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

The Church Is Changing - A Reformation of the Church Based on the Truth of Scripture

For many centuries established Christian churches have attempted to assume the status and function of ancient Israel's Temple worship. From massive buildings erected to inspire, to stained glass windows or elaborate decor intended to tell stories, from the priesthood of authoritative pastors/leaders who separate themselves from 'laity,' to injunctions to tithe into the storehouse of the church or risk being devoured by the devil, the modern church looks more like Old Testament Israel than early followers of Christ. The crystallization of the institutional church into Jewish modes of worship is not limited to Roman Catholicism or even unorthodox Mormonism. Baptist churches, though shouting loudly 'no creed but the Bible,' have ignored the New Testament teaching on the nature of the true church and have replicated Israel's hierarchy of priestly authority (pastors), Israel's emphasis on worship at a specific place (the sanctuary), and Israel's obligation to an 'if-then' covenant with God ('if we will obey God, then God will bless us'). The freedom of a sinner who personally, intimately and spiritually trusts Christ and experiences the power of God at work within is substituted for a form of behavioral control imposed by a spiritual authoritarian (usually a pastor) who uses Old Testament passages of Scripture to bind believers. The pastor who operates in this manner may not realize that God abolished the Old Covenant system of worship and that the early Christians were known for their radical departure from dependence on a worship place, authoritarian priests, and any religious performance through ceremony, holy days or sacrifical 'offerings.'  As Adolph Safir reminds us in his brilliant work on Hebrews: “The Greeks and the Romans were not merely astonished at, but felt irritated by the worship of the early Christians, who without image and altar, without priests and vestments, appeared to them as atheists, men and women ‘without gods’ and at times felt threated by the mysterious power Christians possessed as they rejoiced in suffering and met with calm courage the tortures of death itself” Adolph Saphir.

The simplicity of New Covenant worship 'in spirit and in truth' has been overwhelmed by the desires and the demands of leaders within the institutional church. We pastors, often in an attempt to protect our jobs and salaries (or future job and salary), spiritualize everything about the church. Mega-church pastors are often the worst because the financial needs are the greatest. Tom Rainer's recent poll of Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma reveals Emmanuel Enid, the church I pastor, is the third largest Southern Baptist church in the Oklahoma in terms of attendance. The greatest danger I face at Emmanuel is the temptation to forget that what is done at the building on Sundays and Wednesdays is just a part--a small part--of who we are as a people. Whether it is giving, serving, or attending other places of worship, our people should have the liberty and freedom to give, serve, and attend where the Spirit leads. On Sunday at 12:00 noon. the church leaves the building, and whatever I do Sunday morning or Wednesday night should be designed to empower and encourage believers to worship in spirit and truth every day of the week. My job, in the role our church consitution calls "the lead pastor," is to lead people in such a manner that they cheerfully give to the Lord through Emmanuel, joyfully serve the Lord through Emmanuel, and willingly worship the Lord by attending corporate worship services at Emmanuel. However, a good lead pastor will always remind God's people that His church extends far beyond the membership rolls of any one church, and worship, giving and serving in other places is just as biblically sound and Spirit-led as that which is done through Emmanuel.

If the Spirit leads our people to give less, attend less, and serve less at Emmanuel, then our budget, our ministries, and our organizational mission efforts will shrink. If the Spirit leads our people to give more, attend more, and serve more, then our organizational ministries will expand. Regardless, the New Testament is quite clear that our church is NOT a new Temple, our pastors are NOT a new priesthood, and our religious activities are NOT prescribed by any law. God's people should give, should serve and should worship as the Spirit leads, where the Spirit leads, and as long as the Spirit leads. It is not the Law that constrains us but the Spirit who compels us. Unfortunately, many modern Baptist churches have taken promises and laws of the Old Testament and attempted to force them into the New Covenant church. The result is a dysfunctional gathering of law worshippers who are more concerned with conformity than a gathering of strong, individual believers who are empowered by the Spirit. I can almost hear objections from some pastors who say, "But the Word of God prescribes bringing the tithe into the storehouse! The Word of God demands that God's people 'touch not the anointed' in the church! The Word of God dictates everything we do at our church!" My response is simple: Which portion of the Word? The Word pertaining to Israel in the Old Covenant or the Scriptures pertaining to followers of Christ in the New Covenant? Read carefully the following verse in Hebrews 8:13:

"When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear."

The book of Hebrews was written around AD 65, thirty five years after the death of Christ. The writer of Hebrews says in this verse that God’s old agreement with Israel was made obsolete by God, is growing old and will shortly be abolished (disappear). The old agreement God had with Israel is called "The Old Covenant" and it is found within the Old Testament. Old Covenant worship revolved around the Tabernacle/Temple, the priesthood, and the festivals and sacrificial rituals (collectively called "The Law" in the OT).  The Law was an "if/then" agreement where God promised to Israel His blessings "if" Israel obeyed the Law. The writer of Hebrews tells us three explicit things about this Old Covenant and the "if/then" promises of God that came with it.  (1). The Old Covenant has been made obsolete.' (2). It is 'growing old,' and (3). It will soon be abolished. This biblical truth leads us to ask three questions:

When did God’s covenant with Israel become obsolete?   In AD 30 Jesus the Anointed One died on a hill called Golgatha. The night before He was crucified He took a cup of wine and declared, "This cup is New Covenant of my blood shed for the remission of your sins." The next day, on the cross,  Jesus cried “It is finished!” Everything about the Old Covenant-- all the laws, the rituals, the sacrifices and the types--were all fulfilled in Christ. The Old Covenant had served its purpose (as a schoolmaster that points the sinner to Christ) and is now fulfilled. God made it obsolete in the death/burial/resurrection of Christ. Just like your old television set is made obsolete by the new wave of communication called HDTV, so too, the old pattern of worship in ancient Israel was made obsolete by the new pattern of worship opened up at the cross. The veil was ripped, so the sinner has direct access to God through Christ. And the good news about this new way is that the sinner who comes to God by Christ is guaranteed that he will 'never be cut off from the goodness of God' (Hebrews 7:25). No longer is worship about Temples, priests and rituals. In the New Covenant, those who truly worship God worship Him in "spirit and truth" (John 3:23).

