Only One Church United in Doctrine? – Part 1 of 2

The Church of ChristCan Christians be united in doctrine (teaching)? We are to strive to be united. Yet, must we be one teaching? We do not have to be united in opinion and inferences. Must this include doctrine?

Christ’s Spirit makes he plea for unity in doctrine in 1 Corinthians. First Corinthians 1:10 states,

Now I plead with you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, and you be completely united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

Christ’s Spirit is speaking through the Apostle Paul pleading specifically with the Christians in Corinth and generally pleading “with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:2). Paul’s plea is not just for one congregation in Corinth, but for all Christians in every place to be united as seen later by Paul’s statement, “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).  Paul was in Ephesus and included himself within “we” among all Christians in Corinth and everywhere, who are one body and partake of one bread.

As Christians, we must be diligent to be joined together in the same mind and understanding, and we must also make these plea know to other Christians. We can and must speak the same things without divisions among us. Many churches and like-minded believers think contrary to Christ’s Spirit that Christians cannot be united in mind and purpose to the extent that 1 Corinthians teaches. Of course, they would believe this. They have their own contrary traditions, creeds, and opinions. For unity, we cannot have our own traditions, creeds, and opinions among differing churches. Only when our beliefs and practices are from Christ can we be joined together. Everyone in fellowship with Christ must be in fellowship with one another. We cannot be united in different teachings and all claim to have received them from Christ.

Many say that there can be no unity in doctrine. First Corinthians 1:10 shows how unity in doctrine is not easy, but it is commanded. Some scoff, “How can we be united with so many different interpretations?” Again, let Christ, His Spirit, and the Apostles interpret their own words, and then we’ll be one. Can Christ be divided? Does Jesus have different doctrines among different churches or is there one Christ with one truth in His one Church?  First Corinthians 1:11-13 says,

“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Here is the definition of a denomination, a division by name representing differing beliefs and practices. There are not supposed to be denominations. The Christians in Corinth erred in this area and were corrected for their factions and for erring in areas of doctrine. Paul did not cut them off for their errors, but corrected them, so we should do the same. Yet, Paul recognized that they were “of Christ” and that the Corinthian Christians were “babes” and even “carnal” (1 Cor. 3:1, 23). Their souls were endangered over divisions and doctrines and practices separate from Christ.

Some believers generally declare, “As long as, we are united in matters of salvation, then the other doctrines do not matter.” Yet, what are salvation doctrines? Does what Christ’s Spirit correct matter as doctrine? Can we observe teaching and practice church customs contrary to the teaching of the scriptures and expect to be saved? Can we add, annul and, or do contrary to the perfect completion of Christ’s words with His revelation to His Apostles and prophet? Certainly, opinions and inferences should not divide. Interpretations of history in regards to symbolic scriptures must not separate believers. Yet, we can and must be united in doctrine being joined together in the same mind and the same judgment speaking the same things. Let us further consider in the next part that specific doctrines matter. There is way for all Christians to be perfectly joined together. We can be united in doctrine and practice.

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Christ, Christianity, churches of Christ and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Only One Church United in Doctrine? – Part 1 of 2

  1. Phil says:

    You said, “Why do you think that Jesus’ instruction about worship are a matter of opinion?” I think you have an opinion about this. I don’t see what you see regarding this issue. If Jesus said, “Don’t use instuments in worship service then yes it would be wrong to do so…..BUT HE DIDN’T, and yet you assume it’s wrong based upon wrong application of principles. Romans 14 absolutely does not exclude instument’s when Paul says, “14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” Is an instument unclean in itself? Absolutely not! There is a principle being taught here that you are missing. This passage is not just about meat and worship days.

    You said, “Add instruments to the Lord’s music is just as wrong as adding lamb to the Lord’s Supper. ” NO IT’S NOT! That is your opinion. The Bible does not say this, you did. I don’t approach the bible bible from a legalistic point of view like you do. You’re trying NOT to mess up in your approach to Christianity. It’s about what you can do and what you can’t do. That type of thinking distracts from the real purpose of Christianity, and that is to be spiritually transformed of mind. I am a Christian and I can use an instrument along with my singing to praise God without one ounce of guilt. If I’m wrong then grace will cover my misunderstanding, but I will not become a Christian in bondage worrying about such trivial matters as IM. We are called to be free and spending time worrying about whether IM is a sin is not is the antithesis of what Christianity is about. The NT is of the The Spirit and the spirit of law allows for differences in these matters. If the NT was just another letter of law then you might have an argument, but it’s not!

    You said, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit. You cannot change that. This is not a matter of opinion.” I never said it was or never implied such! You have created a straw man argument here based upon the fact that said your understanding is that the use of IM is wrong. I read the same text as you did came to a different conclusion. You have an opinion on this and I have an opinion on this. I NEVER stated that “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit,” are a matter of opinion. Where do you come up with this?

    You said, “Do you really think that you can praise or pray to God with a machine along with your lips expressing your heart?” Absolutely! If you can’t then that is between you and God! If I can’t have IM music in the background while I’m singing praise to God then it is I who am weak. The IM does not change my heart! I like to think I’m not that attention challenged. Maybe you are. Again I refer to the principle in Romans 14.

