One Spirit and One Heart in God (Acts 4:32, Ephesians 4:4, Matthew 23:8)  

God the Father loves the Son of God (John 3:35), Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Son of God loves God the Father (John 14:31), and this communion is in the Holy Spirit of God (1 John 5:6-8)! Perfect Love in one God (John 17:21), Agape! The Father in Heaven's banquet is for His Son, and the purpose of this feast is to celebrate the marriage to His Chosen Bride, and she has the favor of the Father because of the Son (Matthew 22:1-14)! Let us examine His authoritative declaration of His Bride, His Holy Nation (1 Peter 2:9), His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12), the Assembly of God (1 Corinthians 1:2)!

The purpose of this essay is to establish whether church is Scriptural. Does church align with the Word of God? Or, is church a man-made organization that is outside the dictates of the Father in heaven for the Bride of His Son?

History of the Church animation

Sections (best read in order):

I AM (Exodus 3:14); YHWH (Genesis 2:4); The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exodus 3:6); God Most High (Genesis 14:18), precisely laid out the Tabernacle, it's courtyard, interaction with it, and it's contents to Moses; it's fiber, form, and factor (Exodus 25-31 as well as elsewhere). Make no mistake, God gave this for the edification of His Holy Nation (1 Corinthians 10:11), the children of God (Matthew 5:9), that now walk by faith by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:7, 2 Timothy 1:14, Ezekiel 36:27). God provided precision about the Tabernacle on the Mountain of God. God is the God of peace and orderliness (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Before the foundation of the world, the Holy God of all eternity established His plan in love (Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:20). The Firstborn was known to Him (Psalm 89:27, Colossians 1:15-16, Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 1:6, Hebrews 1:8). Each child of God was known to Him (Revelation 13:8, Revelation 21:27, Revelation 20:12, Revelation 3:5). This One True God reigns absolute, and no man can ward off His Hand (Daniel 4:35, Jude 1:4, Revelation 21:27, Romans 9:20-21).

Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God

In the Old Testament (Septuagint), every occurrence of ecclesia in the Word of God is translated assembly. The actual Greek for ecclesia is εκκλησια (diacritics occur occasionally), and it may have several transliterations such as ecclesia and ekklhsia.

Here are a mere two of the 107 Bible verses in the Septuagint which include the word root of ecclesia, in Nehemiah (13:1) "assembly of God" as well as, interestingly, in Leviticus (8:4) the Word of God reads "congregation was assembled at the doorway" with the word congregation being synagoge and assemble being ecclesia.

The exception to the rule is in the book of Ecclesiastes where the word with the root of ecclesia has not been translated to the word assemble, rather it has been translated ecclesiastic (Solomon referring to himself). Please consider "I an ecclesiastic became king over Israel in Jerusalem." (1:12) and so with several occurrences of ecclesia in Ecclesiastes. In this, we find the nuance of ecclesiastic meaning one of the assembly, that is, Solomon, one of the assembly, became king over Israel. Ecclesia occurs 7 times in Ecclesiastes, and this number is included in the 107 Bible verses mentioned above.

Further, let's examine Acts 19 in the New Testament, which was originally penned in Koine Greek. In each of these verses, Acts 19:32, 19:39, 19:41, we find ecclesia translated assembly. Luke, the author under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the word ecclesia to describe the mob of unbelievers in Ephesus! Should the people translating to English have employed "church" as the term for the enraged, lost, unsaved mob in Ephesus? After all, very frequently in the New Testament in the King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), etc, the word ecclesia is translated church.

Paul, the former persecutor of Christians named Saul, provides a definition of ecclesia in 1 Timothy 3:15. First, here is the interlinear for you to read yourself (this does not contain the KJV which has been whited out here on this current page, but a copy of the below image which contains the KJV is available by clicking here, but please carefully read the copy of this page first):

1 Timothy 3:15 Interlinear

Let us listen to the Master Himself, Our Living and Loving Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Matthew the Apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (18:17) "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the ecclesia; and if he refuses to listen even to the ecclesia, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." The KJV, NASB, NIV, and ESV all use the word "church" for ecclesia; however, contemporary with Jesus' words, the synagogue was a place where the congregation of Jews assembled. Should the word synagogue have been used in place of ecclesia? That would be inconsistent with the use of ecclesia in the Law (Old Testament - in particular the Septuagint). After all, synagogue was translated congregation as is shown again and again in the Holy Spirit inspired writings of Moses! The word "assembly" fits wonderfully with ecclesia, after all, Jesus and the disciples were people walking and talking in a growing assembly!

The definition of ecclesia is out-called, called out assembly, community, and congregation.

Jesus declared "many are called, but few are chosen" as recorded by Matthew (22:14). Please take special note of the word "called", King Jesus calls people out of the realm of death (Ephesians 2:1), so those with ears opened by the Lord Jesus to hear are His sheep (Mark 7:31-37, Mark 4:9, John 10:27).

An exhaustive analysis of New Testament occurrences of ecclesia is due, so please find it at this link, "Table of Every Occurrence of Ecclesia in the New Testament".

In all this, it is clearly evident that God calls and extracts people out of this world (1 Peter 2:11), and, in a mighty act, God places these citizens into the exclusive dominion of the Kingdom of God (Romans 9:16, Ephesians 2:19). This blessed act of God adds to the Assembly of God, and His Assembly is inclusive as well as impartial (Deuteronomy 10:17, Acts 10:34).

The Assembly of God is the group of people that experience the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ secure in the faith delivered to the saints (Jude 3, Ephesians 2:8-10), including those asleep and living.

Word of God Authority

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 [the word "inspired" literally "God-breathed" and "training" literally "training which is in"])

You have ordained Your precepts,
   That we should keep them diligently.
(Psalm 119:4)

How can a young man keep his way pure?
   By keeping it according to Your word.
(Psalm 119:9)

Blessed are You, O Lord;
   Teach me Your statutes.
(Psalm 119:12)

How sweet are Your words to my taste!
   Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalm 119:103)

From Your precepts I get understanding;
   Therefore I hate every false way.
(Psalm 119:104)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
   And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5 - the first passage of the Word of God)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5 - the first passage of the Word of God in the Gospel recorded by the Apostle John)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

a voice out of the cloud said "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!' (Matthew 17:5))

"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:46-49)

"It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD." (Matthew 4:4 [take note that Jesus said "EVERY WORD" because words matter])

History of the Church

Yahúwah Yahushua haMashiyach established His ecclesia on the Ledge of Truth, that is, Himself. The entire foundation of this section is founded on the previous statement, so dissecting this statement Scripturally is critical:

WORD/PHRASEMEANINGSCRIPTURE
YahúwahMaster, Lord, Controller, Shepherd, Adonai, kyrios/kurio in Greek1 Corinthians 12:3
YahushuaHebrew name of Jesus meaning "YHWH Salvation", Iesou in GreekMatthew 1:21
haMashiyachHebrew title meaning "Anointed One", Christos in Greek, Messiah another English rendered formMark 8:29
established His ecclesia   Jesus' assembled people, His Body of believersJohn 15:5
on the Ledgea Ledge is a bed-rock, a solid, massive boulder, Petra in Greek (city of Petra - Wikipedia)Matthew 16:18
of TruthJesus said "I am the Truth" and Peter (Petros in Greek, meaning pebble) declared profound Truth when he said "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."John 14:6, Matthew 16:16
that is, Himselfin this passage, the Truth is revealed that the ecclesia would be built on this massive, wonderful TruthMatthew 16:13-20

Here is the declaration of God's Ecclesia before the existence of the Church!

Not unlike Jesus; Who lived, died on the cross, resurrected, and ascended to the right hand of the Father during the time of the Roman Empire; the children of God followed in His steps (1 Peter 2:21) as sheep before the slaughter by Roman persecutors (Romans 8:36), yet these saints were gripped by the deep, deep love and joy of the Author and Perfecter of the faith (2 Corinthians 4:7-15, (Hebrews 12:2)!

Furthermore, since the time of Jesus, there were apostate people (fell away from the faith [1 John 2:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:3]), and people that expressed heretical beliefs (some denied Jesus absolute authority and control [Matthew 10:33, 2 Corinthians 5:14]). As incredulous as it may sound, there was a gradual departure from the teachings of Christ Jesus that can be called antichrist. Nevertheless, God continues to preserve a people unto Himself, and one such account of a person is Polycarp, an elder in the assembly of God that was discipled by John (as in the Gospel according to John), is depicted in this excellent movie, Polycarp available on DVD as well as several sources of accounts of his life, and death, that centered on Christ around 150 A.D.

