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Denominationalism
11-14-2009, 01:54 PM
Post: #1
Denominationalism
I grew up in church, and have been in many different churches and a large variety of different denominations. One thing that I have found across the board so far, is that each has a hierarchy in place, usually with at least a pastor and or staff on payroll. Most seem to believe that is what is taught in the scriptures. However, as I have compared the teachings of Jesus, to the teachings of some of the disciples and apostles in the bible, their teachings on this issue seem to be quite different than the teachings of Christ Himself. For instance, it is plain to see that Paul used titles a lot and he taught about hierarchy within the Church in general and the body of Christ within a given city or group within the city. Jesus on the other hand, seemed to teach about maturity and servant-hood. Through everything that I have observed within the churches and the body of Christ, it certainly looks like hierarchy hinders relationship and unity, and servant-hood promotes relationship and unity. From what I have seen, many of the churches are doing a really good job of being a business, and the hierarchy in place in most churches looks just like the hierarchy within most businesses. It also appears as though when people use titles in ministry, it often draws focus and attention to themselves and away from Christ. Titles such as apostle Bob, or prophet Ron or prophetess Judy or pastor Bill. I'm not trying to single out anyone's name. I just chose those four names randomly.

I don't recall one situation where hierarchy doesn't promote self, yet in every situation where I find true servants, I also find selfless, sacrificial love just as Jesus sacrificially loves us and laid down His life for us. I've met pastors who have actually required the laity to refer to them as pastor, rather than brother or using their given name, and yet they allowed other pastors to call them whatever they wanted to. How can this segregation between leadership and laity ever bring about unity when it has already divided the body into two different classes of believers.

Though Paul taught about hierarchy, he himself still lived and walked by faith. I don't see any evidence that Paul ever took a salary or pay for ministering the gospel. People gave to further God's kingdom and the ministry of Paul and others, but they seemed to give as it was in their hearts to give. Obviously Paul took donations, as did Peter and others, but from all the scriptures I have studied, I can still find no evidence where Jesus ever set any example of ministering the gospel for payment as though it were a job to be perform. I've also noticed, that in my own walk of faith (I have never drawn a salary or pay for doing the work that God called me to), God has greatly increased my faith and maturity through my total dependence on Him for all my needs. Yes, there have been times that I have even lived on the streets, but even in those times when I had little, I grew so much and met so many people that I would not have otherwise met. I even admit that there have been times when I was afraid, but I also confess that there has not been one time when God wasn't faithful to protect me and care for all of my needs. What did happen to me though, is that I learned, right down to my core, the difference between wants and needs. I learned that I could live and prosper with far less than what I used to have. I'm not picking on anyone, but I have met so many people whose lives and walks with the Lord, would greatly benefit by that same lesson in what needs really are.

I have not had a home of my own for about 4 years. I have been in so many churches and other such organizations, where people have asked where I live. When I tell them that I am homeless, many shy away from me. Kinda makes one wonder if Jesus in the flesh, would be welcome in the churches today?

If one is to be the best leader, then maybe that one has to be the best servant. How can we love people well without taking the lowly place of a servant? If Jesus is our example, didn't he make Himself a man of no reputation?

It will be interesting to see what everyone's take is on this topic.

I love y'all,
Chris
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11-14-2009, 05:33 PM
Post: #2
RE: Denominationalism
I am just wondering how you can call yourself homeless if you are able to: a) claim on your website that you live with a "brother in Christ"; b)are able to access a computer and set up a website (which accepts donations) c) continue to access a computer to make posts such as this one?

It seems to me that if you were being honest in your claim that God provides for you, you would not tell people that you are homeless, but you would tell them that God has provided you a home with a friend, at least for the time being. Maybe people are shying away from you, not because you are homeless, but because they discern that you are not being completely truthful? Also, if you claim to be homeless, you are actually denying God's provision for you.

