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Guest Blogger: Why bother with the church?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 in church life, community, guest blogger | 36 comments

Guest Blogger: Why bother with the church?

I’ve invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.

(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)

Today’s post was written by John. You can connect with John on Facebook or email him at jnotestein [at] aol [dot] com.

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Why bother with the church?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I could gladly report that I am writing this from my beach house in the Bahamas. I hear it from non believers (which I expect), people who have dropped out of church, and even those I worship with on Sunday mornings. The reasons are many, such as the music’s too loud, the music’s too soft, it’s boring, the people are out of touch with life today, all I see are hypocrites there, I need my sleep, I want to catch the pre game show, etc. I’ve even used a few of these excuses and others in my day. But then I asked myself why do we even gather together in the first place?

I grew up eons ago, when families ate dinner together. I didn’t always want to do that either, but I never had a choice. But I can tell you, it helped shape what I think about my family now. My father has been gone for 16 years now, but I can still see him sitting at the head of the table, telling stories or asking us what we were up to (like I was really going to tell him). The point is this: I was a part of something bigger than myself, whether I felt like it or not. The same was true of church. The younger folks may not believe this, but we didn’t always have Children’s Church. Instead, we had to sit in the worship service and be bored to tears. I was busy filling in every ‘O’ and ’0′ I could find in the bulletin. I learned that if I held my Bible open and rested my head on my Mother’s shoulder, I could sometimes catch a quick nap. When Einstein said the time was relative, I feel he was talking about how a one hour church service could feel like days. But today, I can still recall being there, with lots of old people (probably in the 20′s and higher), from different walks of life and economic backgrounds, all singing ‘old school’ hymns from the Broadman Baptist Hymnal. It wasn’t necessarily what we were doing, but who we were doing it with and who we were doing it for: God.

As I go to worship now, those same thoughts go through my head. If we did everything I wanted to do in church, it would probably be a church of one. But it’s not about me. I know that’s hard to believe for some. We all have needs and we want the church, God, the pastor, or someone to recognize that and take care of them. But at the same time, we don’t want to get to close to anyone (they might want me to actually perform some act of service or something). So how can I get to know other people without spending time with them? The answer is that you can’t.

And you can’t share your life with someone if you not willing to spend time with them. Whether it’s your family, your friends, or fellow believers, it’s all the same. You have to invest yourself into their lives, and that means spending time and energy. Many in our culture today worship the individual, treasure time with themselves, and are busy grabbing all they can from life before someone else gets it. From my experience, Christians are not a lot different sometimes. We are to live in the world but not be a part of the world, but that’s hard to do sometimes. The only way I know of to live that way is to spend time in the Word, time listening and talking to God through prayer, and being around fellow believers. And you can’t do that in one or two hours on a Sunday morning. We need to share our lives with each other. In the coffee shop, on the golf course, in our backyards, and in our homes. As Paul says in Romans:

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:1-6 ESV)

We worship God in our homes, with our friends, alone on the back porch, and yes, even in church. As much as our sinful selves tries to convince us, it’s not all about us. It’s about Him. And He told us to go make disciples, and we can even do that in church. After all, it is the Bride of Jesus.


36 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-3-2011

    John, Your childhood church experience sounds like mine. I have such wonderful memories…except my mom was playing the piano and I had to sit there…still on the front pew!. I can still remember the ‘raised eyebrow’ if I were too loud. It said all that needed to be said. :o)

    But I have to tell you sometimes I feel TODAY that going to most churches is supporting a corrupted system. The branding, marketing, shallow teaching is wearing on me. No one wants to go deep and if you do…then you are self righteous. It is either go along or you are not a team player. It is very frustrating.

  2. 10-4-2011

    Lydia,

    My recommendation is to continue seeking those few who want deeper relationships. I’m guessing there are some right there among the people you meet with. It may be difficult to find them, then you will probably have to spend time with them outside of the normal church programs. But… it’s possible. :)

    -Alan

  3. 10-4-2011

    Hi John,

    I’m just not so sure how broad-minded I will remain on some areas.

    For example, I think abortion is murdering babies in the safety/sanctity of their mother’s womb. Do I really? How should one act if they really believed this? Shall I go along and act as if this a fait accompli, and there is nothing I can or should do?

    Was that what we expected of Christians during the Nazi final solution? During slavery in the US? Whether our societies ever come to acknowledge the horrors of our generation, what will God have expected of us regarding millions of abortion in our land?

    For example, I think that while the church exists in a locality, and while it exists 24×7, it has a special purpose to fulfill whenever it comes together–mutual edification. I think the way the majority of gatherings are structured/conducted in the church today make fulfilling those purposes impossible. Do I really? How should one act if they really believed this?

    At 60, my biggest regrets are a lack of boldness. I never look back and say, “Oh, I went too far on that.” But I do, and am, looking back and saying, “Oh, why didn’t I take that more seriously and take some–any–action against such practices?”

  4. 10-4-2011

    Lydia

    You write…
    “I feel TODAY that going to most churches is supporting a corrupted system.”

    I like your assesment and agree.

    Corrupt – Dictionary

    1- showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

    3- debased or made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    Seems to me – “The Whole Religious System,” – for the past 1700 years, with the
    multiple thousands of denominations, movements, heirarchy, traditions of men,
    “Titles” and “Positions” NOT in the Bible, – has been, and is, totally corrupt.

    Filled with those who are after money and personal gain and have made
    the system (Today’s so-called church.) unreliable by errors or alterations to
    the Bible, and how the Bible describes – “the Church of God.” And because of
    these errors and alterations the sytem is in a state of decay; rotten and putrid.

    In my experience…
    When folks support, with finances and attendance, “a Corrupt Religious System,”
    they just encourage those with the “Titles” – the power, profit and prestige,
    to continue to – perpertrate the myth – that believers should “Go To Church.”
    And when they go to church – they are going to “the Church of God.”

    Hmmm?
    In the Bible – did anyone ever – Go to church?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  5. 10-4-2011

    Amos,

    Suppose we agreed that “The Whole Religious System” was corrupted.

    Aren’t these saints (willingly or blindly entangled) still our brothers and sisters? Aren’t we still members of one another? Is it possible we can just walk away and wash our hands of the whole mess?

    While I can’t see my way to simply continue attending, pretty much anything short of that I’ve tried has ended up with either being asked to leave a lot of churches in 40 years, or, when not asked, getting to where I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. I consider these experiences largely evidence of my own immaturity.

    These are my brothers and sisters in my city, the local church to which I belong and cannot escape. Most of them meet in the oddly shaped buildings and even more distorted organizational structures every Sunday. I can’t see any option to simply walk away.

    Honestly, walking away from existing religious systems is what every group did that started a new division, beginning as a “non-denominational, perfected way of being the church together” and quickly becoming just one more distorted mess and one additional level of division. Name a denomination. Their “distinctives” or “heritage” or “restoration” was their departure point from any number of brothers and sisters.