    Like

    • Phil,

      Clearly, you see your inconsistency. Jesus never specifically said that adding Lamb’s meat to the Lord’s Supper was wrong. Yet, the Lord’s Supper was established perfectly that no mature Christian would add to it. You admit this. Right? The same goes for baptism. Can we add ashes to the water so that it is the like the waters of purification in Leviticus? Jesus never said, “Thou shalt not.” We can make a well intentioned reason for adding such, but it does not make it right. Can we add multiple spouses to marriage? Jesus never said, “Thou shalt not” and David had more than one wife (since you are following his worship). Should we take Jesus’ words against fornication and lewdness to not include homosexuality, incest, pedophilia and, or rape, because Jesus never directly said, “Thou shalt not”? We both infer correctly that these evil actions were included by Jesus in speaking during the authority of the Law of Moses and so we both know that the definition of fornication and lewdness include these evils (Mark 7:21-23). Should we apply Romans 14:14 here? Certainly not! “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” You are urging the acceptance of adding lamb’s meat to the Lord’s Supper by adding instrumental music to the Lord’s music. “Learn not to go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). Don’t transgress the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Don’t add to God’s covenant (Gal. 3:15). Don’t add to God’s revelation (Rev. 22:18-19).

      You may reply about this, but to continue this discussion please post under: https://godsbreath.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/add-lamb/

      Like

  2. One assumption you are making is that whenever an apostle asked for unity in the early church he was talking about unity of the Sunday morning worship service. Another assumption is that there was a specific format of worship that all the early churches used. But even a casual reading of the New Testament shows that the writers were greatly concerned about the resurrection of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the equal treatment of everyone. Worship formats were only discussed when the format interfered with the equality of everyone in the worship service.

    Like

    • Jesus established the Church in the most wonderful and complete way. We can certainly add anything better to the Church or to the Assembly. We keep these amazing traditions as Christ’s Spirit instructed, “keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2, 23ff). All the Assemblies were of the same wonderful likeness, “decently and in order”. Remember that Paul’s epistle was specifically to the Corinthians, but also to saints “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1 Cor. 1:2). The Spirit taught through the Apostle Paul the ways of Christ “as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). All Christians are to gathered to partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16-17, 21, 11:17-34). The disciples gathered on the first day of the week to break the bread (Acts 20:7). First Corinthians 14 shows that there was also to be teaching, singing, and praying in the Assembly. We also read of “the collection of the saints” “on the first day of the first” (1 Cor. 16:1-2). The Assembly as established by Christ is no simple, pure, and glorious, because He is in our midst (Matt. 18:20) as Christ was in the midst of the “lampstands”, congregations, on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10, 17, 20). As Jesus said, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You” (Heb. 2:12). Christ made all things perfect and complete and we cannot to what He made perfectly and completely glorious and wonderful. For this, we “gather to stir one another up to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24-25). Therefore, we should respect “the fruit of the grapevine” in the Lord’s Supper and not change that as Jesus established, and even so, we must not change the praise “praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15).

      No assumptions were made here. There is no mention “Sunday Morning Worship Service”. The scriptures speak of “the Assembly” whatever the time may be in that day when “the whole church” “gathers together in one place”. Equality was not the focus of the Assembly but rather worshiping God, Christ, the Spirit, and the edification of these Christians. Yes, these Christians in Corinth brought in things that interfered. They changed the Assembly and the worship thereof, and this was costing the souls of some of them and endangering others. The Assembly was to be decently and in order. The way in which the Assembly established to help these Christians, and their selfish ambition had turned it into a talent show. This was not about everyone getting a chance as some have falsely taught from 1 Cor. 14:26, which is followed by speakers speaking one by one.

      Like

      • Phil says:

        Scott, again your emphasis is more upon outer actions than inner consciousness. Anyone can follow the liturgy without one ounce of faith being present. Are you promoting outer action over inner consciousness? As Christians we have the power of discernment at our disposal. We do not follow rules to the tee as proof that we are worthy of salvation, and yet I get that you believe this, whether you admit it or not. Your emphasis seems to be upon outer behavior as if that is what God really cares about under new covenant principles.

        Outer behavior not to be ignored but it’s not to be overemphasized either. God judges the heart and the heart can be right with God even while doing things that are not technically correct as prescribed by what is “perceived” to be NT commands. I can sing along with IM and still have a heart that is right with God. As NT Christians we are under the Spirit of law, not the letter of law. The Spirit of law allows for deviation based upon the conditions at the moment of decision.

        We are wired differently. You may be wired for technical correctness and obedience to strict laws. I’m not wired that way and do not see the need to be so. I don’t expect you to see what I see but I don’t expect you to condemn what I see either, especially when I can support it with scripture, just as you do.

        Like

        • Either we are to observe all that Jesus commanded or we are not. Either we can or we can’t. Jesus told His Apostle make disciples baptizing them and “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).

          “Scott, again your emphasis is more upon outer actions than inner consciousness.” Again you presumptuously judge. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35, cf. Matt. 7:15-20).

          As for the Law, Christ’s Spirit states, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2).

          Have shown yourself to be wired to only profess that you have permission to not concern yourself with observing all that Jesus commanded?

          Like

          • Phil says:

            My point is that it is good to observe these things, but not mechanically!!! It should be done from God’s Spirit and not from the flesh. You don’t seem to have a concern for the origin of works. Are you saying that good works from the flesh are acceptable to God?

            Romans 8:4
            in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

            Galatians 3:2-4
            2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?

            Like

        • Add to this that there are not many “rules” when observing all that Jesus commanded. It is not hard obey Jesus when you really have faith and are guided by His Spirit.

          Like

          • Phil says:

            YES! This is my point! This is why we are not under law under the new covenant. Faith must be the driving force behind our works.

            This being the case then why would we use human effort to do good works? Please address this question if you will, Scott.

            Like

            • God’s grace works through us. Faith and love must be behind every work. Yet, this does not exclude our diligence. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;” (2 Pet. 1:10).

              Please, consider these scriptures.

