Spirit-filled Christians are meeting together around the word and fellowship, and seeking God’s face in this whole matter about how church is traditionally practiced. And the fact that the church is grounded in a false gospel is something I addressed in another article posted today and Friday.

Without addressing every single point in the article other than those mentioned already, let me move on to this one:

Someone to care for their needs

Do you know what keeps a lot of abused women and children with their abusers? The lack of money to leave. If a woman is trying to get herself and her children to safety, don’t spend time telling her why she’s wrong, what you think about her decision or trying to talk her out of it. She knows what it’s like to live in abuse and you don’t. Even if she stays, chances are great that she and her children need something or maybe a lot of things. Financial abuse often accompanies other types of abuse. Instead of lecturing, get busy serving and help them.

According to the first-century model, a home fellowship network would be several small groups meeting in several homes in the same geographical area. And because of freedom from massive infrastructure cost and “tithing” versus New Testament giving based on NEED only funds and resources to help the abused would be ample. In fact, I could share an example from our very own home fellowship. We have a young lady living with us, and other people connected to our fellowship contribute financially to her needs. She is fully supported independently from anybody who might be a problem in her life. And when people live with you, trust me, you know the facts and you do a lot of listening. She will be completely self-reliant this month after living with us for about two years.

In regard to a different kind of abuse, a home fellowship network that I know of in Africa operates in the following way: the network assimilates street orphans from Nairobi into their fellowships. There is a leader from the network, equipped with the latest information about funds and availability that goes into Nairobi searching for orphans, and upon finding some, brings them back to the fellowship network where they will have a home, food, protection, and education. Let’s say that our home fellowships are connected with theirs; many of these children could be brought stateside and assimilated into fellowship here as well.

In addition to being freed from the bondage of infrastructure expense, the authority of the church’s clergy is suffocating. Clergy, more times than not, are control freaks obsessed with keeping the herd calm. They are spiritual cowboys constantly concerned with the herd being spooked. This speaks to the rest of the concerns in the post being considered here. More times than not, the laity are kept in the dark concerning the needs of those abused. There is a wall of confidentiality between the church’s “trained” counselors and the parishioners who fund the whole mess. When red flags are raised in regard to how certain situations are handled, we are told that “we should trust the elders who are closest to the situation and know all of the details.” This continually proves to be a recipe for disaster, and elders are granted NO such authority via the Scriptures.

Small groups in private homes offer intimate support and confidentiality from the other home fellowships. It is a perfect balance of intimate care and financial support if needed. All of the different gifts and experiences of Christ’s body are brought to bear on the situation.

Also, we must remember that the home fellowship movement is comprised of people from all walks of life: policemen, mental health professionals, etc., etc. These people or their areas of expertise are not separated from any situation by the professional clergy for inappropriate reasons.

paul

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The Problem with Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 18, 2016

hitler1I was reminded just yesterday why believers must begin taking a much closer look at the subject of authority. A client of mine complained that her adolescent’s social services counselor actually suggested that her son should sue her! This immediately brought back to mind something Susan, my wife, had shared with me concerning outside counseling that one of her sons had received prior to our marriage that was also divisive.

Authority is bad for the family unit. A major theme of TANC Ministries of late has been the love versus authority issue. If you give the subject serious thought, it would almost seem like authority is a necessary evil. Remember, the undisputed greatest nation in history, America, was founded on less governmental authority in exchange for individual liberty. It was founded on the idea of self-governance. Until America, freedom of the individual was greatly feared and thought to be a sure catalyst of chaos that would bring an end to human existence.

But authority divides, and can only bring about conformity and nothing else. The apostle Paul said it best:

1 Timothy 1:5 – The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…

The law is used lawfully when it is used for love. Love fulfills the whole law (Rom 13:10, Gal 5:14, Jms 2:8, Matt 22:40). The law asks, “Did you sin today?” Lawfulness asks, “Did you love today?” Authority asks, “Did you do what I told you to do?” Love asks, “What do you need today?” One seeks to outdo each other in meeting needs and honoring one another (Rom 12:10 ESV), the other seeks to outdo each other with control. I have been around long enough in pastor clicks to know that the pastors who are respected most “run a tight ship.” The famous Jack Hyles, the “best preacher since the apostle Paul,” once displayed his pastoral savvy by ordering a deacon to stand up and sit down upon his command of which said deacon obeyed on cue. Parishioners sought Hyles’ permission to go on vacation and buy new cars.

The scope of authority and its true usefulness in this age is extremely narrow. Governments are God’s ministers only when they fulfill His purposes of rewarding good and punishing evil. But Romans 13:1-10 reveals something astounding: we owe the government payment for such services before God, but we only owe each other love. Government is an institution—God’s people are a body. We give money according to the needs of others, not an authoritative religious establishment.

However, the main concern of this post is how outside authority divides families and marriages, especially religious authority. In general, when there is strife and division, authority is always lingering in the shadows someplace. And most troubling is the assertion that “If everyone would just obey the Holy See there would be perfect unity.” But herein is the glaring problem: God will judge individuals—NOT institutions. Even in this present age, how many have been hanged on the gallows of justice for following the orders of those in authority? During WWII, an adolescent could totally circumvent their parents’ authority by joining the Hitler Youth movement. The authority of parents over their children was completely usurped by the state.