    For awhile, I satisfied my points of departure with most of my local brothers and sisters by functioning among the Plymouth Brethren. More participative, elder led (well, in truth, elder ruled, but when you’re an elder you can overlook that), plus they have near perfect doctrine (ahem, as I see it). Some find their recourse by signing on with some other denomination that fits their understandings better. Many are doing so today via the house church (now called simple or organic), the soon-to-be new denominations with about the same level of differences as there are between the 26 “baptist” denominations, etc.

    More divisions. These are not the answers. With divisions, there is always an ache for my whole family and despair over His fallen glory (Jn 17) that remains, of which yet-more divisions of any sort make the pain worse, not better.

  6. 10-4-2011

    Amos,

    Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ know nothing except the “corrupt religious system.” Even those who sense that something is wrong have no idea what is wrong or what should change. Some do; but some don’t. I, for one, refuse to abandon them. In the same way, others are part of the system because they feel it is right. I disagree with them, but that doesn’t mean they are not my brothers/sisters in Christ.

    Art,

    Once again, you said things much better than I could.

    Are there only 26 baptist denominations?

    -Alan

  7. 10-4-2011

    Art – Alan

    Much agreement. Yes – Many of those in “the Corrupt Religious System” are
    brothers and sisters in Christ. I was part of that system for many years and still
    meet with, on a regular basis, brothers and sisters still in the system. :-)

    And I left the System in the early 90’s. I get to minister to many who have been
    *Burnt* *Burnt-out* *Kicked-out* and have *Crawled-out* of this meat-grinder.
    Both those who think they are *so-called leaders* and those who are led.

    In fact, just today, finished ministering with a pastor I know, to some folks here in the local Barnes and Nobel book store. Met this so-called pastor almost two years ago. After we first met a couple of times, he opened up about all his hurts and pains being a pastor for 30 years. I just asked him – “How many folks in the Bible are called pastor, have the “Title” pastor?” He answered, ”I know NO one has the “Title” pastor – BUT – that’s the way it’s done today. You’re NOT going to change that. “

    When you believe the lie – you start to die…
    When you live the lie – you die – little by little – day by day…

    He knows – that I know – there is NO one in the Bible with the “Title” and “Postion” of Pastor/Reverend/Leader. He knows I left “the Corrupt Religious System,” and why – and he agrees it’s corrupt. He goes to pastor meetings with 40-50 pastors in the area and he admits “The System is Corrupt.” He tried to change somethings a while back but now he NO longer makes waves. He’s stuck – doesn’t like the system but doesn’t know how to get out. :-(

    Yet, God has granted me favor with this so-called pastor, I see him 2-3 times a week, 5-6 times a month. He confides in me, asks me questions, dumps on me because he can’t dump on the congregation that pays him and he NO longer respects the pastors that he knows because he knows what goes on behind the scenes. Oh well, Sunday mornings is the show and that has to be done with excellence.

    And we pray for folks together. In Barnes and Nobles. In the open. Go figure.

    Thank you Jesus.

    Art

    You write…
    “At 60, my biggest regrets are a lack of boldness. I never look back and say, “Oh, I went too far on that.” But I do, and am, looking back and saying, “Oh, why didn’t I take that more seriously and take some–any–action against such practices?”

    I agree – It took a few years – tried to play the game after I left the System…

    Now when I hear someone is dissatisfied with what’s going on – I’ll Ask…

    What if “The Whole Religious System” – for 1700 years – is – Totally Corrupt.

    Some walk away – and some eyes open wide – “I knew something was wrong.” ;-)

    Get into some interesting conversations… ;-)

    You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free…

  8. 10-4-2011

    Amen to both Art and Amos.

    Whether you stay or go, I think it is important to point out that if you are in Christ and you feel led to leave an organization or building referred to as “church” you are not in reality “leaving the church”. I left the building about five years ago, yet I have never left the church, I have an eternal life membership in Christ’s church (not the denomination that goes by that name :) ) When I left I thought of the gospel narrative, as Jesus (when the masses left after His hard teaching on deriving our very sustenance from Him) turns to His disciples and asks “you don’t want to leave also do you?” No, where would I go? My Master LORD Jesus Christ you have the very words of life!

  9. 10-4-2011

    When I first read John’s post, I really liked it, and still do. After reading a few of the comments, I have decided to make one myself. I am a bit behind the ball on commenting, and it may not even be read, except by Alan, but I am really convicted to share my thoughts. I am not sure why, here she goes.

    First of all, I have to say that I really liked Art’s response to Amos’ comment. I have a really hard time grouping all the churches into “the Corrupt Religious System.” While I agree that we do not “go to church” the Bible states several times about going to a certain location at a certain time to meet with believers, and it calls it a church (1 Cor. 11:18; 14:19,23). So, to forsake that would be (in my mind and view of Scripture) just as corrupt. I just felt a strong spirit of rebellion in Amos’ comment. Maybe it is from a really bad experience, which of course happens to many, if not all believers.

    As far as the pastor comment, while the “title” of pastor is not mentioned in Scripture, the role and function of one very much is. Ephesians 4 is pretty clear that the Lord appointed some to function as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers (or some see it as pastors and teachers). If that is true, and Paul called himself “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:1), then why is it wrong for someone to call them self a pastor, if that is their function within the body? Paul gives qualifications for elders and deacons in 1 Tim. 3, which is easy to see is the same as a pastor (1 Pet. 5:1-3). So, why the fuss on being called a pastor or elder? Envy? Just a thought. Not all can be one, but some are.

    Also, as far as Amos’ comment “Filled with those who are after money and personal gain and have made the system (Today’s so-called church.)” I really need clarification on that comment. Some of the churches in “the Corrupt Religious System” are some of the most generous and giving people on the planet. Many give in order to preach the gospel all over the world. May give to help those in need all over the world. Many give in order to send missionaries, plant churches, and support Christ-centered ministries all over the world. In “the Corrupt Religious System” are some of the most sacrificial, self-giving, servant-hearted people, and they do it all for the glory of Christ, to advance His kingdom, and in faith to Him.

    So, Amos, if you read this comment, I thought I would ask you, how are you giving yourself away (financially, time, energy, etc) for the kingdom of God? Do you give sacrificially (like your brothers and sisters in “the Corrupt Religious System do) so that Christ’s name can be made known to more people? Maybe you do. But if you do not, then what makes you any different than the churches you accuse of wanting money. In my mind there is no difference between a “pastor” asking for money for job security reasons and a believer who will not give. Both are robbing God.

    So, John, I really liked your post. I still “go to church” if that is what we can call when the saints gather together. It’s just semantics for me. As a kid, when I said I was “going to church” I knew I was not talking about a building. I knew because my parents, Sunday School teachers, pastor, and leaders taught me that. All is not perfect in the church, except our Lord who is the Head of it all. I will give as much as I can to the Christ exalting churches, ministries, missionaries, and church plants in “the Corrupt Religious System.” Why? Because I am one with them. I am in this Christian life with them. And this is what my Shepherd has asked me to do. I will not break away and cause another division. I will throw out the baby with the bath water. I believe “Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I am not afraid to be a loving wind of change to help “the Corrupt Religious System” go back on course. I am part of the problem due to my lack of commitment, sinful passions, and selfish heart. But thanks be to God, that He is rich in mercy. Thanks be to God for the Church, that meets in different places at different times, in different buildings all across the planet. Why do I thank Him for it? Cause I was saved in one, and for that I am will be eternally grateful (literally).