When did God’s covenant with Israel grow old? For forty years (a Jewish ‘generation’) after the cross, from AD 30 to AD 70, the Temple remained standing.  For those forty years the early followers of Jesus Christ came to the Temple to pray, worship, and proclaim the new way to God through faith in Jesus Christ. It was on the steps of the Temple that Peter healed the lame man by saying, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I to you. In the name of Jesus Christ arise and walk." The disciples preached Christ in and around the Temple grounds, but the Old Covenant Temple way of worship was 'growing old.' So too, when the Apostle Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, he eventually came back to Jerusalem and Acts 9 says he "preached Christ boldly at the Temple." The Jews were so furious with this former Old Covenant Hebrew who now advocated the new way to approach God that they sought to have him killed,. The disciples thwarted the Jews plan for Paul by secretly escorting the Apostle out of Jersualem for his own safety. Old Covenant worship was growing old. The phrase 'growing old' must be interpreted within the context and time of the writer of Hebrews. He was living in the mid-60's AD, and for over three decades since the death of Christ, Temple worship among the Jews continued --but it was growing old and would "soon disappear" (be abolished).

When was God’s covenant with Israel abolished? In AD 70 God used the Roman army to utterly destroy the Temple. Just as Jesus prophesied forty years earlier (Matthew 24), the Romans did not leave one stone standing upon another. This destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the Old Covenant way of worship was prophesied by the prophets and Jesus for centuries. Israel had been unfaithful to the covenant they had with God, and God therefore abolished it and instituted a new covenant. Again, it is not as if there was no good purpose for the Old Covenant. If it were not for the Law (the biblical way of describing the Old Covenant), Paul would not have known sin. The Law acted as a mirror, reflecting back to the Hebrews their sinfulness and God's holiness. In addition, the Law, particularly through its festivals, rituals and symbols, portrayed a coming Anointed One (Messiah) who Himself would take away the sins of the world. When the Messiah came and fulfilled the Law, the Old Covenant was made obsolete by God, grew old in time, and was eventually abolished (disappeared) in AD 70.  The Temple was gone.

The dwelling place of God in the new agreement that He has made with sinners, called the New Covenant, is the life of the individual believer. It is the life of God in the soul of man that is the true miracle of the New Covenant. The power of the Spirit of God changes the sinner from the inside/out. We are the Temple of the Living God. For this reason, any institutional church that tries to substitute itself as the old Temple, its pastors/priests as the Old priesthood, and operate by Old Testament "if/then" principles and promises, is denying the truth of the New Testament.


The New Covenant changes the way we worship God every day of our lives. The Old Covenant agreement between God and Israel was a come see religion. Come see the Temple. Come see the rituals. Come see the festivals.  The New Covenant is a go tell religion. Go tell sinners of the Savior who has guaranteed the Creator’s goodness to those who trust Him. Christianity is radically spiritual, internal, personal, and trans-cultural (all people). Some of the best worship you can have is with family or a small group of believers around a camp fire at a lake, or at home around the dinner table, or at a backyard barb-e-que. Believers are the church. God dwells in us. Where we are, there He is. We don't behave one way 'at church' and another way everywhere else. We can't do this because we ARE the church. Further, since the life of God is in the invidual sinner who trusts Christ, there is no hierarchical authority in the church. Every believer is a priest unto God.
The New Covenant changes the way we apply Scriptures from the Old Testament. The “If … then” Scriptures are seen as part of God’s promises to the people of Israel. Let me give you three examples of “if/then” promises that Christian people use wrongly.

(Example 1): If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek  my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14). That is a great Old Covenant promise. Israel often failed this condition of humble repentance, and as a result, they were often taken captive by foreigners and there land was destroyed. This verse, often quoted by Christians, is not a New Covenant promise.

In the New Covenant God says that He "is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we even ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 3:20). Here is the New Covenant promise. When you come to God by faith in Christ, God resides within you and has begun a work in you that He will carry to completion. Do you find yourself pulled toward addictive sins as a believer? He will eventually break you of them for your good and for His glory. The alcoholic who comes to God by faith in Christ need not worry that a relapse into drunkenness will cause the favor and goodness of God to withdraw from Him. In the old agreement he would have worried, because in the old agreement it was his obedience that ensured God's goodness, but in the New Covenant it is God's goodness to Him in Christ that ensures the sinners' eventual obedience. God is conforming, and He will continue to conform, every sinner who trusts Christ into the image of His Son. It is a guarantee dependent upon His fidelity and strength not your own.

(Example 2)If you bring the tithe … then I will rebuke the devourer for you” (Malachi 3:10).

This is an often quoted Old Covenant promise by pastors, used as an enticement (and/or threat) for the New Testament believer to give to his or her local church. This promise, given to Old Covenant Israel, is another if/then promise. The rebuke of the devourer is given IF Israel brings their tithes to the Temple. If the people of Israel do not bring their tithe to the Temple, then the devourer is free to reign and destory their possessions.

In the New Covenant, Jesus died and in His death He “destroyed the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). In the New Covenant, the devil will seek to devour you as a 'roaring lion,' but as Bunyan so eloquently pictured in Pilgrim's Progress, the lion is chained. Naturalists also tell us that only teethless lions roar. The truth of the New Testament is quite clear. The "strong man" (Satan) who was once at peace in his home (your life) and was well armed, was disarmed and dislodged by One "stronger than he" (Jesus Christ) who has now taken up residence within you (Luke 11:21-22). As a New Covenant believer in Christ you don't give money to your local church in order for God to rebuke the devourer. Malachi 3:10 is an Old Covenant promise. The devourer is already REMOVED from your life. Jesus is now your Lord. You give as you follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The more you comprehend the work of Christ on your behalf the more you cheerfully give, the more you joyfully serve, and the more you radically worship! In other words, in the New Covenant, giving is a matter of the heart, not the Law. As the Spirit leads you to give to ministries that proclaim the good news of Christ, care for the needs of fellow man, and work hard to do kingdom work--then give!

(Example 3): If you call upon me in the day of trouble; then I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15).

Again, that is a great Old Covenant promise, but it is nowhere close to the incredible truth of the New Covenant Scriptures. In the New Covenant, God delivers His people even when they find themselves emotionally, spiritually and personally “dead in our trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). His amazing and agressive love for His people through Christ ensures that He will "never, no never, no never" (five negatives in the original) leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). It is interesting that in the first portion of Hebrews 13:5 says that we should have "the kind of character that is free from the love of money BECAUSE God will never leave us or forsake." We  do not live this way IN ORDER for  God to never leave us or forsake us. Words are important. In the New Covenant our lives are a response to God's goodness to us in Christ. In the Old Covenant, people lived their lives in order to obtain God's goodness. If you ever find yourself being motivated to do something in order to get God to do something in return, you are living under the principles of the Old Covenant. Unfortunately, the Old Covenant, and Old Covenant churches, and Old Covenant promises will always let you down. However, the new agreement that God has with sinners will never let you down. "He is able to save forever  (i.e. guarantee that they will never be cut off from God's goodness) those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). 

