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We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10

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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 the priestcraft - Antichrist." In another letter, p.313, he says: "The whole mischief of the great Antichristian apostasy has for its root the tenet of a priestly government transmitted by a mystical succession from the apostles."

With regard to another letter, he picked his quill, dipped it in ink, and wrote: 

"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."

William Tabbernee — Phillips Theological Seminary
"Written by the foremost feminist New Testament scholar from the Mennonite-Anabaptist tradition, Of Widows and Meals demonstrates, once and for all, the historical actuality of sharing common meals and other possessions in the earliest Christian communities. Finger masterfully utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on the results of the most recent scholarship pertaining to meals in the ancient world. . . She clarifies that the widows mentioned in Acts 6 were not the poor recipients of 'handouts' but important members of the Christian community in Jerusalem who, themselves, had a significant role in the production of the daily meals for that community. This well-written and fascinating book, full of carefully nuanced corrections to earlier inadequate theories, is a treasure trove of enlightening new insights."

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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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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Good to see folks here from North Carolina. One of the original 13 Colonies, I might add...

This happy street preacher brings good things to mind. Of how Jesus can mend not just our personal problems but also the problems which plague our society. After all, it was Jesus who said we were to be the light of the world and salt of this earth.

Therefore let us lay any racial prejudice aside and kneel at the Cross with any others who will join us there. Then rise and demonstrate His love to all people.

Also, the street preacher is a reminder of the ancient texts which speak of the early believers being the vessels of the truth and of preaching itself. Preaching was not confined then (or now) to a clerical cast.

Taking the church to the people rather than expecting them to come to us.

For me, he brought an old saying to my mind. It goes like this: "There is no happier Christian than the one who has yet to meet a theologian." In a sense, we are all theologians, true. We therefore can become too obsessed with new ideas while neglecting or forgetting to do what we already know is right and proven. Likewise, we can forget the wonderful simplicity of God's message of salvation.

We found this dear brother in Greensboro. We enjoyed our conversation very much as well as hearing him sing. We were visiting an outdoor arts show there on a hot day. Not soon forgotten.

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Here is the next chapter of a book I am working on, entitled: Lord Open Our Eyes."

Lord Open Our Eyes

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We are here in Greensboro in a thriving community/family of believers. Would love to meet you.

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Timothy, I took your advice. Thanks for the interest and the encouragement! It means a lot. I will be posting some additional chapters soon.


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You got it!  

This one would put you in the ballpark, "Some scholars believe that Mark's Gospel was written before those by Matthew, Luke and John."   That is 100% historically correct and it aligns with archaeological evidence.  That approach works with me because it aligns with a historical Jesus that there is in fact Roman records for.  When speaking with unbelievers, I stress that, yes, there really was a man named Jesus who lived in Judea at the turn of the 1st century.  That is a fact as far as we know.  The approach forces the ears of the unbeliever to accept we as a person, just like them.  That is harder to **** off as a "Christian nut."

You are doing great and I want to read it once done and will be your first customer if you print it.

Timothy, Redding

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Timothy, I finally got around to changing the text of chapter 2 of my book to "Some scholars believe that the Gospel according the Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

I could also say, "Some scholars believe that Mark's Gospel was written before those by Matthew, Luke and John."

The main reason I brought this up was that I feel a sense of urgency in Mark to get the important facts and issues across quickly and clearly. If there was a "Q" document, I have no way to know about it's tone or sense of urgency. Maybe this is important to me because I feel pressed to say what is on my heart in a concise way as well.

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Lately I have been thinking about posting some encouraging words for anyone here that might be discouraged by the state of the church these days. There have been times when I was deeply discouraged and all I could do is hold on to the hope that we would find our place in the Body of Christ.

I personally had to come to the place that my first responsibility was to follow Christ and trust He would lead my wife and I. The years I had sat under good teaching and my personal study of God's Word while seeking Him led me back to the simplicity of a relationship with Him. That includes responding to the clear instructions He has already given us.

Loving, forgiving, serving others is always an option. I know the context of a local fellowship is important, but there are times when we found ourselves unable to fit in for whatever reason.

This passage helped me many times: Ps 27:13:

"I had fainted , unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."

The goodness of the Lord sustained us and now we have relationships that are solid and growing and have many opportunities to serve His loved ones.

Some of the advice we receive here might be helpful, but our first priority is to our Lord, who is still building His church, which the gates of hades can not withstand!

