Dear thoughtful e-mail recipients,
My super sleuth FIND feature was unable to unearth the message from several weeks ago in which a subscriber said he used to have great home meetings which may have been "church". (Yes they were, I believe.)
Can I tie this in with another concept pertaining to another phrase which constantly comes up here - "starting a home church". And yet another - "church planter".
Friends, I am spellbound that in reading the scriptures, there is ___nothing___ about starting churches nor planting churches nor organizing such. No one is referred to as a church planter. No one is told to do such. No core group is viewed as waiting to become a church.
This isn't just an insignificant detail!
The tremendous reality here is that Jesus himself will build his church. No one needs to start one or plant one because its already been done once and for all. He did it and did it right.
The divine arrangement is (1.) to preach the gospel to all and then (2.) to meet AS the church.
God has always been jealous for his own sovereign glory. Jealous is his name. Man's mindset says that the harvest is great, the laborers are few - therefore it must be up to us. God says, "No - pray to Me that I will send forth laborers into MY harvest."
Jesus, in whom all power is deposited, has commanded us to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The saving faith that they exercise is from God, too - lest anyone should boast. Eph 2.
God has so ordered all events that all glory goes to Him. No wonder Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." No wonder he commanded us to do all to the glory of God.
Unshackled house church Christians can easily implement these earth-shaking ideals. Let us arise and give Him glory for all things.
HC*Talk- still intrigued
Dear brothers and sisters,
In a previous memo I wrote to the effect that I was unaware of any first century Christians going out to "plant, start, or organize churches" according to such terminology. Rather, IMHO, they sought first to preach the good news then to encourage the new converts to meet as the church or, if you will, as a church.
Very simple, is it not? I wrote:
<<Friends, I am spellbound that in reading the scriptures, there is ___nothing___ about starting churches or planting churches. No one is referred to as a church planter. No one is told to do such. This isn't just an insignificant detail or just semantics. The tremendous reality here is that Jesus himself will build his church. No one needs to start one or plant one because its already been done once >and for all. He did it and did it right.>>
We thus read:
Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Acts 11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.
** This is why the Roman Churches, which Paul said he had not yet visited were ALREADY in existence. Attendees at Pentecost just took the message back home. **
1Cor. 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye *come together not for the better, but for the worse.
1Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye *come together in the church*, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
1Cor. 11:20 When ye *come together therefore into one place*, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
1Cor. 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye *come together to eat, tarry one for another.
1Cor. 14:23 If therefore the whole church be *come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1Cor. 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye *come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
(To this list could be added the many texts that speak of gathering together and gathering in Jesus' name and forsaking not the gathering together.)
Furthermore, if we were ordered to "start" churches, surely there would be minimum requirements or specific instructions as to what this would entail. Surely there would be some mention of a "core group" somewhere waiting to attain "real church" status. Most assuredly would someone, somewhere be referred to as a church planter.
The modern plan for "starting churches" is, I believe, from the same factory that gave us the clergy, written creeds, and church buildings. When they speak of starting churches what they mean is starting a _parish_ where everything will essentially be centered around the pastor, "officers", and the building.
It should also be noted that no one in the Biblical history is ever said to have "joined a church". WOW! This is because membership goes into effect at conversion. Yet "starting churches" and "joining churches" is just about all that I hear about these days.
I realize that this may just sound like technicalities or trivialities but I believe that we often put the cart before the horse in these pursuits. It is a bit like a woman who is in a turmoil about wanting a family but hasn't yet found a husband.
All of us desire the same thing - to see more conversions and to see Christians meeting as the Church. My question is "What does it take and who does it take?"
As for Jonathan's inquiry about Gene Edward's views, I am unable to entertain it because I am unfamiliar with His Letter to the House Churches. Sounds interesting though. Will someone inform me as to what his idea of the constitution of a church is? In other words, "What does it take to have a church according to brother Gene?"