              Like

            • Phil says:

              At the level of pre-coversion (of mind) this is true. But when Christ is formed in the believer the work is done in and through us, not by us. At this point we are to become the dwelling place in which God lives by his Spirit in us. Human effort is a thing of the past. Are you aware of the fact that there are levels of Christianity in which we are first the worker and then later as we die to self Christ becomes the worker in us?

              Like

        • 1 John 5:1-3, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

          Like

          • Phil says:

            Absolutely! His Commandment are not burdensome when performed from the Spirit and not the flesh. God uses us to perform His works, it’s not “we” who perform for Him. This is extremely important!!!!

            Like

        • Jesus said in Luke 16:15, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

          Only a babe in Christ can sing with instruments and still have good heart, but they must mature. Those who are mature can’t sing with instruments with a right heart, because you have made your own worship and believe that the music that Christ established by singing was not complete, perfect, wonderful, pure and amazing in itself. That is why Christ’s Spirit corrected the Corinthians for adding unknown languages to their music (1 Cor. 14:15). Their spirit may have been right among them, but their mind was not. As the Reformers have noted, we cannot as much pray to God with a machine as we can praise God with a machine. Those in Corinth were carnal and, or babes and yet they were still of Christ but they were to repent.

          How good is the heart of the person who adds lamb’s meat to the Lord’s Supper even if that person sees the lamb as representing Christ as the Passover when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in the Passover before His death?

          Like

          • Phil says:

            You said, “Only a babe in Christ can sing with instruments and still have good heart, but they must mature. Those who are mature can’t sing with instruments with a right heart, because you have made your own worship and believe that the music that Christ established by singing was not complete, perfect, wonderful, pure and amazing in itself.” This is simply an opinion and not a fact . Romans 14 addresses this.
            13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

            Scott, would IM be something that is not “unclean in itself?” Yes it is. the principles that are explained in Romans 14 are what we should consider when judging those who use IM. IM is not unclean in itself, but if you choose to see it as unclean then maybe it’s you who needs to work to see the difference.

            Like

            • I hope you’ll seriously consider this. Why do you think that Jesus’ instruction about worship are a matter of opinion? What other other instructions of Christ do you think are a matter of opinion?

              “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24, cf. 1 Cor. 5:2-3).

              Your reference to Romans 14 makes no sense, since worshiping with instruments is not included. Do you not believe that Jesus’ words are perfect and complete on the matters of worship (Heb. 4:15, John 6:63, 17:17; cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17)? Jesus is God (John 1:1, 14; 8:58). Why add to what Jesus made perfect (Heb. 2:12, 3:15)? You cannot pray God anymore with instruments than you can praise with them. If you love God, you will keep His commands (1 John 5:1-3). “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

              I wasn’t talking about instrumental music alone, but adding instrumental music to praise. I was talking about worshiping and teaching with psalms, hymns, ans spiritual songs. You said that you see nothing wrong with adding to what Christ made perfect.

              Add instruments to the Lord’s music is just as wrong as adding lamb to the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is bread and fruit of the grapevine. You cannot change that. Praise to the Lord is the fruit of the lips. You cannot change that. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit. You cannot change that. This is not a matter of opinion.

              I just want you to consider thinking about this further. Do you really think that you can praise or pray to God with a machine along with your lips expressing your heart?

              Like

  3. From Liz Alexander following the article, “The Hardest Thing to Believe: Denominational Differences

    “Dearest Brother in Christ:

    Thank you for your reply.

    To be straight forward, I stand by what I say….as of right now. However, yes, I *do* ask that you pray for me, and for God to lead me to truth, whatever it is.

    One thing I learned when I was in the CoC was that there was a very terrible understanding of what denominations are, and even what they believe. There was a whole lot of confusion and misinformation, and it left a terrible taste in my mouth. :/

    What I think you and others who have commented here don’t fully understand is that I’m not supporting denominational division. I’m actually all about unity in Christ, and am incredibly glad to see the divisions coming down! Despite what you think, folks who claim certain denominations aren’t doing it to put others down, or separate themselves from “those OTHER people” any more; it’s more like a person’s last name. Just a convenient way to explain your background and where you come from.

    As for being judgmental, I stand by what I said: Putting other Christians down without even talking to them to find out what they believe is a Bad Thing, and it happens all the time in churches…whether CoC or denom or Catholic.

    I am wholly against that kind of judgment, no matter which kind of congregation you swear loyalty to. You can’t know another person’s faith or walk with Christ just by them saying, “I go to a Methodist church”. You can assume *some* things about what their services are like…but you don’t know where they stand with God Himself.

    What’s more, have you ever studied how denominations came about? The whole reason these divisions started…even the Churches of Christ….is because a small group that their current congregation was Doing Things Incorrectly, and felt that they would go and worship the RIGHT way, and leave those other SINNERS to their SINFUL, UNRIGHTEOUS services.

    Again, I’m not saying I agree with it; it’s a terrible thing when Christians can’t put their differences aside and worship Christ together. But I can’t, in good conscious, say that I’m any more okay with the Churches of Christ doing this than I am anyone else doing it. It’s wrong to try and judge a brother in Christ without getting to know him, no matter where you worship.

    I thank you for the run down of what the CoC is, and what you believe…but I know it all to well. I lived with it for a long time. It was explained to me every which way from Tuesday by both close, wonderful friends and irritated acquaintances. And, I studied for myself. I prayed for God to help me understand. I even graduated from a primarily-CoC college with a degree in Biblical studies! I spent three years overseas with a CoC team for spreading the Gospel. So please don’t think I’m simply going off on something I have no clue about. I know the CoC. I know you don’t consider yourselves separate from other Christians…but you ARE separate nonetheless because you condemn anyone else who claims Christianity but not your exact beliefs.

