They love to be called pastor, pastor

Posted: February 27, 2011 in christian living, ecclesia, Jesus
Tags: , , ,

Matthew 23:5 …they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

… they frame their theological degrees, and hang them on the wall for all to see, and love the reserved parking spots, and to have their names written on signs outside the meeting-house, and to be called of men Pastor, Pastor. But the body of Christ does not allow for clergy-laity, for Christ is the head and we are all brethren. There are true teachers and pastors, but if by vain pride or by tradition they violate this clear teaching of the Lord, then perhaps its time for them to humble themselves in sackcloth.

As we continue our family study through Matthew, it is amazing how much emphasis there is on avoiding the leaven of the pharisees.  The kingdom of God, the sermon on the mount, the building up of the last days bride of Christ is in complete opposition to the roman catholic, protestant, and cult church systems of our day just as it was in opposition to the jewish religious system of the first century.  Jesus said don’t be like the pharisees, meaning that even pastors who have a pure heart in these matters but follow bad traditions should still be exhorted on this. [edit]

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Comments
  1. Mark D Ketchum says:

    http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/schooley-pastor.shtml

    And most importantly http://www.gotquestions.org/senior-pastor.html

    This is a perfect example why we need Pastors today, especially those with advanced degrees. The article you wrote seems like you know what you are talking about, although a little hateful. Biblical interpretation requires the Holy Spirit who is a teacher and often requires homework.

    If you just read the Bible, you are going to get the basics of the Good News… you need study to understand the original text, historical relevance, literal relevance, theological relevance, and how the context relates to you personally today.

    The house church is good for some, but alot of them are becoming arrogant and prideful. “We are the true church!” “The big building worship style is heresy!” You talk about humility above, but you come across as prideful… especially when the common house church is as far from Biblical church as you can get. Until you give away all you own to your brothers, you aren’t even close. God never commanded us to meet in houses… they just happened to do so because that is all they had.

    • fleebabylon says:

      Ketch said:
      “but you come across as prideful… especially when the common house church is as far from Biblical church as you can get”

      You never responded to my response to your last comment on the early church giving away their possesions… here it is again. I would hope you would take time to answer for your comments if you are going to continue to post them Mark.

      Ketch said:
      “I don’t know any who have given away all their possessions. Isn’t that the model?”

      They gave away as there was need. I have a good brother that has slept on the floor of his rented mostly unfurnished house because he gives his money away to missions, the poor, and other brothers in need. I only know this through personal reasons, he would never tell anybody about this. In fact he would be embarrassed and feel like a pharisee if he even knew I was typing this (thankfully he doesn’t go on the internet though).

      I am sorry if you do not know people like that and only know people who sit in pews and build up the names of men and denominations on Sundays and Wednesdays. That blurb really says alot though Mark. You basically said since most house churches fall short of new testament christianity then that justifies the unbiblical religious system that you take part in.

      No it doesn’t Mark, and I pray better things for you friend. I hope you will not settle for anything less then the radical new testament life, even if you still feel the need to mix in the Sunday service with it. This post wasn’t even about house vrs institution to begin with btw! It is one thing for us to fall short in an area of doctrine or practice as we all do, it is another to justify that short coming and excuse it. We will never grow that way.

      Phillipians 3:12-15 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

      • Mark D Ketchum says:

        I am sorry, I did not see the question, nor did it come across my email… or I would have answered it.

        “And all who believed were together and fhad all things in common. And fthey were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Acts 2: 44-45.

        This is specifically saying “all who believed were together and had all things in common”. Not just some. This indicates that all believers were sharing all they had and not one claimed anything for their own… what is mine is yours… and what is ours are only necessities, not extras.

        So if you are going to claim that the house church is what God demands, then you much do the same here and act accordingly. Of course, like me, if you can see that the house church was in context with the times, and the fact that first century Christians did something does not establish it as a pattern for all generations to follow (unless there is also a clear command to do so elsewhere). Simply because Scripture records an event or practice does not, of itself, establish a command (nor, in some cases, even approval!).

        “I am sorry if you do not know people like that and only know people who sit in pews and build up the names of men and denominations on Sundays and Wednesdays.”

        Actually, I don’t know any of these people, although I am sure there are some sitting in the chairs of my church (we use chairs, not pews). The people I know don’t build up the names of denominations on Sundays and Wednesdays, but actually focus on Christ and the Word. We worship together on Sundays, but meet for Church during the week in our anchor groups. In fact, our Pastor has declared on numerous occassions that Sunday is worship and message and not Church.

