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Good News

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11

Dear Brothers and Sisters: 


 I have been studying the language of the New Testament and its linguistic Pragmatics for over 50 years.  I am as confident about my salvation as I am in what I am going to say to you on this subject.    

1 Timothy and Titus are the products of an insidious, surreptitious, ruthless, purely Machiavellian  forger.   There is no scribe helping Paul here.   This is one part:

1 Timothy 6:11,

Σὺ δέ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε [a]θεοῦ, ταῦτα φεῦγε· δίωκε δὲ δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, ἀγάπην, ὑπομονήν, [b]πραϋπαθίαν.

 Look what this servant of the d….. sandwiches between “Righteousness” and “faith,” δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν, and then he finishes his clause with “endurance” and finally, with “gentleness.”  Who would argue with "righteousness" or “gentleness”?  Never mind what has been slipped in the middle.


 The human brain hears the first word in a sentence LOUDER than words in the middle, and the word at the end is the word the brain hears last and the LOUDEST.

 

Have you every had a teen-aged son?  Ever hear something like this?

 “Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, butter, and bread, so can I have the keys to the car?”  

We need milk and bread, right?

Watch this:

 

“Dad, mom asked me to go to the store for her to get some milk, cheese, and butter.   I have to stop at my girlfriend’s house for mom for just a second, but her house is next to the bakery.  We are out of bread.  Can I have the keys to the car?”

 It is still really all about “milk and bread,” right?  Or, did we add something slippery in the middle?


 Look what this snake added between “righteousness” and “faith,” or δικαιοσύνην, εὐσέβειαν, πίστιν.

 

  The author slipped in the word εὐσέβειa, or eusebia, between righteousness and faith, two great things if you are a Christian.   Sir, he hid it, and masterfully disguised something that he was taken from paganism.  

 Eusebia in the Greco-Roman world was city-state sponsored, city-state priest controlled, passed on from their ancestors, ritual-prayer-animal sacrifices.  It was the “ritual hoky-poky” of the Greco-Roman temples, and these rituals were law, and attending them was law.  

Do you want the bulls to grow strong?  Well, you have to get the right guy, on the right day, in the right temple, with the right incense, to the right god, with the right cut of the right knife, with the moon just right, and the right stars, to get the bulls next year to grow strong.  Eusebia was the metaphysics of the ancient world.  

Do you want the wheat to grow?  Well, there was a correct ritual with specific steps for that, and only the priests of that temple owned the ritual.  You had to pay him to get the hoky-pokey.  That was Greco-Roman "piety."  

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of all women in the Greco-Roman world died in childbirth.  That isn’t good, right?  Well, if you don’t want that to happen you have to pay the right temple, and the right priest, to do the right “eusebia.”  There is nothing you can do to get it right because only the temple-church-priest owns the ritual.  

Ever hear of a guy named Socrates? People think that he was put to death because he “corrupted the youth of Athens.” That isn’t true. Read Plato’s Apology. He was acquitted of that charge. He was put to death because he was “a-eusebia,” he wouldn’t do his city-state’s sacrifices. He refused to do them. That put the entire city into danger because those ordained rites, city-state rites, city-state mandated rituals kept the people, city, and even the world safe. A-Eusebia was in every sense of the word treason.

Take a second look at Mark 1:1.

“Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.” The oldest versions of Mark do not even say “Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” It doesn’t say that. The real Mark 1:1, Begins the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, lines up with Mark 8:29, and Mark 8:29 is exactly the same as Revelations 1:1-10. The entire emphasis is on Messiah. Why?

Ever notice that they had to ask Jesus, “Teach us to pray!” Hold it! These are Jews. Why doesn’t anybody know how to pray to God on their OWN? Did you notice where Jesus says "Go into your house, go into your closet, and pray, God will see you"? Remember that? What is the big deal? Well, in the ancient world your prayers had to be out in the open. Sunday, right? What time? 11 to 12PM, right? Okay, what hour is Apollo Hour? Ever notice that a lot of Baptist Churches look like a Greek temple with a wide white starcase in front?

The metaphysics of the ancient world was called "eusebia." It was step-by-step, priest controlled, priest dictated, as old as the stones, priest-owned correct rites. There was one for every day, every week, every Apollo Day (Sunday), every New Star, every harvest, you name it. And they had to be led and out in the open. See your Illiad chapter 4. Remember Menelaus challenges Paris to go man to man. But, only with a god-certified ritual-rite contract in the OPEN with the sacrifices of King Priam. The sacrifice had to be outside under the sky.

Okay, let's say the author of 1 Timothy meant it in a “New Testament” way. Excuse me, but Jesus died on the Cross to get rid of it. Eusebia is the “correct rite,” and that cost money, lots and lots and lots of money, money for everything in your life. It was the core of Greco-Roman religious life. There was absolutely no such thing as “theology.” There was only “Orthopraxy,” the right rite, and the right rite was a patternistic ritual controlled by the temple, which no one could go into, by the appointed priest. The word is nowhere to be found in the Gospels, ever. Reason? It isn’t Christian. It is in fact the very opposition of Christianity. Go ahead. Look for the word in the Gospels or in Romans. Good luck with that.

That is what the author of 1 Timothyis slipping into Christianity. Jesus’ lesson on the matter, however, was that nobody, absolutely owned the keys to Christian Fellowship. Nobody owned the keys to prayer, nobody. There are a handful of things that Jesus absolutely demanded that we do not do. In the Greek language, the strongest direct order to never, ever, under any circumstances, ever title yourself as a priest, rabbi, minister, pastor, Doctor of Theology, professor of Jesus, absolutely none of it. Banned. Matthew 23 contains the strongest direct order from Jesus. Start to finish, read Matthew and Mark again and look for where Jesus gives direct orders not to do something.

Those were the words from Jesus’ mouth, so they didn't have anything in the Gospels or an athentic letter to build it. So, they did what they had to do, they dressed themselves up as Paul, although the author of 1 Timothy is very, very careful not to lie, ie., the author ever says, “This is Paul writing to you from X.” All the author says is “Paul the Apostle.” The implication is only in the mind of the reader. The only evidence in the text of 1 Timothy that Paul wrote it is that the early 4th century "church" said so.

Without 1 Timothy and Titus, Constantine the 1st had NOTHING in the New Testament to put himself on top of a worldly church organization, and he needed money for walls, lots of walls. Moreover, when King James wanted a new Bible for England, did he invite a single Greek speaking person to sit on his panel? No, he did not. Without 1 Timothy and Titus King James had no New Testament scripture from the Gospels to build a state-run church. Most of the scholars on his board read Latin.

