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philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
I was thinking about the candlestick recently, and reread the passage in which God gave Moses its pattern. It was to be made of one solid piece of gold, "all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold" (Ex. 25.36).

It seemed so clear to me upon reading this that the kind of unity we see being pushed so often these days, with denominations coming together in an ecumenical kind of unity, yet still maintaining their denominational identity... this is not the candlestick God has in mind.

The candlestick was not a bunch of pieces of metal, somehow held together with wire, or whatever. It was one solid piece of pure gold. This is the kind of unity that must be the characteristic of the church God has in mind.


This is an important observation but I want to apply it in a slightly different way. The churches of Asia in the Revelation are separate entities; the church of Israel was a single entity. The church of Israel has one physical location and one place where the foot of the lampstand touched the earth. The NT concept is very different. There is a total disregard of the nation state and the locality is the focus, consequently we have many lampstands each with its foot on a particular piece of land and each one entirely separate, other than in the mixing of their lights, one from another.

These individual lampstands may indeed be of beaten work and from a single piece of gold, but they are not organically connected as were the seven branches of the lampstand in the church of Israel.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/30 5:14Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
The real question is 'how do you do it'.



How and who? I guess I wonder what individuals are to 'live of the Gospel'? Elders, deacons, pastor/teachers, apostles, prophets, evangelists? Typically the individuals that 'live' of the Gospel or are somehow compensated are pastors, youth pastors and praise and worship leaders.

Who biblically should be on that list of [i]sanctified financially[/i]?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/30 7:02Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Also in Scotland, we have a saying "Whoever pays the piper calls the tune." Can we really expect ministers to "bite the hand that feeds them?"



I think this point is essential to this thread because I have heard of folk getting upset at what individuals shared in a meeting and pressure the pastor to shut them down. When the situation got hot enough a rule came down that no one could share anything in the service before they sang, etc. because it got the service going 'this way' and 'that way' and other undesired directions.

When this happened a death set in and there has been no real recovery. It is believed to have stemmed from high tithe payers upset that they were being challenged by the comments. Eventually they left the church anyway, but the betrayal was complete.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/30 7:09Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Ron's: I recall encouraging saints in the church in evangelism and pastoral visiting. At the end of the service one man came to shake my hand at the door and said 'but Pastor, isn't that what we pay you for?' This is the problem that when people pay a salary they expect some accountability from the person receiving the salary; this accountability usually results in a job definition.



This is a facet of what I was driving at earlier. If everyone comes to meeting with their oil ready to share and everyone has a heart to visit the afflicted and downtrodden. If everyone feels the need to evangelize and keep up their own calling, what distinguishes the paid pastor from those that do all those same things and yet work full time also? In fact, a few may actually minister as much or more than the paid ministers. Some paid pastors have enough time on their hands to actually work part time jobs on the side and yet still they receive a salary.

So I can see how that if folk go into a real church life mode the need for full time pastor may almost vanish. Am I missng something? I still have the helmet on :-(


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/30 7:16Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
So I can see how that if folk go into a real church life mode the need for full time pastor may almost vanish. Am I missng something?


I'd like to make sure we are playing the ball here. This is a soccer metaphor. To play the ball means to go for the issue. To play the man is a foul and is punishable. There are many godly men who function in the standard expectation of pastor. They give themselves to prayer and the word and that 'sanctification' will be of great benefit to the saints if the 'minister' is walking with God. Paul says that those who labour in word and teaching ought to receive double honour and the context makes it clear that he does have 'finance' in mind. I can see a scenario here where the time given to prayer and study would make it difficult for this man to earn his living at the same time. It could well limit the time he has available and stunt his career choices simply because his real focus is to edify the saints.

I am not part of a 'pastor bashing' brigade. I don't actually believe that a change of system alone would effect very much. When I left the role of formal pastor I became one of the leaders of a house church. I banned the use of the word pastor but I was still the second man at all the births and deaths in the church; this was because of the relationship I had with the folk. This continues to some degree. Some people have known me for half a century; they are more likely to trust me and to want to confide in me. That is the role that a formal pastor would normally have. What I am saying is that you can have that function without that organizational shape.

In the church of which I am part there has never been a 'full time pastor' nor a 'full time elder'. There have been elders who have given themselves entirely to the work of God and have been full-time but their role was not perceived as 'full time elders'. Some of the elders have exercised ministries outside the local church and some of their time has been given over to that. We have a pastoral function in the church but not a visible 'pastor'.

