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 Early Church Leadership?

Quote:
Church governance was never like this in the biblical record. There were no 'pastors', no 'bishops', no 'first presidents'. Just 'beloved brethren'.


Brother Ron stated the above and I think this would be a good discussion topic to see in the scriptures what is said about church leadership and spiritual authority in churches.

[b]Ephesians 4:11-12[/b] - And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

clearly the word apostle and pastor is used to catergorize people with certain giftings. And if men called people "Apostles" and also "Prophets" then I don't see why they wouldn't call people as titles "evangelists, pastors or teachers".


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/2 8:59Profile
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 Re: Early Church Leadership?

Hi Greg

Quote:
clearly the word apostle and pastor is used to catergorize people with certain giftings. And if men called people "Apostles" and also "Prophets" then I don't see why they wouldn't call people as titles "evangelists, pastors or teachers".


My whole point is that they did not 'call people'...apostles or prophets. I may describe you as a webmaster but I don't call you that. I want to distinguish between descriptions and titles. There is no biblical evidence that 'terms' such as apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; were ever used as 'offices' or 'courtesy titles'. The words draw attention to function not an authority position in a local church.

I love the way in which Peter refers to Paul;our beloved brother Paul [2Pet 3:15]. This tells us who Paul was in Peter's affections, but gives no courtesy title.

I personally disapprove of all formal titles in the Christian community and do not use them. eg Rev, Dr, Pastor, Evangelist, Saint!!. To be consistent which should use all or none. As it is unlikely that I shall ever be addressed as Saint Ron I request that other descriptions be omitted too. ;-) I allow others freedom of conscience and hope they will do the same for me.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/2 9:27Profile
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 Re:

Ron:

I wanted to make sure I understand what you are saying here. The way I understand what you are saying is that God did give the gift of these offices but they do not need to be verbally expressed. Would you also say that they don't even necessarily need to be known other than by the one to whom the gift is given.

Curious.

Mike


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Mike

 2004/9/2 9:37Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
My whole point is that they did not 'call people'...apostles or prophets.


Yes. Ok now we are on the same page definetly I see where you are coming from and I don't totally agree because I believe after reading these scriptures the terms at least (elder, apostle) where used as descriptive titles. But in essence you are right and I agree with you that men even though of high spiritual calling where usually just greeted and called upon as a "brother" or "beloved brother"! very good I learn something new everyday.. this just confirms my using "brother" and "sister" when talking with alot of you on SI.

I do recall also that Jesus Christ said that we should call no man teacher because we have one teacher that is (the spirit of God).


[b]Romans 1:1[/b] Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

• In the passage above Paul calls himself a 'servant of Jesus Christ' as an title and states 'an apostle' as a spiritual calling.

[b]1 Corinthians 1:1[/b] - Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

• In the passage above Paul calls himself 'an apostle' as a spiritual calling. Not as a title.

[b]2 Peter 3:15[/b] - And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

• Paul is refered to by Peter as 'beloved brother' as a title.

[b]Acts 15:2[/b] - When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

• Even though it does not appear that they would call someone 'apostle peter' etc the term apostles and elders are used specifically towards people as a 'title' or 'office'.

[b]Paul, an apostle[/b]
appears in: 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1, Titus 1:1.



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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/2 9:47Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I wanted to make sure I understand what you are saying here. The way I understand what you are saying is that God did give the gift of these offices but they do not need to be verbally expressed. Would you also say that they don't even necessarily need to be known other than by the one to whom the gift is given.


Hi Mike
Even the concept of 'office' has no biblical basis. The word 'office' in the sense of an official position is used 46 times in the KJV version and NEVER in the originals. The words translated 'office' always speak of function not status.

The KJV is my Bible of choice but it has some latent problems and the whole issue of spiritual authority is one of its greatest problems. Here is an example; Take heede therefore vnto your selues, and to all the flocke, whereof the holy Ghost hath made you Ouerseers, to feede the Church of God, which hee hath purchased with that his owne blood.
(Act 20:28 GB - the Geneva Bible was predominantly Tyndales Translation)
The KJV translators of 1611 altered this vital verse; Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Act 20:28 KJV)
Can you see the difference in emphasis between 'the church whereof the Holy Spirit has made you overseers' and 'the church over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers'. The word that the 1611 translators translated 'over' is the Greek preposition meaning 'within'. The original says that the elders are within the church, the KJV says elders are over the church.