Furthermore, when you criticize leadership and hierarchy I feel confused as to your motives. If we follow the metaphor of the body, we accept that all parts are equally as important, but that at different times, depending on what is being done, different parts may dominate for a time. For example, when walking, the legs are dominant. However, the legs are a servant of the persons desire/need to move to another place. My understanding is that Christ wants us to be a servant at all times, no matter what position of leadership or "lowliness" we are in. Your discussion/criticism seems to imply that servanthood is recognisable by being homeless. Taken to it's logical conclusion you imply an inverse hierarchy, where the lowliness of the person would indicate that he is a/the leader.

A true servant would not draw attention to his servanthood, would not say look at me I am a poor lowly servant. A true servant, like body parts, is only noticed when not functioning well, or is missing.

Phillipians 4:23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
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11-14-2009, 07:12 PM
Post: #3
RE: Denominationalism
Hi Mary,

Thanks for your response. Wow, it seems that you have many issues with me. Ok, well I'm just going to try to address them one at a time.


I am just wondering how you can call yourself homeless if you are able to: a) claim on your website that you live with a "brother in Christ"

When I wrote that on my website, I actually was staying with a brother in Christ for a while, then when spring came, He ended up moving and the Lord told me to live on the streets for a while. I spent the next 2 or 3 months sleeping under bushes and behind buildings. Then, off and on, the Lord would make divine appointments with other members of the body of Christ that would invite me into their homes for a short time, and back on the streets I would go. I've slept in many places. Sometimes outside on the ground, sometimes in a vehicle, sometimes in someones house and every once in a while the Lord gives me some money and tells me to get a motel room for a few days. I reckon your questions are fair questions, so they oughta be fair if I ask similar questions of you now. Do you have a home that you rent or own? Do you feel this way about all homeless people or is it just me?

As for the computer questions: b)are able to access a computer and set up a website (which accepts donations) c) continue to access a computer to make posts such as this one?

About a year ago the Lord gave me a brand new Mac Laptop which I carry in my back pack wherever I go.

Next: It seems to me that if you were being honest in your claim that God provides for you, you would not tell people that you are homeless, but you would tell them that God has provided you a home with a friend, at least for the time being.

Many times when I talk to people while I am staying with someone, I do tell people that I am staying at such ans such's house. Now let me ask you, if you have a home, are you that hidden about the fact that you have a house, or do you openly tell others where you live and maybe even have guests in your home? Do you have a TV? Every ask someone to come over and watch a movie? Ever cook dinner and invite someone over? Those are the kind of things one gets to do when they have a home. I don't. Don't misunderstand. I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be living for Jesus wherever He leads me. I wouldn't have it any other way at this point, but I am trying to glorify God with every part of my life. How is it not glorifying to God, that He could take a wicked, wretched, successful man like I was, and turn me into a man that would live on the streets, eat out of garbage cans and do whatever else for sake of Christ and His Gospel?

Next: Maybe people are shying away from you, not because you are homeless, but because they discern that you are not being completely truthful? Also, if you claim to be homeless, you are actually denying God's provision for you.

So tell me Mary, could you share with all what you are discerning that I am not being honest about, if that is what you believe? I mean, if you could be more specific about what part of my life that you're discerning the dishonesty about, it might be easier for me to respond. If you're just talking about people in general, well, people will think, I mean discern whatever they will discern. As for the part about denying God's provision for me. Did Jesus deny God's provision for Him when He said, "foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head. How about Peter, Did Jesus respond to Peter with contempt when Peter said, "what about us Lord, we have left all to follow you." No, Jesus responded with assurance to Peter and others that it would not be in vain.

I'm not even gonna respond to the remark about criticism of leadership and hierarchy, however, there is another statement that you made that has some very interesting word choices that I want to address.

You said:
If we follow the metaphor of the body, we accept that all parts are equally as important, but that at different times, depending on what is being done, different parts may dominate for a time.

