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Thread: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

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    'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    What 'offices' do we think still exist for the NT ekklesia today? How should they be 'governed'? How should Elders, Deacons, etc be appointed? Should there be 'offices' for Envangelist? Teacher, Prophet?

    If we believe in priesthood of all the believers, how should an NT ekklesia gathering be 'run'?

    One more question for those who believe the gift of prophecy (not the Charismatic version) is still available today, how would you recognise that someone has the gift?


    Martin

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeuos Eleos
    What 'offices' do we think still exist for the NT ekklesia today? How should they be 'governed'? How should Elders, Deacons, etc be appointed? Should there be 'offices' for Envangelist? Teacher, Prophet?
    i personally see no reason to deny that the offices of elder/overseer (not pastor...this is technically not a Scriptural office but rather a function) and deacon still exist for the church (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3; Titus 1). is there an argument that you are aware of that says that they shouldn't?

    and as how they are appointed, etc., i believe that there is no one way? i personally believe that they are elected or brought forth by the entire congregation. how exactly this is to be done is a gray area. for example, does the leadership first propose the names and then the congregation affirms or votes? of are they just appointed by the leadership with no opportunity for input from the congretation? these are issues which must be decided upon. reisinger has a very interesting article in this regard:

    http://www.soundofgrace.com/v6n9/syndrome-jgr.htm

    and as far as other offices, i'm not sure. this warrants further discussion. but i believe that evagelist, prophet, apostle, pastor-teacher, etc. were giftings and not official offices of the church. i don't know that there were any other offices in the apostolic church than just elder and deacon. does anyone have any evidence otherwise for discussion?
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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    and as how they are appointed, etc., i believe that there is no one way? i personally believe that they are elected or brought forth by the entire congregation.

    As far as deacons go I agree with you. I think the bible is clear that the congregation should choose them (Acts 6:3). however regarding elders I have been thinking lately that we may be wrong to have the congregation do the choosing. Since we are warned that it’s through the office of elder that falling away will occur (Acts 20:28-30) I think we should be very careful as to how these individuals are appointed.
    In the Bible elders seem to be appointed by church planters (Acts 14:23) or their representatives (Titus 1). Never as far as I know by congregations.
    If we look at Ephesians 4:11-14 it seems that the office of elder is a temporary one and is grouped with positions (apostles prophets and teachers) that we would never leave to a majority vote. It seems dangerous to me to let babes in Christ pick the people who will lead them.
    If on the other hand we were to follow the simple church model elders would be appointed at first by the church planter then would slowly work themselves out of a job as the converts in the church matured. Any talented younger men would probably be sent out to start their own churches as they grew up and others recognized their calling. So the members of the church would mature and grow old together both physically and spiritually.
    I’m only just starting to work this stuff out in my head so I would appreciate any thing you all would have to say in this manner.

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    As far as deacons go I agree with you. I think the bible is clear that the congregation should choose them (Acts 6:3). however regarding elders I have been thinking lately that we may be wrong to have the congregation do the choosing. Since we are warned that it’s through the office of elder that falling away will occur (Acts 20:28-30) I think we should be very careful as to how these individuals are appointed.
    In the Bible elders seem to be appointed by church planters (Acts 14:23) or their representatives (Titus 1). Never as far as I know by congregations.
    If we look at Ephesians 4:11-14 it seems that the office of elder is a temporary one and is grouped with positions (apostles prophets and teachers) that we would never leave to a majority vote. It seems dangerous to me to let babes in Christ pick the people who will lead them.
    i see what you're saying. we do find ourselves in a quandry when it comes to selecting/appointing/affirming elders since there are no apostles or their delegates around today. i take it that is when a roman catholic or Orthodox person would say, "see, we are the true church because we are the only ones who have apostolic authority."

    i personally think that it will be apparent who the elders are because their calling will be affirmed in their life to them and the congregation. i don't think we should assume that the entire flock is just babes or "dumb" sheep as some like to say. i think the Scripture is not explicit on how to appoint because this is a non-issue. the Scripture tells us how elders are identified and this is the means by which they are appointed/affirmed (cf. 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1). there is wisdom in the council of many so i think that the congregation should not be ignored. but i do think it may be wise to have more mature believers (the current leadership or church planter if there is no leadership established) do an initial screening and then have the entire congregation affirm that decision (not vote).
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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Amen! Voting is for democratic purposes of human government and other similar functions. It is certainly not for recognizing the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon an individual, except to say 'amen'!