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We currently meet Saturdays at 12 PM for food, fellowship, and worship.

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We have left the traditional church after 30 plus years. We could not refuse the drawing. Now we are looking for fellowship with others that have been lead in the same direction. Stokes County, NC

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Thank you for posting. I learned quite a bit from reading it.

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Yes, thank you for sharing back.  Brother, this is one example of why Christ’s mission was home church centered.  

The Byzantine-temple based system builds an entire building around the work of one single person, then cuts down a rain forest worth of hard wood to put in pews to make sure everybody in lined up in there like a Roman legion with just as many shields.  The emphasis is on silence so only one single person can speak the rest are to be silent.  They are temples, pure and simple, and there is no room for conversation about what God is actually doing in each persons life.  

Keep working on your book.  I want to read it.

in his name

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Timothy, thanks for reading my post. I appreciate your comments and the time you took to write them. I fully see your point, especially the part about avoiding the discussion. Seeing that my comment is not crucial to the point I am trying to make, I would rather leave it out than give a more lengthy explanation.  One of the common complaints I receive from people who know me is that I tend to complicate the issues by getting into too much detail. I happen to love the detail, but I do not want to lose my readers either.

At the same time, "big monkey scholars" are not my target audience. Yet, strangely enough, I would be amused to find a scholar had been examining my work.  Certainly a number of scholars would challenge many more of my statements if they read them.

Still, I will consider a better, more accurate way to point out that Mark was probably at least earlier than Matthew, Luke and John.


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Dan, it is pure, and from the heart.  That is very challenging for this generation.  It is Christians who talk about their walk, and it is unsettling for many.

May I?

From your work,

"Many scholars believe that the Gospel according the Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

We wouldn't phrase it exactly like that.  

How does this read?

"A significant number of scholars will offer that Mark is the oldest of the currently known extant versions of the life of Jesus."

There are a number of reasons why I suggest this.  I would phase it like this, but it isn't your voice.
"A significant number of scholars hold that the Gospel of Mark is the oldest known extant documentable version of the story of the life of Jesus."

1) Dan, "Many scholars believe that the Gospel accordintg to Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

That is very thin ice. There are actually a number of big monkey scholars who would take serious issue with that statement. The reasons is this.

Whose "many"? I ask that because "many scholars" also hold that Matthew and Luke shared a "source" document. We call this lost manuscript "Q," which is Q for quella, for source. There are two schools of thought among "Q-ists." One is that it was an actual document. The other, however, is that "Q" was the collective body of oral tradition. Accordingly, if it existed, and it is a great argument, then as a document, would Q have been older than Mark?

If it were me, I would completely avoid the discussion.  

"According to the archeological evidence, the general consenses among scholars is that Mark is the oldest known extant written version of the life of Jesus."

If you throw in the phrase "known extant" your statement is bullet proof.   If you say "... Mark was the first account of the life of Christ," now you have to prove that "something is not there." 

In the scholarly community of New Testament textual analysis, the word "extant" is a get out of jail free card.  It means "passed from the ages, recorded, and we still have it and can access it."  We only have about 550 "extant books" that have come to us by Greek authors from the ancient world.

I bring this up because I don't know of a single scholar who would agree with the way you phrased it, not one.
"Many scholars believe that the Gospel accordintg to Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

How about, "A significant number of scholars hold that the Gospel according to Mark is the oldest known extant version of the life of Jesus."

We cannot prove that it was the first.  What we can prove to reasonable minds is that of the extent documents that we do have, Mark arguably is the oldest, and part of the reason for this is actual archeological evidence.  We can now physically place Mark in Egypt in the mid-late to late 1st century.  Not long ago Egyptologists were examining a death mask on a mummy from first century.  It was made from pressed papyri, and when they looked through the layers, proof, out popped a fragment of the Gospel of Mark.  

We have been arguing that Mark was written in the 1st century for years, but now we actually have a piece of it that by context we can place in the late 1st century.


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Matthew 23:8-12,

8 ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε· Ῥαββί, εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος, πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε· 9 καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος· 10 μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί, ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς ὁ χριστός· 11 ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος. 12 ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται.  

