Etikettarkiv | division

Creationist website Creation.com causes division among Christians due to FLAT EARTH

division-2Causing a division due to people believing the Bible?

(This article could just as well be focused on answersingenesisorg, but since creationcom used to be my favorite source for articles about creationism, I have chosen to use them as an example.)

The Bible tells us that division among Christian is something necessary, provided that it is due to the right cause. The right cause would be if someone (a brother or a sister among us) would be teaching something seriously contrary to the word of God with no desire to be corrected, and/or if someone in the Christian fellowship would be sinning without repenting.

Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

1 Cor. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Creationcom, on the other hand, works on another level. They have chosen to cause a division among Christians due to the issue of flat earth, and they call fellow Christians (flat-earthers) charlatans, blasphemous, antisemitic, and other insults (even comparing the flat earth view with Antichristians) which indicate that Creationcom could hardly be viewing any flatearthers as Christians. (Check their own sources.) How can you be a Christian if you work against the word of God, as Creationcom claims flatearthers do? If the authors on Creationcom are right, you cannot be a flatearther and a Christian at the same time – unless they believe that rebellious antisemitic charlatans can be Christians.

But does the Bible really claim that a person cannot be a Christian if he/she believes that the earth does not move, the sun and the moon temporarily stood still during Joshua’s day, there is a firmament/dome above the earth, this dome looks like a tent over the inhabitants on earth, there is water above this firmament, the whole earth construction looks like a footstool, there are four pillars under it, the earth has ends, the earth is described to have a side which is a ”face”, the sun is always described as the sun and never a star, the stars are created to be in/on the firmament/dome to be lights in connection to the earth and not for something else in a vast universe, stars are also described as falling down to earth while life on the earth continues to exist, the physical darkness is described as ”night” and never ”the universe” (dark), etc? 

Yea, hath God said … ?” (Satan in Gen. 3:1)

Is God mad at people who believe the above? Is your soul lost? Please answer this: Is it a deep SIN to believe the above? If you do believe it is a sin, why is it never described as such in the Bible? The Bible tells us that sinning is transgressing the law of God (1 John 3:4), but in what way do we break God’s commandments by believing the Bible’s own  description about the shape and construction of the earth? If the earth is a spinning ball in a vast universe, could this idea not be mentioned at least somewhere in the Bible? If you on the other hand do not believe it is a sin to believe the Biblical description about the earth, I do hope you show respect for those who believe the description as presented.

If you never went to school or had access to any sort of media, and all you had was nature itself and the Bible (which you could read), would you naturally come to the conclusion that you live on a constantly moving and spinning ball (approx 1000 miles/h) which speeds faster than a bullet in a vacuum-filled universe in an orbit around the sun, despite that stars can be found in the same spots night after night, century after century? For some reason the authors of the Bible do not provide this picture but the opposite, and what you feel and see (like a calm sea under a blue sky with clouds slowly passing across it) do not hint that heliocentrism is what you should trust in.

Or can we just say ”This is easy to resolve! Whenever the Bible speaks about these types of things, it must never be understood literally, and whenever poetry is used to describe the earth, just take it with a pinch of salt since it’s only poetry after all”? Is God the author of confusion? Is God not able to express himself in a way that we can understand? Did God not anticipate that honest Bible readers would believe the simple Bible descriptions about the creation, which are repeated throughout the Bible promoting a geocentric stationary flat earth model rather than heliocentrism?

Concerning judgments and insults towards those Christians who side with the Bible’s information about the geocentric model:

Matt. 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

The strawmen presented by Creationcom

While the Bible lacks even one verse promoting the heliocentric model, it is replete with verses which show a geocentric model with a flat and stationary earth. Despite many articles from Creationcom, they have not been able to change this fact.

Creationcom has devoted lots of time and energy to attack the flatearth model, and since they have already been refuted on youtube channels such as My perspective, Dean Odle,  Celebrate truth, Woketown, Rob Skiba, P-brane, Paul on the plane, FlatEarthDoctrine, markksargent, Globebusters, jeranism, DITRH, Conspiracy music guru, etc, it is easier to go to these channels for information, which would also save me lots of time. (Still, I have written a few articles on the subject, and you can find them under the Flat earth label on the subject section on the right hand side.) Note that I do not agree with all things presented in these youtube channels (I even vehemently disagree with some), but the common denominator is that they describe the flaws of the heliocentric model, the lack of proof for a curvature, etc.

Creationcom proves with their articles that they have not done their proper homework to properly check the mainstream flat earth model, or else why would they ask for example ”On a flat earth, why shouldn’t southern hemisphere dwellers all see Polaris”? Had they studied the model they would already know the flat earth answer. This is not to say they would agree with it, but at least they would show that they are familiar with the ordinary flat earth responses. Had they done their homework, they would also know the  pattern of the setting/rising of the sun due to ordinary laws of perspective. The fact that they do not even understand the different time zones on a flat earth model is quite embarrassing for Creationcom, because this proves that they do not even know the basic  FAQ about the flat earth model. (A simple test with a dome shaped magnifying glass paper weight and a pen with UV led light show how light and dark areas appear under the dome.) They even reveal on their website that they do not even understand how circumnavigation works on a flat earth model, and this is embarrassing beyond belief. Should not Creationcom show a little more interest in the model they are set out to debunk? It is sadly common to avoid studying the views of the opponent and still attack imaginary views and strawmen. Read what the Bible says about this:

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

It is very disturbing to realize that the writers on Creationcom are not even aware of that The flat earth society is viewed as an opponent by mainstream flatearthers (a mutual feeling) and the founders may not even be flat earthers at all. It is therefore nothing but dishonest to use this organization against flat earthers. Would Creationcom themselves like to be judged based on organisations which they do not even side with? Should Christians not avoid misrepresenting people?

Creationcom makes the ordinary claim that flatearthers read the Bible out of context, but despite large amounts of articles they have not been able to prove this claim. It rather seems like they themselves make the error of dodging Biblical information and scream ”poetry – disregard immediately!” whenever it suits them. The Biblical authors sometimes do use poetic language, and they have a purpose for doing this. The authors make a description of something and hope that the readers will get the picture/message. When we read about the earth being like a footstool to God, neither globearthers or flatearthers believe this to be a literally true. Still, we are presented with a picture and we are expected to draw a logical conclusion. Do we get the footstoolpicture of a God who sits on his throne with a constantly moving and rotating ball as a footstool? It is very hard, or even  impossible, to imagine this type of scenario. The Biblical flat earth model, however, is worked out based on the information in the Bible and it happens to look exactly like a footstool. A coincidence?

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.— 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

2 Pet. 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days SCOFFERS, walking after their own lusts,4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 

The flat earth model – the model that promotes a Creator

Since the geocentric flat earth model promotes a CREATOR and GOD, it is hard to see how it could be of Satan. Satan would like to hide God and make a Creator unnecessary. Evolution, billions of years, heliocentrism, all help out to make both man and earth as tiny dots in a vast universe and where a Creator is not needed. Atheism is based on all these elements.

Loads of people have left atheism and become both creationists and even Christians due to the discovery about flat earth. See for example Conspiracy Music Guru’s confession how he left atheism:

Here are a few comments that I copied under just one flat earth video (I could have copied loads more). There is no reason to fear the great flat earth movement because people are coming to Christ:

Person 1: when I finally found it it blew my being to pieces and shattered all my preconceived ideas. But it took a personal encounter and I had to get to the end of myself to be willing to give it a go. That was way way back in time but I havent walked away from it since…..

Person 2: when I found out about the flat earth that was a rollercoaster ride for me mentality lol going from a atheist to believing a creator, I definitely don’t rule out the bible not at all, it’s early days for me iv only been a flat earther for a year

Person 3: i was atheist before coming to FE

Read about Nate Wolfe, a pastor of almost 7 1/2 years who was FIRED for believing in flat earth, despite that he never talked about it to his church or congregation. His youtube channel is Firedfortruth. Is not Creationcom and other organisations/people who demonize the flatearth belief part of the problem?

The sad thing is that the writers on Creationcom are so convinced that they are on the good side when they spend time fighting against innocent Christians who prefer to believe the word of God as it is presented.

Read a list of Bible verses which support a geocentric flat earth model here, the firmament as something visible and solid here, the circle of the earth, here, planets in the creation account here.

Annonser

The Bible about SHUNNING sinners / heretics who cause division in church – excommunication

2 cor 2But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called A BROTHER be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Cor. 5:11)

There are sadly pastors and entire congregations who have completely misunderstood what the Bible says about brothers and sisters who have wandered off from the truth, resulting in a treatment which will not aid the lost persons at all.

There is one Biblical case which stands out in the Bible when it comes to ”shunning” someone, and that is when Paul criticizes the Corinthian church for not reacting despite one of their members living in a deep sin.

One sin makes you a sinner, but all sins are not of the same degree. Some sins are for example an ”abomination” before God, and we can also read about a sin ”not unto death”. Surely there is a difference between murdering an innocent person in cold blood vs being in an unexpected situation where a white lie is used in order to not reveal a nice birthday surprise? In the case of the Corinthian church, the sin in question concerned a man engaged in sexual immorality together with his father’s wife, which Paul considered was so detestable that it was ”not even named among the gentiles”. 

1 Cor. 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person. (NKJV)

Paul refers to a previous letter, and he clarifies that he did not advise the Corinthians to not keep company with all sinners in the whole world because then they could no longer live in the world. What he meant was that they should not keep company with anyone called a brother (which means a Christian brother or sister) who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Those listed sins are rather serious, and Paul tells the Corinthians to not even eat with such a person (other people might get the idea that we are supporting them in their sins or that we are just the same). Jesus of course ate with sinners, but not all his company would be regarded as his ”brothers”.

We should not try to add to Paul’s words – or withdraw. For instance, he does not say we must not talk to such people or not even say hello. Surely it would be awesome if such sinners returned to the Lord, and what better means do we have to our disposal than talking to them and try to persuade them to repent?:

Ja 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

It is hard to convert someone from his sins if we are not even allowed to have a dialogue with him. The man in 1 Cor. 5 was engaged in a serious sin (an ongoing sin not repented of), so clearly he should not have been allowed to stay in that church gathering considering that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  It is quite possible that the man in 1 Cor. 5 is again mentioned in Paul’s subsequent letter. In this letter Paul says that the punishment was sufficient for the man, and: you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.” (NASB). 

2 Cor. 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. (NKJV)

So on the one hand Paul makes no room for a person engaged in sexual immorality (or other severe sins which he gives examples of), but on the other hand he provides a way back also for an ardent sinner provided that the person repents and leaves all sins behind. One can easily imagine that a man might be totally swallowed up with sorrow, if friends and family suddenly cease talking to him and pretend that he is nothing more than air. After a period with such a treatment, maybe the person claims to be sorry and openly repents, but can the church really trust that he has truly repented and that it is not rather a case of someone feeling lonely and wanting to return to his family and friends? God cannot be fooled.