The church is changing. There is a reformation taking place. The church has left the building(s). And any pastor who tries to reinvigorate the institutional church through Old Covenant principles is destined to fail.

49 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

You said it, brother.

One of my best friends, ever, and my first real mentor told me perhaps 40 years ago, describing two priests walking through the Vatican, looking at artwork:

"No longer can we say "Silver and gold have I none, but no longer "do we say "..in the name of Jesus, rise up and walk".

I'm no theologian, but as I read Malachi, in mid-chapter one, the writer begins to address the disobedience of the priests. Chapter two then begins "..this decree is for you priests:". He then also states "you flood the altars with your tears..."; I don't think the average "church member" did that; wasn't it only the priests who approached the altar?

Continuing further, in chapter three he refers to "robbing God" and explains that as being in tithes and offerings. It seems to me that the priests were under the obligation of reserving 10% of what was brought by the people, to feed the poor. If that's the case, it's the priests who were robbing God, and Israel was paying the price.

Lastly, when Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well, that would have been a definitive time to state how He was to be worshiped. And, bypassing both Old Testament holy places, the mountain and the temple, Jesus points her to Spirit and Truth as the place we're to worship.

We gather together to prompt one another to love and good works. Worshiping God is a good work, but it's only one of the things we ought to be doing there.

wadeburleson.org said...

Good word Bob.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade, all I can say is

Amen!

and

Amen!

Linda

Christiane said...

I think that the Old Testament still IS the Word of God,
but that, as Christians, we believe that the Old Testament is directed toward Christ.
It is said that Christianity, instead of being a 'new religion', is simply the Old Testament read anew 'in Christ'.

The Marcion concept of a separation was rejected by the early Church.

wadeburleson.org said...

Christiane,

We are in agreement that the Old Testament is the Word of God. I think my point is that those promises and principles associated with God's covenant with Israel have been fulfilled and abolished, and the New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant.

Micah Martin said...

Mr. Burleson,

That is a great article.

Is it possible that AD 70 was the "2nd coming" that Christ and the other apostles prophesied about?

Wade Burleson said...

Micah,

I believe AD 70 is one of the 'comings' of Christ - in judgment upon the Jewish nation, but...

Christ also comes for us at death ...

And Christ will also come to reign over the earth, for "the meek will inherit the earth," so...

I believe in a future coming(s) of Christ in either my death or to the earth to end the age as we know it now.

In His Grace,

Wade

Aussie John said...

Wade,

That has to be one of the best I have read regarding this subject.

Thank you for spending the time writing it.

I have been called "heretic" for saying some of what you have stated, but I say "Amen!" to every word of your article.

May I reproduce it?

Wade Burleson said...

Sure Aussie John. Use it in any way you desire.

Anonymous said...

Very good, Brother Wade.

Florence in KY

Micah Martin said...

Mr. Burleson,

Permit me to make some observations.

1)Paul preached nothing but the hope of Israel or stated another way, nothing but what was found in the law and the prophets. (Acts 26)

Resurrection was a promise made to OC Israel. If what you write in your article is true, that means that God failed to keep his promise to OC Israel... unless the Resurrection happened in AD 70 as Daniel 12 posits.

2) Consider Matthew 5:17-18
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Now, if we define heavens and earth as the material universe we have a big problem. According to Jesus' own words the OC system would not pass away until heaven and earth passed away. However, maybe Jesus is defining heavens and earth as the OC order. Consider Jeremiah referring to OC Israel in their apostate state: Jeremiah 4:23

I looked at the earth,
and it was formless and empty;
and at the heavens,
and their light was gone.

I could go to countless other places where heavens and earth are used to describe God's people. In fact the sea often describes the Gentile nations also.

Now consider Revelation 21

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Could it be possible that that is picturing the Covenant transition? (Notice what is missing... no sea... neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, etc...)

And I beg your pardon for one more example:

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

If Christ has not "appeared" a second time then we do not have the fullness of the New Covenant. We don't have salvation. On a side note, there are plenty of passages (1 Corinthians 1 as an example) of 1st century Christians being identified as those "eagerly awaiting the appearing of Christ" (2nd coming).

If we are in the New Covenant age, do we really want that to end? Just some thoughts.
Blessings,
Micah

wadeburleson.org said...

Micah,

I am in complete agreement with you regarding Old Covenant Israel. Where we simply may part is in our understanding of the physical earth. The "world is without end" and "the meek will inherit the earth." I believe that part of redemption is creation redeemed, and that Christ will return to usher in "heaven on earth," complete the church age, and begin eternity with the resurrected saints. I'm not attempting to get you to agree with me, I am simply saying I understand your full preterist view -- and disagree.

Smile,

Wade

Micah Martin said...

Mr. Burleson,

I appreciate your clear and concise answer. It is encouraging to know that you are familiar with the full preterist perspective.

John Walton, in his book, "The Lost World of Genesis One" argues for a non-concordance view of Genesis One. (Simply meaning that it is not a record of the material origins of the universe.)

If he is correct in that assertion then the corresponding end is also non-concordist. Let the reformation begin.

BTW, your article is truly fantastic.

Blessings,
Micah

Arthur Sido said...

This is one of the best, most concise explanations of the difference between the church under the New Covenant and Israel under the Old. Your opening and closing statements really nailed it, especially the last line. Too many leaders in the church are clinging to the Old Covenant understanding and can't figure out why the church keeps changing in unexpected and perhaps threatening ways.

Change is coming to the church and it must. Not change back to our traditions of forty or even four hundred years ago but all the way back. I am so excited to see it and I love to see more and more Christians embrace this reformation.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

Arthur expressed my sentiments completely. Well done on the sermon last Sunday [heard via Internet] and this follow up article.

Dad

wadeburleson.org said...

Micah,

I appreciate John Walton's work and your loving spirit towards me even though I disagree.

Thanks for the kind words and blessings to you and your ministry of leading others to know the saving freedom of Jesus Christ.

wadeburleson.org said...

Thanks Arthur and Paul! :)

Tim A said...

