August 23, 2011
Some Q&A With a Responder
A little over six months ago under the comments on my blog “‘Obey’ and ‘Submit’ to your Leaders? The Hebrews 13:17 Deception,” This comment was left by a brother named Alex Lappos who identified himself as a pastor.
The best place to start is where he addresses qualifications for pastors, how pastors are chosen, and how they are to conduct themselves. I do not need to reinvent the wheel here…
“How does an elder or pastor become a pastor?”
For one the desire has to be put in the heart of one. According to 1 Tim 3 he who desires to be a bishop desires a noble task.
“How is he appointed? Who appoints him? What distinguishes him to feed the rest of the flock and how is that distinction recognized by the others. How does a group of people know someone has been called to lead them?”
Your question comes with the assumption that an elder is appointed… I happen to believe that is true, because elders should be recognized amongst the community they are part of. When Paul instructed Titus concerning appointing elders, he was to appoint elders in every city. These men were already living out the character requirements in 1 Tim 3, and are already worthy of respect. These elders were to be godly men who has their families in order and blameless character. This is what Paul gave us in the scriptures to look for.
“What areas does can the pastor speak to in the life of a believer specifically. You list specifics in the negative but not the positive.”
Concerning this blog, I wouldn’t agree that I only list the negative concerning the role of pastors, I make it a point to make sure that people know for sure how to determine what elders should NOT be doing. I made it clear that I believe that God has given elders the authority in Christ to rebuke, exhort, teach, encourage, and lead the body of Christ in many areas which promote holiness and godly instruction.
“What areas ? How is a wolf exposed ? By whom ? How do I know you are not a wolf in sheep’s clothing ? Are you wolf or sheep ? If you say you are a sheep why should I believe your answer.“
That is interesting… The bible says that you will know his disciples by their love for one another. Obviously since I don’t know you I don’t know if you have this love, nor can you determine for the most part if I possess it. The bible also says you will know them (false prophets, his people, wolves, sheep etc.) by their fruit. If the fruit you have to examine is this website, by all means do so. Thankfully only God knows the heart.
“Is is not obvious from Scripture that a true godly leader is also the servant of all. Would not a true shepherd in God’s kingdom diligently examine his heart and motives continually to make certain his doctrine is sound and his character and heart are pure.
“And having done that how does he know with absolute certainty that he is sound on all levels ? Does he decide within himself ? Does the give himself the seal of approval by virtue of his own sense of authority ? What is he is deceived or in error ? Who corrects him ? How can he know he is deceived or correct ? To whom is he accountable ? For that matter to whom are you accountable ? How can I verify you are a man who speaks for God other than your own word for it. How can I verify your references are trustworthy ?”
I feel like I am on trial. LOL. It is very obvious from the scriptures. The leaders amongst us are the greatest servants of all. Even with all examination, and due diligence a leader (or anyone) may exhibit, there is need for accountability on all levels. Anyone who does anything by their own authority will use fleshly ways to maintain that authority, and that is exactly what Christ condemns in the Pharisees and others who do the same.
As far as accountability, I take great pains to try the content of a post before I post anything on this blogsite. I am part of a fellowship of believers who hold me accountable to what I say. I make it a point to share many of my writings with them. To verify the trustworthiness of what I have said you don’t have to go to anyone. Be a Berean, and search the scriptures to see if what I have said is the truth and the Spirit will confirm. As the bible says, we only know and see in part. I do not write this blog as one who has all of the answers, but as one who knows what they know and has been given to share. God has given me the authority to speak on these matters. Who gave the prophets the authority to speak on behalf of God? Who told John the baptist to speak and baptize in the name of God, or who gave Jesus the authority to preach and teach? I think you know the answer…
“The scripture says that that role of spiritual leaders is to equip the saints unto maturity (Ephesians 4)
Wouldn’t any true leader have the goal of building people up so they can by the direction and inspiration of the holy spirit be “spirit led” and be able to by the spirit govern their affairs. Would he want to play the role of the Holy Spirit substituting himself as the as the foremost authority in the life of a Christian?”
You are absolutely right about spiritual leaders bringing the saints into maturity, however, I would challenge openly your assumption that leaders act as the Holy Spirit on behalf of the believer. That attitude is ANTICHRIST. You cannot be the Spirit in anyone’s life, because you are not God. Honestly this is why this blog exists, to counteract the exact attitudes that many in the body seem to have concerning their leaders being able to substitute themselves for God.