Right now I am wondering if you realize that you just clearly described something that Jesus outright said that He hates. Nicolaitans. Nicolaitans is not a race or nation of people. Those referred to by Jesus as the Nicolaitans in Revelations 2 verses 6 and 15, are people who try to conquer or rule (dominate) over other members of the body of Christ. If you do a little bit of simple research you will find that the word Nicolaitans is a compound word derived from two Greek words as follows:

The root of the word Nicolaitans comes from Greek nikao, to conquer or overcome, and laos, which means people and which the word laity comes from. The two words together especially means the destruction of the people and refers to the earliest form of what we call a priestly order or clergy which later on in church history divided people and allowed for leadership other than those led by the spirit of the risen Lord. A good translation of Nicolaitan would be "those who prevail over the people." This clerical system later developed into the papal hierarchy of priests and clergy lording over the flock.

That's what happens with hierarchy within the church, and if you think that Jesus doesn't hate it, then would you deny the very words of Christ in Revelations? Perhaps it's possible that there really is a problem within the hierarchial structure within the churches. Jesus certainly made it very clear how He felt about one member dominating another.

Last but not least:

A true servant would not draw attention to his servanthood, would not say look at me I am a poor lowly servant. A true servant, like body parts, is only noticed when not functioning well, or is missing.

When Jesus acted like a servant (which was always), it certainly drew attention and lots of it. Not only did He act like a servant all the time, but He delivered many many messages to the people about servanthood with Himself as the example. I do understand what you mean though. There are a lot of people out there in churches calling themselves pastors, apostles, prophets, prophetess, priest, Rabbis, etc., making themselves men and women of great reputation. Remember, Jesus made Himself a man of no reputation, and He was the best servant of all. It doesn't seem likely to me, that a person can act and live opposite to how Jesus acted and lived, and still end up with an outcome that looks anything like Jesus.

Thanks again for you response Mary. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Love ya,
Chris
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11-16-2009, 06:20 AM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2009 07:06 AM by Mary.)
Post: #4
RE: Denominationalism
When I wrote that on my website, I actually was staying with a brother in Christ for a while, then when spring came, He ended up moving and the Lord told me to live on the streets for a while. I spent the next 2 or 3 months sleeping under bushes and behind buildings. Then, off and on, the Lord would make divine appointments with other members of the body of Christ that would invite me into their homes for a short time, and back on the streets I would go. I've slept in many places. Sometimes outside on the ground, sometimes in a vehicle, sometimes in someones house and every once in a while the Lord gives me some money and tells me to get a motel room for a few days. I reckon your questions are fair questions, so they oughta be fair if I ask similar questions of you now. Do you have a home that you rent or own? Do you feel this way about all homeless people or is it just me?

How did God tell you to live on the streets, or in a car, or motel, etc ? Is there a verse in the Bible that makes that clear to you?

My husband and I rent a home, and we own a home. At one stage in our lives we owned 7 houses all at the same time.

In what way do my particular questions of you indicate how I might feel about homeless people in general?
About a year ago the Lord gave me a brand new Mac Laptop which I carry in my back pack wherever I go.

I struggle to understand why God would give you a computer, but not food, causing you to eat out of garbage cans. The God I know would not place possessions above basic needs.

Is the internet free where you live? Where I live, the internet has to be paid for monthly in addition to the cost of the requisite telephone line. We have an aerial link too, so that we can move around the house without having to plug in the modem to each computer. My husband has told me though that with this aerial link someone could sit outside our home with a computer that has an aerial facility and "piggyback" off the internet we pay for.

We also have internet cafe's. I was just thinking if you had those, when you had cash, you could run your website from there. You could sell your computer and have a few hundred dollars at least for food and shelter.

Are there no homeless shelters where you are?
Many times when I talk to people while I am staying with someone, I do tell people that I am staying at such ans such's house. Now let me ask you, if you have a home, are you that hidden about the fact that you have a house, or do you openly tell others where you live and maybe even have guests in your home? Do you have a TV? Every ask someone to come over and watch a movie? Ever cook dinner and invite someone over? Those are the kind of things one gets to do when they have a home. I don't. Don't misunderstand. I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be living for Jesus wherever He leads me. I wouldn't have it any other way at this point, but I am trying to glorify God with every part of my life. How is it not glorifying to God, that He could take a wicked, wretched, successful man like I was, and turn me into a man that would live on the streets, eat out of garbage cans and do whatever else for sake of Christ and His Gospel?