When they burnt Jon of Arc at the stake, guess which book in the New Testament they threw in her face? She was not convicted of witchcraft. She was acquited of that. Read her trial and then read Titus again. Look for this, “Let nobody, anyone, scoff at your authority,” or perhaps, “Let nobody belittle your authority.” How about, “Let no one challenge your authority.” The Greek is really difficult to put exactly into English because we do not live in a vertically bolted world, while the Greco-Roman world was bolted rock solid top to bottom. For example, by around 1000 AD, 1 out of 10 men in Constantinople was a eunuch. What relevancy is that? Well, think of all the rapists we have. Why don't we just ... them or shoot them? Ultimately, we don't live in a ancient society were the entire culture is vertically bolted. According to Arrian, a servant once sat in Alexander's throne. He cut off his head.

Some versions translate “eusebia” as “piety,” but since when is paying a priest to slash a bull’s throat before a god correctly in any way part of Jesus’ “Good News”?

What eusebia did do, however, was put salvation, the gods’ favor, correct worship, solely into the hands of a city-state-controlled temple. Eusebia was legally mandated, mandatory city-state rituals. Ever have that feeling that you "Have to go to church at 11AM on Apollo Day? When you walk out it is about 12PM. Question: what is the Sun at 12-1PM?

It wasn’t just the word “church” that they twisted. Worse than that, they twisted who is in charge of your walk with Jesus, while Jesus died on the Cross so you would have your own direct dial, Holy Spirit HotSpot connection. In 312 AD, that had to go, and so Constantine made it illegal not to go to "Church."

1 Timothy and Titus are the greatest hoaxes to ever be inflicted on humanity. Wallace in Texas might still put 1 Timothy and Titus into the 1st century. But how does 4th century early Byzantine state-temple controlled Christianity suddenly jump back to the 1st century? Answer: The people who did it wanted paganism slipped into Christianity because they wanted to use it to make money. In paganism you had to go to the priest/pastor/minister, whatever word floats your trireme, for a direct connection to God.  Money, it cost money.

One of Eusebius of Caesarea’s biggest lies was that Constantine was a Christian. That myth is still taught, and it is a lie. Read what Gibbon says about Eusebius of Caesarea as a "historian." He calls him the outright biggest liar of any historian. For example, after Constantine’s so-called conversion, he later cut off his son’s head, as a "Christian," and then after that boiled his wife alive.  Notice that Constantine refused baptism all the way up until two or three days before he died.  He knew he was dying.  My cat is more Christian that Constantine the 1st.

Whoever wrote 1 Timothy 6:11 was one of Eusebius of Caesarea’s pals. Jesus didn’t give Christians any power, station, or authority over anyone, not ever apostle over apostle.

 So they did what they had to do to get control over it.  

 They forged them, and they are masterpieces.  1 Timothy and Titus are absolute masterpieces of forgery.  1 Timothy and Titus are faker than a 3-dollar denarius.

1 Timothy and Titus haven’t been listed as 1st century documents by almost all archivists in real universities with programs in Greek papyrology since the 19th century.

Matthew 23: 8-11, If you look, you will see all the words available to the author in the 1st century AD to cover the concepts of teacher, pastor, minister, rabbi, and invent any word you want, but the only ordination Jesus himself granted was brother. No, not friends, brother. Well he didn't say High, Holy, Sacred Hippo. That is right. He didn't because he adamantly covered the entire concept.

Do I trust the words of Jesus, or, do I push Jesus aside because “The Church” said Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus and that is the only evidence that there is?  

Friends, Eusebius of Caesarea is not my savior.

Although there are some hold outs, but they are not just "scholars"; people who put them in the 1st century are also paid "preachers," I am nevertheless required to say this because Evangelical Christians will not recognize that these letters are not identified as 1st century documents by the overwhelming majority or Critical Texual New Testament Scholars.  

I will not bring this up again.  I am required to say this just once so that you have at least heard this once.  

    

 

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Brother, Sir:

I feel most at home in Christ when other brothers are throwing fast balls, and they are throwing them hard.  To me, "fight a good fight" is a passage that I take within the context of the Pragmatics.  FirstL

I apologize.  I have been fighting a good fight with my heart.  I am older now, and I do not know how much time on Earth God has in mind for me.  I have been recovering from quadriple bypass, and now just getting on my feet.  Also, my job.  I am not normal in that I chose 50 years ago not to live in this world.  Rather than pursue a career, I chose to pursue one and one thing only.  That thing has been studying something called "Hellenistic Koine Greek."  And no, I do not mean getting big degrees, and going for doctor this, that, or doctor other thing.  While I have been to 6 universities, I did so only to learn Greek.  It means that I make my living do very odd jobs.  They are odd, lol!  At night, however, I have been studying the language of the New Testament, and its linguistic and Pragmatical context, for over 50 years.  I bought my first Greek grammar book in 1973.  It is on my book shelf.  I am getting old and weak.  I apologize for not getting back to you.  

Are you ready for a "Good fight?"

------------------------

Here is what I think. We base our "dogma" on faith, prayer, study, Fellowship, our walk with Jesus, and scripture. Scripture, we base our understanding on Scripture on what the hand of the author actually wrote, and is the name at the top of that plate, the actual person who that person claimed he was, or, who "tradition" asserts? In other words, we must base our scripture on "scripture." That is our starting point.

If you made it that far, then I am fully confident that Paul would agree you are ready to put on that cestus.    

Let's define what a "Bible Scholar" is.  A Bible Scholar is someone who can read Hellenistic Koine directly from an extent manuscript.  No, not the modern Greek alphabet that they print the Greek New Testament in today.  When we read Homeric, Classical, or Hellenistic Koine, or post-Hellenistic Koine, it looks something like this:

"There once was a Greek from Crete"
He farmed mostly wheat ...
But when he got to Rome, they just sent him home
Because he just never washed his feet.