  10. 10-5-2011

    Thanks for continuing this discussion. It’s important for us to realize that when we are adopted into God’s family we are immediately members of one another and members of God’s ekklesia (the church). This ekklesia includes ALL of the brothers and sisters in Christ who dwell among us – in our neighborhood, our workplaces, our schools, wherever our lives may take us. We are members together with them even when we disagree with one another. If we turn our backs on our brothers and sisters, then we are the ones who are being divisive (which, by the way, is the scriptural term “heresy” – not the way it’s used today though).

    -Alan

  11. 10-5-2011

    Exactly Alan, in any given area there are a multitude of divided sectarian Christians groups who have chosen to gather with believers in a certain location. With that said it is impossible to gather with and fellowship with every brother and sister in a geographic area even though we should be willing to and prepared to share the love of Christ and fellowship with them as we meet them. My point was the building and superstructure of traditions that has developed is not the church although many of the people in those errors are part of the church. So, those who are in Christ have a choice as to where they will gather on a regular basis, my criteria has been that of freedom to function as the body of Christ and although I have many dear friends and brothers and sisters in the “traditions” that I attended and served within for over 20 years, I chose to meet in a way that is closer to what Christ intended. My position has always been that leadership and structure that keeps that church from functioning as the body of Christ does so mostly in ignorance and not out of any intent to do harm.

    Regarding giving, my giving “quantity” has not changed at all since leaving the traditions, but I know for certain that the quantity is being much better utilized for the biblical reasons put forth for giving in the NT scriptures since none of it is being wasted on building maintenance, mortgages, or professional Christian salaries.

    So, my point was that leaving the super structure called church is not the same as leaving Christ’s church, I’m still in Christ gathering with others in different ways and in different places and I still have fellowship with and love for those who I met with for many years in the traditions, just not in their building.

  12. 10-5-2011

    Hutch,

    Yes, I agree.

    -Alan

  13. 10-6-2011

    Ron

    Appreciate the response and your comment. I understand your angst – when you hear “The Whole Religious System,” is corrupt. If, when I was in the system, I heard someone say that – I also would gnash my teeth and defend the “Traditions of men” I was taught to believe.

    Maybe you can ask Jesus if that is “Truth” for you – for today? Jesus did say…
    “My sheep hear My Voice and follow me.” And, They shall be ALL taught of God.

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

    And – At least we’re in agreement about a few things.

    We agree when you say – “I agree that we do not “go to church” – and we agree we
    are to “meet with believers” on a regular basis – and I do. I meet with some who
    are still in the system and those who have left the system – “we” are the church.

    Today, we come toghether, believing Jesus is the head of the body, the Church,
    and “every one has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation,
    has an interpretation. 1 Cor 14:26. Every one can, and are expected to, Participate.

    I never saw that level of participation in – the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax deductible,
    Religious Corporations – I was in. Most only spectate, very few get to paticipate.

    I’m glad we agree with – “the “title” of pastor is not mentioned in Scripture”
    We even agree when you say – “the role and function of one very much is.”

    Well, at least – “the role and function of (shepherds) very much is.” BUT – In the
    Bible – I can’t find much of what *Todays* Pastor/Reverend is expected to do.

    In the next comment I’ll give you my opinion to your question…
    “why is it wrong for someone to call them self a pastor.”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  14. 10-6-2011

    Ron

    I’ll give you what I’m seeing now – When You ask…
    “If that is true, and Paul called himself “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:1),
    **then why is it wrong for someone to call them self a pastor,**
    if that is their function within the body?”

    1 – First, NOT one “Disciple of Christ” ever called themself – Pastor or Shepherd.

    Haven’t you ever wondered about that? Asked Jesus? Why, In the Bible, NOT one
    “Disciple of Christ” had the “Title,” or “called” themself – Pastor/Leader?

    2 – Ezekiel 14:1-11, speaks about, and warns us about, “Idols” of the heart. And…
    God now speaks to us according to those “Idols.”

    In Mat 23:10 KJV Jesus teaches His Disciples NOT to be called Master/Leader
    For you have “ONE” Master/Leader – the Christ.

    In my experience… In being Ordained… In being in Leadership…
    “Titles” become “Idols”
    “Pastors” become “Masters”

    Seems *Today* the “Title” pastor comes with something – “And A Little Bit Extra.”

    Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – Recognition – Reputation – etc…

    2A – All those things Jesus spoke against.

    Jesus humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    and took on the form of a servant. Phil 2:7-8.

    Along with the “Title” pastor you get – Recognition, and a Reputation,
    whether you want it or not.

    2C – All those things that are *“Idols” of the heart,* addictions, hard to lay down.

    If someone says, “My Title is NOT an “Idol.”
    Ask them to lay it down – Become a nobody, a servant -And watch the reaction. ;-)
    Ever try telling a Senior Pastor – your “Title” and “Position” is NOT in the Bible?

    2B – All “Idols” that are highly esteemed among men… Power – Profit – Prestige…
    But – is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15

    3 – Don’t “Titles” separate and cause division.

    Don’t “titles” say, I am, you’re not?
    Don’t “titles” say, we are, they’re not?

    Baptist, Lutheran, Assemblies of God; — I am, you’re not? – Division…
    Reformed, Evangelical, Charismatic; — I am, you’re not? – Division…
    Clergy – Laity;— I am, you’re not? – Division…
    Leaders – Followers;— I am, you’re not? – Division…
    Pastors – Sheep; — I am, you’re not? – Division…

    Jesus said we are “ALL” brethren. Mat 23:8 KJV

    4 – Then there is Job 32:21-22 KJV…

    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give **flattering titles** unto man.
    For I know not to give **flattering titles;**
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

    5 – And the Bible says this about shepherds in…

    Jer 50:6 KJV
    *My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
    “their shepherds” have caused them to “go astray,”

    And in… Jer 50:6 KJV…
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    Best I can figure – Jesus is the only one with the “Title” Shepherd. :-)

    Best I can figure – Jesus is the only one “called” Reverend. Psalm 111:9 ;-)

    I’m Blest – I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul… Jesus…

    Be Blessed in your search for truth… Jesus…

    P.S. More to come about -” why is it wrong for someone to call them self a pastor.”

  15. 10-7-2011

    Ron

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about, and exhort us to,
    “hew down “the graven images” of their (our) gods.”
    Deut 7:5, 7:25, 12:3, 2Ch 34:7, Ps 78:58, Ps 97:7, Jer 8:19, Jer 50:38, Isa 42:8,

    Hasn’t Christiandumb made the “Title“ Pastor/Reverend “a graven image?”

    “A Graven Image” on Diploma’s, Denominational licenses, placed on office walls.
    “A Graven Image” on business cards, that are handed out.
    “A Graven Image” on office doors, secretarys desks, church letterhead,
    on Sunday morning bulletins, church street signs, books, tracts, etc, etc…
    And anyone who reads them knows who “the Pastor” is. Yes?