I am neither hidden nor open with people about my home. If they ask me where I live, I don't say I rent a house in B----B----. I just say I live in B---B---, or near K----. Usually discussion about where I live doesn't come up. Yes I certainly do invite people to my home, and I like to practice hospitality and make people feel welcome. Have I ever given homeless people a home or food, or money? Yes, quite a few times.

I think that if I knew for sure that God had told me to be homeless, I would not tell anyone at all. Because as soon as I tell someone, it may make them feel obliged to offer me a home, at least temporarily, or if not a home then money or food. If I then accept the home, money, or food (or all 3) then I am going against God's will for me. That is how I discern dishonesty in you regarding your claim that God told you to be homeless. If you were in front of me now and telling me that God had told you to be homeless, I would extend my hand to you, shake yours and say "continue then to go with God" I would not want to stand in the way of God's will.

Why do you tell people you are homeless?
Oh just going back to the first section, what is a Divine appointment, and how do you know for sure one has been made? Is there a bible verse that tells you?
Don't misunderstand. I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be living for Jesus wherever He leads me. I wouldn't have it any other way at this point, but I am trying to glorify God with every part of my life. How is it not glorifying to God, that He could take a wicked, wretched, successful man like I was, and turn me into a man that would live on the streets, eat out of garbage cans and do whatever else for sake of Christ and His Gospel?

How is it glorifying to God that he has turned you into a homeless man with a top of the range computer in his backpack? Is this a personal glorification, (i.e. for you only) or is it meant to show the rest of the world God's glory? If so, how does it do that?

Phillipians 4:23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
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11-16-2009, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2009 08:42 AM by Mary.)
Post: #5
RE: Denominationalism
So tell me Mary, could you share with all what you are discerning that I am not being honest about, if that is what you believe? I mean, if you could be more specific about what part of my life that you're discerning the dishonesty about, it might be easier for me to respond. If you're just talking about people in general, well, people will think, I mean discern whatever they will discern. As for the part about denying God's provision for me. Did Jesus deny God's provision for Him when He said, "foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head. How about Peter, Did Jesus respond to Peter with contempt when Peter said, "what about us Lord, we have left all to follow you." No, Jesus responded with assurance to Peter and others that it would not be in vain.


Specifically, regarding your blog on your website, which at the time of my reading appeared to have no updated section saying you were no longer staying with your friend; therefore I took it that you had a home with him. Thus it seemed dishonest to me that you would tell people you are homeless when God has provided you with a temporary home. It would be honest to say I am currently living with so-and -so. Also as said above, if God wills that you should be homeless, why would you tell other people? I'm sorry , I just don't understand.

Matthew 8 : 18 - 20
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus actually did have places to lay his head - eg. Peter's house, the boat, friends homes, fields, under trees etc. and He has His home in heaven. So what was he really saying? The scribe had said he would follow Jesus whithersoever he would go. Clearly Jesus was warning him that it would not be easy. Where was Jesus going ultimately? To the cross. Would the scribe follow him there? What do you think?


Mark 10: 26 - 30: "And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."

A wonderful promise! Just a thought - Peter was talking to Jesus about "giving it all up" not to just anybody who would listen. This reassurance would make one feel more inclined to keep quiet about being homeless - just keep it between you and Jesus, and go daily about his will.
Regarding discernment, it is a gift. I can't locate the reference right now, but will keep looking. The point is that The Spirit helps us to discern right from wrong.
I'm not even gonna respond to the remark about criticism of leadership and hierarchy.