If you picked up a manuscript written before 500 AD, and even later, it is going to look like this:

THEREONCEWASAGREEKFRO
MCRETEHEFARMEDMOSTLYW
HEATBUTWHENHEGOTTOROM
THEYJUSTSENTHIMHOMEBEC
AUSEHEJUSTNEVERWASHEDH
ISFEET

Now, turn that upside down. Rip it into 20 pieces, and find this

.....UTWHENHEGO .....
TOROMETHEY .....
SENTHIMHOMEBEC
AUSEHEJUSTNEVER
EET

There are about 550 extant Greek books that have been received from the ancient world.  A "Bible Scholar" can look at the above second version and tell you what page of, let's say, Marcus Aureleaus that that chopped up piece of papyri that is the size of a stamp came from.  He has read all of them, and all of them several times.  There are under 100 of these chaps in the entire world.  Most of us specialize in a handful of books.  Read one for 10 years and you almost have it.  We call these types "Critical Textual Scholars."  The dialects are very, very different, and the vocabulary of each author is often totally unque.  There were no dictionaries in Paul's world that we know of.  So spelling too, is tough.  You might find one writer use this, "ICOULDHAVEGONE" where another writer writes "IWOULDHAVEGONE," and the word is only used once by the author.

Ready?

99.9% of every critical textual scholar I have ever met, talk with, or read with, and I have met 4 at Oxford, agree that Paul's Philemon was in truth actually written by him. It is the real deal,Paul's authentic voice. His culture, his language, his grammar, his vocabulary, and his "tone." I have never met another Critical Text expert that would dispute that the historical Paul of Tarsus wrote Romans and Phileon. They spoke Greek in Tarsus.

I am very, very sorry, but 99.9% of those same people adamently do not accept that Titus was written by the historical Paul of Tarsus.  Oh, yes, you will meet many professional "pastors" who can read some Greek who will assert Titus was actually written by Paul.  However, no "museum level" library in the world lists Titus has having been produced in the 1st century.  None.  I believe the guy who runs the "New Testament Manuscript" group in Texas still lists Titus as 1st century.  However, he is a professional "pastor" who makes a living based off of it, and he has written zip on any Greek OTHER than the New Testament.  That disqualifies him.  You cannot be a witness in court for your own dad.  The court will not accept you as a "dispassionate witness," and he has no world class qualifications within the realm of Greek dialects.  Zero.  

Sir, your question centers on one of the hottest topics in "New Testament Textual Criticism."
So, before we talk about your quest, take a breath. If you place the world's best and most fluent readers of Ancient Greek into a room, and I have read with Greek priests who just didn't have a clue, and asked them to stand on one side of the other, not every one of them will stand on the side of Ephesians having been penned in the 1st century. Romans? No problem. Phileon and 1 Cor, no problem, but Ephesians ... Ephesians is about 50/50. There are reasons, real reasons for that, but to see them, you have to be able to read post-Hellenistic Koine as well as your native language, and even better.

To put this in modern context, modern day art forgers study the brushes of the work they are copying. They learn to mix the paint the same way, and they use the same materials to make brushes and paint. They will even steal another painting because they want the canvas. Canvas has pollen in it.

I am convenced for myself with Ephesians, but I have only studied it for two years from the manuscripts. 1 Tim and Titus, I have studied for over 20 years, studying only those two books, but within the Pragmatics or the language from 300 BC to 415 AD. I have written a book on it and a copy of it has been added to the main library at Oxford University. Oxford houses the largest library of Greek manuscripts in the world. My book on 1 Tim and Titus is in the private libraries of four Greek professors (Tutors) who are full time lecturers on Greek at Oxford.

For now, I will say only this about Ephesians, I hope it helps open some ideas.

Look at the word "pastor" in Ephesians 4:11.

Think about that word in "English." What is that? Make a list of things that you would "semantically associate" with the English word, "Pastor."

Now, brother, put on a pair of sandals.  Put on this cloth called a "hymation."  It isn't a toga, it is a gentleman's wrap, and we will give you a cloak over that.  

I'll take you to the library of Alexandria in exactly 60 AD, and you are going to go through the shelves with me looking for that word and how is it used.  Are you game?

Here is that sentence in Greek.  Don't feak!

καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους

Here is the word you are looking for in all those scrolls, ποιμένας.  That is masculine, plural, in the accusative for basically "poimenikos," a Hellenistic shephard.  However, because we have a manuscript called "The Didache" we know how they organized their Fellowships, and that 1st century Christians did not have a class of "shephards."  Remember at the end of Roman's 16:1.  The women is clearly an established head of the Fellowship, but Paul does not call her a "Goat Herder."  He calls her "THE" deacon, the very, very word he uses to describe himself when talking with Peter in Acts.  The exact same word.  When speaking with Peter he doesn't not call himself a "Goat Herder" for the Gentiles.  The word "deacon" in 1st century is closer to "nurse," or attendant, someone who gets your water for you from the river and fills your cistern, someone who takes your "potty pot" outside.  A "deaconios" puts a towel over your forehead when you are sick with fever.  This is Paul's word for himself when talking to Peter about his work among the Gentiles.  It is the same word his uses to introduce a woman in Romans 16:1.  Paul doesn't call her "Behold, the Goat Herder of Cencheae."  It is a very, very small detail.  Here:

Romans 16:1, NRSV, "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon[a] of the church at Cenchreae, "

First, let's get rid of the "C."  That is conventional 19th century English.  It isn't correct, sorry.  The name of the city is "Κεγχρεα."  It is more like "Kegchrea."  It was south of Athens.  It is a fishing villlage.  

Brother, this is a very, very fine detail.  See this, "a deacon of the church."  That is incorrect.  There is no indirect article in Hellenistic Koine Greek.  There is a "the," 36 of them actually, but no "a" anywhere in Koine.  It isn't in Homeric or Classical Greek either.  As an example, the translators of the NRSV arbitrarily added the "a" deacon.  There is no "The Deacon."

It should be translated like this, "Behold, to men and God, I present to you our sister Phoebe, deacon of the Fellowship in the fishing village of Kegchrea."  The verb for "behold" or "commend" is actually extremely old.  It is more Mycenaean than reflective of the Hellenistic Age.

If I had awarded you a 10th degree black belt in Japan for Japanese fencing, and the Emperor of Japan were at the ceremony, I would in Japanese Introduce you to God first, and in front of all the other "Grand Masters."  That is exactly what Paul is doing with this woman.

It is not "A Deacon."  She is "Phoebe, Deacon of the Fellowship at Kegchra, the small fishing village south of Athens."  

Why do they add "A"? Well, that is the very same word that Paul uses in Acts to lable himself before Peter.

Now, notice Paul addresses her as "Sister."  That, sir, is her title.  Compare that with Matthew 23:8-12.  This is who Christians addressed each other in the 1st century.  Get a copy of the Dichache.  It is the only 1st century "Fellowship Handbook" that we have.  It was found behind a wall in Constantinople in the late 19th century.  

Here is another one, and we can look at that in English.

