Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Don't Understand Predestination


I'm putting this out there. I am quick to admit I don't understand predestination.

Predestination is a mystery to me.

How can God know the future, and be in control of everything - yet love all of His creation and allow us to have free will.

The way I see it, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists have points where they must admit they don't understand something.

I think Calvinist see other points further down their logic path that become their mysteries.

Calvinist don't have a problem with predestination.

They remove free will from the equation.

They conclude that God is in 100% control of everyone's desires, choices and actions.

They conclude that God has chosen them and they have nothing to do with it, it's all for God's glory.

They conclude that Jesus only died for the elect.

Some conclude that God hates sinners.

For them the mysteries come at some different points in their responses to questions like these:

  • What criteria would God have to predestine some people to a future in heaven, and some to a future in Hell?
  • Why does God predestine billions of people to Hell? Why bother creating them if he knows where he is sending them?
  • If God hates sinners should we?
  • Can't sinners choose to do good, and can't they choose to follow God.
  • Doesn't 2 Peter 3:9 and Acts 17:30 sound like God wants everyone to be saved, not just the elect?
  • Doesn't 1 John 2:2 sound like unlimited atonement?
  • Doesn't Matt 23:37 sound like some resisted God's irresistible grace?
  • Doesn't Matt 6:33 sound like people have the choice to seek God's kingdom?

From my experience, at some point in these conversation you will likely get the response that it is a mystery. We shouldn't expect to fully understand the ways of God.

If we all have points in our logic where we fall back and admit it's a mystery of God...

I think I'd rather pick a point earlier in the logic process before defending some of these other positions.

What's it called when you say something about someone that is false and makes them out to look like a monster?

I think Calvinists are running on dangerous ground, falsely accusing God of hating sinners.

I wouldn't want to go there.

If I'm wrong. I believe I'll be slightly disappointed when I get to heaven and discover I was actually a robot or puppet. I can live with this.

If they are wrong, I suspect they will regret spreading the message that God hates sinners.

So I am OK publicly stating I don't understand predestination.

Related Posts:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Student of Scripture Instructed in the Kingdom


Matt 13:51-52 (HCSB)

"Have you understood all these things?"
"Yes," they told Him.
"Therefore," He said to them, "every student of Scripture instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who brings out of his storeroom what is new and what is old."

Jesus frequently focused on teaching about the good news of the kingdom of God. However He was also very well versed in Old Testament truths. The way he taught and interacted with people is the example we need to follow here.

Jesus was introducing new teachings about the reign and rule of God. Jesus was also well versed in how God had worked throughout the ages.

To be a well rounded teacher of spiritual truths one needs a good foundation in how God has worked throughout the ages, and also accept these new teachings Jesus gave on the kingdom of Heaven.

Just like a host who takes some fresh food from the farm, and also goes to the cellar to get more produce. A full banquet can be prepared by properly mixing something old and something new.

See Secrets of the Kingdom Summary for more posts in this series.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Summary on Elders Overseers Shepherds

Why am I focusing on this topic of leadership? I think everyone is a leader in some way or another. Whatever you do, good or bad, there could be people that follow your example. I think all believers would benefit from taking a look at what Scripture says on the topic of leadership. We all may have more of a responsibility than you've considered before.

If you haven't seen this funny video yet, this may help: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

OK, so here is my summary of what I've learned as I've work on this series of posts.

(Each title is a link to related verses and further details.)

Jesus on Leadership
  • Jesus and the religious leaders of His day did not get along for the most part.
  • In the new Kingdom Jesus established, the first are last, the least are greatest, servants are the leaders that others should follow.
  • Jesus instructed His disciples not to rule over others like governments of the world do.
  • Jesus didn't want his followers to be called things like Rabbi, father, or teacher.
  • Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Biblical Elders
  • The Old Testament is full of references to Elders, this isn't a position the New Testament church invented.
  • They were older wise men who were well respected in the community.
  • I believe the Jewish culture had a role for elders to play within the family and community.
Elders and Overseers in 1 Peter 5:1-4

This passage doesn't need to mean more than this:
  • it was written to elders - older respected men in the community
  • They were told to be shepherds - to care for others in their community
Everyone should care for others, and these elders should be an example of this.