    When – you call someone “Pastor,” or they call themself “Pastor,” …
    Are they – “receiving honor from men,” – “honoring self,” – and – “seeking glory?”
    Seems Jesus warned, and taught, “His disciples” about those things.

    John 5:41-44 KJV
    I receive not honour from men… How can ye believe,
    which receive honour one of another,…

    John 8:54 KJV
    …If I honour myself, my honour is nothing:..

    John 7:18 KJV
    He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory…

    Most do NOT start out – seeking to steal the Glory the belongs only to Jesus…
    They just don’t refuse it when it comes. :-( Jesus is the best Shepherd. Yes? :-)

    Has the “Title” Pastor/Reverend become “a graven image?” An “Idol?”
    In “The Corrupt Religious System?” of Today? “Titles” become “Idols.”

    Jer 50:38
    A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up:
    for it is the land of “graven images,” and they are mad upon their “idols.”

    Today I see “The system” as a land of “Titles and Idols” to *control* the people.
    Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, Lead Pastor, Teaching Pastor, Executive Pastor,
    Youth Pastor, Single Pastor, Reverend, Right Reverend, Most Right Reverend,
    Pope, Prelate, Cardinal, Vicar, Rector, Clergy, Doctor, M Div…
    “Titles,” “Titles,” everywhere – except in the Bible…

    Even came across a C.E.A.- a guy who called himself – Chief Executive Apostle…
    Now, who could be greater than that? No Kidding – Saw it with my own eyes… ;-)
    And the list goes on, and on… and… Are any of these “Titles” in the Bible?

    And – Didn’t Jesus say in Luke 14:33 KJV…
    So likewise, whosoever he be of you that *forsaketh not all that he hath,*
    he cannot be my disciple.

    Forsake – Strongs #657 – apotassomai – from 575 and 5021
    KJV – bid farewell 2, take leave 2, send away 1, forsake 1; 6

    Thayers – 1) to set apart, separate – to take leave of, bid farewell to – to renounce.

    Wouldn’t “Titles” and “Positions” Pastor/Leader – be part of Forsaking ALL?

    If a pastor – cannot – take leave of, bid farewell to – his “Title” and “Postion”…
    Forsaking All — Can he be a “Disciple of Christ?”

    Why would anyone – who believed the Bible is the word of God – and wanted
    others to believe the Bible is the word of God – take a “Title” – NOT in the Bible?

  16. 10-7-2011

    Wow – These verses sound much better to me in the KJV. ;-)

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about, and exhort us to,
    “hew down “the graven images” of their (our) gods.”
    Deut 7:5 KJV, 7:25 KJV, 12:3 KJV, 2Ch 34:7 KJV, Ps 78:58 KJV, Ps 97:7 KJV,
    Jer 8:19 KJV, Jer 50:38 KJV, Isa 42:8 KJV…

  17. 10-8-2011

    Thanks for replying Amos. I can see this is a real hot button for you and nothing I will say will change the frustration you seem to have. Too bad, cause I have been a part of established churches all my life and have NEVER made the pastor an idol. I have had good pastors, bad pastors, and great pastors. I think you might confuse a bit respecting someone versus making them your idol. You mentioned in your comment:

    `Well, at least – “the role and function of (shepherds) very much is.” BUT – In the Bible – I can’t find much of what *Todays* Pastor/Reverend is expected to do.`

    1 Timothy 3 gives the qualifications for pastors (or elders – same thing). So, teaching is one function that he is supposed to do. Eph. 4 states that pastors are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. So, equpping is a function. This can be expressed in many different ways (counseling, Bible training, etc). It also says that this is to help keep the members of God`s household from being led astray from false doctrine. Heb. 13:17 says that the leaders are to keep watch over souls. It seems obvious that the leaders the writter is speaking of are elders since v.7 mentions that they spoke God`s word to them. 1 Timothy 5:17 says that elders rule (you can debate the full meaning of that word, but you can not debate that it is a real function and calls for them to lead the church in some recognized way, so that the rest understand. It also mentions, like the verse in Hebrews, that their function is teaching and preaching. So that is what today`s pastors are suppose to do. Call them elders, I do not care. Or call them pastors, like their functioning role within the body, but to claim that we should not call them a pastor, to me, is placing thoughts in people`s heads about idolizing pastors that I do not think exsist as much as you think. In my church, I find that 90% of conflict has to so with misperception and misunderstanding. Many people think someone thinks something that, after good and honest investigation, they find our was never true to begin with. So their supposed conflict was a figment of their imagination. I think your idea of all the people making their pastor an idol is mainly in your imagination. I`m sure it exist (especially in that apostle guy`s church you mentioned. I have met a few of those, they are quite the characters). But, I do not think that is the norm. Maybe it is in your circle, but it sure has not been in mine. I was on staff of a very large church in Georgia for four years. The pastor is well known and loved by many. But I never in my four years of working with him did I see anyone come close to making him their idol, nor did I ever see him abuse his role in the church or act prideful cause he was `the pastor.` And I saw him in situations when the rest of the church body did not. He is simply a loving guy, who loves the Lord, the Lord has blessed the church under his leadership, and still does.

    Another thought, Peter tells us to honor the king. According to your comment, that seems like making him an idol. If it is not wrong to honor the king, then it seems like it would not be wrong to honor whom God has placed to lead His church. Why honor the king and throw the pastors of the churches to the curb? Is the king (or president, prime minster, etc.) all that much more honorable? Scripture says `Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor.` Does calling oneself a pastor mean that he is not ruling well? Does calling oneself a king not stronger `title?` Yet Scripture says to honor him. Why not the pastor? If it is simply cause you do not like the word `pastor` then you might want to rethink your arguement, and ask yourself why you think the way you do.

    So there it is my friend. I have only read what you have written on this post, so I do not know you at all. But, from what I have read I find you so critical of the existing churches who have pastors, that if you found a good one to be a part of one day, I feel you would miss it. One of my neighbors is like that. I pray for them. I will pray for you as soon as I submit this comment. Would love to write to you again.

  18. 10-8-2011

    Ron

    Thanks for being civil in your comments. And thanks for your prayers. ;-)
    I always enjoy these conversations – iron sharpening iron – wounds of a friend – etc
    Seems conflict has a benefit – causes me to turn to God and go deeper with Jesus.
    Causes me to see things from a different perspective and ask different questions.
    And it’s always a challenge – discussing important topics – in only a few words.

    We’re in agreement again when you say…
    “90% of conflict has to so with misperception and misunderstanding…”
    “So their supposed conflict was a figment of their imagination. I think your idea of all the people making their pastor an idol is mainly in your imagination.”

    Yup – Misunderstanding. I apologize for not explaining myself properly.
    I didn’t mean “Pastor/Reverend/Leader becomes an “Idol” for those in the pews.
    The one who makes the “Title” an “Idol” is the one with the “Title” – the Pastor.

    Because, IMO – that “Title” comes with something – “A Little Bit Extra.”
    Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – recognition – Reputation etc…

    And these “Idols,” carried in the Pastors heart, are unseen to the natural eye, extremely difficult to lay down and walk away from. They become an addiction. And like any addiction – you never have enough – you always need more and more to satisfy the addiction. You think you’re in control, tell others you’re in control but the addiction controls you. You’re in bondage to an addiction – and a lie – and you don’t know it.