".... unity in the faith."  In 60 AD, this "faith" was understood to mean "Trust."  I can share several examples in the literature of the period where someone says, "This is my slave.  I will sent him with you.  He is my most TRUSTED."  Another one is, "This is my maid.  Take her with you with this money.  She is my most trusted servant."

Sir, in post-Hellenistic Koine Greek, the concept of "faith" as a "Religion" does not evolve until the early Byzantine era. Faith in Romans means "trust." Take a look at John 2 at the wedding at Cana. The dicipiles didn't have "trust" in Jesus until AFTER they saw the water change to wine. Sir, John does not record that Jesus' diciples "found a mutual religion" when they saw Jesus change water into wine. They found "trust" in him. That, sir, is 1st century "pistis," trust, and that is 1st century Koine. Writing around 150 AD in Koine Greek, the same language, Emperor Marcus Aureleus wrote (Refering to Christians), "Those who use only 'trust' as their process for their search for truth are foolish."

Doesn't Paul say in Romans, "Through reading of the word we find faith"?    In American English we could read that as "Through reading of the Word we come to Trust Jesus."  Sir, that is 1st century Greek.  There is no "blind faith" in 1st century Hellenistic Koine Greek.  The word meant "trust," and it didn't come to mean a "Religion" until hundreds of years later.  

Sir, just two words, in Ephesians, why are we using 4th century post-Hellenistic Koine litergical Greek back in the late 1st century?

Sir, I appeal to you, I think it is an honest question.  

There is solid stuff in Ephesians, but it is also filled with early 3rd - 4th century AD litergical Greek.
907-519-9838. Don't be shy.

You servant,

Timothy   

















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David, it is amazing to me that today it has become necessary to make a great effort to state the obvious. Did you hear that recently it is controversial or even forbidden in some circles to state that "Women have babies?"

Jesus had many disciples but only 12 apostles. Out of the 12 He had a special relationship with Peter, James and John. He has placed each of us in the Body as it pleases Him. If people want to put unqualified people in charge, they will likely regret it later. On the other hand, if they reject those who he approves, many will suffer.

Furthermore, those who abuse their responsibility or neglect their responsibility to lead others will answer to God. I have seen it often and will see it again.

Thanks brother, for your help in clearing up some confusion for us!

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What is the latest development, We Are the Church? Did you find peaceful resolution or was that not possible at the moment? 

I did not want to see this thread remain "hanging". Here are a few thoughts I'll share.

Elders are no big deal, say some... Yet, churches without official elders were considered incomplete without them. Titus 1:5: For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting and appoint elders in every city as I gave thee charge.

In the grand scheme of redemption, after Christ sat down at the right hand of God, he did supply shepherds to his church. These pastor-teachers are considered to be great gifts to the world. Ephesians 4:8-13: This is why it says: "When he ascended on high ,he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Two of the longest lists in the entire Bible explain the required qualifications of elders or shepherds. Also referred to as bishops or overseers. Therefore, if two long lists of qualifications describe legitimate leaders - surely this is significant.

Elders were appointed to be shepherds of Gods flock. The sheep are not exhorted to be mere self-feeders. But rather to honor their shepherds: 1 Thessalonians 5:12,14. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

1  Peter 5:1-4: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: FEED THE FLOCK of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Official shepherding or oversight is called a "good work". 1 Timothy 3:1. A task personally appointed by Jesus for the benefit of his church. Those who engage in it ultimately will be held accountable to Him. And will be rewarded according to their faithfulness. 

Finally, to maintain via an argument from the suppossed silence that "few NT letters were written to the leadership" is certainly erroneous. It would have opened the door to many private forgeries as well.

When the recorded letters arrived at the churches, addressed to the saints, the leadership would have naturally been included as the officers were a part of the saints, regardless of whether they are specifically addressed or not. The same conclusion applies to all the "one anothers" - these apply to everyone regardless of whether they are leaders or not. 

We must quickly add that some churches will not have qualified elders or deacons. God knows and understands. These will come in time, we hope. In the same way that a family without children is still a real family. 

Another detail often overlooked is that, in Scripture, local churches are city-churches or regional churches. Which brings up the question: Were the city churches the place of plural elders or was it the individual churches? Interesting, huh?

If someone sincerely desires in obedience to Christ and without regard to covetousness to humbly be a shepherd or pastor or life-coach or friend in the church of Christ - why would a person not desire such a relationship? I for one have benefitted countless times from formal and informal shepherding.

So, what or who is the origin of this over-reaction to faithful servant-leaders? For one thing, Americans love "individualism and freedom". Several modern writers in the organic church movement materially dismiss official leadership and point to the many "one another's" as if this covers everything. Apparently it does not cover everything. Which is why Jesus repeated himself over and over: Peter, do you love me? FEED MY LAMBS. John 21.

Therefore, leadership is not insignificant at all. True, too many church leaders have betrayed their office and their Master. But pretending their role is insignificant or non-existent is also a mistake.

Don't forget - there is no magic formula for guaranteed blessings with regard to church. God can bless in spite of church structures which may be lacking on this point or that. 

Yet, for the task ahead, we should seek to follow the most scriptural and simplest arrangment. As we follow the Lamb. The Lamb who looks upon the heart. 

May his blessings overtake YOU.

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Added a Post  

Here is chapter four of a book I have been working on, "Light Of The World."

https://livingtruth.com/light-of-the-world-chapter-five-the-promised-family/

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Hi David,

So sorry to hear you are unwell.  Many of the people I know have had Covid (including both my sons and their families) and all have made a good recovery - although sometimes it has taken a while for the energy to come back.  Here in the UK it appears we are getting waves of cases every 3-4 months and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants seem adept at by-passing immunity - whether by vaccination or previous infection.  At least vaccination has meant that there are far fewer deaths and incidences of very serious illness. It must be really disappointing to miss the concert - although perhaps you will make two other people very happy!  No compensation at all, but maybe have a listen to some of my latest music:

https://theregime2.bandcamp.com/releases

All good wishes for a speedy recovery,

Graham


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Hello dear Graham. What a pleasant surprise for you to drop by. Thank you for the illustrative post. Here is the link for the image. Somewhere else I thought I read that the "the" was added. (Likely for another passage - not the one here in view.)

We just returned from North Carolina where we contracted COVID. We have no energy at all. Be back in a few days as God strengthens us. I look forward to it.

Oh my, I thought that plague was behind us. Especially with multiple vaccinations. Worse still, our tickets tonight for Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes will need to find new owners.