The following indented section is based on assertions from documents and claims made by others about history.

The earliest known reference to the term "pulpit" as it pertains to the church is found in the writing of Cyprian (c. 250 AD), in Epistle XXXIII:
When this man, beloved brethren, came to us with such condescension of the Lord, illustrious by the testimony and wonder of the very man who had persecuted him, what else behoved to be done except that he should be placed on the pulpit, that is, on the tribunal of the Church; that, resting on the loftiness of a higher station, and conspicuous to the whole people for the brightness of his honour, he should read the precepts and Gospel of the Lord, which he so bravely and faithfully follows? Let the voice that has confessed the Lord daily be heard in those things which the Lord spoke. Let it be seen whether there is any further degree to which he can be advanced in the Church. There is nothing in which a confessor can do more good to the brethren than that, while the reading of the Gospel is heard from his lips, every one who hears should imitate the faith of the reader.
It is claimed that the day before the battle of Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312, that Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision of a symbol about Christ with a voice telling him "In this sign, [you shall] conquer". It is said that this event impacted Constantine's attitude toward Christianity in a positive fashion. Constantine's alleged vision precipitated a transition which occurred with the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D., issued by Constantine, which resulted in the legalization and favor of Christianity.

People in leadership of the Church tacitly approved the role of vicar of Christ to Constantine, or said another way, the pontus of Christos, the Pope by act. Constantine insinuated himself as the head of the Church, and Church leadership was complicit, if not explicit in the act as Constantine called for synods and councils over which he presided over the results, such as the Nicene Council.

Later in Constantine's reign, persecution of professing Christians who rejected subscribing to Constantine's beliefs underwent brutal destruction of life. Constantine exercised authority over the Church, and those people that agreed with Constantine had the peace of the world.

Roman Emperor Theodosius I, 379-395 A.D., prohibited all forms of pagan worship as recorded in the "Codex Theodosianus", a codification of legislative enactments from the time of Constantine, as sixteen volumes arranged in chronological order. Ambrose, the Church bishop of Milan, exerted extraordinary dominance over Theodosius I, including leveraging the threat of excommunication. The effective result of Theodosius' edict made the Church the state religion of the western empire. While pagan rituals such as burnt offering or the divining of entrails were treasonous, the pagans that venerated a statue or tied a ribbon around a tree just faced loss of property (Codex Theodosianus, XVI.10.12).

At about the same time, the Church also targeted people that they identified as having heretical Christian beliefs, for example "It is Our will that all the peoples who are ruled by the administration of Our Clemency shall practice that religion which the divine Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans....The rest, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of Our own initiative" (Codex Theodosianus, XVI.1.2).

It was under Theodosius I's successor, Theodosius II, that pagans were denied public employment, that is civil and military administration.

The final edict recorded in the Codex Theodosianus, XV.10.21., forbade sacrifices on penalty of death and ordered the destruction of temples, if any existed.

The tale of the Caesareum church in Alexandria, Egypt.

Part 1 of 3 of this tale identifies dates/times and the associated rulers.
Alexandria, Egypt was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great, the Greek conqueror of Egypt, The Royal Library of Alexandria was created by Ptolemy I Soter, who (1) was a Macedonian general, (2) the successor of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, and (3) later declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt. The Ptolemaic Kingdom, a Hellenistic (Greek) kingdom based in Egypt, was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty which started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession in 323 BC and concluding with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 - August 12, 30 BC), known to history simply as Cleopatra, was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, briefly survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion. After her reign, Egypt became a province of the recently established Roman Empire. (reference [each of these opens to Wikipedia for history]: Alexandria, Library of Alexandria, Ptolemaic Kingdom, Cleopatra)
Part 2 of 3 of this tale identifies a place, the Caesareum.
The Caesareum of Alexandria was a temple in Alexandria, Egypt. It was conceived by Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic kingdom, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, to honour her dead lover Marc Antony. The edifice was finished by the Roman Emperor Augustus, after he defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He destroyed all traces of Antony in Alexandria, and apparently dedicated the temple to his own cult (this is the same Caesar Augustus that issued the decree for the census at the time of Jesus Christ [Luke 2:1]). Hundreds of years later, the Caesareum was converted to a Christian church in the late 4th century. The Caesareum was the headquarters of Cyril of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. (reference: Caesareum of Alexandria [opens to Wikipedia for history])
Part 3 of 3 of this very specific tale identifies actions of various peoples.
Hypatia (born c. 350-370; died 415 AD), often called Hypatia of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, inventor, and philosopher in Egypt, then a part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. A pagan, Hypatia was murdered by a mob of people identified as Christians after being accused of exacerbating a conflict between two prominent figures in Alexandria: the Prefect, Orestes, and the bishop, Cyril of Alexandria. This is the account of the murder/killing of Hypatia:
"There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in coming to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius [AD 415]." (Socrates Scholasticus included in the Historia Ecclesiastica [Ecclesiastical History] [VII.15] [opens to uchicago.edu for history])
Epilog of this tragic witness and story
  1. Please see that in part 2, the Caesareum was built as a pagan temple under Cleopatra then later rededicated to cultic practice under Augustus.
  2. Please see that in part 1, that Cleopatra died 30 years prior to the birth of the Christ.
  3. Please see that in part 3, the Caesareum is referred to as a "church" about 400 years after the birth of the Christ.
  4. See in part 3, the church called Caesareum is used as a place for the destruction of a life selfishly sending Hypatia to the place of eternal destruction (see John 3:36, Matthew 24:45-51, Matthew 25:45-46, 2 Thessalonians 7-9). Carnal man's selfishness starkly contrasts against the Christian's love for his or her neighbor (Matthew 22:39, Luke 10:25-37), even the Christian dying while the neighbor is yet a sinner (John 15:13).

Over the subsequent centuries, various groups professing to be Christian arose. The Albingenses (a.k.a. Cathars) appeared in what is now modern day France. The Waldensians were largely in the mountains between Northern Italy, France, and Germany. They disagreed with the Church, and they faced extermination by the Church.

Prior to the 12th century, execution was rare for heresy, rather ecclesiastical proscription or imprisonment were the tools of the Church.

The Church's inquisition initiated in the 13th century under Pope Innocent III. The Order of the Dominicans, founded by a Church priest Dominic Guzman, were the Pope's chief instrument in the evil inquisition. The Church opposed people possessing a Bible!

Dominic said of the Albingeneses, "It is not the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth."

At the Colloquy of Montreal of 1207 A.D., Dominic clearly lost the debate with the Albingenses. In humiliation at his failure, Dominic claimed to speak on behalf of Christ when he promised slavery and death to his opponents. Two years later, after the formation of the Order of the Dominicans, Pope Innocent III ordered the crusade against the Albingenses. The Popes relished in their conquests.

In 1233 A.D. Pope Gregory IX established the inquisition as official Church doctrine. The Popes outlawed possession, translation, and reading of the Bible.

About the year 1384, John Wycliffe translated the Bible from Latin into Middle English, so people could read the Scriptures! About 50 years after John's death, the Church exhumed his decaying body, smashed it, and burned the bones for heresy.

In 1526, William Tyndale completed the translation of the New Testament based on Greek text "compiled by Erasmus from several manuscripts older and more authoritative than the Latin Vulgate" of Jerome (A.D. c.340-420), and the New Testament in English was published (utilizing the newly introduced metal movable type printing presses Printing press [opens to Wikipedia for history]) and distributed. At that time, the leaders of the churches opposed the publication of the Bible in the common language of the land; in other words, the clergy only wanted the Bible in Latin to be produced, anywhere! By the way, Koine Greek is the common language Greek as opposed to Majuscule. In the course of a dispute with a promminent clergyman who disparaged this proposal to translate the Scriptures into English, there is a keen statement by William. The priest said "We are better to be without God's laws than the Pope", to which William replied "I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!" In 1536, William's prayer standing on the pyre of his execution (the Church executed him in Belgium for opposing their doctrine of works righteousness, but he was arrested when it was discovered by the government when informed of his work locally on the English translation), his last, dying audible words "Lord, open the king of England's eyes."