Paul never tells us to cease having conversations with Christians even if they live in sin (it is possible to have conversations outside of a church gathering) and particularly not if they are family members. We are also told to not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. So we should react when people sin, but think about how we phrase ourselves and how we treat them. The goal is to see them return to the truth, so a condescending and patronizing attitude might not work.

1 Tim. 5:1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,—8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

More verses about shunning and influencing a person to repent (KJV)2 Pet

Matt. 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

If a man goes astray God would certainly like to see him back on track, so we too should seek out the lost person and try to influence him to repent for his sins and return to the fold. The prodigal son did just that – he confessed his sins, repented and returned to his Father. If a brother sins against us (or perhaps sins against a whole church gathering), then Jesus tells us to first speak to him alone. It is of course essential that the person understands in what way he has sinned so that he also understands the point we are trying to make. Just saying ”I hereby rebuke you, you evil heretic!” is not enough if the person does not understand exactly what he did wrong, plus it is questionable if it is the smartest way to express oneself.

It is of course a possibility that a church leader reacts to something that is no sin at all (but rather a case of misunderstanding or twisting someone’s speech), and then it is hard to repent for something that the accused person does not see as a sin. If the case is that it was truly a sin and if the accused person refuses to listen or repent, then two or three witnesses are needed to establish the case. If the accused person is still unwilling to listen or repent, then the whole church should be told. If the accused person is still unwilling to turn around, then he must be regarded as a heathen – but note that it is still possible to have friendly and polite conversations with heathens! We are not told to ignore heathens and treat them as they do not exist, and note that it does not say that we should treat them WORSE than heathens. Surely it is possible to treat also heathens with kindness and love?

Where in the Bible can we read that also all the children (small children and teenagers) of an excommunicated person must be excommunicated as well, and no longer have any contact with the church members? (Nowhere.) The children might have been really good friends with other youngsters in a church for many years, and does God really suggest that they are no longer allowed to play or socialize with each other any more?

We should also add the risk for that the witnesses blindly obey the church leader (especially in a cult environment) who in his turn might not be entirely obedient to the Scriptures. The opposite is also true, that the church leader might blindly believe the witnesses’ description of a case. The instructions from Paul of course only work if the whole chain is unbroken – and not if the church leader is in error and makes unfair judgments. That is also why Paul told both Timothy and Titus to not be too quick with the ”laying on of hands” (selecting a person to become a church leader), because then the whole church gathering will risk to be off course.

A charged person certainly has the right to defend himself (this is true even in a secular court room), particularly in a church gathering that is not in all circumstances based on the word of God (like in a cult). If the pastor requests that a person must repent, and does not even give him a chance to defend himself or correct misunderstandings, then something is utterly wrong.

Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE which ye have learned; and avoid them.18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Above we can read Paul saying that the brethren should ”mark them… and avoid them” if it concerns people who cause divisions contrary to God’s words. He does not clarify to what extent they should be avoided (avoiding does not necessarily mean that we cannot even walk on the same street as the person in question), but it evidently concerns people who continuously cause division in church contrary to God’s words. If such a person repents and ceases to cause division there is always a way back, but if he refuses to cease sinning Paul’s advice should be followed.

To ”mark” them does not mean that this marking must be repeated, and that the person can be verbally attacked as soon as you meet him. It is enough to do the marking once. However, if we continue to spend time with a trouble maker, eat with him and socialize with him (as in not avoiding him), then there is a risk that other people will interpret our undisturbed friendship as though we condone his actions. That is why Paul requests to see a change in our attitude towards a clear trouble maker. Paul does not necessarily tell us to stir up a huge drama scene as soon as there are minor differences of opinions about insignificant matters. I believe Paul is talking about clear cases of sin where a person is a trouble maker and/or causes a division in church over rather essential matters while refusing to back off.

Rom. 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.—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.Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;—16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Above we can see how important it is to be of one body, but also how important it is to show love and respect.

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Paul gives instructions for a church leader, and if the church leader is subject to the word of God then it is a lot easier for the members to be subject to the church leader. However, we must always do as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) – to compare what we hear with Scriptures in order to know if what we hear is true. A church leader should speak evil of no man, be gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men, etc.  Since we too have been guilty of many sins, we could choose a wise way to influence people to repent. God has shown kindness and love to us, so we too should show the same to others. Not as in accepting their sin, but by consider the way we treat them and try to make them turn around.

Paul goes on to say a man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject. This advice must also be understood correctly and with caution. It takes some serious sins in order to qualify as an heretic (someone who clearly rejects the word of God and refuses to repent), so we should not cause an inflation of the word by spreading out admonitions left and right as soon as someone has some minor disagreements and asks valid questions. Neither should we fall into the other ditch and be so ”generous” that we choose not to react even if people in our congregation are proud of their sins.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Someone who refuses to accept the deity of Jesus, that he has come in the flesh, is labelled as a deceiver and even an antichrist. To accept Jesus as God is very central for the Christian faith. It is not certain that we should not allow anyone into our homes unless he/she shares our precise faith (particularly not if they are family members or relatives), but if someone wants to ”bring” an ”antichrist message” into our homes – like a former brother who would like to convert you and your family – then we should not accept him. I believe it is another matter if we invite lost people with the aim to convert them. Remember again that Jesus ate with sinners who did not view him as the Messiah.

Gal. 1:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Paul tells us to ”restore” a person who is overtaken in a fault ”in the spirit of meekness” . Once again love and respect are taught here.

2 Thess. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

We are told to ”withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us”, and the context here is about working and to not be a burden to others. ”For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies”. In such cases we are told ”them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread”. We are also told if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” but also Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother”. If we are to admonish him as a brother, we think about how we phrase ourselves and we do not ridicule him, repeatedly call him an heretic (once is often enough) etc.

There are certain rules about elders:

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Christianity in Sweden and the fear of Christian Sweden Democrats (SD)

nazi-2Naive Swedes who live in a pretend world

Criminals are dangerous, but so are people who are way too naive for their own good and live in a pretend world. The small Christian community in secular Sweden needs a lot of prayers these days. Churches in Sweden are more or less victims of political correctness and you will even see ”the Swedish state church” making a 2016 Christmas call for us all to get back to the generous immigration laws which applied 2015 and earlier (when Sweden was overwhelmed by about 165,000 asylum seekers – even more than the record numbers previous years). Never mind if we have the means to accommodate that large amount of people or not. When it comes to the serious reality it is not ”the heart that counts”, because God never told us to jump off a cliff and count on him to save us from the problems that we ourselves have caused. The Bible even advises us to not place ourselves in debt if we can avoid it because then we are not really free. A good advice for a household as well as for a whole country, is to not live beyond our means. If we have to borrow money in order to afford our new inhabitants, and raise the world’s highest taxes to an even higher level, then something is wrong. This has nothing to do with skin color.

We will not be able to help anyone if the whole country go bankrupt, and of course it does not make sense to decrease our financial aid to the third world (where people are in desperate need of help and have no chance to collect enough money to pay smugglers who can assist them in getting to Sweden) in order to spend the money mostly on young men who seek asylum in Sweden for economical reasons. We must face the fact that we cannot be a welfare contributor to the entire world and its needs. So far we have pretended as though we can, but what we get in return is a country collapsing under its own burden – and the deterioration is getting increasingly worse. It is truly dangerous to go out at nights in many areas in Sweden, and Malmö might already be a lost city due to the crime statistics and the large amount of people living on welfare (the most common name for newly born boys in Malmö is Mohammed, and Arabic is now the second most common language in Sweden before Finnish.)

We should not blame immigrants for wanting to come to Sweden since we promise milk and honey for them and their families for as long as they live (particularly if they are minors which they are therefore encouraged to be). It is our politicians we should blame – those who have decided to ruin our country by promising more stuff than we can deliver.

We hardly have any national defense left (hence the interest to join NATO and promote globalism), people are fleeing from service jobs in hospitals, schools, the police force, etc due to the heavy work loads and in some cases also a hostile environment. More and more public areas must be protected by guards, like shopping malls, libraries and indoor swimming pools. Every single week you will read about cars set on fire, thefts, shootings, rape/gang rapes and murder. Statistics (and court accounts) show that people from the middle east and northern Africa are over-represented in the crime statistics, and particularly when it comes to the more serious types of crimes. Sweden has about 55 no-go zones (some feel that we should not use these terms because they might be offending to those who live there), and about half of them are too dangerous for the Police and emergency vehicles to enter due to the risk of being stoned or attacked in other ways. Lawlessness has taken over. Policemen are also frustrated to see criminals getting away with crimes in court (if they even get to court), and if they do get a sentence they are soon out on the streets again in a few weeks/months to continue with their crimes. Immigrants are rarely expelled to their home countries. There are examples where immigrants have gang raped a minor and still not been expelled, due to the ”poor treatment” they might expect to get in their home countries.

If you dare questioning multiculturalism and mass immigration, you will most likely be labelled a racist which means that there are people who must keep their deep concern for our country to themselves.

The famous article which caused a lot of division among Christians

There is a certain famous article published in the Christian newspaper DAGEN (and also elsewhere) December 2014, and has been shared and talked about in the Christian community ever since (together with articles and even a book from the same author in the same subject). It’s authored by Stefan Swärd and Sven-Gunnar Hultman, and signed by a large number of pastors and church employees (exactly who can be seen here). What is it about? It is about a warning concerning the political party ”Swedish Democrats” (SD) and consequently also the views by those who vote for this party. The authors point out that it is not possible to be a Sweden Democrat and a Christian at the same time (albeit not in those exact words). They claim SD is all about racism and that the view of man that SD holds is far from Christian as well as extremely distant from the word of Jesus.

I vote for this party together with about 25% (probably more) of the Swedish voters according to polls. Have 1/4th of the Swedish voters suddenly turned racist? Anyone can read what SD stands for on their website and you will not find anything remotely tied to racism, unless you purposely misrepresent the text. SD rightly points out that we are all different depending on our genes, culture, traditions, environment, upbringing, social level, etc, and yet people go ballistic when they read this, being totally convinced that SD promotes racism simply by stating the obvious.

It is quite noteworthy that Stefan Swärd and Micael Grenholm (the authors of a book published 2016 where they lash out against SD and frequently use SD:s opponents as a source) do not write books and articles warning about the Swedish communist party but focus on SD alone. (They must accept that Sweden Democrats might want to defend themselves against their attacks.) They might tell you about scandals made by SD politicians (some are misrepresentations but some scandals are sadly valid) but I could tell them about scandals from politicians from every single Swedish political party. Some of those who hate SD might claim that politicians from SD win the race when it comes to scandals, but when I ask for the statistics they can provide nothing more than examples. Are Norwegians dumber than Swedes if I provide one example of a dumb Norwegian? How about 10 examples, or 20, 40? Come on! Let us not make generalizations if we cannot prove they are actually accurate. What does the Bible say about spreading rumors and falsehood? And about judging others with different weights?

Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Prov. 3:30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Prov. 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Prov. 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.

Prov. 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good.

