"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Pastors Are Among the People, Not Over the People

Jon Zens is our guest for Emmanuel's Fall Bible Conference which can be viewed via live streaming at 6:30 p.m. central time Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (September 20th-22nd). One of Jon's good friends is Frank Viola, Christian author of Pagan Christianity, and a thought provoking biblical scholar.

Recently I came across an excellent article by Frank Viola encouraging men called to pastor and shepherd people not to dominate, control, or exert "authority" over their flocks. The entire article can be read online, but I thought a pertinent section spoke biblically and directly against some of the practices of pastors within the Southern Baptist Convention. If we pastors could all catch the spirit of what Frank writes below, 95% of church problems would be resolved. Frank Viola writes:

"In Acts 20:28, Paul tells the elders, “Be on your guard for yourself and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” Notice what he says: “You, elders, are among the flock, and the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” Not over the flock; among the flock. Among the flock! Among the flock to do what? “To shepherd the church of God.” Not to control the flock, but to care for it. To serve it. The elders are overseers, not overlords! The word “overseer” means one who looks out for the good of the saints, not for his own personal interests. Yet because overseers care for the saints, they are called shepherds also. And a shepherd (pastor) is simply a metaphor, it is not a title nor an office. In the first-century churches, all the brothers and sisters take care of one another. All of them take care of one another! But the shepherds are the older, wiser ones that do it best. They are the examples for everyone else. Let me put it this way. Every brother and sister is to do what a true shepherd/elder does. The elders are but examples to all. Now hold on to your chair. Get ready. It’s going to be heavy, brothers. Look at Acts 20:33. I want you to read very slowly verses 33 to 35. Follow this: “I, Paul, have lusted after no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you elders know that my hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you, elders, must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Now, brothers, let’s get the scene. Paul, an apostle sent by God, spends three years raising up a church in Ephesus. Before he leaves, he acknowledges the older brothers, the elders. He says to them, “Take care of God’s people if there is a problem.” He did not say, “Lord over them. Control them. Do all the teaching and preaching.” Nor did he say, “You are their leaders. They must obey you.” He didn’t say that. Four years after the church in Ephesus is planted, Paul meets with the Ephesian elders at Miletus. He says them, “Brothers, the Holy Spirit has given you a gift to care for the Lord’s people. They are the flock of God; not your flock. It’s the flock of God, purchased with His own blood. You are among them, not over them. Brothers, when I was with you I worked with my hands. I paid for my own needs, and I also paid for the needs of the men I trained. By doing this, I gave you an example. Elders, shepherds of Ephesus, remember my example. That I did not take anything from God’s people! I gave to them! I did not take from them! Follow my example.” And that is what an elder is, brothers. He is a person that gives! He doesn’t receive! Brothers, think about this. Just think about it."

90 comments:

Christiane said...

From Jeremiah, a prophecy of Christ:
'I shall give you shepherds according to My own heart.'

And from Thomas Aquinas, this:
" . . . no one can be a good shepherd unless he is one with Christ in charity. It is through this that we become members of the True Shepherd."

Cheryl Schatz said...

Excellent advice! If every elder had this attitude there would be far fewer issues that arise when there is a dividing line between the "clergy" and the "laity". The body of Christ is not to have a class distinction but a united sheep attitude with the most mature sheep caring for the rest.

Thanks for this post!

Pege' said...

Wade,
My family and I have been in many churches over the years due to our frequent job relocation's. I have met many a man that should not be in the position of Pastor. A Shepherd LEADS the sheep not FORCES them into a herd to drive them. They have to be first the kind of a shepherd the sheep want to follow.The first man I ever met that was a true SHEPHERD of his flock was YOU!! I observed you for a long, long time in many diverse situations and many of them you may never recall. Why? Because we had been hurt manipulated and abused by Pastors who were not good shepherds.I was very cautious of who's Preaching I was going to listen to. I wanted to find some one that practiced what they preached. You my friend were among your flock. Not always at convenient times or happy circumstances. I saw your love and compassion for the people who are in the church you serve. You did the hard things you said the hard things. Some of us were in the "MUD" of life You came in and got us and helped us not go in again...(if you and your readers will allow me that example)You gave of your own resources to help others. ( I am saying this in past tense because I am no longer live in Enid) but I know you still do all of this and more. I remember many years ago telling you that I thot you were a good shepherd. I think I gave you a small statue of a shepherd boy and a sheep to encourage you in your ministry. I know I have told you this before.I believe that before some one graduates from seminary..before he becomes a Pastor, a whole year must be spent living with real sheep, learning the ways of a true shepherd. Living among the sheep they will learn how to care for God's flock of people they will serve.Wade, as a former sheep of your flock in Enid, i want to give you a pat on the BAAAAAAck and thank you for caring for us while we served with you. The Lord changed our family in so many ways for the better while at Emmanuel and I am grateful! Even though I am far away I still am a member of the herd! I agree many problems would be solved in churches if more leaders were humble enough to be among their flock. Not a pretty place to be but that's where Jesus spent his time... if it was good enough for God...it's good enough for his servants.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of pastors who are good Godly servants. Why don't you ease up a bit and start publishing good things instead of always trying to find faults and making yourself an expert on everything pastoral.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I believe the bylaws of a church may determine if a church will have problems or not. Specifically, is the pastor reaching for a throne or reaching for a towel? Some bylaws of a church that spit when problems caused the pastor to be fired are as follows:

The Senior Pastor shall be leader of the Leadership Board which shall be the arbiter of Christian doctrine, membership discipline, questions of Church property, and shall make the final decision with any matter that shall arise concerning the Church.

The Senior Pastor shall be in charge of all ministries of the Church; responsible for hiring a staff and determine their salary, and vested with authority to terminate any staff member with or without cause.

Any person deemed by the Leadership Board to be causing, about to cause, or capable of causing disruption, may be ejected.



Wade, I believe ‘reaching for a towel’ is shown in the pastor duties as:

“Be the spiritual servant leader of the church by example while working with staff, deacons, teams, and church body in all areas of church ministry.”

Anonymous said...

Another minimize the pastor discussion on another blog. This gets old.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I am not an expert on everything pastoral. Far from it.

This post was for me more than anyone.

Wade Burleson said...

Pege,

Thanks for the kind words. Tell everyone in your family hello for me and Rachelle!

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I don't disagree at all. Bylaws have often given shape to the kind of leadership a church possesses.

Good bylaws are a prerequisite for a healthy church.

Jon Estes said...