    Anyways, I’ve said all I can about this. I doubt I will ever see eye-to-eye with you 100% on this issue, and I’m at peace about that. :) I know…not just *think*, but *KNOW*….God is far, far bigger, more loving and more understanding than condemning me to Hell if I sing in a choir. (As it is, I *am* singing in a cantata this Sunday in church, and I’m really looking forward to it! It’s incredibly awesome and moving, When we started singing “Old Rugged Cross”, I started crying; love that song!)

    I wish you the best, and hope you understand that I intend no offense. I was very, very frustrated when I wrote the above post, and hope you can forgive me.

    With the Love of Christ,

    ~Lady Tam~”

    Like

    • Liz,

      I haven’t judged the babes in Christ trapped within denominationalism. Our sympathy is to them. I never said or thought that people, immature believers, get caught in the denominational trap are trying to exclude, but their teachers and hierarchy are excluding.

      Again prejudice, you say, “Despite what you think, folks who claim certain denominations aren’t doing it to put others down, or separate themselves from ‘those OTHER people’ any more; it’s more like a person’s last name. Just a convenient way to explain your background and where you come from.”

      On one point your right, it is like a person’s last name. “Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

      Clearly, you should know better if you have studied the denominations. I’ve been in the denominations and I’ve seen what they do. I’ve seen their leaders disregard the words of Christ. These hierarchies love their authoritative influence and commonwealth.

      Again you do not know. The denominations left the churches of Christ throughout history. The Baptist were once the Baptist churches of Christ and before that the churches of Christ who accepted Calvinism. Look through history from the Vaudois, to the Lollards, nonconformists, and immersing congregationalists into the U.S. “What’s more, have you ever studied how denominations came about? The whole reason these divisions started…even the Churches of Christ….is because a small group that their current congregation was Doing Things Incorrectly, and felt that they would go and worship the RIGHT way, and leave those other SINNERS to their SINFUL, UNRIGHTEOUS services.” These denominational hierarchs made these denominations. If you were educated in the history of the churches of Christ and the Restoration Movement of the denominations back into the churches of Christ, then you wouldn’t say this unless to slander and you would realize that the churches of Christ offer unity in Christ.

      More prejudice, “Again, I’m not saying I agree with it; it’s a terrible thing when Christians can’t put their differences aside and worship Christ together.” Why should we put aside the revelation of Jesus Christ to welcome unity? Should we lay aside the Lord’s Supper on the 1st of the week, reject the purity of Christ’s music in words only, or accept another invention of worship from these hierarchists?

      “Primarily”? I hear you saying you can won’t judge others except for the churches of Christ. That is exactly what you have done here. “I even graduated from a primarily-CoC college with a degree in Biblical studies!”

      More prejudice slander, I never said this: “I know you don’t consider yourselves separate from other Christians…but you ARE separate nonetheless because you condemn anyone else who claims Christianity but not your exact beliefs.” “God is far, far bigger, more loving and more understanding than condemning me to Hell if I sing in a choir.”

      Liz, why the contempt for the Church of Jesus Christ? “I wish you the best, and hope you understand that I intend no offense.”

      Like

  4. Mark Stinnett says:

    Phil, in your original response you seemed to put all ‘church of Christ’ congregations/folks in the same mold. I believe you are correct by saying that churches of Christ have been “about obedience to laws, rules and regulations and this is not the doctrine that is taught in the NT.” At least I think this is true historically and in most churches of Christ. But let me offer two observations: the same statement could be made about many ‘restoration’ churches, not just the churches of Christ. That is primarily due to the emphasis on doctrinal differences during the restoration movement. Everyone, it seemes to me, was trying to restore NT Christianity, but they were unable to agree on the specific doctrine.

    I suppose that was inevitable since the restoration followed the reformation that was also primarily about doctrinal differences.

    Second, there are some (few or many, I do not know) congregations in the churches of Christ who continue on the quest to restore NT Christianity. They recognize that our recent forefathers did not necessarily get everything right. They are willing to re-investigate the scriptures in light of current beliefs and practices and evaluate. They are willing to make changes to conform more closely to the NT teachings but without compromising love.

    I know of groups who have tended toward a harsh piety that lacked love, but are trying to correct. I also know of groups who have tended toward a rather liberal bent yet lacking holy living, and who are also trying to correct. God is altogether loving and altogether holy. He calls congregations and Christians to be holy as he is holy and to love as he loves — not a balancing act as if love and holiness oppose one another. They are striving to “be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect.” (perfect = complete, not flawless in this context).

    I do not make it my practice to inspect other congregations of the church of Christ or any other affiliation. But I’ll bet there are “non-c of C” groups that are in the same struggle.

    So, while I belileve your observation is basically accurate, there are, I believe, a number of church of Christ congregations that realize that they need to realign . . . and they are trying to do so. Praise God for that!

    As a preacher in a church of Christ congregation I recently went back to the scriptures and “started from scratch” investigating the meaning and purpose of baptism. It was both refreshing and profitable in deepening my understanding. I have done the same kind of investigation in a number of ‘C of C sacred’ issues. However, I believe it is the only truly honest way to deal with God’s word. I wish more folks could start from scratch instead of blindly accepting the conclusions of the forefathers of their affiliation.

    As one minister suggested years ago, every generation must make the effort to go back to the scriptures and restore NT Christianity in thier generation.

    Like

    • RicardoEquips says:

      Amen Mark!

      Like

    • I agree. Very well put. Start from scratch or read with fresh eyes. I agree. Lets re-investigate and always be willing to restore the truth.

      Like

      • RicardoEquips says:

        Scott I just LOOOOVE your positive Christ like attitude in this somewhat fierce post. Let’s keep this as peaceful as possible brothers.