Lev. 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Ex. 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Nowhere in the Bible will you read that Israel (or whoever) are obligated to support strangers (and their families and relatives) for the rest of their lives if strangers cross the border and would like to live with you. From the parable of the the good Samaritan we can extract that he helped one person who was almost dying, who he happened to find on his way. The good Samaritan financed this help with his own money which he probably did not have to borrow. He did not promise to finance the other person’s and his family’s living conditions for the rest of their lives – and particularly not with other people’s money.

As a Christian I believe we all derive from the same couple: Adam and Eve, and later on Noah and his wife. I believe this to be the literal truth. We all have the same blood and God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Hence, there is no skin color which is superior than the other.

The article has caused much division in the Swedish Christian communitydivision-2

My point is that this article which spread throughout the Swedish Christian community has done a lot of harm, and it has caused a great division among Christians in Sweden. Christians are separated into the 1) the good Christians who are FOR mass immigration and 2) the bad heartless ”Christians” (the racists) who are against it. So which side are you on?

I have become church less due to this split, and I know of other Christian Sweden Democrats who feel there is a great division in Church. Only one view is allowed, or else you are among ”them” and not ”us”. Three of the pastors in my church signed this document, and it is also quite possible that the Head Pastor might be of the same view (he feels that he should not take side due to his position). Why would I like to continue being a member of a church where so many pastors feel the need to warn other members for people like me? Maybe people will take large circles around me, when they realize that I am a person who vote for the ”prohibited” party which their pastors have officially red flagged. Why would I attend a Church when there is a risk that members and pastors might feel uncomfortable around me, thinking that I am perhaps just as awful as the picture painted in the article? If they have placed me among ”them”, I of course feel I am not included.

If the pastors would like to be consistent, they should not allow SD-voters to be members in their congregations considering that SD-voters are not saved in their view. If they protest and say that they have said no such thing, I must ask them if they truly believe a person is saved if he/she is a racist, has a world view (a view about fellow-man) which is far from Christian and very distant from the word of God (statements from the article which they have signed)? If they suggest that I have misunderstood them, then I can only say that a) why did they sign the document with those clear statements, and b) is it not rather ironic that also SD suffers from being misunderstood – possibly because those who interpret them prefer to go to their enemies to check their views rather than SD themselves. Why going to the source?

In Sweden it seems like only one opinion is allowed at a time, so it is a totally different story compared to our neighboring countries where various views are allowed concerning immigration volumes and consequences. The truth is that SD has similar political views as in all of our Nordic neighbors, so if SD must be labelled a racist party why not the parties that rule in our neighboring countries? Why do not Swärd and Grenholm write books where they warn about Christians in Denmark because of their support for their political systems?

Why the urgent need to judge SD based on the actions of a few members in the beginning of SD existence during a time when most of today’s SD politicians were still teenagers or even children? Who would like to be judged based on predecessors from a long time ago? What if there was a new pastor employed in a church who managed to improve the church greatly by getting it on the right track? What if outsiders still preferred to judge the pastor and the congregation based on previous pastors? Year after year? How much time must elapse before the pastor can be judged based on his own merits and actions? There are still some mishaps in the new church? OK, but what if there are mishaps in ALL churches? It still boils down to the same faulty argument:

”There are scandals made by SD politicians so you can’t vote for SD, because then you’re a racist! OK, there are scandals made also by politicians from all other parties but you’re still fine if you vote for them.”

This is double standard.

It was a HUGE mistake to sign that document, but I pray ”Father, please forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. This does not change the fact that many christian Sweden Democrats do not feel welcome in Church.

sweden-3Why it makes perfect sense to vote for SD for a Christian

SD critics might believe that voting for SD or not is about helping or not helping people in despair. However, it is rather about different ways of helping. SD prefers to help more people (who need it the most) for less money, but the politics from the other parties are based on helping fewer people in a more expensive way (even if they are not aware of it). No one likes to be ascribed views to him/her that might not be true, and I know better than anyone else why I vote for SD. I vote for SD for a number of reasons, and not one of them is ”because a few of the pioneers in the late 1980’s and beginning of 1990’s were racists”. No, I vote for SD based on what they stand for today. Here are some of my reasons:

  • I prefer to help as many people in need as possible – and particularly those with the most urgent needs with no chance at all to pay smugglers who can bring them to Sweden. By helping people in their own countries more people can be helped for less money. Resulting in that Sweden will not deteriorate as a country and can continue to help people year after year.
  • SD often promotes Christian values in all areas, but particularly in schools where they feel it is beneficial for children to be affected by Biblical values from an early age.
  • SD considers children raised in a traditional nuclear family (one father and one mother) as the most ideal option. SD opposes sanctioned adoption and insemination to single people, same-sex couples and polyamorous relationships unless the adopting party are close relatives or already have a close relationship with the child. 
  • It is the only party that would like to see the right for abortion heavily reduced (as a start until pregnancy week 11 instead of current week 18).
  • It is the only party that criticizes the ”homosex lobby”, and SD is the only party that has no representation in any ”Pride parades”. SD feels that Pride parades promote promiscuity. Pride parades are particularly not safe or beneficial for children.
  • It is a nationalistic and social conservative political party and against globalist movement (not ”far right” as their opponents claim), and I feel it is good to be proud of our own country and to maintain our culture and traditions. Instead we are tiptoeing around new citizens due to the fear that we might offend them with our culture and traditions.
  • It is one of only two parties against a membership of EU (and a world government).
  • It is against a Swedish membership of NATO.
  • It seems to be the only party (except for maybe one more) FOR Israel and for the Jews which can be testified in their governmental legislation work on the behalf of Israel and Israel’s right to protect itself. When Sweden officially declared ”Palestine” as a state, only SD protested heavily and gave the idea absolutely no support.
  • SD is also vocal about the danger of some Islamic traditions, halal food in schools, child weddings, etc.
  • It is the only party that has rightly understood the danger of mass immigration, and Sweden does not have 55 no go zones and a ruined welfare state for no reason at all.
  • They have adopted a policy where they have zero acceptance for racism, and has clearly shown in practice that they do not hesitate to disfellowship members who do not live up to this rule.
  • It is the only political party in the true opposition. Sweden presently has a government to the left and so far it seems like every single decision they have made has been the contrary to what should be done. The other ”opposing” political parties (apart from SD) have united and they enable the left to be in power even though they could arrange a government to the right with the support from SD. It is unfortunate that they prefer to neglect their own voters and see the whole country going down in flames, rather than having something to do with SD which they stigmatize.
  • etc, etc

A christian person outside of Sweden might agree with all of the above and be heartily welcomed into a Church as a brother/sister – because he is not a Swedish Democrat and does not vote for them. So two people might share the very same views, and yet one is called a racist and one is a brother/sister. Again, double standard.

Swedish mainstream media (famous for being so critical against Israel) has decided to treat SD as a party tied to racism/nazism/fascism, and they are constantly on the hunt to find some dirt they can throw on SD. I know numerous people who have lost their jobs, positions in for instance a union or other group associations due to their SD commitments. Those who are responsible for this rejection often justify their actions by claiming that SD does not share the same humanistic view of man as other people. With other words they ascribe views to SD and people who they might not have and use it against them (i.e. a straw man). If the individual explains what his real views are he/she is not believed because of the SD commitment. Sadly many Christians have joined the bullies, and as a Sweden Democrats you must expect to be unfriended both on social media and in real life.

The same value for all! If you’re against it, you’re a racist!

There is a mantra that has been in rule in Sweden for quite some time now which goes   ”Allas lika värde” (the same value for all). Many have already decided that SD opposes this and therefore use it against them (whether it is true or not). It is of course questionable if all people truly have the same value. Does Stalin have the same value as Mother Teresa? If my children had the same value as other children, would I not save money in order to provide more children with a driver’s education and not just my own? And give food, birthday gifts, etc to other children rather than year after year always focusing on my own? No, I have a responsibility to feed my own children and to help them out as much as I can because I set them into this world. I am never exempted from this responsibility as long as they are underage and in my care. I simply cannot help all who are in financial need, so in this aspect my children have a greater value to me than others. This of course does not stop me from also giving aid to others, but it cannot compare to the time and the sums of money that I have spent on my own children over the years.

It is rather ironic that those who shout the most for ”the same value for all” place such a low value on Sweden Democrats who are often treated as third class citizens. Did you know that all political parties are given an invitation to the Nobel prize ceremony every year, apart from SD? It is again due to ”the view of man” that SD supposedly holds, but how come dictators from all over the world are invited? Did you know that owners of hotels, restaurants, etc, either often decline to take any bookings from SD representatives, or cancel the bookings later on when pressured by journalists?

One would think that a pastor would like to see people repenting from their sins and getting saved? So if they declare in a document that Sweden Democrats are distant from the word of God, why do they not take the chance and explain in which way? Please? What is the sin that I should repent from? Due to siding with the views in our neighboring countries and my stance against a harmful mass immigration?

Naturally all human beings are valuable, and naturally God does not want anyone to perish but to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is much joy in heaven for each person who repents.

John MacArthur causes a division in Church on false grounds – Strange Fire?

john macarthur

John MacArthur and his Strange Fire Conference, where he attacks christian charismatics

John MacArthur is a professed calvinist, and calvinists believe in TULIP which means (IF they want to be consistent with their own teachings) that they don’t believe that Jesus died for everyone (Limited Atonement), that God doesn’t want everyone to be saved, that people are born elect/non elect (saved/doomed), that nothing comes to pass against the will of God, that even sin is according to God’s will, etc. So not only does MacArthur preach false doctrines and insults our holy God, but as can be seen below it also looks like he is awfully close to committing the unpardonable sin by publicly ascribing the power of the holy Spirit – when it comes to casting out demons and healing people – to SATAN. It’s obviously not an unpardonable sin to simply doubt the truthfulness of a person’s supposed healing – not even if you express your doubt out loud, because you certainly might be right in your observation – HOWEVER if a person truly has cast out demons and healed someone and you as a believer of God publicly claim that this is not from the holy Spirit at all but of Satan, then it appears that you fit the description of blaspheming the holy Spirit. Being unsure is not a sin, and expressing your doubt is not a sin, but to publicly ascribe ALL modern cases of healing to Satan will lead to sin because not all of those cases are of Satan but of the holy Spirit. MacArthur seems to suggest that 100% of all claimed cases of casting out demons and/or healing are either fake or of Satan (unless it’s by the hands of Jesus or his apostles). If he is wrong in some of those cases – which he is – then this results in that he is guilty of suggesting that people have unclean spirits despite that they do NOT. The holy Spirit should rather be praised for what just happened instead of being attacked and compared with darkness. Only God can be the judge here, but MacArthur should reevaluate his mission – if it isn’t too late.

Matt. 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.—24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.—27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.—31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mark. 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.—28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.30 BECAUSE THEY SAID, HE HATH AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT.

A transcript from MacArthur from his ”Strange fire” conference 2013, sponsored by Grace To You:

“Why don’t evangelical leaders speak against this movement?  Why is their such silence? Look When somebody attacks the person of Christ the Evangelical world rises up and says “no, no, no!”  . . . the Holy Spirit has been under massive assault for decades and decades, and I’ve been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘ The only thing I can suggest is that they have been literally backed up into a corner by intimidation that they need to be loving and accepting and tolerant and not divisive in the body of Christ, that’s been the mantra. . .”