Why not? Why are you going to avoid my comment that you imply an inverse hierarchy?
You said:
If we follow the metaphor of the body, we accept that all parts are equally as important, but that at different times, depending on what is being done, different parts may dominate for a time.

Right now I am wondering if you realize that you just clearly described something that Jesus outright said that He hates. Nicolaitans. Nicolaitans is not a race or nation of people. Those referred to by Jesus as the Nicolaitans in Revelations 2 verses 6 and 15, are people who try to conquer or rule (dominate) over other members of the body of Christ. If you do a little bit of simple research you will find that the word Nicolaitans is a compound word derived from two Greek words as follows:

The root of the word Nicolaitans comes from Greek nikao, to conquer or overcome, and laos, which means people and which the word laity comes from. The two words together especially means the destruction of the people and refers to the earliest form of what we call a priestly order or clergy which later on in church history divided people and allowed for leadership other than those led by the spirit of the risen Lord. A good translation of Nicolaitan would be "those who prevail over the people." This clerical system later developed into the papal hierarchy of priests and clergy lording over the flock.

That's what happens with hierarchy within the church, and if you think that Jesus doesn't hate it, then would you deny the very words of Christ in Revelations? Perhaps it's possible that there really is a problem within the hierarchial structure within the churches. Jesus certainly made it very clear how He felt about one member dominating another.


That's very interesting Chris, but I think you have made a dubious connection here. Why not look at the metaphor of the Body again. Use the Bible, and consider that "Christ is the head of the Church". Also consider that God has set an order of authority in the home, and that God has put governments over us. Why would He do that if he hates hierarchy altogether? Please look again at my explanation of the metaphor, remembering that even while a particular part may be in dominance at one time, the "head" is in control. As Christ is in control.
To be corny "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."
When Jesus acted like a servant (which was always), it certainly drew attention and lots of it. Not only did He act like a servant all the time, but He delivered many many messages to the people about servanthood with Himself as the example. I do understand what you mean though. There are a lot of people out there in churches calling themselves pastors, apostles, prophets, prophetess, priest, Rabbis, etc., making themselves men and women of great reputation. Remember, Jesus made Himself a man of no reputation, and He was the best servant of all. It doesn't seem likely to me, that a person can act and live opposite to how Jesus acted and lived, and still end up with an outcome that looks anything like Jesus.

Can you tell me how you being homeless, scrabbling in bins for food makes you a servant of God? Does making yourself a man of no reputation make you the best servant of all?

Regarding our 7 homes: my husband through these properties was able to keep a number of builders employed for more than 5 years, the architectural firm gained a good reputation and have grown from strength, now employing 7 people, and able to provide homes for 3 people. The home we own is provided rent free to a couple. 6 of the homes were sold for no profit, with one of them being virtually given to the current owner, enabling him to keep his dignity and his home. None of these people and certainly not the general public know what my husband has done for them. And he is not a believer. Why am I telling you this? Because how things appear are not always what they are.

Phillipians 4:23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
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11-17-2009, 12:33 AM
Post: #6
RE: Denominationalism
That's very interesting Chris, but I think you have made a dubious connection here. Why not look at the metaphor of the Body again. Use the Bible, and consider that "Christ is the head of the Church".

Here's the thing Mary,

By your words above, you've made it plain that you believe the body is a metaphor, and it seems apparent that there is much more in the scriptures that you perceive as metaphors. If the body is a metaphor, then of course the church is also a metaphor, and thus, Christ is the head of a metaphor?

That's where our beliefs differ greatly. I'm mean come on, you started with me by making implications and asking questions about me, as a character attack so that you could try to discredit me, that way it would be easier for you to pass it all off as nonsense.

I don't believe that the body, the church or the bride of Christ are metaphors. Don't get me wrong, I'm ok with all the questions, but the truth is, you've made it obvious that you have already drawn your own conclusions about me. There is no need for me to answer all the pages of questions, because no matter that I answer honestly, you are already convinced that I'm not honest. So, how about if I just let you believe whatever you want to about me.