About one year later, King Henry VIII ordered that each Church of England display the largest book of the Bible.

Contemporary with William was Martin Luther, Menno Simmons, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli.

Martin, Menno, John, and Huldrych all started Churches.

There was conflict among the Churches. John's Church burned Michael Servetus (opens to Wikipedia), a Spanish theologian, and Martin's friend and authority in the Church sent a letter of congratulation to John for executing a heretic (History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation. § 137. Calvin and Servetus., 13th paragraph, quote noted by 994)! Huldrych's Church drowned people from the immediate precursor to Menno's Church. Huldrych died in battle between his Church and another Church (the one with a Pope). Martin rejoiced over the death of Huldrych (Martin Luther [opens to Wikiquote] then search the page for Zwingli), of whom, Martin wrote of Huldrych "We are not of the same spirit" after the Colloquy at Marburg (ZWINGLI AND LUTHER: THE GIANT VS. HERCULES [opens to ChristianHistoryInstitute.org]).

The men, of what is termed the Reformation, is where this short exercise nearly stops. It was a theme found among the reformers to identify the Roman Catholic Church as the "Whore of Babylon" based on "and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, 'BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.'" written in Revelation (Revelation 17:5) (Whore of Babylon: Reformation view [opens to Wikipedia]).

With this, the churches of today include (these links are all to Wikipedia):

ConstantineRoman Catholic Church
King Henry VIIIChurch of England (Anglican)
Martin LutherLutheran Church
Menno SimonsMennonite Church
John Calvin
  • Congregational Churches
  • Reformed Churches (such as Reformed Baptist)
  • Presbyterian Churches
Huldrych ZwingliReformed Churches
John KnoxPresbyterian Churches
John Wesley
Also involved:
  • Methodist
  • Wesleyan Church
  • Pentecostal Church/Holiness Movement
Charles Fox ParhamPentecostal Church

While it is difficult to place a specific timeframe on the Roman Catholic Church's nearly unchecked reign, we can deduce that it was about 1,200 years (roughly 300 A.D. until 1500 A.D. either end could be subject to a century or more of adjustment, but this roughly demonstrates the duration of the Roman Catholic Church exerting dominance).

Other Essential Definitions

Definitions are important, without them, we are each left to our own devices, and misunderstanding is almost certain to ensue.

And, now, to the dictionaries:

DEFINITION: Church

DEFINITION: Local

DEFINITION: Elder

DEFINITION: Overseer

DEFINITION: Steward

DEFINITION: Guide

DEFINITION: Pastor

DEFINITION: Pulpit

DEFINITION: Dogma

DEFINITION: Catalog

DEFINITION: Authority

Influences on the English Language

Now, let's take a snapshot of history and how different languages and cultures affected the English language...

HISTORY: The Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and French

From http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/anglo_saxons/saxons.shtml:

The term Anglo-Saxon is a relatively modern one. It refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony, who made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around AD 410.

The Roman armies withdrew from Britain early in the fifth century because they were needed back home to defend the crumbling centre of the Empire. Britain was considered a far-flung outpost of little value.

At this time, the Jutes and the Frisians from Denmark were also settling in the British Isles, but the Anglo-Saxon settlers were effectively their own masters in a new land and they did little to keep the legacy of the Romans alive. They replaced the Roman stone buildings with their own wooden ones, and spoke their own language, which gave rise to the English spoken today.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_activity_in_the_British_Isles

Viking raids: 793-850 A.D., Norsemen sack monasteries

Invasion and Danelaw: 865-896 A.D. the Vikings invade England then captured lands; furthermore, the people in England capitulated other lands to the Scandinavians. The Danes law was over part of England.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_conquest_of_England

The Norman conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy, later William the Conqueror. Much influence of French can be found in the English language, with this period being that of "Old English".

And, we need to take a little snippet from an Encyclopedia:

ENCYCLOPEDIA: Circe

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circe (and can be found on http://www.reference.com/browse/circe?s=t)

In Greek mythology, Circe (/ˈsɜrsiː/; Greek Κίρκη Kírkē pronounced [kírkɛ͜ɛ]) is a goddess of magic (or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress). By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid. Her brothers were Aeetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Her sister was Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur. Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft herself.

Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of magical potions and a wand or a staff, she transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals. Some say she was exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her subjects and her father for ending the life of her husband, the prince of Colchis. Later traditions tell of her leaving or even destroying the island and moving to Italy, where she was identified with Cape Circeo.

ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pulpit

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulpit#Origins

Origins

The Ancient Greek bema (βῆμα) means both ‘platform’ and ‘step’, and was used for a variety of secular raised speaking platforms in ancient Greece and Rome, and from those times to today for the central raised platform in Jewish synagogues. Modern synagougue bemas are often similar in form to centrally-placed pulpits in Evangelical churches.

The use of a bema carried over from Judaism into early Christian church architecture. It was originally a raised platform, often large, with a lectern and seats for the clergy, from which lessons from the Scriptures were read and the sermon was delivered. In Western Christianity the bema developed over time into the sanctuary and chancel (or presbytery).

The next development was the ambo, from a Greek word meaning an elevation. This was originally a raised platform from which the Epistle and Gospel would be read, and was an option to be used as a preacher's platform for homilies, though there were others. Saint John Chrysostom (died 407) is recorded as preaching from the ambo, but this was probably uncommon at this date. In cathedrals early bishops seem often to have preached from their chair in the apse, echoing the position of magistrates in the secular basilicas whose general form most large early churches adopted. Often there were two ambos, one to each side, one used more as a platform on which the choir sang; sometimes the gospel was read, chanted or sung from one side and the epistle from the other. The location of the ambo within the church varied, with about the same range of places as modern pulpits. In ancient Syrian churches it was often placed in the centre of the nave (on both axes). Gradually the ambo came to resemble the modern pulpit in both form and function, though early examples in large churches are often large enough to accommodate several people. The steps up to the pulpit almost invariably approach it from the side or behind, and are often curved. The typical design of the Islamic minbar, where a straight flight of steps leads to the front of the pulpit, is very different.

The Ambon of Henry II, an Imperial gift of 1014 to Aachen Cathedral, was originally installed centrally, but later moved to the side. It is richly decorated with sheets of gold, ivory, and gems, probably emulating Justinian's lost pulpit of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, of which a description by Paul the Silentiary survives. In churches where there is only one speaker's stand at the front of the church, it serves the functions of both lectern and pulpit and may be called the ambo, which is still the official Catholic term for the place the gospel is read from.

Consolidating Definitions, History, and Encyclopedia

German, or Teutonic, and Norse mythology have much to do with English words! Even Greek and Roman words and mythology are part of English vocabulary. The above history of the Anglo-Saxons reveals the Roman presence in Britain followed by the Germans.

In the definition of "church", under the etymology, we find the striking appearance of circe repeatedly. The evolution of the word circe through Greek, Latin, and English languages are very revealing about it's deeper meaning. It is conclusive that circe is germane to this topic at hand.

The mother "Church" (circe) starts to take form as the evidence is considered (Revelation 17:5).

Examining the Holy Scripture! The WORD OF GOD Is Authoritative!

As we have at this link, the "Table of Every Occurrence of Ecclesia in the New Testament", we know that the word "church" does not exist in the original manuscripts! The word "church" includes the primary meaning of a building (as in the DEFINITION above); however, the ecclesia does not include a building. The definition of ecclesia is not "church". The ecclesia is the entire Assembly of God that includes the saints that have gone to sleep and the saints that live! The saints are in the world, but not of the world. For example, a saint living in China and a saint living in Angola are both in one ecclesia, even though the two saints never met, never communicated with one another, nor set foot on the same continent as the other.
Universal or Local - It Makes a Difference
The ecclesia of God which is at Corinth, the ecclesia of Thessalonica, ecclesia in Philadelphia, in every place in every ecclesia (as in 1 Corinthians 4:17, this would be an enumeration, like the first 3 in this sentence, the word "every" in Acts 14:23 can be discarded because the word "every" does not occur in the Greek manuscript). It is terribly important to notice that the possessive form is NEVER used; in other words, it is never Corinthian ecclesia (implicating that the ecclesia is Corinth's), rather it is ecclesia of God which is at Corinth. There are two instances of highly suspect/questionable verses that use the possessive form, yet I do not count those two verses because the verses (1) do not appear in some manuscripts, (2) the language deviates from the flow, (3) the verses appear AFTER the end of the passage concluded by AMHN (amen) that indicates the conclusion of the passage, and (4) the markings in the KJV column of the Scripture4All.org manuscripts demonstrate the inconclusiveness of the verses. The ecclesia of God which is at Corinth is that portion of God's Ecclesia that gathers in Corinth. Corinth is a place, and a gathering occurred there, yet the ecclesia exists in God's Ecclesia.