    If a professed body of Christians does not have almost complete agreement on the anointing of an individual to a certain ministry, something is VERY wrong. If it takes a slight majority vote to make it happen, forget it!

    But anyway, offices are not the issue. God annoints his messengers and other men can only accept God's annointing or deny it. More often than not, men deny the annointing of the Holy Spirit and instead choose those who will compromise with the carnal objectives and doctrines of churchianity. Who can possibly propose that anything else is true?

    This is why prophecy is the greatest gift. It can only be truly acknowledged by the regenerate, though it certainly does not presuppose a perfection of knowledge or wisdom. Even 'prophets' (not receiving direct revelation, of course) need to be rebuked and evaluated. But men can appoint all the 'leaders' (calling them elders and deacons after 'NT language') that they want. But if God has annointed those whom they reject, they are accountable to God for their rejection of the testimony of the Holy Spirit! It doesn't matter how much they promote themselves as the ordained and destined preachers of God's oracles!

    A true New Testament community recognizes the equality of the testimony of all leaders whom God has annointed. Not just a few.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Disciple;
    i see what you're saying. we do find ourselves in a quandry when it comes to selecting/appointing/affirming elders since there are no apostles or their delegates around today.

    Aren’t we in the same situation as the Apostles after Judas abandoned them? Surely they thought of themselves as mature believers yet they did not feel qualified to choose his replacement. Only Jesus could choose a “big A” Apostle.
    The only reason they filled the spot at all was a specific mandate from scripture. We have no record of lot casting happening again. So “Big A” apostles soon passed from the seen. The only other example we have is Paul who received his call directly from Christ.
    Since we see no specific mandate for congregations to choose there own elders shouldn’t we take the same conservative approach as the twelve?
    When it comes to church planters however we have many examples to guide us. I think it’s ironic that we almost never follow the example of the early church in this manner.
    The church in Antioch recognized that Paul and Barnabas had a calling to be “little a” apostles. The same calling was arguably seen in Apollos (Acts 18:27) and Timothy (1 Tim 1:18, 4:18). The entire book of 3rd John deals with how we should treat these “little a” apostles.
    As congregations maybe we should be looking to send our gifted men out to the lost world instead of keeping them close to home where they can teach those who should have become teachers themselves (Heb 5:12).

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    I think it is important to remember as we explore this issue that we are not looking to discover the one true method of church government as the link disciple provided pointed out there might not be only one way to do it. I hope we can all agree the Bible is not especially clear on this subject. That being said here is a list some of the questions I have.
    1. What are the duties of the two offices (elder and deacon)?
    2. Are there limits to their power?
    3. Short of leaving a church can we as members appeal a decision of the elders/pastor? How?
    4. What are the duties of the congregation as a whole?
    5. What about deaconesses and the widows of 1 Tim 5?
    6. Do you think there is a place for (little a) apostles today?

    Maybe as a group we can come up with some guidelines to at least have a better church government than we do now.
    By the way I am also interested in the viewpoint of those of not coming from a “Baptist” style church background on this stuff.

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    Aren’t we in the same situation as the Apostles after Judas abandoned them? Surely they thought of themselves as mature believers yet they did not feel qualified to choose his replacement. Only Jesus could choose a “big A” Apostle.
    this may have given them a similar feeling, though at least they had "big A" Apostles among them to sort things out. i understand that things were a bit easier when there was conflict, because they would just appeal to the "big A" Apostles to sort it all out. we don't have that option now. it was probably more like the situation when the last "big A" Apostle died. that's when we see the idea of apostolic authority (though probably not as roman catholics or Orthodox understand it) developed. the early church created a whole slough of things to combat heresy such as the creed, the canon, and church heirarchy (in place of the apostles).

