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VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 07:20 PM
We know that Christ is the head of the church, but what is the appropriate order of government in the church? We have a picture in the American church that the pastor is the man that God has placed in charge of the rest of the congregation, and he is to be considered the final stop in regards to church issues. However, is that the true biblical order of authority?

It is assumed by many also that pastors, bishops and elders are all the same thing? However, bishops seem to be selected through the church government while pastors are selected by the hand of the Lord Himself. It would seem to me that a bishop/elder would be more similar in their roles than a pastor would be.

We also have those who are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers as well. Now, let's all agree to put aside the "apostles and prophets are not for today" argument and focus on the order of government that the early church held to. Where do these other four roles fall into church authority and government along with the bishops/elders, deacons, etc.?

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 07:33 PM
We know that Christ is the head of the church, but what is the appropriate order of government in the church? We have a picture in the American church that the pastor is the man that God has placed in charge of the rest of the congregation, and he is to be considered the final stop in regards to church issues. However, is that the true biblical order of authority?

It is assumed by many also that pastors, bishops and elders are all the same thing? However, bishops seem to be selected through the church government while pastors are selected by the hand of the Lord Himself. It would seem to me that a bishop/elder would be more similar in their roles than a pastor would be.

We also have those who are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers as well. Now, let's all agree to put aside the "apostles and prophets are not for today" argument and focus on the order of government that the early church held to. Where do these other four roles fall into church authority and government along with the bishops/elders, deacons, etc.?

You make some great points. Thanks!

First of all, as a pastor of an independent Christian Church, it is not assumed or presumed that I am the guy in charge of the congregation. That is the role of our elders - of which I am a part.

In the New Testament, we see repeated instances of the apostle Paul appointing elders in various churches. They/we are to be the spiritual shepherds of the church. In 1st Timothy and Titus Paul specifically elaborates on the qualifications of elders.

Personally, I believe the pastor is a "preaching elder" and should be in every way qualified as an elder, or he shouldn't be a pastor.

Deacons are mentioned as, basically, those who take care of the physical needs of the church. The "prototype" is mentioned in Acts 6, and there are several New Testament mentions of the roles & qualifications of deacons.


In regards to apostles, teachers, prophets and evangelists... They, like everyone else, must come under the loving leadership of the Elders.

VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 08:03 PM
You make some great points. Thanks!

First of all, as a pastor of an independent Christian Church, it is not assumed or presumed that I am the guy in charge of the congregation. That is the role of our elders - of which I am a part.

In the New Testament, we see repeated instances of the apostle Paul appointing elders in various churches. They/we are to be the spiritual shepherds of the church. In 1st Timothy and Titus Paul specifically elaborates on the qualifications of elders.

Personally, I believe the pastor is a "preaching elder" and should be in every way qualified as an elder, or he shouldn't be a pastor.

Deacons are mentioned as, basically, those who take care of the physical needs of the church. The "prototype" is mentioned in Acts 6, and there are several New Testament mentions of the roles & qualifications of deacons.


In regards to apostles, teachers, prophets and evangelists... They, like everyone else, must come under the loving leadership of the Elders.

Thanks for the input. Why do you believe a person who is called by the Lord to serve as a pastor should also serve as a bishop/elder?

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the input. Why do you believe a person who is called by the Lord to serve as a pastor should also serve as a bishop/elder?

I don't know that he has to serve as an elder, but certainly should be qualified to be an elder.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

revrobor
Oct 16th 2007, 08:31 PM
We know that Christ is the head of the church, but what is the appropriate order of government in the church? We have a picture in the American church that the pastor is the man that God has placed in charge of the rest of the congregation, and he is to be considered the final stop in regards to church issues. However, is that the true biblical order of authority?

It is assumed by many also that pastors, bishops and elders are all the same thing? However, bishops seem to be selected through the church government while pastors are selected by the hand of the Lord Himself. It would seem to me that a bishop/elder would be more similar in their roles than a pastor would be.

We also have those who are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers as well. Now, let's all agree to put aside the "apostles and prophets are not for today" argument and focus on the order of government that the early church held to. Where do these other four roles fall into church authority and government along with the bishops/elders, deacons, etc.?


You are confusing the religious organization and its institutions we call "church" today with the Body of Believers called "Church" in Scripture. The church today (religious institution) was not established by Jesus (He called out Believers to follow HIM not to form religious organizations) and has placed itself under secular control by becoming a government recognized not-for-profit corporation. The structure of the religious institution varies from church to church. The instructions in Scripture for the Church are for the Body of Believers wherever they meet (in Bible days it was in homes).

Sold Out
Oct 16th 2007, 08:36 PM
We know that Christ is the head of the church, but what is the appropriate order of government in the church? Where do these other four roles fall into church authority and government along with the bishops/elders, deacons, etc.?

In our church, here's how it works:

1) Pastor has the last say in all spiritual matters, since he alone is accountable

2) The ministry leaders (elders) have the last say concerning all business.

3) The deacons are not leaders - they are servants, hence the greek definition of the word deacon. They serve the congregation in most capacities.

RogerW
Oct 16th 2007, 08:42 PM
I don't know that he has to serve as an elder, but certainly should be qualified to be an elder.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

Greetings Pastor Jeffreys,

Since you are a pastor, perhaps you can help with a question that has arisen in our church. We are members of United Reformed Church of No. America. This federation of churches is descended mostly from Canandian Reformed, and as such have always elected elders/deacons for three to four year term limits. We are presently looking at the argument of electing elders/deacons for life, after thoroughly training potential prospects through Biblical Eldership.

Can you give me your insight on whether it is biblical to install elders/deacons for life or for term limits? With the three year term limit, we find it is becoming very difficult to find qualified men desiring the position, because after working hard for three years on particular issues that arise, it is very difficult to find all your effort go by the wayside with the next new group. Anyway, your wisdom and insight on this would be much appreciated.

Many Blessings,
RW

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 08:42 PM
In our church, here's how it works:

1) Pastor has the last say in all spiritual matters, since he alone is accountable

2) The ministry leaders (elders) have the last say concerning all business.

3) The deacons are not leaders - they are servants, hence the greek definition of the word deacon. They serve the congregation in most capacities.

I'm going to take an edumacated guess and say you're part of a Baptist church?

The reason I'm thinking that is because a really good friend of mine, who pastors a Baptist church, speaks of their "deacons" in the exact same terms of which we speak of our "elders". I'm not sure exactly why they use different names for the same leadership role, but they do.


I guess the really important thing is to be sure we're doing the Lord's work, doing it intentionally and with accountability. ;)

VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 08:53 PM
You are confusing the religious organization and its institutions we call "church" today with the Body of Believers called "Church" in Scripture. The church today (religious institution) was not established by Jesus (He called out Believers to follow HIM not to form religious organizations) and has placed itself under secular control by becoming a government recognized not-for-profit corporation. The structure of the religious institution varies from church to church. The instructions in Scripture for the Church are for the Body of Believers wherever they meet (in Bible days it was in homes).

I'm not sure where you think there is confusion . . .