He also says:

“people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”

”Why are evangelicals silent about charismatic error?”

”The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire. For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.”

Where did he get the term ”strange fire” from, which is the title of his conference, and which he ascribes to the entire charismatic movement? This Biblical incident:

Leviticus 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

Numbers 26:61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.

Clearly the strange fire offered to God in Leviticus was sinful and against his will, because he had forbidden that kind of unlawful fire. Nadab and Abihu were immediately devoured before the Lord when they transgressed his law. Since MacArthur equals the entire charismatic movement (Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church, etc) with this type of unlawful strange fire, then he couldn’t possibly regard any of the members as saved – but rather as gangsters who oppose the holy Spirit and side with Satan. How could anyone be saved who purposely present strange fire (which is nothing but demonic) before the Lord?

On his website MacArthur favors the idea that speaking in tongues is DEMONIC/SATANIC/HERETICAL and HAVE CEASED. Can anyone be saved who are demonic/satanic/heretical and who engages in spiritual matters that are no longer in use? Of course not, because then you’re engaging in Satanic matters instead of godly matters! So if you belong to Assembly of God or a Pentecostal church, you’re not saved according to MacArthur. Moreover, the gifts of the holy Spirit are not only in use in those type of churches, but they can also be found in various other churches even if they are more common in the charismatic ones. If you happen to be a person who belong to a charismatic church and don’t use any the spiritual gifts, how could you be saved if you choose to remain in the midst of demonic/satanic/heretical/false christians who present strange fire before the Lord? What does light have to do with darkness? Nothing! So the only conclusion is that MacArthur doesn’t believe that any of the members of the charismatic churches are saved, and that’s about 450.000 – 500.000 christians according to the statistics – and even more if you add all others (in other types of churches) who use the spiritual gifts. MacArthur says on his website:

”No, it is significant to note that Pentecostals and Charismatics can’t substantiate their claim that what they are doing is the Biblical gift. There’s really no evidence to prove it. There is no evidence that it’s language. You say then, ”What is it?” Could be demonic. Could be satanic. I think it was in Corinth, in some cases. Could be that. Ecstatic speech is a part of many pagan religions in Africa, East Africa. Tonga people of Africa, when a demon is exorcised, sing in Zulu even though they say they don’t know the Zulu language. Ecstatic speech is found today among Muslims, Eskimos, Tibetan monks. It is involved in parapsychological occult groups. Did you know that the Mormons, even Joseph Smith himself advocates speaking in tongues? It could be demonic.

Now all of these supposed manifestations of tongues were always identified as heretical, fanatical, unorthodox, outside the Church; and we conclude that when they ceased they ceased, and there have been continual off and on fabrications of counterfeit tongues. Since these gifts did cease, the burden of proof is on the Charismatics to prove that what is happening today is valid. Why do we always have to get backed in the corner and prove our case? Why don’t they take the Bible and prove theirs and look at history as well and do the same?

Wherever in the Bible does it say that you are to speak in a private tongue? Never! A private ecstatic, angelic speech–never! It’s hard for me to argue against those who say that tongues is a private prayer language because I can’t go to some text and correct them because there isn’t any text!

Suffice it to say that this unique gift given for the Apostolic time is irreproducible today, and whatever purports to be that is not that; it is something counterfeit. A myriad of studies, which I’ll deal with in the book [Charismatic Chaos], and when you get a copy you can read them in detail, give evidence of the fact that motor-autonomism (sp.), ecstasy, hypnosis, psychic-catharsis, collective psyche, memory excitation, and all other kind of terms are used to describe people who go into these kinds of trance like experiences.  

So there are no verses which say that we can speak in tongues privately? What’s wrong with these?

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD

I don’t feel those who speak in tongues need to prove anything to Mr MacArthur and he can continue to believe that speaking in tongues is ”trance like” even though they aren’t. If pentecostals today don’t do anything else but speaking in counterfeit demonic tongues, then only cessationists could be saved – unless he believes demon possessed people can enter the kingdom of God. This means that MacArthur concludes that a person is definitely NOT a christian as soon as he hears him speaking in tongues or making use of any other spiritual gifts. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Bible says, because Peter and other believing jews realized that the gentiles around them had received the holy Ghost precisely because they spoke in tongues and magnified God (speaking in tongues in combination with good fruit). MacArthur, however, understands speaking in tongues totally different from the apostle Peter does, because when he hears someone speaking in tongues he (MacArthur) believes that person is not saved because of the tongues.

Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, WHICH HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we?

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

1 Thess. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.20 Despise not prophesyings.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

MacArthur doesn’t do anything else than causing a huge DIVISION in church, but I admire his ability to twist the Scripture to make it say what he wants at the same time as he suggests that other preachers (but not himself) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Maybe he who shouts ”beware of the wolf” the loudest is one of the biggest wolves himself? He would do well to consider the following verses which he either avoids or butchers in his ”charismatic chaos series” and in the Strange fire conference:

1 Cor. 12:Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.—10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.—30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul tells us to covet earnestly the best gift. Does MacArthur obey Paul in doing so? Does he realize that speaking in tongues might not be understood (since the Bible says that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS) and that there wouldn’t even be a need of the gift of interpretation of tongues IF tongues were always understood? Paul doesn’t say ”if you don’t have the gift of interpreting, then don’t use the gift of speaking in tongues at all”.duva

1 Cor. 14:1Follow after charity, and DESIRE spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh NOT UNTO MEN, but unto God: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAKETH MYSTERIES.  3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  5I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE IN TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”— 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.—18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19 Yet IN THE CHURCH I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD.—39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Does MacArthur understand that we are not even speaking to men but unto GOD when we speak in tongues (and no man understands), UNLESS the tongues are interpreted? Does he realize that Paul recommends us to speak in tongues privately at home? Does he realize that Paul NOWHERE says that the speaking in tongues shall cease before the coming of Christ, when we shall see him as he really is? If speaking in tongues has ceased, as MacArthur claims, how come it hasn’t? How come millions of true born again christians still speak in tongues? If they are all Satanic, why didn’t Paul bother to warn us about this? Wouldn’t it have been better for Paul to say somewhere that ”the true speaking of tongues shall cease close after my own death, but there will be millions and millions of so-called christians (who show good fruit) who will speak in FALSE tongues, so be aware of them and don’t fall into the same trap”, etc?

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

If Paul spent a few months in a certain church and noticed that none of the spiritual gifts were present, wouldn’t he have been disappointed and reproved the leaders of this church for neglecting to encourage these gifts – which could have been to much edification both for individuals and/or for crowds of people? I fear that people are so afraid of the misuse of the gifts of the holy spirit that they don’t seek them at all, and this ends up being a victory for the devil.

Unfortunately, John MacArthur has made a study Bible, and you would do well to disregard it. He gets a lot of things right, but he also gets lots of things wrong and there is a risk you will fall for gnosticism/calvinism (and that God is the author of sin) if you start to believe MacArthur’s claims in his book. I can also say that quoting MacArthur where it sounds like he believes that man has free will, that we all have a chance to be saved, etc, only proves that he is not consistent with his own teaching (TULIP) and that he contradicts himself.

”Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit ABOMINABLE SINS? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God? CERTAINLY NOT …. it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it [salvation] BY ANYTHING WE DO” (John MacArthur, Jr., The Love of God, Word Publishing, 1996, p. 159.)

”Secondly, you asked about occasional SEXUAL SIN or getting drunk. Again, THESE SINS CANNOT CAUSE A TRUE BELIEVER TO LOSE HIS SALVATION” (Personal letter dated 1/10/94 sent by Bryan Johnson, a counselor from John MacArthur’s ministry.)

The Bible says:

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Peter 2:2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Tim. 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have no other desire than seeing also John MacArthur receiving the gift of speaking in tongues (and other gifts), but if puts so much energy in fighting against the holy Spirit and His gifts, the chances are slim that it will happen.

John MacArthur teaches that it’s possible to be saved even after having taken the mark of the beast (he starts with the incorrect premise of pre-tribulation). The Bible says the opposite. What if people in the future trust MacArthur’s assurance and take the mark of the beast? It’s of course no valid excuse to blame others (false teachers) for our choices, but teachers who present damnable doctrines have blood on their hands. Let’s pray for their repentance, and that people won’t trust MacArthur’s false assurances.

See below how MacArthur makes it known, that if you’re in the charismatic movement you’re NOT saved and you’re NOT part of the body of Christ. I get chills down my spine listening to his war against charismatic christians, and how he gets applauds from the other leaders (and the audience), and how people laugh when he makes jokes about the whole matter. I also don’t trust his concern for lost souls, because if he is right about his own gospel, then his God doesn’t even want all people saved, but only the elect – and of course all calvinists belong to the elect.

Descent into error (about division among christians due to doctrines)

Thanks to blog.savetheperishing.com

This is the true story of a witnessing team’s birth and its subsequent fall into the errors of Calvinism by some of its members. I decided to write this as a warning to others who may be involved with Calvinists who evangelize or who may be on the verge of embracing the doctrine.  Looking back on my experience I am amazed at the subtle shift in behavior, doctrine, interpretation, attitude and mindset of the group due to Calvinism.  Its interesting to see how a doctrine like this can change humble, smart, loving people into prideful, contradictory, unthinking, unloving people.  It wasn’t one thing per se that caused problems nor was it one person but an accumulation of events with many people over a few years.  It took me a several years of prayer and bible study to come to the conclusions I am writing about in these posts.

Way of the Master Radio

One day in 2006 I heard on the radio that Kirk Cameron, the actor, had his own Christian ministry.  I decided to do a google search on him.  The Way of the Master website popped up and I started reading its material and watching the witnessing videos.  They also had a radio show where they record themselves witnessing to others.  I decided to share this with my friends.

What started out as a mere curiosity turned into a full-blown ministry.  Some of my friends and I took Way of the Master classes, read their books, and studied the bible to see if this method of evangelism were true.  It seemed to be so we started witnessing to the lost using this method.

For the first two years it was great.  We would go to the bus stops or the Sprint Center downtown, perhaps to a festival, we had the ministry listed in our church’s bulletin so we could have others join us if they wanted to, we could see God moving in the conversations we had with the lost.

Along the way we had others join our group and 4 of them were Calvinists.  We didn’t have Calvinists in our group before and at the time I was undecided on the doctrine but was leaning away from it.  Months later I started to notice some disturbing trends emerging in the witnessing group.

Shift of Interpretations

I was at my friends house before a bible study and there were four us standing in the kitchen.  We were talking about the lost and then the verse from  1 Corinthians 1:18 came up, “the preaching of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.”   Up to this point we had understood this mean’t the gospel is foolishness to those who have pride and think they are good.  This is the context of Corinthians and was in fact taught this way by Ray Comfort on the Way of the Master Training Course.  In other words, “Why would you preach the gospel to me?  I’m not a sinner!  I’m a good person!  Go preach to a sinner.”  The preaching of the cross is foolishness to someone with… pride.