    Power corrupts – and absolute power – corrupts absolutely.

    And in my experience with “the Corrupt Religious System.” This “power” corrupts those who attempt to weild this “power.” This “power” they think they have – to rule over others – to be obeyed – to be someone special – to be someone important – to be a leader – is leading them to – Burnout – depression – hopelessness – discouragement – failure…

    This addiction to – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – recognition – is like other addictions – it destroys those who believe they can handle it. These addictions NOT only destroy the Pastor – They also destroy the Pastors family.

    In the next comment
    I’ll give you a few statistics of how bad Pastors and their families suffer.

    77% of Pastors say they don’t have a good marriage. Huh???

  19. 10-8-2011

    Ron

    This is info from websites helping “Burned out Pastors.”

    http://www.pastorcare.org/PastorCare/Healing___Health.html

    • 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
    • 71% have felt burned out or depressed.
    • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
    • 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.
    • Over 1600 pastors in the U.S. are forced out of their positions each month.

    Think we might have a problem here?
    70% of pastors are depressed or burnt out.
    70% Don’t have a close friend. Hmmm?

    That’s who is running the show. “Pastors/Leaders?”
    77% who say they don’t have a good marriage. Hmmm?
    That’s who is “Spiritually Abusing” God’s sheep.

    Think there might be a problem with “Church Leaders?”

    1600 pastors a month, that’s 19,000 a year, leave or are pushed out. Wow!!!
    That’s a lot of broken hearts, disappointments, feelings of failure, pain, abuse.
    1600 families a month suffering “Abuse” from a “Corrupt Religious System.”

    Why don’t all the denominations and seminaries,
    tell these young wannabees, before they spend all that money for a degree,
    that they are entering a very dangerous profession? Pastor Leader.
    Dangerous for the “Pastor Leader” and their family. Yes?

    Some more statistics. This is serious business. Yes?

    http://pastoralcareinc.com/WhyPastoralCare/Statistics.php

    # 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
    # 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
    # 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged as pastors.
    # 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …………..Many pastor’s children do not attend church now
    ……………because of what the church has done to their parents.
    # 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
    # 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
    # 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
    # 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.

    Wow – 50% don’t last five years.
    80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.

    Pastor/Reverend/Leader – very dangerous for the pastor and his family.

    Haven’t you ever wondered – Why NOT one “Discile of Christ” in the Bible,
    had the “Title” and “Position” of *Todays* – Pastor/Leader?

    Why NOT on congregation in the bible was Led by a Pastor/Leader?

    Somehow we never think “Power” will corrupt us.

    Jesus loves me this I know…

  20. 10-8-2011

    Amos,

    The stats you gave do not surprise me. I agree there are many difficulties in being a pastor and have heard many stories of families in those situations. As far as the power thing, I can see how that could be an issue. But it has never been for me, and I am grateful to God for that.

    Also, thanks for clearing up the idol thing, and who you were speaking of: the pastor, not the average person in the pew.

    As far as the statistics are concerned, I would be interested in seeing how many of those burned out, depressed, etc pastors were the single pastor. Here is where I see a big problem in the established churches. Many of them are run by a single pastors with no other pastors/elders around him to give accountability. I am a pastor of a new church. At the beginning of our church plant, I did most of everything, cause we live in a very difficult place and getting started and finding help is not easy. But, now our church as elders. WOW, what a difference. We constantly meet, encourage each other, pray for one another, and hold each other accountable as WE (important word) lead the flock God has given US. So, the chance of burn out and all those other things you mentioned are less likely to occur. We also have a member driven church. Meaning that if we all (generally speaking) do not participate, then we do not move forward. So, I think it is good to find a church who functions with a plurality of elders and is focused on teaching and living as though each member is a minister. Also, if the Lord leads me to plant another church, unless He really makes me, I would never plan to do it with just my family. I would find 2-4 other families (minimally) to form a team. Church planting that way can help turn around those stats you were giving. And it seems the way Paul planted churches. He was not alone.

    I am still for each believer finding a good church, and investing themselves in edifying the body and sharing the gospel. I think every believer should seek to use their resources to fund kingdom ministries. I have no issue with a paid pastor, using the title “pastor”, church building, and a tax ID number with the government. In my mind, those things have little to do with being a biblical church. A biblical church is one that seeks to honor Christ in all it does, from the leadership down. Are there pastors in the NT church. Yes. Did they call them “Pastor ______.” Not sure. No evidence either way. Are there problems with pastors today. Yes. Were there in the NT? Seems to be when you look at Scripture and why the writers were writing their letters (i.e. 2 Peter). So, I do not think one can claim that the NT churches had the only right set-up. I think NT continually demonstrates that, we can set-up our systems of church (paid/non-paid, convenant/non-convenant, building/no-building, circle chairs, chairs in straight lines, meals together every week/no meals, tax exemption/no-exemption), but as soon as we begin to trust in the system rather than Christ, we have our idol/religion/organization and in turn we have become “the Corrupt World System.”

  21. 10-10-2011

    Ron

    You write on – 10-8-2011… in one comment…
    “1 Timothy 3 gives the qualifications for pastors (or elders – same thing).”

    Then you write in your second comment of – 10-8-2011…
    “ I am a pastor of a new church…. But, now our church has elders.”

    1 – Does that mean ALL these elders – are also called, and have the “Title”- Pastor?

    2 – I was wondering – Do you, and the elders, meet ALL the qualifications?

    3 – What would you call someone – who said they were a Pastor/Elder,
    an Elder/Overseer, or Leadership – and they didn’t meet ALL the qualifications?

    4 – If a Pastor/Elder/Overseer doesn’t meet ALL the qualifications?
    Should they remove themselves from this position of “Power and “Prestige?”
    Which qualifications can they ignore? And still be considered a Pastor/Elder?

    You say you’re – “still for each believer finding a good church”

    5 – In this mythical “good church” should the Pastors/Elders/Overseers
    be required to meet ALL the qualifications in the Bible. If NOT…
    Which qualifications can they ignore? And still be considered a “good church?”

    Jer 50:6*
    *My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
    “their shepherds” have caused them “to go astray,”

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be ALL taught of God.

  22. 10-10-2011

    Ron

    This is how I see this addiction to “Power and Prestige” and how this “Power”
    corrupts even those with nobel intentions and wanting to honor Christ.

    Paul said in Romans 7:20 NASB
    But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish,
    I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

    Most I’ve met, don’t even know, this “Power” has corrupted them, deceived them.
    The traditions they’ve been taught nullify the word of God. Mark 7:13
    They think what they are doing is biblical – but – It’s doctrines of men,
    and commandments of men – that cancels out “the Word of God.”

    In my experience with “The Corrupt Religious System,” many who desire this “Position” Pastor/Elder, this “Position” of “Power and Prestige,” will show a willingness to *act dishonestly* to gain this “Position” – Elder/Overseers – so-called “leadership.” And make the process of appointing Elder/Overseers *unreliable by errors or alterations.* They will overlook, ignore, and twist the qualifications to their advantage for personal gain.