Appointing Elders in Acts 14:23
  • Elders were recognized in the Lystra, Iconium and Antioch community of believers
  • These were likely non-Jewish converts who didn't have elders in place
  • Paul and Barnabas either did the appointing themselves, or the community of believers publicly recognized them in some manner
Overseers in Acts 20:28
  • Paul was addressing the elders here
  • They were told to keep an eye on God's flock, to watch over it
  • They were told to tend to it, and care for others
  • These are things all believers should do. These elders need to be examples of this so the rest can follow.
Elders and Overseers Appointed in Titus 1:5-9
  • Crete was one of the predominately non-Jewish places the early church expanded to.
  • Timothy is given the task to appoint, or set in place elders who would have the responsibility for caring for and watching out for others.
  • God is entrusting these men to manage or be stewards of God's household. A noble task to take care of not just earthly treasures, but to take care of God's family.
  • We have a list of godly characteristics that these men should possess or strive toward.
Deacons and Overseers in 1 Tim 3:1-13
  • If someone aspires to be one who watches out for others, visits them, and cares for others, this is a noble task. Not just anyone can do this, they must meet or strive for these godly characteristics.
  • In the same way if someone wants to serve others in the body and care for the needs of others they must meet or strive for these godly characteristics.
Pastors in Ephesians 4:11

If we translate some of the ambiguous terms into common English this passage could read like this:
So Christ himself gave some messengers who are sent out, some who speak a message of God, some who share the good news, some who care for other believers, and some who teach, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and...

What Titles Did Early Church Leaders Use?

The example we have from those leading the way in the early church is they used the following titles or terms to describe themselves and others: servant, slave, prisoner, brother,sister, elder, and Apostle (or messenger of Christ' or 'ambassador of Christ') .


Some things I would NOT conclude from these texts:
  • Elders or other church leaders had some ruling decision making authority over the other believers.
  • That church leadership models can resemble government or corporation leadership models.
  • Elders would serve a 2 -5 year term after which someone else would take their place.
  • A specific number of elders were required in each community or gathering of believers.
  • That things like baptisms, marriage, and funerals can only be done by elders (or pastors).
  • That watching over, tending, and caring for included any decision making authority for others?
  • That some church leaders should be called Minister, Reverend, Pastor, Priest, Deacon, Archbishop, Cardinal, Pope, etc.

In summary I believe Jesus simply wants his followers to serve each other. The leaders among us are the ones who serve best and model a servant life the rest should follow. Serving can include caring for others, teaching others, going out to unreached people, watching out for others... basically loving everyone in the same way Christ loves us.

However I'm a Simple Minded Man.

I admit my viewpoint seems too simplistic if your view of the church includes buildings, staff, and programs. If church has become more complex than simply people coming together - I agree that you will need to have leaders who manage the organization.

I am not against this. I just want to present a point of view which sees these things as extras. I believe Christ's church does not need to have programs, buildings, or staff. It makes sense that I also don't believe it needs a leadership structure to maintain it.

If your view of the church is simply Christ's body of believers it is easier to see that leadership does not need to be a structure with decision making or authority over others.


Related Posts:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Titles Did Early Church Leaders Use?

I'll summarize my series on leaders/elders/overseers/pastors soon. But first I want to list a bunch of verses that give an idea of the types of titles used by leaders in the early church.

First let's consider what titles Jesus told them not to use.

Matthew 23:8-12 (NIV)

"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Jesus was clear he didn't want his followers to be called Rabbi, father, or teacher. Do we think this is an exhaustive list? Do we think Jesus would be OK with His followers using other titles like "King", "Ruler", "Boss", "CEO"? Likely not.

What was Jesus getting at?

How did those leading the way in the early church follow Jesus in their response?

Romans 1:1 (NIV)
"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle...."

Romans 16:7 (NIV)
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

1 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus...

1 Corinthians 3:5
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

2 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

Galatians 1:1
Paul, an apostle

Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

Ephesians 3:1
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

Colossians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

Colossians 1:23
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

2 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

Titus 1:1
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

Philemon 1:1
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother

2 Peter 3:15
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul

Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Ephesians 3:7
I became a servant of this gospel

Colossians 1:25
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me

Colossians 4:7
[ Final Greetings ] Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.

Colossians 4:12
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus,

James 1:1
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

Jude 1:1
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

1 Corinthians 9:19
[ Paul’s Use of His Freedom ] Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

Acts 15:13
When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.

Acts 21:20
When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law.

Colossians 4:9
He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

1 Thessalonians 3:2
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service

2 Timothy 4:21
Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 13:23
I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released.