I am in search of the lowest common denominator when it comes to the Kingdom's advancement strategy. To add to God's prescription is to put myself in bondage and become a stumbling block to others.
This plan that I have proposed, of course, does not preclude a specialist or many specialists who could expedite matters. One may construct a house or he may employ professional builders (or both).
Whatever you want to call them - church planters or apostles, etc - there just doesn't seem to be enough of them to go around. But, if one should happen to come along to assist that would be WONDERFUL. My problem is that I do not know of a single "church planter" who is able to immediately travel around the country to help churches "get started". (This is not to imply that such persons do not exist.) Yet we receive hundreds of letters from folks desiring to immediately meet as home churches. Not very good odds, huh?
In summary: 1. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Assemble in His name. 3. Exercise your gifts for the good of others. 4. Preach the word and let this wonderful cycle begin again.
Our love to all,
HC*Talk- 2 or 3 gathered
A church, we have observed, simply means a gathering, group, or an assembly. A church of Christ, we learn from the Scriptures, consists of believers statedly assembling together to enjoy the benefits of association. These benefits are not limited to any number. Even two can associate together. They can mutually assist, admonish, or reprove each other. When the Lord commands his disciples not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, he requires that they should associate as far as they have opportunity, and no farther. The precept is as binding on two as on two hundred. These can co-operate, and continue stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers; and the abundance of the one may be a supply for the other's want. It is, I believe, generally admitted, that two or three disciples residing in the same place should meet together, and observe every ordinance, except the Lord's supper.
But we find no limitation as to the number of a church in the Scriptures; nor any thing to countenance the stated association of the disciples in any other form. Besides, what is there peculiar in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, that the churches, while attending to every thing else in their power, should delay the observance of this till they obtain elders to administer it ? This idea of administration is very consistent in the church of Rome, or of England, where each individual receives the elements from the Priest; but in this country, both in the Establishment and among Independents, each member administers it to his neighbour; that is, puts the bread and the cup into his hand. If the elder administers it to those nearest him, they, in their turn, administer it to him; so that the idea of laying any stress on an administrator is utterly inconsistent, besides leading to the unfounded supposition, that the administrator represents the Lord Jesus Christ, in which case he ought not himself to partake.
The plea for the necessity of an elder or officer being present at the Lord's supper, surely originates in some mistake respecting its nature. It must be supposed that it is similar to the sacrifices under the law, which could only be offered by a Priest, or that it contains a mystery still unexplained; and if transubstantiation be given up, something analogous is substituted in its place. Let the reader compare and consider with attention the passages in which this institution is described, and he will be convinced that this view has no foundation.
No good reason then can be given why two or three believers, who have not an opportunity of meeting with a greater number, should not statedly assemble as a church of Christ, to observe the Lord's supper, as well as to continue in the apostles' doctrine and in prayers. Indeed it is their bounden duty to do so. It certainly cannot be shown that elders or deacons are essential to the existence of a church, while we find the apostles returning to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, and ordaining elders (i.e. appointing elders or older ones to be the shepherds or pastors) in every church, Acts 14:21,23, which they had previously gathered. Indeed, from the very nature of the case, churches must exist before elders, out of which they arise.
The apprehensions that the consequence of two or three observing the ordinances of Jesus, will be their remaining at home, and not assembling in any considerable number, nearly resemble those of the consequences of eating the Lord's supper without elders, which, it is alleged, sets aside the elder's office. But as long as men regard the authority of Jesus, they will consider themselves bound, after the example of the first churches, to assemble statedly with as many of their brethren as local circumstances might permit. And if ever His will, so plainly signified, loses its effect upon their minds, it is a matter of little consequence whether they have them (i.e. officers) or not. Their eating the Lord's supper at all, must in that case, arise from superstition, and not from Christian principle.
Observations on Various Subjects, J.A. Haldane, published by John Ritchie, 1808. pp. 12 - 15.