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    Since we see no specific mandate for congregations to choose there own elders shouldn’t we take the same conservative approach as the twelve?
    which is what? are you suggesting that we cast lots?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    When it comes to church planters however we have many examples to guide us. I think it’s ironic that we almost never follow the example of the early church in this manner.
    i think that's because we don't "do" church that way. church has become a business rather than a family and community.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    which is what? are you suggesting that we cast lots?

    Not exactly, I think an established congregation should in most cases refrain from choosing elders like they refrained from choosing Apostles.
    In a perfect world a church would have both elders and deacons however the Bible is plain that elders are not absolutely required to have a church and since I can find no precedent for any one but church planters appointing elders I feel it would be better to leave this office vacant in a mature church.
    If I were in charge of a church in this situation I think I would work toward a church government something like the following. I know it’s not perfect but it seems to be the best setup possible.
    There would be no elders but a group of deacons could take care of the financial matters of the congregation. There would perhaps be a man behind the pulpit but he would not be a pastor only a “preacher” maybe teacher would be a more biblical term. His sermons would be subject to testing according to the guidelines of 1 Cor 14. Any spiritual decisions would be brought before the church as a whole. Most importantly the church would look to birth new churches that would have properly appointed elders instead of trying to bring new converts to it.

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    which is what? are you suggesting that we cast lots? Not exactly, I think an established congregation should in most cases refrain from choosing elders like they refrained from choosing Apostles. In a perfect world a church would have both elders and deacons however the Bible is plain that elders are not absolutely required to have a church and since I can find no precedent for any one but church planters appointing elders I feel it would be better to leave this office vacant in a mature church. If I were in charge of a church in this situation I think I would work toward a church government something like the following. I know it’s not perfect but it seems to be the best setup possible.There would be no elders but a group of deacons could take care of the financial matters of the congregation. There would perhaps be a man behind the pulpit but he would not be a pastor only a “preacher” maybe teacher would be a more biblical term. His sermons would be subject to testing according to the guidelines of 1 Cor 14. Any spiritual decisions would be brought before the church as a whole. Most importantly the church would look to birth new churches that would have properly appointed elders instead of trying to bring new converts to it.
    Tomas the all those interested:
    Your model of the congregation government differs somewhat from what the Bible teaches. Let's see it point by point:

    The Deacons, "the sandwich makers", (find more about that further down in this post) in its institution had the mssion of caring for the charitable part of the ministry.
    Neither in Acts 6 or 1 Tim 3 there is indication that they were somehow the "trustees" of the financial affairs of the congregation. They were to be tested and chosen by the leadership.
    It is not wrong to make them today the trustees or the financial directors, but they are to work under the leadership of the overseer. Whereas the words "presbutero" and "episcopo" may intermingle in understanding, and ministry, there is not one iota of evidence that we are to confuse in any way shape or form the ministry of the "deacon and the elder".

    The Elder:
    The elder, according to Titus 1, is actually much broader and more relevant that you make it to be in your model above: they have to hold fast to the faithful word - according to the teaching of the Apostles. That's also a requirement for the deaconin order to be able to exhort in sound doctrineand refute those who contradict.
    The elders were the guardians of the apostolic teaching and their ministry is relevant today. Paul tells Titus that he "is to appoint them", and then procedes to the qualifications sought in a candidate for elder.