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Hi David.  Hope you don't mind if I make a few comments on your post.  In answer to the first question you pose, I think the I Corinthians passage is presumed to be refering to a "worship service" in part because of I Cor 11:18 which makes it clear that the context is the coming together of the group.  Personally I think it is question begging to translate ἐν ἐκκλησία as "in church" but that is how it is usually rendered.  I would prefer something more neutral like "assembly".  The other element which could be pointed to is the phrase κυριακὸν δεῖπνον φαγεῖν (1 Cor. 11:20) - which I spent some time discussing in my paper.  If this does indeed convey the meaning "Lord's Supper" then this would be another good reason for regarding this as a "worship service".  I tried to suggest that this is not necessarily the case but I am very much aware that many would disagree.   

You comment that "many in the Apostolic era had "all things in common" " but I think it is clear from Paul's comments in I Cor that this was not the case in the Corinthian community.  Other than the early chapters of Acts, I cannot think of any other early Christian writings which seem to presume this model of community but maybe I have missed something.

Your other question is easily answered.  The translators include "this" in I Cor 11:26 because it is in the Greek text!  The phrase is τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον.  I have checked the TR, WH, SBL, UBS and NA and they all read this.  Neither does the UBS or NA28 give the omission of the demonstrative as a textual variant so I'm not sure how the table you included in your post was derived.

Best wishes,

Graham

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What a fascinating book the Bible is. And the more fascinating it becomes over time. 

Been thinking about the regular meals of early Christians. As those outside of the traditional church, we should be able to calmly examine this divisive subject with unlimited freedom.

So divisive it has been in the past - several have lost their lives as they stood by their "sacramental" convictions.

In this famous passage above, why is the context presumed to be a "worship service"? Many in the Apostolic era had "all things in common." Regular meals together would have been natural. They specifically "ate their meat with gladness."

Another question: Why did the translators add the word "this" in the above text?

In recent news, a government official was barred from Communion. Somewhere, a magician performed a trick and said: Hocus Pocus. Somewhere a lucky car collector boasted about "finding the holy grail." And somewhere a member of the Catholic church is sitting in Mass and realizing that modern chemistry can demonstrate that the wine does not become real blood.

All that aside, it should go without saying, but unfortunately it cannot, that we are dealing with a real meal here in 1st Corinthians. Real food, real nourishment. These hungry and happy disciples would

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Hey dear readers. I went back through the error logs for this site and discovered that many attempts had been made to join in but were met with an unfriendly "Spam Detected" warning. 

Unfortunately since the sign-up failed, there is no way to contact such persons - who certainly were not spammers.

This error just means that the service provider on the other end somehow had generated spam in the past. And had been blacklisted for spam.

We have corrected this issue. But are very sorry that some fell through the cracks. We hope they will try again.

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As always, we are seeking to enlarge our perception of worship and leadership and life. But not to take anything away from anyone. Our goal is that Christ will become our all in all. So in other words, if it is your habit to partake of a small portion of bread and juice - a few times each year. And call it "The Lord's Supper" and find fulfillment in your Creator in that moment... we will rejoice with you.

Others desire to go further and view every meal as a reminder of the Bread of Life and Water of Life. And that every Christian senior (elder) aspire to be an overseer (bishop). That every physical place on his earth is holy. Every day, also. That every believer is ordained (appointed) to ministry or service. As every thought becomes captive to Christ. And whether therefore we eat or drink, we do all with reference to our beloved King and Savior.

Some have a very symbolic view of all of life, you see. As always, you should prove all things by the Scriptures. 

The author is a faculty member at Yale University. He appears to have a "high church" background which makes his conclusions even more persuasive. Some of his other essays are here. This document appears by his kind permission.

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This essay might better be called: The Lack of Liturgy in the Early Church.

The author holds two degrees from Oxford University. Find more about him and his other fascinating research here. This document comes to you via his kind permission. 

As always, prove all things. And don't forget the background of those who sat at the "Last Supper". All were accustomed to a private Passover family feast. Where real food was consumed. 

Remember also that these possessed a Hebrew mentality of rich symbolism. They did not merely look at a rainbow - but in so doing they remembered God's mercy. As for rich symbolism, our Lord frequently employed it. "If you will have fellowship with me, you must eat my flesh and drink my blood."

Nothing is harder than laying aside a lifetime tradition or divesting your mind of previously held convictions. Yet we must if necessary. May the Almighty direct your steps.

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A biker who reads the Scriptures in the original language. We don't find these everyday, no? 

Good to hear from you, dear Timothy. We are aware that you are busy working on some important documents.

Tomorrow, I will post two short pieces which I hope you can comment upon when you come up for air. One from a guy at Oxford, another from Yale.

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I find it fulfilling to connect to meet and interact with Christians on this board.  I am not a "go to church" kind of Christian.  The Spirit leads me to hold that part of the meaning behind Mark 1:1, "Begins the Good News of Jesus Christ" (Minority Reading) is that the "Good News" is Jesus took mandatory pagan rituals to the cross with him.  I could spend a full day quoting scriptures that point to that.  To cut to it, "Did God make man for the sabbath, or did God make the Sabbath for man?  That is why the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbeth.  Remember when John baptized Jesus?  Remember that, "baptism for the forgiveness of sins."  In other words, no, you do not have to make "animal sacrefices, grain sacrifices, or ritual sacrifices" for the forgiveness of sins, and after that, Jesus gives us "The Spirit."  I find there are two kinds of Christians, ones who get that, and ones who don't.

To the former, I'll share something that happened to me last Sunday.  

It is a long story, but I have been recently hired by a motorcycle touring magazine to write for them.  It is a real blessing.  They needed a photograph to go with my column.  Well, - I have always found that Philip 1-2 is a clear guide on how God really wants us to live.  When I take Philip 2 and put it next to Matthew 23 I see a faith that stresses humity and servitude in a very, very literal sense.  How far I carry this is this.  Any speaker, Bible teacher, Christian professor, pastor, who introduces themselves with their honorific, I ... turn .... them .... off.  Matthew 23 is crystal clear, maybe you have to be able to see through the mud to see without a pair of Greek diving goggles, but the Pragmatics are right there.

I work for a living in the most grueling of circumstances.  However, I have recently been hired to write, lol!  I told the chief editor that I had a real challenge.  It is a motorcycle touring magazine, but I don't own a motorcycle, lol!  I gave mine to a charity.  He said, "Hum, - I'll work with you on that."  He asked for a photograph.  But, I don't own a motorcycle to sit on, stand by, or have a picture of me riding on.