James A. Haldane preached to 10,000's in open air meetings even after the General Assembly of Scotland banned such meetings. His excellent biography has been recently republished: The Lives of Robert Haldane and James Haldane, Alexander Haldane, 1852 and in 1990 by the Banner of Truth Trust.
Submitted to HCTalk by David Anderson.
HC*Talk- Multum in Parvo (much in little!)
THE SPONTANEOUS EXPANSION OF THE CHURCH
The spontaneous expansion of the Church reduced to its elements is a very simple thing. It asks for no elaborate organization, no large finances, no great numbers of paid missionaries. In its beginning it may be the work of one man, and that a man neither learned in the things of this world, nor rich in the wealth of this world. The organization of a little church on the apostolic model is also extremely simple, and the most illiterate converts can use it, and the poorest are sufficiently wealthy to maintain it. Only as it grows and spreads through large provinces and countries do any complex questions arise, and they arise only as a church composed of many little churches is able to produce leaders prepared to handle them by experience learned in the smaller things. There is no need at the beginning to talk of preparing leaders to face great national issues. By the time the issues have become great and complex the leaders of the little churches of today will have learned their lesson, as they cannot possibly be taught it beforehand.
No one, then, who feels within himself the call of Christ to embark on such a path as this need say, I am too ignorant, I am too inexperienced, I have too little influence, or I have not sufficient resources. The first apostles of Christ were in the eyes of the world 'unlearned and ignorant' men: it was not until the Church had endured a persecution and had grown largely in numbers that Christ called a learned man to be His apostle. The missionaries who spread the Gospel and established the Church throughout the lands round the Mediterranean are not known to us as men of great learning or ability. Most of them are not known by name at all. Only when the Church had been established and had spread widely did Christ call the great doctors whose names are familiar to us by their writings, or by their great powers of Organization and government.
What is necessary is faith. What is needed is the kind of faith which, uniting a man to Christ, sets him on fire. Such a man can believe that others finding Christ will be set on fire also. Such a man can see that there is no need of money to fill a continent with the knowledge of Christ. Such a man can see that all that is required to consolidate and establish that expansion is the simple application of the simple organization of the Church. It is to men who know that faith, who see that vision, that I appeal. THE END
This is from the conclusion of Roland Allen's Book - Spontaneous Expansion of the Church. It is submitted to HCTalk by David Anderson.
HC*Talk- Spontaneous Expansion
Greetings saints of God on this beautiful summer day,
Re: Church planter thread.
Here are the departing words of the ascending Jesus as the empowered disciples receive an evangelistic commission.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive _power_ when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The language barrier is broken down for the ultimate level of gospel propagation in this next account.
Acts 2:8-11 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs &emdash; we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
Greater (numerically) things than Jesus did shortly come to pass.
Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about _three thousand_ were added to their number that day.
Acts 4:4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about _five thousand_.
Acts 5:14 Nevertheless, _more and more men and women believed_ in the Lord and were added to their number.
Acts 6:7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a _large number_ of priests became obedient to the faith.
Further spreading of gospel is a result of persecution. Blood of martyrs became seed of the church.
Acts 8:1-4 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word _wherever they went._
Jews and gentiles pick up the greatest story ever told and run to an fro with it.
Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, _it grew in numbers_, living in the fear of the Lord.
Acts 11:19-21 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a _great number of people_ believed and turned to the Lord.
I had been looking at this ongoing thread hoping that someone would bring the miracle of Pentecost into view. Instead our attention has been usually drawn the epistles - situations that occurred years later.
I'm sorry but I am unable to see the necessity of what has been called a church planter, in the modern sense and usage. It is unimaginable that these thousands of devoted (read:devout) saints from here, thither, and yonder, somehow had to wait for an apostolic agent to come in and set up their churches. Sounds like apostolic succession all over again to me.