    The pastor: You say:
    There would perhaps be a man behind the pulpit but he would not be a pastor only a “preacher” maybe teacher would be a more biblical term. His sermons would be subject to testing according to the guidelines of 1 Cor 14.
    First, I would hope you would quote where you base that model. Let me point out however that in 1 Cor. 14 Paul talks about the "prophet" of the congregation. This office must not be confused with that of the pastor.
    The prophet of the congregation was a specific spiritual gift, a person, who would bring an utterance of a word to the congregation specifically for a local and impending situation.
    There is no evidence in the Bible that any of these prophecies became part of the Canon and there is not even one record of the contents of these prophecies, at least in the book of Corinthians.
    Should consider this gift of prophecy anything other than what is revealed in 1 Corinthians, we should look at the Book of Acts, chapter 11 verse 27 through 30, where a man named Agabus was a New Testament prophet and was heard by the disciples. There is no indication that Agabus was a pastor.
    Pastors are to follow the O.T. shadow of a pastor should be in the N.T. Pastors or shepherds cared for the sheep of their bosses in the O.T. In the N.T. pastors are to care for the sheep of their supreme Boss. The model of a pastor is laid out in John 10 and Psalm 23.
    A pastor is to care for the everyday needs of the sheep, feed the sheep, shear the sheep, get the sheep when it goes astray, find it in the thorns, or by the wayside, bring it back, if necessary break its legs and carry it with him until the sheep learns to trust his care, and watch over the sheep in general. Tools of the pastor are:
    • the staff - to drag the wolf away from the sheep
    • the rod - to hit the wolf in the head injurying or incapacitating him, making the rest of the pack fearful of the pastor
    Today, both are a figure of the care that the pastor has for God's sheep. You must be a pastor or be one to understand the role of a pastor and the heart of a pastor. I admit that the picture above is quite different than the way pastors conduct their role in America today. But the role of a pastor is relevant and it is in the Bible and he is responsible for caring for the sheep and as he conducts the sheep of God's pasture is not subject to "testing and guidelines of 1 Cor 14 as you stated.
    In all, here is the model of a New Testament Congregation Government as laid out by Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I firmly believe):

    Eph 4:1-16,
    Note: All these are called "GIFTS" by Paul. These are Gifts from God:

    Apostles:
    No longer called. God had the apostles necessary to establish doctrine and practice. Those who are called apostles today chose this name or accept this name purely because of self agrandizing desires. A key requirement for an apostle is to "have seen the Lord". (I Cor 9). They are God appointed

    Prophets:
    A neglected ministry. Under strict Biblical application this office is in force today as much as it is neglected today... They are not to change or to add to the Canon as they did not add nor changed the Canon or the Apostle's teachings of the early Congregation, rather their word and teaching had to be ratified by the Apostle's teachings. They are God appointed

    Evangelists:
    To go raise money on TV in flashy attire... No, just kidding. There is no description for this office in the Bible. The name may indicate that they would evangelize the new converts. I believe its role is obvious and does not require elaboration. Not even Paul cared to elaborate. I don't know by N.T. context whether they were God appointed, although we know that they are God called, or the disciples would appoint. I just know that one of the deacons became an evangelist whose work is recorded forever in the Book of Acts: Philip. Read Acts 6:5 and then Acts 8:4-6, verse 12,13, and the verses 25-40. Note verse 29 where God performs the miracle of "transladation" in Deacon Philip! (That's what God can do with a deacon...). Deacons are not to lead, but God can use them as evangelists. The problem today is that some congregations are deacon possessed, pun intended, and that is also against the Bible. Other than this role of evangelizing, I don't see Philip, besides being a deacon turned evangelist, fullfilling any other role in the body. Perhaps the evangelist is the most specific role, or Gift given by God to the ekklesia.

    Pastors:
    I am just pasting what I wrote above:Pastors are to follow the O.T. shadow of a pastor should be in the N.T. Pastors or shepherds cared for the sheep of their bosses in the O.T. In the N.T. pastors are to care for the sheep of their supreme Boss. The model of a pastor is laid out in John 10 and Psalm 23. A pastor is to care for the everyday needs of the sheep, feed the sheep, shear the sheep, get the sheep when it goes astray, find it in the thorns, or by the wayside, bring it back, if necessary break its legs and carry it with him until the sheep learns to trust his care, and watch over the sheep in general. Tools of the pastor are:the staff - to drag the wolf away from the sheepthe rod - to hit the wolf in the head injurying or incapacitating him, making the rest of the pack fearful of the pastor

