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philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
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Reading, UK

 the necessity of prophetic input in the local church

Quote:
I'm still wondering what (if any) lesson can be learned by the walled in pastures in Scotland and England. Years are spent making walls then the latter generations don't have to shepherd any more.


:-D I ought to have known that those miles and miles of dry stone walls would have their impact. It is an interesting thought but it is probably more complex than it seems. It was the elimination of the predators that made it possible for the shepherds to sleep in their beds. The dry stone walls had a double consequence. Gathering all those stones from the field made the pasture more accessible and putting them into walls was a good place to get rid of them.

I would like to return to the meeting of Paul with the Ephesian elders...
Paul had spent 3 years laying the foundation and had 'kept nothing back'. The church in Ephesus had 'elders' and a level of maturity. The gospel had gone out throughout Asia Minor from this centre. This was a vigorous and vital church but in his extended absence Paul 'commits' them to God and to the word of his grace'. This notion of 'committing or commending' is interesting; the word is often used of setting a meal before someone. Paul is placing before these men the way forward, through acute dangers, for the church at Ephesus... his recipe is 'God and the word of His grace'.

I am drawing attention to this with regard to the correpondence with Taylor. The foundations were in place but the ongoing step my step journey would be possible only as they depended upon 'God and the word of His grace'. The constant incoming 'word of His grace' is not an alternative to the solid foundations that Paul had laid but is the way forward.

I want to be sure that I am being understood here. Where i speak of prophetic input I am not equating that to what often passes as 'prophecy' in many of our gatherings. These usually begin with the phrase 'Thus saith the Lord, I know...' I am not mocking this but I think the prophetic gift in the gathering of the saints is much more comprehensive that this. I think we need to take a look at 'prophecy' alive and well in the Corinthian church.

In this context prophecy is not to be confused with teaching. Sometimes a man may exercise these gifts with such frequency that the man becomes identified with the gift and is recognized as 'a prophet' or 'a teacher'. Prophets are seen 'on the move' in the earliest inter-church connections. In Acts 11:27 a company of 'prophets' from the church in Jerusalem visited the 'church in Antioch'. The context makes it very plain that a considerable amount of teaching had already taken place through the ministry of Barnabas and Paul. Why then this perceived need for 'prophets'? Why was the 'teaching' not sufficient in itself?

Robert quoted the phrase 'the answer to abuse is not non-use but right use' and the abuse of so-called prophetic ministries in our modern day cannot be cured by 'non-use' but must be disciplined into 'right use'. This topic is one of the main topics under discussion in 1 Cor 12-14.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/29 11:53Profile
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Joined: 2006/1/31
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 Re: the necessity of prophetic input in the local church

Quote:
I want to be sure that I am being understood here. Where i speak of prophetic input I am not equating that to what often passes as 'prophecy' in many of our gatherings. These usually begin with the phrase 'Thus saith the Lord, I know...' I am not mocking this but I think the prophetic gift in the gathering of the saints is much more comprehensive that this. I think we need to take a look at 'prophecy' alive and well in the Corinthian church.




I think we have a good picture of what prophetic and holy spirit lead teaching will do, it will allow the spirit to speak in the church.

I think this is an amazing passage in scripture, concerning the Spirit and the church.

Act 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Act 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Act 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.


i would be very grateful if you people shared your thoughts on this passage. No doubt it is very rich in many different aspects.


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CHRISTIAN

 2008/12/29 13:22Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
i would be very grateful if you people shared your thoughts on this passage. No doubt it is very rich in many different aspects.


Some have thought this implies that the 'prophets and teachers' were 'ministering to the Lord' on their own, separate from the body of the church. I don't read it so. I think this is just a way of identifying the presence of these 6 men whose gifting was recognized by all.

Prophets and teachers are clearly distinguished and this is important to our discussion. They are clearly distinguished in the 1 Cor 12-14 section too. In that section women and clearly expected to 'pray and to prophesy' but there are definite restrictions upon the prospect of them 'teaching'. (we have discussed them frequently on sermonindex, so perhaps we can leave this thorny issue to concentrate on the matter in hand.)

The Holy Spirit said... what a wonderful statement. This expression can surely only mean an 'utterance' which came into their midst as they 'ministered to the Lord'. This is NOT a committee meeting to make decisions about future mission. Barnabas and Paul were part of this gathering and no doubt seen as indispensable to the future of the church, but God had other plans.He wanted Barnabas and Paul for another purpose and needed them to be 'severed' from the church. This is interesting language; they were part of the body in this place. This word for 'separate' is the word that Paul uses to describe the cutting of the umbilical cord in Gal 1:15.