"The body of Christ is not to have a class distinction but a united sheep attitude with the most mature sheep caring for the rest. "

But there is a difference between a shepherd and a sheep. I don't think we can find scriptural support that teaches the most mature sheep caring for the rest.

Nice idea the world might convey but I can't find biblical support.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Glad we agree.

I made an error in saying: “…a church that spit…” I meant to say, “…a church that split…”

Oh well, guess there’s not much difference.

believer333 said...

In this day and age when some think everything is about who has the authority and who doesn't, these words are important.

Yes, there are many good caring and conscientious pastors who honor God's calling. Thank God for them.

However, there are still far too many who call themselves pastor and hold authority over, use their position to benefit only some, instead of serving all their flock. Too many pastors are not shepherds and were not called by God to be a pastor/shepherd.

Alaskan in Texas said...

A logical extension of the article you excerpted could lead one to a rejection of the idea of paid clergy and church "staff." Sounds something along the lines of Plymouth Brethren, descendents of Scofield who explicitly rejected the heirarchy of the Church of England in favor of a church body recognizing when the Holy Spirit was raising up men with gifts of leadership and teaching. No "pastors," "reverends," or other such titles.

Tom Kelley said...

Jon Estes said...
But there is a difference between a shepherd and a sheep. I don't think we can find scriptural support that teaches the most mature sheep caring for the rest.

Nice idea the world might convey but I can't find biblical support.


Jon,
I am so not surprised that you would say this. It is in perfect keeping with many of your prior comments. It also shows that you don't yet understand the main point -- that "shepherd" is a metaphor, not an office or title.

Perhaps you can't find biblical support for the concept because you aren't willing to see it, as it would be too disruptive to your world.

-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

Frank Viola's article is Straight Talk to Pastors.

Tom Kelley said...

Wade,
What is your thinking on Viola's statements against paid pastors/elders?
-----
Tom

Jon Estes said...

"Perhaps you can't find biblical support for the concept because you aren't willing to see it, as it would be too disruptive to your world."

I noticed you didn't point me to a passage which supports that a pastor is to be the wisest of the sheep and not a shepherd. Any reason or were you just saying I didn't notice to make a point that really can not be made?

I'm not surprised by your response either.

Passage?????

Anonymous said...

A logical extension of the article you excerpted could lead one to a rejection of the idea of paid clergy and church "staff." Sounds something along the lines of Plymouth Brethren, descendents of Scofield who explicitly rejected the heirarchy of the Church of England in favor of a church body recognizing when the Holy Spirit was raising up men with gifts of leadership and teaching. No "pastors," "reverends," or other such titles.

Mon Sep 20, 03:17:00 PM 2010

Actually, it goes back further than that...to the 1st Century. :o)

Anonymous said...

I noticed you didn't point me to a passage which supports that a pastor is to be the wisest of the sheep and not a shepherd. Any reason or were you just saying I didn't notice to make a point that really can not be made?

I'm not surprised by your response either.

Passage?????

Mon Sep 20, 04:31:00 PM 2010

I heard that Viola is offering a $1000 reward for anyone who can find an example of the modern day pastor in the NT.

How can we find a passage for something that does not exist in the NT as we know it today?

Mark

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Kelley,

I do not think Scripture forbids the payment of teachers (i.e. "workmen worthy of their hire), or the payment for the performance of other pastoral duties (oversight, training of others to do the work of ministry, weddings, funerals, counseling, etc...), but I also don't think it is unwise for pastors to earn a living and perform their duties free of charge to the church. That is what I would prefer to do if at all possible. As of now, I am very grateful for the financial support my church gives me, but don't expect it or demand it.

Lydia said...

http://www.wickedshepherds.com/ThePastorWhereDidHeComeFrom.html

Part of a chapter of Pagan Christianity...

The Pastor, where did he come from?

Johnny D. said...

Tom, thank you for posting that Viola link. I'm currently thinking and praying about where I might fit into a church. One of my thoughts has been to either start a house church, or attend an existing one. This is a very useful read, and I really appreciate you linking me up. :-)

Anonymous said...

Lydia's Link
trythis

Lin said...

There are plenty of pastors who are good Godly servants. Why don't you ease up a bit and start publishing good things instead of always trying to find faults and making yourself an expert on everything pastoral.

Mon Sep 20, 08:22:00 AM 2010

Hi, I am confused as to how this blog post was finding fault?

Christiane said...

Problem noted:

In the writings of Frank Viola, he credits certain teachings as originating in the letters of St. Ignatius, who wrote them in 107 A.D.,
on his way to martyrdom.

Actually, St. Ignatius was NOT the originator of these ideas.

Prior to 107 A.D., the writings referred to as the 'Two Ways' or 'the Didache' establishes that certain practices Viola mentions as originating with Ignatius, were already in use . . .

you can read it for yourself in Chapter 15 of the Didache, if you have an interest in early Christian documents:

http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/didache.htm

Good luck with sorting through the early Christian writings,
which are fascinating and open up much insight into the formation of the early Church. These writings are included as a part of my own Church tradition, and I am glad to see that these writings are now being examined by the wider Christian community for information that may be meaningful to them also.
Warning: very deep waters, though.
Be prepared.

And remember, in the Southern Baptist faith tradition, only Holy Scripture is held to be without error. So examine the Patristics with that in mind always. :)

Anonymous said...

If I cannot make me both like you and trust you, I'm not going anywhere with you---and it doesn't matter if you're my church's senior pastor or the president of the United States.

Authority over individuals is earned by those who exercise it---and granted by those over whom they would exercise it. Lots of senior pastors don't understand that concept. A person should run from the church where a senior pastor like that "serves" and blames it on the Bible.

Anonymous said...

"If you cannot . . ." not "If I cannot"

Anonymous said...

In the writings of Frank Viola, he credits certain teachings as originating in the letters of St. Ignatius, who wrote them in 107 A.D.,
on his way to martyrdom.

Actually, St. Ignatius was NOT the originator of these ideas.

Prior to 107 A.D., the writings referred to as the 'Two Ways' or 'the Didache' establishes that certain practices Viola mentions as originating with Ignatius, were already in use . . ."

What 'certain teachings' are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

"Authority over individuals is earned by those who exercise it---and granted by those over whom they would exercise it. "

We seem to forget that God was angry with the Israelites for wanting a king...like the pagans had. God was their King.

We forget that today, too.

Christiane said...