        “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live PEACEABLY with all men.” & “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and PEACEABLE life in all godliness and honesty.”

        Blessed are the peace makers.

        Like

    • Phil says:

      Mark, I very much appreciate your comments, and yes I hate to paint all churches of Christ with the same brush. The legalistic factions of the coC do not reflect those who have come to understand the power of grace and have focused more on that aspect of Christianity.

      My question to you would be whether NT Christians are accountable to the Scriptures or the Spirit? There is a difference. We can follow the Scriptures to a tee without becoming Spiritually transformed of mind. It seems that the essence of the NT is about the transformation of mind that occurs from surrender of the mind of flesh. However, one can mechanically follow the Scriptures without a transformed mind, yes or no?

      My experience is that our efforts should be directed toward “surrender” so that the Mind that takes the place of that which is surrendered is the Spiritual Mind which displays the essence of Christ’s Mind. I think in terms of where I choose to dwell and not in terms of what I choose to do (sin or obey). Romans 8 teaches this principle beautifully. Obedience can look the same whether it’s done from the law (written code) or done from the Spirit.(inner consciousness).
      Romans 12:2
      Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

      Like

  5. Phil says:

    Ricardo, are we judged on our ability to carry out God’s instructions? Is our personal competency and performance a factor in this process? My understanding is that it is not me who does the work but is Christ who works in me as I surrender to Him. The work may look the same on the surface but the means by which this work is carried out is not. If we are doing the work on personal will and self discipline then the flesh is apparently more capable than the Bible teaches.

    2 Corinthians 3:6
    He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    Just something to think about.

    Like

    • RicardoEquips says:

      The only thing is that Jesus judges us–the Church now. For judgement begins at the house of God IN THIS LIFE says Peter. That’s why life is harder for us. We must go through MUCH tribulation to enter God’s kingdom NOW in this life. Paul says,

      “For if we would JUDGE [Gk: diakrino=THROUGH JUDGE, separate thoroughly, to withdraw, discern, judge] OURSELVES [members of the called-out House of God NOW IN THIS LIFE], we should NOT be judged [Gk: krino=judge, set right, decide, to try, condemn, punish LATER WITH THE WORLD]. But when we are judged [the same Greek word krino as used above with reference to judging the wicked world] we are CHASTENED of the Lord, that we should not be condemned [Gk: katakrino, an adverse sentence] with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31-32).

      “Chastened” is from the Greek word paideuo and here is what it means: “to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by impl.) discipline (by punishment): — chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary p. 54).

      We are “judged” by God, and the vehicle that God uses to do this judging is “chastening.” In other words, we are “judged” by God by being “trained up” like a child, by being “educated,” by “discipline” involving “punishment,” “instructed,” by which we “learn,” and all these “teach” us WHAT WE SHOULD BE.

      There is no doubt that some of this chastening can be harsh, sorrowful, and painful. Much of it is not very pleasant and God admits as much to us. And it is not possible for one single son of God to avoid this chastisement NOW IN THIS LIFE!!

      If you are standing at a judgment seat at the END of your life before Christ, then you are in the WRONG judgment. You are at the judgment where Christ will say, “I NEVER KNEW YOU.” Because my bible says,

      “Because He [God] hath appointed A DAY, in the which He will JUDGE THE WORLD [Greek: inhabited earth] in righteousness by that Man [Jesus] Whom He [God] hath ordained; whereof He [God] hath given assurance UNTO ALL MEN [mankind, humanity], in that He [God] hath raised Him [Jesus] from the dead.” (Acts 17:31).

      This is the judgment OF THE WORLD, not the church!

      Paul already told us WHO will be DOING THIS judgment:

      “Know ye not that the SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD? Know ye not that WE SHALL JUDGE THE ANGELS [that means also the DEMONS TOO].” (1 Cor. 6:2).

      “… for [Heb: ‘because’] when Thy [GOD’S] judgments [THE LAKE OF FIRE IS GOD’S JUDGMENT] are in the earth, the inhabitants [SAINTS AND SINNERS] of the world WILL LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS. Let favor [GRACE] be showed to the wicked, yet [STILL] will he not learn righteousness?” (Isaiah 26:6-7).

      As you said, “Just something to think about.”

      Like

      • Phil says:

        Are we judged on our behavior or our consciousness? We can do the right things with a wrong heart!

        Is Christianity about what we do or who we become? We can “do” without “being,” but we cannot “be” without “doing.” The NT teaches that the new covenant is one in which we are to become transformed of mind. Our behavior is not ultimately what will be used to judge.

        I don’t think in terms of obedience to laws, I think in terms of living from God’s Spirit within me. The difference is subtle but very important to understand.

        Do you agree?

        Like

        • No. I don’t agree. Those with good hearts will do good things. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35, cf. Matt. 7:15-20). Good works show a good heart and a good heart produces good works. Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). You can also put your spirit into something and not your mind. This is also wrong (1 Cor. 14:15).

          You say, “Our behavior is not ultimately what will be used to judge.”

          Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” Jesus said, “I know your works…” (Rev. 2-3).

          Romans 2:5-10, “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

          Like

          • Phil says:

            Scott, you said, “Good works show a good heart…..” Not necessarily! Many people do good works from the fear that they will go to hell if they don’t. I used to be one of those. I know from experience that my works were from fear and not love. I sometimes think you take verses from the bible and take them as fact without investigating all aspects of the message, this being one of them.

            Yes, a good heart produces works, and this is my point. We should work on the cause (a good heart) and not the effect (works). Is it virtual to do good works no matter what? Absolutely! We should always strive to do good works even when the heart is not right, or at least not allow ourselves to be guided by a heart that is not right with God.