“If he is corrupt is it necessarily because he is part of an “institution” . Does the structure make him corrupt or his own black heart ? Can’t a man who is not part of an “institution” but considers himself a teacher also be corrupt ? How do I know you are not corrupt in some form ?”
I can tell my blog really bothers you. The last question you asked, your condescending tone etc. says it all. But I will press through to answer you. The Institutional structure was born out of the evil heart of man. It’s the part of man who wants to have lordship authority over people. It is amazing that you cannot see this in yourself via your last comment concerning substituting for the Holy Spirit. Anyone who has an Antichrist spirit is qualified to be taken in their own corruption.
“Are you not through this blog establishing yourself as some kind of authority ? Who appointed you to write blogs teaching Christians at large ? Who are you that we should trust of believe you ? The title of your blog suggests you are someone burnt by pastors and churches ? How do we know you are not some kind of unteachable rebel what drove your pastor mad with frustration ?”
I didn’t know I needed permission to write blogs about anything. I have to ask you the same question… by what authority do you have to question the writings of these blogs I write? If you cannot answer that, I have no obligation to tell you by what authority I write these things.
Yes I have been “burnt” by the IC, and no it is not a place I will be going anytime soon. God has taken me a long way from the resentment and hurt I once felt being pushed to the side as a member and made to feel less than nothing. These structures are not about the sheep at all, they are about keeping the system, and those in power in those systems, sustained.
As for the charge that I am an unteachable rebel, my fellowship would deny that. I will receive a word from anyone who has one in context from God. Of course these assumptions are being made about me based on my writings and not by actually knowing me… but I digress.
“What precisely do you mean by the institutional church?“
This information and much more can found in my “Definition of Terms” Page on the Website.
“Are you a home church advocate? Or a maverick Christian pontificating on the state of the church ? Other than writing blogs what are you doing to invest yourself toward the restoration of the church ?”
I’m an advocate for the Church period. You can call me Maverick all you want in your questions phrased as insults, as if I am alone in my thoughts on the church. The church need not be restored. She is already operating in the call of God she has been given. I am resting in Christ. I need not do anything but the works my Father has prepared in advance for me to do. As he leads me I will do. If you think the work you do for the Father is greater, then so be it.
“Are you yourself some kind of self appointed authority
who speaks about submission but is in no way in submission yourself ? I am not being sarcastic. I really want to know . Because you criticize those who assume unwarranted authority where they have none. How do we know you are not one of these ? Other than yourself who do we consult ?
I can tell you are a pastor… your phrases are loaded with assumptions, sarcasm and false humility. I’m sorry it is hard to take you seriously, but I will press on. I have no authority than what has been given to me. As long as the Lord wills I will continue to post blogs on this site. You assume that I am not under “authority,” and I know the kind of authority you speak based on your previous responses… unfortunately the authority I walk in need not be forced or proven. Again IF YOU believe that the things I write here on this blog are not authoritative, you are free to write your own for your own edification.
“How are you a member of the body of Christ ? Does that exclude sincere believers and true shepherds who ARE part of the local church on the corner ? What precisely are you a member of and how is that “membership” manifested in your life ?”
Very simple. I hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection. I see my life unfolding as a life called onto God in works, deeds, and practice as I continue to endure till the end. My ways have been reformed, and I am a new creature in Christ. Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. If anyone holds the same testimony they are part of the body of Christ. Notice that on this blog I make no charge to the people who remain in institutions, I do not question the salvation of anyone who remains a member there.
“Since you are a self confessed fallible individual why should anyone listen to you ? Who are you exactly ?
What is your story ? You don’t identify yourself. Why not come out in the open and tell us who you are ?
Maybe we can check you out and find some of the answers to the questions I have been asking about you.”
You want to know who I am? Those who know need to know. I mean it is really not hard… plus I don’t take well to threats.
“How should the church practically function ? Where should it meet ? How should it meet ? What should we do when we meet ? Who should lead? Someone? No one? Everyone? And when we meet do we meet regularly with the same people or as the “Lord leads” and with whomever we happen to run into who is a brother or sister. How do we determine they ARE brothers or sisters ? What is the responsibility of brothers and sisters toward one another and how is that responsibility practically carried out ?”