I didn't mention anything about the secular world or the church's relationship with it. The Lord gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and the Word also mentions the roles of bishops/elders in this church as well. This post is about the order of authority in the church. It doesn't matter if these churches on in homes or some designated building. It would still have the same members with different functions. The Lord has placed some in position to lead. This post is to discuss the order of that leadership.

VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 08:57 PM
I don't know that he has to serve as an elder, but certainly should be qualified to be an elder.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

Would you say the same about an apostle, prophet or evangelist? Should they also be qualified to serve as an elder?

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 09:10 PM
Greetings Pastor Jeffreys,

Since you are a pastor, perhaps you can help with a question that has arisen in our church. We are members of United Reformed Church of No. America. This federation of churches is descended mostly from Canandian Reformed, and as such have always elected elders/deacons for three to four year term limits. We are presently looking at the argument of electing elders/deacons for life, after thoroughly training potential prospects through Biblical Eldership.

Can you give me your insight on whether it is biblical to install elders/deacons for life or for term limits? With the three year term limit, we find it is becoming very difficult to find qualified men desiring the position, because after working hard for three years on particular issues that arise, it is very difficult to find all your effort go by the wayside with the next new group. Anyway, your wisdom and insight on this would be much appreciated.

Many Blessings,
RW

I guess what I'll say first of all is, "Just do everything the way WE do it - because we do EVERYTHING RIGHT!!!!!" :lol:

Okay, enough smart alec junk... And also let me honestly say that I absolutely do NOT have all the answers. Therefore, I'll share with you my opinions in this matter.

First of all, no matter how good your structure, your leadership will only be as good as the people in leadership. If you have leaders who are jerks (and I've been around a fair share that fit that bill) it won't matter whether they're chosen or appointed, whether they're permanent or serve terms. The quality of your leadership is more important than specific roles.

Second, I believe that God has given us much grace in regards to church leadership. (This is a position I would not have taken 20 years ago.) I clearly see the New Testament setting up the structure of Elders leading churches. They were (and still are) the spiritual leaders - Godly men of passion, purity, integrity, knowledge and experience. Frankly, I don't think it matters greatly whether we call them "elders" or "bishops" or "presbyters", so long as they possess the qualifications.

Beyond the oversight of the Elders/Bishops/Presbyters, church leadership can vary greatly. Deacon Board, Leadership Teams, Committees, whatever... So long as their cooperating with the leadership of the Elders, and the work of the Kingdom is being done, I don't see any absolutes.

Third, I don't know whether "elder for life" is any better or worse than elders who serve specific terms. Elders need to be both qualified and willing to serve. If they are no longer either, or both, of those things, they should no longer be elders. I know of churches where "elder candidates" are selected by the current elders, if there is no Scriptural objection from the congregation, they are appointed for life. It seems to be a perfectly fine system. On the other hand, there needs to be some means of accountability, so that if an elder is no longer willing or qualified to serve, he can be "removed".

Fourth, I don't know whether it's better to elect or appoint elders. Elections often become popularity contests, or worse, power struggles (I've know all too well how destructive the latter is).

The bottom line is that Church Leadership needs to work, work well, and work to the glory of God.



By the way, I'm familiar with Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Churches. I've got two good friends who pastor those churches respectively. Absolutely fantastic guys! Are you either of those two denominations, or another "branch"?

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 09:12 PM
Would you say the same about an apostle, prophet or evangelist? Should they also be qualified to serve as an elder?

I guess I can't answer that with an absolute. And part of the reason I cannot say absolutely, is because that would bring in the debate as to whether or not there are current day prophets, etc.

What I do believe is absolute is that anyone claiming these "gifts" or "roles" should operate under the leadership of the Elders.

Does that make any sense?

ServantofTruth
Oct 16th 2007, 09:22 PM
I met a local pastor of a free church. What confused me was where did he get his authority and teaching from? Coming from an Anglican background, there are colleges and Bishops to ordain. But if you are in a free church, you are saying, in many cases, you don't consider nominations biblical - at least that is what he said - and need to be free of their false teaching.
He then went on to say he had been part of a very small denomination and been trained and ordained by them. Later they had split in half. He didn't only say all denominations weren't biblical, but that his original mini denomination had split in half because of false teaching and over 2 years, 50 churches he had accepted, he had visited and didn't accept any more.
It seemed to me, everyone was so unbiblical everywhere, that he was telling me that if he hadn't returned to being a pastor - the congregation were doomed.
But i hope you get my point - if a church is 'free' - it is therefore impossible to then get outside authority for you pastor/ minister, elders, deacons or any position - if you believe you have to be free of all the unbiblical teaching. Surely it would be wrong to go to a bible college run by unbiblical people to get a qualification on the grounds that you agreed with their teaching when you didn't. Simply put, you lied!
The only option left with any respect would be for the congregation to appoint a competant man to lead, and have him guided by the Holy Spirit. His authority would then only be relevent to those who asked him to lead - and not recognisable to anyother denomination or wider society/ legally - weddings, funerals etc.
Funnily he then told me of all his christian brothers and sisters worldwide. Supposedly those people living in darkness, with the blind leading the blind? Not surprisingly he'd appointed an elder to cover if he was ill or away, who medically couldn't do serious training or handle stress/ pressure. No threat to his total authority.

jeffreys
Oct 16th 2007, 09:29 PM
ServantOfTruth, you make some great points.

I serve a "non-denominational" church. But non-denominational does not mean no structure. Nor does it mean that any and everybody gets into leadership positions, although that certainly can happen.

Personally, I have both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry - which includes extensive education in everything from Theology to Counseling to Leadership to Exegesis. Please don't take that as bragging, because I feel horribly inadequate to face most of the challenges of ministry - and that certainly keeps me humbled (sometimes humiliated). But it's my way of saying that us "free" churches do have structure, training, education, etc. ;)

RogerW
Oct 16th 2007, 10:19 PM
I guess what I'll say first of all is, "Just do everything the way WE do it - because we do EVERYTHING RIGHT!!!!!" :lol:

Okay, enough smart alec junk... And also let me honestly say that I absolutely do NOT have all the answers. Therefore, I'll share with you my opinions in this matter.

First of all, no matter how good your structure, your leadership will only be as good as the people in leadership. If you have leaders who are jerks (and I've been around a fair share that fit that bill) it won't matter whether they're chosen or appointed, whether they're permanent or serve terms. The quality of your leadership is more important than specific roles.

Second, I believe that God has given us much grace in regards to church leadership. (This is a position I would not have taken 20 years ago.) I clearly see the New Testament setting up the structure of Elders leading churches. They were (and still are) the spiritual leaders - Godly men of passion, purity, integrity, knowledge and experience. Frankly, I don't think it matters greatly whether we call them "elders" or "bishops" or "presbyters", so long as they possess the qualifications.

Beyond the oversight of the Elders/Bishops/Presbyters, church leadership can vary greatly. Deacon Board, Leadership Teams, Committees, whatever... So long as their cooperating with the leadership of the Elders, and the work of the Kingdom is being done, I don't see any absolutes.

Third, I don't know whether "elder for life" is any better or worse than elders who serve specific terms. Elders need to be both qualified and willing to serve. If they are no longer either, or both, of those things, they should no longer be elders. I know of churches where "elder candidates" are selected by the current elders, if there is no Scriptural objection from the congregation, they are appointed for life. It seems to be a perfectly fine system. On the other hand, there needs to be some means of accountability, so that if an elder is no longer willing or qualified to serve, he can be "removed".