Here is another feature and I may need to borrow Robert's helmet for this... we do not have the concept of 'elders' wives'. This is the 'minister's wife' concept where the spouse functions as part of the 'pastoral team' or is recognized as a 'pastor' in her own right. There is no biblical basis for an 'elders' wife'. Our elders are blessed with godly wives who function fully as part of the church but there is no 'pastor's wife' role for them; they just function as any other sister in the church would function.

I have sometimes felt that some of the protests of the 'house church' movement have been likely to create just another hierarchy. They would eliminate the local pastor but replace him with an itinerant pastor with the same hierarchical role. The rule simply passes from the local man to the traveling man or his team. i am not convinced that this is an improvement.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/30 8:01Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
RobertW on 2008/12/30 9:02:39
Who biblically should be on that list of sanctified financially?


Are you going to label these people?


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/30 8:03Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Quote: RobertW on 2008/12/30 9:02:39 Who biblically should be on that list of sanctified financially? Are you going to label these people?



Touche'. I got confused for a moment. What I should have asked is, what qualifies a person to be 'sanctified financially' biblically? Is the qualification based simply on their whole life being dedicated to prayer and the word?

Btw, I also want to sign out of any notion I would be anti-pastor. In trying to play the ball as Ron says I am really trying to examine some of the pitfalls to genuine church life in hope of finding some future solutions. It's that whole, "but those days are now gone" thing. I think it is imperative that I come into an environment of real church life and that will take either some major corrections or major changes.

But, I feel like I am belaboring the point on compensation here so we may need to just move on. :-)


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/30 8:22Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
RobertW on 2008/12/30 10:22:09
what qualifies a person to be 'sanctified financially' biblically? Is the qualification based simply on their whole life being dedicated to prayer and the word?


I would have thought at least the recommendation of the elders to the saints. The 'how do we do it' becomes hazardous when we ask are we providing this 'economic sanctification' from the church accounts or are we recommending the church as individuals to 'care' for these men.

The only reference to a 'collection' in the NT seems to be a collection for a specific need which was the need of the poor saints in Jerusalem. From later church history, and even some clues from the NT, it seems that there was a separation between the responsibilities of the 'deacons' and the 'elders'. The 'deacons' had responsibility for caring for the needs of needy saints in the local church, particularly the widows and orphans. But as far as I am aware there is no reference to church funds being used to 'economically sanctify' those who laboured in word and doctrine.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2008/12/30 8:37Profile









 Re: Adisciple....shadow boxing

Wow: Adisciple! What a beautiful Word!

Quote:
This should be taught to every new Believer.
ADisciple wrote:
I've been following this thread with great interest. I'm very encouraged by what's being shared.

If I can go back a ways, Robert W mentioned early on that some may need to gather together and seek God about "reestablishing a local church that is a true light in the community."

And he said also, "The gates of hell will not prevail against a church in which the Lord is tending the candlestick."

I think we are entering days when we are going to see the Lord of the church bringing forth this "candlestick" type of church structure, that is, church as HE has intended it.

...Meaning that in each locale according as He determines, there shall be a Candlestick type of church shining forth the true Testimony of Jesus Christ into the darkness.

...That Candlestick in each place will "mind its own business," and be subject to the heavenly Headquarters alone, that is, Christ Himself at the Right hand of God. I believe, as we seek Him, He will bring us into a powerful awareness that the churches are HIS... and we are to walk in obedience doing only what He bids us do.

We must come to this deep awareness that the church whether locally or universally is ALL His own responsibility, and ours only as we are in union with Him, doing just that portion that He calls us and graces us to do.

I was thinking about the candlestick recently, and reread the passage in which God gave Moses its pattern. It was to be made of one solid piece of gold, "all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold" (Ex. 25.36).

It seemed so clear to me upon reading this that the kind of unity we see being pushed so often these days, with denominations coming together in an ecumenical kind of unity, yet still maintaining their denominational identity... this is not the candlestick God has in mind.

The candlestick was not a bunch of pieces of metal, somehow held together with wire, or whatever. It was one solid piece of pure gold. This is the kind of unity that must be the characteristic of the church God has in mind.

I believe we are going to see this, although it is going to take great shakings to bring it into being.

And great suffering. ...One solid piece of gold "of beaten work." There is cost involved, and suffering, in this kind of church coming forth.

I feel so stirred about this. I want to see this kind of church.