    Teachers:
    Those dedicated exclusively to teach the Word of God to the Congregation. It is not known if this office was performed by an elder, a bishop a pastor. The Bible does not say whether one can or not exercise this office if they already are a Gift in another office, but by the ministry of the early Apostles we know that the Apostles, the elders and bishops, and even deacons were ordered to "hold fast to the faithful word" and exhort. Considering that to exhort was not done by any other means than speaking the "faithful word and sound doctrine" and also "refute those who contradict" it is very possible that the elders fulfilled this role of teacher.

    Paul says, inspired by the Spirit, that these are for the equipping of the Saints, for the work of the ministry. Without these gifts there will no equipment for the Saints.

    However a congregation chooses to place these Gifts in office, they have to follow the guidelines of God's appointing, God's calling, and God's overall purpose. I don't accept votes nor election for offices in the Congregation as they are akin to worldly DEMocracy.
    The prefix DEM when FORCED upon the Government of God's Congregation, does not mean "people" but it comes from another source whose name starts with DEM. I am sure anyone can figure out who it is.

    Finally, my point, and there is a point, is that your model is, in my really, really humble opinion, at variance with the Biblical model of Government in the Body of Christ.

    Milt
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    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Milt, thanks for your studies on this issue. Your 'more apostolic' perspective (on the deaconate and eldership) might be practically implemented by SOME--if today's churchianity were even at stage 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 as compared to the apostolic era. However, it is not in the slightest. We know it!

    Tomas:
    the Bible is plain that elders are not absolutely required to have a church.

    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, and AMEN! Even though the expression 'church' in the English is a sick perversion of the truth and is not biblical. But if by church you mean the NT ekklesia, the comment is extremely timely and relevant! An ekklesia exists in the fullest wherever 2 or 3 genuine gospel believers are gathered in his name (whether or not any are 'elders').

    Church (an institution of religion--ugh!) is strictly Constantinian.

    As we both agree, the manefestation of Christianity in a true body of visible believers is in its early infancy. The final consummation at the last coming of Christ--who will come for an ekklesia that seriously obeys his commands to honor the gospel in faith and life (though it certainly will not sinless)--will probably not occur for at least 2000-4000 years. If today's professed Christianity were to be compared to the life of the average human being, it is about 3 years old.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    G.A. thanks for a great post I mostly agree that the way you spelled it out is the way a healthy church should function my only question is how we get from here to there.

    G.A.
    However a congregation chooses to place these Gifts in office
    In the case of elders/pastors how can you justify this from scripture?

    Let me explain why I think we, as a congregation should not appoint our own elders.
    In the system that we follow today in congregational churches the elder/pastor is “Pope” of the congregation. If there is a question as to his judgment on a particular doctrine or a disagreement over discipline the only choice a member has is to leave the church. This often happens even over trivial matters so the unity of the Body of Christ is nothing but a pipe dream.
    One way to solve this problem would be to set up a hierarchy of appeal like you find in Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches. I don’t find any justification in scripture for this either and we all know the problems this set up has caused in the past.
    Now if we followed the plan than that I am advocating. The elders would answer to a church planter in turn the church planter would answer to a congregation and another set of elders etc. etc. This is not a hierocracy but a network there is no earthly head but every one is subject to someone else.

    In the Bible it looked like this. Paul and Barnabas in there status as “little a” apostles reported to the church in Antioch. (Acts 14:27) and when men from the church in Jerusalem started preaching heresy Paul and company had a place to appeal (Acts 15:1-2) not just to the Apostles but also to the elders of the Jerusalem church and that whole congregation. Unity was not destroyed and no one lorded over any one else.

    Billtwisse: But if by church you mean the NT ekklesia, the comment is extremely timely and relevant!
    That is what I mean but rednecks like me don’t normally use greek words

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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomas1
    Now if we followed the plan than that I am advocating. The elders would answer to a church planter in turn the church planter would answer to a congregation and another set of elders etc. etc. This is not a hierocracy but a network there is no earthly head but every one is subject to someone else.