Fourth, I don't know whether it's better to elect or appoint elders. Elections often become popularity contests, or worse, power struggles (I've know all too well how destructive the latter is).

The bottom line is that Church Leadership needs to work, work well, and work to the glory of God.



By the way, I'm familiar with Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Churches. I've got two good friends who pastor those churches respectively. Absolutely fantastic guys! Are you either of those two denominations, or another "branch"?

Pastor Jeffreys,

Thank you for your words of wisdom. We are the newest members of this church, just over two years. What we notice is that electing leaders has become not only a popularity contest, but also a political power struggle....ugh..a real pain....But we recognize the problems, and that's part of the fix...right? Anyway, we are truly seeking to choose according to God's way, and hopefully through this new training manual by Alexander Strauch "An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Eldership" (have you heard of it), we will implement suggestions that will benefit the congregation, and bring glory to God. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond, I'll share what you have given with the elders in our church.

Our church broke off the Christian Reformed Church about 11 years ago when there appeared to be a real weakening in leadership...duh...go figure, will we learn nothing from our past mistakes?

Many Blessings,
RW

amazzin
Oct 16th 2007, 10:37 PM
Greetings Pastor Jeffreys,

Since you are a pastor, perhaps you can help with a question that has arisen in our church. We are members of United Reformed Church of No. America. This federation of churches is descended mostly from Canandian Reformed, and as such have always elected elders/deacons for three to four year term limits. We are presently looking at the argument of electing elders/deacons for life, after thoroughly training potential prospects through Biblical Eldership.

Can you give me your insight on whether it is biblical to install elders/deacons for life or for term limits? With the three year term limit, we find it is becoming very difficult to find qualified men desiring the position, because after working hard for three years on particular issues that arise, it is very difficult to find all your effort go by the wayside with the next new group. Anyway, your wisdom and insight on this would be much appreciated.

Many Blessings,
RW

RW

I am a pastor in Canada and have over 20 years expereince in both small and mega churches. I also teach Church Leadership at Trinity Western in Langley

You will find that different denominations all function differently. Most in Canada elect their elders/deaons. Very few go a different route because it is very difficult to get non-ordained lay people to serve life time.

I prefer the model where the senior or lead pastor elects elders/deacons from his own circle of influence. They may be other pastors from other churches, pastoral staff members, non-aligned leaders from different urban centers. That is to say, the more you look outside of the local church the deeper the accountability.

I agree with the comment that often times elections become popularity contests and this is why a lead pastor should be given the oportunity to select his oversight team.

Matt14
Oct 16th 2007, 10:40 PM
I've been reading through this thread a bit, and would like to ask a question.

Do you think the New Testament shows a pattern of leadership for congregations that should be followed?

Or, do you think it is okay to establish whatever leadership structure the church desires?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks!

RogerW
Oct 16th 2007, 11:07 PM
RW

I am a pastor in Canada and have over 20 years expereince in both small and mega churches. I also teach Church Leadership at Trinity Western in Langley

You will find that different denominations all function differently. Most in Canada elect their elders/deaons. Very few go a different route because it is very difficult to get non-ordained lay people to serve life time.

I prefer the model where the senior or lead pastor elects elders/deacons from his own circle of influence. They may be other pastors from other churches, pastoral staff members, non-aligned leaders from different urban centers. That is to say, the more you look outside of the local church the deeper the accountability.

I agree with the comment that often times elections become popularity contests and this is why a lead pastor should be given the oportunity to select his oversight team.

Pastors Amazzin & Jeffreys,

Please accept my apology. I guess my fingers typed faster then my brain was thinking, our church, United Reformed Church of No America is not descended from Canadian Reformed, but rather Dutch Reformed. Sorry for the mix-up, although I don't really know if it much matters. I just hate having dufess attached to my name :blush:

Blessings,
RW

VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 11:47 PM
I guess I can't answer that with an absolute. And part of the reason I cannot say absolutely, is because that would bring in the debate as to whether or not there are current day prophets, etc.

What I do believe is absolute is that anyone claiming these "gifts" or "roles" should operate under the leadership of the Elders.

Does that make any sense?

Sure, I see what you're saying. I personally believe all 5 should meet the standards set forth in 1 Timothy 3. Why? Because I believe all Christians should meet the standards set forth in 1 Timothy 3. Now obviously not all are going to be mature enough in the faith to qualify right off the bat, but eventually they should get there.

VerticalReality
Oct 16th 2007, 11:49 PM
I've been reading through this thread a bit, and would like to ask a question.

Do you think the New Testament shows a pattern of leadership for congregations that should be followed?

Or, do you think it is okay to establish whatever leadership structure the church desires?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks!

I would say that the New Testament gives us a pattern of leadership that should be followed.

Sold Out
Oct 17th 2007, 12:55 PM
I'm going to take an edumacated guess and say you're part of a Baptist church?

The reason I'm thinking that is because a really good friend of mine, who pastors a Baptist church, speaks of their "deacons" in the exact same terms of which we speak of our "elders". I'm not sure exactly why they use different names for the same leadership role, but they do.


I guess the really important thing is to be sure we're doing the Lord's work, doing it intentionally and with accountability. ;)

NOPE!!! Non-denominational

In fact, I went to a baptist church for many years (nothing bad against baptists) and the DEACONS ran the church, and there were so many splits and people leaving - it was ridiculous.

That's what's neat about our church....the deacons DON'T run the church.

Hburgpreacher
Oct 18th 2007, 03:08 AM
In our church, here's how it works:

1) Pastor has the last say in all spiritual matters, since he alone is accountable

2) The ministry leaders (elders) have the last say concerning all business.

3) The deacons are not leaders - they are servants, hence the greek definition of the word deacon. They serve the congregation in most capacities.

Where in the scriptures does it distinguish between an elder and what you are calling a "pastor?"

VerticalReality
Oct 18th 2007, 12:34 PM
Where in the scriptures does it distinguish between an elder and what you are calling a "pastor?"

My personal opinion is that it distinguishes between them in Ephesians 4:11 and Titus 1:5.



Ephesians 4:11
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,




Titus 1:5
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—


It seems to me that the difference is in the bolded sections above. According to these Scriptures elders are "appointed" by others if they meet specific qualifications. Pastors, on the other hand, are chosen by the Lord Himself to serve in that particular function.

Sold Out
Oct 18th 2007, 01:12 PM
Where in the scriptures does it distinguish between an elder and what you are calling a "pastor?"