Likewise, due to the New Calvinist movement unmasking the true orthodoxy of the Protestant Reformation, the present-day institutional church openly claims authority over the family unit and labels husbands as sub-elders over their families. Wives who don’t buy in are stripped of their salvation by the completely bogus concept of “church discipline.” Whenever I challenge someone to find “church discipline” in the Bible, they always cite verses that invoke… “Ok, so, where is church discipline in this passage?” Take Matthew 18 for example: where is church discipline in that passage? And for that matter, where are the elders? Most absurdly assert that “tell it to the church” refers to the elders. But in regard to the way “church discipline” functions, it’s always the elders informing (telling) the congregation. So, in order to make Matthew 18 about church discipline, the church is the elders, but when it comes to applying the concept, the elders tell the church. Sigh.

And unfortunately, many husbands are all too eager to buy into the sub-elder concept. As long as they agree with the church’s orthodoxy, the wife either obeys or supposedly loses her salvation. And many of these men have the gall to object to wife spanking that is more prevalent in the institutional church than we would like to admit, but pray tell; what is the logical conclusion of all of this nonsense? Wife spanking or not is merely the difference between authority pizza toppings, plain cheese or supreme.

And it also cuts both ways. Wives who want to get rid of their husbands for whatever reason only need to become Reformation queens. Once they establish themselves as a present-day Joan of Arc, the church would not dare deprive them of having a Reformed Kool-Aid drinking husband. Hence, church sanctioned divorce is presently an epidemic.

Once one is tuned into the authority issue, the senses are flooded with data in the milieu of our culture. After hearing what the client shared with me yesterday, I came home and was channel surfing while eating dinner. A documentary about “conscience” on the EWTN channel (Catholic) caught my attention. It went something like this:

So, there are some things wrong by their very nature…So conscience, since it is a judgment of reason, and not the voice of God, can err…To avoid error, conscience must follow the teachings of the Church. Vatican II did not change this. In Constitution on Divine Revelation #10: “The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition] has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.

But again, we stand before Christ individually. I have actually heard people say that they will not stand in the judgment before God, but Christ will stand in for them if they obey the church who represents Him. So, “This is my Son…hear ye Him” is now “Hear the church.” This seems like a really bad idea to me, and obviously results in a plethora of interpretations accordingly. Even if everyone obeys an authority, there will be disagreements among the authorities.

We call that “war.”

paul

Reality Itself Disproves the Church’s Doctrine

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 11, 2015

project-2016-logo-4From the Huffington Post in 2013:

Citing the “serious sins” of its leader, a Texas-based ministry that promotes home schooling and “male patriarchy” has been shut down by its board.

Doug Phillips wrote on Oct. 30 that he would step down as president of Vision Forum Ministries and stop his speaking engagements after acknowledging an extramarital relationship.

His public admission proved to be a fatal blow for the ministry he headed. Vision Forum was geared for a segment of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who profess a traditionalist understanding of Scripture, sexuality and gender roles.

In light of the serious sins which have resulted in Doug Phillips’s resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, the Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of all involved to discontinue operations,” according to a statement on the Vision Forum website.1

What happens in reality continues to disprove the doctrine of the Catholic Church and its offspring, viz, Protestantism and its various stripes thereof. Between the two, Protestantism offers the more glaring contradictions and confusion.

Let’s just take Vision Forum as a prime example. Doug Phillips was often fond of referring to himself as a “sinner.”2  Likewise, Tullian Tchividjian, who also recently resigned due to marital infidelity,3 once boasted that he has never done one good work and stakes his assurance of salvation on that fact accordingly.4

Just how insane is church? People give their whole lives to the church and its sinners saved by grace gospel. This is the message they come to hear week in, and week out; yet, when a leader sins, he must resign to save the ministry’s credibility and subsequent financial support. What in the world is going on?

What is going on follows: the institutional church has been trying to save humanity from reality for over 2000 years. The problem with reality is mankind is basically good. Now, please note: I didn’t say that man’s basic goodness will save him, but nevertheless, man is wired for basic goodness. Why does this surprise us? Perhaps because of our Christian insanity. On the one hand, we are created in the image of God, a fact that Christians verbally toss about frequently, but on the other hand we are totally depraved? Which is it?

The case for basic goodness is stated plainly by what’s trending of late: the lost nor the saved will ultimately tolerate sinning leaders in the church or politics. This is because the world pins its hope on basic goodness. That’s a problem for the institutional church; if man is basically good, he doesn’t need the institutional church to find God and have a relationship with Him, and the church needs to be needed. If man is basically able, he doesn’t need institutional religion as an additional mediator other than Christ. That’s bad for business. 

Let’s pause for a reality check; clearly, there is evil in the world, but if man is basically evil, what would the world really look like? And in context of this post, if the function of parishioners was consistent with the message that they pay good money to support, no sinning leader would need to resign, and no ministry would lose support. There is a clear disconnect between reality and the “amen” echoed from the church pews.