While I was standing in the kitchen I was amazed to hear the reason why the “preaching of the cross is foolishness” is because sinners are “totally depraved” and unable to believe.  When I objected to that interpretation another verse was used, taken out of context, to further demonstrate how total depravity is true.  While it is true “totally depraved” sinners have pride it is also true Christians have pride, so I can’t say the reason why people have pride is because they are totally depraved.  Besides, the chapter in Corinthians we were discussing has nothing to do with total depravity.  It has to do with the pride of man and how God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise.

What in the world was going on?

The Gospel Tract Enigma

When we witnessed we mainly gave out million dollar bill tracks.  They look like a real million dollar bill even though there is no such thing as a million dollar bill.  Several times after an evening of witnessing we would either have dinner or meet afterwards for fellowship.  Some questions would arise in the minds of my friends who later became Calvinists.  “Why do certain people take the tracks we give out and others don’t?  Its a mystery they say.  Twenty people don’t take a tract and then a bunch of people do.”  Some concluded this MUST MEAN God is drawing only those people who took the tract.

There are many reasons people don’t take tracts:

1) They think its a political ad because there is a president on it.

2) They think we are selling something and aren’t interested in buying.  This is a normal reaction.  People rarely give away material to people without selling something.

4) People in the back who see people in the front reject the tract also reject it.  “If the person ahead of me didn’t take it than I probably don’t want it either.”

5) Maybe they are upset, or tired, or who knows how many other reasons for avoiding taking a leaflet from a stranger.

There are many reasons for people taking tracts as well:

1) They are curious about what it is.

2) They like political ads.

3) They don’t want to be in an awkward situation where they must reject what someone is freely giving them so they take it.

4) People in front of them grab one so they grab one.

5) God is drawing them.

Calvinists attribute everything that happens to God.  While Calvinists vary in their opinion as to the amount of control God has on His creation many believe natural disasters, and even sin as something God has ordained, so its not a surprise the people in the witnessing group are focusing on why certain people take a gospel tract.

When I mentioned to them the different reasons why people may grab or not grab a tract it went in one ear and out the other.  Suggesting these ideas makes their exciting discovery that God controls everything not so exciting.

Popular Preachers and Popery

My friends in the group spent a great deal of time listening to Calvinist preachers such as Paul Washer, Alestair Begg, John MacArthur, James White, RC Sproul, and John Piper to name a few.  If you spend all your time listening to Calvinists preachers you will eventually be… a Calvinist.  Particularly if you spend more time listening to them than reading the bible for yourself allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word.  Every Calvinist I have known or debated with spend far more time reading reformed titles, or listening to popular reformed preachers than they do reading the bible.

After they do this they believe Calvinism and then later tell me how “God opened my eyes to this truth.”  How deceived they must be to think “God opened my eyes” when in reality they spent more time reading theinterpretations of men rather than the words of God.  They have not learned the “deeper things” of God but rather what someone else thinks the bible says.  How can they possibly say “God opened my eyes” when in fact they are being told what to believe by human fallible preachers?  Are they confusing a preacher as God Himself?  Is this the Catholic church with a magisterium who speaks infallibly for God?  It seems so.

This is called indoctrination and thats what happened to the witnessing group over time.  They were becoming indoctrinated right before my eyes.

I used to be a Catholic and after that I was in the occult for several years.  Its not difficult to be indoctrinated, all you have to do is keep on listening, and believing it little by little until eventually it will take hold.  Before I was a Christian I was on the brink of worshiping the Earth due the shamanistic teachings I was studying.  I had the sudden realization that the next step in my learning was to worship the earth.  It made sense because of what I learned and knew.  Once I realized I was about to do this I stopped myself because deep down I knew it was wrong.  As a side note how would I know it was wrong?  I was “totally” depraved!  Perhaps the concept of total depravity is wrong, but thats another topic for another post.

Listening to the same preachers over and over again amounts to a type of popery similiar to the Catholic church.  Instead of one person as a pope there are several that teach the same things.  These people cannot be questioned because they are “Godly” men who preach hard on sin.  They couldn’t possibly be wrong about this doctrine!  They spend all their time studying this and are smarter than us, they know Greek and use fancy theological terms such as “doctrines of grace.”  Who am I to question them?

Oh what an insult to Christ!  The Holy Spirit, through His Word, is “unable” to teach believers better than men!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to forsake all preachers…I’m saying their interpretations are not the final word.  If you spend more time listening to other human beings than reading God’s Word you do indeed have a Pope, whether its in the form of one preacher or many.  If someone asks you “What do you believe about election” and your answer is “Read this book by James White” or “Here is an article on this by John Piper” or “Here is a sermon from RC Sproul” or “Here are some commentaries on this” you may possibly have a “pope” in your life telling you what to believe.

An objection to what I just wrote might be “I don’t have time to write a full answer to your questions, its easier to show you what <insert preachers name> believes.”  Yes I know.  You have spent so much time studying the interpretations of others you know what these other preachers believe.  Thats my point!  Do you honestly think you can listen to preachers everyday in podcasts or on the radio and not be influenced by them?  The reason you are listening to them is because you WANT to be influenced by them.  Perhaps its true you don’t have enough time to study.  Maybe your job forces you to drive frequently or you have many family responsibilities.  If thats true, why not listen to the bible on CD instead of a preacher most of the time?  Are you confident enough in the abilities of the Holy Spirit to teach you directly through His Word?

Furthermore if you know words like “monogerism” or  “synergism” or if you automatically think since I am not a Calvinist that makes me an “Arminian” or I’m a “free-willer” you spend way too much time studying the writings of men rather than the word of God.

The extent to which this idea of popery was entrenched in the witnessing group was made evident one day.  Tony Miano, a well known Calvinist who evangelizes, was saying some things to sinners on video which were questionable and confusing.  When someone in the witnessing group was asked to reexamine what Tony said he refused to do it.  He felt examining Tony would make him “sick” because he is after all a “Godly” man who apparently cannot be questioned.  Accusing Tony of teaching questionable doctrines would definitely disrupt the peace among the group and we can’t have that!

This is a far cry from the Bereans who examined what the Apostle Paul had to say to see if what he said was true.

It seems the witnessing group is not so interested in truth after all.

Cont.:

Descent Into Error Part 2 – Mottos to live by?
“Descent Into Error” Part 3 – Judgement Without Discernment
“Descent Into Error” Part 4 – Love waxes cold to the unsaved
“Descent Into Error” Part 5 – The Bible as a spell-casting device

Why christians should go to Church, and not forsake the assembly

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25)

When writing this I mainly have certain ghastly ”anti-modern-Church-articles” in mind, where authors on page after page throw dirt on the entire Church system, making it sound like ALL churches are rotten to the core, and that whosoever attends a church service in a church building is supporting the Harlot, and/or Babylon and does something that God hates. The authors might protest and say that this is NOT their point, BUT in that case they have totally failed to get their message across. If you write page after page with one bad example after the other, describing the entire Church system (or ”most” churches at best) as nothing but evil, not mentioning one single positive thing, then WHAT OTHER MESSAGE COULD THE READER POSSIBLY GET? The reader will NATURALLY get the impression he/she does something wrong simply by attending a church – any church.

The authors might very well scare readers into avoiding ALL churches, but sadly staying at home would be even MORE anti-Biblical and might very well cause weak christians to start living in the world. The problem with those anti-Church-authors (apart from being so one-sided and painting with a broad brush) is that they don’t provide a solution. Yes, some of them present a ”better way” and how a church is supposed to be, but where is this perfect Church? Oh, WE are the Church? Yes that is true in part, but the reader is still ALONE! Where does he find other christians who can encourage him with words and through prophesies, who he can sing with, socialize with, breaking bread with, pray with and spreading the Word with? I wish all those anti-Church authors would understand how much harm they do when they like bulldozers run across the entire Church system and scare people away from something that would benefit them greatly to take part in. I can refer to them below as AMCP (Anti-Modern-Church-People). I might very well use ”church” with the meaning of a certain building containing an assembly of christians.

If someone starts off a series of articles by writing ”I’m not against Russians and I know all of them aren’t bad BUT….” and then writes page after page about his own bad experiences when it comes to Russians, and how evil he feels they are, how mean,  nasty, corrupt, unreliable, dangerous, etc, – and not a single word about GOOD Russians – then is it a surprise that the reader will get the message that Russians are people to stay away from? If someone starts off with ”I’m not a cessationist, BUT…” and then writes page after page with examples of the misuse of tongues, then is it a surprise that the reader will get the idea that speaking in tongues is evil and something to avoid? Let’s not deceive ourselves.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20)

Few christians are unaware of this verse but AMCP act as if this verse comes as a surprise to many. This verse doesn’t change the fact that the Bible shows that getting together with other christians (loads more than 2-3) is the norm, and something that is taken for granted. (Look in the end of this article for verses.)

Some feel that sitting in front of the computer alone and watching a church service online equals ”not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”, but could this be what Paul had in mind (even if internet was not invented during this time)? Some AMCP erect a strawman to battle, and they paint a picture of a REALLY poorly functioned church and either say that ”most” churches are like that or the entire ”church system”. Unfortunately people might believe them and run away from church and believe they can be home alone and still be spiritually fine. It’s a chance they will make it just fine, BUT it’s a huge risk they won’t. Especially if they are babes in Christ, if they have no others to be encouraged by on their walk, if they don’t have the discipline to pray and read the Bible and if they have ”friends” who are influencing them to live in the world.

How about a little more balanced presentation of the Church? How about spending some time describing what MARVELLOUS transformations that have happened to people thanks to their experiences in a church? There are christians out there who do their utmost to get people IN to Church, but AMCP try to get people OUT of the Church whether this is their aim or not. ”No, WE are the Church, you don’t have to go anywhere to get to church!” they might say, but we cannot be an assembly of christians all alone and I’m afraid the work of certain ambitious AMCP leads to very lonely christians. Make sure you’re not only spreading negative things about Church. Do add some positive things as well (and you don’t have to lie since there are loads of good churches out there) because all are not as strong as you are in the faith. Leaving Church might be the LAST thing babes in Christ need. And don’t say ”I’m not asking them to leave a good Church but I’m just warning readers about bad churches” if the case is that you haven’t written anything but negative things about Church. Shouldn’t Jesus be enough? Say this to those who have lost their faith and/or who have started to live in the world due to tempting influences and too little christian support.

Sure, you might have reasons to remove yourself from church, like due to a general lack of churches in your area, due to disability or due to work – but why encouraging others to take the same route? Do you really feel you are doing something that God wants by leading people away from church rather than TO church? That might not be your aim, but this is what you’re doing if you paint with a broad brush.