        “You basically said since most house churches fall short of new testament christianity then that justifies the unbiblical religious system that you take part in.”

        Actually I did not say this. I stated that the house church is an unbiblical religious system if you go by your determination of what is biblical or not. Nobody I know at worship or at group is part of any religious system. And since the American Baptist Church lets each community Church act as they determine is in keeping in line with God, there really is no system at all. Not one ABC Church has worship the same as another… although we must adhere to all things Biblical, our creed… that is our determination. All community Churches are autonomous.

        I appreciate the prayer and I am sure it will help me as you are a brother in Christ. I too pray that you will see that condemnation is not the way to communicate. Instead of the constant condemnation of fellow brothers, the focus should be on the lost. And that you will see that the house church is not the answer, but a relationship with Christ is the only answer, whether you determine to worship at home with a few others or in a building with a few more… what you do in between worship is important as well… or if you are like me, you attempt to make your life and actions worship as well.

      • fleebabylon says:

        Mark-

        I will probably not get a chance until tomorrow after work to go all the way through your post. Thanks for writing back though, and dont think I write as your enemy or to be combative or anything like that. You remind me alot of a good brother I know, he used to say the exact same things to me all the time when he went to a bapstist church, now he has been convinced of the wisdom in fellowshiping according to the new testament pattern.

        I am not a supporter of the house Church movement when it comes down to it ,really what type of structure is not that important, but what takes place that is important. In that sense I think there is a new testament pattern that is for us to follow. Write more later.

        In Christ – Jim

  2. fleebabylon says:

    “http://www.gotquestions.org/senior-pastor.html”

    This little bit of churchy propoganda is quite lacking in every way.

    • Mark D Ketchum says:

      You would say that. It is actually the best source for education outside the Bible on the internet. There are a few things I have a problem with on this site, but it is very educational and well studied.

  3. fleebabylon says:

    “People naturally feel honored when the pastor takes time out of his schedule to meet personally with them, and they enjoy seeing him involved in community affairs. But when a pastor spends the majority of his time “taking time out” to do these things, he risks neglecting the gift he has been given; just as bad, he often finds himself trying to operate outside of the gifts God has given him, because God has given him gifts appropriate to the ministry He has called him to, not necessarily the one people expect from him. The success of the modern megachurch may be due partly to the fact that a senior pastor, often a gifted preacher and expositor, is freed by his staff to actually do the work he has been called to do. How much more effective might the Church be if all those who are called to teach the word of God were able to do the same thing?”

    This quote from the first link probably takes hte cake though.

    “”People naturally feel honored when the pastor takes time out of his schedule to meet personally with them,”

    The jews naturally felt honored when a scribe or pharisee took the time to meet personally with them too. This is contrast to biblical pastors that live their lives with the flock, sit in their houses, eat at common tables, that actually know and love the local church. They are to be examples among the flock, not religous scribes hiding behind the false authority of a pulpit.

    • Mark D Ketchum says:

      It seems you didn’t get the gist of the text at all.

      “People naturally feel honored when the pastor takes time out of his schedule to meet personally with them.”

      This is not saying that the pastor is high and mighty… this is not saying that the pastor is better and outside his flock. This is showing a truth such as the truth of when the Church wanted Paul to return to its midst. In a large Church the pastor does more than just eat at a common table, live with the flock, sit in their houses, etc… Their calling is great to the community, the Church, etc… so this text is telling the pastor that being with the people of the Church is equally important and not to neglect it.

      My wife and I joined a rather large Church a few years ago, and are still a part of it. We called the Pastor our 2nd month in and asked him to come over and have dinner with us… he and his wife and children (4 adopted) all came over the following week. This is a pastor who cares and is never too busy for his flock. We have a great relationship as do all others who wish with our pastor.

  4. fleebabylon says:

    ” not religous scribes hiding behind the false authority of a pulpit.”

    BTW, to save the comment there are true pastors that by blind tradition do these things, They are not scribes and pharisees, but just as Jesus warned His disciples they should be warned of the practice and to not be like them (scribes and pharisees)…

  5. John A. says:

    I agree with the vast majority of what your write here. I’m just curious…you would still allow for Elders right? A plurality of course. We don’t find a ‘pastor’ in the NT.

    I would say local congregations need to have elders, an authority…but they’re not clergy in the sense of being another class, a spiritual aristrocracy or anything like that.

    Just the plurality alone seems to largely diminish the pastor personality cult that develops in many churches.

    I’m very interested in Home Churches…I was part of one for awhile….but it does seem like many of them are anti-authority in general. Do you know what I mean?