And frankly, at pastors conferences and closed-door elders meetings, I think this disconnect is seen as the problem. The institutional church is trying to sell a difficult package, but nevertheless, it is a package they believe in. Resignations are primarily fiscal considerations that sometimes fail to save a given part of the institutional church industrial complex. Many church leaders, whether Catholic or Protestant, see resignations as indicative of the hard work that yet remains in striving for saints to really “understand grace.” However, progress is being made; one example would be the ministry of Pastor Jean F. Larroux, III5 in Presbyterian circles with perhaps the best example being Jack Hyles in Baptist circles:

What better example than pastor Jack Hyles who remained in the pulpit till his death in 2001. Hyles pastored the largest Baptist church in the US, boasting a membership of 100,000 and Sunday attendance approaching 20,000. Till this day, the Sunday School operates 250 school buses. Hyles was the personification of the first gospel wave that emphasized getting people saved and had very little emphases on life changing discipleship. And then there is this:

‘Hyles had also become known for his alleged immorality, specifically his behavior with his secretary (the wife of a deacon in the church)…. Besides Hyles’ own church and schools being scandalized with immorality and pedophilic activity (numerous FBCH men have been charged or convicted of child molestation), Hyles spawned a number of “ministries” (there are approximately 200 independent Baptist churches nationwide that hold Hyles and his teachings in high regard) that have been scandalized in the same manner. For example, seven Hyles-affiliated churches from 1984-1993 were rocked by child molestation scandals.

David Hyles, Jack Hyles’ son, had affairs with at least 19 different women at Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, during the time he pastored there. (He was dismissed when a janitor found photos of Hyles having sex with a deacon’s daughter.) Back in the Chicago area (Bolingbrook, IL), and after David’s divorce from his wife, David was cohabitating with a woman by the name of Brenda Stevens. Brenda posed for pornographic pictures in Adam and Chicago Swingers magazines (in an advertisement for group sex) during the time she and David were living together. After David married Brenda, Brenda’s 17-month-old son by a previous marriage was found battered and dead at the Hyles’ home. The police still consider the case a murder and continue to view David and Brenda as prime suspects.’”6

This post is an idea for TANC Ministries’ 2016 project and is not meant to be an in-depth look at this hypothesis, but I want to close with another thought that is related: ministries that are fed by the following of men. Vision Forum is one example among many. So goes the man, and so goes the ministry. In contrast, the Bible makes it clear that any ministry founded on the following of a man has no credibility whatsoever and is false on its face value. Yet, most Protestant denominations are founded on some man’s teachings. Baptists would seem to be the exception except for those who claim a “bloodline” to…you guessed it…John the Baptist.

Project 2016 seeks to explore the extreme cognitive dissonance of the institutional church, and we hope to have the final product of this research available at the TANC 2016 conference in August.

paul

6Paul M. Dohse: The Truth About New Calvinism; TANC Publishing 2011, pp. 128, 129.

Deb and Dee of Wartburg Watch .com: Gossip, Not Gospel; Hobby, Not Hope

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 3, 2015

There is a huge problem with the Christian blogosphere; it is very comfortable with hopelessness. In fact, hopelessness has become a hobby. The real world simply can’t function without solutions, but the Christian e-world seems to be exempt from that reality.

I started this blog when most blogs that address trends in Neo-Calvinism started, circa 2009. The goal was to find answers and an eventual solution to the New Calvinist movement that continues to turn the church upside down. Perhaps my solution-oriented bent comes from my entrepreneurial background; without solutions—you don’t make payroll. I never had to face any of my employees and say, “I can’t pay you this week” because the possibility was too terrifying. Trust me, it was all about solutions for many years.

The problem is simple: the recent and ongoing tsunami of spiritual abuse is due to a false gospel which shouldn’t surprise us. That was my first goal; to find the “why.” Then I found the solution.

What is more obvious than the fact that the institutional church which some call, “the evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors” makes the ongoing abuse possible? What is more obvious than the fact that institutions cannot function without money? Take ABWE of the missionary kids infamy. GARB churches could have brought ABWE to its knees inside of a week; yet, even in light of unspeakable atrocities against children, not one congregation pulled support.  Hence, the situation dragged on and on for roughly twenty years with little or no justice brought to bear. Why? Where are the missionary kids today? Does anybody even remember them? Oh, I forgot, their situation isn’t trending right now; that would be the latest drama everyone is feeding on: Jordan Root and Matt Chandler’s Village Church.

The discernment blogosphere could stop spiritual abuse dead in its tracks. We are talking about huge numbers and people who have immense influence.  Why would you continue to give any credence whatsoever to an institution that makes abuse possible? Churches are either directly involved in abuse, or turn a blind eye to it. Pastors who dwell in the institutional church could indeed put a stop to it as well. For example, a handful of IFB pastors could have stopped the Jack Hyles cartel from wreaking havoc on innocent lives, but they didn’t. Why?

Obviously, it’s a preservation issue of some sort at the expense of innocents who are attending church and trying to do what’s right. Instead, they fall prey to tyranny and pedophiles. There is a reason why the Protestant church now bears the same fruit of the Catholic Church while both continue to thrive. How can this be?

Let’s pause for clarification of points:

  1. The Protestant/Catholic/evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors is predicated on a false gospel, specifically, the false gospel of progressive justification. Protestants and Catholics merely disagree on man’s role in the progression. False gospels bear bad fruit—this should be evident.
  1. Catholic/Protestant hierarchies both claim God’s authority on earth to oversee the progression of salvation. The Catholics are more upfront about the idea, Protestants less so; nevertheless, this ministry has a cache of quotations from leading evangelicals that make the same claim. And they get that directly from Calvin and Luther.
  1. Participants of the evangelical industrial complex of celebrity pastors knowingly profess progressive justification, or unwittingly function by it.
  1. Progressive justification calls for an institution vested with God’s authority to oversee salvation. We hear all of the time that formal church membership is synonymous with being in the “body of Christ.”
  1. Progressive justification, theologically, allows for any and every kind of sin under the auspices of authority. We simply must not question God’s anointed who “stand in the gap” and “stand in our stead” before God. Our role is “humble submission” before God. If those who stand in the stead have wronged us—they will answer to God, not us. Our role is to “forgive the way we have been forgiven.”