If you might remember in my original post of this topic, I was seeking the input of others about the topic, and I still am. If you want to continue to attack my character, that's ok, but I think I'll hold out for someone who would like to actually have a discussion about the topic with me.

I admire your persistence, though it would be nice if it was redirected at something a bit more worth while.

Love ya,
Chris
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11-17-2009, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 11-17-2009 01:42 PM by sheep wrecked.)
Post: #7
RE: Denominationalism
(11-17-2009 12:33 AM)rancherforChrist Wrote:  That's very interesting Chris, but I think you have made a dubious connection here. Why not look at the metaphor of the Body again. Use the Bible, and consider that "Christ is the head of the Church".

Here's the thing Mary,

By your words above, you've made it plain that you believe the body is a metaphor, and it seems apparent that there is much more in the scriptures that you perceive as metaphors. If the body is a metaphor, then of course the church is also a metaphor, and thus, Christ is the head of a metaphor?

That's where our beliefs differ greatly. I'm mean come on, you started with me by making implications and asking questions about me, as a character attack so that you could try to discredit me, that way it would be easier for you to pass it all off as nonsense.

I don't believe that the body, the church or the bride of Christ are metaphors. Don't get me wrong, I'm ok with all the questions, but the truth is, you've made it obvious that you have already drawn your own conclusions about me. There is no need for me to answer all the pages of questions, because no matter that I answer honestly, you are already convinced that I'm not honest. So, how about if I just let you believe whatever you want to about me.

If you might remember in my original post of this topic, I was seeking the input of others about the topic, and I still am. If you want to continue to attack my character, that's ok, but I think I'll hold out for someone who would like to actually have a discussion about the topic with me.

I admire your persistence, though it would be nice if it was redirected at something a bit more worth while.

Love ya,
Chris

Sometimes when people question what you put down as your system versus another, it's because that perspective is colored by one's lifestyle. If one's life choices are as questionable as the disagreement with a system that is in place - whether it be right or wrong - one's credibility to judge that system will not be accepted as viable.

From your first post, it appears that you believe your choice of living out your faith is more correct than what the church does. It is not always that simple. Sometimes what we choose to do is not of God either, but the flesh elbowed itself in the way, instead of the truth. It happens a lot.

I think Mary asked some very challenging, but necessary questions because how you are making choices is questionable in comparison to Biblical standards. If one is going to accept your choice as better than the church's, then it's understandable that your mode of operation is clarified. Why are you so reticent to do so?

I am curious about something. If you believe the body of Christ is not metaphorical, then how do you perceive yourself? as a toe? finger? leg? are we to imagine that you actually look like a body part? Biggrin
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11-17-2009, 03:31 PM (This post was last modified: 11-17-2009 04:01 PM by Mary.)
Post: #8
RE: Denominationalism
Right now I am wondering if you realize that you just clearly described something that Jesus outright said that He hates. Nicolaitans. Nicolaitans is not a race or nation of people. Those referred to by Jesus as the Nicolaitans in Revelations 2 verses 6 and 15, are people who try to conquer or rule (dominate) over other members of the body of Christ. If you do a little bit of simple research you will find that the word Nicolaitans is a compound word derived from two Greek words as follows:

The root of the word Nicolaitans comes from Greek nikao, to conquer or overcome, and laos, which means people and which the word laity comes from. The two words together especially means the destruction of the people and refers to the earliest form of what we call a priestly order or clergy which later on in church history divided people and allowed for leadership other than those led by the spirit of the risen Lord. A good translation of Nicolaitan would be "those who prevail over the people." This clerical system later developed into the papal hierarchy of priests and clergy lording over the flock.

What I can find out about the Nicolaitans is that it is "supposed" that they indulged in licentious and immoral practices. I don't know for sure, and it seems that no-one does. Usually God is very clear, but sometimes His word seems obscure. Why? What it tells me is this: sometimes members of the Church can clearly indulge in practices that God hates. This means me too. I know what some of those hated practices are, but not all. This tells me that I need to also ask myself am I doing what God loves? I may be able to put "no" in all the boxes next to 'things God hates' , but can I put "yes" next to things God loves?