Depending on the context of the passage, the term “elder” is used in reference to three different kinds of people:

1. Older folks (I Tim 5:1)

2. Community leaders and church leaders (but not necessarily pastors) (Exo 3:16, Mt 26:47, II Jn 1 and III Jn 1)

3. Pastors (Acts 14:23 & 15:23 & 20:17-30, Titus 1:5,7, I Tim 5:17-19, Jms 5:14 and I Pet 5:1)

ravi4u2
Oct 19th 2007, 03:53 AM
There is a video which addresses 'Biblical Order of the Church' and 'How did it get this way'. Here is the link:

amazzin
Oct 19th 2007, 03:20 PM
There is a video which addresses 'Biblical Order of the Church' and 'How it ot this way. Here is the link: http://lifegathering.bravejournal.com/entry/22526 (http://lifegathering.bravejournal.com/entry/22526)


You have a bone to pick don't you?

jeffreys
Oct 19th 2007, 03:28 PM
There is a video which addresses 'Biblical Order of the Church' and 'How it ot this way. Here is the link: http://lifegathering.bravejournal.com/entry/22526

Not to be rude & ugly here, but that was really a dumb video. I mean, it's easy to criticize and mock something, but there were absolutely no answers given.

Why didn't they add "Using Video - Scripture Reference - NONE FOUND".

ravi4u2
Oct 19th 2007, 03:29 PM
You have a bone to pick don't you?Not really...Do you?

ravi4u2
Oct 19th 2007, 03:39 PM
Not to be rude & ugly here, but that was really a dumb video. I mean, it's easy to criticize and mock something, but there were absolutely no answers given.

Why didn't they add "Using Video - Scripture Reference - NONE FOUND".What they have on the site is only a trailer. If you are interested in the content, get the entire video. The link is there. You cannot compare video to the other things that are mentioned there in the video. If you do then you are comparing 'apples' and 'oranges'. It is my opinion that to be Biblical is wise and not dumb.

jeffreys
Oct 19th 2007, 03:50 PM
What they have on the site is only a trailer. If you are interested in the content, get the entire video. The link is there. You cannot compare video to the other things that are mentioned there in the video. If you do then you are comparing 'apples' and 'oranges'. It is my opinion that to be Biblical is wise and not dumb.

Being Biblical is indeed wise. But to simply sit and criticize things is dumb.

There are countless "unauthorized" things that EVERY church engages in - including whatever church you are part of. But unauthorized doesn't automatically mean wrong.

Sunday School - something criticized in that video - is unauthorized, but I'll tell you what... The church I pastor has a fantastic Sunday School program, where kids and adults alike are learning wonderful things from the Bible EVERY Sunday. That's just one example...

Perhaps I'm over-reacting, but I've grown SO tired of people sitting around criticizing others, especially when they're really not providing any new & positive alternatives. It simply doesn't accomplish anything good.

amazzin
Oct 19th 2007, 03:50 PM
What they have on the site is only a trailer. If you are interested in the content, get the entire video. The link is there. You cannot compare video to the other things that are mentioned there in the video. If you do then you are comparing 'apples' and 'oranges'. It is my opinion that to be Biblical is wise and not dumb.

Then why did you post the link? Ravi4u2 I am having a hard time understanding your problem with this topic.

Can I make a suggestion. Perhaps a coffee or tea break and some Bible time can help?

ravi4u2
Oct 19th 2007, 06:20 PM
Then why did you post the link? Ravi4u2 I am having a hard time understanding your problem with this topic.

Can I make a suggestion. Perhaps a coffee or tea break and some Bible time can help?Why can't I post the link? Are we somehow in the dark ages, where people can't read the Word for themselves and understand what it means for themselves. This is Bible chat remember. I don't have a problem with the topic. Thanks for the suggestion, but I continue to have plenty of time with the Word guided by the Spirit of God. But I let scripture interpret scripture, not the traditions and dogma of men.

ravi4u2
Oct 19th 2007, 06:24 PM
Being Biblical is indeed wise. But to simply sit and criticize things is dumb.

There are countless "unauthorized" things that EVERY church engages in - including whatever church you are part of. But unauthorized doesn't automatically mean wrong.

Sunday School - something criticized in that video - is unauthorized, but I'll tell you what... The church I pastor has a fantastic Sunday School program, where kids and adults alike are learning wonderful things from the Bible EVERY Sunday. That's just one example...

Perhaps I'm over-reacting, but I've grown SO tired of people sitting around criticizing others, especially when they're really not providing any new & positive alternatives. It simply doesn't accomplish anything good.I agree unauthorized does not mean wrong. Each one has got to be directed by the Spirit of God, as he reads the Word of God as to what that means. Good does not mean God. There is such a thing as constructive criticism.

jeffreys
Oct 20th 2007, 02:17 AM
I agree unauthorized does not mean wrong. Each one has got to be directed by the Spirit of God, as he reads the Word of God as to what that means. Good does not mean God. There is such a thing as constructive criticism.

You're right.

So... in order to kind of get this thread back on track, what does an effective and Biblical church leadership structure "look like" to you?

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 03:52 AM
You're right.

So... in order to kind of get this thread back on track, what does an effective and Biblical church leadership structure "look like" to you?Where Christ is the foundation. I do not believe in leadership as organizational. But leadership in any given situation through relationship. The greatest has always got to be the least. My Master, though being the greatest, became the least. I desire to imitate Him.

ProjectPeter
Oct 20th 2007, 10:16 AM
But then to call it "unauthorized" means what if not wrong? What is authorized? Here is where things get silly to me really because it is really nothing more than the religious speak really. I saw the little video clip and it was a shame really because it was nothing more than folks gagging on the gnat while wolfing down the camel.

Sunday School wasn't mentioned in the Scripture! Church building wasn't mentioned in the Scripture! Well you know... neither was the Bible that I carry either. Let's just get stone cold legalistic here and complain about everything "unauthorized." Those people are "unauthorized" too. They should be using scrolls and not those leather bound books.

Cars weren't mentioned in the Bible too so when they gather in their house I sure hope they are walking because them there cars aren't mentioned in the Bible. If it is far then ride a horse or a donkey because that is the only authorized mode of tranportation.

I'm being silly? No more silly than someone trying to make a case that Sunday School is unbiblical or that a church building is unbiblical. Folks like that ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION. They are why there is a huge honkin problem.

There is no problem with Sunday School or church buildings or even "Senior" Pastors. None of those things are the problem.

Here is a challenge for you Ravi. Your solution and definition is this.


I do not believe in leadership as organizational. But leadership in any given situation through relationship. The greatest has always got to be the least. My Master, though being the greatest, became the least. I desire to imitate Him.

The challenge Ravi is to translate this from religious speak to something that is actually useful that folks can understand? Can you do that?

jeffreys
Oct 20th 2007, 02:11 PM
Where Christ is the foundation. I do not believe in leadership as organizational. But leadership in any given situation through relationship. The greatest has always got to be the least. My Master, though being the greatest, became the least. I desire to imitate Him.

Very cool. Thanks!

Do you believe local churches should have elders? Personally, I do. Not only do I believe the role is set forth in the New Testament, but you will find that in every group/organization somebody becomes a leader. Therefore, it's paramount that the leaders of the church (under the authority, of course, of Jesus) must be learned, wise and Godly men.

Your thoughts?

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 03:12 PM
But then to call it "unauthorized" means what if not wrong? What is authorized? Here is where things get silly to me really because it is really nothing more than the religious speak really. I saw the little video clip and it was a shame really because it was nothing more than folks gagging on the gnat while wolfing down the camel.