Most versions say that the saints there 'sent them away' but this obscures an important truth. Darby captures the distinction by translating it 'they let them go'. This is the word for 'release'; they released them and so cooperated with the word of His grace that had come into their midst. Verse 5 shows who did the sending; and they being 'sent forth by the Holy Spirit... The Holy Spirit said 'severe them for the task I have for them', the church 'released them' and the Holy Spirit sent them. I think the way in which God waits for the 'consent' of the church here is very moving. The word for 'sent' is a word used in Greek of the day to describe the 'export' of goods. The Holy Spirit is in the export business!!

This has great significance in the linkage of churches later. Antioch is often referred to as 'the sending church'. It was not; it was the releasing church. We have no record that Antioch ever supported Paul! I am not recommending 'non support', I am just making the comment that the church at Antioch did not have any 'organizational' responsibility towards Barnabas and Paul.

Just notice how spontaneous all this is...


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/29 14:35Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Ron's: This is interesting language; they were part of the body in this place. This word for 'separate' is the word that Paul uses to describe the cutting of the umbilical cord in Gal 1:15.



So there is a sense in which the Holy Spirit prepares folk and matures them to function in some sense independent of the 'releasing' church. If we follow this metaphor on would it be reasonable to assume that the church may have in some sense continued to 'nurture' (for lack of a better word) Paul and Barnabas until they could fully fend for themselves? (financially, etc?)


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/29 15:03Profile
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 Re:

Paul was 'called an apostle' from the moment of his arrest on the Damascus road. This was simply the fulfillment of that predestinating word. These events in the church at Antioch are at least 14 years after the Damascus road. I have no doubt that much of that time was preparation but a large part of that period we have no record of what Paul was doing.

I think Paul would have been very able to provide for himself 'financially' long before this.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/29 15:10Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I think Paul would have been very able to provide for himself 'financially' long before this.



This may be a topic of a different thread, but is it the normal pattern in Acts and the NT overall that ministers were able to provide for themselves? I know Paul made tents and told others to 'work with their hands the thing which is good', but were there full-time salaried ministers in the New Testament?



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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/29 15:21Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

RobertW wrote:
Quote:
I think Paul would have been very able to provide for himself 'financially' long before this.



This may be a topic of a different thread, but is it the normal pattern in Acts and the NT overall that ministers were able to provide for themselves? I know Paul made tents and told others to 'work with their hands the thing which is good', but were there full-time salaried ministers in the New Testament?





This is not scripture, but some interesting quotes from the early church.

If a prophet desires to abide with you, and if he is a tradesman, let him work and eat. However, if he has no trade, according to your understanding see to it that as a christian, he will not live with you idle.

Didache


----

Attend to your employment with all appropriate seriousness, so that you will always have sufficient founds to support both yourselves and those who are needy. In that way, you will not burden the church of God.... some of us are fishermen, tentmakers, and farmers, so that we may never be idle.

-Apostolic constitutions





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CHRISTIAN

 2008/12/29 15:39Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
This may be a topic of a different thread, but is it the normal pattern in Acts and the NT overall that ministers were able to provide for themselves? I know Paul made tents and told others to 'work with their hands the thing which is good', but were there full-time salaried ministers in the New Testament?


I am under the impression that all rabbis were required to have a manual skill by which they could earn their living. Part of the reasoning here was to emphasize the dignity of work.

The early church may well have followed this pattern. Paul tells us, in 1 Corinthians, that God has ordained that those who preach the gospel should 'live of the gospel'. As far as I know there is no record of how this principle was implemented.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/29 15:48Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
If a prophet desires to abide with you, and if he is a tradesman, let him work and eat. However, if he has no trade, according to your understanding see to it that as a christian, he will not live with you idle.

Didache


The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve is a very early document dating to the very beginning of the 2nd century ie the early 100s. Although it is not scripture it is probably authentic and while its instructions are not 'scripture' it does give a fascinating insight into the patterns of church life in the period which comes right at the end of our New Testament period.

We still find 'apostles and prophets' itinerating among the churches and absolutely no trace of a single elder/pastor or the territorial 'bishop'. It is powerful evidence... but as you say 'not scripture.' Neither is there any evidence of the organizational linkage between the churches.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/29 15:55Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
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 Re:

Quote:
Although it is not scripture it is probably authentic and while its instructions are not 'scripture' it does give a fascinating insight into the patterns of church life in the period which comes right at the end of our New Testament period.



Then it is safe to say that as long as a person was able they were expected to work. I think of the passage, "if a man does not work neither should they eat."

The link I am looking into is the obstacle to genuine church life being so many full time pastors and leaders needing a source of income. I'll get the helmet. :-?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/29 17:14Profile





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