"Prior to 107 A.D., the writings referred to as the 'Two Ways' or 'the Didache' establishes that certain practices Viola mentions as originating with Ignatius, were already in use . . ."

What 'certain teachings' are you referring to? "

In response to 'what certain teachinns', I will quote Frank
Viola's words:

"Among the flock were the elders (shepherds or overseers). These men all stood on an equal footing. There was no hierarchy among them. [21]Also present were extra-local workers who planted churches. These were called “sent-ones” or apostles. But they did not take up residency in the churches for which they cared. Nor did they control them. [22] The vocabulary of NT leadership allows no pyramidal structures. It is rather a language of horizontal relationships that includes exemplary action. [23]

This was all true until Ignatius of Antioch (35-107) stepped on the stage. Ignatius was the first figure in church history to take the initial step down the slippery slope toward a single leader in the church. We can trace the origin of the modern Pastor and church hierarchy to him.

Ignatius elevated one of the elders above all the others. The elevated elder was now called “the bishop.” All the responsibilities that belonged to the college of elders were exercised by the bishop. [24]

In A.D. 107, Ignatius wrote a series of letters when on his way to be martyred in Rome. Six out of seven of these letters strike the same chord. They are filled with an exaggerated exaltation of the authority and importance of the bishop’s office. [25]"

And, in response, I will quote from chapter 15 of the Didache which was in use prior to the year 107 A.D.

"Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof

Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 1 Timothy 3:4 and truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers. "

So, there appears to be a conflict in the claim that Ignatius 'started' something that was not already extant prior to the writing of his letters in 107 A.D.

What is unusual about this conflict is that the Didache is well 'known' out there among scholars widely. It is not something that a scholar would be unaware of. Hence my confusion about how Frank Viola reconciled all that in his thesis while writing about Ignatius. (?)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

(continued)

So, there appears to be a conflict in the claim that Ignatius 'started' something that was not already extant prior to the writing of his letters in 107 A.D.

What is unusual about this conflict is that the Didache is well 'known' out there among scholars widely. It is not something that a scholar would be unaware of. Hence my confusion about how Frank Viola reconciled all that in his thesis while writing about Ignatius. (?)

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 1 Timothy 3:4 and truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers. "

So, there appears to be a conflict in the claim that Ignatius 'started' something that was not already extant prior to the writing of his letters in 107 A.D."

I do not see a contradiction at all. Perhaps it has to do with the interpretation used by the authors for "appoint", "honor", etc. I think you are grasping at straws to uphold the human saints that Catholics tend to elevate.

JR said...

Wade,

I don't take issue with what you quoted from Viola in this post, but be careful calling him a scholar.

I read Pagan Christianity, and the entire book was fundamentally flawed. For the last 5 or 6 years Barna has shown a growing disdain toward the institutions of the church, and so he hired Viola, who has a disdain for the history of the church (at least from the second century on) to write a inaccurate, historical critique of the church.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be critical of the church. No one was more critical of the church than Jesus (Rev. 2-3), but no one was more committed to her either. I don't read this sort of commitment in Viola.

My underlying point...Viola's (UNscholarly) writing gives ammunition to those who already dislike the churches they have encountered. I do not believe his tact will launch a new organic-church movement. I believe his thinking has given justification to those who have already removed themselves from their local bodies of Christ. Viola's thinking, if taken seriously by many Christians, will not lead to a renewal of the church, but to ecclesial amputation - as more and more disenchanted church members abandon their church families in order to seek after the "pure church" of the first century. Which, if you have read the Epistles...was a bit of a mess.

I hope you have a great Bible conference. When Zaspel and Reisinger and Blanchard use to come...those were always my favorite weeks as a staff member.

God Bless,
Jay R.

Christiane said...

Hi ANONYMOUS

You wrote this: "I do not see a contradiction at all. Perhaps it has to do with the interpretation used by the authors for "appoint", "honor", etc. I think you are grasping at straws to uphold the human saints that Catholics tend to elevate."



The term 'episkopos' was in use prior to the year those letters were written by Ignatius in circa 107 A.D.

I am not sure how Ignatius, Clement, and Polycarp are viewed by Baptist scholars, but I suspect that their writings may have to be 'judged' by modern people of faith and 'sorted out' as to what is 'acceptable' and what is 'apostasy' from the theological stand of someone living two thousand years after these men wrote.

I don't envy that task. But I can see how it must be done to preserve a theology that doesn't mesh with some the writings of these early Christians.

The important thing is this:
when Baptists read the Patristics, they may find much that they may consider 'apostate'.
But it should not keep them from using the Patristic writings (pre and post Nicene Council)
as a way to view how people were thinking and communicating in those early years. One warning: there are a number Patristic writings that are considered 'spurious'. So it is good to do some background checking on each document.

As far as a 'Catholic' point of view, I am most certainly Roman Catholic. But the 'Catholic' concept of the three 'Apostolic Fathers' is also accepted by the Orthodox faith.
Premise being: the Apostolic Fathers received their faith from the Apostles who were themselves with Our Lord when He lived among us.
The writings of Ignatius, Clement, and Polycarp were not included in the Canon of the New Testament.

Tom Kelley said...

Christiane said...
So, there appears to be a conflict in the claim that Ignatius 'started' something that was not already extant prior to the writing of his letters in 107 A.D.


Hi, Christiane,
I don't see a conflict between what Viola said and the historical data. Viola isn't saying that that Ignatius of Antioch came up with the concept of bishops. Viola is saying that Ignatius' teachings led to the elevation of bishops into a hierarchical role of authority over others in the church.

The word "bishop" is just a translation of episkopos (also translated overseer), which is found both in 1 Timothy and the Didache. Viola knows that there were bishops from the time of the writing of the New Testament -- he just believes (as most Baptists do and some Protestant groups do) that bishop and pastor and elder are all just different words for the same function in the church.

Although bishops are written about in both the Didache and the New Testament, neither (in Viola’s opinion, and mine) indicates that bishops/pastors/elders hold an elevated role of authority over others.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit.

-----
Tom

Debbie Kaufman said...

JR: Was Christ committed to the church as in the Universal church or in the church as in the assembling and gathering?

Lydia said...

JR

You are going to have to do better than just make the accusation that Viola "has a disdain for the history of the church". Where is your proof?

The book is well-documented. And you can read Jon Zens' thorough defense of the book in his debate with Ben Witherington at this link.

You also question Viola's "commitment", another accusation that needs evidence to back it up, and you have called him "unscholarly".