I think a case could be made for using the following titles for those leading in Christ's church:
  • Apostle (which means sent one)
  • servant
  • slave
  • prisoner
  • brother
  • sister
I think a good case could also be made if someone wants to call an old wise man 'elder'.

As for 'Apostle', it is frequently used for Paul, the first 12 Jesus called, and some less know people like Andronicus and Junia. So I think it would be safe to use as well to refer to someone who is sent out with a message of Christ. The term may have been over spiritualized to mean something else by now. It may be safer to go with a more common English equivalent like 'messenger of Christ' or 'ambassador of Christ'.

Have I missed any?

Do any of these terms come with any decision making authority for others?

By examining the titles used by those in the early church, how can they be an example for us?

Or maybe my list here isn't so much a list of titles, but more a list of words used to describe their characteristics.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pastors in Ephesians 4:11

I want to express a different viewpoint without being judgmental. Is that possible? I think so. But if you don't think so, I'd prefer you read no further. I respect those who hold a traditional view on this, no judgmental feelings aiming your way.

Here is part 7 of a series on leaders/elders/overseers/pastors. Looking at Scripture references typically used to support the traditional models of church leadership. If you haven't read the first 6 posts in this series, here they are. I'd encourage you to first study what Jesus says on the topic of leadership before reading any of these other passages.

Previous Posts in this series:

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Verse 11 is the only verse in the New Testament
(in most translations), that uses the term 'Pastors'.

If you want to learn about the office of pastor, Ephesians 4:11 is the verse to look at.

I wanted to include more than verse 11 since the whole passage is a great reminder of how many members of Christ's body function together, with Christ as the head, growing together in Christ's love.

pastors - poimenas - ποιμένας
  • is related to poimenes - ποιμένες which gets translated as shepherds
  • is related to poimēn - ποιμὴν which gets translated as shepherd
  • is related to poimena - ποιμένα which gets translated as shepherd
  • is related to poimenōn - ποιμένων which gets translated as shepherds
  • a shepherd is someone who cares for and feeds a flock

A few initial thoughts:

  • Why don't we translate poimenas in Ephesians 4:11 as shepherd?
  • Jesus is frequently refereed to as the good shepherd and chief shepherd.
  • There is no record of anybody going by the title of pastor or lead pastor until the days of John Calvin in the 1500's.
  • I wonder if Jesus would have added 'Pastor' to his list in Matt 23:8-12 of titles he didn't want his followers using?

Is this passage talking about 5 offices that Christ gave to a select few to build up the body?

Or is it talking about 5 characteristics or gifts that most believers should have in varying degrees?


What if we translated a few more terms into common English:
  • apostles - messengers who are sent out, ambassador
  • prophets - those who speak a message of God
  • evangelists - those who shares the good news
  • pastors/shepherds - those who care for other believers
  • teachers - already translated into common English

Could it be that this is talking about the whole body of Christ? Shouldn't most Christ followers be actively participating in a few of these areas?
Some will be more gifted in some areas than others, and should lead by example so others can grow in that area as well.


The whole passage could be read something like this:

So Christ himself gave some messengers who are sent out, some who speak a message of God, some who share the good news, some who care for other believers, and some who teach, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and...

This passage is about Christ being the head of the body. Many members of the body have different roles to play so that we all Grow up in God's love.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Next post: What titles did leaders in the early church use?

Related Posts:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Deacons and Overseers in 1 Tim 3:1-13

I want to express a different viewpoint without being judgmental. Is that possible? I think so. But if you don't think so, I'd prefer you read no further. I respect those who hold a traditional view on this, no judgmental feelings aiming your way.

Here is part 6 of a series on leaders/elders/overseers/pastors. Looking at Scripture references typically used to support the traditional models of church leadership. If you haven't read the first 5 posts in this series, here they are. I'd encourage you to first study what Jesus says on the topic of leadership before reading any of these other passages.

