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twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2003
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

hoohoou:

This might be a round-a-bout response to what you have written, but hopefully I will get there.

Paul speaks at least ten times of his apostolic calling as, "the grace given unto me." One of those times is Ephesians 4. He says, "I am going to say these things through my gifting and calling of apostle." He then goes on to tell us that every man is given grace gifts to be used in ministry. After saying that he outlines five specific and unique grace gifts that are given for the edification, maturing, and equipping or fitting out of the body so that the body can effectively do the work of the ministry. Some call these the "five fold". They are grace gifts given to the body and not offices to be held by people. It is only in this context that pastor is ever mentioned in the New Testament. On one or two occasions the similar word shepherd is used.

A survey of the New Testament about these people (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) will reveal that for the most part these people function in the body in general rather than the local church specifically. God never ordained a pastor as leader of the local assembly, and the "corporate pyramid" structure that we often see in our modern American churches is notably absent from the early church.

The structure that God established in the early church was that apostolic gifts ordained those whom God revealed to them to be elders in each local body as it was established. God chose men to serve as overseers, and apostles ordained them with the laying on of hands. A plurality of eldership was always ordained. I believe this to be for a good reason. When one person establishes the "vision" and calls the shots, he can easily get into the flesh and establish his own vision rather than God's. When two or more must lead together, they must agree. If they do not, one or both has not heard from God and much prayer must go into coming to agreement as to what God's will is in the body.

It is entirely possible for a man with the gifting of pastor or teacher to be chosen by God for eldership, but this is not required.

Apostles and evangelists seem to never be based in a local fellowship, prophets and teachers may or may not, and pastors seem to function almost exclusively in a local body.

Pastors have the unique ability to minister the love and grace of God to people and to lead them into maturity in the area of ministry to others. We see this when we use terms such as, "He has the heart of a pastor" or other similar sayings. Pastors are not meant to be the "leader and direction setter" in a local body Biblically, elders are. Again, it is possible for a pastor to serve as an elder, but his gift is not aimed at eldership or oversight, but rather at bringing the body into maturity in an area of unique ministry from the love and heart of God. We have changed this Biblical role into a sermon preparer and deliverer, hospital visitor, funeral and wedding officiator, and direction setter for a local body. This is not borne out Biblically.

So does it matter? I think yes. When God ordains a structure, it is for a reason.

Is it possible for the modern American structure of senior pastor, associate pastors, assistants, etc. to function and bear fruit? Absolutley, but never to the degree that the body could bear fruit if we were to adopt the Biblical model. Remember, pastors are just one of five unique gifts meant to equip the body. Without all functioning, the body cannot come into balanced maturity and will be hindered in effectiveness of ministry. The body is the ministering entity, not the five who are called specifically to prepare the body. God longs to have His people develop in their grace giftings and effectively impact the world around them, and I believe proper structure is key in this happening.

Just some thoughts.

Travis


_________________
Travis

 2010/4/11 12:14Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1090
Germany NRW

 Re:

Over the last 10-20 years many ministries that started well have apostatized, and I believe this is partly because of their man made structures. I do believe that we now live in times where even some of the most truth-loving ministries that hold on to man made structures will start to tumble and fall. Recently we have seen a couple of them shaken up, you can check some of the posts even here.

The Lord can for a time and season bless these churches and ministries, but if they are based on man made foundations and platforms they will be shaken up, destroyed and hopefully rebuilt God's ways.

This may sound horrific, but the result will be glorious. There are so many ministries especially in America that are build around a man's gift and even bear his name.

1 Peter 4:17
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?


Quote:
Is it possible for the modern American structure of senior pastor, associate pastors, assistants, etc. to function and bear fruit? Absolutley, but never to the degree that the body could bear fruit if we were to adopt the Biblical model. Remember, pastors are just one of five unique gifts meant to equip the body. Without all functioning, the body cannot come into balanced maturity and will be hindered in effectiveness of ministry. The body is the ministering entity, not the five who are called specifically to prepare the body. God longs to have His people develop in their grace giftings and effectively impact the world around them, and I believe proper structure is key in this happening.



Very well said. This is not just an American structure, you find it almost everywhere except some small pockets of apostolic Christianity.

 2010/4/11 13:02Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Though God has blessed the church in spite of its unscriptural ecclesiastical practices, this should not be taken as God approving of these structures anymore than God approved of Abraham going into Hagar, and bringing Ishmael into this world. No doubt, Ishmael was a source of blessing to Abraham, as all children are a blessing from the Lord. But Ishamel was not what God had in mind. God was only interested in the child of promise.

The same goes for the Church. We have had many great men of God occupy positions in episcopal structures, amongst other structures. But God never so intended this would happen. He has blessed in spite of our carnality and immaturity. But the truth of the matter is we must all yield to the supremacy of Christ in all things. When we occupy pope like positions, we take away from the glory that belongs to Christ alone, as the head of the body. He alone is our chief apostle and senior pastor. There is no "pope" but Christ.

When popes arise, no matter how well meaning, we introduce a fleshly element into the church that literally keeps the church from growing into full maturity. We have introduced an Ishmael into the equation, and history proves how costly such carnality can be. Remember, every member must function properly for the body to operate as it was created to operate. If something is out of joint, then the entire body will suffer. Remember, we have two feet, two legs, two arms, and two hands, but we have only one head. When somebody tries to occupy the place of head, which belongs to Christ alone, a deformity has been introduced, and things cannot be as they ought to be.