If you read the book carefully, you will see that far from an intent to keep believers from meeting together, Viola's point is for them to meet in accordance with the purpose set forth in the NT: "to build each other up". That this is best done without the trappings of man made traditions, is a case Viola builds in great detail. The only thing Viola wishes to "amputate" is the heavy chain of legalistic and ritualistic religion that has been weighing down the Body of Christ.

The Christian life is exactly that: a life, not a function or performance. I take Jesus with me 24/7 instead of only visiting Him once a week or so. Being with other believers does not require a special place or any special 'set apart' people. Just believers who are gifted with different functions to edify the Body. Jesus is in my daily conversation, and I am as unashamed to introduce Him to the lost as they are to defend their own beliefs. Through the internet and other venues I can sit at the feet of gifted teachers any day or time. This, not "going to church", it is organic Christianity. I pray that more believers would become "disenchanted" with what has become churchianity (yes, let's un-enchant them from this spell!).

Lydia said...

"I am not sure how Ignatius, Clement, and Polycarp are viewed by Baptist scholars, but I suspect that their writings may have to be 'judged' by modern people of faith and 'sorted out' as to what is 'acceptable' and what is 'apostasy' from the theological stand of someone living two thousand years after these men wrote."

I always take the following into consideration when dealing with anything extra biblical teaching whether taught in AD 107 or yesterday:

"29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves."

Acts 20

Christiane said...

Hi TOM KELLEY

Tom, I believe that it was important to the early Christians to ALL be seen presenting 'the same Face', as members together of the Body of Christ.

That unity was important to them and was protected by the guardians called in tradition, the 'Servants of the Word'. These guardians defended the Apostolic teachings in the face of the early heresies that had sprung up.

As to 'respect' for the Apostles who sat at the feet of Christ'
and 'respect' for those who sat at the feet of these same Apostles,
it is in the oral tradition of my Church that these men truly had the intent to receive the Apostolic teachings and preserve them and pass them on to future generations.

I guess Baptists might be familiar with the 'Servants of the Word' whose later work in the early Church Councils addressed the controversial heresies that had ‘sprung up’ concerning ‘who Christ was’, and the concept of the ‘Holy Trinity’.

Ignatius, who likely sat at the feet of St. John, along with Polycarp,
fought strongly against the earliest 'heresies' (one was 'Docetism':
and this battle with early heresies might have been a reason why he so wanted people to honor and respect the 'appointed' teachers who were called the 'Servants of the Word', and not follow the heretical teachers. That is my guess.

Ignatius was openly acclaimed by the early Christians who showed their support and encouragement of him all along the way,
as he was taken on the long journey in chains, to the site of his martyrdom.
This support of many in the early Church bears witness to the honorable reputation of his service throughout the early Church.

Why was he martyred?
He had refused to deny Our Lord, when the Emperor of Rome questioned him personally. It is said that Ignatius stood before the Emperor and spoke with great reverence for Our Lord,
so I am concerned now, two thousand years distant, that
he is viewed so very poorly by some.

Thy Peace said...

A "Saint" is still a human being. He or she is still fallible. So in that regard a "criticism" of a Saint has to be balanced with their saintly qualities.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

If some Baptists choose to view Ignatius as 'one of the wolves'; then they may see some ironic coincidence in how Ignatius was martyred:

he was fed to wild beasts, at the personal order of the Roman Emperor.

His bones are kept in the ancient Church of St. Clement, in Rome, beneath the altar, as is customary in the burial of many martyrs from time immemorial.

Ignatius of Antioch is recognized in my faith as having been a faithful 'Servant of the Word' even to the end of his life.

Christiane said...

LYDIA

As to your quote from the Book of Acts, Ignatius of Antioch ALSO quoted from the writings of St. Paul, and from the Book of Acts, although not 'by name'.

http://www.ntcanon.org/table.shtml

It is interesting to know that the Councils regarded these quotations as evidence to be considered in support of canonical inclusion of St. Paul's writings.

So Ignatius turns out to be a respected witness for the Councils,
in support of the canonical validity of St. Paul's writings,
by way of the Pauline quotes found in the much earlier letters of Ignatius to the earliest Christians.


Just some thoughts about how Ignatius' reputation as 'a guardian of the faith' was valued by those who decided on the Canon of Scripture for the New Testament.

When exactly, I wonder, did Ignatius FIRST get the reputation for causing problems in the Church?

Is it known who FIRST accused him within the Church? And on what grounds was he FIRST accused?

Is there any data on this, I wonder.

Tom Kelley said...

Christiane,
Ignatius, like other Church Fathers, could make positive contributions to the church without being infallible and without rightly understanding the what Scripture and the apostles taught concerning the role of bishops.

Viola merely stated that Ignatius' views in the matter of bishops were not what the Bible teaches. He didn't say anything that conflicts with the Didache, as you claimed. That's all I'm saying.
-----
Tom

Christiane said...

Tom, thanks for explaining.

Lydia said...

"Viola merely stated that Ignatius' views in the matter of bishops were not what the Bible teaches. He didn't say anything that conflicts with the Didache, as you claimed. That's all I'm saying."

I agree.


"Is it known who FIRST accused him within the Church? And on what grounds was he FIRST accused?"

There is no "accusing" that I am aware of but only his own words in how he interpreted the function of Bishop:


In A.D. 107, Ignatius wrote a series of letters when on his way to be martyred in Rome. Six out of seven of these letters strike the same chord. They are filled with an exaggerated exaltation of the authority and importance of the bishop’s office. [25]

According to Ignatius, the bishop has ultimate power and should be obeyed absolutely. Consider the following excerpts from his letters: “All of you follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father . . . No one is to do any church business without the bishop . . . Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be . . . You yourselves must never act independently of your bishop and clergy. You should look on your bishop as a type of the Father . . . Whatever he approves, that is pleasing to God . . . ” [26]

26] These quotes appear in Ignatius’ letters to the churches in Asia Minor. Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers (New York: Dorset Press, 1968), pp. 75-123.

Christiane said...

LYDIA,

were Ignatius' letters 'exaggerated' or do they speak of something else:
an attempt to get early Christians to accept the teachings only of those who were the guardians of the apostolic message?

At the time Ignatius wrote those letters, he was on his way to die for the faith. He had been involved in fighting the earliest heresies being spread by those teachers who were not 'sent' by the apostles, and did not teach in the way of the proto-orthodox Fathers.
I can imagine the words of Ignatius' letters to be a plea for the faithful to seek instruction from the ones who were 'sent' to them properly.