Another point to distinguish is that when referring to an ecclesia in a particular region, the preposition "in" has been "of" in some instances of the New Testament translations, and in some instances the preposition is absent in the Greek. For example "ecclesia Thessalonica" in Greek has been translated "ecclesia of Thessalonica", yet the absence of a city as a possessive noun remains intact because the word "of" is NOT in the Greek writings!

The God of all creation owns His ecclesia, not constrained by place, locale, nor region. We simple people are constrained by place. Recall Jesus' words in John 4:21 and Matthew 16:18, about the worship of the Living God being independent of place and time (He used the future verb "will" to cover all time coming), and His possession of His Assembly (not churches). Every occurrence of ecclesia refers to the assembly being Christ's Bride whole and set apart, sometimes in a particular place or locale, sometimes in the 1st century, and today sometimes in the 21st century, yet a careful examination of the Word of God reveals that the ecclesia is not termed a "local" anything, rather the children of God gathered in some place, but the universal Body nonetheless.

We can most certainly rule out that the word "church" derives from the Greek word kuriakon as indicated per the definition above. Ecclesia has been translated to "church" in the KJV, NASB, ESV, and NIV; meanwhile, the only instances of "kuria" in ALL of the New Testament are two, yet neither refer to "church". Here are the verses: That's it, only two places in all of the New Testament Greek which contains the sequence "kuria", yet the word "church" would certainly not fit there!

Something strange happens in the KJV and some English translations just prior to the stoning of Stephen, during his discourse to the Jews. In Acts 7:38, we find ecclesia translated to church; however, Stephen, a man described as full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5, Acts 7:55), was speaking about Moses' encounter with God on Mount Sinai and the twelve tribes of Israel which occurred about one thousand, five hundred years before Jesus was conceived in the virgin's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit! This means, that according to the KJV's translation, the nation of Israel in the Old Testament can be called "church", and even more disturbing, it follows logically from the KJV translation that Israel can be referred to as "church" before the incarnate Christ arrived.

Why was the word "church" used?

The devil is crafty, and he tempts people. The devil tempted Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:1), and Jesus overcame (Matthew 4:10). We children of God are dependent on the Lord Jesus to protect and deliver us!

There are people tempted by the lust of power and money.

The King James Version of the Bible (opens to Wikipedia for history) was authorized by King James I of England (opens to Wikipedia for history). It is absolutely KEY to recognize that King James was a king, and he had an interest in exercising and maintaining power over people.

King James I gave instructions to the fifty-four Hebrew and Greek scholars commissioned to create the KJV "Authorized Version" of the Bible (thus implying all other versions to be unauthorized), and we need to pay particular notice to rule number 3 "The old Ecclesiastical Words are to be kept; i.e.,the word Church not to be translated congregation or community, etc." The king appointed Richard Bancroft, soon to be made the Archbishop of Canterbury, as chairman and "chief overseer" of this committee in 1604.

It appears that King James I maintained a method to "control" his subjects; furthermore, the KJV translation conventions pleased the institutional Church and it's ruling officers/clergy, such as bishops, deacons, etc. The discussion about the office of bishop, deacon, and overseer are reserved for the next section, Authority in the Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God.

The "church" has been fashioned by men into a powerful force that dictates it's "truth" to people, and it wields that ecclesiastical sword as a powerful weapon for it's own advantage. The clergy of the Church rule by their own authority (Jeremiah 5:31). The "church" imposes itself as mediator between man and God making obedience to it an absolute necessity, without which there is no salvation (contrast with 1 Timothy 2:5). In my possession is an email from a "local church pastor" in 2015, this year, in which he attempts to use fear of either loss of salvation or never having had salvation to coerce local church membership, and in the very same email he indicated that he needs to be paid by the "local church" by way of tithes which is sordid gain (1 Peter 5:2) that the Apostle Paul did not draw for himself (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The "local church pastor" claims are a far cry from the recorded words of Justin Martyr who lived in the 2nd century, when asked where he assembled, he answered "Where each one chooses and can; do you suppose that we all are accustomed to meet together in one place? Quite otherwise, for the God of the Christians is not confined by place, but being invisible, He fills the heaven and the earth, and the faithful everywhere adore Him and sing His praise."

The arrangement of "church" services into pews or rows with a monologue by a "church pastor" rather than a dialogue or discourse defies the Word of God's layout of gathering of the holy ones for worship, encouragement, edification, exhortation, breaking of bread, and prayer by the Will of God! Once again, we must examine the Scriptures very carefully, and the particular passage lies in Acts 20:7-12 detailing the account of Paul's dialogue with the saints in Troas in a third story room that the youth Eutychus fell asleep and out the window to the ground below where he died, and God raised the lad when Paul fell upon him. Let us focus on verses 7, 9, and 11, where in many English translations the word "preach" is used where dialogue should have been used, verse 11 uses a different Greek word, so it's included for completeness sake:

VERSEGREEK WORDENGLISH WORDTRANSLATIONLINK
7dielegetopreachedKJVActs 20:7
9dialegomenoupreachingKJVActs 20:9
11homilEsastalkedKJVActs 20:11

It is as if someone involved in the English translation, primarily the KJV, wanted to set the stage for a dictatorship... See the Greek word in the table sure looks like dialog, that is, a conversation/dialog NOT a monologue. Please note, that third word, homilEsas looks a lot like the English word homily which has it's roots from "Greek: discourse, from homilein to converse with, from homilos crowd, from homou together + ilē crowd" in the Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003.

Our Father Who are in heaven Whose Name is Holy, Pure, and Clean details His plan for the gathering of His holy people. Listen to the the words of Jesus' instruction on prayer "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-13). A dissection of this part of the prayer is quite telling... Where is God's will done? In heaven. On earth as it is in heaven. One assembly in reverence to God Almighty. As God's will is in heaven, so be it on earth. The Lord Jesus, the Master Orator, tells us about His plan for His ecclesia right there! God's plan includes the saints speaking as led by the Spirit, praying, prophesying, praising, and singing, all to God's glory (1 Corinthians 14 please see for example verse 29). The saints raising hands high in adoration (1 Timothy 2:8)! All this is accomplished orderly by, for, and through God (1 Corinthians 14:40). At the leading of the Spirit someone may prophesy, that is speak, for some length of time for the edification of the saints. A prophecy is a word from God. It can be a Word of Remembrance of God's promises and commandments from the past, a Word of Instruction or Commandment for the present, or a Word of Foresight for the future. As it is written, "And prophets -- let two or three speak, and let the others discern," (1 Corinthians 14:29). And from the Old Testament, "your sons and daughters will prophesy" (Joel 2:28). And, again, from the New Testament, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). No prophecy that is of God will contradict the Word of God (Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2).

Proclaiming the Gospel of Grace in Christ Jesus to the unsaved is certainly Scriptural, and a labor of love (Romans 10:14 the word translated to "preach" in English is kErussontos which more accurately is herald or proclaim).

A herald is a messenger that carries news, but completely eclipsing the world's definition, we saints herald the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead! Where is the blessed message to be proclaimed? To the saved? We know that the saved share in dialogue, so it's not the saved (that would be exhortation, lest we rebellious people forget). The target for the message are the dead, that God Himself form sinews and flesh on their dead, dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14), that God Himself remove the heart of stone from the unbelieving and put in a heart of flesh and fill with His Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5, Ezekiel 36:26).