    Again, I’m not saying we need Spiritual Lords, but it seems the NT lays out a polity in which there is a leadership with teaching and disciplinary authority.

    Obviously the seminaries, degrees hanging on the wall etc….are not what Paul had in mind. In fact the way the system works it often places very unqualified men in the pulpit. Basically if you can get through the programme (which in some cases is something of a joke) you’re almost guaranteed a pulpit. Unless you completely botch it…you’ll have a nice career. That’s one of the problems…the professional mindset, it’s a career etc…

    Anyway just curious for you to clarify. Thanks.

    • fleebabylon says:

      John-

      For sure, elders should be established in the local churches. We have attended some friends local church (meet in a house) and when we went the first time we new who the elders were without them writing their names on a sign outside the house. The meeting was very open for anyone to share a word, a hymn, etc and the elder whos house we were meeting at shared a teaching in the middle of that, as the Holy Spirit lead. Then another elder added to the word, to clarify something that a young believer could have misunderstood. Then another believer suggest that a hymn be sung, then the Lords supper was shared and the rest of the day was spent in less formal fellowship. Some of the kids played outside together, while brethren broke off into groups to discuss different things and share testimonies. Others who work heavy schedules even reclined in the corner to catch some rest. Now that I am writing this Im thinking its been way to long since we went out and vistied them!

      I do agree that many home churches are anti autority. The reason is often because the people have been hurt so bad by the self appointed authorities of constantines religous system. I examine myself for that too but having met true elders in the Church has helped me to get past that.

      I will say that I definately choose a house church with no elders established yet over mans institution with their self appointed leaders.

      Thanks for stopping by brother, I have been much encouraged by what things I have been able to read on your blog.

      In Christ -Jim

      • John A. says:

        Sorry for taking so long to reply….

        Thanks for the response and clarification. I agree with you wrote. I figured that’s what you meant but I wanted to make sure.

        Worship should be informal but reverent…that seems hard for a lot of people.

        We don’t need buildings and everybody all dressed up, but we also don’t need some guy who deliberately dressed like he’s going to the beach.

        I see both errors as flowing from the same source.

        Just like we need Elders who do indeed have authority, but we don’t need tyrants…which is real common in Reformed circles…..but in a lot of the Baptist-type churches we’ve been in, the Elders or Deacons as they usually label them seem to be impotent. Sometimes there’s some pretty outrageous conduct and really bad teaching and they won’t do anything about it! They’re concerned about their ‘worship team’ (whatever that is) or their building project but they won’t do their job.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing. They haven’t thought about questions like Church, worship, what are we doing when we gather?

        The contemporary crowd has given it a lot of thought, but their ideas are not Biblical. To begin with they usually have a wrong view of God and that shapes much of what they do. And rather than turn to Scripture they seem to turn to marketing and culture.

        It’s interesting how in those circles they keep making up new offices and create a sort of spiritual aristocracy. So now not only do you have the pastor, you have the worship team leader, the director of youth ministries, the director of the media center and on it goes.

        In a different cultural context that same theology generated archdeacons, abbots, prebendaries, rectors, canons, vicars and so forth.

        I’ll stop. I know you already know all this. (smile)

        Thanks for your encouragement and I appreciate your posts. God Bless.

      • ian vincent says:

        In response to John A. : i find your posts encouraging brother, as you get to the heart of the matter pretty quickly, instead of focusing on the externals.

        Let me add, as it seems appropriate to the subject matter here, that the concept of a “worship service”, or, church meetings as “worship”, is strangely absent from the NT narrative. It is very strongly represented in the OT, but absent in the NT.

        Whenever worship is mentioned in the NT, it is never defined in OT terms, like corporate singing and music; rather, it is always defined spiritually in the way each saint yields up their own life to Jesus, and this joyful yielding to, and doing His will, is worship.

        The fact that the church shifted back to an OT understanding of worship, while it appears on the surface to be innocent, and even God-glorifying, it is problematic, causing us to ignore some of the fundamental reasons why we are to gather together, and distracting us from them. Could write a whole lot more on this…

        For example, take the directives in 1 Cor 14 concerning gatherings : concerning a “worship service” all that is mentioned is that if anyone has a song they can share it. Other than that, the rest of the meeting is a “business meeting with God”.

        The whole drive back to the OT style is an escape from reality, and way to avoid the dynamics we see in 1 Cor 14, of a people functioning together using their gifts.