Follow the proto-orthodox teachers as they fended off the Docetists, the followers of Marcion, the followers of Arius . . .
and you find a core of teaching that is still preserved today and much of it is accepted by mainline Protestants as a part of their own orthodoxy,
and much of it, especially 'Who Christ was' and 'the nature of the Holy Trinity' is accepted by MOST Baptists, unless they have fallen for the ESS heresy.

Those proto-orthodox Ante-Nicene Fathers had their hands full with the early heresies.
They weren't trying to fight for their OWN take on things, they were trying to preserve that which had been given directly to them from the apostles, so that it could be passed on intact.

Lydia said...

Christiane,

You have a Pope. I don't. I don't expect you to get what both Tom and I have tried to explain. :o)

Lydia said...

Wade, Been listening to Zens at your church. His teaching on Gen 1-3 is Excellent!

In part 4 He makes a great point of why would Paul silence women after Pentecost? Why allow them to prophesy at the beginning of the church?

I hope some of our comp brothers and sisters will listen with an open heart.

Christiane said...

LYDIA,

"Christiane,
You have a Pope. I don't. I don't expect you to get what both Tom and I have tried to explain. :o)"

Try me.

Specific Data.
Who? What? Where? When? How?
As in: actual references for:
when is the FIRST time that anyone in any Christian community raised a question about St. Ignatius' integrity in his role as one of the proto-orthodox, Ante-Nicene Fathers ??????
WHO was that person?
WHAT was the issue ?
WHERE is the reference ?

And yes, I belong to a Church that has a hierarchy. So did St. Ignatius, by his own account,
in the year (circa) 107 A.D.
But why does that keep me from 'understanding' or 'trying to understand' where you are 'coming from' ?

I'm certainly willing to take a look at your data, Lydia, if you can find sources in the early Church who challenged St. Ignatius' beliefs and wish to share them with me.
Or maybe Ignatius was challenged later?
Perhaps much later?

All the early heresies were heavily challenged and confronted. The orthodoxy that Protestants often take for granted was the result of incredible hard work on the part of the early Church.
There must exist SOME early record of a confrontation with Ignatius' ideas,
if any of those who bore the great responsibility of guarding the apostolic deposit of faith had observed that Ignatius got 'carried away' with his own interpretation of the role of bishop, as Viola suggests. Somewhere, there must be a record, if this happened.

?

How many centuries passed before Ignatius was first accused by Christian people of that which Frank Viola alludes to ?
Or was it a millenium, or more ?

questions, questions,
because I'd really like to understand better

JR said...

Debbie, Is that a trick question? My answer is yes, but why do I feel like you are trying to entrap me?

Lydia, Wade called Frank Viola a "Biblical Scholar," but I'm not certain that Viola wouldn't even reference himself a Biblical Scholar. Maybe I reserve that title for too few...I don't know. I just wouldn't include Viola in that classification.

From what I understand his new book "From Eternity to Here" is quite good. I simply think that he and Barna had an axe to grind with Pagan Xianity (a carry-over from Barna's remarkably caustic Revolution), and the result has been a book that has harmed the church more than helped it. (Which would be a common description for many Xian books...so I'm not trying to single out Viola.)

I guess my point is there are many wonderful Church historians out there, and I wouldn't number Frank Viola with them. Unless, of course, your goal is to feed the discontentment that we all feel toward our churches from time to time. In that case...he's your go to guy.

Christiane said...

You can usually learn something about the quality of a person's 'scholarship' by examining his/her footnote references and bibliography.


It's not that hard to figure out.

John Wylie said...

JR said,

"I guess my point is there are many wonderful Church historians out there, and I wouldn't number Frank Viola with them."

Amen to that. I would add he is not a Greek scholar either. While I don't claim to be a Greek scholar myself, like many of you, I have the tools to ascertain the meaning of particular words in the biblical languages. He definitely stretches the definitions of some words like ordain. From everything I've looked at it doesn't mean to recognize or acknowledge it means to set into place or to appoint. Paul didn't tell Titus to recognize or acknowledge elders in every city, he told Titus to set in place or appoint elders in every city. That's the way it's translated in the NKJV, ESV, NASB, RSV, ASV, ISV, LITV, and many other translations.

shadowspring said...

Two thoughts, the Plymouth Brethren is thoroughly misogynist and refutes the gospel of Jesus Christ in the way they treat women. So, no, even though they have rightly rejected hierarchical pastoral authority and paid staff, they still fully believe in hierarchical domination- men over women. This domination is complete, with women not even allowed to speak in church, not even to pray or prophecy (testify) during COMMUNION, a practice open to all believers equally. In the Plymouth Brethren church, sheep may be equal but some sheep (males) and more equal than others.


As far as sheep being responsible to care for other sheep, there is the chapter 34 of Ezekiel, which is entirely built on the extended metaphor of sheep and shepherds.

As to paid clergy, the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Thess 3:7-9 -
7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.

So this great man of God does not want to be a burden on any (I doubt if he would demand tithes of a family bankrupted by medical bills for their disabled daughter)-that was his underlying attitude and his motivation for giving up his rights to pay, was to be a model for his people to follow.

If we are not to be like our pastors, if laity has no ministry that resembles pastoring in an any way, what is it that we are to emulate? Paul's working hard with his own hands to be a burden to no one?

The traditional church power structure in Christianity is far from the community built in service, humility and gracious love that our Savior called us to build. But in every church, people exist who are attempting to participate in such a community. And in some churches, even the pastor is part of that people!

Pastor Wade it sounds like you such a pastor, and you do have the right to be paid. How lucky for your people that, like Paul, instead of insisting on your rights, you do not want to be a burden to your people.

Peace and good will to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, SS

Anonymous said...

"I simply think that he and Barna had an axe to grind with Pagan Xianity (a carry-over from Barna's remarkably caustic Revolution), and the result has been a book that has harmed the church more than helped it. (Which would be a common description for many Xian books...so I'm not trying to single out Viola.)"

Xtian, eh? A term used primarily by atheists. Interesting. But Revolution is "caustic"? I think you're not giving Viola or Barna a fair trial here. Lots of rhetoric, little fact.

And the point of the argument over "ordain" is that it isn't anything like the churches have practiced, where only those with the "pastor" gift are given "clergy" status.

Why does any believer want to rule over others, even if it's allegedly benevolent? I think "pastors" have traded a towel and basin for a throne and a title.

John Wylie said...

