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.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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?
“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.0 0 0 0 0 0 0