The first churches were far from perfect

Some might believe the first churches were perfect and contained no errors, but that is far from the truth. They suffered from all kinds of minor or major problems, and that is why Paul sent out all those letters to them – to warn, exhort and correct. We can also read about bad behavior in the christian assembly in other letters, as well as in Acts. In Revelations we can see how Jesus exhorts most churches, and this was during a time when the apostle John was still living. The closest we can come to harmony in the early church is in the below verses, but it’s hard to forget what happened to Ananias and his wife Sapphira. As soon as people are involved, there is always a risk that individuals act against the will of God. Sometimes because they don’t know any better, and sometimes because they do know the proper behavior but still decide to be disobedient for selfish reasons. Notice while reading the verses:

1) Christians stayed together and had fellowship with each other. 2) 3000 people were saved and added to them this particular day. Naturally they could not all fit into one house to worship together, so the solution must be to use several houses and/or a large building. 3) Baptism and breaking bread with others couldn’t be possible unless christians stayed together. 4) Wonders and signs wouldn’t get a large impact unless they were seen by others. 5) They did not abandon the temple, even though they could of course meet up also in homes.

Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles44And all that believed WERE TOGETHER, and had all things COMMON; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the TEMPLE, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

So ”ekklesia” means ”assembly of believers” or ”called out ones” and not a building of believers. WHAT’S THE BIG DIFFERENCE?

Talk about splitting hairs and causing a division for the sake of causing a division! This is pure semantics. It’s not always wrong to cause a division, but then it better be about something important and worth while – like concerning a doctrine. It’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying ”going to church”, and we can find similar expressions in the Bible.

1 Cor. 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

When we say ”let’s go to church” we normally mean: meeting up with an assembly of christians who are inside a certain building, and together with them listening to one or more preachers teaching something from the Bible. We might also associate ”church” with general worship, singing christian songs, receiving and giving edification in form of interpreted tongues and prophesies, as well as socializing with other christians. All this is very biblical, so don’t fear those who try to intimidate you when you say ”go to church”. When you say ”I will go to church now”, you wouldn’t normally mean to go to an empty church building, but rather to meet up with the assembly of christians. So the word ”church” for this particular building is an EXCELLENT choice of word. I suspect AMCP ALSO express themselves with ”he went to church this morning” and ”look what a beautiful church!” and ”what church do you go to?” even though they complain about others who do the same.

Biblical christians assembled together to almost 100% inside BUILDINGS for quite obvious reasons. They would have roof over their heads in case of bad weather, the preachers would be heard much better, they would be able to sit more comfortably and they would be closer to other important facilities.

James 2:2For if there come unto your assembly (synagogen) a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

People might say they are ”going to SCHOOL”, and by that they mean a certain building with both teachers and students. Without teachers and students it wouldn’t be much of a ”school” but we could still call it a ”school” also during those times they are empty. We could use the same reasoning when it comes to a gym, a library, a hairdresser  or a store. Remove some of the essential contents from those places and there wouldn’t be much of a gym, a library, a hairdresser or a store. The same applies to CHURCH. Many christians are well aware of what ”ekklesia” means and they find no reason whatsoever to express themselves any differently about ”going to church” than what they have always done. Has there really been much confusion about this so far? When a person says ”I’m going to church this morning”, do you stand there with a puzzled look and ask ”What on earth do you mean?”

The Bible doesn’t give much instructions about the proper way to meet up for worship, so I believe we have some freedom. Below are some verses which show that Paul and the other disciples in no way tried to boycott the temple/synagogues just because they were now Christians. If they wanted to show that the synagogues were ”bad” in any way, then they could have settled to meet people outside the buildings, and also take the chance to explain why they do this. But instead they went to the temple/synagogues to pray, to preach/teach, to worship, to dispute, etc. They often kept track of times for the Sabbath day and/or prayer meetings, and they went through some jewish purification rituals. Jesus was constantly in the synagogues, and never can we read any negative statements about the synagogues themselves. Naturally you could find wicked rulers of the synagogues (and wicked doctrines), but you could also find the opposite, and people who accepted the new teaching. Just like synagogues, churches are merely buildings. They aren’t good or bad in themselves and they are what people make them to be. The first thing Paul did in Damascus after his conversion was to preach in the synagogues, so why couldn’t we today seek out churches and try to influence people in the same way? Is it really a better idea to sit at home and complain about the entire church system without providing a better alternative?

Godly people in the Bible erected altars (like Noah, Joshua, etc) and they did not sin by doing so. Neither is it a sin to build a synagogue or a church. Also wicked people could naturally erect altars and buildings for ungodly purposes. There is a synagogue of God and a synagogue of Satan:

Psalm 74:8 They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues (meetings) of God in the land.

Rev. 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Nowhere in the Bible can we read that it’s wrong to build synagogues or churches in order to make more room for christians and their worship.

Luke 7:3And when he heard of Jesus, he sent the elders of the Jews unto Him, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant. 4And when they came to Jesus they besought Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was worthy,5for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a SYNAGOGUE.” 6And Jesus went with them. And when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, ”Lord, trouble not Thyself, for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof.

Below are more verses that show that going to the temple/synagogue was natural for believers, and many people got their lives totally changed for the better thanks to their visits and exhortations. Why don’t we do the same instead of remaining at home alone? Jesus and his disciples were constantly in the synagogues, regardless if they were good or bad, and we could have the same approach about Church today. In some places Paul and his company might not have been allowed to preach that much due to hostile leaders, but it seems like they succeeded most of time, and they could also continue to discuss outside of the synagogues. In other cases the rulers of synagogues were God-fearing people:.

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the TEMPLE at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the TEMPLE, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Here the angel of the Lord asked the men to stand up and speak in the temple, which they obeyed, in combination with also preaching in whatever synagogue they could find. The angel didn’t tell them to only preach in GOOD places:

Acts 4:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the TEMPLE to the people all the words of this life.

Acts 4:42 And daily in the TEMPLE, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20And straightway he preached Christ in the SYNAGOGES, that he is the Son of God.— 26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.— 27But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.— 30Which when the brethren knew, the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 13:4So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the SYNAGOGES of the Jews:and they had also JOHN TO THEIR MINISTER.-–14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the SYNAGOGUE on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the RULERS of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and BRETHREN, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.–

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the SYNAGOGUE, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 14:1And it came to pass in Iconium that together they both went into the SYNAGOGUE of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude of both the Jews and also of the GREEKS believed.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the SYNAGOGUE every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the GREEKS.— 7And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God,whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a SYNAGOGUE of the Jews:2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,—10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.—-17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat.And Gallio cared for none of those things.18And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 19And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the SYNAGOGUE, and reasoned with the Jews. 20When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 22And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Here is a man called Apollo which we should take after. Just like Paul, after his conversion, this man began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Aquila and Priscilla were God-fearing people who heard him (both good and bad people might attend a synagogue) and they  took him unto them and taught him even more. Apollo did the right thing, and Aquila and Priscilla as well, by hanging around in a synagogue. Thanks to Apollo’s actions he mightily convinced the jews. Would he have succeeded to do this if he would have chosen to sit at home, content with reading theology books and complain about the entire synagogue-system? I don’t think so:

Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus..25This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26And he began to speak boldly in the SYNAGOGUE: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.27And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,—8And he went into the SYNAGOGUE, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.—37For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the TEMPLE, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 27And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the TEMPLE, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

Acts 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the TEMPLE, I was in a trance;18And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every SYNAGOGUE them that believed on thee:

Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:—18Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the TEMPLE, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

Church (ekklesia) is sometimes used in CONTRAST to a group of individual believers!

Paul gives instructions to the assembly of christians (Church) concerning the treatment of widows. He would prefer if widows could be taken care of by individuals rather than having the CHURCH providing for them. In this way the Church could focus on those widows who are really in need and who don’t have anyone else providing for them. The idea shouldn’t be ”I let the Church provide for my elderly mother and/or aunt, and in that way my household won’t have to provide for them”.

1 Tim. 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. — 9Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. 10Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;—16If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church (ekklesia) be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. 17Let the ELDERS (presbyteroi) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOUR, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.—19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

The man Diotrephes refused to receive the brethren and even cast them out of the CHURCH. So the true brethren are mentioned in contrast to the Church also in this case. The wicked person cast them out of the Church. Clearly ”church” can sometimes be a place (place for the assembly of God) since the wicked person here casts true believers out of church:

3 John 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: — 9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

If we can never say ”I’m going to Church” because WE as christians are always the Church, then neither does the below verse make any sense. Here we can read that Paul, Barnabas etc were ”received” by the Church. It’s a shame that Diotrephes (above) didn’t make the same choice. Of course it’s better to receive godly men into Church, instead of casting them out.

Acts 15:4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church (ekklesian), and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.—

Paul contrasts ”we” with ”the Church” here below. He is also talking about ”when ye come together in the Church”. This is a very close ring to ”going to Church” which the AMCP so often complain about. Apparently Paul takes for granted that we are GOING AWAY when we ”come together in the Church” because he complains about people who take the chance to eat a lot of food while being in the Church. Paul asks ”have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” and ”if any man hunger, let him eat AT HOME”.

1 Cor. 11:1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.—16But if any man seem to be contentious, WE have no such custom, NEITHER the churches of God. 17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.—30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.—33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Paul says women should be silent in a teaching situation in Church and in this instance he is speaking of a place and not a metaphor for people because he then gives permission for them to speak at home.

1 Cor. 14:33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

More examples of various churches:

1 Cor.16:1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.— 10Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. 12As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.—15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 17I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 

2 Cor. 2:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

2 Cor. 12:Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 8I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.—12Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

2 Cor 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 4Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.—14But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.17For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.18And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;19And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:—23Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

The church is pictured as the BODY OF CHRIST and christians are supposed to be physically TOGETHER in order to edify each other

Paul explains that each part of the body exists to meet the needs of other body parts. In the same way, God intends each of us to meet the needs of other believers, using our strengths to help in their areas of weakness.  A Christian cannot claim to have all the body parts himself, being self-sufficient. In the OT we can read about a few godly believers who are rather alone in their faithful walk with God, but we can never read that this is according to their own desires. They didn’t have much choice! Neither are they evidence of that we can be just as fine without other christians, because there might be OTHER single believers out there who have drifted away due to no support from others. We are to comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18), build up one another ( 1 Thess. 5:11), confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) and pray for one another (James 5:16). Probably because we need it to stay strong and to not lose our faith. How can we obey these directives if we stay away from the gathering of believers?

The body of Christ has many members and as believers we are all in the same body even though we might feel we are not as important as other members because we are not the ”arm”, or the ”head”, etc. All are not apostles. All are not teachers. If we were all having the same task, who would do the other important tasks which are needed for the body of Christ? God has placed apostles, teachers, prophets, etc, in the CHURCH (assembly). If you’re at home alone, it’s impossible for you to have any of these roles, and it’s equally hard to make use of spiritual gifts, such as healings and prophesies for the edification of others. You need to be physically involved in an assembly of christians:

1 Cor. 12:11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.14For the body is not one member, but many 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?— 25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all TEACHERS? are all workers of miracles?

Romans 12:4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that TEACHES, on TEACHING8Or 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. 9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Below we can read more about edification of the Church. Most of Paul’s instructions about behavior in the Church would be totally useless unless we are together with other christians. Paul says we should aim to edify the CHURCH by various spiritual gifts, and that is of course impossible for those who are home alone. Also Paul’s instructions about women being quiet in Church and instead asking questions to their husbands AT HOME, indicates he is talking about an environment with other christians, normally away from home.