If what you say about Nicolaitans is true, how does that reconcile with what God says later in the chapter ?: Rev 2: 26 -27

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Chris,
a metaphor is a comparison between two things that would normally seem incomparable. Specifically the comparison is between something physical and something metaphysical, so that the physical can provide understanding/clarity for the metaphysical. The metaphor of the physical body and the Body of Christ (the Church) was not started by me.
Chris I agree with you that in many churches leadership is abused, misused and also neither recognised nor understood.

There are threads in this forum that discuss this issue and address your comments. That is why I chose to make a more direct "attack" on your implications. When you use qualifiers such as "best" and "well" ( as in loving people well, and best servant) you imply an inverse hierarchy of "bad, good, better and best" servants, and also that there are measures of love.

When I read what you have written, here, in other posts, and on your website, I think and feel that what you are saying is this: "look at me, I have given up everything and become a homeless man for the sake of Christ, and therefore I am a better servant than you are, a better follower of Christ, and I love people well - better than you do."

I'm sorry you won't answer my questions. I answered yours. I know my questions are confronting, but aren't we told to be ready to give an answer for why and what we believe?

Phillipians 4:23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
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11-17-2009, 04:04 PM
Post: #9
RE: Denominationalism
Hi Chris,

Quote:However, as I have compared the teachings of Jesus, to the teachings of some of the disciples and apostles in the bible, their teachings on this issue seem to be quite different than the teachings of Christ Himself. For instance, it is plain to see that Paul used titles a lot and he taught about hierarchy within the Church in general and the body of Christ within a given city or group within the city. Jesus on the other hand, seemed to teach about maturity and servant-hood. ... it certainly looks like hierarchy hinders relationship and unity, and servant-hood promotes relationship and unity.

You make a distinction between what Jesus taught and what the apostles, particularly Paul, taught concerning hierarchy and leadership etc. Paul was taught by direct revelation from Christ.

Gal 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.


So he taught what Christ taught him. It didn't contradict what Christ taught or portrayed. Christ was the perfect example of leadership. He put others before Himself, He exemplified the fruit of the Spirit, His purpose was to do the will of the Father, etc.

John 7:17-18 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

The things that Paul brought out were those same issues to be applied to all men. What was added--because no one is perfect, were the qualifications necessary to be leadership, as a guide for all believers in order to try the spirits, and make sure that someone that was placed in leadership with fellow believers--really belonged there. Do you feel those qualifications in 1 Timothy and Titus should be applied to all leadership, or can there be God-called people who may not fit those qualifications but feel God has called them to be in a leadership role?

Being in leadership is not an all powerful role....that's where some become snared. It was to be an example of serving Christ, encouraging others to serve Christ and always pointing to Christ and the Word of God as the source of Truth, not themselves.

The concept of 'title's is incorrect, because it was never meant to be with a capital A postles. It was the role they had. Just as teacher, prophet etc was the capacity some served in. It made none better or worse than anyone else. All are/were fellow servants of Jesus Christ, and the focus is to be on Him for His honor and glory.


Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8. Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?


Quote:I don't recall one situation where hierarchy doesn't promote self, yet in every situation where I find true servants, I also find selfless, sacrificial love just as Jesus sacrificially loves us and laid down His life for us.

Men fail on a regular basis because of forgetting who they are to serve. We are to serve our risen Savior, but many like the adulation of men above that. Power corrupts, and deception is all part of that. But there are servants of Jesus Christ who stand as examples of living for Him, who have the servant attitude because of Christ living through them, and their focus is on Christ.

Quote:I have not had a home of my own for about 4 years. I have been in so many churches and other such organizations, where people have asked where I live. When I tell them that I am homeless, many shy away from me. Kinda makes one wonder if Jesus in the flesh, would be welcome in the churches today?