1) διδάσκαλος, didaskalos, teacher, lecturer, instructor, master
2) πατέρα, patera, father, father-priest
3) καθηγηταί, katheigeitai, sr. professors, sr. lecturer, professors, doctors of knowledge, pastor, minister, etc
4) ἀδελφοί, (The word contains the idea of sister too, if there was one woman in the room, the room was still address in the masculine form, ἀδελφοί, adelphoi, brother and sister, and totally, and socially structured horizontally and egalitarian)

They know the ban is there in Greek, so they just add new words to cover Christ's teaching with smoke.  "Brother/sister" is the only role that Christ ordained, period.  I know, but wait a minute, Jesus had apostles, right?Okay, - look up the word "apostle" and find the number of times Jesus used the word.  It is a very short list.  In fact, - there is no list.  Jesus never used it, and it doesn't appear until Acts 1.  Moreover, historically, the professional suthsaying priesthood/clergy has translated this word "apostle" to mean "general of Christ."  That is absolutely incorrect.  An "apostolos" was a messanger, period.  General, or better for our language, military advisor, is stategos, the stratician.  Hellenistic Koine had absolutely no concept of "command general," and that is why when Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, then entire Hellenistic World was thrown into utter chaos because there was no sense of "general," let alone a "command general." No such idea in Hellenistic Koine, and that was why when Alexander died his successors immediately went to war. Jesus never once used the word desciple, and according to Matthew 23, anything other than "brother and/or sister" was thrown into the trashcan of history.

Ever notice that so many churches have their members chant that "Jesus died for my sins" but then they stop? It is a chant. Yes, Jesus died for our sins. Bingo! But he also died to make "church" a gathering and you your own "priest." Anything higher than that is the Man from Galilee.

Mark, Chapter 1:1, "Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Xριστοῦ."

1) Ἀρχὴ, archei, begins, beginning, first
2) εὐαγγελίου, euangeliou, from euangelios, gen., good+message,
3) Ἰησοῦ Xριστοῦ, Jesus Christ, of/from Jesus Christ

I dare you. Go over to Revelations 2:6, " Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. "

Over the course of the last 1,900 years "the church" and done all sorts of textual yoga to try to teach that the "Nicolaitans" were a wild *** cult. Here is the news. There is absolutely no historican reference by any author of antiquity for such a group, club, cult, or Malibu *** party. Zero.

On the other hand, Greek was not written like this. It was written:


Remember the eunuch in the chariot? He wasn't saying exactly what is translated that he said, not exactly.

So, it isn't just that "Nicolaitan" was two words that somebody once thought should go together.  ALL words were put together or separated as they thought the Greek meant them to be divided.   The problem is they didn't read or think that way.   Accordingly, "Nicolaitan" could just as easily be transcribed as "Niko Laitan."

Nike = winner, master, champion, over-lord
Laitan = the people, the body, all the believers
Works = the rituals, the church-hoki-poki, the light-the-candel-here-then-light-the-candel-there-turn-around-swing-the-smoke-throw-it-in-their-hair.

τὰ ἔργα, erga, "the works" is tough for modern minds because people have often been taught in Protestant circles that "works" in the New Testament means "deeds." That is only part of the canvas. τὰ ἔργα here references the "religious kabuki" play that follows a temple-religious script, a correct temple "dance" that those in charge of it imply was given to them from God. Back to Matthew 23 and we can see that Jesus burnt this as rubble by completely illiminating the heads of those in charge of all these rituals. "Sabbath" doesn't mean just the "day." Sabbath means the whole ritual. "Dinner" doesn't just mean the table, but it means the event, the food, the service, and the table where all that happens. Like that, the word "sabbath" references the whole ritualistic patternistic observance. And that is why in Matthew 12:8 we learn who is the "Lord of The Sabbath."

Next time you walk out of a church on Sunday look up.  Notice where the Sun is.  You are being herded into the sunlight at a very specific time so that Apollo can clearly see that you went temple and paid for your "works."  Well, where is the Sun at 12:00 PM, and why do we call it "Sun Day"?  Look into the year 321 AD.

Mark 1:1, the Good News of Jesus is that he is the Lord of the Sabbath, so you are free to worship God right where you are standing, and you don't have to pay for it.  The Good News of Jesus is that your home is your gathering, and where there are two, there is three.  That is an "Ekkleisia," a "church."  See Philemon 1.  The Good News of Jesus is that you have one teacher, one pastor, one minister, one priest, one father, and he lives out of town.  

America is dying because the American people have turned their backs on God, yet when they turn back to God, they go right back to the Byzantium temples that God completely and utterly crushed in the first place.  Behold the 7 Lamps of the Fellowships of Asia, for God promised to remove them from their lamp stands.  Look up each city and see what happened to each and every one of them.