Anon 8:11 said..."I think you're not giving Viola or Barna a fair trial here. Lots of rhetoric, little fact."

"And the point of the argument over "ordain" is that it isn't anything like the churches have practiced, where only those with the "pastor" gift are given "clergy" status."

In my opinion Viola misdefined what the Greek word means. That's the point. Because if the word indeed means appoint or to set into place instead of acknowlegde it demonstrates that elders were placed in that position, knocking a crack in Viola's suppostion that elder is not an office. The meaning of words is fact based not just mere rhetoric. Viola arbitrarily chose "acknowledge" as the meaning of ordain, knowing that the word appoint would harm his argument against elder being an office.


HEY JR,

Just wanted to let you know y'all have an awesome church and I love your pastor, he's preached at Springer several times and our congregation loves him.

Anonymous said...

Correction, that's Titus 1:2, not Titus 2.

Anonymous said...

(Apparently Blogger doesn't like html links so here is my corrected comment)

"In my opinion Viola misdefined what the Greek word means. That's the point. Because if the word indeed means appoint or to set into place instead of acknowlegde it demonstrates that elders were placed in that position, knocking a crack in Viola's suppostion that elder is not an office. The meaning of words is fact based not just mere rhetoric. Viola arbitrarily chose "acknowledge" as the meaning of ordain, knowing that the word appoint would harm his argument against elder being an office."

Would you concede, then, that Titus 1:2 speaks of female elders being "ordained to office"? That would be a consistent usage.

But here is a link to an article that makes many excellent points:
http://www.biblepages.web.surftown.se/ee02c.htm

In any case, equating the designation or recognition of "elders" with an "office of authority" is a very large leap.

Anonymous said...

Well fooey, I can't type that Titus ref. right...

Titus 2:3

Need caffeine.

Anonymous said...

And I see my comment has disappeared again even after removing the link.
I'll try again after this one.

Anonymous said...

"In my opinion Viola misdefined what the Greek word means. That's the point. Because if the word indeed means appoint or to set into place instead of acknowlegde it demonstrates that elders were placed in that position, knocking a crack in Viola's suppostion that elder is not an office. The meaning of words is fact based not just mere rhetoric. Viola arbitrarily chose "acknowledge" as the meaning of ordain, knowing that the word appoint would harm his argument against elder being an office."

Would you concede, then, that Titus 2:3 speaks of female elders being "ordained to office"? That would be a consistent usage.

But here is a link to an article that makes many excellent points: biblepages.web.surftown.se/ee02c.htm

In any case, equating the designation or recognition of "elders" with an "office of authority" is a very large leap.

John Wylie said...

Anon 2:00 PM,

"Correction, that's Titus 1:2, not Titus 2."

Who are you correcting?

John Wylie said...

Anon 2:06 PM
"Would you concede, then, that Titus 2:3 speaks of female elders being "ordained to office"? That would be a consistent usage."

The word in question is the Greek word kathistēmi Strongs #2525 which is translated ordain in the KJV and appoint in several other translations. This Greek word does not appear in Titus 2:3. All this verse is referring to is older women teaching younger women in the church. Would you please point out the word ordain or appoint in Titus 2:3?

Anonymous said...

"Anon 2:00 PM,
Who are you correcting?"

My comment that wouldn't go through, which finally did and appears below it.

"The word in question is the Greek word kathistēmi Strongs #2525.. Would you please point out the word ordain or appoint in Titus 2:3?"

The word in Titus 2:3 is 2688 καταστηματι, which is the noun corresponding to the verb form of 2525. And the important thing is not how these words have already been translated, but what they meant in koine Greek. And these two forms of the same word either carry the possibility of rank or they don't; my point here is that we cannot arbitrarily make one authoritative and the other not.

But the larger point is that neither instance can be forced to denote rank, as both are described in terms of example, not authority. If, as Paul himself stated elsewhere, the church is organized as a Body, the very idea of rank becomes irrelevant.

Why would any believer want rank over another, and refuse to lay it down even if they believed God gave it to them? Jesus laid down His rank (Phil. 2:5-11 and the example of washing the disciples' feet, as well as teaching that in the kingdom of heaven "it shall not be so among you").

John Wylie said...

Anon 2:53

I respect your argument. But for me the point is that Viola misdefined an important Greek word in order to maintain his argument. Whether or not it was intentional I can't say but he definitely had to completely ignore more than 600 years of English translation in order to come to his defintion. That's been my point all along, that elders were appointed not just acknowledged. The fact that they were appointed implies that they had to meet certain qualifications, and were assigned duties. All these taken together would necessitate that elder is an office of leadership. Now you and I can certainly banter back and forth about whether this office had a degree of authority, but to deny that elders were leaders in the church to me is unfathomable.

Anonymous said...

I decided that since I'm having difficulty accessing the LSJ online service today and couldn't verify the source of my old notes on this, I will back off on the noun/verb connection between those two Greek words. According to a Greek prof. I asked:

"κατάστημα is a noun meaning "demeanor" or "behavior." καθίστημι is a verb meaning "to appoint," "put in charge," etc. In Titus 1:5 it's an aorist subjunctive. The noun form would be κατάστασις, "state (of being)" or perhaps "character." This word doesn't appear in the NT."

At any rate, I see far less support for any ranking associated with such "appointments" in any context. (As a side note, if Titus 2 means women can only teach women, then it also means men can only teach men.)

John Wylie said...

Anon 3:52

"(As a side note, if Titus 2 means women can only teach women, then it also means men can only teach men.)"

I never made that argument, I was simply pointing out that the word appoint or ordain is not found in Titus 2:3.

I do appreciate your study on the two Greek words used and how they relate to one another.

Anonymous said...

Wow, we posted at exactly the same time. But a few final points:

-- The length of time of any translation convention is not the best argument, since after all we can cite centuries of strong disagreement between RCC and Protestant versions. The same can be said for many teachings derived from those translations. And I think there are still many Greek words whose meaning has never been updated in the popular dictionaries even after discoveries of the early 1900s and 1970s.

-- Nobody disputes that people were recognized for having achieved a level of spiritual maturity and proper handling of the scriptures. But I disagree that this necessarily made them authoritative over other believers, per the Body model and the explicit teachings of Jesus and Paul, as well as their examples of humility.

-- I still would like to know why any believer would want to cling to authority over any other believer.

Anonymous said...

"I never made that argument, I was simply pointing out that the word appoint or ordain is not found in Titus 2:3."

That's why I called it a side note. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"I do appreciate your study on the two Greek words used and how they relate to one another."