Many people don't own their own homes, and yet are swept up in 'things', possessions, coveting owning a home etc. Not having something doesn't make one more humble, or satisfied with what they have. Not owning a home does not make a person more spiritual or in line with obedience to Christ. If people shied away, maybe the issue wasn't about your statement about being homeless but something else?

I am curious about your call as a missionary. When you left your home, I presume that is when you stopped being a homeowner, did you take your family with you...that is, if you have a wife? children? Or were you called to sell everything or leave everything/everyone behind, as some of the apostles did in service for Christ? And if you sold everything, did that leave you money to live on for awhile? Is that how you launched your websites and maintain them?


Quote:If one is to be the best leader, then maybe that one has to be the best servant. How can we love people well without taking the lowly place of a servant? If Jesus is our example, didn't he make Himself a man of no reputation?

I think the issue in your statements that is coming across, whether you intend or not, is the idea of being concerned about being a leader, instead of just living for Christ and doing what He calls us to do, regardless what it is. Jesus said those who would be first will be last.

Mark 9:34-35 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


Notice the terms minister and to be ministered unto are defined like this:

minister
G1249
διάκονος
diakonos
Thayer Definition:
1) one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master, a servant, attendant, minister
1a) the servant of a king
1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink
Part of Speech: noun masculine or feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands, compare G1377)
Citing in TDNT: 2:88, 152

ministered G1247
διακονέω
diakoneō
Thayer Definition:
1) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
1a) to minister to one, render ministering offices to
1a1) to be served, ministered unto
1b) to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests
1b1) of women preparing food
1c) to minister, i.e. supply food and necessities of life
1c1) to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life
1c2) to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
1c3) in Christian churches to serve as deacons
1d) to minister
1d1) to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests
1d2) to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1249
Citing in TDNT: 2:81, 152


When people are concerned about their position, ie the role they play in the scheme of things, the focus is on self, instead of Christ.

Luke 14:7-11 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

I do understand that you likely as a guy feel more inclined to be in a leadership, overseer, elder or teaching role. And likely have grown through various things and matured, if that is what God has called you to.

Vic
SeekGod.ca

3John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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11-17-2009, 04:10 PM
Post: #10
RE: Denominationalism
Hi Chris
Quote: I actually was staying with a brother in Christ for a while, then when spring came, He ended up moving and the Lord told me to live on the streets for a while. I spent the next 2 or 3 months sleeping under bushes and behind buildings. Then, off and on, the Lord would make divine appointments with other members of the body of Christ that would invite me into their homes for a short time, and back on the streets I would go. I've slept in many places. Sometimes outside on the ground, sometimes in a vehicle, sometimes in someones house and every once in a while the Lord gives me some money and tells me to get a motel room for a few days.

I hope your were actually invited to sleep in that occassional vehicle. Biggrin You speak of God telling you to do these things, so I assume you have a special relationship and dialogue directly with him on all these issues in order to get the specific direction needed? How do you know it's God? This issue is something that has always troubled me.

How do you suppose your witness comes across, when people see you without a place to sleep, or place to keep yourself clean, and without food at times (although this isn't stated specifically by you, but implied by the statements of being homeless and living on the street), but having a good computer, a website, and the costs that accompany those things? Have you gone without food for days and dug into garbage cans? How does this 'homeless' witness portray God taking care of all your needs? Let me be clear. It is recorded in the Scriptures of the sufferings of God's people. And doing without at times. But I am curious about what type of witness happens for you.

There are some Scriptures that come to mind, and I am wondering how you see them applying to you.


Psalms 37:23-25 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 25. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Psalms 59:11-17 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield. 12. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak. 13. Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah. 14. And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 15. Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied. 16. But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. 17. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.


Wouldn't it be a contradiction for God to convey this very serious rebuke, and then not take care of His own servants, by providing shelter and food?

1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Didn't Jesus say,

Matthew 6:25-34 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Vic
SeekGod.ca

3John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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