    Best I can figure – They’re in bondage to their “Traditions” and don’t know it.
    They believe, and declare, they are doing this for Christ and following the Bible.
    BUT… When you’re deceived (corrupted) – you don’t know you’re deceived… :-(

    Corrupt – Dictionary
    1- showing a willingness to *act dishonestly* in return for money or personal gain.
    2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.
    3- debased or *made unreliable* by errors or alterations.

    In my experience with “The Corrupt Religious System,” the qualifications for
    Elder/Overseer is pretty much avoided – except for the parts that benefit them. ;-)

    In the next comment we’ll look at the first qualification for Elder/Overseer
    and you can tell me if you, and your elders, meet this one qualification.

    Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
    John 18:37

  23. 10-10-2011

    Ron

    Why did Paul give qualifications if not important? And very tough qualifications.
    The Bible talks about “elders/overseers” and **qualifications** for those who
    desire this position of “Power.” You can’t have one with out the other – Can you?

    The first qualification for “elder/overseer” – * Must Be* **Blameless**

    1 – A bishop (overseer) then *must be* **blameless**… 1 Tim 3:2 KJV
    2 – For a bishop (overseer) *must be* **blameless**… Titus 1:7 KJV

    **Hmmm? “Elders/Overseers” *Must Be*…

    That *must be* is the same Greek word as: …You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
    Seems to be a small word – but very important. Yes?

    *Must Be* is Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

    “elders/overseers, *must be.* Hmmm? Very important or…?

    **Hmmm? **Blameless**… How important is this word?

    Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.
    Thayer’s – that cannot be reprehended, (cannot be, rebukable, reprovable,
    cannot find fault) not open to censure, irreproachable.

    Dictionary – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
    Synonyms – faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.

    1 Tim 3:2 ASV – The bishop therefore must be without reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NIV – Now the overseer must be above reproach…
    1 Tim 3:2 NLT – For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.

    How many “elder/overseers,” who honestly examine themselves,
    seriously considering this one **qualification,** (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)
    can see themselves as **Blameless,** without fault, above reproach,
    and thus qualify to be an “elder/overseer?”

    And if you can see yourself as **blameless:** Is that pride?
    And no longer without fault?

    The Bible talks about “elder/overseers.” And **qualifications** for for those who
    desire this position of “Power and Prestige.” (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)

    Can you have one without the other? Hmmm?

    This is only one of many tough qualifications. Yes? ;-)
    And there are tough **qualifications** for the children also.

    Ever meet an “elder/overseer,” with their children,
    who fulfills ALL the qualifications? :-(

    And if an “elder/overseer” doesn’t meet ALL the qualifications…
    will they remove themselves? And be an example to the flock?

    I’m Blest – I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul… Jesus…

  24. 10-11-2011

    Amos,

    Good thoughts. Yes, all our elders meet (as far as we can examine) ALL of the qualifications. If they did not, then they would not be an elder. That`s a simply one. Qualifications are tough, but not impossible. Your comments make me think that no one can qualify, so there should not be any elders. Is that because you have hard time submitting to those God puts over you? Just a thought. To try to disqualifiy someone simply because your want to `dethrone` them is not a good thing and in my opinion is seen on the church even more than the kind os pastors you seem to be afraid of. To be continued, my computer is about to run out of batterie :-)

  25. 10-11-2011

    Ron

    Here’s two more qualifications from Titus for “elder/overseer” that most who
    want to be an “elder/overseer” today *will ignore* in order to obtain – for them –
    a position of importance. A position with “Power.”

    And the seemingly innocent “corruption” begins. The qualifications are debased
    and made unreliable by errors and alterations. :-(

    Titus 1:6-8 KJV
    6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    Just
    Strongs #1342 – dikaios {dik’-ah-yos} from 1349;
    Thayers – righteous, observing divine laws – keeping the commands of God -
    innocent, faultless, guiltless – used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and
    acting is wholly conformed to the will of God…

    Holy
    Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos’-ee-os}
    Thayers – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.

    Now that’s three tough qualifications for “elder/overseers”
    Blameless – Just – Holy. Yes?

    Makes an interesting study – checking out ALL these tough qualifications for
    “elder/overseers” then checking out those who say they are “elder/overseers”
    compared to the qualifications. :-)

    How many “elder/overseers” have you met that are – Blameless – Just – Holy? ;-)

    And if they don’t meet the qualifications – will they remove themselves?
    From this position of – Power – Profit – Prestige. And be an example to the flock?

    In my experience with “Pastor/Leaders” and having been in leadership…

    No matter how loving… eventually…
    No matter how humble… eventually…
    No matter how much a servant… eventually…

    The “Pastor /elder/leader” will “Exercise Authority” (A no, no. Mark 10:42)
    and “lord it over God’s heritage.” (A no, no.1 Pet 5:3.)
    And that’s always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.”

    “Pastor/Leader” = exercise authority = lord it over = spiritual abuse = always… :-(

    And that is – this “Power” – that corrupts well intentioned believers – in action…
    This “Power” that corrupts ALL those who attempt to wield this “Power.”

    Jer 50:6
    *My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
    “their shepherds” have caused them to “go astray”

  26. 10-12-2011

    I’ve been on vacation with my family for the last week. Though I haven’t responded, I’ve been following this discussion. In some ways I both agree and disagree with both of you.

    I agree that no one (including myself, or Ron, or anyone else) lives up to the “qualifications” listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. However, I do believe that the church should recognize elders, like Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 14 and like Paul instructed Timothy and Titus to do. What’s the difference? I don’t think 1 Timothy 3 or Titus 1 were supposed to be used as a filter, such that only those who live up to those lists are “qualified” to be elders. No one is qualified.

    -Alan

  27. 10-12-2011

    Alan – Hope you had a nice vacation – enjoying yourself with the brethren.

    I also agree with you – And disagree with you. ;-)

    I agree – NO one qualifies as a “Pastor/Elder” in “The Corrupt Religous System.”
    And I can “recognise” you, and even Ron, as “a maturIng believer,” a brother,
    who has something to add for folks – searching for “Truth” – Jesus…

    But – Even “the least among you” those we “think are less honorable” 1 Cor 12:23,
    Have added much to my search and have lot’s, and lot’s, to add to the body.

    I now believe the qualifications, this filter, to be a test of someone’s “Integrity?”
    Integrity = the quality of being honest, having strong moral principles.
    Seems “Integrity” is kinda the opposite of “Corrupt.” ;-)
    Corrupt= a willingness to *act dishonestly* in return for money or personal gain.

    God has always tested and proved His People. Even Jesus was tested. Oy Vey!!!

    Just click on a few of these verses…
    Mat 4:1 KJV, Heb 2:18 KJV, Gen 22:1 KJV, 1Pet 1:6 KJV, Mk 14:38 KJV, 1Tim 6:9 KJV
    1Thes 5:21KJV, Psalm 66:10-12 KJV, Psalm 7:9 KJV, Psalm 11:5 KJV, Psalm 26:2 KJV
    Jer 11:20 KJV, Ex 16:4 KJV, Deut 8:2 KJV, Deut 8:16 KJV, Deut 13:1-3 KJV,
    Judges 2:20-22 KJV, Judges 3:4 KJV, James 1:12 KJV.