Previous Posts in this series:


1 Timothy 3:1-13 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

I want to look at the bold terms and examine their meanings. I'll use http://biblos.com/1_timothy/3-1.htm to help with the Greek.

overseer - ἐπισκοπῆς - episkopēs
  • some translate as bishop
  • the two other times this word is used it gets translated as "visitation" (Luke 19:44, 1 Peter 2:12)
  • The term doesn't need to include any decision making authority for others
  • We don't need to read more into the term than one who visits others, gives oversight, watches out for
(2nd) overseer - ἐπίσκοπον - episkopon
  • We don't need to read more into the term than one who watches out for and cares for others
deacons - Διακόνους - diakonous
  • Waiter or servant
  • From the same family as διάκονος (diakonos) wich gets translated servant in Matthew 20:26 "It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant."
  • and Matthew 23:11 "But he who is greatest among you will be your servant."
  • and other similar verses.
  • This term does not mean a position or office with decision making authority

(2nd) deacons - διακονείτωσαν - diakoneitōsan
  • to actively serve or wait on tables
  • We don't need to read more into this than to serve and caring for the needs of others

(3rd) deacon - διάκονοι - diakonoi
  • This term gets translated "servant" in all 6 other verses it is used
  • We don't need to read more into this than to serve and caring for the needs of others

Reading this passage through our traditional church lenses we could assume:
  • This passage talks about the qualification for church leaders
  • These overseers or deacons are men who serve the church by ruling or governing it for a limited term
Or we could read it like this:
  • If someone aspires to be one who watches out for others, visits them, and cares for others, this is a noble task. Not just anyone can do this, they must meet or strive for these godly characteristics.
  • In the same way if someone wants to serve others in the body and care for the needs of others they must meet or strive for these godly characteristics.

I suspect this second reading fits better with Jesus' take on leadership.

Related Posts:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Elders and Overseers Appointed in Titus 1:5-9

Here is part 5 of a series on leaders/elders/overseers/pastors. Looking at Scripture references typically used to support the traditional models of church leadership. If you haven't read the first 4 posts in this series, here they are. I'd encourage you to first study what Jesus says on the topic of leadership before reading any of these other passages.

Previous Posts in this series:




Titus 1:5-9 (NIV)
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

appoint - καταστήσῃς - katastēsēs
  • only occurance of this term
  • could mean: appoint, conduct, make, ordain, or set in order

elders
- πρεσβυτέρους -presbuterous
  • also used in Luke 7:3, Luke 22:52, Acts 4:5, and Acts 6:12 for elders in the Jewish community
  • and used in other places to refer to elders in the new community of believers
  • an adjective here (an office or position title would be a noun)

2nd occurrence of elder isn't in the greek... some translation start verse 6 "if anyone ..."

overseer - ἐπίσκοπον - episkopon
  • This term is used 3 times. Once to refers to Jesus in 1 Pet 2:2.
  • These people are charged with the task of watching out for and caring for others

"Though in some contexts 1985 (epískopos) has been regarded traditionally as a position of authority, in reality the focus is upon the responsibility for caring for others" (L & N, 1, 35.40). http://concordances.org/greek/1985.htm

manages - οἰκονόμον - oikonomon
  • or steward - caring for that which God has asked him to watch over


What I know:
  • Jewish communities had always had elders, and held a place of respect for them in their communities.
  • Crete was one of the predominately non-Jewish places the early church expanded to.
  • Timothy is given the task to appoint, or set in place elders who would have the responsibility for caring for and watching out for others.
  • God is entrusting these men to manage or be stewards of God's household. A noble task to take care of not just earthly treasures, but to take care of God's family.
  • We have a list of godly characteristics that these men should possess or strive toward.

What I don't know:
  • What process were these elders appointed or set in place? Did Timothy know these believers well enough to do the appointing himself, or was his task more to allow each community of believers to set in place the men who were recognized as the older wise men who had this list of characteristics.
  • Were these elders elected or appointed for a specific term. Once they became recognized or appointed as elders did they ever become non-elders before death (or leaving the faith)?
  • Were these elders given some ruling decision making authority?
  • Don't all believers share this responsibility of caring for and watching out for others? Were these older wise men leading by example how the rest should follow?
  • Does Manage mean rule... like the manager of a corporation would? If we consider Jesus take on leadership I think we can conclude that manage does not mean rule here.

What do you think?

If Paul sent Timothy to your non-Jewish community do you think Timothy would get some elders selected? What do you think that process would look like? What roles and responsibilities would they have?

Related Posts:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overseers in Acts 20:28

Here is part 4 of a series on leaders/elders/overseers/pastors. Looking at Scripture references typically used to support the traditional models of church leadership. (See links below for previous posts.)

I took a 10 month break on this series because I recognized that this topic can come off sounding judgmental and divisive. Yet I think there is some value to posting the rest. As always, I welcome dialog. I don't claim to be the authority on this. And I struggle because I have close friends and family who will see things differently. I still respect who they are and what they believe.

I post with the hope that some will see that my questions with tradition are rooted in questioning if we have really been doing things 'by the book'.