Break point: most discernment blogs are pundits of this system. Their only hope is in the system itself. This is why they refuse to associate ideology with behavior. Regardless of what’s going on in the “church,” the goal is to somehow fix the church. Since 2009, they continue to whine, cry, and beg the institutional church to behave itself. They gather together, moaning and licking each other’s wounds, crying out to the institutional church as god rather than the Prince of Peace.  Really, it’s pathetic.

The paramount example of this sad scene is Deb and Dee’s Wartburg Watch .com. In their attempt to save the institutional church, they have become a celebrity subculture that mediates between the hierarchy and Churchianity’s sheeple herd. They are also a model for most of the other discernment blogs.

Listen, when the focus of salvation is a system, people will cling to that system at all cost. It is NEVER the ideological foundations of the system; it is ALWAYS a few bad apples that are to blame. If you suggest that it is the system itself that is the problem, you better go to that conversation in full riot gear.

And yesterday was a good example. It’s an amazing scene. In the same way that celebrity pastors get a pass from their followers, Deb and Dee not only get a pass for their illogical ways and steroidal hypocrisy, but also, as I found out yesterday, a vibrant defense from their faithful followers. Dee, and probably Deb as well, stood by while I apparently got what was coming to me. And cursory observations of their comment streams reveal that they are selective in regard to who receives this verbal abuse.

There is no room here by any means to document the full brunt of their ideological disconnects and hypocrisy, but I will touch on the basics. Let me start with explaining their intolerance of me regardless of the following: the price I paid for asking New Calvinists too many questions rates near the top of the abuse scale, so why did Deb and Dee stand by while I received my verbal beating which included blatant false accusations and baseless name calling? Because like black conservatives who are not black because they are conservatives, I am not a fellow victim because I offer an articulation of the problem and a solution.

Besides the fact that Deb and Dee are not victims of the institutional church, an articulation of the abuse problem and a solution threatens their hobby; ie., gossip mongering. For years, they have held an endless recycling of trending drama in the institutional church with spotlighted victims coming and going. They have their own Top 40 hits of the trending victims that eventually drop down to number 200 or lower. The discussion held on their blog is the musical hit of the week until people get tired of it and wait at the doors of their Wartburg castle with bated breath for whatever is trending next.

But here is the bottom line: Karen Hinkley will not find justice any more than the missionary kids, and that’s NOT ok with me. Karen Hinkley is at the top of the chart right now, and the missionary kids are not even on the chart. Deb and Dee are comfortable with that because trending victims come and go feeding their hobby and celebrity status as hopeless gossip peddlers. Their gargantuan pooling of opinions has not solved anything and has actually enabled the institutional church to continue in tyranny and abuse. They are facilitators—not advocates. They only have talk and have no solutions. In other words, they offer no hope.

Let’s put feet on this a little more. Deb and Dee see no real power in the truth or a connection between ideology and behavior. The latter has been my primary problem with them for several months. In a venture to keep people connected with the institutional church in some way, shape, or form, they offer an e-church hosted by none other than Wade Burleson who is a consummate Neo-Calvinist.

Let that sink in a little. While supposedly taking up the cause of those abused by the New Calvinists, they endorse a New Calvinist, and make it a point to expose others to his teachings.

Really? Do I really have to expound on this further? Look, I could cite the lame excuse they present for doing this on their blog, but I can’t really muster up a mental incentive to do so. This comfort with metaphysical contradictions is post-modernesque in the extreme.

Now, regardless of the fact that I rarely, actually, VERY rarely visit other blogs, and the subsequent accusation by Dee’s minions yesterday that I am a “low grade troll,” I was beckoned to Wartburg yesterday in regard to a statement that she made which leads me to the next point. Since the obvious must be discussed in our day, it stands to reason that the obvious must also have need of being articulated. This speaks to the other problem I have with Wartburg: they do not see truth as efficacious to healing.

Let me be clear and make a statement that I fully intend to stand by: Deb and Dee believe a false gospel. How do I know this? Dee said so. The statement that was brought to my attention follows:

Remember, we are all positionally holy but we are all functional sinners.

This is clearly a false gospel that denies the new birth. In fact, it is a return to the same authentic Protestant gospel that New Calvinism is predicated on. Deb and Dee cannot help people victimized by New Calvinism because they are functioning New Calvinists and that’s exactly why they are hooked up with Wade Burleson which should be more than obvious, but anyway, it is what it is.

Sigh. Ok, let’s start with the fact that the biblical definition of a “sinner” is someone who is unregenerate. Really? Do I have to explain this? Do I have to point out that Dee called “believers” functioning unregenerates? Are evangelicals that far gone? This is the exact same gospel that John Piper et al hold to. He states it plainly all of the time: Christians still need ongoing salvation that can only be found in the institutional church. Furthermore, that also comes directly from Calvin and Luther both in no uncertain terms. Deb and Dee, as well as many of their minions, are well aware of this ministry’s numerous citations that establish this as fact, but…

…they simply don’t care about the truth nor do they see it as relevant, except for the fact that it threatens their hobby and celebrity status. Clearly, their problem with John Piper is primarily his tweets, not his gospel, and they have as much said so in the past. Why? Because they believe the same false gospel.