What we do see is the gospel being disseminated by thousands and thousands of enthusiastic everyday-people. If there were persons known as church planters, surely mention of this would have been made in the sacred record. There is no mention of setting up churches, planting churches, starting, birthing, forming, nor organizing them. Neither is there anything of a "core-group" waiting to become a church. Nor is there any reference to a group needing nor receiving "outside help" for the express purpose of becoming a church. (Giving and receiving "help" is, to a great extent, the essence of Christian obligation, upon this we agree. It is not, however, the exact question before us here.)
The apostles were very specific in repeatedly conveying the precise terms of their mission. Church planting, itself, was not among them. What was planted, according to metaphors employed by Christ and the apostles, was the gospel.
Take Corinth as an example. Paul's revelation was not that this was a fertile ground for the establishment of churches but rather that "God had many people there" (Acts 18:10). Similarly, notice the Macendonian call was "to preach the gospel" - not to organize churches. (Acts 16:9-10). Etc.
It is a great manner of wonderment to me how some hc people will lay down one form of institutionalism only to pick up subtle form. It's time for all of us to put away our toys.
It is also a great matter of presumption to accredit the founding of the churches in all of the major Asian metropolitan centers to the apostles or apostolic workers. As in Corinth, Paul would have sought out those who were _already_ believers. See Acts 18:2 and 18:7 for instance. Also Romans 16, which faith was known all over the world. Let us not overlook the fact that the church in such and such a city would have included many house churches, which were the basic unit in a city or region.
If there was a process to be followed in order for a group of Christians to become a real church, surely the account of such would have been preserved. It hasn't been because there isn't. Instead, you regularly observe believers gathering _as the church (assembly) of God_. Instead of starting things, the focus was upon proclaiming Christ to all, by all.
Christians, then, were to be welcome wherever any other Christians were. They were also forbidden not to forsake such regular gatherings.
If the presence of Jesus attends two or three who are gathered for something as difficult and unusual as discipline (Matthew 18), surely his presence is ours when we meet in his name to pray, encourage, teach - yes, teach - and admonish one another. Did He not promise never to leave nor forsake us?
Funny, but about half the religious conversation I hear is about "starting churches" or "joining a church." Both concepts are misleading at best and should be immediately thrown out of court as a public nuisance. <grin>
Someday, I predict, the plain truth of this matter will no longer be a subject of debate and confusion. Much of it has already become a hindrance to the progress of the truth, in my opinion. Needless embarrassment, too, as heads drop and something like this is uttered: "Well we're just a Bible study with several others." Maybe you are the church and have never realized it.
The elegant simplicity of the kingdom of Jesus Christ - why would anyone want to mess with it?
HC*Talk- Elders really are elders
Hey, I see that the eldership wars are flaring up again. Rick and Link brought the subject up and I harp on it ever so often, myself. Allow me to take another crack at it.
OK, let's say you and your dad are summoned before the most powerful leader on earth. You exchange greetings and the first thing Mr. Big wants to know is the age of your dad. "Strange," think you, "very strange." (cf. Gen 47). But not really. Age or eldership meant honor in by-gone days. In the East more than in the West.
And as in the Old, so in the New Testament, elders are frequently compared to younger persons, enabling us to discern their precise identity. ("Shall we thus make an "office" out of younger ones as well," I facetiously inquire?) Notice how Rehoboam ignored the council of the elders and listened to the younger men. Notice the praise that Ruth received for her interest in an older man. Etc. Older meant better. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this ideal. Take note, as well, that the heathen nations had, and still often have elders. Judg. 11:11, Gen. 50:7, Judg. 8:14.
When we come to the New Testament we meet elders again ____with no introduction____. None is needed. The apostles consistently categorized and exhorted the churches according to their age categories and genders. Ever noticed that? If the elder's identity had undergone an inter-testamental change, surely this colossal event would have been mentioned. If it did, THEN WHEN DID SUCH A MATTER OF UNPRECEDENTED WONDERMENT OCCUR?