            Good works will be a natural effect of a good heart. Human effort is not the driving force behind Godly good works. It is God’s Spirit working in the individual that produces acceptable good works. Again, Romans 8 shows this clearly. Also Romans 9:15-17.

            Would you suggest that we will be judged on our actions and works, no matter their cause?

            Like

        • Heart and mind (conscious). For what a man THINKS in his HEART so is he. God says He judges both. All of God’s GOOD judgements are designed to correct, not to condemn. He’s not like a human judge, where you are either guilty or not guilty. Under the New Covenant His judgment is design (again) to, “to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by impl.) discipline (by punishment): — chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach.” For when WE–THE CHURCH–are judged we are CHASTISE. And when God’s judgments are in the earth the world will learn righteousness. God’s judgment is HOW we actually enter the Kingdom. Paul said, “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in ALL YOUR PERSECUTIONS AND TRIBULATIONS that ye endure; Which is a manifest token [display] of [of WHAT?] …OF the RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT [Gk: ‘just judging’] OF GOD!”

          And for what grand purpose?

          “…that ye may be counted WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, for which ye also SUFFER” (2 Thes. 1:4-5).
          God gives us perfectly simple and understandable examples of HOW He deals with our sins and faults. In Hebrews 12:6 we read:

          “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?”

          Of course when we ask this question today, the answer is not so obvious as back when the writer of Hebrews asked it. Less and less children are chastened by their fathers today, and look at the disastrous results. But ideally a son should be chastened — chastened, not BEATEN! Maybe I need to investigate this matter one day. Just maybe those who teach the hardest for an eternal hell of pain are those who were physically molested and beaten as children, rather than lovingly chastised. Continuing:

          “Furthermore we have had fathers of our FLESH which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of SPIRITS, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His HOLINESS.

          Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:9-11).

          This is not difficult to understand. Our fathers in the FLESH have corrected us with rods, straps, belts, sticks, paddles, and the back of their hand. This was done for our teaching and correcting. And it worked, “…we gave them reverence…” Now then, “…shall we not MUCH RATHER be in subjection unto the Father of SPIRITS…”?

          Our Heavenly Father is NOT FLESH, but is the Father of SPIRITS! God is SPIRIT. God is working with our SPIRITUAL life. God does not chasten and correct us believers in Christ Jesus with physical rods, straps, belts, sticks, paddles, and the back of His hand! So how is it that God our Father of spirits accomplishes on a spiritual level what our physical fathers tried to accomplish on a physical level? Verse 29 gives us the answer: “For our God is a CONSUMING FIRE !”

          As trash is burned and precious metals are purified by the use of LITERAL and PHYSICAL fire, so God burns our spiritual trash and purifies those qualities of character worth saving by His SYMBOLIC and SPIRITUAL fire. Physical fire is inanimate and uncaring. God’s spiritual fire is caring and loving.

          There it is. There’s the gospel; there’s the purpose for human existence; there’s the plan of God. God is forming man into the very image of Himself. This requires not only a knowledge of good and evil, but an experience of good and evil. God provides both. He is calling just a few select ones out of this world now, and He will call the remainder of the human race later.

          Some sinners are called, given faith, brought to Christ, repent, receive God’s spirit and are being saved NOW. All the rest of the world’s sinners will also be called, given faith, brought to Christ, repent, receive God’s spirit and will be saved LATER. And God uses the same method to convert and save both groups of sinners. That’s because God CHANGES NOT and God is NO RESPECTER of persons, and God WILLS to save all mankind, and God will perform ALL HIS WILL, PURPOSE, AND PLEASURE!!

          All of the above verses regarding fire are used in a figurative and symbolic manner. Christ does not literally “baptize” (IMMERSE) His saints in REAL PHYSICAL FIRE. It would burn them all up, and there wouldn’t be any saints or believers! Likewise we saw in Part I that the “lake of fire” is also symbolic and used in a metaphor to describe a SPIRITUAL TRUTH. More on this later.

          And so we are assured that EVERYONE will be “revealed,” “tried,” “salted,” and “baptized” “in FIRE.” And these fiery trials as Peter calls them go on for a lifetime. If it were real, physical fire, all believers’ lives would be short indeed. God is SPIRIT, and God is a CONSUMING FIRE. It is God’s SPIRIT that is likened to fire. The spiritual teaching in this symbol is to recognize what real fire accomplishes and to then use that as an analogy as to what God DOES TO US (or more properly FOR US).

          Fire does a number of things:

          Fire CHANGES things. Fire brings about molecular changes in the materials that are burned. God’s spiritual fire will make changes in our mind, heart, and spirit.

          Fire PURGES. In times past if a building were diseased and rat-infested, they would purge away the filth by burning it down. We are to be purged from all our diseases of sin and carnality. Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin for us, but now God wants to get at the root and core of what caused us to sin in the first place. We all need desperately to be CHANGED and PURGED.

          Fire BURNS UP combustible materials that have no value in saving. God will burn out of all of us the straw, grass, and stubble, which represent evil and wrong doctrines, idols of the heart, and philosophies that exalt themselves against God.

          Fire PURIFIES things of value which we do want to retain. The analogy is used in the Scriptures of purifying gold by fire to make it more beautiful and more valuable. Gold represents the highest doctrines of spiritual understanding such as the Love of God and the Sovereignty of God, and salvation of all.

          No one teaches us more regarding the fiery trials of life than the apostle to the nations, Paul. Paul was “revealed, tried, salted, and baptized” in God’s “CONSUMING FIRE,” and yet never a single hair on his head was ever singed (JUST LIKE “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. “—Dan. 3:26).