Don't worry about it.  Don't worry if your fellowship has two people.  Don't worry about it.  Ever heard of a chap named Socrates?  Have you heard about that part where he was accused of "corrupting" the young men of Athens?  Anybody heard of that?  Part of that is true, but only part of it.

Socrates was hauled into court over two major issues, not one. On the charge of "corrupting the youth of Athens," he was completely acquited of that. What they "nailed" him on was he refusal to do his city's officially approved ritual-sacrifice-pray-services, called in Greek, Eusibia, and so his official charge was "Aeusidia."

Jesus took all that garbage to the cross.  You can meet in your home for fellowship, but you can meet anywhere for fellowship, that is as according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Jesus did just "leave it out."  Flip through it, and you will find that Jesus took his own teachings very seriously.  Up until 321 AD, folks were pulling their hair out because they couldn't find what day they were supposed to practice the Sabbath.  So, in 321 AD, ... they added it, skipping over Matthew 12:8.

μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί:  μηδὲ is two negatives right next to each other, no+butnot, I would prefer, "... no, you may not and shall not lable yourself ... " and just fill in all the honorific titles for religous big kahuna that people need to lust after.  For once they get the title, then you have to go when and where they say so.

Jesus threw it all in the trash....

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Just the other night there was a knock on my door.  I opened it and there they were, two young men petitioning me to visit their "church," and seems to me that it was the "Mother of the Holy Something or Other."  I used to engage in friendly conversations with other people about how they came to be lost in the jungles of "cult-world" who call themselves "Christians."  However, I am not 67, and only God knows how much time I have left here.  I will share here what I told them.  I live in Redding, CA where there are more cults than Goodyear has tires.  I keep a UBS Greek New Testment right there by my door, and when they naively tried to "lamp fish" me, I just picked it up.

Brothers and Sisters, I have been reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in Greek for over 40 years, every day, sentence by sentence, word by word.  However, I missed something.  I cannot find it.  I need your help.  Where in any of the Gospels of Christ did Jesus say that you may " .... not, never, ever, no way, no time, in any form, do that?"  Where is it?!  Where?!  Let's splice hairs, and then splice them again.  

Jesus' conversations on divorce, good arguement:  Yet, I ask Jesus himself this question.  He can read this, "Is saying that I lead someone to sin" exactly the same thing as saying
"never, ever, under any circumstances, do X, Y, or Z."   To Jesus himself, I offer that his "warning" is strong, but it is not as powerful as his "utter ban."

So, dear brothers and sisters of the world, all of you, please help me find the place in the four Gospels that in the Koine Greek, not in the anemic translations, that is a stronger, more direct order from God, to never, ever do something, that is stronger than Jesus' utter ban in Matthew 23 on any Christian calling him or herself, " ... priest, rabbi, pastor, doctor, minister, father, or religious-big-kahuna."   Take another look at Matthew 23:8-12.  The professional clergy do not want you to really look at that too closely.

One of these above pirataes once said boldly to me, "Oh, but Jesus was talking about Pharases."  Wrong, and that is a bald faced lie.  Read Matthew 23:1, "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ... "  Sorry friend, but Matthew 23:1 says that Jesus was speaking to the crowd.   Zip over to Matthew 21:18-19.  Have you ever heard that Matthew wrote his Gospel for Jews?  Does that ring in anybodys ears?  Well, his name was Rabbi Hillel, and he lived from around 110 BC to 10 BC.  Rabbi Hillel drafted 7 rules for reading the Old Testament.  Rule two, Geverah Savah, requires the reader to perform a very specific action.  If the reader comes across a word where the meaning is "unclear," then the reader is forced by mandate to source the way the word is used throughout the Torah, the Law.  That mandate must begin with the first use of that word.  Consequently, if read as a first century Jew, where is the author of Matthew 21:18-19 literally forcing his reader to first go? Answer: Genesis 3:7, "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves."   In other words, the fruit tree was covered only in leaves, but bore no fruit.  It isn't about how we prefer to understand Matthews "fig leaves"; it is about the rules of how Matthew 21 must be approached as according to Matthew's rules.  

After Matthew 21 where Jesus is saying for all eternity that "the clothing, vestments, collars, silver, gold, and all and any trappings are completely worthless," Jesus next in Matthew 23 utterly bans, forbids, and throws into the trash mound of history, all titles of any kind of religious office or title of "knowledge leader."  According to Matthew 23, brother and sister is it, end of script.  