Christians, if they are really Christians, are not merely “positionally” righteous, they are in fact righteous beings because they have been literally born again of God. In the gospel according to Deb and Dee, there is no understanding of sin in regard to justification and sin under grace. UNDER LAW (the biblical definition of a lost person) and UNDER GRACE (the biblical definition of a saved person) are not separate—“Christians” remain under law and under grace is merely a covering supplied by a perpetual imputation of Christ’s righteousness. This is the New Calvinist false gospel that Deb and Dee buy into while claiming to be champions for those abused by the “Calvinistas.” It’s otherworldly ironic.

So in the final analysis, the Wartburg Watch offers no one hope—victims are only fodder for their hobby, regardless of their motives, and they offer no true good news, but rather replace the gospel with gossip.

paul

The Biblical Emphasis on Pastors and Their Authority: Where is It? Romans 15:14

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 11, 2015

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Welcome to Blogtalk Radio False Reformation this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, “The Biblical Emphasis on Pastors and Their Authority: Where is It?” If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback. Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in.

We are going to begin tonight by surveying the present landscape. The church invests billions in the education and accreditation of pastors. Of course, this is all made possible by the working class laity. Pastorate authority is expressed in church polity, and they are seen as the gatekeepers of orthodoxy. Never before in history have so many willingly paid so much for the privilege of being subservient.

Let me just pull the rabbit out of the hat right now. Let me go ahead and reveal where I am going with all of this tonight, and then I will make my case. We know that America was the first idea in human history that rejected the marriage of faith and force, and the results speak for themselves. We also know why some people deny what America has done for the world because of their ancient presuppositions concerning mankind; i.e., if mankind is allowed to self-govern, chaos will ensue.

There is that crowd, then there is the crowd that thinks mankind is just outright evil, and the American idea emphasizes life and liberty, so America is the antitheses of this whole idea that mankind is evil. And remember, this is not just a religious idea. No, no, no. This is also very prevalent among secular ideas. Some environmentalists would be included among them.

In the minds of the framers of the American Constitution, the marriage of faith and force always leads to tyranny, and history would agree. It all starts with those who are specially gifted to know truth that the masses are not able to understand, and for their own good, the masses that is, or the “great unwashed” if you will, the great seers call on the state to enforce their wisdom for the good of mankind and its overall survival. It is a striving for social justice leading to utopia.

We know that this basic presupposition about man’s ability to self-govern always leads to tyranny, and it now begs the question: culturally, in the church, if truth is married with pastoral authority, is the same tyranny inevitable? We think the answer is “yes.” The marriage of faith and authority in the church will yield the same results as the marriage of faith and force among governments. The problem is the injunction of truth on the majority by the few.

Without getting into another body of study altogether, let me answer some anticipated objections. A couple of weeks ago while Charlie Rose was interviewing the president of Syria, here is a paraphrase of what he said: “Society in general doesn’t accept the use of chemical weapons.” Interesting. What was he in essence saying albeit probably unwittingly? Answer: Romans chapters one and two. The law of God is written on the hearts of every man and his God-given conscience passes judgement on his actions. Why do we need government? For people who are deficient in regard to their faculties of conscience—that’s why.

Let’s note something important moving forward. The behavior evidenced in the church in our present day is consistent across all religions and denominations. Why? Because they all have one thing in common: they marry faith and authority. This is just another institutional church elephant in the room; the question of pastoral authority. And how churches get around this is soooo smooth:

“As pastors, our only authority is in the word of God.”

Well, that’s just wonderful because the Bible covers every nuance of life. While that answer usually assumes the Bible is boss and pastors only point people to its authority, what is really being said is the Bible determines the parameters of their authority which is without bounds if determined by the Bible.

What does this across-the-board authority look like regardless of the particular breed of church? What does it mean when we say that pastors “have authority”? It all starts with a same presupposition concerning mankind. Basically, mankind in general is not able to properly understand reality in a way that brings about social justice resulting in utopia. Man needs to be ruled over for his own good, and those who believe man can self-govern must be neutralized for the good of the many.

This is why the line between churches and liberal leftwing politics is often blurred. Why did some church, I think in New York, recently sue Walmart to ban their gun sales? Because in their mind, you just can’t have people in general running around with guns. In their minds, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

So, it starts with that philosophy. Now, how does it seek to implement this philosophy? What system dictates the application for the greater good? Again, in ALL religions and denominations it’s the same: mediation, authority, orthodoxy, progressive justification, polity, political collectivism, resulting in the EXACT same results and behavior. This is the technical definition of “the church.” Take note of how often you hear “the church” in the everyday white noise of churchianity.

Mediation. The Bible makes it clear that there is one mediator between God and man: Christ, period. All institutional churches have a concept of what Protestants call the “power of the keys.” This is the idea that the institution represents the body of Christ on earth. Hence, institutional membership is synonymous with salvation. The institution represents Christ’s mediation on earth by proxy. Whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever the church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Authority. Vested in the elders/pastors of the church regardless of the fact that Christ clearly stated that ALL authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. Pastors are men who have been preordained and specially gifted to know things that the common Christian does not know. Therefore, God has supposedly given them authority on earth for the collective good of mankind. Every institutional church has its own breed of popery.