Sunday School wasn't mentioned in the Scripture! Church building wasn't mentioned in the Scripture! Well you know... neither was the Bible that I carry either. Let's just get stone cold legalistic here and complain about everything "unauthorized." Those people are "unauthorized" too. They should be using scrolls and not those leather bound books.

Cars weren't mentioned in the Bible too so when they gather in their house I sure hope they are walking because them there cars aren't mentioned in the Bible. If it is far then ride a horse or a donkey because that is the only authorized mode of tranportation.

I'm being silly? No more silly than someone trying to make a case that Sunday School is unbiblical or that a church building is unbiblical. Folks like that ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION. They are why there is a huge honkin problem.

There is no problem with Sunday School or church buildings or even "Senior" Pastors. None of those things are the problem.

Here is a challenge for you Ravi. Your solution and definition is this.

The challenge Ravi is to translate this from religious speak to something that is actually useful that folks can understand? Can you do that?The comment of 'unauthorized' was not found in the video clip. I was merely responding to to a question asked. Anyway, there is a difference between 'positional' relevancy and 'materialistic accuracy'. It is like comparing 'apples' with 'oranges'. Let me explain. I live a certain way. When I have all the material stuff, my life is the same. And when I am transplanted somewhere else and do not have all the things as I had before, my life still remains the same. So, my life, is not dependent on what I have or do not have, but on who I have. Like Paul says, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content". That's a lifestyle.

It is strange that you would have found my comment religious. I was merely commenting about leadership in a given situation. Like if someone was drowning, while some people who do not know how to swim start screaming, the one who knows how to swim, or more importantly, has some lifeguard training, jumps into the waters to save the person who is drowning. That is an example of situational leadership. That is what I believe to be 'leadership'. This is what Paul says when he says that we should "provoke one another in order to stir up love and good works".

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 03:20 PM
Very cool. Thanks!

Do you believe local churches should have elders? Personally, I do. Not only do I believe the role is set forth in the New Testament, but you will find that in every group/organization somebody becomes a leader. Therefore, it's paramount that the leaders of the church (under the authority, of course, of Jesus) must be learned, wise and Godly men.

Your thoughts?I have my thoughts on elders here: http://ravi4u2.bravejournal.com/archive/09/5/2007

ProjectPeter
Oct 20th 2007, 03:32 PM
The comment of 'unauthorized' was not found in the video clip. I was merely responding to to a question asked. Anyway, there is a difference between 'positional' relevancy and 'materialistic accuracy'. It is like comparing 'apples' with 'oranges'. Let me explain. I live a certain way. When I have all the material stuff, my life is the same. And when I am transplanted somewhere else and do not have all the things as I had before, my life still remains the same. So, my life, is not dependent on what I have or do not have, but on who I have. Like Paul says, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content". That's a lifestyle.

It is strange that you would have found my comment religious. I was merely commenting about leadership in a given situation. Like if someone was drowning, while some people who do not know how to swim start screaming, the one who knows how to swim, or more importantly, has some lifeguard training, jumps into the waters to save the person who is drowning. That is an example of situational leadership. That is what I believe to be 'leadership'. This is what Paul says when he says that we should "provoke one another in order to stir up love and good works".Do you not see Paul taking "positional leadership" when you read his letters? If you can't see it then I'd be more than thrilled to show several passages where Paul makes it clear his authority as a "positional leader."

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 03:34 PM
Do you not see Paul taking "positional leadership" when you read his letters? If you can't see it then I'd be more than thrilled to show several passages where Paul makes it clear his authority as a "positional leader."Paul exercised leadership where he had a relationship.

ProjectPeter
Oct 20th 2007, 03:59 PM
Define what it is that you mean by relationship.

VerticalReality
Oct 20th 2007, 04:23 PM
Oh boy . . .

Folks I certainly did not mean this thread to be a platform for leadership bashing in the church.

My intent with this thread is simply to discuss opinions on what the Scriptures tell us in regard to church government and the order of it.

I wasn't trying to open a big huge can of worms. We should submit to those who are placed in the position of leadership in our churches. We should all be humble enough to recognize those who have been placed in authority.

If I gave anyone the wrong idea with this thread . . . I apologize. I simply find the topic of church government to be very interesting.

ProjectPeter
Oct 20th 2007, 04:31 PM
Oh boy . . .

Folks I certainly did not mean this thread to be a platform for leadership bashing in the church.

My intent with this thread is simply to discuss opinions on what the Scriptures tell us in regard to church government and the order of it.

I wasn't trying to open a big huge can of worms. We should submit to those who are placed in the position of leadership in our churches. We should all be humble enough to recognize those who have been placed in authority.

If I gave anyone the wrong idea with this thread . . . I apologize. I simply find the topic of church government to be very interesting.
In this day and age... the mention of church and leadership... pretty much a guaranteed thing that many will "bash" the structure. Lord knows... the structure has given folks plenty of ammunition to do so. Problem is... it is still the body of Christ and we can either be a part of the solution or part of the problem. I don't think anyone couldn't see that your intent was fine... so wouldn't sweat it. :)

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 09:40 PM
Define what it is that you mean by relationship.The dynamism of a family is the basic definition of relationship. Everyone has a place, everyone has ownership, everyone is appreciated, everyone contributes according to their capacity. The emphasis in any relationship is not on the 'doing' but in the 'being'.

ravi4u2
Oct 20th 2007, 09:51 PM
Oh boy . . .

Folks I certainly did not mean this thread to be a platform for leadership bashing in the church.

My intent with this thread is simply to discuss opinions on what the Scriptures tell us in regard to church government and the order of it.

I wasn't trying to open a big huge can of worms. We should submit to those who are placed in the position of leadership in our churches. We should all be humble enough to recognize those who have been placed in authority.

If I gave anyone the wrong idea with this thread . . . I apologize. I simply find the topic of church government to be very interesting.Whatever I wrote here is not about the 'doing'. I am not too concerned about the 'doing', as there are many ways of 'doing' church. My emphasis is always on the 'being'. I believe the 'being' will produce the 'doing'.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 12:59 AM
The dynamism of a family is the basic definition of relationship. Everyone has a place, everyone has ownership, everyone is appreciated, everyone contributes according to their capacity. The emphasis in any relationship is not on the 'doing' but in the 'being'.


Whatever I wrote here is not about the 'doing'. I am not too concerned about the 'doing', as there are many ways of 'doing' church. My emphasis is always on the 'being'. I believe the 'being' will produce the 'doing'.Okay... I'm a human being not a human doing? I mean... great. What does any of that mean?

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 02:14 AM
Okay... I'm a human being not a human doing? I mean... great. What does any of that mean?Well, I believe the 'inward' will always produce the 'outward'. It is wishful thinking, to assume that the 'outward' will eventually produce the 'inward'.

Any kind of 'system' is the outward. Most of which are methods of management, control and order. We cannot assume that any system, even the best fine tuned ones, can produce the desired 'inward' life. Not because they are erroneous but because the systems were never designed to produce life.

The 'inward' is Christ Jesus. When we allow Christ to manifest Himself from within us, we will find life, in all its harmony and fullness, in our individual lives, in our families and also in our communities. For then, Christ defines the dynamics of everything, even relationships.