"Sunday" morning was the day I had time to get that photo for him. I got down on my knees that morning and had to offer a very odd prayer. I cannot afford to buy a church building, and my house isn't big enough for even two cats. That is okay. I have listed my home as a "House Church," in Redding, CA, but one where we read from the Greek New Testament as our primary source for the Word of God when in the New Testament. Not one Christian has expressed an interest in that kind of Fellowship.

So I prayed, "God, let me take a Fellowship to the road." Within a month, lol, I was hired as Motorcycle Journalist, lol. But, I don't currently own one. I am working on another MA related to NT studies, and they are sucking the blood out of me.

I got on my knees last Sunday and my prayer went like this, "Lord, I need you to provide a motorcycle that I can sit on (not in a shop) for a photograph."

Then we went for a location hunt.

My wife had an idea, a funky, old brick wall as a background with me in a motorcycle jacket.  We found one, I got out, and we did our shoot.  That was it.  The photos communicated the idea of "Motorcycle tourer on a break."

I stepped back onto the road to walk over to my truck.  My wife called me back asking, "Are you sure that is good enough?"  I turned around with my back to the road for my reply, "I have to use what God supplies."

The very, very moment the word "supplies" came out of my mouth the ground started to shake.  I could feel it in my feet.  Then there was a sound, a rumble, then another, then another.

I turned to look and the Hells Angels with about 50 gang members began rolling up to where I was standing, with the "boss" stopping his bike 6 feet from where I was standing.  People don't believe that when John baptized Jesus, when Jesus came out of the water the heavens opened up and a dove desended on him.  I think that is both literally and a cultural allusion.

One of the leaders of the Hells Angels in California parked his motorcycle 6 feet away from where I was standing on the only Sunday I had to get a photo of me standing by a tough looking bike when I don't own one.  

I waited.  The biker got off his ride.  I smiled and said, "Sir, may my wife take a picture of me standing by your motorcycle?  I promise not to touch it."  He replied, "Sure, just don't take any pictures of us, not one."  After the shot I thanked the man, then asked him if I could ask some questions about his ride and why he liked it?  He said, "Ya, sure."

I cannot share what we talked about.  The Hells Angels have a hard rule.  They never talk to the media.  It is one of their biggest rules.  Still, Sunday morning, there I was, my first interview was with a Hells Angels rider and we talked about his motorcycle.  

In case there are those who haven't heard.  God did not make man for the sabbath, but he made the sabbeth for man, and thus he made the Son of Man the Lord of the sabbeth.  That suggests to me that every day is "Sunday."  The Good News frees me from ritualistic faith, that is part of what the "Water" is about, yet that also puts me in service (Philip 2) every single day.  

I offer that Jesus rejected both orthodoxy (correct theology) and orthopraxy (correct rituals), and turned his eyes towards "ortho" + "direct-action love," "agape."  


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Dan Beaty and his family have been involved with home churches since the 90's. His writings are based upon Scripture and experience, too. They are very easy to read. In fact you can listen to them as well. Just follow the link.

Dan has an important message for the church and for those outside of it as well. However, unlike the vast majority of Christian writers and teachers, he does not seek to monetize his work. Needless to say, the church today has a questionable relationship with regard to money, especially in the eyes of the world.

He's also and accomplished musician and a foreign missionary, too, with thousands of miles logged in for the Kingdom.

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Undeniably, the church which Jesus Christ and his Apostles left behind soon became much more complicated and even corrupted. As you are aware, even the Reformation did not settle every issue.

Your view of the "Lord's Supper - is it the Catholic view, Lutheran view, Quaker view, or Reformed view? Or none of the above? As to frequency, do you prefer yearly, monthly, weekly, or... daily?

Hopefully we can agree that it is/was a real meal and should be a frequent occurrence. If the original was a Passover meal, then we can safely partake of it in our own homes as did the Israelites. Without an "administrator".

Above all, let's be patient with one another in this regard. Good men differ. And unscriptural traditions die hard.

The author was a professor of church history and unlike so many in the church today, actually earned his credentials. Look this free book over and if you like, download it for your own.

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Hello Dear Rod, thank you for sharing this unusual story. Truly, your faith has been tried. Truly, others will be encouraged because of it. 

Thank goodness you are here. Here, older and wiser.

Many in the church have no idea how dangerous and deceptive sin really is... We all think we can indulge in it and control it. Not.

My brother, God kept you alive because he has further purposes for you in this world. And in your own family and community.

     Good to hear from you today!

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Is it OK to share some very personal details about my walk with you? All of the following happened to me, and is true. 

MY STORY: 

I came from a violent home, (drugs, alcohol, gun shots, being chased with knives, people thrown through picture pane windows), in fact I was born three months early because my father kicked my mother in the stomach. 

I was born weighing two pounds nine ounces. As early as 7yrs old, I was out on the streets till 3-4am, I was put in three orphanages... One night I remember, my father snuck into our house, he put a loaded pistol in my hand and told me to shoot my sisters and my mother, it was crazy. 

Through all of this, (which I wouldn't change), I came out a fairly normal kid, I was involved in sports and didn't do drugs, or drink. I thought I was a survivor, wanting only to make it through another day. 

In 1974, I started to sense a need in my life, an emptiness that I couldn't explain. I knew I had to find God/Jesus, but who was HE. I had no idea where to find HIM, so I went to the local library to find books concerning world religions, God, and the occult. At the library, I met an ex-hippie (Gary Osborn) he saw my books and decided to share the message with me. 

Gary invited me to pray in the back of his V.W. so I did, I remember saying "God forgive me for my sins, and whatever you have for me I want it all". At first nothing happened I expected, lightening or something. Gary said, "Just go home and praise God" I said, "What's that, mean" Gary said, "Just thank him" So I did just that. 

Before I asked Jesus into my heart, I never heard voices, I never drank, and I never did drugs, but one week after meeting Jesus while in the middle of my last class (during high school) A voice, just as clear, as someone standing next to you, spoke, and as the voice spoke it said to me, "rod tell them about Jesus" I was surprised, but unafraid, I put my hand over my mouth, since I didn't want anyone to think I was talking too myself, I said (to whoever spoke to me) "I don't know what to say" the voice said "don't be afraid, I'll give you the words to say" To this day I don't remember my words, but I spoke to those kids about Jesus and salvation, their mouths just dropped open and then, class was over, I walked out of that room, feeling like I had never felt before. 

The next day was Saturday; I slept in the living room on an old couch. When I woke it was early and I decided to turn on the TV, to watch my favorite cartoon, the roadrunner. 