“But Paul, I am a Southern Baptist and our churches are” …and this is so adorable… “independently autonomous.”

OK, now try to be a pastor of a Southern Baptist church without a degree from a Southern Baptist seminary. Good luck with that. If you are not credentialed, if you do not speak according to authority given you by the church, if your words do not carry authority by the aping of those credentialed, you are nothing but a little yapping mutt that will be ignored. If you tithe enough, people will put up with you and that’s about it.

For the time being, file this away: this is the exact same system Christ was up against when he came. How did He deal with it? Confirming miracles. Remember the paraplegic He healed so that people would know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth?

Orthodoxy. This is the extra-biblical authoritative body of teaching that is developed by those in authority. Since the great unwashed cannot understand truth, orthodoxy takes the higher knowledge of truth and puts it in story form for the spiritually adolescent masses. It’s exactly like story books written for children that explain reality via narratives that they can understand. In church culture, orthodoxy is synonymous with truth itself. This is why in seminary you are told straight up that the knowledge you are learning there is not anything you will be teaching at local churches—they can’t understand it. However, you will learn a lot about being a good spiritual cowboy who keeps the herd from being spooked resulting in a stampede. You will also be taught how to deal with those who think they can know truth, also known as Mad Cow disease.

Progressive justification. All religions and denominations have some form of progressive justification. This soteriology is the necessary gospel that must go hand in hand with mediation, authority, and orthodoxy. It is the teaching that salvation progresses from point A to point B, and the institutional church is the overseer of that progression. This is a hard-fast rule. The church cannot function or survive by propagating the true gospel—it’s impossible and we will look at why this is the case tonight. Why are there so many different religions and denominations? It’s all disagreement on how you get from point A to point B.

Polity. Or “church polity.” This is a soft term for “church government.” All churches have church government. It’s different levels of authority and an epistemological pecking order. In contrast, biblical contra church assemblies are based on fellowship with the Father and His Son—not authority. Historically, churches enforce polity by getting into bed with the government, but post America, the emphasis is control over your salvation.

In pre-American history, if you didn’t believe the church had the authority to take away your salvation, they would simply hang you, drown you, cut you in half, or burn you, not necessarily in that order. So, in our day, the heavy emphasis is authority and control over your eternal destiny. Why do people obey the outrageous notions that flow from the traditions of men? Because their eternal salvation depends on it, and “faith believes all things,” right? One of the favorite truisms vomited out by the clergy is this whole Lutheresque idea that “knowledge puffeth up” and makes people proud.

The real problem is that informed people are very difficult to control. Let me pull another rabbit out of the hat right now. I will make the case tonight that cultism goes hand in hand with elder authority. It is absolutely impossible to separate horizontal authority among God’s people and cultism. Religion plus horizontal authority ALWAYS equals cult. This is an unavoidable and hard-fast rule.

Political collectivism. Here is the dirty little secret: ultimate control is really in the hands of the populous. Why? It’s simple; they outnumber government. In China, if the people decide to rise up, the Chinese government is totally screwed. There are particular things common to people that the framers of the American constitution recognized such as those things that are “self-evident.” All in all, the church has merely stuck its nose in the debate over who owns truth: mankind in general or the state?

This necessarily demands a conversation about the church’s dominion theology. Is God’s kingdom presently on earth, or is it presently in heaven? If it is presently down here, then obviously the church has a dog in the fight. Therefore, since populous rule is the real power in the world, power is determined by how many people you have effectively brainwashed. The church cannot avoid being a political animal seeking to gain control by numbers and infrastructure because it believes it is a nation builder on earth.

This includes all of the trappings of doing good works to endear numbers, and formal education for the purposes of indoctrinating people. Most church hierarchies openly admit that their agenda is to take over every aspect of culture; i.e., education, the arts, etc, etc. The specific quotations abound and are not the least bit ambiguous.

Also, watch out for the “Oh my, missionaries are being persecuted for the gospel in this country, that country, or the other country.” No, many countries are more privy to the dominion aspirations of the church than their own missionaries. In many cases, it is feared that missionaries will incite an insurrection. A cursory observation of history confirms this as a valid concern. Traditionally, church missionaries not only want to get people saved, they want to quote, “transform the culture.” They say it all the time!

Let me stick this idea in here. Do you know how home fellowships could do world evangelism? We could find people gifted to be elders in other countries and bring them stateside to live for a while in the home fellowship network. They would live with a sponsoring family and learn/experience the New Testament model. As they learn and experience, they could be feeding the information back to their country of origin. This would be dirt cheap and very effective.

Do you know how expensive and ineffective world missions are in the institutional church? It’s horrific, and mostly predicated on Western arrogance. I have heard missionaries say it: “Without our academic wherewithal, effective ministry is impossible.” Behold the arrogance: after hundreds of years of trial and error and oceans of ink used in the pontification of orthodoxy, 1600 people a day leave the church and become Nones or Dones. 1500 pastors per month leave the ministry for good. But yet, the church continues to export this failed model overseas on the financial backs of the laity. It’s beyond insane.