Just like a family. Although we find a God given pattern for families in the Word, the dynamics of every family is different. Through fellowship, interaction, personalities, values and many other unique traits, every member finds his place and belonging in a family.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 02:21 AM
Well, I believe the 'inward' will always produce the 'outward'. It is wishful thinking, to assume that the 'outward' will eventually produce the 'inward'.

Any kind of 'system' is the outward. Most of which are methods of management, control and order. We cannot assume that any system, even the best fine tuned ones, can produce the desired 'inward' life. Not because they are erroneous but because the systems were never designed to produce life.

The 'inward' is Christ Jesus. When we allow Christ to manifest Himself from within us, we will find life, in all its harmony and fullness, in our individual lives, in our families and also in our communities. For then, Christ defines the dynamics of everything, even relationships.

Just like a family. Although we find a God given pattern for families in the Word, the dynamics of every family is different. Through fellowship, interaction, personalities, values and many other unique traits, every member finds his place and belonging in a family.
So an absolute free for all because that is what you would have. See... just like the dynamics of every community is different... the dynamics of every person is different as well. But with no one directing traffic (for lack of a better term) then you will have chaos.

Like I asked before... do you need the Scripture which show that Paul was one who clearly exercised "positional" leadership or do you already know them?

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 02:41 AM
So an absolute free for all because that is what you would have. See... just like the dynamics of every community is different... the dynamics of every person is different as well. But with no one directing traffic (for lack of a better term) then you will have chaos.

Like I asked before... do you need the Scripture which show that Paul was one who clearly exercised "positional" leadership or do you already know them?There is no chaos is my family...There is no one directing traffic in my family...I probably already know whatever scriptures you are going to quote. Like I said before Paul exercised leadership where he had relationship.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 02:52 AM
There is no chaos is my family...There is no one directing traffic in my family...I probably already know whatever scriptures you are going to quote. Like I said before Paul exercised leadership where he had relationship.
And when they don't follow the rules?

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:00 AM
And when they don't follow the rules?As my children get older, 'rules' keep changing. And when they do not keep to a specified guideline, I love them like a father should...

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:03 AM
Although what I suggest may seem 'chaotic' in actual fact it is not. It is 'fractal'. Fractals are intricate and beautiful. They repeat basic patterns, but with an infinity of variations and forms.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 03:04 AM
As my children get older, 'rules' keep changing. And when they do not keep to a specified guideline, I love them like a father should...
How far would you go?

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:06 AM
How far would you go?As far as it takes...

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 03:10 AM
Although what I suggest may seem 'chaotic' in actual fact it is not. It is 'fractal'. Fractals are intricate and beautiful. They repeat basic patterns, but with an infinity of variations and forms.Well I guarantee you that I'm okay with flowing with the Spirit of God wherever that takes you. Certainly I am not a fan of announcement, prayer, 3 hymns, offering, a special and then preach... have altar call and go home... there still has to be order. Afterall that is what Paul spoke of right clearly in his letter to the Corinth church. Order allows for flow... but also allows for structure and flow to work together.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 03:10 AM
As far as it takes...Give some examples because "as far as it takes" can be interpreted rather broadly.

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:13 AM
Well I guarantee you that I'm okay with flowing with the Spirit of God wherever that takes you. Certainly I am not a fan of announcement, prayer, 3 hymns, offering, a special and then preach... have altar call and go home... there still has to be order. Afterall that is what Paul spoke of right clearly in his letter to the Corinth church. Order allows for flow... but also allows for structure and flow to work together.And I am not against 'order', nor 'structure', nor 'flow'.

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:19 AM
Give some examples because "as far as it takes" can be interpreted rather broadly.If they are my children, then as far as the road takes. There are so many ways of loving. To specify any one and to insist that that is the only way or right way is not right.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 03:23 AM
If they are my children, then as far as the road takes. There are so many ways of loving. To specify any one and to insist that that is the only way or right way is not right.
Well there are generalizations we can make right? Would you be willing to kick them out and tell everyone to have nothing at all to do with the one kicked out? Certainly that is a biblical injunction in various instances... but then there are many that would "NEVER" go that far.

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 03:26 AM
Well there are generalizations we can make right? Would you be willing to kick them out and tell everyone to have nothing at all to do with the one kicked out? Certainly that is a biblical injunction in various instances... but then there are many that would "NEVER" go that far.What did the father of the prodigal son do?

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 03:34 AM
What did the father of the prodigal son do?
Couple of things... let the son go when the son wanted to go. Didn't go bring the son back home but counted him dead while gone. Accepted the son back when the son came back home.

What did Paul do in his position of leadership?

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 04:04 AM
Couple of things... let the son go when the son wanted to go. Didn't go bring the son back home but counted him dead while gone. Accepted the son back when the son came back home.

What did Paul do in his position of leadership?'Was dead but is alive again', is an eastern way of speaking, meaning to have lost but to have found again. Like 'drop a dime'. What it means can only be understood in the cultural context of the language. Whatever leadership Paul exercised was relational. If you are talking about 1 Corinthians 5. Before he even addresses that, he states that he is a 'father' to the Church in Corinth (relational). That was a father's love. There are signs that this man repented because of the 'father's' love (2 Corinthians 2).

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 04:20 AM
Actually what it means is that he was dead but revived although I know a lot of folks who don't much care for such a thought because it disturbs the sacred doctrinal cows! ;)

As to 1 Corinthians 5... Simple enough. Paul told them to kick him out. Sure in 2 Corinthians we see that the guy repented and it was enough... but first the man had to repent. But then you can get into Paul's writing to Timothy and there are 3 men mentioned in those two letters... they got the boot as well and who knows. Point is... you're avoiding the fact that there were times when Paul took positional authority. ;)

And no... I don't give up. :)

ravi4u2
Oct 21st 2007, 11:14 PM
Actually what it means is that he was dead but revived although I know a lot of folks who don't much care for such a thought because it disturbs the sacred doctrinal cows! ;)

As to 1 Corinthians 5... Simple enough. Paul told them to kick him out. Sure in 2 Corinthians we see that the guy repented and it was enough... but first the man had to repent. But then you can get into Paul's writing to Timothy and there are 3 men mentioned in those two letters... they got the boot as well and who knows. Point is... you're avoiding the fact that there were times when Paul took positional authority. ;)

And no... I don't give up. :)There certainly aren't any cows too sacred for slaughter in my stable...:lol:

In the ancient days, they lived in communities. Paul asked them to remove him from their community. It is certainly quite different from 'kicking out' someone from church as we understand church now.

I have a place as a father and a husband in my family. My wife has a place, my children have their place. And then there are the grandparents, unlces, aunts, nieces, nephews....and everyone of them has got a place/position. Leadership is exercised from relationships, not positions.

For example, if I have a father who has never been a father. Is abusive, maybe an alcoholic and puts his interest first. Then although he is my biological father, he would have almost no leadership effect on me. He may have the position of a father but certainly no relational authority. This is what I am trying to point out.

ProjectPeter
Oct 21st 2007, 11:31 PM
There certainly aren't any cows too sacred for slaughter in my stable...:lol:

In the ancient days, they lived in communities. Paul asked them to remove him from their community. It is certainly quite different from 'kicking out' someone from church as we understand church now.