 ”When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation”. Not IF you come together but WHEN you come together:

1 Cor. 14:3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.-–12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.—16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:— 26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.—33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

We are told that Jesus himself gave some to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and this was for perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry and for edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST. These different positions were to continue ”Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. This has not happened yet:.

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Conditions and tasks for an elder, and note that not ALL people qualify for this task. Elders MUST be professionally trained.

God designed the church as a place where spiritual leaders could watch out for our welfare, just like a shepherd who guards the sheep (1 Peter 5:1-4, Hebrews 13:17). A Christian who answers only to himself can easily rationalize sinful attitudes. Regular contact with other Christians can keep us sharp. In an assembly, it’s not right to let whosoever rise up to teach others. Christians are rather free to share witnesses, prophesies, songs and translating tongues (but we are still told to test all things), but the TEACHING should only be made by those who qualify. Read below about how elders are ordained and that not all people are to be trusted when it comes to teaching. The wrong person preaching could lead to doctrinal errors being spread, so be careful to NOT let people preach in your assembly just to be ”kind”. Naturally we should all spread the gospel to unbelievers (we are all told to make disciples), but when it comes to a situation where the assembly of God is supposed to be taught the truth in order to build up others, then it better be from a qualified teacher. Obviously we should always act like the Bereans regardless of who are doing the teaching and compare what we hear with scriptures, but not all have the ability to read and/or cover that much text, why it’s important that our teachers are qualified for their task.

Below we can read that Titus has been appointed to ordain elders in every city. There are loads of restrictions and rules tied to an elder. The elders are responsible to exhort and to convince the gainsayers, because some mouths must be stopped. That is because they subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not:

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. 5For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (presbyterous) in every city, as I had appointed thee6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers10For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

In Acts 6 we can read about the twelve disciples not feeling it was right for them to ”serve tables” and they preferred that others took this responsibility so that they themselves could focus on spreading the word of God. They gathered the other disciples who chose seven faithful men to take care of the daily ministration. This doesn’t mean those who served tables were less important since we are ALL needed to advance God’s kingdom and we are all different parts of the same body. However, ALL are not supposed to do the preaching in an assembly. You can call this a ”hierarchy” if you want, but that would be a negative word about a biblical solution:

Acts 6:1And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Here Barnabbas is exhorting the church of Antioch to cleave unto the Lord. Seems he was the man to do this type of exhorting:

Acts 11:22Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the CHURCH which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Here the apostles had ordained certain men to be elders in every church, and they prayed, fasted and commended them to the Lord. This shows the great importance involved.

Acts 14:1And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the SYNAGOGUE of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.—4But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.—23And when they had ordained them ELDERS (presbyterous) in every church (ekklesian), and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.— 27And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 28And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Hierarchy or not, but the church in Antioch brought Paul, Barnabas and certain others to Jerusalem to solve a certain question by the apostles and the elders there. Apparently they felt these men were more suitable to act in the matter. The church in Jerusalem ”received” them AND the apostles and the elders did as well. They decided to send some chosen men – CHIEF MEN among the brethren – to Antioch. These chief men exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

Acts 15:2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders (presbyterous) about this question. 3And being brought on their way by the church (ekklesias), they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church (ekklesian), and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.—6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.—21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas,chief men among the brethren:—23And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.—25It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,— 30So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:—31Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.— 36And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do.—40And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 41And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

Here we can read about decrees being delivered for others to keep, and these decrees were ordained by apostles and elders in Jerusalem. We can’t read about anyone complaining about hierarchial systems. The churches increased in number:

Acts 16:1Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.—4And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Timothy was sent out to make the churches remember the way of Christ, and also to make sure they teach no other doctrine, or give heed to fables and endless genealogies. Timothy was ordained to ministry by the laying on of hands by  Paul and the presbytery, and he was told to not lay on hands on others to soon. Not all people qualify to be elders :

1 Cor 4:17For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 18Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

1 Tim 1:2Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

2 Tim. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

1 Tim 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.—13Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the HANDS of the presbytery.

1 Timothy 5:22 Lay HANDS suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my HANDS.

Unfortunately christians will heap to themselves false teachers, and that’s why it’s so important to have qualified teachers around us, who have been trained and accepted by the presbytery before them, and who can reprove, rebuke and exhort based on the true doctrine:

2 Tim. 4:2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves TEACHERS, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Here are more rules for those who would like to become a bishop – for instance; a novice is not a good candidate. Also; ”Let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” There are even rules for how the wives of the bishops should act:

1 Tim 3:1This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop (episkopes), he desireth a good work. 2A bishop (episkopon) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.—10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.—15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Authority…:

Titus 2:15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

When a person is sick, he should call for the elders of a church and let THEM pray over him and anoint him with oil. We are told to confess our faults to one another and pray for another that we may be healed. This is impossible to obey if you’re not among other believers:

James 5:13Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (presbyterous) of the church (ekklesias) ; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. —19Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Peter is an elder who exhorts other elders. Elders are supposed to feed the flock as shepherds and be good examples. When the chief shepherd shall appear (Jesus) they shall receive their crown. Peter says the younger should submit to the elders. Nothing is wrong with having shepherds and elders, or submitting to them. The problem arises when churches neglect the instructions for elders, and when they accept teachers who are not qualified and thereby welcome false doctrines in their midst:

1 Peter 5 :1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.— 13The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. 14Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

2 Peter 2:1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 

So apparently elders are referred to as shepherds, so what is so horrible about calling elders ”pastors” today? How about warning about dangerous false doctrines instead of splitting hairs?

”didaskaloi” –  means a master, a teacher or an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning. Not all meet the requirements.

The word is used below, and a similar word is used for the actual ”teaching” of these ”teachers”. Note how particular the task of being a teacher is:

James 3 1My brethren, be not many MASTERS, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Acts 13 1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and TEACHERS; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Eph. 4:11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists (euangelistas); and some, pastors (poimenas) and TEACHERS (didaskalous); 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Hebrews. 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be TEACHERS, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Romans 12: 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that TEACHES, on TEACHING8Or 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 12 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly TEACHERS, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all TEACHERS? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Timothy 5 1Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. — 17Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and DOCTRINE18For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 

Plurality of elders

Nowhere in the Bible will you see a verse which claims there must always be more than one ”elder” in an assembly. Those who claim this have the burden of proof to show it. Paul says that not all are apostles, teachers, etc, and he is very clear about that not all are qualified to be an elder. Let’s go through some of the verses which are often used as ”proof” for the idea that there must always be multiple elders in a church.

Acts 14:2 21And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22Confirming the souls of the DISCIPLES, and exhorting THEM to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23And when they had ordained THEM ELDERS in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Comment: Many places are spoken about and many disciples are mentioned. Those who were ordained elders were the disciples so the word should be in plural. It would be incorrect to say that they made them all ”elder in every church”. One person can not be several elders.

Acts 20: 16For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the ELDERS of the church.

Comment: There happened to be several elders in the church of Ephesus.

Acts 20:225And now, behold, I know that YE ALL, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.26Wherefore I take YOU to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27For I have not shunned to declare unto YOU ALL the counsel of God.8Take heed therefore unto YOURSELVES, and to all the FLOCK, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made YOU OVERSEERS, to feed the CHURCH OF God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Comment. These verses speak against those who say there are always multiple elders in each church. The text says nothing of the sort. Paul is talking to a certain group of people (disciples) and they have all been made overseers by the Holy Ghost. THEY are therefore responsible, much like shepherds, to feed the flock which is the church of God (all christians). Not all people are called to be shepherds. Most of us are in the ”flock”. Paul also warns the disciples about grievous wolves which will enter in among them, not sparing the flock. This is exactly what might happen in churches that refuse to adhere to Paul’s rules about not letting whosoever become elders and teachers, and shepherds are responsible for not letting this happen. All are not apostles, teachers, prophets, and that means we should not allow people to be elders who are not qualified. Disobeying Paul’s instructions about this order will risk false teachers and teachings to enter in among us. In summary; don’t let anyone stand up and teach in your church!

Peter 5:1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Comment: Several elders are spoken about here too, so it should be plural.

Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons

Comment: Not sure how large Philippi was during this time (I’ve been there myself but about 2000 years later), and how many churches (assemblies) there were and how big each assembly was, but apparently the assemblies were big enough and blessed enough to have many bishops and deacons. It doesn’t say anywhere here either that there MUST be multiple bishops and deacons in each assembly.

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain ELDERS in every city, as I had appointed thee

Comment: Paul didn’t restrict Titus to always settle with ONE elder per city. It would not make sense if Paul told Titus to make one single person an elder for multiple cities. Naturally then ”elder” should be in plural. Titus of course had instructions to follow, and he couldn’t make people elders who did not qualify for this. The qualifications for an elder follow right after Titus 1:5. If multiple people qualified they could be elders (likely the case) but if only one person qualified in a city, then Titus had to settle with him in order to be obedient to Paul’s instructions.

 James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Comment: What if Paul instead wrote that we should call for ”the elder” of the church. That would make it sound like Paul takes for granted there is never more than one elder per church. But there could absolutely be more than one elder per church, and this might very well be the most common case. More than one person could be qualified to be an elder in one and the same church. Clearly then Paul must use ”elder” in plural and not singular.

In summary; there are no verses in the Bible which say there can never be only one elder in a church. The best scenario would be if there were more than one, but if people did not meet the standards, apart from just one, then this one person would be the only elder. Paul in Acts 7  is the only one mentioned doing the talking for several hours, until daybreak, and that didn’t seem to be a problem.

Finally a few verses with ”elder” in singular (just because there are those who claim there are none):

1 Timothy 5 1Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed

1  Peter 5:5  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

2 John 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

Not all churches are lead by one (despotic) pastor, so please do not paint with a broad brush

Not all churches are run by ONE pastor who is teaching a bunch of falsehood before a crazy crowd of people who only go to church for the wrong reasons. There ARE godly pastors out there who feel the calling and the responsibility to keep the assembly clean from falsehood, and there are pastors who do NOT want to be idolized in any way. In some small areas there might not be enough christians who qualify to be preachers/elders, and Paul puts a lot of emphasize on how important it is for a teacher to meet the requirements. Having an assembly in a church building or in a home with only one elder is FAR better than not having any assemblies at all. I’m glad there are no ”church inspectors” who come knocking on doors just to check that there are at least 2-3 elders present, or else the assembly must be dissolved. I’d rather have one good qualified pastor/elder/shepherd/bishop/presbytery (or whatever you would like to call him) than multiple elders who are not qualified when it comes to teaching. However, a church could of course have multiple administrators/helpers (some call them elders) who might not be qualified as teachers but qualified when it comes to other tasks. This is very common in our churches

Below we can read about Paul who alone did all the preaching when the disciples joined together. They apparently gathered in a large house because Eutychus fell down from the third loft. Paul also explains to the elders of the church how important it is that they keep the flock together. Unfortunately Paul also knows that there will be men of their own, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them. This is always the risk when leaders of a church in an attempt to be ”democratic” allow various people to rise up and preach even though they are not qualified. Preaching to others in a christian assembly is a great responsibility. Single pastors don’t equal selfish monsters with the only aim to spread falsehood around them. Paul spoke for hours upon hours in the below verses, and no one suggested it was selfish or unfair.