      • Mark D Ketchum says:

        All Scripture is to be used for teaching, admonishing, etc… not just the NT. As I am sure God was glorified and loved David’s singing and playing instruments while worshipping Him, I am also sure that He still loves this today. Jesus coming to earth to allow us entrance to heaven doesn’t change God’s mind about worship. If your heart is God’s and your worship sincere, the manner of music, dancing, singing, etc… vs. “a business meeting with God” doesn’t matter. I guess those in Africa who actually perform their entire Church services in song (their culture) are just doing it wrong… seriously. The arrogance here is astonishing. You guys do not have it any more right than the rest of us who love the Lord with all our hearts and are bursting with song and praise every Sunday and have our business meetings with Him throughout the week.

      • ian vincent says:

        I wrote:

        “Let me add, as it seems appropriate to the subject matter here, that the concept of a “worship service”, or, church meetings as “worship”, is STRANGELY ABSENT FROM THE NT NARRATIVE. It is very strongly represented in the OT, but absent in the NT.”
        .
        .
        .
        Is this a fair statement, or not?

        And, the MAIN reason Christianity has apostatized is it’s trying to still live in the OT. They went back to the OLD, back to LAW and TRADITION at the expense of the Holy Spirit.

        A “solid evangelical church today” has more in common with the OT than with the example of the Apostles and the early church. It is inexcusable.

    • John A. says:

      In response to Mark…

      I can understand your indignation, but I’m afraid your hermeneutics are lacking. It’s a little too simplistic to say…it’s in the OT, therefore we can do it.

      Do we sacrifice today? Why or why not?
      Do we have the Temple today? Why not?

      Who played the instruments in the temple? Levites.

      The NT teaches the entire OT order has been fulfilled. We’re not under Levi, we’re under Melchisedec. We don’t need temples, priests, sacrifices, instruments and the rest.

      As far as the folks in Africa….

      Bless their hearts, but maybe in time they’ll be taught better. Sadly much of the world looks to the American Church for guidance and instead they receive error.

      As far as it not mattering…I think you need to read your Bible again. It mattered profoundly to God in the OT whether or not his people were following his commands.

      In light of the Sufficiency of Scripture taught in the NT and Paul’s utter condemnation of will-worship (adding to) and his condemnations of ascetic type practices (subtracting from) and combined with Christ’s denunciations of extra-scriptural binding in terms of worship and practice (aka legalism) it would seem the NT continues the general principle from the OT.

      If Paul is concerned that we don’t but into the philosophies of culture, we don’t abstaid from meats, if Jesus rejects the Pharisees little ceremonies, then we too should reject any attempt by anyone to either bind us with Moses or try and impose Pagan ideas on us. We’re free, not to do what we want, but free from bondage.

      I know I’m a sinful wretch and I don’t have it all right…but that really has nothing to do with what the Bible actually teaches.

      If we think things are a mess today then we must ask why? And we must look for answers. And then we must interact with what’s happening. Anytime anyone questions anything that can be construed as arrogant.

      We’re trying to argue from Scripture. You want to do that too…bravo. So now, let’s set aside ad hominem attacks and look at what the Scriptures say.

      • Mark D Ketchum says:

        “Do we sacrifice today? Why or why not?
        Do we have the Temple today? Why not?”

        The answers to why not are found in the NT quite easily, however telling us not to sing, dance, and praise the Lord is not.

        “The NT teaches the entire OT order has been fulfilled. We’re not under Levi, we’re under Melchisedec. We don’t need temples, priests, sacrifices, instruments and the rest.”

        You are exaggerating what the NT says here… you throw “instruments” in with the rest as if that is what the NT says… it is not… stay true.

        “Bless their hearts, but maybe in time they’ll be taught better. Sadly much of the world looks to the American Church for guidance and instead they receive error.”

        Sadly, you are greatly mistaken and unlearned here. If you ever go to Africa on a mission (we have) you will see that their worship is nothing like American and is very foreign to us. Their traditions have them singing and chanting their worship because this is how they have always learned… to insinuate that they should be taught better reveals once again your arrogance that the American House Church way is the only way… it is not… in fact it is so far off the mark of what Christ wants for His Church that “somebody” has you seeing the rest of the Church while a plank blocks your vision.

        “As far as it not mattering…I think you need to read your Bible again. It mattered profoundly to God in the OT whether or not his people were following his commands.”

        Now you are back to the OT, whereas previously you argued against the OT by saying that Jesus fufilled the OT order… back and forth, back and forth… either what happens in the OT is still relevant (God’s commands, David praising Him with instruments, singing, and dancing) or it doesn’t… it does.