As I sat there watching the TV, I got up and looked outside, everything was so beautiful, (I never appreciated nature, I just wanted to make it thru another day). BUT now it was so pretty, I sat back down on the couch, and as I did, I was somewhere else. 

I was sitting at a long roughhewn table. In front of me was God, the father. I couldn't see him, to my left was Satan, him I could see (he looked like a man only very big) then to my right was Jesus. 

Three bowls appear, filled with what looked like porridge. 

Now the father spoke and said Satan dismiss yourself, Satan stood and screamed, then vanished. Three bites were taken out of the bowl. Then all at once I was watching myself from a distance, walking with Jesus up a grassy pathway. Jesus was speaking to me but from a distance I couldn't hear him, I could see myself shaking my head (like I understand) then thru my eyes I saw the house where I had been sleeping. 

I didn't know what had happened; I'd never experienced anything like that, before, I KNEW GOD loved me and wanted something from me...my total surrender. 

I needed to get a bible. So, I went to a bookstore and I got the largest family bible I'd ever seen, with pictures and everything. I was so happy. Then for the first time, I heard the living / spoken word.

That night the voice of the lord said, "Read Matthew 5." I had to look in the contents; I didn't know where Matthew was. When I found it and started to read, the words became a ("Word of the Lord to me") they just jumped off the page, they seemed to come alive, and they filled me, with hope, love and peace. Now I knew God loved me, and my sins were gone, I was forgiven... 

As time passed, I grew, sometimes I'd walk into a busy office or building (like a D.O.L) and the Lord would say go sit by that guy. I would strike up a conversation, then say "you don't know me but I'm a Christian and God is going to share with me about your life" I don't mean simple things like "you have the flu" or "Headaches", but deep, personal things that others couldn't know or even guess. 

People would usually start to cry and ask "how did you know?" I'd say "I didn't but God knew". 

This has been a short summary of my life. 

Now many years later, what happened to me? 

Great failure, habitual sin, followed by abundant mercy, grace, and a life of LIVING Hebrews Ch 4 (Rest) 

Maybe your sin is different, but at the root it is the same. At one time I was in your place, a captive to sin, daily sin for 30+ years, multiple times a day. Lust, masturbation, etc. 

I felt so bad, so guilty, how could I do this to God. Nothing brought relief. I confessed to friends, family, pastors. I wrote letters to Christian leaders, including Pat Robertson, I even fasted for 30 days. Nothing brought me freedom. Every day I failed. Then one day I had an idea. I knew this Christian lady from Russia. I had seen her pray and get instant answers (this is a gift given only to some). 

So, I go to her and ask her if she will fast and pray with me for one week, that I might be closer to God, to receive some kind of brokenness. Then about 2, maybe 3 weeks later, without me connecting the dots, not even remembering the fasting and prayers, my life literally feel apart. 

Car accidents, losing a 20-year job, lose friends, relationships with kids and family fall apart too. But my job... That was the killer, without it, I can't support my family, I would fail them. I couldn't bear it. 

I was so crushed. I decided I had had enough; I would end this now. I'm done. I grab my shotgun, load it with d ought and walk into the woods. I buried the stock in the dirt, asked God to please forgive me for what I'm about to do went straight on, and put the barrel ion my mouth, and pushed the trigger with my left thumb.

A few minutes later, I waken, and sight comes thru my eyes again. I'm lying flat on the ground, and I think, "I'm not in heaven, and I'm not in ****, oh no, I'm in the same place". 

I notice blood all over, the gun laying perfectly parallel to me, on my right side? As if someone had been holding it, or guiding it, and laid it there, by me. I'm cold... I grab the shotgun, wrap it in the blanket, and walk back to my car, placing it in the trunk. 

Every step, soaking the ground with blood. My pants are bloody, my boots full of blood, my car gets soaked, it's everywhere. I get to my house, no one is home. I leave a trail of blood with each step. I go upstairs to my bed room, I'm so tired. I lay down, but then get up. I walk into the bathroom, and see my face for the first time, and notice my injury. Half my face is gone, on the right side. 

I hear someone enter the front door. I close and lock the bathroom door. I hear hurried steps, and someone shouts my name (Dad)... My son knocks on the door. "Dad are you alright, what's all this blood". Yes, I'm ok, just call your mom, she will know what to do. "Dad open the door, or I'll kick it down". 

My son sees my face and runs to the phone, the ambulance and police come, and a helicopter flies me to Harborview. I'm there for 1-2 months, 3 or more surgeries. Lots of blood lost, as I had severed the carotid artery. 

After the long hospital stay, I return home... 

How is this possible, why am I alive? What does God think of me now? First, I live a life of backslidden, sin, and then try to kill myself! Is He, now mad at me, hate me, what does He think now? 

Every day my family has to clean my wound, a hole 3-4 inches into my head, opens up, and needs daily care, until it gets fixed and heals completely. Then one day... 

I'm all alone. They all go shopping, and also need a break, from the intensity of the situation. As I'm sitting at the table, I look outside, and see the rain drops falling to the ground. THEN... I hear His voice. 

He says "Rod, why do you believe what you believe and who taught you". I say "Lord I don't know, maybe I just picked up things on the way, as time went by". 

He says "Do you think TRUTH, goes from THE MIND of one man, and into the mind of another"? I said "No Lord. I believe TRUTH is REVEALED". He says "Do you remember the story of David, on his rooftop" "Yes, Lord I remember". "Do you remember what David wanted to do, and what I told him". "Yes Lord, he wanted to build you a house". "And I said NO". "But another would build my house". "He would have a son" 

"NOW WATCH ME FULFILL THIS SPOKEN WORD/PROMISE". 

One day David is on his rooftop, and he sees a woman, and says..."Get her for me"... 

***No one but God could arrange these circumstances in order to fulfill this promise, her there at the right time, David seeing her, and liking her. 

Then He says to me, "Do you have a problem with me using sin, to fulfill my will". I say "No Lord, for you created the law, you could make it vanish also, it is not possible for you to break it, for you are above it". 

Rod "I don't want you to ever put your sin above my love and grace for you. Don't ever do it again"! "IT IS NOT YOUR JOB, TO CHANGE YOURSELF, that is MY JOB; I am the farmer, you are the vine, I am the shepherd, you are the sheep. WHEN I want to change something in your life, I will bring it to your attention, and you JUST AGREE WITH ME"... "You just rest." 