This would have been the equivalent of going into the local day-care nursery and asking: how are all these little teenagers getting along today. What ?????
In I Peter 5, we see the elders addressed followed by the younger ones. Most readers overlook this plain context. In 1 Timothy 5, we again see the two age designations brought into contrast. Later in the same chapter, we see the word "honor" describing older women - widows, then the same word is employed for the older men or elders. Though vs 3 and 17 are translate differently in most versions, the original word is the same. Check out Titus 2:1-6 to discover this same pattern. This "honor" is also owed to masters by their servants, which would not have involved the transfer of funds.
Acts 2:17 " 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your *young men will see visions, your *old men (same word in the original) will dream dreams. Can we really maintain that these old men were church officers ?????
In the beginning there was no more an office of elder than there was an office of elder women, who, by the way, were also exhorted that they _must_ do certain things. Further confusion occurred when the character imperatives in Timothy are mistakenly viewed and translated (i.e. "if" ) as *conditions*. A requirement is not a condition. If, for example, I tell my teen-age daughter that she must not drive without a license, that she must not consume alcohol, that she must remain pure until marriage, this not to imply that she can become my daughter whenever the requirements are obeyed. She is already my daughter, of course.
Commentators and translators have unfortunately obscured the identity of the elders by translating the original word (presbuteros) sometimes as elder and sometimes as older man. See again 1 Timothy 5 at the outset of the chapter. In novels about espionage, this kind of deception is called "being slipped a mickey." Usually the good guy falls for an attractive female who meets him at a fancy-shmancy restaurant. You know the rest.
Young forty-something Timothy, you recall, was told to do the work of an evangelist not of a pastor and was warned that his youth would be held against him. Seniority denoted maturity. A long life meant blessings from the Most High. Think of the only commandment with a promise.
It is time for the thick veil that has obscured Christian eldership to be torn asunder and cast aside. Every older brother and sister must rise up to their requirements and to their responsibilities towards the younger ones. For some unknown reason, the principle of the older women (presbutees) teaching the younger women has been readily accepted. Not so with the older men or elders who are continually viewed as "church officers." Link, if you could see this, everything else would snap into focus, imho.
In the moral vacuum that we, the church, have helped create, the rest of the world has finally figured out this obvious principle on its own: "mentors" or "big brothers" or "big sisters." There are now several "mentoring" web sites. Hey, we're gettin' closer. . .
Influential Christian psychologist Larry Crabb recently told Christianity Today Magazine that most of Christian counseling should be scrapped for - you guessed it - _eldering_. Have not each of us chided ourselves in these terms: Oh that I had known then what I know now? You now know it, so show it.
One writer in the home church circle recently published the careless assertion that churches "...should wait 10 years before appointing elders." I say, "Wait a hundred years if you view elders as church officers as the IC also does."
Waiting is in stark contrast to the advise from Paul to Titus, who was to appoint elders in every city. But it all depends upon what is meant by >appoint<. This particular appointment was to the previously and mutually agreed upon characteristics that are immediately listed in the same breath (cf. Titus 1:5ff). These are moral, not academic. Just as Christ has predestined (preappointed) us to the conformation after his image so these elders were appointed to exemplary character - not to an office of elder. They were ==>already<== elders!
Robert Banks acknowledges the possibility of such a translation on page 147 of "Paul's Idea of Community". I am compiling a growing list of others who prefer this kind of appointment. Believe me, they are not men of inferior learning, despite the fact that such a view upsets a lot of ecclesiastical ox-carts. (cf. the German and Dutch works of these world-class scholars: Joachim Jeremias, Die Briefe and Timotheus und Titus, Das Neue Testament Deutsch, 9, 5th ed. (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1949), 32-33; AND H. Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek (Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1967), IV, 326.) Your two favorite bedside companions, right? :>)
But hey there, who needs the confirmation of world-class scholars - we got common sense, don't we?