I have a place as a father and a husband in my family. My wife has a place, my children have their place. And then there are the grandparents, unlces, aunts, nieces, nephews....and everyone of them has got a place/position. Leadership is exercised from relationships, not positions.

For example, if I have a father who has never been a father. Is abusive, maybe an alcoholic and puts his interest first. Then although he is my biological father, he would have almost no leadership effect on me. He may have the position of a father but certainly no relational authority. This is what I am trying to point out.
Actually it was to remove them from their gathering. They couldn't escape the world (their community) and Paul wasn't telling them to kick the world out from among them. Just those that claimed to be Christian among their gathering.

As to what you are saying... that seems a no brainer really. Much the reason why Paul had standards set for those wanting to be elders, bishops and deacons.

GJT
Oct 22nd 2007, 12:19 AM
According to many scholars, the practice of separating or dividing into the elevated position of pastor and bishop did not originate until at least the 3rd century along with many other practices copied from the surrounding pagans. At this time, single bishops (as opposed to the body of bishops, or elders, that churches had in the 1st century) began to oversee an entire city's group of believers, even if they met in different locations around the city.If this is still going on then why? Jesus always spoke about how wrong pagans were, but now we're mirroring them in ways? Where did Jesus or God even say a church should be set up with Priests, Pastors, Bishops, Ministers ect.? Pagans were the founders of class systems like that in there religons. If Jesus was so againt Pagans why would he want a religon system dedicated him and God set up like one?

ravi4u2
Oct 22nd 2007, 03:07 AM
Actually it was to remove them from their gathering. They couldn't escape the world (their community) and Paul wasn't telling them to kick the world out from among them. Just those that claimed to be Christian among their gathering.Hailing from the east, I am quite familiar with communal living. I have been to a remote part of Indonesia, where the village I went to is like 20 miles trek by foot, uphill. It was quite an experience. The village did not have electricity or none of the modern facilities. They were saved when about 40 years ago an American woman missionary brought the Gospel to them. The village headman is the 'elder'. I was the second 'missionary' to go among them in forty years. They are surrounded by hostile 'moslem' villages. If any one of them were forced to move out of their community, it would have turned their wold upside down. My research shows that, 1 Corinthians 5 was in a setting similar to this, which is quite different from 'modern day church', to which many are accustomed to.

ProjectPeter
Oct 22nd 2007, 11:44 AM
Hailing from the east, I am quite familiar with communal living. I have been to a remote part of Indonesia, where the village I went to is like 20 miles trek by foot, uphill. It was quite an experience. The village did not have electricity or none of the modern facilities. They were saved when about 40 years ago an American woman missionary brought the Gospel to them. The village headman is the 'elder'. I was the second 'missionary' to go among them in forty years. They are surrounded by hostile 'moslem' villages. If any one of them were forced to move out of their community, it would have turned their wold upside down. My research shows that, 1 Corinthians 5 was in a setting similar to this, which is quite different from 'modern day church', to which many are accustomed to.
Corinth was like that? Um... come on now!!! :lol:

ravi4u2
Oct 22nd 2007, 11:59 AM
Corinth was like that? Um... come on now!!! :lol:
The following is an excerpt from my research:

Corinth in the first century was a major metropolitan center of trade, tourism, and religious pilgrimage. Acts 18 narrates Luke's account of how Paul came to Corinth as a missionary, met fellow tentmakers Aquila and Prisca, and stayed with them. He taught in the synagogue, but faced considerable resistance there. After leaving the synagogue, he proceeded to teach the Gentiles. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half. When he continued his journey, he left behind an established commuity of Jewish and Gentile believers. The Corinthian letters arise from Paul's relationship with this young church after his first visit and between following stays with them.

Kinship was the central community where people formed identity and belonging in the ancient world. It was also an organizing symbol for earlyChristian communities. The universal God as "father" of the new family created by Christ opens the boundaries for membership beyond those of traditional kinship to include a variety of people. This is particularly radical for Jewish conceptions of family and community . Paul's kin(g)dom vision conceptualizes the possibility of Jews and Gentiles living together in a new family. Loyalty to and the sense of identity within family are transferred from "natural kin" to the church. The literature of early Christian communities is saturated with "kin" terms. On a practical level, households were the space and underlying unit of organization for many early urban churches. There are a number of households who come to belief in Jesus and are baptized as single entities (Acts 16:14-15, 32-34; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).

Evidence for this early communal living can be found from the very early passages of the book of Acts and the Messianic communal groups in Israel today also lends credence to this fact.

ProjectPeter
Oct 22nd 2007, 12:39 PM
The following is an excerpt from my research:

Corinth in the first century was a major metropolitan center of trade, tourism, and religious pilgrimage. Acts 18 narrates Luke's account of how Paul came to Corinth as a missionary, met fellow tentmakers Aquila and Prisca, and stayed with them. He taught in the synagogue, but faced considerable resistance there. After leaving the synagogue, he proceeded to teach the Gentiles. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half. When he continued his journey, he left behind an established commuity of Jewish and Gentile believers. The Corinthian letters arise from Paul's relationship with this young church after his first visit and between following stays with them.

Kinship was the central community where people formed identity and belonging in the ancient world. It was also an organizing symbol for earlyChristian communities. The universal God as "father" of the new family created by Christ opens the boundaries for membership beyond those of traditional kinship to include a variety of people. This is particularly radical for Jewish conceptions of family and community . Paul's kin(g)dom vision conceptualizes the possibility of Jews and Gentiles living together in a new family. Loyalty to and the sense of identity within family are transferred from "natural kin" to the church. The literature of early Christian communities is saturated with "kin" terms. On a practical level, households were the space and underlying unit of organization for many early urban churches. There are a number of households who come to belief in Jesus and are baptized as single entities (Acts 16:14-15, 32-34; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).

Evidence for this early communal living can be found from the very early passages of the book of Acts and the Messianic communal groups in Israel today also lends credence to this fact.
There is too much going against you there. For example... when Paul rags the folks scarfing down all the food and drink.

1 Corinthians 11:17 ¶But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,
21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come.


These folks came together... some had much more than others... etc. Not at all a picture of early Acts communal living. ;) Note as well that I am not arguing against the communal thing. Just making the case that it ain't likely this was going on here and likely didn't go on much past the early part of the church.

amazzin
Oct 22nd 2007, 04:15 PM
There is too much going against you there. For example... when Paul rags the folks scarfing down all the food and drink.

1 Corinthians 11:17 ¶But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,
21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come.


These folks came together... some had much more than others... etc. Not at all a picture of early Acts communal living. ;) Note as well that I am not arguing against the communal thing. Just making the case that it ain't likely this was going on here and likely didn't go on much past the early part of the church.

Folks we are also forgetting that many times they met in synagues and these were buildings set up specifically for teaching and exhortation.

Ancient archeological digs have also found synagues with the Christian emblem (the fish) as part of their mosaic, highly suggesting that they also met in pre-modern structures.