Behavior. The results are all the same. Spiritual abuse in the church is just a symptom of the specific problem, church. Stuff happening in the church is not the problem—church is the problem. Thanks to the internet, we now know that the church produces the exact same behavior over and over and over again. We now know that the institutional church is nothing more or less than a super-cult.

Let’s begin to look at the evidence.

Yes, once again, Calvary Temple of Sterling, Va. is back in the news. Let’s listen to the recent news report by MRC TV titled “Sexual Abuse, Broken Families, and Race Cars: The Story Of An Alleged D.C.-Area Cult” dated 4/2/2015/. As you listen to this clip, make a list of the elements such as “authority,” “broken family relationships,” “control,” “divorce,” etc.

Listen, whether the HBO documentary I mentioned last week on Scientology, or my wife’s testimony in regard to her experience in the Baptist church, or what my son shared with me the other night about a Jehovah Witness that he works with and what that guy is going through with his church, or my own testimony, or myriads of testimonies that you can read via the internet discernment blogs, it is all the same basic elements in regard to behavioral outcomes.

Sure, John MacArthur Jr. isn’t going to marry a twenty-year-old and buy a dragster and a race car, he just oversees an in-house police station at Grace Community Church that will escort you out to your car if you ask too many questions in Sunday school. I know from firsthand testimony that MacArthur rules that church with an iron fist. I rubbed shoulders with some of his elders for years. In addition, accusations from relatively sound people that Grace Community Church is a cult abound. One such site is The Watchman Wakes .com / John MacArthur’s cult. Google that and the exact link should come up. Look, all one needs to know for purposes of confirming these allegations is MacArthur’s own words from last week’s sound bites; the inevitable result of the belief that elders have authority on earth is cultism.

Let’s also look at the obvious manifestation of well-behaved tyranny. Even though some church pastors would not engage in some of the more outrageous behavior, by and large, the well-behaved tyrants of the church turn a blind eye to the behavior and even cover for it. MacArthur is absolutely notorious for turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the institutional church. Why? The obvious answer is the church’s authority to forgive sins on earth. Without the institutional church, there is no means of salvation for anyone so the church must be saved at all cost. I am not sure what is more obvious.

Look, for example, Jack Hyles could have been shut down years ago. All it would have taken is twenty-five IFB pastors walking down the isle of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind. and rebuking the guy publically on a Sunday morning. Game over. Why doesn’t that ever happen even though it is the exact biblical prescription? Because the institution has to be preserved as God’s authority on earth by proxy—that’s why.

I am not going to rehearse the outrageous details of the ABWE scandal, but in reaction to ABWE refusing to deal with the situation, not one GARB church withdrew from the association in protest, and as far as I know, not one church withdrew support from ABWE. One GARB pastor that I know who was mortified by the scandal nevertheless allowed Michael Loftis, at that time the president of ABWE to speak at their church.

Why?!!!! because there is only one name under heaven by which man is saved—the institutional church and its authority on earth by proxy. This isn’t complicated. Support the church if you will, but also know that you are supporting the divine right of kings to rape, pillage and steel at will.

“But my pastor isn’t like that!” Yes he is—he turns a blind eye to it!

It’s all the same, and they all operate by the same principles; for example, let’s just take one, orthodoxy. For Baptists, what is it? The First and Second London Baptist Confessions. For Presbyterians, what is it? The Westminster Confession. For Jehovah Witnesses, what is it? The Watchtower. For Mormons, what is it? The Book of Mormon. For Islam, what is it? The Quran. It’s all the same stuff resulting in the same behavior. Read history for yourself—none of these religions acted any differently until America came along.

At any rate, the church invests billions in the education and accreditation of pastors. Their authority is expressed in church polity, and they are seen as the gatekeepers of orthodoxy. When one surveys the emphasis on pastors in the church, certainly we should expect to easily find abundant information about them in the Scriptures. A cursory observation of Scripture should reveal their purpose, scope of authority, and a description of their duties.

But in reality, the lack of biblical emphasis on pastors and elders is stunning when compared to the emphasis experienced in the institutional church. If a pastor has authority, where does that authority begin and end? While the idea of elder authority is common, any discussion of the parameters is extremely uncommon and such ambiguity can lead anywhere, and it does. Furthermore, their assumed authority is nowhere to be found in holy writ.

In regard to their importance in general, the specific gift of elder/pastor is mentioned a meager four times in Scripture.

In the most vital portions of Scripture where elders would be prevalent according to their assumed authority, they are not mentioned. In the corrective letters to Corinth where Christianity was completely off the reservation, elders are not mentioned once. In the book of Romans, the magnum opus of soteriology, again, elders are not written about.

In Paul and Peter’s mini-treatises regarding submission starting in the home, to the workplace, and society in general, again, no mention of elders (Eph 5:22-33, 1Pet 2:13-3:7).

In the protocol for solving conflict among believers in Matthew 18, the same. If a person finally refuses to repent of what he has done to a fellow brother, the passage doesn’t say to go tell the elders, it says to go tell the assembly. The process in Matthew 18 is commonly thought to be a process under the control and auspices of the elders, but if that’s the case, where are they?

Sure, when the Greek widows were treated unfairly as documented in Acts 6:1ff, the people appealed to the apostles, but who was given the responsibility to choose what I think were the first Deacons? Right, the saints in general. Not only that, notice that the solution offered by the apostles met the approval of the people. They did not go to the apostles for an edict—they sought their counsel and leadership in the situation, but it obviously needed the approval of the people.