    In the Bible it looked like this. Paul and Barnabas in there status as “little a” apostles reported to the church in Antioch. (Acts 14:27) and when men from the church in Jerusalem started preaching heresy Paul and company had a place to appeal (Acts 15:1-2) not just to the Apostles but also to the elders of the Jerusalem church and that whole congregation. Unity was not destroyed and no one lorded over any one else.
    Tomas, note that the "congregation" is composed of "novices, older christians, non-elect "christians", wheat, tares, and even "oats" (chuckles)...
    In a setting like that, if they had a chance to judge either the teaching or conduct of its leaders it would have been the same thing as giving the right to the the inmates of the state penitenciary to vote for the State Prossecutor who put them in jail and evaluate their work... It would be like giving the chicken pen for the fox to watch over... Spiritually, it would give room for all kinds of rebellion and politics. Of course, NO SYSTEM is free of rebellion or politics, but no chicken is completely free from the foxes' jaws, neither is any State Prossecutor is free from being booted out of the office by the people whom he would throw in jail eventually, but we do not have to make it easy for neither of these things to happen.

    A body of leaders (to use a generic term) who are respected by the Congregation, whom the people recognize as men called of God, (and that is possible by comparing their lives with the qualifications given by Paul to Timothy and Titus) which preach sound doctrine, as taught by the Apostles (and prohpets if we are to follow Paul), should be responsible for appointing and "dis-appointing" these elders.

    I don't defend "church ownership" neither Congregational dictatorship, however, the day the Body of Christ began to mistrust their leaders was the day that "churchianity" was found and staked its dire claims in that which should be called the Body of Christ. The results are devastating and no matter how much the glow of God's annointed few shines in a community, there will be always those who will use their self-interest and mistrust to "vote them out". That is sad!

    Paul and the others returned to Anthioc because it was the place where they would find committed fellowship and an environment of wholesome accountability to refuge, rest, regroup and reassign (I have a message on these alliterations, based on Anthioc and the Cave of Adulam, but anyone can use it next Sunday...), but it was not meant to become ROME, or the VATICAN. The RCC should know that if the Ekklesia ever had a headquarter it would have been Anthioc, not the Vatican! Let's not make the same mistake!

    Thanks for the words and for the interaction!

    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

  14. #14
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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    Hey guys,
    as I continue to look at this issue I am again struck by the warnings from Paul. He warns us that heresy will come when elders try to draw people to themselves.

    Acts 20:30Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

    And also when people pick the teachers that they want.

    2nd Tim 4:3For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
    Is this not the exact position we find ourselves in today Pastors speak perverse things and congregations look for leaders to scratch their ears. It amazes me that the Gospel is proclaimed at all in our churches. No wonder freewillism runs rampant why should we expect anything else. What we desperately need is for someone to do what Paul told Timothy to do to elders who sin.

    1Tim 5:20Those who sin, reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear
    Unfortunately since we don’t appoint elders the way they did no one is qualified to reprove them in the sight of all and our elders have nothing to fear. So the only thing we can do is pray for the time when God raises up a new generation that will follow the pattern that we see on the pages of the NT when elders can be held accountable for what they preach

  15. #15
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    Re: 'Offices' in the NT ekklesia

    This is the whole issue; leaders strictly ordained by the annointing of God's Holy Spirit versus leaders of man's own sinful choosing. The first-century rebels who came to oppose the greatest gospel light in history--these persons committed a sin infinitely greater than those who rebelled against the witness of the physical signs of God in the Exodus. They heard the final and eternal message of God's infinite and unchanging grace in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the second member of the godhead! Yet they went after strange doctrines of devils.

    Leaders are not those chosen by men, but those chosen of God. Even if no one has a 'ooey-gooey' feeling in the tummy and submits to their authority based on admiration or awe-strickenness.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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