Thanks. :-) I really think a lot of controversies could be cleared up if we were all more careful and could trust the makers of lexicons to keep them up-to-date, even if that means ruining somebody's career or reputation which was built on an erroneous definition. And lessons on grammar and logic should be available to anyone bored with Sunday School. ;-)

Lydia said...

"I'm certainly willing to take a look at your data, Lydia, if you can find sources in the early Church who challenged St. Ignatius' beliefs and wish to share them with me. "

His beliefs about the hierarchy of the Bishop is being challenged now. Viola was simply showing how early that type of thinking occured... quoting from his letters. We are not saying that his beliefs were INSTITUTED across the board in Christendom... just the thinking on the subject goes way back despite clear biblical teaching to the contrary.

I doubt if Diotrephes would have challenged him since he felt the same way. :o)

I am not charging Ignatius with heresy so calm down. My point about Acts 20 is that I read all human writings and teaching with that in mind. As a Berean.

His being martyred has nothing to do with it. Servetus is considered the father of the Unitarian church and his beliefs were heretical but his being martyred does not make his beliefs on that topic correct.

Again, quoting from his letters...

“All of you follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father . . . No one is to do any church business without the bishop . . . Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be . . . You yourselves must never act independently of your bishop and clergy. You should look on your bishop as a type of the Father . . . Whatever he approves, that is pleasing to God . . . ” [26]


I simply disagree with his premise about the function of a Bishop. So does Viola.

It is perfectly ok if you agree with Ignatius.

Lydia said...

"At any rate, I see far less support for any ranking associated with such "appointments" in any context."

I agree. We do not see that in every church. And Viola makes a great point that Timothy who traveled with him for so long should ahve known what the qualifications were if it had been that big of a deal.

The question remains, if it is such an important office, why aren't all Epistles written to the elders in each church? Why tell the "church Body" to deal with things when the elders should have been told?

Christiane said...

Data ?

even ONE REFERENCE ?

just one?

one?

1 ?

?

I can wait. very patiently . . . :)

Lydia said...

Data ?

even ONE REFERENCE ?

just one?

one?

1 ?

?

I can wait. very patiently . . . :)

Wed Sep 22, 06:34:00 PM 2010


For what? Christiane, I just do not understand where you are coming from. I explained it the best I can in the comment above. We do not have to agree on it.

I will try again...

Ignatius, by his quoted letters, communicated the function of Bishop as a hierarchal role within the Body. I simply disagree with that. It is ok if you do not believe the source. It is ok if you do not agree. It is ok if NO ONE ELSE in history ever disagreed with him or not until Viola.

No need for patience. This is all I have for you. :o)

Christiane said...

In the light of the 'new thinking', how does one explain the selection of the Canon of the New Testament ?

And the 'agreement' on the writings it included ?
Problem: when unity among the early guardians of the faith gets trashed, you then run into difficulties explaining how these 'misguided' early Christians were able to pull together the sacred Canon of Scripture from among the hundreds of extant writings to choose from.

You can't have it both ways.
Either the early Christians were reliable and authoritative guardians of the Apostolic teachings,
or they weren't.

If they weren't,
you must then begin to question the reliability of their affirmation of the sacred Canon of Scripture.

And then you must begin to question the authority of the Sacred Writings themselves.


That's a problem that can't be 'explained away' easily.

But it IS a problem for those who take the Bible 'for granted'
and who see the history of the development of the Church as a misbegotten venture, devoid of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
And to do this without ever having taken a look into the fullness of the Church's history, is something that I cannot respect.

I'll be honest, there is no reason for any caring Christian to remain ignorant of the history of their Christian faith, in all of its centuries. There has been way too much taken 'for granted' now,
that was kept safe over the millenia and handed on to future Christian people,
for the guardians to now be seen in such a poor light.

Lydia said...

"In the light of the 'new thinking', how does one explain the selection of the Canon of the New Testament ?"


Elevating the "Bishop" to a hierarchical "position" that people were told to obey and follow is not new. Paul warned it would happen in Acts 20.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

LYDIA,

If the early Church was led by the 'wolves' in St. Paul's warning,
was God able to use these 'wolves' in the process of Canon formation ?

OR
was the Canon of the New Testament formed by those men who had 'received the teachings' of the Apostles, protected them, and 'handed them on' to their successors ?

Were the men who formed the Canon trustworthy, or not?

Their choices were respected at the time of the Canon's formation.
And even today.

Why would their choices be respected, if they were 'wolves' ?

And what about the early Councils that helped to respond to the questions of 'who Christ was' and 'the the nature of the Holy Spirit' ?

Were these men also 'wolves'?

Too much has been 'taken for granted' by people who now 'accept' those decisions of Canon and orthodoxy,
and then turn on the very Christians who fought for the guardianship of the Apostolic teachings,
in the face of all the early heresies.

In challenging the authority of the early Christians, people must also begin to challenge the formation of the Canon, which was the achievement of those in authority in the early Church.

If these early Christians were who they claimed they were,
then their Canon of Sacred Scripture is authoritative.

If not, the Canon itself must be called into question.

You will likely dismiss this argument, but you may remember it every time you look at the 'list' of sacred books in the New Testament,
and remember that this list was the work of the early Church,
which existed before the Canon was decided and accepted.


If you quote St. Paul from the sacred writings, you are affirming the inclusion of his writings into the Canon.

And in doing that, you are also affirming that those words are truly from St. Paul and not from an impostor,
and that means that you must also affirm the authority of those early Christians who worked to carefully guard his writings and to see that these writings were placed in the Canon, as they themselves had received St. Paul's words,
and passed them on to future generations.

You can today quote from St. Paul's writings,
and you can dismiss as 'wolves' the early 'Servants of the Word',
but know that it was these early leaders whose work for the Canon
made it possible for you to be able to be able to quote from those words of St. Paul. These were the guardians, the protectors, and the conservators that my Church recognizes as the 'Servants of the Word'.
I believe that they did their job well, authoritatively, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I will now give you this compliment:

I DO EXPECT you, with your intelligence, to understand what I have tried to explain. (Although I accept that you may not agree.)

:)

Lydia said...

Christiane, You make HUGE leaps about me that are just not there.

Christiane said...

LYDIA,

Calling into question the authors of the LISTING (Canon) of the New Testament,
calls into question the authority of the New Testament, itself.