        “In light of the Sufficiency of Scripture taught in the NT and Paul’s utter condemnation of will-worship (adding to) and his condemnations of ascetic type practices (subtracting from) and combined with Christ’s denunciations of extra-scriptural binding in terms of worship and practice (aka legalism) it would seem the NT continues the general principle from the OT.”

        It seems like you describe the House Church quite well here… very legalistic and confrontational to the rest of the Church. Here are the rules! You must obey them! You need a house with no leaders! Maybe you can have a song, but the rest is business with God! No sitting in a line with people in front of you! You must not see the back of people’s heads or you are not really worshipping! You cannot have somebody called a Pastor who knows a little more than you about the Bible that is teaching, you must get taught from people just like you… you might get false teaching and not know it because nobody is learned in Scripture… so many rules and starting your own traditions of breaking away from traditions already in place… at least our traditions are honoring God (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it).

        “I know I’m a sinful wretch and I don’t have it all right…but that really has nothing to do with what the Bible actually teaches.”

        Ahhhh finally you hit the nail on the head. But you should have said, “none of us has it right”. God knows this and this is why He looks at the attitude of the heart. If you are worshipping Him in awe and love, the setting isn’t important… we are free. But please don’t claim that you have what the Bible teaches perfect either… the Calvanists and Arminians both think they do and they are no further from grace than you or I… somebody is wrong… probably everybody is wrong… but how you present it to the public can either cause chaos and dissention or bring the Church together.

        Yes, let us look at what Scripture says… and if we are going to take that just because the early Church met in houses that we must also… we have to do that with everything the early Church did… not just partake in what is convenient today… or we can see that just because they did it does not mean it is a command for us to do it, but to maybe take lessons from it instead. Cultures change.

      • ian vincent says:

        How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that in turn; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge. If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
        (1 Corinthians 14:26-31)

        There’s no record of, or instruction concerning having a “song service”. People had songs they wanted to sing in the assembly, and they sang them.

        The Holy Spirit guided them. Whether they sang one song or ten was totally up to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

        To shift or twist the issue around to one of being against worship music or instruments is disingenuous.

        If someone had come to Paul and requested that the church have an hour long “worship service” before the “sermon” he may have said to them:

        You want to worship the LORD?

        Yes!! I want to worship Him!!

        Then get up at 4am and spend 2 hrs lost in worship to Him. You can pour out your heart and declare how much you love Him. You can sing an shout and dance till you heart’s content.

        Hmmmm???

        What’s wrong? You don’t look happy?

        But… no one will see me worship the LORD if i do it in my room for 2 hrs??

        Why do you want people to see you? Isn’t worship for God alone?

        ……………………………

        Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        If this were the reality in the daily life of the saints, then they would not insist on having a “song service”. They are always singing to the LORD, so when they gather together that is not the priority.

        But if the saints don’t have this life of worship, then they will look more to a religious “service provider” to provide a good worship service for them, to fill the void missing in their life.

        Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

        This is not so much about a vertical worship, but to actually sing TO the brethren, as you sing THE WORD OF CHRIST to them.

        Our songs should be “the word of Christ”.

      • John A. says:

        Sing and dance all you want but when we gather together as the Church what is our standard? Old Covenant? Cultural Norm? That’s what happening in Africa…and when it’s not, they’re getting their teaching from Americans. I’m glad you’ve traveled. You’re not the only one.
        I’m sorry you think the book of Hebrews is exaggerating!
        As far as the conduct of the Church, the principle that when the people of God gather and how we worship God we only do what He commands….is a principle throughout the whole of Scripture. There is unity in substance with the OT, but OT/NT differ radically in form.
        If you want to have Temple worship in the NT, you’ll need some Levites and to borrow from those forms is to suggest that HE who fulfilled them has not yet come.
        No sir you are the legalist. If I walk into your gathering on Sunday morning, you’re saying to worship the Lord I must do a,b, and c. I’m saying…where is it in the Bible? If you can’t produce a cogent Redemptive-Historical and Biblical argument then you’re trying to bind my conscience with your man-made traditions. Cultures change? So what? Is the Word the standard or not? To think we know better today is a bit presumptuous don’t you think? Yikes.
        In the end, it would seem to me you’re going to do what you want to do….period. If that isn’t arrogant, I don’t know what is. I didn’t say I have it all correct. I’ve written extensively about the issues you raise and I would agree all ‘systems’ have a problem because they take on an extra-Scriptural life of their own.
        And for the record I don’t attend a house-church.

        Ian, I agree there is no specific call to worship in the NT…the form is quite different. Actually I think the gatherings in Apostolic times probably looked more like what we would call a Sunday School class…teaching, dialogue etc….obviously with some singing.