Where is the "church member" on Sunday? By the decree of the "church pastor", being "orderly", that is, sitting silently except when told to sing, in the climate-controlled church's seat receiving preaching with walls between the "church member" and the world, yet Jesus said that He left us saints in the world (John 17:15-17). Is this seeking the lost as described by Master Jesus (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:1-7)? The lost are eating, drinking, buying, selling, building, planting, marrying, and giving in marriage (Matthew 24:37-39, Luke 17:28-30). The exercise of preaching (lecturing) on Sunday's in the "local churches" is NOT Scriptural. Is the "church member" held hostage by the "church pastor" who tempts the "church member" to question the member's salvation if the member is not at "church" on Sunday? Even intimidating the "church member" to give tithes to the "local church pastor" treasury? The Holy One of Israel needs neither us nor our money, yet He permits His unworthy slaves to participate in His joy (Luke 17:10, Matthew 25:23)! If you are a "local church member", see the Truth in the Word of God, for this One True God is the only One capable of setting you free from bondage to the "church building" and it's "edifices" (clergy). In addition to the surrounding context of anyone or anything coming into contact with unclean carcasses, God told Moses and Aaron "If a part of their carcass falls on any seed for sowing which is to be sown, it is clean" (Leviticus 11:37), so could it be that God has a second intent for this statement as a picture/figure of coming out from where people try to mix lies with the Truth. Repent and turn to God. Take comfort in the fact that God finds pleasure in setting free!!!

Please examine these two opposing columns of phrases to discern which honors the King of Glory:

"go to church""gather in the Name of Jesus Christ"
"attend church""commune with the Father in Christ Jesus"
"attend church""fellowship in the Prince of Peace"
"church family""family"
"church family""brothers and sisters"
"church body""Body of Christ"
"church member""Christian"
"church life""a life conforming to Jesus"
"church life""life in Christ"
"I need to talk to my pastor""I need to ask my Lord Jesus"
"church planting""evangelization"
"bring someone new to church""go to someone's home"
"invite to church""invite to home"
"local church""God's Assembly"
"church""Bride of Christ"
The rows are not equivalent terms. For example, in the left column we have "bring someone new to church" and "invite to church" which have no grounds in Holy Scripture; however, in the right column, we have "go to someone's home" and "invite to home" referring to going to the home of the ones receiving the proclamation of the Gospel, also dialoging about the Gospel, as it is written in Matthew 8:14 (Peter's Home), Mark 14:3 (Simon the leper's house), Luke 7:36 (Simon the Pharisee's house), Luke 19:5 (Zacchaeus' house), Acts 16:15 (Lydia's house), and Acts 16:34 (Jailor's house). Thus the right column contains verbiage that stands on the solid foundation of the Word of God!

Lord Jesus propounded "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17). In this sentence spoken by the Son of God, Jesus speaks using the future tense (around 30 AD), and Prophet Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:2) (prophesy around 30 AD and fulfillment around 70 AD [destruction of temple occured about forty years after Jesus' resurrection from the dead {Second Temple [opens to Wikipedia], The Destruction of the Second Holy Temple [opens to chabad.org]}]). The same Jesus that predicted the temple building radical stone displacement is the same Jesus that declared the "My house" sentence clearly speaking of His Own House, His Own People. Jesus did not say that His house would be church buildings all around the cities, some church buildings even next door to each other! King Jesus said "a house of prayer"! If you doubt that Pastor Jesus was talking about Himself, a mere 3 verses later, the Apostle Matthew records the indignant chief priests and scribes complaint aimed at Jesus Christ "Do You hear what these [children] are saying?" to which Creator Jesus replied "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself'?" (Matthew 21:16).

Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

It has been asserted to me, as well as articles that I've read, that using the term "church" does not matter in the overall scheme of things, yet let us never forget the immovable words of Lord Jesus when the devil led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and Satan said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;

for it is written,
   ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’

and,
   ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
   SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”

Jesus, my God and my Savior answered and said, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

This passage can be found in Luke 4:9-12, and Jesus referred to Deuteronomy 6:16.

Do not put the Lord to the test by abusing the liberty that exists in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (1 Corinthians 15:2). The word "church" carries much troublesome connotation and denotation as carefully outlined throughout this essay, so the evidence presented proves the meaning of "church" carries a dangerous concept.

Scriptural Results Of Man's Authority

Some people in "church leadership" do not envision seeking power and authority over men when they first obtain church clergy office, some do. Some are seduced over time. Here are a few Scriptural results of authority in man's hands and other pertinent passages:

What of Apostolic decrees?

Is it written: "Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe." (Acts 16:4)? Our first order of business is to ascertain the original Greek word for decrees, which is dogmata (the definition is included in the "Other Essential Definitions" section of this essay). It is reasonable to seek and determine the decrees referred to in the passage, well, that written message (called decrees in Acts 16:4) is recorded shortly prior to this statement, in Act 15:23-29:

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+15%3A23-29&version=NASB%3BYLT

and they sent this letter by them,

“The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.

“Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

NASB

having written through their hand thus: `The apostles, and the elders, and the brethren, to those in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, brethren, who [are] of the nations, greeting; seeing we have heard that certain having gone forth from us did trouble you with words, subverting your souls, saying to be circumcised and to keep the law, to whom we did give no charge, it seemed good to us, having come together with one accord, chosen men to send unto you, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul -- men who have given up their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ -- we have sent, therefore, Judas and Silas, and they by word are telling the same things. `For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, no more burden to lay upon you, except these necessary things: to abstain from things offered to idols, and blood, and a strangled thing, and whoredom; from which keeping yourselves, ye shall do well; be strong!'

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

The apostles and elders and brothers in Jerusalem warned the brothers in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia of some men's false doctrine that encroached in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia. These men, we might call wolves, came down from Judea; however, those in Jerusalem wrote "some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls". These men had told the brothers in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia that they needed circumcision. The above letter was the result of a gathering of the apostles and elders and brothers in Jerusalem. Does this sound like a decree, like something with the "force of law"? The apostles and elders and brothers in Jerusalem wrote "lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials", see there "essentials" which matches with belief (again, see the definition in the "Other Essential Definitions" section for dogma in thefreedictionary.com "Latin, from Greek, opinion, belief, from dokein, to seem, think;" after all the apostles and elders and brothers wrote "it seemed good to us" in the letter), and "if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well.", and finally, they told them to fare well!

The word "decree" sounds very authoritative, yet it is wrong for the denotation and connotation of the passages. We can see the fingerprint in the word "decree" of someone seeking false authority!

The traditions of men, with "church", goes beyond power and greed. It is divisive.

Destructive Division Among People of the Church (Galatians 5:19-21)

God knows the degree to which any church exhibits any of these maladies. We pray for the churches.

The Psalmist wrote "Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him, And their time of punishment would be forever" (Psalm 81:15). There is much diversion from suffering, from carrying the cross, among the churches as illustrated by the below. The Christ, the Son of the Living God said "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23)

Abominations In The Churches

Multiple local churches in this locale have offered yoga classes recently. The advertisement of one yoga class pronounced that congregants could join their "local church pastor" at the yoga class.

Based on the Word of God, practitioners of yoga attempt to "join" or "union" with demons, and only wicked and evil people engage such activity. All forms of Eastern Religous practices, including yoga and meditation, oppose the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:22). Anyone that is the temple of the Holy Spirit rejects such practice.

Yoga defined (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/yoga):

  1. also Yoga An ascetic Hindu discipline involving controlled breathing, prescribed body positions, and meditation, with the goal of attaining a state of deep spiritual insight and tranquility.
  2. A system of stretching and positional exercises derived from this discipline to promote good health, fitness, and control of the mind.
Word History: The word yoga comes from Sanskrit yogah, "yoking, joining together" and by extension "harnessing of one's mental faculties to a purpose" and thus "yoga." The Sanskrit word descends from the Indo-European root *yeug-, "to join, yoke." In the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, *yeug- developed into yuk-, represented in Old English by geoc, the ancestor of Modern English yoke. The root *yeug- is continued by words in most of the branches of the Indo-European language family, which indicates that the speakers of Proto-Indo-European used draft animals to pull their plows and draw their wagons.
The churches are unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14), to say the least.

Let's take a look at a few more actual use case examples for the "church building", which the church clergy and laity mistake for the house of God. It is disturbing how people use what they call the Lord's house, these edifices that they claim are dedicated to the glory of God.

Church Missions

It is needful to discuss missions, keeping it short, so here are some actual "local church" missions:

Paul the Apostle was in jail for the sake of Christ when Paul was traveling around Asia. He was severely beaten, and ill treated in the jail. Paul proclaimed the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to the jailer, Paul and Silas explained the Word of the Lord to the jailer's whole house, and everyone in the house was immersed in the name of Jesus. The man of the house, the jailer, was the first of his house to hear the Gospel (Acts 16:22-34).