ProjectPeter
Oct 22nd 2007, 04:40 PM
Yeah... there has been much uncovered that leads us to believe that they met in the synagogues. It even speaks of that in Acts. ;) Sure they met in homes... but they also gathered elsewhere when elsewhere was there to gather at.

ravi4u2
Oct 22nd 2007, 11:59 PM
There is too much going against you there. For example... when Paul rags the folks scarfing down all the food and drink.

1 Corinthians 11:17 ¶But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,
21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come.


These folks came together... some had much more than others... etc. Not at all a picture of early Acts communal living. ;) Note as well that I am not arguing against the communal thing. Just making the case that it ain't likely this was going on here and likely didn't go on much past the early part of the church.


Folks we are also forgetting that many times they met in synagues and these were buildings set up specifically for teaching and exhortation.

Ancient archeological digs have also found synagues with the Christian emblem (the fish) as part of their mosaic, highly suggesting that they also met in pre-modern structures.


Yeah... there has been much uncovered that leads us to believe that they met in the synagogues. It even speaks of that in Acts. ;) Sure they met in homes... but they also gathered elsewhere when elsewhere was there to gather at.

Communal living does not discount the need to come together. Just as much as in my family, everyone seeks the Lord in their own time, but we also make it a point to come together.

Paul usually seeked the Jews in the synagogues during his missionary journeys, so it is not unusual that the early followers of Christ were Jews, indeed as attested by the the accounts in the book of Acts.

You may be referring to the archaeological find of Capernaum. Capernaum was ruled by the Byzantines and many of the Christian artifacts that were found were found in the extension to the original synagogue from where Jesus peached. They also had a 'house where Peter lived'.

Or if you are referring to the Messianic seal that was found on Mt. Zion, it is believed to have been created and used by the Jewish believers who called themselves Nazarenes in the first Messianic church.

Or if you are referring to the 'rosette and gable' in the 'supposed find of the tomb of Jesus', it is a confirmed fact that that symbol is a pre-Christ one.

The fish though often used as a symbol or emblem of Christ, was also used as a symbol by the Jews. The fish is engraved in the Jewish tombstones, as can be seen in the ancient Jewish cemetery in Prague.

The early believers were at first accepted by the synagogues because there were already many sects of Judaism (sadducees, pharisees, essenes). The early Jewish converts were accepted as yet another sect, the 'Nazarenes'. But because just like Christ, His followers challenged the very religious core of Judaism and its rituals and ceremonies, the followers of Christ were eventually putr out of the synagogues. This situation still persist today. One of the irreconcilable differences was, the Jews believed that the ultimate fulfillment of love; whereas the followers of Christ insisted love is the fulfillment of the law.

And just for the record, I neither for nor against 'home churches'.

ProjectPeter
Oct 23rd 2007, 12:08 PM
Communal living does not discount the need to come together. Just as much as in my family, everyone seeks the Lord in their own time, but we also make it a point to come together.

Paul usually seeked the Jews in the synagogues during his missionary journeys, so it is not unusual that the early followers of Christ were Jews, indeed as attested by the the accounts in the book of Acts.

You may be referring to the archaeological find of Capernaum. Capernaum was ruled by the Byzantines and many of the Christian artifacts that were found were found in the extension to the original synagogue from where Jesus peached. They also had a 'house where Peter lived'.

Or if you are referring to the Messianic seal that was found on Mt. Zion, it is believed to have been created and used by the Jewish believers who called themselves Nazarenes in the first Messianic church.

Or if you are referring to the 'rosette and gable' in the 'supposed find of the tomb of Jesus', it is a confirmed fact that that symbol is a pre-Christ one.

The fish though often used as a symbol or emblem of Christ, was also used as a symbol by the Jews. The fish is engraved in the Jewish tombstones, as can be seen in the ancient Jewish cemetery in Prague.

The early believers were at first accepted by the synagogues because there were already many sects of Judaism (sadducees, pharisees, essenes). The early Jewish converts were accepted as yet another sect, the 'Nazarenes'. But because just like Christ, His followers challenged the very religious core of Judaism and its rituals and ceremonies, the followers of Christ were eventually putr out of the synagogues. This situation still persist today. One of the irreconcilable differences was, the Jews believed that the ultimate fulfillment of love; whereas the followers of Christ insisted love is the fulfillment of the law.

And just for the record, I neither for nor against 'home churches'.
The point I was making with that Scripture is that they weren't living in a communal style. Hence the reason there were some that were eating right well and others that were not when they came together. It wasn't the "what's mine is yours" mindset that we clearly had in early Acts. ;)

ravi4u2
Oct 23rd 2007, 05:12 PM
The point I was making with that Scripture is that they weren't living in a communal style. Hence the reason there were some that were eating right well and others that were not when they came together. It wasn't the "what's mine is yours" mindset that we clearly had in early Acts. ;)What is even described in 1 Corinthians is Koinonia. The NT application of the word koinonia is to describe the fellowship and communion that existed at the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Let's consider Acts 2:42 - 27, where we read a striking description of the common life shared by the early Christian believers in Jerusalem. "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer...All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” The term, “the fellowship,” was not a title or name for the Christian church in Jerusalem; rather, it was a description of its central character as one of associating and sharing in a common life.

Although communal living can be described in quite a few ways, the NT example of 'Communal' means they had their own houses (they went from house to house). It is a common misconception that they sold everything and had shared everything. They did not sell 'all' their possessions. They sold "their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need". Especially the fatherless and the widows, who were taken care of my the entire community.

This was why a dispute arose among the Hebrew speaking and Greek speaking Jewish widows in Acts 6 and not among the entire Hebrew and Greek speaking community.

This was why Paul says, "Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan. If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows."

How could they wander from 'house to house' to gossip, be busybodies and say what they ought not to, if the early church did not live in a community?

This was why James also says that we should take care of the widows and the fatherless. In the ancient world, it was mostly only the men who could work.

As we can clearly see the community of the early Church was quite different in concept to the 'community' as we know it today, which may produce extremes like David Koresh and Branch Davidian sect.

In the NT style of community, although the church lived in a community, men were still leaders of their own homes and provided for their own homes. So, "If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home", means just that. Some people were not eating at home, thinking that they were going eat anyway when they got together. So, when it was time to eat, they pile on, not waiting for everyone else. And in so doing place himself above everyone else. That was why Paul says, "when you come together to eat, wait for one another". This passage in fact, lends credence to the 'community' the early church was.

Being a 'community' is more a matter of the heart than of the externals.

ProjectPeter
Oct 23rd 2007, 08:18 PM
I understand that. But you are missing my point.

22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

By the time the Corinth church was... there was a bit of a shift compared to how things were in the very early church.

ravi4u2
Oct 23rd 2007, 09:44 PM
I understand that. But you are missing my point.

22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

By the time the Corinth church was... there was a bit of a shift compared to how things were in the very early church.Verse 22 can only be understood the light of the preceding verses.

Paul says, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk."

As is common in eastern customs, the people who are think that they are 'better than the rest', gets to go first in any meal and they get the choicest portion of the meal. But in so doing, they were going against the principle of 'strong bearing the weak', and 'greatest being the least'. It was this practice that Paul was rebuking, as this practice is contrary to Christ's values.

Community does not mean equal distribution of wealth. Communism comes the closest to that. There were even slaves in the community. But even these were treated like brothers.