_________________
Jimmy H

 2010/4/11 14:02Profile









 Re:

The last three responses so blessed me. Very God, very God.

 2010/4/11 15:56









 Re: Now your scaring me.

"When popes arise, no matter how well meaning, we introduce a fleshly element into the church that literally keeps the church from growing into full maturity. We have introduced an Ishmael into the equation, and history proves how costly such carnality can be. Remember, every member must function properly for the body to operate as it was created to operate. If something is out of joint, then the entire body will suffer. Remember, we have two feet, two legs, two arms, and two hands, but we have only one head. When somebody tries to occupy the place of head, which belongs to Christ alone, a deformity has been introduced, and things cannot be as they ought to be. "


King Jimmy! your scaring me; this was so good! Right ON!...

And NARROWPATH!

amen!!ty

 2010/4/11 18:41









 Re:

Quote:
The last three responses so blessed me.



indeed. Jimmy, Travis, "narrowpath", wise words, indeed, amen.

all three of you have the gift of writing, would to God one of you, if led, endeavor to write a book, pamphlet, trestise on Biblical Ecclesiology for today. That is the correct terminology, ecclesiology, yes?

and to all, what would you say is the clearest, most Scriptural work/or book on ecclesiology would you reccommend?....and i hesitate to add....simple,also.

this is a good thread, God bless you all.

 2010/4/11 19:53
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

I enjoyed "The Open Church" by Jim (James?) Rutz. It's been a while since I've read up on the subject. I hope to write & teach on these matters more fully one day. But right now, I've not had the time or leading to put something like that together. Somebody here had a New Testament Reformation website link. I've been to that site in the past, and gone to a conference. It's a good resource.


_________________
Jimmy H

 2010/4/11 20:18Profile
twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2003
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

Natan4Jesus: The best I have read is Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life. It is available to read online if you search for it.

Interestingly, I have been feeling the urge to do some writing on the subject. We will see where God takes it, but I have done quite a bit of study. My paradigm has been undergoing a big shift.

Travis


_________________
Travis

 2010/4/11 21:22Profile
hoohoou
Member



Joined: 2009/12/11
Posts: 212
Texas

 Re: My paradigm has been undergoing a big shift.

I do appreciate all the thoughtful posts on this thread. Although I'm not sure anyone has convinced me yet. My biggest issue was not in the fact that the structure was wrong but that the original article offered no answers, but only proof that it was wrong.

I have, in fact, been called to be a pastor. It was like I'd known it all along when God first called me. I could almost see the word written in my mind. I have known for a while now that the current mode of Sunday worship wasn't cutting it, and wasn't going to. Many posts have spoken to me especially concerning the serving and growing aspects of church body. Without really reading up on the subject God has been speaking to me about how a "service" should go. I'm to the point where I honestly don't know what it will look like, and therefore I'm not sure what being a pastor will mean. What's more, I don't have to know. I have to be willing to obey and learn to hear. Big ears and courage. And that is what our churches are lacking.

We are lacking pastors who are willing to be Spirit-led in all things. I spoke to our young adult group the other night and my point was that we can not ever relax in our knowledge of spiritual things. We will never have everything figured out. That includes how a church should be run. We must always have our hearts and ears open to the leading of the Lord. Just as important we must have the courage to obey even when other Christians disagree, or the whole world is set against us.

I guess my main point is that if a pastor truly loves the Lord and desires to do His will above all else, God will change the church. Again, I agree that the structure of a church body, and it's services, are not in the Kingdoms best interest. I just feel that the root of the problem is in a lack of Spirit-led leaders. If anyone knows of a church, especially in the Houston area, that follows a New Testament pattern, please, let me know. Also, if you know of one that videos or tapes services I'd like to take a look. I wouldn't have had near the problem with the article if the writer would have just given a couple examples of how it IS done properly. I know the Word gives clues and sets some guidelines, but it does not give specific details on how a service will look.


_________________
Matt Smith

 2010/4/11 22:36Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1090
Germany NRW

 Re:

Dear HooHoou,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. If the bible would give us as a clear cut model with diagramms and paragraphs and subheadings, wouldn't that be easier? Very likely, but it would bring death! We like to have it in tablets of stone. Tablets of stone are for peolple with hearts of stone.


The bible deliberately intertwines doctrine into the unfolding of events and letters to living people according to actual situations and issues. That affords the counsel of the Holy Spirit. We are too lazy to go into the prayer closet until we have the answer. How did Paul get all his doctrine? By revelation out of a living relationship, in the prayer closet, in tears and desperation.

The pattern that we have in the NT is not static as in the OT but fluid and dynamic. It is not hierarchical.
Apostles are of chief importance for the kingdom of God, but in the world they are most dispised and always buffeted by the enemies forces.

The fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers can go beyond the bounds of a local fellowship. In God's economy it is counterbalanced by the order of a local fellowship with elders and deacons. For the carnal man, this would mean fierce competition, but for the spriritual body of Christ it brings a wonderful balance. This can only happen if we totally submit to the headship of Christ and this is where the real problem is: Many pastors would never admit it, but they do in fact contest the headship of Christ and claim it partly for themselves. Most do it with the best intention to serve God, and for lack of better examples. The time is now come that we recover these age old truths and set them into practise so the Christ can finally have a church that is built on his foundations.



 2010/4/12 5:26Profile





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