Who were those men who decided on the Canon? What criteria did they use to make their decisions? Was the recognized authority of Ignatius of Antioch a factor, when Ignatius' choice of what Scriptures were authoritative, was referred to and helped the Council to validate these Scriptures as inspired?

It's sort of like what came first:
the Church or the Bible ?

People quote the Bible to attack the early Church, without realizing that, without that early Church, working in unity and in cooperation,
there would have been no Council to establish the Canon of the New Testament. No valid Council equals questionable Canon equals a problem for those who take the Bible for granted.

Tom Kelley said...

Christiane said...
In challenging the authority of the early Christians, people must also begin to challenge the formation of the Canon, which was the achievement of those in authority in the early Church.

If these early Christians were who they claimed they were, then their Canon of Sacred Scripture is authoritative.


Hi, Christiane,
Lydia can speak for herself, so I'm not trying to defend her, but I'd like to add this thought: The Catholic view of the canon and early church councils isn't necessarily the same as the Protestant view.

As Protestants, we don’t believe that the church councils created or determined orthodox doctrine; rather, we believe that they were led by the Spirit to understand what was orthodox, as taught in Scripture. They prayed and studied and met and discussed and wrote, in order to precisely communicate God’s truth as recorded in Scripture, in contrast to the heretical teachings of their day.

Likewise, Protestants don’t believe that the authority and reliability of the Canon is dependent upon any human action or knowledge, but rather solely on divine inspiration. We believe that the books included in the Canon were chosen based on their inherent characteristics, primary among them being that the writings possessed the earmarks of divine inspiration, while other books were excluded because they were deemed not to be inspired. That is, the books of the Canon are there because they were considered inherently authoritative, not based on any authority of those who “selected” the Canon. The books included in the Canon were already held by Christians to be Scripture long before any formal declaration of the Canon was made. That is, those who formalized the Canon merely recognized that Scripture was Scripture from the moment it was written; they did not make it into Scripture at some later point by virtue of their recognition of it as such. This is why we hold to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura – we evaluate all teachings, including those of the early church leaders, against the Scripture as the ultimate standard.

While we Protestants appreciate and are grateful for the early church leaders who helped guard against heresy, we don't think they were infallible in their interpretations of Scripture or of the Apostles teachings. If I remember correctly, the early Church Fathers themselves distinguished their own writings and teachings from those of Scripture, in that the Fathers considered Scripture to be inspired (God-breathed) but they did not consider their own to carry that same weight.

Thus it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the Church fathers could have been wrong about some things and right about others. It's likely that they would get right primary doctrines such as the nature of God and of Christ (which relate directly to our salvation), while being mistaken on lesser matters such as the nature of the church and church "offices"(which, while not unimportant, are not central to the message of the gospel of salvation). This is particularly likely given that they were faced with combating serious heresies about primary doctrines, so they would naturally put more time and effort into understanding what the Apostles had to say about such things.

All that to say that questioning the accuracy of early church leaders in some matters does not necessarily mean we have to question the Canon. The Bible is God’s Word, and the books of the Bible are included because they are God’s Word – early church leaders just recognized that fact, just as Christians who are led by the Holy Spirit do today. His Spirit bears witness with our spirits about His truth.

-----
Tom


Word verification: ulogemin (you log them in) :)

Christiane said...

So TOM, you believe the Council made an infallible decision when the canon was chosen ?

I agree that the Holy Spirit was involved, but 'canonicity', as it were, is a doctrine of my own faith, so we are not totally in disagreement.

The work of the Council on how they examined all the extant writings and came to chose from them is an interesting story: some conjecture on how they did it, but a lot is known.

Most people never study the work of the early Councils, or understand the reasons that they met and what problems they were able to solve to keep the Church intact.

Lydia said...

Tom,

You did a good job... and I agree for the most part...although I do not think it was necessary. Nor do I think Christiane would have received it as graciously from me.

I just say that those early churchers were not infallible but at the same time used by God to choose the canon. Just like any other humans for HIS purposes.

But I am still wondering what this has to do with what Ignatius wrote about the hierarchy of the Bishop?

Christiane, you are quite good at getting things off track and making it about something else entirely. Good job!

I disagree with Ignatius on ONE THING and all of a sudden I am dissing how the Canon was chosen!

It is beyond bizarre for me, Christiane and why I know better than to engage you. When will I learn?

.

Christiane said...

But LYDIA, I thought you were agreeing with Frank Viola's take on Ignatius.

That certainly covers a whole more than just the role of bishops in the early Church.

I can be counted on to defend the 'guardians', Lydia. They defended the early Church against many heresies. Ignatius was in the fore front of those battles. For Frank Viola to go after Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, Servant of the Word, Martyr for the Faith of Christ,
seems such a pitiful ploy in my eyes.

Remember this: one champion of the protection of the Word was Ignatius and he is honored for his devotion to the protection and dissemination of the synoptic Gospels and the letters of St. Paul. which are contained in the Canon.

Only two letters by St. Paul, referred to in the New Testament, are known to be missing from the Canon.
These letters are 'lost' and may, in God's time, and for His purposes, be found and brought to light.

Lydia said...

"But LYDIA, I thought you were agreeing with Frank Viola's take on Ignatius."

Nice try, again, Christiane. I am simply not playing anymore. :o)

Christiane said...

I'm SO disappointed.

Have a great weekend, Lydia.

Gene Scarborough said...

I am late getting in on this one for one reason---I have to work for a living as a Tree Surgeon in slow economic times!

The commentary has been informative and gives me a simple insight: When leaders of any followers get their ego in a sling, you have trouble!

What is going on right now in the SBC is nothing more than "ego battles."

I also recall Jesus taking a child on his knee as the disciples were fussing and fighting and saying clearly, "Anyone hurting one of these children should have a millstone tied to his neck and cast into the midst of the sea!"

The Disciples had ego issues. Satan loves such and uses it to the max to bring about a clown act in the name of service to others and God.

If we could ever bring our egos under control and assume a Servant attitude, we just might be true followers of the Great Servant, Jesus, the Christ!

Cheryl said...

I sure wish you had a church in our town! So hard to find any like you. This is so well said and it's so amazing to me all the comments you get about something so simple. Power and Control just does not die easy does it?

RAS said...

Should we have concerns about giving Viola a platform? He has been accused with many specific details as a serial sexual predator. This article lays out the evidence, and the poor responses to these issues by Viola and by his friend Zens. Any insight that Pastor Burleson may be able to give to this matter would be helpful. http://crossroadjunction.com/2013/05/15/jon-zens-and-frank-viola/