What's changing at your church?
Is 75 - 86% of the giving being consumed by the saints who give the money to buy goodies for themselves or are they moving towards 100% of giving going beyond themselves to reach all nations and serve the poor, orphans and widows?

Is the main gathering of believers dominated by one man's lecture in perpetual dependency mode where no one is "fully trained" "to be like" his "teacher" (Luke 6:40) or are the saints full participants in "spurring one another on to love and good works", and the teaching being "entrusted to faithful men who will teach others also"? Does "preach the word..." still show itself as "lecture the word..." in your fellowship?

Are all the relationships there dominated by one another mutuality or are there big exceptions for a power pyramid of authority to "organize" the saints?

Are the children integrated into full fellowship and participation with the adults or are they all sent off to another room?

What you have written sounds good and is calling for fundamental changes in tradition driven church life, but I'm asking for a check on the actions in your fellowship to see if change really is happening there or if it's just talk. I'm not trying to be cynical, just one who tests everything so I only hold on to what is good.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

You write: "What's changing at your church?"

(1). Are they moving towards 100% of giving going beyond themselves to reach all nations and serve the poor, orphans and widows?

Answer: Yes. Moving toward. There yet? Nope. Will they ever get to 100 percent giving away to poor, orphans, widows, and the nations? Doubt it. In a church our size, some things require full time attention by salaried employees, and we make no apology. For those of you convicted that house churches are the answer, then give away 100 percent of your offerings. If you belonged to our church, your house church would be a small group, but some things (funerals, weddings, special events like bringing Louis Zamperini to speak and others), require personnel and budgeted funds. Again, I make no apology for this and I am not calling for 100 per cent. You are.

(2). Is the main gathering of believers dominated by one man's lecture in perpetual dependency mode where no one is "fully trained" "to be like" his "teacher" (Luke 6:40) or are the saints full participants in "spurring one another on to love and good works", and the teaching being "entrusted to faithful men who will teach others also"? Does "preach the word..." still show itself as "lecture the word..." in your fellowship?

Answer: I teach (Greek: kerusso means to "proclaim") on Sunday mornings. We have dozens of teachers, male and female, who teach small groups every week, and others teach larger groups on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. I, by far, am not the only one with the gift of teaching, and our encouragement is that all the saints with this gift teach.

(3). Are all the relationships there dominated by one another mutuality or are there big exceptions for a power pyramid of authority to "organize" the saints?

Answer: Mutuality is the normal course at our church. Power pyramids don't exist.

(4). Are the children integrated into full fellowship and participation with the adults or are they all sent off to another room?

Answer: Sometimes the children are integrated into full fellowship, sometimes not. Children are considered very important in terms of our ministry, but we do not believe that Scripture requires children present ALL THE TIME WITH ADULTS as you seem to suggest it does. We give freedom in this area, and if a couple wishes to have their children with them in Bible study or church, we encourage them in this.

(5). What you have written sounds good and is calling for fundamental changes in tradition driven church life, but I'm asking for a check on the actions in your fellowship to see if change really is happening there or if it's just talk. I'm not trying to be cynical, just one who tests everything so I only hold on to what is good.

Response: Out of respect for you, I have answered. I appreciate your desire to try to not be cynical.

In my desire to try to not be cynical I will refrain from responding further.

Smiling,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Well spoken! THANK You for a sincere, heartfelt, scripturally SOUND word on WHO HE is. Very refreshing, as there are so many in ministry, who have moved AWAY from WHO HE IS, to what we DO, or don't do....

This unfortunate MOVE OF 'god' that has swept through our country, is at best seeing true salvation...at worst, slaughtering it's OWN for what they do and do don't.

THE 21st century church at large tends to misrepresent His name, His word, and His true nature. Today's slickest sermons, manipulate, guilt, and persuade believers to sow a seed, and wait for that BIG FAT BLESSING!

We are being taught that our pocket book, at any level, will ".... open the windows of heaven..." and not only multiply our blessings ....but BUY us special favor, protection, and a HAPPY ...worry free... life. TOO good to be true? YEP! According to the gospel I now read, POST MEGA CHURCH RAPE, there is clearly a VERY , VERY, different display of GOOD NEWS!

What makes the gospel GOOD news IS NOT personal riches, blinged out churches with Hollywood staged services, OR us testifying of our my blessed lives!

THE REAL, RAW, GOOD NEWS....is the simplicity of GOD, loving the world so much that HE gave HIS SON....THAT requires nothing of me....yes, I understand, I have to believe...BUT OH IS HE LONG SUFFERING!

As the 6 figure "pastor" who .has assistants, authority, power, status on t.v., prayer chapels, prayer gardens, 50 million dollar buildings...and $600, 000 dollar "miracle offerings," (let's not forget that wardrobe allowance! )

Weekly, they pass buckets (buckets somehow seem humble) Preach a slick word seasoned with the WORD OF GOD, and petition their dying flocks for MORE, MORE, MORE, MONEY.... THERE IS GOOD NEWS....No shame on you either.... ISN'T that good news!

THANKS to HIS goodness...not our amazing offerings....BUT HIS AMAZING GRACE, we are all under HIS cover....

NOW THAT IS SOME LUVIN.... from a good Father!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You hit the nail on the head for the churches Paul established.

But the majority of Jewish Christians operated under the Old Covenant by obeying all the Jewish laws of Moses as shown by the Jerusalem Church (Acts 21:20-21 Holman)

“…You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs.”

Whereas the priest was allowed in the Holy Place of the Temple once a year, this church’s pastor, James, as the Nazirite, was there daily praying for the sins of the people.

James kept that job until he was thrown from the top of the Temple because he would not say his brother was a fake, but proclaimed him the Son of God.

Either James did not understand Calvary did away with his job, or he enjoyed the prestige too much.

James was very much an authoritative pastor shown in his address to the Church Counsel (Acts 15: 13, 19 Holman)

“…Brothers, listen to me!...Therefore, in my judgment…” (They ignored what Peter said and did what James said.)

wadeburleson.org said...

Rex,

Good points, all.

James was holding on to decaying traditions.

All of us are susceptible to such a problem.

:)

Wade

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You’re right that James was holding on to traditions based on (Acts 15:21 NLT)

“For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The question before the Church Counsel was how Gentiles were saved, and Peter answered that question which I will name ‘apples”.

James switch the question to ‘oranges’: How were Christian Gentiles to be accepted by Christian Jews.