It has only been within the last few years that the Vatican has made Textus Receptus openly available for scholars to read it.  Two of the reasons why are Matthew 9:13, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 24:27, and Matthew 21, and that is just for starters.  

The thing that is so stunning is that Matthew 23 is so clear, precise, and absolute.  First Jesus says in Matthew 21 that all they are, are fancy clothing and absolutely nothing else.  Then he takes the final leg out from under them in Matthew 23 and utterly bans then entire "calling."  In Matthew 23, Matthew used every word available to him to ban the very concept of "priest/minister/pastor/doctor of theology/professor," and you can bet they don't translate it as if they were reading 1st century Koine Greek, and they all weasel their dispicable way out of it by "American cheezing" their anemic translations.  

That is right.  The word "church" has been twisted, but you need a "church" because you need a place to put "The Chair."  And you need a "Chair" because you need to put someone in it who speaks for "The King."   

In Greek, Jesus' warning about divorce is stern.  However, notice that he doesn't say "I command you that you are never, ever, to do that."  

Brothers and Sisters, would somebody show me the other place in the Gospels where Jesus gives me a direct order to never, ever, ever do "that," that is a stronger direct order in Greek than the order given in Matthew 23?  

I have looked for it for 40 years and I cannot find it ...

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Here is the second installment of a book I am writing, that you might enjoy. I am including the audiobook on this link.

Light of the World, part 2

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I keep my version 4 of the German Bible Society's Greek New Testament right here by my desk while I am researching all these other things that I do. The 4th version of the UBS Greek New Testament, 1991/2001, was printed by the German Bible Society, the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, Germany. I used to read V3, but when V4 came out I retired it. However, once I got it in my hand I thought to look to be sure that it was a UBS GNT by the DBS of Stuttgart, and that was where my eyes stopped. I didn't keep reading to the bottom of the page. How could anybody in the USB not know that Chinese Christians, and in fact, any Christian caught in China is tortured? There is absolutely no way that they do not know this.

You are absolutely correct in my own case.  I just opened the inside cover and went all the way down to the bottom of my UBS GNT, and right there is says, back in 2010, it was printed in China!  How could I have missed that?

They are printed in China, but if you are caught with you, you will be arrested, tortured, and sent to a work camp.  Brilliant.  

I will let them know at the UBS and the German Bible Society that this is unacceptable for Christians to support the beatings of other Christians.  I have been in underground fellowships in China.  I am not throwing words around.

Thank you.

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Added a Discussion  

Wonderful Savior
My heart belongs to Thee
I will remember always the blood You shed for me
Wonderful Savior
My heart will know Your worth
So I will embrace You always as I walk this earth

Be blessed, be loved, be lifted high
Be treasured here
Be glorified
I owe my life to You my Lord
Here I am

Beautiful Jesus
How may I bless Your heart?
Knees to the earth I bow down to everything You are
Beautiful Jesus
You are my only worth
So let me embrace You always as I walk this earth

Be blessed, be loved, be lifted high
Be treasured here
Be glorified
I owe my life to You my Lord
Here I am

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Hiya dear Dan. Yes it is fascinating . Because in that day, the local priest was in total charge of everything. It's also fascinating that a guy in his 20s could publish a thousand page book - without a word processor or convenient library. And that there would be any demand for such a technical book of theology. Who do you know that reads multi-volume books like that? Written in Latin?  :)

As for the "ruling elder" - this concept did not appear until his third edition. No doubt his intentions were good. Just a Luther's were when he tried to define the Lord's Supper in terms which most of us do not accept. That is, unless you are Lutheran...

These guys were intensely persecuted in an era where heretics were tracked down burned in public. Some of the early editions of the Institutes were published under a false name to protect the author. Calvin's books were indeed burned in front of the great cathedral of Notre Dame, which was on fire a few years ago.

My owns views sometimes more resemble those of the Anabaptists. But they had some errors too, in my opinion. I wish Calvinists would drop that designation. Jesus taught to call no man your master. And Paul was disappointed that the Corinthians were following him instead of Christ. 

Calling yourself by another's name just adds another layer of complication to the simplicity of the Gospel. Calvin had a huge influence in his day and in the Reformation which followed - yet he did not want to have a grave marker.

What these old-timers can remind us of is that things do not have to be perfect before the Almighty can use us in this world. 

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