          Like

  6. Phil says:

    The doctrine of the church of Christ is about obedience to laws, rules and regulations and this is not the doctrine that is taught in the NT. It’s hard to be united with those who practice as the church at Galatia did. The Spirit (within the believer) must become awakened allowing the believer to become the dwelling place in which the Christian life is lived. This is not taught in the coC and therefore unity is impossible on this subject.

    Like

    • RicardoEquips says:

      You know once I got a vision or a dream (I can’t remember) and it was a message from the Lord on going to fellowship with believers. No one witness to me about God, I picked up the Bible one day and read it to see what all the hypes was about. But at a young age in HS school I stayed away from Christians as far as large gatherings of them. I might hang out with two or three here or there, but other than that organized gatherings I stayed away from. And the reason why is because as a young 17 year old kid I did not understand the concept of all the differing denominations. I figured (with a mind of a child), “Aren’t they all serving the same God and Christ?” You’ve got to understand that I was not brought up in church nor did I learn the Word of God from man, UNTIL I got involved in organized church structures, so for me at the time certain “popular doctrine” I did NOT believe that I started to believe in the church that “institutionalized” and indoctrinated me. Once I came out of “Mystery Babylon” those “popular doctrines believed by BILLIONS I repented and went back to my first love and cast them doctrines out. But back to the vision. The vision or dream that I had was a picture of two men and Jesus. The two men where pulling Jesus in two different directions while Jesus was in the middle TRYING TO PULL THE TWO MEN TOGETHER (love others: family, friends, and foes). The two Greatest COMMANDMENTS IS THE DOCTRINE! The DOCTRINE is about Loving the Father, then Jesus said He who loves me KEEPS My commandment, the NEXT commandment is LOVE OTHERS [family, friends and foes] AS SELF or better yet AS CHRIST LOVES YOU! The truth is about love, and the love of God is about the Truth.

      “But whoso keeps His [Christ’s] word; in him [that person] verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.” (1st John 2:5).

      Real love cannot be perfected in those who are not keeping Christ’s word—the truth. The true love of God is only perfected in people who ARE doing this! Remember John 8:31. God’s servants must “continue in” or “keep” God’s word.

      The Greek word for “keep,” tereo, means “to watch or to guard (from loss or injury) by keeping the eye upon … to detain in custody.” Will you determine to keep the truths of God’s Word in your “custody”? Will you then be prepared to “guard” it from “loss or injury”? Are you becoming convicted about keeping your “eyes” continually upon it? If so, then you will later be “sanctified” by that Word of truth.

      “Sanctify them through Thy [God’s] Truth [Jesus is the TRUTH]: Thy [God’s] Word [Jesus is the WORD] is Truth [Jesus is the TRUTH].” (John 17:17).

      Only in this way can you first become and then remain Christ’s disciple!

      Remember! Truth is the umbrella that stands over love. Love springs from truth—not the other way around! It is no coincidence that Matthew 22:37-39 says, “love your neighbor as yourself,” AFTER the verse says, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Certainly, none who reject God or His truth love Him. Therefore, genuine love for “neighbor” will also be absent.

      The doctrine is LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS, ALL THE LAWS ARE SUMMED UP IN THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS. Every OTHER commandment and doctrine IS TO TEACH YOU specifically HOW to do this. This is where we miss the point. The doctrine (TRUTH) is about LOVE.

      May the blessings of the KINGDOM of the Father come upon you and your family, in the name of Jesus Christ WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE WORLD! Amen!
      Ricardo

      Like

      • Amen. Obedience and love are united together (1 John 5:2-3).

        Like

        • RicardoEquips says:

          Amen! And the point I was trying to make was at one point I HATED the church. I literally taught truth like I was the only one who had it right. But in the process I was destroying the saints of God. I was going from church to church ministering and calling out leaders (who were truly wolves in sheep’s clothing) but in the process of all that some of the poor sheep where caught in the “cross fire” and were injured. The Lord HIMSELF literally took me out of ministry. I was put in a type of “belly of the whale” or cave of Adullam experience. All my speaking engagements were cut off. All my concerts we cut short (I’m also a Christian rapper by the name of ReAsOn DiSciPLe). The tour I was about to go on was cancelled. My job had cut my hours. My wife had to go on maternity leave early because of an emergency C-section for our 4th child, our youngest son. Our phone was cut off, the internet was cut off, the church stopped coming by. My album sales declined. It was a horrible time for me. Then the Lord told me, “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [empty head, idiot], shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into [SPIRITUAL] prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt. 5:21-26).

          I was put into a spiritual prison by the Lord Himself. It was the most hardest and trying time of my life! And at a younger age I went to literal prison. IT WAS WORSE THAN THAT! When the Lord judges and chastise you IN THE SPIRIT, He does a GOOD JOB and making sure you penny ever last PENNY of the crime before release! You cannot go around bible thumping the church with the Word that was designed to, “BUILD YOU UP, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32).

          The Church is the wonderful BRIDE OF CHRIST! You better go ask PAUL what happens to those who HURT HIS BRIDE! Jesus Christ takes that extremely serious to the point of calling her, “raca, fool” and being angry with her will put you in serious trouble. I LEARNED THAT THE HARD WAY! I lived it! I KNOW what these verses mean.

          The Proverbs says,

          “So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s [Christ’s] wife [the Church]; whosoever toucheth [HURTS] her SHALL NOT BE INNOCENT. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore SEVENFOLD; he shall give ALL the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man [JESUS IS THAT MAN]: therefore he [JESUS] will not spare in the day of vengeance [THE DAY OF WRATH]. He [JESUS] will NOT regard any ransom; neither will he [JESUS] rest content, though thou givest many gifts.” (Proverbs 6:29-35).