Gentiles were waiting for ‘apples’ but the letter they got was “oranges which the devil used to confuse Calvary as shown by (Galatians 3:2-3 Living):

“Have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you thing that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?”

I believe the traditions of James did not decay but became the basis for “sect of the Pharisees” (Acts 15:5) to run the church until they baptized babies for salvation in 251 A. D. and named Catholic in 313 A, D.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I heard a visiting evangelist say, “Don’t stand next to me if you don’t tithe 10%. I’m afraid of anyone who steals from God would steal my billfold”.

You called this type ”a spiritual authoritarian who uses Old Testament passages of Scripture to bind believers.”

My father would have called him a “sap-head”.

You said, “The crystallization of the institutional church into Jewish modes of worship is not limited to Roman Catholicism…”

Can this crystallization into Jewish modes of worship be seen in?:

“They praised God but then said, you know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they are all very insistent that Jewish believers must continue to follow the Jewish traditions and customs.”

“We suggest this: We have four men here who are preparing to shave their heads and take some vows. Go with them to the Temple and have your head shaved too—and pay for theirs to be shaved. Then everyone will know that you approve of the custom for the Hebrew Christians and that you yourself OBEY THE JEWISH LAWS and are in line with OUR THINKING in these matters.” (Acts 21: 20, 23-24 Living)

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Good point.

I think, however, the word 'catholic' is a proper descriptive of the church.

In AD 313 a segment of the catholic church became 'Roman Catholic' and, as always, when a state (as in this case 'Rome') becomes enmeshed in the church, error abounds.

Wade

Christiane said...

Technically the name of the Catholic Church is 'the Catholic Church'.

The term 'Roman Catholic' refers to the Latin-rite (Roman rite) Catholic Church.
There are sixteen different 'rites' within the Catholic Church, all with their own liturgies respected, and all in fellowship with the Vatican.

My godmother's Church was of the Byzantine Catholic rite . . . her people were from the Ukraine in Russia.

The different liturgical rites of the Catholic Church share the same teachings on faith and morals, and are united under the Vatican.

There are other 'groups' in the Catholic Church, also . . . the Miliary Ordinariate, for example. And also the new Anglicanorum Coetibus which is receiving Anglicans who are returning to the Catholic Church, but will keep much of their own beautiful Anglican liturgies.

greg.w.h said...

Wade:

Was just searching around regarding the "if then" structure of the Old Covenant and ran across this passage from Hebrews 8. I think it speaks eloquently to the Old Covenant being obsolete:

Hebrews 8:1-13 (NIV):

"Hebrews 8

The High Priest of a New Covenant

1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a] 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said[b]:

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”[c]

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear."

Tim A said...

Wade said
"... I am not calling for 100 per cent. You are."

No, I'm not calling for 100% giving beyond ourselves. God is. I'm just his messenger to you to wake up and see the gross error of collecting money and using it to buy spiritual goodies for the people who give the money and calling it "giving". That's pooling. The nature of giving is that it goes beyond yourself. This is a very simple truth that is so easily prostituted in a wealthy household of faith. Jesus said "It is more blessed to give than receive." You are teaching people to give and receive back. They are missing God's greater blessing.

This quote from Jesus comes in Paul's teaching the Ephesian elders to follow his example in refusing the right to be paid. You are rejecting the scriptures here with tradition driven excuses. Giving cannot be trading or pooling and still be called giving. If the saints tithe their mint and cumin but buy hired experts for themselves and special buildings for one-way communication driven teaching, they are fooling themselves in calling their tithe "giving".

This is all very easy to understand in the Spirit but not in the flesh.

Rex Ray said...

Greg,
Good to hear from you. Your point is well made.

Do you think Paul wrote Hebrews? It’ been said this letter was written to Jewish Christians who were perhaps thinking of returning to their old ways in Judaism.

Hebrews is in keeping with Paul writing: “…We do not tell them to obey every law of God or die…The old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, ends in death.” (2 Corinthians 3:6 Living)

I believe Paul was referring to: “Those false teachers of yours who…bring long letters of recommendations.” (2 Corinthians 3:1 Living)

Probably their letters were from the “sect of the Pharisees” (Acts 15:5 NLT) that kept tabs on Paul’s churches shown by:
“...false brethren...who came to spy…as to whether we obeyed the Jewish laws are not.” (Galatians 2:4 Living)
“…traveling teachers…have told the church…” and Elder John writing: “I sent a brief letter to the church…(3 John 5, 6, 9 Living)

I believe the “sect of the Pharisees” persecuted Paul shown in (Galatians Living):

“We who are born of the Holy Spirit are persecuted by those who want us to keep the Jewish laws.” (4:29)

“Some people even say that I myself am preaching that circumcision and Jewish laws are necessary to the plan of salvation. Well, if I preached that, I would be persecuted no more…The fact that I am still being persecuted proves that I am still preaching salvation through faith in the cross of Christ alone.” (5:11)

“Those teachers...who are trying to convince you to be circumcised are doing it to avoid the persecution they would get if they admitted the cross of Christ alone can save...” (6:12, 13)


“Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are against the laws of Moses, against our Jewish customs, and that you forbid the circumcision of their children.” (Acts 21:21 Living)

I believe the “sect of the Pharisees” were the informers.

Greg, I’d appreciate your take if the ones leaving the Old Covenant system paid a price for believing the New Covenant?

Rex Ray said...

Voltaire was an atheist but he was right when he wrote:

“Out wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”

Maybe he got his statement from seeing persecution of Christians, or maybe from seeing persecution of Paul by Christians.

Paul list persecutions by lost Jews in (2 Corinthians 11: 23-25 Holman)
“…many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.”

Then Paul tells dangers from Christians (verse 26)
“…dangers…from my own people…dangers among false brothers.”

“…I have faced grave dangers…from men who claim to be brothers in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:26)

“…with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian road who are really enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:13)

Paul arrived in Jerusalem and met with James and the elders of the church the next day. (Acts 21:15-16)

I’ll bet there has never been a faster more urgent meeting called of a pastor and elders than when they heard Paul was in town—they had one day to decide what to do. They were in hot water because Paul was hero of the Gentile churches and the elders knew their members wanted to stone him. If that happened the Gentile churches would revolt and their ‘traveling teachers’ would be run out of town. (James even admits the “party of the circumcision” came from them (Acts 15:24)

“…certain went out from us have troubled you…saying you must be circumcised, and keep the law…”

The elders believed Christian Judaism had to prevail over Christian paganism and the ends justified the means.