Acts 20:1And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.— 7And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 8And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. 9And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 10And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 11When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.— 17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,—20And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,—28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (episkopous), to feed (poimainein) the church (ekklesian) of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Are there any Bible verses against paying pastors – if this is what a group of believers would prefer?

Temples couldn’t have been totally free to run, and we know that the Levites got help from the other tribes when it comes to food and other products in order to work full-time in the tabernacle/temple. If some preachers were paid in the NT – perhaps if they accepted some collected money during their visits – we don’t know. We DO know that the bible nowhere forbids it. We must keep in mind that things were much different in the beginning when it comes to persecution, ability to work and get money, and the general culture. Changes don’t have to be wrong (except if they are against the Bible). What’s wrong with paying those who serve full time and put their entire lives into the ministry? Where is the sin? What is the better alternative knowing the culture of today?

Today the normal situation for a family is that both the man and the woman have to work full-time to make ends meet, and that means you’re away from home most of the day since you also have to commute to and from work. An hour in each direction is not uncommon. When you get home around 6 pm you have to get the kids from the kindergarten, fix dinner, do some laundry and spend the little time you have left with your kids even though you’re TIRED and just want to go to bed. With other words, forget about doing any preaching or evangelization Monday-Friday. Now we have the weekend left. On Saturday you really need to do some major grocery shopping so you won’t have to do that during the rest of the week when you’re too busy. This might also be the only day of the week when you actually have time to do something together as a family, like going to the park and maybe the kids are doing some sport activities. You also have some cleaning to do, more laundry to handle, and a large pile of clothes to iron. You might also need to visit some relatives. So only SUNDAY is left. Of course you can try to fill it with preaching and evangelization, but you also need some time in prayers and private Bible studies, and you always have your family that requires your attention. Of course the situation will be easier once the kids grow up, but we’re still down to SOME hours during the weekend. Maybe it’s a better idea to PAY a person who is qualified for preaching? He could do this FULL TIME. If preachers, eager to spread the gospel, had to settle with Sundays, there is a risk that their fire might be quenched.

The world has changed also in other ways. 2000 years ago people took care of their own elderly parents and handicapped family members but today people are getting paid for it. This system is hard to change over night, and if someone still wants to change it, I’d like to hear how this could be achievable.

1 Corinthians 9:13Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?14Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.15But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

Paul brings out how the Levitical method of provision for Priests carries over to the Ministers of the gospel. He says ”The LORD ordained it”. A priest could not effectively do what he was called to do if he worked a secular job as well. Why should we expect anything different for ministers of the gospel? Paul also brought out how that even though he had all right to receive money, he chose not to. He DID NOT say that it was wrong for others to do so. This would have been wrong of him, since his situation was different from theirs, as he was a traveling evangelist who was single, whereas others had families and homes. He clearly states that a man who preaches the gospel should also live of the gospel. As it says in other versions, ”the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”. Unlike Paul, Peter had a family to take care of so some of his time and money must have been required to meet some of their needs.

The fact that we’re not able to read much in the Bible how preachers made a living could signify that we have some freedom to settle this matter ourselves. Or do you have a verse where it says we do not have this type of freedom? To label innocent pastors as a bunch of greedy, lazy parasites just because they live on salaries is beyond rude. Many pastors/preachers sacrifice secular jobs with good salaries just for the sake of making others disciples of God. I repeat from another section about Double Honor:

1 Tim. 5:16If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church (ekklesia) be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. 17Let the ELDERS (presbyteroi) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOUR, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Above, we can see that Paul would prefer if widows could be taken care of by individuals rather than having the CHURCH providing for them. Continuing in the same subject of providing for others, Paul also says that ELDERS should be given DOUBLE HONOR and especially those who are doing it well (consistent with doctrine, etc). This goes together well with verses such as

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need”.

”And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common”

”and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need”

An elder with a family to provide for, and who spends a lot of time keeping the flock together, handles the administration, shares the true doctrine to others, makes other people disciples and even new ELDERS, would be in great need of some financial help, even though he would naturally do whatever he could to NOT be a burden to the Church. It should be a common interest for all of us to not be a burden to the Church, but to take all opportunities to make money.

Things don’t have to be wrong just because they are not mentioned in the Bible

There are numerous ways to spread the word of God, and we don’t have to fear that we are doing the wrong things just because they are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. We might make performances like skits or dramas in open air, sing christian songs in parks or outside shopping malls, take part in worship teams, participate in choirs and make concerts to the public, march around cities proclaiming Jesus and announce church meetings, make ads in newspapers/radio/TV, do street preaching and hand out leaflets and church invitations, place evangelist material in mail boxes, write christian books, start christian newspapers/magazines, show christian films on huge outdoor TV screens, make christian websites, write christian blogs, etc. Some things could not be mentioned in the Bible because they were not invented yet. We get GREAT help from copy machines, computers, cameras, video-players, DVD-players, CD-players, MP3, streaming, microphones, cell phones, amplifiers and credit cards, because we can reach many more people thanks to them and our work goes so much faster and easier. PRAISE GOD for new technology now when time is getting near for the return of Jesus Christ. Thanks to new technology also translating Bibles into foreign languages goes so much faster.

The bible doesn’t say it’s a sin to view people as ”church members”, and it doesn’t say it’s wrong to have conditions for being a member. After all, we are told to not even eat with people who call themselves christians but who live unrighteously, so we certainly wouldn’t want anyone to be a ”member” among us. Today a matrix with members makes a lot of sense since you could use it to send out newsletters and other information.

A meeting doesn’t have to be in a building (even though this was most common) and there are no specific rules how the interior of the building must look like. We can read about not giving the ”better seats” to someone just because he appears rich and has nice clothes. To have an ”altar”, or ”podium”, or a little high ”table” where the speaker could stand with his notes, a microphone and a glass of water makes perfect sense.

Neither are there rules for how much you should decorate the church building or a home for these meetings. The tabernacle and the temple in Jerusalem were really costly and beautiful, but it doesn’t mean we have to have luxurious buildings for our meetings. One positive aspect of going away for a church meeting into a specific building for this purpose (just like the temples were used) would be to get away from your regular every-day-life in your home and feel particular in a special environment which is linked to GOD. Of course we can pray, sing and worship anywhere, but for certain regular church meetings it might not be a bad idea to do this in a certain building away from home. Moreover, today you might live in an area where people live in small apartments, and if ten people are gathered together the apartment might be full! Actually, there are usually limited space also in a house, because apart from multiple bed rooms there might only be one room left, and if you gather 10-15 people there, it’s packed! So if you feel there should be no meetings unless there are at least 2-3 elders present, then this might result in 3 elders, your family of 5, and 2 more friends before you run out of room. The case could be that none of them has the gift of prophesy or other gifts. Perhaps a church building would therefore be a better option, and part of this building could also be used as a resident for an elder with his family. This is in fact not uncommon. Then this elder might be able to pay for his part of the building, reducing the burden for the assembly.

Are Anti-Church-People poor victims?

No, they are the ones attacking the church system, which could indirectly mean they are criticizing also those who attend church services. I hope it won’t lead to persecutions. When church-goers defend themselves, the AMCP might feel attacked, and some might even be offended that all christians won’t boycott the church system and stay at home alone as THEY do.

Are Anti-Church-People hypocrites?

Why would God call people out of a system for the reason that it’s unbiblical, just so they can live in an even MORE unbiblical way? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Why being so alarmed over people who live in an unbiblical environment when they themselves live in more unbiblical way? If a person complains about people who say ”go to church” and/or ”What a pretty church” and use the same expressions themselves, then they are hypocrites. It must be tiresome to always use quotation marks when saying ”going to church” even though the rest of the world understands perfectly well what they mean even without quotation marks.

Jesus Christ should be enough, so we don’t need to go to Church?

Can we really afford this mentality when it comes to babes in Christ? What if you go knocking on doors and succeed to make a person a christian by telling him about Jesus. Is it really enough to give him a Bible and some evangelist material and then leave, hoping he will continue on the narrow road? Isn’t it more likely he will remain on the right path if he hangs around with other believers, like in a church?

Spreading legalism

By making church goers feel bad by condemning the entire church system and denying  believers any freedom to arrange assemblies in their own way – even though they are not against any Biblical instructions – the AMCP are spreading legalistic influences. There ARE indeed multiple churches which are not according to Biblical instructions, but AMCP let these poorly functioned churches represent the entire church system.

When should we leave Church? 

Jesus often spoke in the temple and in the synagogues, and a rule came up, that if any man confesses that Jesus is Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. This was clearly an ungodly rule, but this didn’t cause Jesus to start boycotting the synagogues due to ungodly rules and leaders.

John 9:22 These words spoke his parents, because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had agreed already that if any man confessed that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

John 18:20 Jesus answered him, ”I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple whither the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing.

When the man in 1 Cor. 5 acted in the wrong way, then HE was supposed to be eliminated from among them. Not the others. There are indeed churches out there which are not working very well, but what if there are no other churches to join? Maybe it would be a good idea to stick to one ”ok” church than no church at all, just so you can influence others and make friends? We are supposed to make disciples and encourage one another in the truth. Not turn our backs on people we know are misinformed and deceived. Paul always tracked down churches during his trips, and if they didn’t work that well he tried to exhort and correct them. It’s true that we are not apostles like him, but the point is that we might be better off being in a church (at least once in a while) than in no church at all. The latter option would be MORE unbiblical than the former. And of course God would know that you have issues with various elements in the church because you feel they are unbiblical. God knows it’s not YOUR fault so he isn’t going to hold you accountable for them, but maybe you would be in his will if you tried to influence elders or some church members in the right direction (without being too self-righteous about it).

Verses about coming together as an assembly (apart from verses above)

Paul made numerous trips, and if there were christian colonies in those places where he went, he always managed to track them down. He also knew that his letters would reach the christians, because they stayed together and could share the content. Acts 20:7 reveals the practice of the early church: ”And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them.” For Christians in every location, regular gathering was a part of life. Wherever Christians are within range of each other in the New Testament, they meet.

Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 4:31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.—33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.—11And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.— 14And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

Acts 12:12And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. 13And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.

Acts 21:3Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 4And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 6And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again. 7And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.—17And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Acts 28:30And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

1 Cor.2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:—10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

1 Cor.3:3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?—4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. — 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

1 Cor, 5:1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.—6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1 Cor 6:1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?—7Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

1 Cor 7:17But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

2 Cor 7:14For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 15And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

2 Cor.11:4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 5For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.— 8I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

2 Cor. 12:12Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. 14Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.—19Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 20For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: 21And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

Phil 1:5Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;— 7For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

2 Corinthians 13:1This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Heb  3:13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

1 Peter 4:8And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1 John 1:3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Jude 1:3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.