Those "local churches" are spending great sums of money and expending much time in travel; however, they could go to Hayward, CA or Oakland, CA where the Gospel is desperately needed. Oh, but wait, there is danger there in Oakland (Crime in Oakland, California [opens to Wikipedia]) even though it is only about a 30 minute drive from here, and, closer, Hayward can be hostile terrain, too. It may seem romantic to fly halfway around the world to some exotic location, but a person can hop on the freeway to be at an Oakland destination to evangelize within 30 minutes. What about men evangelizing to men, that some in those households might be saved? Over the years, we interacted with many "local churches". We are aware of 6 local "local churches" (8 "local churches" if counting the non-local "local churches") that engaged in some form of outreach activity to men, women, and children locally, yet there are 80 "local churches" locally. In all the years at one marketplace (the marketplaces are explained below, in God's Plan), we've witnessed 2 "local churches" visit separately on 3 occasions. One "local church" handed out a postcard about their "local church". The second "local church" came to give out free water on their first visit, then about a year later to tell the Gospel as well as distribute free food and fluid. At another marketplace, no "local churches" over the years with the sad exception that we see the Jehovah's Witnesses nearly weekly attempting to recruit to their society. Oh Magnificent and Majestic God, please increase laborers in Your harvest (Matthew 9:37-38)!

It sure is easy to tell children to sit down, to tell children to bow their head to pray, to tell children to play some games, to tell children some of the account of Joseph the son of Jacob, to ask if there are any children who want to accept Jesus, to tell children to eat a snack, to tell children to do a craft/decorative project. This is no joke because I was present at a "local church" that did this in a VBS where they told some of the account about Joseph. They did not mention Jesus until a teenaged boy finished explaining some of the account about Joseph then asked to see hands of who wanted to accept Jesus. The "local church leadership" allowed the VBS to continue going when they were told about the situation.

God's sanctifying work is the hallmark of members of the Body of Christ, being made holy by our loving Father in the communion of the Son of God (Hebrews 2:11); on the other hand, the world is profane with members that love the ways of destruction and death (James 4:4).

Jesus did NOT say that He would build a church and He did not do such a thing (Matthew 16:18)! The ecclesia of Christ is NOT a church! All churches are the works and creations of men. Jesus did not set up a religious institution nor a 501(c)3 business organization of any kind.

A Church Pastor's Email

A "local church pastor" wrote an email to me advocating, even asserting Scriptural basis, for "local church membership" and that people submit to him because of his office. It is worth examining his arguments.

The email from the "local church pastor" reads:

Living out a commitment to a local church involves many responsibilities: exemplifying a godly lifestyle in the community, exercising one's spiritual gifts in diligent service, contributing financially to the work of the ministry, giving and receiving admonishment with meekness and in love, and faithfully participating in corporate worship. Much is expected, but much is at stake. For only when every believer is faithful to this kind of commitment is the church able to live up to her calling as Christ's representative here on earth. To put it simply, membership matters.
That pastor outlined Fruit of the Spirit, with some changes necessary to reflect God's Sovereignty. In the context he outlined, it is vain works for the unsaved, and potentially legalism comes to mind for the saved. He attributed to responsibility that which should be instead exalted to the glory of God, that is, through the manifest and visible Fruit of the Spirit. Think of the fruit on a branch in a tree. Does the branch produce fruit if the branch is broken off of the tree? No. Who owns the branch and fruit? The tree. This is the purpose to God calling it Fruit of the Spirit, because the Fruit is His and His alone.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are members of His Ecclesia upon baptism in the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8).

That pastor nearly equates church to ministry, and that the church needs the finances of the church members. The "church member" tithes go to the "local church" bank account for the "local church pastor" salary as well as for the church building rent or mortgage (there is NO Scriptural basis for the church building [more on this below, including the Construct A Building Request Made to Jesus sidebar]).

It bears repeating, the "local church pastor" indicated that he needs to be paid by the "local church" by way of tithes and offerings which is sordid gain (1 Peter 5:2) that the Apostle Paul did not draw for himself (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Also, Judas Iscariot was given 30 pieces of silver for the Word (Matthew 26:15), and Judas' end was horrid (Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:16-19)!

Has the Spirit of God ever made your heart cry for someone in need? Someone that would be out on the street without shelter if that person did not get some money right away? Did you give the money in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, out loud? Did the person glorify God upon receipt of the money? This is ministry, my friend. This is walking by faith. Have you ever heard of Open Doors (opens to opendoors.org)? Where do you believe God wants His finances?

In Matthew 25:31-46, King Jesus provides the glorious and the terrifying explanation about those helping the poor and those not helping the poor. Incredibly important, Our Lord Jesus said "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." Do you hear Him say "the least of them"? Lord Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). We, believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, are poor in the world, but rich in Jesus' eternity, and we help one another while here on earth regardless of "church building" perimeter. Sometimes, it may mean living one paycheck to the next. Where the Holy Spirit leads, that is where the believer goes!

In Matthew 19:21, Christ Jesus said "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Who was the man told to "give to"? The poor, not the "local church pastor" nor his "church building".

In 1 Timothy 5:8, the Apostle Paul explains that "if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Providing for one's family is rather critical! We are ALL poor, and we inherit riches from the Lord Jesus. A picture is developing here. Let's continue.

In Isaiah 58:7, it is written "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?"

In Ephesians 4:28, it is written "He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need." We are all thieves (Exodus 20:15, we have all tried to steal the glory of God by idolizing ourselves (Exodus 20:3 and Exodus 20:4). Not only that, Paul wrote to "share with one who has need." Does that sound like the poor?

Let's make no mistake, to teach people to be responsible is to teach theft of the Fruit of the Spirit of the Living God. It is stealing. This is a very serious matter as YHWH wrote with His Finger, after He delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, "You shall not steal" (Exodus 20:15); furthermore, Our Lord Jesus said "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 5:19). Teaching wrongfully is adding to Scripture which carries dire consequences (Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4).

Let's look at Job 42:11-12 where his brothers and sisters not only consoled and comforted him, but gave him money and a ring of gold so that YHWH blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.

The email from the "local church pastor" reads:

In a day when commitment is a rare commodity, it should come as no surprise that church membership is such a low priority to so many believers. Sadly, it is not uncommon for Christians to move from church to church, never submitting themselves to the care of elders and never committing themselves to a group of fellow believers.

To neglect-or to refuse-to join a church as a formal member, however, reflects a misunderstanding of the believer's responsibility to the body of Christ. And it also cuts one off from the many blessings and opportunities that flow from this commitment. It is essential for every Christian to understand what church membership is and why it matters.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10 and Proverbs 1:7), and Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). Do you see the imposition of fear in the writing of the "local church pastor"? I fear my God who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Please pay particular attention to the "local church pastor" implying pride in his "refuse-to join" statement in red. He asserts it is prideful not to submit to the authority of man in the "local church". Please recall, Jesus said the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, but not so with Jesus' people where the greatest becomes least (Matthew 20:25-28).

The Word of God will decide who is proud, the "local church pastor" or the child of God who gathers in homes for worship. The "local church pastors" have used the accusation of pride and rebellion to subdue and oppress people for centuries. Peter, my dear brother in the Lord, wrote "You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) Pride is not the refusal to "place yourself under" some church official. Rather pride is the desire to rise above others. Look at (1) the clause "all of you" (2) followed by the exhortation to clothe in humility toward one another (3) followed by God opposes the proud. This pride of which Peter writes is to EVERYONE in the ecclesia, Jesus' Assembly. Peter is not subordinating a laity (within God's Ecclesia, "lay person" does not exist in the New Testament) that must submit to an office holder (within God's Ecclesia, "office" does not exist in the New Testament).