It’s obvious they had a previous meeting because they presented Paul’s problem and solution in one statement (Acts 21:21-24)

After listing the charges against him—“Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come. We suggest this:"

Long story short; they sent him to where he was wanted ‘dead or alive’ to do a seven day vow.

Hey! If he got killed—their members didn’t do it, and they could declare (Acts 21:24 Living)

“Then everyone will know that you approve of the custom for the Hebrew Christians and that you yourself obey the Jewish laws and are in line with our thinking in these matters.”

If they had a plan, it almost didn’t work because six days went by and no one recognized Paul with his head shaved.
Maybe a ‘little bird’ was told to identify Paul to some strangers so they couldn’t be blamed.

“The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from Turkey saw him in the Temple and aroused a mob against him. They grabbed him, yelling, “Men of Israel! Help! This is the man who preaches against our people and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws.” (Acts 21:27-28 Living)

More later—anyone got any stones yet? :)

wadeburleson.org said...

Tim A,

To say that God forbids His people to give to non-profit organizations (including 501 C-3 churches), where those non-profits employee full-time personnel to implement the purpose of the non-profit, is attributing to God far more than Scripture attributes.

I agree that churches should not "pool" money, but should move to improve the world through missions, benevolence, discipleship, etc...

Our non-profit does exactly that.

:)

greg.w.h said...

Rex:

I am not sure who the author of Hebrews is. I credit the Holy Spirit for the inspiration that led to the book being written. It was accepted into the canon very late by our friends in Rome and presumably by the church at large and probably due to disputed authorship.

I think the points you make are solid, but I honestly have never thought of Hebrews as an anti-legalism screed. It to me has always been--in my mind at least--an explanation of the completion of the Old Covenant and the superiority of the new one. But the same arguments that emphasize the excellence and superiority of the New Covenant also are an excellent response to legalizers and "Judaizers" (i.e. those who would force compliance with the Old Covenant in order to enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant). This verse clearly and explicitly rejects the position of both groups.

I cannot speak as to specifics of persecution that Old Covenant followers paid for "converting" to the New Covenant. Certainly we have Paul's stories of persecuting believers. We have modern-day analogs in Muslim countries of what can happen--up to and including death--when a Muslim converts to Christianity.

But the difficulty is understanding where the line was drawn for Jews who became believers and how much of the Old Covenant symbolism they continued to observe. Paul specifically condemned continuing the practice of circumcision in part because Judaizers were essentially requiring new believers to follow the Old Covenant in order to be qualified for the New Covenant. But notice that in the US the majority of male babies of Christian families continue to be circumcised at birth. I was. My sons were. Am I disobeying Paul by doing that? Probably.

And today the commemoration (as opposed to OBSERVANCE) of the seder (or passover meal) by Christians is a way to connect with the story of the Hebrews and the Exodus in terms of symbols--the lamb, the cross symbol in blood on the entrance way--of that event. The thing I think we miss is that the Angel of Death that visited even the Pharaoh's house visited Jesus as the firstborn of God for the sake of the nation. He's both the condemned and the lamb and that often is missed in the commemoration of the seder meal.

Anyway...those are the thoughts that occurred to me as I attempted to respond to your questions. I hope they're helpful.

John Wylie said...

I want to clear up this asinine idea that the apostle Paul always refused pay. Paul's custom was that while he was bringing the gospel to a particular city he did not receive pay from those people. For instance he did not receive support from the Corinthians those 18 months he was there. However while he was there he did receive support from other churches. (2 Corinthians 11:8) "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service."

Micah Martin said...

Mr. Burleson,

I would love to hear your take on this article. It is very similar to the one you wrote.

Blessings,
Micah

http://livingthequestion.org/?p=458

Gene S said...

As we begin the Christmas celebration, you are drawing our minds to the ultimate gift of Christ as he gave himself a ransome for many = thanks!!!

I am seeing too much of the Pharisee in most large church agendas today. It is about awe and wonder generated in a building and PA / video system as opposed to the "still small voice" of God heard by Isaiah amidst the lightening and earthquake.

Thanks for these deep thoughts. Wish all large church Pastors were as down-to-earth as you are in this one.

Your "still small voice" is clearly heard by this old former SBC pastor who appreciates points well made and appropriate!

Rex Ray said...

Greg,
Thanks for thinking my points are solid.

You wrote: “This verse clearly and explicitly rejects the position of both groups.”

I couldn’t figure out what verse in the Bible “This verse” referred to.

You said one group “would force compliance with the Old Covenant in order to enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant.”

I think a better way to describe this group would be ‘who would force compliance with the Old Covenant in order to be saved.’

I say that because this group didn’t understand the benefits of the New Covenant because one of the benefits was freedom from the Old Covenant as necessary for salvation such as being circumcised.

BTW, you didn’t disobey Paul by being circumcised unless you did it for religious reasons.

You referred to the other group as them thinking “Hebrews was an anti-legalism creed”.

I quoted the first line of the CONTENT on Hebrews from the Living Bible which said:

“This important letter was written to Jewish Christians who were perhaps thinking of returning to their old ways in Judaism.”

You said it was difficult to know “how much of the old Covenant symbolism they continued to observe.”

If they were allowed to stop one of their hundreds of laws, I personally would have stop circumcision.

I believe they obeyed all the ones the lost Jews obeyed such as the approved method of hand washing, and putting their sins on a scapegoat.

The Judaisers also know as the “sect of the Pharisees” did not understand Christ fulfilled the law; they only ADDED Jesus to their laws.

Greg: I don’t believe the Angel of Death “visited Jesus” because that would mean God is the ‘Angle of Death’ since God said He would smite the Shepherd.

Also, how do you get Jesus as being the “firstborn of God” when the Bible says Jesus is the only Son of God?

Sorry so long to reply.

NXR03 said...

Greetings.

Couple of questions:

What do you do with the many 'if...then' statements that Jesus Christ spoke and are recorded in the New Testament epistles (post-resurrection)? i.e. John 15, 2 Timothy 2:12, 1 John 1:6-9, Revelation 22:18-19 Can a man's actions dictate whether God will have favor on him or bring disaster? If yes, then what actions brings God's favor and which bring disaster? If no, why not?