        There is a viable argument for some kind of musical instrumentation being used in these gatherings, but it’s not rooted in OT forms.

        I do think the Bible provides information for that gathering…it’s certainly not a free for all and certainly not entertainment. I think we’re more or less in agreement on the general idea.

  6. Mark D Ketchum says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog, however, I am unsubscribing at this time because I believe some of what you post is hurtful and causes dissention in the Church… just my opinion and certainly not to be seen as fact. We simply disagree on too many issues. I pray for you and your blog and that it will edify Christ and His followers. Amen!

    • fleebabylon says:

      Mark,

      I hope I have not said anything that caused undue offense to you. In the end though you look at modern christendom and see a glorious bride that is to be protected, I see a great whore and her harlot daughters that is to be exposed so Gods children may be protected from them.

      Jim

      A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? ~Jeremiah 5:30-31

      • Mark D Ketchum says:

        You have said nothing that offends me… you are entitled to your opinion. However, your statement that I look at modern Christendom and see a glorious bride that is to be protected is not correct. I look at modern American Christendom and see that for the most part, we are often off the mark… all of us, including the house Church, which is why I left that style of worship. I just don’t generalize and lump all denominations and Churches together. I see local Churches living for God and serving their communites, but I am sure there are those that need some admonishment. And I don’t see a Church that needs to be exposed, but rather educated and loved and nourished and joined together into one universal Catholic Church (not the Roman Catholic). The local Church can be and is amazing if you just get involved and love them. By them I mean the people (Church). Church isn’t about houses or buildings, but rather people and it doesn’t matter where they meet or how the chairs are lined up. If the pastor, speaker, teacher, elder, or whatever you want to call him is humble and teaches a great message that is pertinent to today and our lives but is based on Biblical Truth… you have the start of a good Church.

        But God bless you and may your blog/message be a blessing to others.

  7. fleebabylon says:

    “Church isn’t about houses or buildings, but rather people and it doesn’t matter where they meet or how the chairs are lined up.”

    I agree to an extent. If I make a 10 million dollar building encrusted with gold and diamnonds it certainly then would matter as it would reveal alot about those who choose to meet there. This is not far from what happens in the west.

    Whats most important is that the body is free to function as a body (that they may be built up into a perfect man and glorious bride eph 4), apart from denominational divisions (1 cor 3), apart from nicolatian clergy-men (rev 2), and the lukewarm philosophies of modern American christianity (rev 3).

    I am not here just to promote meeting in a house as I have said all along… I actually prefer to meet in dirty back allies of Detroit where you are likely to have a person walk into the meeting who is smoking crack or who wants one last chance to see if there really is any hope in Jesus before they go and committ suicide. That makes for a pretty good church service imho.

    In Christ – Jim

  8. Mark D Ketchum says:

    “If I make a 10 million dollar building encrusted with gold and diamnonds it certainly then would matter as it would reveal alot about those who choose to meet there. This is not far from what happens in the west.”

    Really? So the beautiful, elaborate temples of the Old and New Testament that God gave directions and blueprints on how to build were wasteful? I agree with you to a point, but it depends on the heart of those building it… if they want something that represents the glory of God… that is their heart… if they do it for vainity, well that is a different story. I have never seen a building encrusted in gold and diamonds however, so I think you greatly exagerate to make your claims. And just because a building is large with a large parking lot to accommodate the people that can fit into a large building, so be it. I believe we are bound to use technology to its utmost for the glory of God. We have alot of people to reach and limited space to do it in… time to get busy.

    I would love to hear the luke warm philosphies you speak of in the American Church… I for one wrestle daily with strong, Scriptural theologies that most house Churches would deny… at least those I have come in contact with (election, depravity, etc…). At least the American Baptist Church and other denominations recognize that we are chosen, not that we choose God.

    And meeting in back allies is great, but it is far from worship. Worship is where like-minded believers come together to praise and sing to God… what you are describing is evangelizing and witnessing… can be done in Church, but not the main purpose. Church should be a time of worship and praise open to everybody, but meant for the believer, and contain a strong message, lesson, or sermon.

  9. fleebabylon says:

    “I would love to hear the luke warm philosphies you speak of in the American Church”

    Rampant bondage to besetting sin, in the pulpit and the pews (A previous post has statisitcs that over 30% of pastors and 50% of pews habitually view pornography). People are taught this is the normal christian life, to be in bondage to besetting sin.