Acts 20:28 (NIV)
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

Or Acts 20:28 (YLT)

"Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit made you overseers, to feed the assembly of God that He acquired through His own blood, "

I want to look at the bold terms and examine their meanings. I'll use http://biblos.com/acts/20-28.htm to help with the Greek.

overseers - ἐπισκόπους - episkopous
epískopos (a masculine noun, derived from 1909 /epí, "on/fitting contact," which intensifies 4649 /skopós, "look intently," like at an end-marker concluding a race) – properly, an overseer; a man called by God to literally "keep an eye on" His flock (the Church, the body of Christ), i.e. to provide personalized (first hand) care and protection (note the epi, "on").

"Though in some contexts 1985 (epískopos) has been regarded traditionally as a position of authority, in reality the focus is upon the responsibility for caring for others" (L & N, 1, 35.40).
shepherd - ποιμαίνειν - poimainein
  • A verb, to tend to
  • Not a noun or office title

What I know:
  • Paul was addressing the elders here (who may simply be those recognized as the older wise men in the community of believers).
  • They were told to keep an eye on God's flock, to watch over it
  • They were told to tend to it, and care for others
  • These are things all believers should do. These elders need to be examples of this so the rest can follow.
What I don't know:
  • Were these elders appointed for a short term to govern and manage the affairs of each local assembly, making decisions for an organization or corporation?
  • Does watching over, tending, and caring for include any decision making authority for others?
If we start with what Jesus had to say about leadership, I think the meaning here becomes clearer.

Matt 20:25-28 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 23:8-12 (NIV)
"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

What do you think? Do you think Acts 20:28 supports the traditional office of elder/overseer/pastor? Am I missing something?

Previous Posts in this series:

Related Posts:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kingdom like a Net


The Parable of the Net (Matt 13:47 - 50 HCSB)

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind [of fish], and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down, and gathered the good [fish] into containers, but threw out the worthless ones. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out, separate the evil people from the righteous, and throw them into the blazing furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Continuing my series on the secrets of the kingdom. The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given to us (Matthew 13:11). Jesus came to share this kingdom message (Luke 4:43). So I'm examining different passages related to this kingdom message.

So here we have a large net that represents the kingdom of God.

It seems there may be good fish and bad fish in this net during the present era of the kingdom of God.

There are likely some people that appear to be part of the reign of God now, but are really citizens of another kingdom. Who or what is truly ruling other people's hearts? It is hard for us to judge.

They may be sick or diseased fish, or even dead rotten fish, but they are still in the net.

It is not the job of the good fish to get rid of the bad fish.

At the end of the ages, the angels will collect the good fish, and dispose of the bad fish. There is no value in keeping rotten fish around forever.

This parable seems parallel to the Kingdom and Weeds parable in Matt 13:24-29.

What does this parable mean to you?

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

End Of Religion

Was Jesus of Nazareth an irreligious agitator? Was his message more radical than we’ve been led to believe? I recently read "End Of Religion" by Bruxy Cavey (A teaching pastor and fellow Canadian eh?).

I'd like to share a few of the things I highlighted as I read it. I welcome any feedback.

"The Jesus described in the Bible never uses the word religion to refer to what he came to establish, nor does he invite people to join a particular institution or organization. When he speaks of "church", he is talking about people who gather in his name, not the structure they meet in or the organization they belong to (see Matthew 18:15-20). And when he talks about connecting with God, he consistently speaks not of religion but of "faith" (Luke 7:50; John 3:14-16). Jesus never commands his followers to embrace detailed creeds or codes of conduct, and he never instructs his followers to participate in exhaustive religious rituals. His life's work was about undoing the knots that bound people to ritual and empty tradition."
I don't want to sound judgmental to my brothers and sisters. I truly can not see the heart motivation behind stuff others do. I'm just thinking through the implication of this.

First... do you agree with the above quote? Do you think Bruxy is off track here?

Most Christians wouldn't say you have to be part of a particular institution or organization to connect with God. But isn't it usually highly recommended? Invitations to join a church and come to church are common. Why don't we see Jesus making such invitations?

Most Christians would agree that faith is what saves. Yes, faith in Jesus. However isn't it common that soon following this faith comes a push to accept detailed creeds and/or codes of conduct. Did we get this idea from Jesus, or is this our religious nature?

What about rituals, and empty tradition? The reformation did a good job freeing us from a lot of that. But is there more?


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