Just as God has ordained the sun and moon to shine so he has ordained (appointed) that elders exhibit requisite maturity and wisdom for the benefit and example of those surrounding them. This kind of leading, teaching, shepherding, or pastoring will be natural, effective, and unofficial - usually unnoticed. In the early days, without birth control and the with prevalent early marriages, the realm of influence of the elder would have been very significant and widespread. His age and honor would have been recognized by the city-church as well, not just in his own house church.
Another disastrous effect of the elder's mistaken identity and supposed hierarchy is that many theologians have been led to reject the authorship and date of the "pastorals" (and thus, somewhat, the integrity of scriptures) because of the imagined "heirarchical prototype that surely would have pointed to a late date." When elders are seen in their true non-official nature, the problem evaporates.
Just as buttoning your shirt with the wrong button first causes all the other buttons to be misplaced so ....
"Dr. Loening (1889) was Professor of Law in the University of Halle (Germany), and the author of a valuable work on Church Law. He had a lawyer's demand for exact evidence and a lawyer's love of precedents. He holds that there was little or no organization in the Christian communities during strictly apostolic times. What we find are little societies of Christians meeting and worshiping together in house churches; we see no traces of office-bearers in the proper sense of the word." (from The Church and The Ministry in the Early Centuries, TM Lindsay, 1902, pp.371, 372). Quotes as this one can be easily multiplied.
In short, elders are essentially the category of persons they have always been and their continuity from Old Testament to New Testament has continued virtually unabated. In short, elders really are elders! Whoa! It's such a non-technical, non-authoritative word that it is usually found in phrases like "elders _of the Church_ or elders _among you_" as compared to the elders of the city, which would have included unbelieving older ones.
But, if you think that making an office out of elders was a crime then take a fresh look, sometime, at the "office of deacon." This "lessor office" of lowly service would have been the highest possible virtue in our Lord's estimation - not the bottom of the totem pole as in today's scheme. Why would Paul, who by the way, called himself and elder and deacon, tell Timothy to have men enter into an office after meeting certain requirements, and then, immediately pronounce that he himself (Timothy) would be a good minister (deacon - same word) if he did so ???? Read a little further down the page and you will be struck by this fact. 1 Tim 4:6. This word for deacon is so general that it applies to the saints, Satan's messengers, civil rulers, even to Christ. So general and basic that Jesus said that we must be one (diakonos) to be great in his Kingdom.
Translators have also routinely switched 'women' for 'wives' to the advantage of their own system. Here, in 1 Tim 3, just as they did in the alleged prohibition passage in I Cor. Notice that the immediate context in 1 Cor is the husband and wife relationship. This isn't a passage about qualifications of deacon's wives or female deacons, but rather about Christian women.
Can we really imagine the early churches paying salaries to a plurality of official elders? The preachers and teachers mentioned in the financial context were the traveling variety - not the local ones. They were those whom our Lord commanded not to take provisions but to be sustained by those into whose house they visited.
The question of paid elders has once and for all been considered in Acts 20 where Paul said that he labored with his hands AS AN EXAMPLE TO THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH.
I pray that in the days ahead, God's people will resolve this consuming matter. "Elders and deacons" need to be removed for the list of disputed questions asap. If not, plan on someone dangling the concept in front of you to legitimize split-level church life, with you, of course, on the bottom floor.
No one is not going to be struck down dead if they allow officers into their groups, but their implementation has certainly brought no small amount of confusion and an unwarranted seizure of control (and usually of the church funds as well.) The present understanding of some in the HC circle calls for the appointment of officers before you can "have a church." Brethren, this is a joke.
If we compromise this matter and come up with some kind of "official or semi-official pastor", it will, in time, likely become the elephant that eats, eats, and eventually sinks the boat.
Thanks for allowing me to share this. Needless to say, good men differ.
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