    Compromise with worldly entertainment. I dont have my statistics on me but what percentage of hte typical american congregation habitually and shamelessly watches programs on television that glorify sexual imorallity , greed, blasphemy, and violence. (This includes the office, simpsons, and men who are sports nuts.. typifying the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyesm and the pride of life).

    Those are just two but its late and I have long day that starts early.

    “And meeting in back allies is great, but it is far from worship. ”

    I am talking about meeting there as believers before going out to the surrounding streets to evangelize. I guess we are a million miles off, I would say what takes place in the average american church building on sunday morning is far from worship, at least not worship of the God of the Bible. Rank emotionalism, mixed with idolatry maybe, but not true woship.

    -Jim

  10. Mark D Ketchum says:

    “Rampant bondage to besetting sin, in the pulpit and the pews (A previous post has statisitcs that over 30% of pastors and 50% of pews habitually view pornography). People are taught this is the normal christian life, to be in bondage to besetting sin.”

    I asked about lukewarm philosophies… that these aren’t. I don’t know of an American Church that spews a philosophy that says, “pornography is OK.” Pornography is of Satan and man’s fallen state and it is a sin that tears families apart. Can you find me a mainstream Christian Church that has the philosophy that it doesn’t?

    Sure there are people that are luke warm Christians, but rarely the Church, unless you are talking Olsteen type religion, or Benny Hinn, or any of the other false prophets out there, but you aren’t… you are talking about the American Church in the mainstream. I am sure if they were able to poll the house Church there would be people watching pornography there as well… and pastors… doesn’t make it right or not a concern, but surely not regulated to the American Church that meets in a building.

    “People are taught this is the normal christian life, to be in bondage to besetting sin.”

    Bull pucky. Of the 12 churches I grew up in and have attended in my adult life… none teach that this is normal… maybe your Methodist or Presbyterian liberal churches, but not mainstream Christian conservatives.

    “This includes the office, simpsons, and men who are sports nuts.. typifying the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyesm and the pride of life.”

    I watch the office and I am a sports nut. Go Broncos! I am free and not held bondage to sin! Of course I don’t watch stuff that I could fall into sin watching… but these aren’t them.

  11. Mark D Ketchum says:

    From gotquestions.org

    Question: “What is true worship?”

    Answer: The Apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”

    This passage contains all the elements of true worship. First, there is the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to pour forth praise and thanksgiving—in other words, worship!

    Also in the passage is a description of the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our human faculties, all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes—are to be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar. But how? Again, the passage is clear: “by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God. We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows and so do the emotions. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

    There is only one way to renew our minds, and that is by the Word of God. It is the truth, the knowledge of the Word of God, which is to say the knowledge of the mercies of God, and we’re back where we began. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true spiritual worship. It is conviction followed by affection, affection that is a response to truth, not to any external stimuli, including music. Music as such has nothing to do with worship. Music can’t produce worship, although it certainly can produce emotion. Music is not the origin of worship, but it can be the expression of it. Do not look to music to induce your worship; look to music as simply an expression of that which is induced by a heart that is rapt by the mercies of God, obedient to His commands.

    True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how the worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things completely misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.

    It’s also important to know that worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy and not any of His servants (Revelation 19:10). We are not to worship saints, prophets, statues, angels, any false gods, or Mary, the mother of Jesus. We also should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return, such as a miraculous healing. Worship is done for God—because He deserves it—and for His pleasure alone. Worship can be public praise to God (Psalm 22:22, 35:18) in a congregational setting, where we can proclaim through prayer and praise our adoration and thankfulness to Him and what He has done for us. True worship is felt inwardly, and then comes out through our actions. “Going through the motions” out of obligation is displeasing to God and is done completely in vain. He can see through all the hypocrisy, and He hates it. He demonstrates this in Amos 5:21-24 as He talks about coming judgment. Another example is the story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. They both brought gift offerings to the Lord, but He was only pleased with Abel’s. Cain brought the gift out of obligation; Abel brought his finest lambs from his flock. He brought out of faith and admiration for God.

    True worship is not confined to what we do in church or open praise (although these things are both good and we are told in the Bible to do them). It is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we must know God; we cannot be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23). Worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Father.

    If you truly want to know more about worship, please visit gotquestions.org and type “worship” in the search engine… lots of resource here from a bevy of the best Christian minds today. I beg of you not to be so vain that you push this aside simply because you have something against my beliefs and those that are outside the simple church denominations.

  12. ian vincent says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have the integrity or character to honestly discuss the issues raised.

    God requires truth in the inward parts, more than your superficial approach to Scripture.