Why would ‘if…then’ statements cease to exist between God and man when the salvation experience is based on an ‘if…then’ moment? “If you confess Jesus Christ as Lord….if you confess your sins to God, [then] He is faithful and righteous to forgive.” Does the Scripture suggest or teach that once you become a child of God, there are no expectations for the believer? If yes, where does it teach this? If no, then wouldn’t an ‘if…then’ statement be expected?

For example, “if you want to grow in the Lord, then you must pray and read the Bible”…”if you want to continue in discipleship, you should/must be baptized”…”if you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, then you must not give in to the flesh.” Are these ungodly/unScriptural ‘if…then’ statements?

How would you counsel the man who falls back into drunkenness with appropriate attention given to I Corinthians 5? Do you believe that the gospel changes a person's life and develops perseverance? Or is it acceptable for a person to make a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and continue in their previous lifestyle?

What role does obedience have in our salvation and confession of Jesus Christ as Lord? Is it important? If so, how much? Can a person who confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, but shows no 'works in accordance with faith' be confident in their salvation prayer?

How would you define the word: obsolete? Does this mean it has come to an end? If so, what parts of the covenant have come to an end and which are still continuing? David was told that He would always have a descendant on the throne, this was fulfilled in Christ and is ongoing forever. It would seem that this and many other portions of the OC are completed and ongoing. For example, the Ten Commandments. Given in the Old Covenant, but not finished or obsolete because of the NC. We still teach our children not to steal, use the Lord's name in vain, etc. How do you differentiate between parts of the OC that are ongoing and parts that bear no consideration for today except for historical curiosity and context?

Does a Scripture, like 2 Chronicles 7, no longer bear any burden on the church because it was written pre-death/resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why would this portion be disregarded instead of being applied as a principle for God’s people of calling out to Him and Him answering?

Could you please give greater insight in how the reformation churches act as the OT or OC Israelite nation? I agree that there are many churches that push themselves upon the people by "attend this, give that to the church...to the church." But I would not argue that this is conclusive evidence that the reformation church is similar to OT Israel.

You wrote that the church resembled “Israel's hierarchy of priestly authority (pastors).” The reformed church is vastly different than Israel's hierarchy. I have not met a reformed church pastor that presumed to act as a high priest. I have not been to a church that taught anything different from a “priesthood of believers.” I have not heard a pastor ever tell his congregates that they must confess their sins to him or to bring the bulls or rams for an evening sacrifice. I would perhaps agree with your postulation concerning the Catholic church, but not the reformed church. How does Acts and 1 Timothy shape the church regarding the delegation of tasks, overseers and deacons?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Blessings

Tim A said...

Wade said:
1. "To say that God forbids His people to give to non-profit organizations (including 501 C-3 churches), where those non-profits employee full-time personnel to implement the purpose of the non-profit, is attributing to God far more than Scripture attributes. "

The common percentage of a church 501 C-3 is to consume 75 - 86% of the "giving" to buy benefits mostly for the "givers". This is pooling. It is all considered normal. If you are interested in continuing "reformation" you should start to re-examine God's true call on giving. Everything in your system looks sooooo good to man. In God's amazing grace, he can even use such a contrived, self-centered, contradictory system to build His kingdom. But a lot of perpetual dependency, non-discipleship, entertainment, spectating, self aggrandizing hoopla is happening, sucking away glory from Jesus. These habit patterns are all very deeply seeded in human hearts from hundreds of years of following pedestalized men, just like genuflecting to Mary, honoring the pope, etc is still locked into many a heart. It is very difficult to unroot it all. Yes, Protestants have wandered back to old habit patterns that nullify the commands of God.

2. "I agree that churches should not "pool" money, but should move to improve the world through missions, benevolence, discipleship, etc…"

As long as you accept the premises of the institutionalized form of church that requires hired experts, weekly Bible lectures for believers till the day they die, special facilities for crowd oriented one-way communication dominated gatherings that require zero heart preparation and expression from 95% of the saints, and a slew of other consumer driven - what's-in-it-for-me assumptions, then a large percentage of pooling is REQUIRED. Scripture will be twisted to justify it all. Do you need some Biblically twisted excuses to justify an $11 million double sized gymnasium? I've heard them and can pass them on.

3. "Our non-profit does exactly that.

Does 25% go out the door to benefit those beyond the givers?

4. "In a church our size, some things require full time attention by salaried employees, and we make no apology."

Any time some believers want to hire even one man to "boost" their spiritual life, whether it be 50 people or 10,000 people - it is REQUIRED to consume 75 - 86% of the "giving" - cough cough - pooling. I don't expect an apology from you. I'm not the judge now or later. Based on the Word, you will have an answer at some point to the Chief Shepherd. He will acknowledge that you were willing to join with me in "spurring one another on to love and good works" because most hired experts will not do that.



Tragically poor countries like the Philippines that have been taught to follow the American institutionalized form of church MUST consume 99% of their "giving" to buy a hired expert and a special building. There are THOUSANDS of Filipino brethren who are trained and ready to be sent all over Asia - Thailand, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, etc where there is no fellowship of believers among hundreds of thousands. They have no money to send them as they mimic American church. God has poured the largest portion of finances into American believers and we pool it for ourselves and to "reach" those who have rejected the gospel many times over and are flooded with gospel words in non-relational, non-mutual dynamic.

If you can show me in the Word where I am wrong, I will apologize. 100% giving beyond ourselves, is a key starting point for continuing reformation that goes beyond mere words. Habits must change starting with our treasure so our hearts are not stuck on pleasing ourselves. "…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Tim A said...

John Wylie - Thank you for reinforcing my challenge that the scripture speaks to believers in another town helping a new ministry in a separate town. Phil. 4:16-18 also speaks to this, Refusing the right to be paid by the saints to whom you minister to is CLEARLY taught in the Word and ignored or trampled by the words of men who claim to be experts in the Word. I'm not a sucker for it anymore. I used to be. Do you consider refusing the right to be paid by those to whom you minister to be "asinine"?

John Wylie said...

Tim,

Of course I would not think that it was asinine for me to refuse pay. But what Paul did he did voluntarily and stated that it was the preacher's "right" to receive pay. My family and I have made tremendous sacrifices financially in order to be in the ministry.

And as far as not being a sucker, I'll bet you lined the pockets of both Viola and Zens by purchasing their books.

Tim A said...

John Wylie
"But what Paul did he did voluntarily and stated that it was the preacher's "right" to receive pay."