In Philippians 4:2,3, Paul entreats the whole congregation to reconcile the two women who were in some kind of rift, and this is the same pattern found in Matthew 18 as well. Listen, we could go on and on and on and add Acts 17:11 as well, but is this sinking in? Where are the big bad elders? Where are they and their supposed authority? I do believe the apostles had authority, but clearly what they emphasized is the model that would follow after their departure; appeal to the one mind of Christ and not the dictation of authority.

Moreover, not only are elders conspicuously missing, the saints in general are told throughout the New Testament that they are qualified to do ministry that is normally attributed to elders exclusively. A good example is Romans 15:14.

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Another one is 1John 2:27.

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Clearly, when it gets right down to it, God’s people can do without elders. Eldership is a gift that is no more or less important to the body of Christ than any other gift. Yes, if God’s people are serious about furthering the testimony and deepening fellowship, they should seek out good elders. But eldership is not a horizontal authority granted by God. Eldership does not represent God’s authority on earth.

Indeed, the apostles did have some of God’s authority, and that’s why they will sit on twelve thrones judging Israel in the final days, but that authority was NOT passed on to the elders. This is why the apostles predominately appealed to the one mind of Christ and not authority.

So, what is in fact the biblical model? Let’s compare the biblical model point by point with the institutional model. Here we go.

Presuppositions concerning mankind. Simple, Romans chapters one and two. Man can know reality and is personally and individually accountable to God. Throughout history for the most part, society in general determines law and what is acceptable. But please do not underestimate the real debate underlying the more visible debates manifested in this question: does man understand the reality that he lives in. He most certainly does. Mankind does not need seers to rule over them who have special insight into a reality that the masses do not understand.

History is a vicious cycle of the masses buying into that philosophy resulting in revolts when the tyranny of it becomes more than they can bear. Life gets to the point where it is not worth living and there is an uprising. The framers of the American Constitution observed this vicious historical cycle of serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, and the lightbulb turned on. America is the greatest country ever because it is the first ever government by the people and for the people.

The Bible is clear, people stand before God at the judgement individually. Be sure of this: the church’s emphasis on pastors comes from the world’s debate on man’s ability to self-govern. According to the Bible, and more specifically 1John, God’s people are able to self-govern because all of them have the same anointing of the Holy Spirit. When it gets right down to it, we have no need for anyone to teach us.

Mediation. There is only one mediator between God and man—Christ. Clearly, the church posits elders as sub mediators. This does not pass biblical muster.

Orthodoxy. There isn’t any. God’s people do not need a dumbed down version of truth written by sub-mediators creating…watch it… here it is, “subordinate truth.” Really? This is absolutely nothing new and the very reason that the Bible is constantly drilling down on oneness: one truth, one mind, one mediator, one Spirit, one baptism, one anointing, one Lord, etc., etc., ect. There isn’t two minds, there is only one and one truth accordingly. And really? There is such a thing as a lesser truth? No, it is either true or it isn’t true.

Progressive justification. No institution or religious hierarchy is needed to get us from salvation point A to salvation point B. This is why we constantly hear, “We don’t believe the gospel and then move on to something else, we never leave the gospel.” “The gospel isn’t the ABCs of salvation, it’s the A-Z,” etc., etc., etc. If your salvation is finished, and you do move on to something else, guess who you no longer need?

The elements of the institutional church follow a logical progression: presuppositions concerning mankind; sub-mediation; orthodoxy or sub-truth; the gospel of progressive justification; church government (polity) because authority trumps fellowship; political activism because God’s kingdom is supposedly on earth (if it wasn’t authority would be absent), and the subsequent bad behavior ordinarily exhibited by the divine right of kings, mind control cults, and institutional ownership of truth.

Church polity (government). Christ’s assembly does not have a government structure. There is no church polity. There is a body made up of gifts that seeks to mature by “mutual edification” through fellowship under one head. There is no government, but rather organization. Here is the organization: gifted elders equip the saints for ministry, and deacons/deaconesses oversee need. There aren’t any bosses; it’s a cooperative striving for a common goal. It’s an organized body where every part is equally valued. It’s just this simple, and this is the exact same analogy seen throughout the New Testament: to the degree that your body is sound, you can accomplish work. Ephesians 4:1-16 spells it out point by point, and so does 1Corinthians chapter 12. That’s not a government—it’s an organized body.

Political collectivism. It is not the concern of Christ’s assembly to take over every aspect of culture. Our concern is to build up the body in love and let the world watch. And watch they will. Our kingdom is NOT on earth—it’s still up in heaven. That’s why we are called “ambassadors” in the Bible. What’s an “ambassador”? An ambassador doesn’t live in a country to…here it is, we hear this constantly…”take over the culture for Christ.” No, we are here to represent another kingdom that is not presently here.

Behavior. The goal is to think like our big brother Jesus Christ and do what He would do. And trust me, the world will take note.

Here are some references that you should read on your own: Matt 23:8, Psalm 133:1, Acts 4:32, Rom 12:16, Rom 14:19… Rom 15:5, 1Cor 1:10, 2Cor 13:11, Eph 4:3, Phil 1:27, Phil 2:2, Phil 3:16, 1Peter 3:8.

Elder authority, where is it? Where is the emphasis on body striving for unity in one mind? EVERYWHERE! Let’s now go to the phones.

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