Have you ever met someone, even just walked past on the street, and the Spirit just lights up? Did you know that you were in the presence of a Spirit filled believer? Did the two of you exalt the Living God, spontaneously? These are serious questions, because walking by faith leads to these encounters. Have you been led by the Spirit to help someone? Has the Spirit sent someone to help you? More Godly questions here. These are blessings that the "local church pastor" seems to discount unless a person is a member of the "local church". He certainly discounts the gathering of the saints in a house or at the park as insufficient, and it is evident in a different email he wrote concerning, "The command to not neglect the gathering is a corporate gathering. So the first step in obedience is corporate worship. The [cell groups] are designed more to help us carry out the one-another commands in Scripture that are to be carried out through local church fellowship." His "cell groups" meet in homes and in rooms at the church building, and the people from all these different "cell groups" must gather in the Sanctuary room of the church once a week to listen to the "local church pastor" preach to them. Not only is there a hierarchy of people, but it appears there is a hierarchy of rooms, too. I asked him what he meant by corporate, to wit he replied "It's a term meaning.. When the local church gathers together to worship Christ." The word "corporate" has been used for things "church". While corporate is related to corporeal, that is, a body united, the primary definition of corporate is "business entity". Corporate is the United States I.R.S. 501(c)3 tax exempt status related to "church". Did God use the phrase "corporate worship" or "corporate prayer" to describe His Holy Nation's doings? Jesus said "where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:18) as well as "Pray, then, in this way" (Matthew 6:9). The local church pastor has made it into something different and uncomfortable. God uses crisp and clear language. The wise theologians love their long words and tangled prose to impress people. In whose eyes are the "local church leaders" and theologians wise?

Let's seque to a related theme, exemplified by a local church and it's pastor from a few thousand miles from here.

Church is a business, for profit, like Coca-Cola, Walmart (including Sam's Club), and Universal Studios. Coca-Cola has it's flagship product, the Coca-Cola soft drink. Walmart is a merchandiser that distributes the products of other manufacturers, such as Coca-Cola, or Walmart's own products, the Great Value brand, and Walmart provides services, such as tire installation. Universal Studios produces movies, distributes movies, promotes movies, and Universal Studios promotes actors, celebrity actors, even, at times, unknown actors that the stakeholders speculate have potential value.

They have customers, they have members (Sam's Club), they have boards of directors or elders or trustees, they have employees, they have equity holders (physical assets are owned by someone whether proprietors or shareholders). They are all businesses. They advertise, some straightforward campaigns, some sophisticated marketing campaigns.

Church Bus Amplifies Pastor Like Coca-Cola, church has it's flagship product that varies by church - sometimes it's the building, sometimes it's the pastor. Like Walmart, churches merchandises, yet in this case it's things like books and videos that purport to be Bible studies, some pastors produce their own Bible studies, and churches provide services with the attendant collection of money during the services. There are even stakeholders of churches that contribute money, cars, even houses to church, but there are even times when disputing churches have to buy buildings from opposing churches (for example, when a nearby Presbyterian Church broke from it central council, that central council of Presbyterian churches agreed with the membership of that local Presbyterian church for the central council to be the recipient of a special tithe/contribution, a very large sum, in exchange for that local Presbyterian church membership to obtain the title deed for the local Presbyterian church property and buildings - I am aware of this playing out at a few different "local churches"). Like Universal Studios, church has it's celebrities in pastors, and the church promotes those pastors that the board or eldership speculate have potential value.

If you say, "oh, but wait, they are godly men", then I say to you, take a look at another example in this picture, that man's image on the bus is a pastor on that very prominent position on that local church bus. As folks board the bus, whose image is present right there at the door? That sure is a nice and shiny bus, expensive, too. The side of a bus is a prime spot to .... advertise. And hear the resounding words of the Eternal God, Lord Jesus Christ as recorded by John the Apostle (10:16), "they will become one flock with one pastor".

Jesus said sell everything then give it all away to the poor (Matthew 19:21, Luke 18:22, Mark 10:21). Jesus said "poor" repeatedly, yet Jesus did not say "church". A Godly endeavor can certainly receive funding from Holy Spirit moved saints for the Bible is replete with examples of people moved to give; on the other hand; church turned away from God by taking - the keyword is "taking" - including women's homes. God made it clear that men fail (Psalm 146:3), we do, we are all helpless, lost, and dead meat without the Mighty Redeemer of our Salvation, Jesus Christ, yet it is my prayer that the failure fail, and in preparation for that day of Lord Jesus' return, may the Almighty God bless men to declare the truth, that Jesus Christ is Lord and the One Pastor alone, no other!

We that are in Christ are a peculiar people, and we do not look like the world!

The email from the "local church pastor" reads:

The Definition of Church Membership

When an individual is saved, he becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Because he is united to Christ and the other members of the body in this way, he is therefore qualified to become member of a local expression of that body.

To become a member of a church is to formally commit oneself to an identifiable, local body of believers who have joined together for specific, divinely ordained purposes. These purposes include receiving instruction from God's Word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2), serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), participating in the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the gospel to those who are lost (Matt. 28:18- 20). In addition, when one becomes a member of a church, he submits himself to the care and the authority of the biblically qualified elders that God has placed in that assembly.

The yellow section is in error. The believer is a member of the Body of Christ at the moment saving Grace came upon the believer, and the local, global, and eternal expression of the Body of Christ includes that saved believer. No further action is required by the newly saved believer to become a member of anything, rather God has done His miraculous work at the very moment God converted the believer (John 3:3-5, Ezekiel 36:26)!

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" are the words of the Eternal Lord Jesus Christ! He said "All authority"! This is recorded in Matthew 28:18 at the ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father in heaven, and the "local church pastor" makes reference to it in the green section. Let's rewind to before Jesus said "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth", to when Jesus sent out the twelve as recorded in Luke 9:1, when Jesus gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. Full stop (on that point). Again, Jesus gave authority when he sent out the seventy as recorded in Luke 10:19, Jesus said upon the disciples return, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you." Jesus' instruction and commands to the seventy as He was sending them out included for them to "heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'" (Luke 10:9). Full stop (on that point).

In sequential order, we have Jesus giving the disciples authority over all demons, to cure diseases, to tread on serpents and scorpions, over all the power of the enemy, and declare the Kingdom of God. After that, Jesus declares that all authority has been given to Him.

In no sense does Jesus declare that one disciple has authority over another disciple.

In the green section, the "local church pastor" just described a member of the Body of Christ moved by the Will of God, and the believer gathers according to the Will of God. The "local church pastor" explains in no uncertain terms that the "local church membership" is required for the responsible believer to participate in divinely ordained purposes, and that without joining in "local church membership" the believer cannot participate in divinely ordained purposes because according to him the believer is really not a believer in the first place. The "local church pastor" did not mention these words of King Jesus, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

The wicked claim in the red section identifies his lust for power and authority THAT BELONGS TO GOD ALONE!

Take note of "biblically qualified elders that God has placed" in the red section, there is the "local church pastor" claim to being God's duly ordained authority thus demanding submission by people to a mere man. Woe to you, pharisee! Repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Precise and detailed information about this is further below in the Authority in the Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God section's Integrity of Greek to English Translation of Hebrews 13:17 heading, but please be careful about jumping ahead since there is still much very important ground to cover.

God ordains ALL Spirit filled men to address rebellion and sin appropriately. For example, the Apostle Paul exposed the wrong of Peter "in the presence of all" (Galatians 11:14), again, Paul instructs Timothy (after taking witnesses to the offender) to rebuke "in the presence of all" (1 Timothy 5:20). What would happen if a "church member" stands during a sermon to point out a Scriptural conflict with something the "local church pastor" claims?

Moving on to the very next full section of the email from the "local church pastor":

The Basis for Church Membership

Although Scripture does not contain an explicit command to formally join a local church, the biblical foundation for church membership permeates the New Testament. This biblical basis can be seen most clearly in (1) the example of the early church, (2) the existence of church government, (3) the exercise of church discipline, and (4) the exhortation to mutual edification.

Praise Jesus, the "local church pastor" wrote that "Scripture does not contain an explicit command to formally join a local church"! Yet, he wrote an entire email on the subject attempting to justify "local church" by conforming Scripture to man instead of man to Scripture!

The "local church pastor" explains each of his 4 points in the email...

Continuing with the very next section of the email from the "local church pastor":

The Example of the Early Church

In the early church, coming to Christ was coming to the church. The idea of experiencing salvation without belonging to a local church is foreign to the New Testament. When individuals repented and believed in Christ, they were baptized and added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 16:5). More than simply living out a private commitment to Christ, this meant joining together formally with other believers in a local assembly and devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42).