Finally good questions.
The church is led and headed by Christ in the most practical and spiritual of ways. The question of “who” leads a gathering of believers is of no consequence, because those gifted to lead in the body will do so. There is no specific place believers should meet, nor is it required that believers meet in a place called the church with a steeple. There is no requirement that believers NOT meet there either. It is a matter of preference. The institutional church does not merely consist of a building. It is the way of which an organization is run, and you can have the institutional mindset in a house meeting as well.
How we should meet is described in scripture. I would start with Acts chapter 2
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This is what the 1st century church did with joy. They had TRUE Koinōnia Fulfilling Hebrews 10:25. It wasn’t about everything centering around a weekly service with the pastor’s sermon being the focal point, it was about believers who had all in common who exercised their spiritual gifts amongst each other, for the goal of edification, and allowing God to ADD TO THE CHURCH DAILY. We should “do” what the Spirit leads believers to do: equip one another in Christ with the tools needed to overcome sin and remain free from the pollution of the world. This is done by biblical teaching and Christian fellowship in the assembling of saints in decency and in order. God established that order for his church through his Apostles. However please make no mistake, the reason I write this blog is that many institutional structures prevent THESE VERY THINGS FROM OCCURRING.
Believers can meet at any frequency they choose, whether it is weekly, daily, bi-weekly etc. There is no prescribed formulas as to how much. I do not believe fellowship needs to be with the same people all the time, but there also should be established relationships with others in the body of Christ, and that will come naturally through believers wanting to be together. You know believers by their fruit, and the testimony of Christ they hold. I have answered some of these questions in responses above.
“Though I may seem sarcastic I am not. These are sincere questions. These are questions that the body of Christ has been trying to answer for 2000 years.”
Really, because I thought you could find many of these answers in the scriptures.
“There are great churches and lousy churches . Some are independant . Some are institutions . Others are not . Some meet in church buildings others in rented halls and even living rooms…Some are part of a formal denomination and others are not. …There are good pastor and lousy pastors…Great leaders and terrible leaders. Mature christians and immature…..I am certain one is not better than another and it is the heart that determines what glorifies God and what doesn’t…”
I would agree. This blog is not to condemn those who attend institutional churches, like the title says, there is a lot of bondage, tomfoolery and issues with the ways many institutions are run which cause the issues I highlight in this blog.
“This response is more for others who read this blog than for you. Your experience is obviously of one who has been deeply hurt and disillusioned by what you call the “institutional church” Not all of us share that experience.”
Pastor, don’t assume that there aren’t those who cannot relate to this blog. One of the ways people try to discredit what I write here is through relegating it to one person’s experience only. “Oh they are just hurt by church…” as if the concerns are any less valid. Don’t worry, there are plenty of others like me who have been freed from the oppression of legalism and ungodly control of those in many institutions, and we will continue to share our stories.
“I myself am a pastor and I must confess that the issues you bring up confront me everyday. But I believe in the local church and its pastors and overseers because there is no way to escape it :This is the Biblical model. I too am grieved over what it has reduced itself too but I am convinced it can be restored. We are by the grace of God “striving ” in our hearts to be Christlike and be a body of believers that is pleasing to Jesus and lays down our lives for the sake of others.”
Your conduct in your questions have been less than stellar brother. There has been nothing but assumptions and attacks in your questioning , and only few of your questions were actually substantive.
I understand. Your view of the church would cause you to defend it this way. I have seen it time and time again. What you do not see is that the “local church” you describe is not the functioning the bible describes, therefore it cannot be legitimately called “the church” at all. This is why you are so grieved, because we have gone so far away from what God prescribes for the local church that you look toward the false church as if something has gone wrong in the body.
“Your comments will force to ask questions that will make us better…and try to avoid producing people that carry the hurts and disappointments you must have experienced.”
Pastor, if you truly mean what you say, I pray you read this response to you, and with all diligence, practice letting God lead his church. You cannot be anyone’s Holy Spirit, nor can you act in the capacity of God. You can also practice some humility too… The structure of many IC’s today exalt a man to an Antichrist position where he is considered God. Isn’t that exactly what the bible says the Antichrist spirit is which is already in the world? God told us in advance the apostasy which would come, and it is here… full blown. It is up to us to either continue to feed into the apostasy or come out from among it.
My choice is clear… yours is up to you.