    Why would someone assume the role of Pastor/Elder, say they’re a Pastor/Elder,
    when they know they do NOT qualify to be a Pastor/Elder?

    Could it be a lack of “Integrity?” Inherited from “the Corrupt Religious System?”
    Or – maybe they have been corrupted by this “Power” that corrupts ALL? :-(

    When they realise they do NOT qualify – will they repent and remove themselves?
    Or – like so many in “The Corrupt Religious System,” will they attack and slander
    the messengers. Putting them down and calling them names.

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

  28. 10-12-2011

    Amos,

    I’m not interested in positions or titles or money or systems. You can leave those things out of your arguments and discussion.

    In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas recognized/appointed elders among the churches from people who had only been following Jesus for a few weeks/months at most. They were not perfect obviously, since none of us are perfect, but they were maturing in following Jesus Christ and, I think, the most mature among the believers in those cities.

    -Alan

  29. 10-12-2011

    Alan

    I wasn’t referring to you. I love what you’re seeing and doing. Really…

    I’m NOT arguing with you.
    I disagree in that I think the qualifications have a purpose…
    To try and test and prove the hearts of men.

    I could be wrong – been wrong before – But – even if I am wrong…

    Why does someone want to be known as Pastor/Elder, appointed Pastor/Elder,
    when they don’t meet those qualifications.

    As you so excellently put it… 8-16-2011… we are all priests –
    All – can, and are expected to – do anything an Elder is asked to do. ;-)

    http://www.alanknox.net/2011/08/are-you-in-christ-then-consider-yourself-ordained/

    “I agree that not everyone is an elder, but only those recognized by the church as mature believers (for example, **actually living according to the characteristics** we read about in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1). However, again, I don’t see anything that is the sole responsibility of elders. Everything necessary for the body of Christ to mature is to be carried out by the whole church because they are all priests.”

    Even you think elders are to live according to these characteristics in Titus.
    I’m just saying – when they don’t they can remove themselves.

    My concern is with “the Corrupt Religious System” that has “spiritually Abused”
    many because **they are** “interested in positions or titles or money or systems.”
    And those “Titles” become a way of controlling and manipulating the folks.

    Those with “titles” by default – are exrcising authority – lording it over God’s kids.

    And there are some brothers, who love Jesus, who are in bondage to this system,
    these “Traditions of Men” that nullify the word of God.

    I was – you were…

    One the of the “one anothers” is to – admonish one another – warn one another.

    I now – appreciate those who had the courage to warn me…

    I didn’t like it when my – Power – Prestige – Reputation – was being challenged.

    But now I have a blast seeing folks set free from “the Corrupt Religious System.”

  30. 10-13-2011

    Alan

    We’re in agreement when you say… “No one is qualified.” :-)

    IMO – That’s one reason why “The Whole Religious System” is Totally Corrupt.

    They point to the qualifications to set themselves “above” and “apart” from us mere average pew sitters. Even when they are told, and know, they do NOT qualify. They still declare to be a special class of christian – Clergy Class. Most Pastor/Elders know they do NOT qualify BUT – they “Show a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.” Yup – “The System” is Totally Corrupt.

    I disagree with you in that – I don’t believe we are to *ignore* these qualifications
    that “the Corrupt Religious System” has to *ignore* in order to have a “System.”

    They have to *ignore* the qualifications to have – Control, Heirarchy, Authority,
    Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors, Lead Pastors, Reverends, Doctors, M Div’s…
    Leaders to submit to, Denominational Leaders to submit to, etc. etc.

    But, when the “qualifications” are applied to these so-called Pastor/Elders, those watching the parade (charade), the average pew sitters, now know – The Emperor is Naked. The Emperor has NO clothes on. ;-)

    But, even after the emperor realized he had NO clothes on, the charade continued.
    Two of his servants continued to hold on to the long cloth train that wasn’t there.

    That’s been my experience with many Pastor/Elders and many pew sitters. They now know NO one has the “Title.” They now know NO one is called Pastor. They now know NO one is qualified to be a Pastor Elder according to Titus and 1 Tim 3. This “Power” that corrupts continues to hold them in bondage. And…

    Many continue the charade calling themself “Pastor”- and calling others “Pastor.”
    And calling the messengers names like – rebellious – critical – lone rangers…
    I always thought “the Lone Ranger” was the good guy – fighting the bad guys. ;-)

    I now believe – subject to change – the qualifications Paul gives have a purpose…
    One purpose is for God – **To test, and try, and prove, the hearts of men.**
    Another purpose is for us – **To see into the hearts of men – To see what is in us.**

    Why would a “Disciple of Christ” want to be known as, and called, Pastor/Elder,
    after they find out – they do NOT qualify to be – a Pastor/Elder?

    And maybe Paul did appoint “Novice” elders in some young assemblies in Acts 14, But, some assemblies, where he appointed elders, were around long before Paul even met Jesus. Stephen, before Paul had him stoned, had preached in Antioch in Acts 11:19.

    And, if there is a time line, in Acts 14:21-23 KJV, Paul and Banabas had returned to Antioch *before* they ordained elders. And…

    By the time Paul gives “qualifications” to help Timothy appoint elders, he says,
    NOT a “novice,” lest being lifted up with pride… 1 Tim 3:6 KJV.
    Maybe Paul learned something along the way and he NOW has “qualifications”
    because of ALL the false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, he warns about.

    Today I would say, a “novice” is someone who has NOT checked out these tough “qualifications” to see if they qualify to be a Pastor/Elder.

    Today it’s simple. When I hear someone say, “I think God is calling me to be a Pastor.” “God is calling me to “Plant a Church” and be the Pastor/Elder.” I just point them to these very, very, tough quaifications. ;-)

    A nice simple way to create “servants.”

    After all – everyone can qualify to be a “Servant of Christ.”

    You just have to hear His voice, be a sheep, and follow Jesus. :-)

    I vote- qualifications are needed – They let you know the king is naked…

    Those that are “Led” by the Spirit – Those are the sons of God. :-)

  31. 10-13-2011

    ooops -

    I just re – read Acts 11:19 – and it’s after Steven is stoned and the persecution that others go to Antioch and preached the gospel.

  32. 10-13-2011

    Ron – I hope your still listening.
    And praying, asking Jesus if any of this is truth for you.

    We’ve looked at – Blameless – Holy – Just – as very difficult qualifications.
    Here’s a few more of the qualifications for “elder/overseers” and their “children.”

    1 – An “elder/overseer” has to be married. Husband of one wife.
    2 – With children.
    3 – His children are to be believers.
    4 – His children are to be well behaved and obedient.
    5 – He is to be one that rules “well” his own house.
    …. rules = proistemi – to be over , to superintend, to be a protector or guardian,
    …..to give aid, to care for, give attention to.
    5a – If he can’t rule (proistemi) his own home “well,” (guard, protect, give aid)
    ….. He can’t take care of the church of God.

    ——————
    Titus 1:6 KJV
    If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children
    not accused of riot or unruly.