If that's all you want to get from what Paul said, you are right in line with men's traditions and Americans consuming 90% of "giving" for God's work for the whole world.
Paul said this was an example for the Thessalonians and you to follow.
2 Thes. 3: 7-9
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
Also to the Philippians he said:
Phil. 3:17
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

Paul acknowledges the right to be paid AND shows how refusing it when possible is a FAR better path. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the REASONS Paul gives for his example setting in Acts 20 to the Ephesian elders and to the Corinthians at the end of 1 Cor. 9. When you want these reasons to be true of your ministry, you would have no issue with working in the marketplace AND helping people grow for free toward full reproduction. The strategic benefits and rewards are far above any title, pulpit paycheck or perpetual dependency relationship here and now.

This is all apostolic example, not take-it-or-leave-it-whatever-you-feel-like inspired text.

I'm a full time minister and I work in the marketplace. If you have been misinformed in learning that only the church office and pulpit type things are "full time ministry", I can help you with that from the Word.


Buying 3 books doesn't line anyones pockets. The proof of the pudding is in the Word. It is far stronger on these issues than any of the Viola or Zen books. I figured it out before their books came along. God used my cell phone bill 20 years ago. It came with a glitzy ad saying "It's better to give and receive". "When you give $20 to the Ronald Mc Donald house, we give you a cell phone for free". I followed that to the true quote from Jesus and the Spirit led the rest of the way. What a surprise I found.

Whatever sacrifices you make while walking in the truth will be richly rewarded. Whatever sacrifices you make following traditions that contradict the truth are wood, hay and stubble. Pursue the truth. You have to examine what you are told with the scriptures to see if it's really true. Acts 17:11 That is noble faith. The Bible teachers from your past are not error free.

John Wylie said...

Tim,

You aren't error free either. Paul stated that God had ordained that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. Paul did receive financial support and stated in 1 Timothy 5:17, 18 that local church elders were worthy of their wages. We can go on and on but you and I will never agree on this. I'm not ever going to follow the lies of Zens and Viola who are only out to sell books. They make their money by reinterpreting verses that we've known the meaning of for over 2000 years.

I appreciate the fact that you're in full time ministry. But I'll tell you what when you start giving 100% of your paycheck to missions then maybe I'll consider giving my family's livlihood up, which by the way is just as earned as your's is.

Tim A said...

John Wylie

Paul did not receive support from the saints where he currently ministered. His gifts were always from out of town, and only when he was in need.

Paul spoke of the right to pay and he spoke + exemplified refusing that right and taught for this example to be followed in multiple locations.

Acknowledge ALL of what Paul said and observe his apostolic priorities. If you want to base your faith on only part of what Paul said and ignore the consuming results that are observable since 99% of American saints follow what you say. then it's your choice. I can still rejoice that you are proclaiming Christ.

John Wylie said...

Tim,

I do read and believe all that Paul said. He no where commanded all preachers to not receive support, quite the contrary, he said it was a God ordained right. Yes he did believe it best to avoid support as much as possible, but he also believed it was better to remain single. But it's okay to get married and it's okay for the preacher to receive support. To believe otherwise is to believe that Paul contradicted himself. One teaching of Paul does not trump any other teachings of Paul. I hardly think that God is going to judge preachers for receiving support when it was God Himself Who ordained it to be so.

Tim A said...

Then I guess you have to also believe that God ordained it to be a higher priority for American believers to have 500, 1000, 2000 or more professional Bible lectures than for millions of the lost to hear the gospel even once. Based on your belief, 75 - 86% of the dough MUST GO to buy goodies for American believers and a tiny percent to bring good news to those who have never heard even ONCE. This rut is in DEEP need of reform per this post. Good luck with that one on reward day.

John Wylie said...

Tim,

Take it up with God, He's the One Who ordained it to be so. Also by your willingness to chunk the organized church you've distanced those missionaries you mentioned from availiable funds. Maybe instead of coming on here and insulting pastors you should give them some names and addresses and get these missionaries some support. The organized church is the only way that missions can be done effectively.

Tim A said...

John Wylie

You must have an endless list of bogus arguments to justify the traditions of men.

Yes the Lord ordained it and ordained an Apostle to tell you with the Word of God that this right should be refused. Take the whole counsel of God, not just your favorite part. I don't have to take it up with God when He wrote it down in black and white. You can't seem to acknowledge directly God's Word. You seem to have to filter it all through endless books by men that are not inspired by God.

I'm connected to organized church, just not the form of organization you do. I am closer to missionaries, not more distant. I give directly to the missionaries, not through a missions budget run by a missions committee. I communicate directly to missionaries. I'm not left to find ones printed and put in the foyer letter rack. Three times more funds and probably much more would be available to them if refusing the right to be paid was acknowledged by American believers.

I have not come to insult pastors, merely to "rebuke and correct and instruct in righteousness" - the very thing God's Word is inspired to do. Based on our defensive, excusing, scripture ignoring responses, it seems to me you might exempt yourself from this being directed to you - a pastor.

The institutional form of organized church is the only way that a meager 16 - 25% of giving is free to go beyond the givers. It is horrendously ineffective. Since you brought up effectiveness - the hired form of teacher / pastor is one of perpetual dependency, not full reproduction like the scriptures call for. In Luke 6:40 Jesus tells us a teacher will "fully train" his students to "be like him". That means they can do what he does. A hired pastor can be in a church for 20 years and when he leaves, another one has to be hired because NO ONE was fully trained to be like him in 20 years. This is all considered normal, but it is a gross disregard for the instruction of our Savior. It is in desperate need of reformation.

John Wylie said...

Sorry but I got my beliefs from the Bible not by non inspired books written by men, much like your Viola and Zens.

Also if God ordained that pastors are to be paid how is it following men's traditions? Paul no where rebuked pastors for recieving pay. I believe in the whole counsel of God and no where does it require me to refuse pay. As a matter of fact churches are commanded in the scriptures to provide for their teaching elders. Sounds to me like you're the one who picks and chooses the passages according to your liking.

Also I believe that I'm every bit as close to missionaries as you are. I personally know scores of missionaries. Also our church supports missionaries directly. We have missionaries present their work to our church almost every month.

I have reproduced myself, if I left tomorrow I have three young preachers who could fill the pulpit.

Bottom line Tim, you don't know what you're talking about when you level accusations when you don't know the facts. Proverbs 18:13 "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."

John Wylie said...

By the way Tim, Luke 6:40 does not mean that every disciple will be able to teach. The gift of teaching is not given to every believer. That's why God gave the gift of pastors and teachers for the edifying of the body of Christ.