...I read of Paul ministering in the churches. Oh, the reverence he had as he walked among the churches, I suppose you could say with his shoes off. He knew deeply they were the Lord's churches, for His own holy purposes. He never considered them his own. He never tried to bring them under his own dominion. He was a servant to the churches, doing His part as God commanded and enabled, and ultimately leaving them to God's own care. God was well able to keep them Himself, with "the word of His grace."

He is the One who is responsible for the churches. There was never in the heart of God this hierarchy kind of thing church has become(and became very early on, actually).

I read in Frank Bartlemans' book on Azusa Street a quote by the Reformation historian D'Aubigne. He said, "The church was in the beginning a community of brethren, guided by a few of the brethren."

How beautiful. So simple. We have gone far away from this simplicity that is in Christ. May the Lord help us to return to it.

Thanks to the different ones who are sharing on this thread. May we all be encouraged to know God will yet have the desire of His heart.

AD




I, too feel stirred and inspired, and almost like I can accept nothing less than this type of Body....like I am driven.


God is doing this, on His own, even now. "I have reserved 7000 that have not bowed there knee to Baal." I am amazed that this is even being discussed, and the willingness of some to receive it.


"Out of yourselves men shall arise, grievous wolves, drawing away disciples AFTER THEMSELVES."...ACTS 20.


Can the spirit of Rome, and preeminence be in Protestism? It is, and strong. Will Pastors that dominate there be able to lay down "their" Churches and positions, and become just a Brother? They must, or in my opinion, be left out. Will they be able to accept a fisherman or a farmer as their shepherds?[plural]



Most will fight tooth and nail not to, or at least leave an open door in the form of compromise...."A leader among equals kind of doctrine, that ensures them preeminence, power, along , of course with a salary.



We are being beaten , molded, purified in the fire, for the Lord Himself has promised and prophesied "A pure and spotless Bride, without blemish." A candlestick lit shines into the dark, and a man or woman in the fire suffers, but in the suffering they learn not to think all that much of their leadership and "their " anointing and calling, but in their corruption.



"I fell down at HIS feet at a dead man!"...[John at Patmos "in the Spirit upon seeing Jesus as He is.]


This is the heart of brokenness and purity, but we have a part in it, and it is deeper than obedience. It is a willful act to obey, yes, but to obey in the fire, to diminish as He is exalted, no matter the cost. This is the affect of the candlestick, and the molding that produces brotherhood [male and female]. This is the energy that produces one Bread...one body.



I think of Pentecost, and those smaller flames of fire that appeared above and around the heads of the 120, visible to all. Where was the boasting then? where was the division then?...Who was Pastor, and who was sheep? One day we will leave our bodies, and very, very shortly in Heaven's span and comparison of time. When those many small flames gathered they burst into a fire storm, a tornado of fire, and the Lord was present among them, speaking through whoever He chose.


I believe that this is where we are returning. An undivided burning Flame...one body, equal Love and unity. The poor, the weak and the widow, will be honored [they are all ready..] as much as the chief speaker. Then we will have a common goal, and it won't matter who carries the money bag.


Brothertom


ps: I have felt desparately alone in this fight, for many years....almost like I was shadow boxing. I'm stunned that some are with me.









 2008/12/30 10:15









 Re: Just who IS responsible for this state of affairs?

Quote:
The key point I am trying to make is that, biblically, the unit of responsibility is 'a church' not 'the church'. To blame 'the modern church' for conditions as we find them is a mistake. There is no such thing as 'the church' in this sense. There is an entity that we can call 'the church' and the one responsible for it is its head, Jesus Christ. To suggest that anyone else has any responsibility for 'the church' is either arrogance or biblical ignorance.



This is a great post. This view of the "church", which I agree with and believe is entirely biblical, really simplifies things and, most importantly, takes the focus off of men and puts it onto Christ.

It also negates much of the prophetic utterances that have gone out, especially on this site and from preachers on this site, and it brings things home to our own houses and to our own local churches.

I know for myself, I have been unnecessarily moved, at times, by the "words from the lord" of men in pulpits that seem to be speaking to everyone but those people sitting in the seats in their own church.

I think many young preachers have taken their cues from preachers who think it is their duty to preach to the nation instead of the local flock that God has given them.

Philologos, I can't tell you how excited I am about this post. I really think you have hit the nail on the head. On a side note.... I am not sure if you are aware, but this theological view of the church is very much in agreement with Reformed Theology, specifically Presbyterian.

 2008/12/30 10:15





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