    1 Tim 3:2-6 KJV
    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
    4 One that ruleth well his own house,
    … having his children in subjection (obedient) with all gravity;
    5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house,
    … how shall he take care of the church of God?)
    ——————
    Titus 1:6 NIV
    An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose
    children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

    1 Tim 3:4 NIV
    He must manage his own family well and
    see that his children obey him with proper respect.
    ——————-
    Titus 1:6 RSV
    if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers
    and not open to the charge of being profligate or insubordinate.

    1 Tim 3:4 RSV
    He must manage his own household well,
    keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way;
    —————–

    In my experience with “the Corrupt Religious System” – Very little attention
    is given to the qualifications about being married, with kids, who are obedient.
    Or how “well” someone manages his own household. :-(

    I’ve known quite a few Pastor/Elders who had teenagers – Oy Vey!!! ;-)

    Just having teenagers, and believing the qualifications were important…
    would disqualify most Pastor/Elders today…

  33. 10-15-2011

    Ron – To me…

    Paul/God – seems to be serious about these qualifications for the “elder/overseer”
    and ALL his children. And he’s very specific about their character and upbringing.
    ALL the kids are to be believers and obedient – Or – the pastor does NOT qualify.

    And being married with children and how “well” this wannabee “elder/overseer”
    guards and protects his family becomes a “Proving grounds” for being able
    to care for the ekklesia of God, the “Called Out Ones” of God – God’s kids. :-)

    If the children are NOT believers and are NOT obedient that seems to be a clue,
    a sign, that this wannabee is NOT ruling his house “well.” And does NOT qualify.

    If an “elder/overseer” is NOT married or has NO kids – there is NO way to
    tell if he can take care of the ekklesia of God. God’s kids. And does NOT qualify.

    Could be that in learning to serve and encourage your own kids… Becomes…
    A way to learn patience. And to learn how to serve and encourage God’s kids. ;-)

    Seems to me these qualifications eliminates ALL candidates for “elder/overseer”
    who are – single – divorced (didn’t manage the family well.) – Married but
    NO children – Married with children who are NOT believers or NOT obedient.

    And what happens when a spouse of an “elder/overseer” is NOT in agreement?

    The statistics – for burned out pastors – say…
    80% of pastors’ spouses wish they would choose a different profession.
    80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.

    According to these statistics…
    80% of “Pastor/Elders” are **NOT Ruling “well” their own household.**

    Guarding, protecting, careing for, giving attention to – his own family.

    Mom is NOT happy and content – And the kids are NOT happy and content.

    And “Leaders” wonder why “The Corrupt Religious System” is in such a mess.
    And why folks are leaving ““The Corrupt Religious System”” in record numbers.

    One reason could be…
    80% of *Today’s* Pastor/Elders – Do NOT qualify to be an “elder/overseer.”
    Because…80% of Pastor/Elders are NOT ruling “well” their own household.
    And they’re NOT doing a very good job with “The ekklesia of God” – God’s kids.

    “Spiritual Abuse” is rampant in – the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, Corporations.

    But, will these, who’s “Title” is an “Idol,” addicted to – Power – Profit – Prestige…
    Will they be able to remove themselves? And forsake ALL, “Titles” and “Position?”
    Because – 80% of pastors spouses wish they would choose a different profession.

    And, “In lowliness of mind esteem others (his family, wife) better then himself.
    Phil 2:3 KJV

    Now – that would be quite an example to the flock – his family and his wife. ;-)

  34. 5-14-2012

    Wish I could like and share some of these comments…..

  35. 5-20-2012

    To be honest after reading these posts, if anyone is still interested in this discussion in May of 2012, I would love to find a solid congregation around where I live. I’ve been through all the discussions for years from both sides. I can’t necessarily say I have left the church since I would go to a solid reformed baptist at the drop of a hat. I grew up with parents who were members of a standard “Bible Church”, but after college God awakened my out of my sins and called me to seek the truth for myself. You could say that God held me over the fires of hell a while to wake me up and see that it was my own salvation that was the issue at stake. My sins were the problem, not a lack of church membership. I had that already. But my lusts enslaved my life. My passions and my quest for pleasure and for whatever made me feel good held me in bondage. All the while I played piano at church for Sunday services, choir and the whole nine yards. But I did not know the Lord. I didn’t know His righteousness. I did not know His grace. It took years of wrestling with the scriptures and seeking after God to find where peace with God for a lost sinner was to be found — In Christ and His atoning work at Calvary!

    My whole concern now is first and foremost my relationship to God, obedience to His commandments and then to seek fellowship with His people. What about that? All these people here stressed out about their relationship with men and the church, yet where is the discussion about our relationship to God and the salvation of our souls? That is the whole problem in this discussion. And if that were genuinely the concern in modern churches, that is, the saving relationship we are called to have with God through Jesus Christ, it would tie true believers together. No longer would “Christian fellowship” find it’s joy in a mutual love for the New York Yankees or in golf or other earthly enjoyments. Sure even some may truly find their fellowship in sharing the gospel with others, missions work, Christian service and so on. But if the salvation of their souls and their relationship to God were the predominant factor, then fellowship would be possible.

    I for one cannot feel comfortable at a church where the pastor spends his leisure watching football, racing or something like that. And don’t even try to deny that most pastors do that. What ever happened to this:

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.” – I Jn. 2:15

    So in reality, John himself would not be comfortable in most modern churches, since the things he wrote to the assemblies of his day are so disregarded and hardly known in ours, even by those who profess to lead them! Times are different now and fewer every day regard the Word of God as the genuine Authority that it is.

    And so I guarantee you that none of the apostles would be comfortable around most of today’s professing Christians. Why? Because for the most part, their relationship to God is not their first and foremost passion and pursuit in this life. Yes, it is there perhaps in a small measure. Yet it usually is among all the lateral pursuits of this world, on an equal level. In the modern church, our relationship to the church and to other Christians is the predominant factor. Such a backwards focus.

    But I suppose if it were not for the grace of God and His work of mercy in my life, that I would not understand that either.

    Good points on the part of those who have demonstrated that there is definitely something wrong with the so-called church of our day. Yet it is mainly a root cause of the nature of what is preached. The glory of God in saving sinners is not the focus anymore and consequently men cannot be saved without the hearing of the truth. The law of God is slacked and hardly known. And men love to have it so!

    Ah yes, history repeats itself and our modern churches are for the most part nothing better than apostate Israel. Oh to find a faithful body of believers who, being imperfect Christians, as I am and all true Christians are in this life, yet who see the need to genuinely forsake all to find the true life that is to be found only in Jesus Christ. I could use a little help along this way. I find my strength failing me so much for lack of spiritual fellowship. May God grant me the grace to find green pastures soon for myself and for my family.

  36. 5-21-2012

    Jeremy,

    Thank you for the comment. One of the reasons that I focus on church, fellowship, unity among believers, etc., is that our relationship with one another is a reflection of our relationship with God. As John wrote, if we do not love our brother/sister, then we do not love God.

    I think there are several problems in today’s “church” culture that lead to this problem. So, how does someone find a “faithful body of believers”? I’m not too sure we should be looking for one. Instead, we should start living as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, including how we interact and relate with others.

    -Alan