    Yes, those Christian leaders can teach very eloquently on “worship”, then turn around and prostitute that teaching for money, and accept fake honor from men… etc.

    America is imploding with such FAKE spirituality.

    There’s not one public leader in America who is even qualified to teach on worship.

    • Mark D Ketchum says:

      It’s a shame you don’t have the integrity or character to take the forest out of your eye. You are so blind to your doctrine that you can’t see Truth. Of course God requires truth in the inward parts more than a superficial approach to Scripture… nobody is saying otherwise… however, if that is what you are getting out of this discussion, you are blinded by your bias.

      America is imploding with FAKE spirituality… but this is happening in all areas of Church including the denomination of house church… and it is pretty evident here.

      Your statement that there is not one public leader in America who is even qualified to teach on worship is laughable at best… there are numerous… they just don’t agree with you.

      Think about it… the mainstream orthodox Church does not condemn your way of worship because we know it is your heart and mind that matter, not the presence of a band or the lack of a band or the number of people with their hands raised in worship. You, however, condemn because you think your doctrine and tradition of sitting around a house doing whatever happens, “Holy Spirit” is the only way… you limit the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works on individuals not situations.

      • ian vincent says:

        You don’t have a clue, mate.

        Like John said, you gonna do what you like anyway, so it’s a waste of time to try and discuss the Apostolic commands and examples with you.

        Every time a specific point comes up, you obfuscate, throw up a smokescreen and slip out of honestly answering the point.

      • Mark D Ketchum says:

        Ian… the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to some. If you were to have a point, it would be easier to answer. You spout out blind biased verse after verse to prove your point, but you don’t even follow your own theology. You take what you want that makes sense to you and apply to your worship and church style… all the while condemning all other Christians that disagree with that style.

        You don’t even show any commands, only opinions of what you think the Bible is telling everybody and you are so far off the mark I don’t think you will find your way back. I will continue to pray for you and your kind. God bless you and your journey.

      • ian vincent says:

        You just proved my point, again.

  13. fleebabylon says:

    “I watch the office and I am a sports nut. Go Broncos!”

    Mark-

    The office is filled with sexual induendos and other immodesty, greed, pride, etc… and being a sports nut typifies the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. I know, I used to watch it all and then go to church and raise my hands during worship and “feel the holy spirit” (funny how the holy spirit didnt convict me over this sin, only give me goose bumps when the worship music got crankin).

    All things aside about worship services, pastors, new testmanet gatherings, etc. Can you please tell me how you can read the following scripture then go on being a sports nut and watching the office. I am not coming against you here, but am admonishing you as one who was caught up in the same empty things you are. Read this from the espitle to the ephesians church carefully. It is shameful for a professing believer to watch the office. I know this is par for the course here in laodecia, but is shameful in Gods eyes. Not only is it shameful in itselt but it fills up something in us that takes the place of Gods best. Its like having an empty picture frame and putting a photo of a dung pile in it rather then a photo of the apple of your eye.

    Ephesians 5:3-12 NKJV
    But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

    1 John 2:15-16 NKJV
    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

    • Mark D Ketchum says:

      I actually had written a very nice rebuttal to your comment here before writing this. After reading some other thoughts on this subject from gotquestions.org and other blogs from fellow Christians, I believe I haven’t been able to advance to the next plateau in my faith because of some of the items you mention above. My wife and I have decided to stop recording the Office (so funny, though), 30 rock, SNL, and a few others. There are some shows we will watch because they have some spiritual exposure in them with the characters and we will fast forward and not watch gratuituous sex and such. As for sports, I disagree with you as I don’t believe it is sinful to support a team and watch them compete. Go Broncos and thank you for your insights on this subject. Glory to God!

  14. I can’t believe I made it to the end! Great points overall and I won’t add much but this: It is obviously direct disobedience to either call someone by a religious title or for someone to allow others to call them by a religious title. What is so hard to understand about the obvious command here?

    Despite Jesus stating plainly that He is the head of His ekklesia, ask any 10 year old child at your local IC whose in charge and what answer will you get? The obvious one, the man who stands behind the pulpit or up on the platform. It’s bad enough that we teach by example numerous errors among those we call our own, doubly egregious when we set an entirely false narrative for all the world to see- to those we owe the truth in sincerity to.

    There’s a reason so any people complain about all the hypocrites in the local (IC)- because there are! Isn’t it long overdue that judgment begins in the household of God? (or at least among those claiming to be God’s).

    Let judgment commence from the top down. Maybe there is more to that finger pointing 10 year old’s judgment after all.

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