          So you better LEAVE your gift at the altar AND MAKE IT RIGHT with your brothers and sisters in the Lord. The Head of the Body will CUT YOU OFF “if a right hand” offends Him or His BRIDE (Matt. 5:30)!

          So here’s the order:
          Keeping TRUTH (Doctrine) produces LOVE, and then LOVE EDIFIES (OR BUILDS)! Because TRUTH without love (also known as HEAD KNOWLEDGE) is PUFFED UP, especially if their is not LOVE, for “I AM NOTHING” as Paul said.

          So I highly advise anyone who is using God’s Scripture (truths, doctrines, gospel, commands, teachings) to tear down to THINK AGAIN! The Word of God was NOT designed and written to do that. The purpose and function of the Word of God is to, “That the man of God [individual believer, which if you add them together makes the whole church and BRIDE OF CHRIST] may be PERFECT [complete, mature, GLORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL, AND READY FOR HER WEDDING], thoroughly furnished unto ALL good works [that’s a fancy statement for ‘MINISTRY].” (2 Tim. 3:17).

          Notice that the purpose of the Bible is NOT DOCTRINE. The purpose of the Bible is NOT reproof. The purpose of the Bible is NOT correction. And the purpose of the Bible is NOT training in righteous. Those are four means to the ends. They are NOT four purposes.

          Doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness are means to the end.

          There is one purpose listed in that text.

          “So that the man of God may be complete.” SEE “so that” or “that the man of God may be perfect”. All those other four things are means to an end. It’s “for this… for this … for this … for this… so that”.

          “For…for…for…for… SO THAT!”

          What’s the “so that”? That’s the purpose of the Bible. The purpose of the Bible it says, “so that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

          THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE IS Life change!

          It is not doctrine. It is not reproof. It is not correction. It is not training in righteousness. The purpose of the Bible is life change. Specifically, it wants to change two things.

          Specifically:

          To change our character (perfect, mature, complete)
          To change our conduct (good works, ministry)

          IF anyone is using the Word of God for any other means they are USING IT WRONG!

          The purpose of the Word of God is for, “That He [Jesus] might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water BY THE WORD, That He [Jesus] might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:26-27).

          My testimony is now, “I used to HATE the church, but now in all it’s message and division and confusion I LOVE THE CHURCH, and I am going to use EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING AT MY DISPOSAL to HELP Christ’s BRIDE LOOK GOOD WHEN He comes back!”

          Thanks for allowing me to share a little bit of my heart fellows! God bless you Scott! You are PART OF THAT BRIDE!

          Like

  7. RicardoEquips says:

    The best article I have read on this issue was summed up in these words, “First, belief and continuance in the truth tells Christ who His disciples are (and real love will always be evident anyway). Next, love tells people who Christ’s disciples are. Finally, blessings, fruit and growth tell the individual Christian whether he or she is pleasing God and continuing in His Word.” Taking from, ““Truth” or “Love”—Which Comes First?” by David C, Pack, Apostle and Pastor of Restored Church of God.

    Believe it or not, though this is one of the best papers I have read on unity, the rest of the stuff he teaches is far off. He believes his has the ONLY TRUTH the church needs and he believes that he ONLY is the head and chief apostle over the ENTIRE CHURCH of God. While I do believe that their are apostles and prophets today, however I do not believe he is the ONLY one.

    I DO believe that unity starts from the Father, to the Son, then the Apostles, to the rest of the church. The Apostolic anointing is the uniting factor of the church as it says in the below verses:

    “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [Gk: ‘teaching, instruction’] and [the apostles’] fellowship.” (Acts 2:42).

    Now before I go on I want people to know the reason why I put the word “apostles’” before the word “fellowship.” Do not get the impression that I put that there to “add unto God’s words” because that is totally not the reason at all. If you look between “apostles’ doctrine” and the word “fellowship” you have this little three letter word “and.”

    “And” simply means, “used to connect words of the same part of speech, clauses, or sentences that are to be taken jointly.”

    It’s not just the apostles’ doctrine it is also apostolic fellowship as well. They are “connected” they are the “of the same part of speech”, and they are also “to be taken jointly.” They go hand and hand. They are not separate from one another. Unity in the Body of Christ is a by-product of the WHOLE Church submitting to apostolic teaching (the Doctrine of Christ called the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—the New Covenant), which was given to PURIFY and cleanse the Bride of Christ that she might look white and glorious; prepared from her wedding (the Second Coming of Christ). The Words [Truth (Jesus Christ), doctrine, teaching] that Jesus gave to the Apostles is what they were to lay as spiritual foundations that the church was to be founded on (1 Cor. 3:11).

    The Apostle John says,

    “That which we [the apostles] have seen and heard declare WE [the apostles] unto you, that ye [ALL of you—the disciples (the Church)] also may have fellowship with US [the apostles]: and truly OUR [the apostle’s] fellowship is with the Father, AND with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write WE [the apostles] unto you [the disciples (the Church)], that your [the disciple’s (the Church’s)] JOY may be FULL.” (1st John 1:3-4).

    Now don’t think that because I’m promoting the apostles here that they are some kind of super humans or that they are special. They are not special in the sense that God loves them more than you or that they are more important than you, because they are not. My goal here is that I want you to see how God’s order, structure, government, KINGDOM CHAIN OF COMMAND (in his ‘army’ or ‘company’) works and how “orders [Foundational Truths]” are communicated throughout the Body of Christ from the Father and the Head—Christ Jesus down to the Body, just like He was teaching the apostles with the Feed of the Five Thousand (when He took the bread–truth–gave it to the Apostles and they gave it to the people, symbolic for the church).

    Awesome read. Christ bless brother. I’m sharing this if you don’t mind!
    Love you!
    Ricardo

    Like

Comments Wanted:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s