***This was 12-15 years ago; I have been free ever since. I live the life of Hebrews CH4. 

**** I hope this helps/blesses you. Just rest. Sin is dead to us, even if we commit sin, it is DEAD, and it has been paid for. IT has no power over us, it has no meaning for us. 

Christ took it to the cross and killed it in the flesh, you NOW live in spirit, like changing cars. You went from a car, and now sit in a plane. The car (flesh and sin, which is in the flesh, can't fly, only a plane can fly). 

You have been crucified in Christ, that is who you are now. 

But you still live in a BODY that is tied to sin. You cannot LET it have influence over you. No one condones or wants to sin, but when and if you sin, COUNT IT AS DEAD, as if it didn't happen. JUST walk on... 

It says Boo, and you just ignore it, it is dead...


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So true.

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Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door

 And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime; 

When looking in, I saw upon the floor, 

Old hammers worn with beating years of time. 


“How many anvils have you had,” said I,

“To wear and batter these hammers so?”

“Just one,” said he; then with a twinkling eye,

“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”

 

And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s Word,

 For ages, skeptics blows have beat upon; 

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard, 

The anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone. 

          John Clifford

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If you found a letter in an old book, would you open it up and read it? Of course. Here is a portion of a letter I found from 1846. It's taken from a review of the book: The Life and Correspondence of Dr. Arnold

At the close of our former remarks upon this work, we intimated that the most striking peculiarity in Arnold's views, - and certainly that which, more than anything else, made him the object of denunciation and attack: This was his uncompromising hostility to the Christian Church in its actual condition. Catholic or Protestant, to him it is in this respect all alike. He absolutely regarded the existing priesthood as the Antichrist.

Concerning Dr. Arnold we notice: His hatred of priestcraft is born of his belief that it was this which has destroyed the Church. Thus he says, in the journal last quoted, p.482, "The kingdom of God is the perfect development of the Church of God and when priestcraft destroyed the Church, the kingdom of God became an impossibility." And in a letter, p.310, he says, "Certainly there is no battle in which I so entirely sympathize as in this of the Christian Church against priestcraft - the Antichrist." In another letter, p.313, he writes: "The whole mischief of the great Anti-Christian apostasy has for its root the tenet of a priestly government transmitted by a mystical succession from the apostles."

In another letter, he picked up his quill, dipped it in ink, and wrote about the comprehensive vision of following Christ: 

"But now, the true and grand idea of a Church, that is, a society for the purpose of making men like Christ, earth like heaven, the kingdoms of the world the kingdom of Christ, is all lost. Instead, men look upon it as an institution for religious instruction and religious worship thus robbing it of its life and universality, making it an affair of clergy, not of people; of preaching and ceremonies, not of living; of Sundays and synagogues instead of one of all days and all places, houses, streets, towns, and country."

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Here is chapter 4 of a book I am working on and sharing here. I hope it challenges and encourages some of you!

The Promise of the Kingdom

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Though "community" has become a common byword in the contemporary Western church, the practice of communal sharing has effectively fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately, it is often the poor who are left wanting because we no longer come together. Reta Halteman Finger finds a solution to this modern problem by learning from the ancient Mediterranean Christian culture of community. 

In the earliest Jerusalem church, in holding the responsibility for preparing and serving communal meals, women were given a place of honor. With the table fellowship and goods sharing of the early church, Luke says, "there were no needy persons among them" (Acts 4:34). 

Finger thoroughly examines this agape-meal tradition, challenging traditional interpretations of the "community of goods" in the Jerusalem church and proving that the communal sharing lasted for hundreds of years longer than previously assumed. Of Widows and Meals begins a discussion of need in community that can revolutionize the contemporary church's interaction with the world at large.

Reviews from Amazon:

Robert Jewett — University of Heidelberg
"Of Widows and Meals is a first — the only comprehensive analysis and unbiased interpretation that I have seen of the references to koinonia in Acts 2 and 6. Reta Halteman Finger surveys everything written about this issue and shows that the Jerusalem church was sharing resources of its members to support daily communal meals, and that the widows played a decisive role in this ministry. A brilliant, provocative, and courageous study, with revolutionary implications for the contemporary church."

Rosemary Radford Ruether — Claremont Graduate University
"With impeccably detailed scholarship, Reta Finger examines the traditions in the book of Acts about shared property and daily meals in the early Jerusalem church. She shows that this tradition represented a real commitment to a new community in Christ that cut across class divisions and extended food and support to the poorest. For Finger, those traditions are not just a historical footnote on a curious and short-lived practice at the beginning of Christianity, but are an ongoing legacy that must be taken seriously as central to living out the Christian gospel today."

About the Author: 

Reta Halteman Finger is assistant professor of New Testament at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania.

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Brother Timothy, I thank you for your awesome exposition of truth that you have found in the gospel of Matthew in the 23rd chapter. It is mind blowing how we have this truth in front of us in the written text and we miss it. I thank you Holy Spirit of God for your revelation of the truth and I no longer feel alone in my convictions and beliefs. 

One quick question if I may ask? Can you please give your thoughts and convictions on 

Ephesian 4:11-13

11 And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

Because of this scripture passage, the Church leadership has defended their stance on Positions of leadership. It would be wonderful to have your insight on this.

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Here is a portion of Martin Luther's letter to the Bohemian brethren. They lived in a region near what is now the Czech Republic.

We think of Luther as mainly opposing the practices of Catholicism. This is true but he also passionately desired more reformation among his Protestant family as well.

The notes between the quotes are from one George Bush. More on him later. Enjoy!

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Someone may feel that something else is clearly commanded beyond the eight norms I have given. Others may question whether one of these is really a norm. But do not let us get bogged down at this point. My primary point as we prepare for the end of the 20th century is, on the one hand, that there is a place for the institutional church and that it should maintain the form commanded by God, but, on the other hand, that this also leaves vast areas of freedom for change. 

It is my thesis that as we cannot bind men morally except with that which the Scripture clearly commands (beyond that we can only give advice), similarly, anything the New Testament does not command in regard to church form is a freedom to be exercised under the leadership of the Holy Spirit for that particular time and place. In other words, the New Testament sets boundary conditions but within these boundary conditions there is much freedom to meet the changes that arise both in different places and different times. 

Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century, 1970 pp. 61,62,66,67.

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Added a Photo 
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Added a Photo 
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Added a Group 

San Antonio TX is on the Map for House Church Network.

I am in search of existing house meetings in the San Antonio TX Area. I hope to find some existing meetings. If I am not able to find any, I will be looking to start a house meeting in the future once I get into a place that can accommodate the meeting with adequate space and amenities. 

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