This slanting of the text towards the 'status quo' is through much of the KJV. It has a historical background in English history and King James' translators built 'hierarchy' into their translation. They did not want to encourage egalitarianism of any kind; ultimately it means the death of any monarchy.

The idea of a hierarchy (priestly pecking order) is not the only idea that the translators infected the KJV with.

What I was saying is that the use of words like 'pastor' 'apostle' 'evangelist' as a title or official position has no basis in the Bible. And that we would get a better understanding of the nature of spiritual authority if we did not so use them.

Hope that is a little more clear.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/2 10:00Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
The word that the 1611 translators translated 'over' is the Greek preposition meaning 'within'. The original says that the elders are within the church, the KJV says elders are over the church.


Very good and "intresting" hehe I do think that we have to realize these bible were translated in an catholic church atmosphere with all its hierachy as Ron stated. Myself going to a protestant "presbyterian" church which its name being derived from the greek word I believe for order or heirachy. I really think its wrong how they classify different offices in the church and I guess that clearly doesn't make me a genuine presbyterian for thats one of the major tenets of being one to agree to the offices and order intrepted in the bible by the presbyterian church.. ohh well.

Ron the scriptures I showed in the earlier post doesn't that at least show that the titles elder and apostle were used at least in [b]some[/b] situations and for us not to want to use them even for good intentions goes against the balance of how the early church used them. But I do agree now with the uses of other titles classifying spiritual authority. Man this is an eye opener for me, I hope others are blessed by this thread.


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 Re:

Quote:
Yes. Ok now we are on the same page definetly I see where you are coming from and I don't totally agree because I believe after reading these scriptures the terms at least (elder, apostle) where used as descriptive titles.
• Paul is refered to by Peter as 'beloved brother' as a title.


Hi webmaster Greg!!!
were getting closer at any rate...
my view is that they are not titles at all, but descriptions/functions. ;-) Why would I give you a title. You are Greg; webmaster is what you do. I know that the world used this pattern of speech as with President George W Bush, or Vice President Chaney, but I understand that Mrs Bush calls him Bushie; she know what he does.

It was important in Paul's letters to make it plain that he was not writing in a private capacity as a 'beloved brother' but as an emissary of God with divine authority; an apostle. But that does not mean he was introduced in the meeting as Apostle Paul; he was 'beloved brother'- not a title a relationship.

We are to give honour to whom honour is due, but that does not mean, that in the church, we have to use honorary titles to do so.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/2 10:12Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Hi webmaster Greg!!!


gack.. that sounds awful.. perhaps apostle greg has a nicer ring to it.. [grin] ;-)

Quote:
my view is that they are not titles at all, but descriptions/functions.


But surely you must conceed that in the scriptures the word 'apostle' is used to distinguish and classify people. Like if I came into the early church room with all the 'apostle' I might welcome them by saying 'greeting apostles in the Lord Jesus!' I do think there is a place to use this sort of 'titling' and I don't think it should be dis-allowed for the scriptures seem to feeling use it on occasion. Another example would be addressing 'saints in the Lord' etc.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

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 Re:

Ephesians 4:11-12 - And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ron, I like what you said. "Why would I give you a title. You are Greg; webmaster is what you do."

If verse 12 in Ephesians 4 is not being fulfilled then the doing is not been done and therefore some have apparently appointed themselves to these positions/titles.

Thank you both for this thread. I have gained a lot in just a few minutes.

Mike


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Mike

 2004/9/2 10:19Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
perhaps apostle greg has a nicer ring to it

The people who would give it to you would want to put the ring through your nose. It is all about control.


Quote:
But surely you must conceed that in the scriptures the word 'apostle' is used to distinguish and classify people. Like if I came into the early church room with all the 'apostle' I might welcome them by saying 'greeting apostles in the Lord Jesus!' I do think there is a place to use this sort of 'titling' and I don't think it should be dis-allowed for the scriptures seem to feeling use it on occasion. Another example would be addressing 'saints in the Lord' etc.

There is sometimes a quaint formality among the colonies that is very attractive. :-D Would you really say 'hi apostles, hi prophets, hi evangelists, hi shepherds and teachers'? Is this how you will greet them in heaven? When I get the chance I am not going to say 'greeting Apostle Paul', I'm going to give him a great bear hug and say 'thank you, beloved brother'.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/2 10:37Profile





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