The epistles of the New Testament were written to churches. In the case of the few written to individuals-such as Philemon, Timothy and Titus-these individuals were leaders in churches. The New Testament epistles themselves demonstrate that the Lord assumed that believers would be committed to a local assembly. There is also evidence in the New Testament that just as there was a list of widows eligible for financial support (1 Tim. 5:9), there may also have been a list of members that grew as people were saved (cf. Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 16:5). In fact, when a believer moved to another city, his church often wrote a letter of commendation to his new church (Acts 18:27; Rom. 16:1; Col. 4:10; cf. 2 Cor. 3:1-2).

The idea of experiencing salvation
without belonging to a local church
is foreign to the New Testament.

In the book of Acts, much of the terminology fits only with the concept of formal church membership. Phrases such as "the whole congregation" (6:5), "the church in Jerusalem" (8:1), "the disciples" in Jerusalem (9:26), "in every church" (14:23), "the whole church" (15:17), and "the elders of the church" in Ephesus (20:17), all suggest recognizable church membership with well-defined boundaries (also see 1 Cor. 5:4; 14:23; and Heb. 10:25).

Wait a minute, did not the "local church pastor" just write that "Scripture does not contain an explicit command to formally join a local church"?

Twice the "local church pastor" asserts there is no salvation without belonging to a "local church" in the sections in yellow and red. Specifically, he is saying salvation without belonging to a local church is not in Scripture in the red, so the statement can read the New Testament requires belonging to a local church for the experiencing of salvation. No matter how it is stated, it is false; in other words, it is a lie that perpetuates bondage to a "local church pastor" as opposed to the Mighty One of Israel that sets men, women, and children free!

The "local church pastor" quoted Scripture. It must be examined in Godly Light, that is by the Word of God.

In the section he talks about personal. The relationship with Jesus Christ is personal (Matthew 16:15-17), and He joins His Child to His Family (Luke 8:21), so in the section, if the word formal were struck, then it would be Scriptural and accurate! Jesus joins the babe to Himself.

In the section, the letters were written to the assemblies in certain places, and these are the Assembly of God, this fact resonates in that the epistles are relevant today in the assembly in Fremont, CA. The letters are to be shared among the Body of Christ.

In the section, it mixes with Church Government, so that is addressed in detail below.

In the section, the "local church pastor" attempts to put words in the Lord Jesus' mouth, and the Lord Jesus is the master communicator, and I would certainly NOT want to challenge Him, much less try to put words in His mouth (Deuteronomy 13).

In the section and the section, we examined, a few paragraphs back, that it was a time of severe persecution, of which the Apostle Paul was acutely aware. These people had the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), so they had clarity of thought. Memorizing who is who without writing a list would not have been a problem.

Not breaking continuity, the email from the "local church pastor" reads:

The Existence of Church Government

The consistent pattern throughout the New Testament is that a plurality of elders is to oversee each local body of believers. The specific duties given to these elders presuppose a clearly defined group of church members who are under their care.

Among other things, these godly men are responsible to shepherd God's people (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2), to labor diligently among them (1 Thess. 5:12), to have charge over them (1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17), and to keep watch over their souls (Heb. 13:17). Scripture teaches that the elders will give an account to God for the individuals allotted to their charge (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:3). [Kermos], I am not responsible for believers outside of my local church that I serve. I love them and care for them by urging them to join a local church so that they have an under-shepherd, a pastor to care for them.

Those responsibilities require that there be a distinguishable, mutually understood membership in the local church. Elders can shepherd the people and give an account to God for their spiritual well-being only if they know who they are; they can provide oversight only if they know those for whom they are responsible; and they can fulfill their duty to shepherd the flock only if they know who is part of the flock and who is not.

The elders of a church are not responsible for the spiritual well-being of every individual who visits the church or who attends sporadically. Rather, they are primarily responsible to shepherd those who have submitted themselves to the care and the authority of the elders, and this is done through church membership.

Conversely, Scripture teaches that believers are to submit to their elders. Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders, and submit to them." The question for each believer is, "Who are your leaders?" The one who has refused to join a local church and entrust himself to the care and the authority of the elders has no leaders. For that person, obedience to Hebrews 13:17 is impossible. To put it simply, this verse implies that every believer knows to whom he must submit, which, in turn, assumes clearly defined church membership.

The next section of One Spirit and One Heart in God titled "Authority in the Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God" addresses much of the "local church pastor's" statements and assertions about the "The Existence of Church Government" including a crucially important textual analysis of Hebrews 13:17 (the English translation does not state the Greek properly, to put it mildly), but a few points need to be dealt with here.

Jesus Christ said not to be called leaders because One is the ecclesia's Leader, and that is Christ (Matthew 23:10). This is the same God that said our family is brothers and sisters with one Head, and that is Christ the God (Matthew 20:25-28). The "local church pastor" wants to be a head height above the rest (1 Samuel 9:2), and he wants to be called leader. Why would Jesus say not to be called leader? Could it be that He Who knows all things (John 21:17) knows something about His creatures and pride, arrogance, and dominance?

The "local church pastor's" statement of "I am not responsible for believers outside of my local church" is very telling. He uses the word "my" in the possessive. Make no mistake, the "local church pastor" thinks he owns the church, he thinks he owns his office (the actual structure with a desk and chair in it - do you doubt this, see the Wed Dec 23 14:36:48 PST 2015 Comment at the bottom of this essay), his people (each and every single one of his "local church members" because "local church" means the people to him - by his own admission), his building (because "local church" means the building to him, too). The deception of a person's responsibility has already been addressed; nonetheless, the implication of the "local church pastor" assuming the responsibility for "local church" people means that there is some degree of ownership. I sincerely fear for the "local church pastor's" soul because there is a picture in the Old Testament about a man that arranged to kill a queen and her family. In the account, at the revelation of the plot to kill his wife, the earthly king was furious that someone would presume in his heart to harm the king's queen (Esther 7:5). Do not forget that Jesus is the King of kings! King Jesus said "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24), and, again, "He who is not with Me is against Me" (Matthew 12:30), yet again, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened" (Matthew 13:33), and the Apostle Paul wrote "Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?" (1 Corinthians 5:6), so good leaven consumes all for good, and contrarily, bad leaven consumes all for bad. A person is either for Jesus or against Jesus, there is NO inbetween. Lord Jesus is my Master, alone, no other; on the contrary, the "local church" people have a master in the "local church pastor" (leaven). My Lord Jesus is my Great Defender and Strong Deliverer in all things! To the "local church" congregants, I write, repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, fear no more of the things "church", and accompany us on the solid foundation that is the Lord Jesus Christ alone!

Oversee does not equate to rule over; moreover, overlord would equal rule over, and "cruel overseer" would equal rule over oppressively. According to God for His Son's body, the one who oversees is NOT in authority over his brothers and sisters, as expressed above in both HELPS Word-studies (in the Other Essential Definitions section) as well as the picture in Esther 2:11 where Mordecai had NO authority "in the court of the house of the women" (mentioned verbatim in the Other Essential Definitions section under "DEFINITION: Elder"), yet Mordecai oversaw Esther's welfare. A careful examination of the New Testament reveals that the overseer is humble and kind when in Christ Jesus. Oversee is much more to be the older, mature Christian (1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:14, Hebrews 6:1). Please recall the meaning of elder and older. The deeds of the elder who oversees include these:

The elder who oversees does not demand dominance, seek honor, nor obtain sordid gain. Sordid gain includes receiving funds from people paying for services rendered (does "local church service" tithes come to mind). Yes, food and shelter for those bearing the Word of God is found in Holy Scripture, and it is on a very personal basis, as described by Jesus our Savior Himself "As you enter the house, give it your greeting" (Matthew 10:5-15) and again "Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages" (Luke 10:1-12). Recall that Peter rebuked Simon the magician for his desire for honor (Acts 8:14-24)! Jesus had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). Paul worked day and night to pay his own way, not drawing on the assembly for his needs (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Just imagine if all the resources dedicated to the treasury for the "church leaderships" salaries and buying and maintaining church buildings, and don't forget the time spent maintaining church buildings, were redirected in Spirit led endeavors to (1) fathers working less: to pray, to worship, to read the Bible, and to fellowship with family at least daily, (2) funding missions, (3) going on missions, (4) on Bibles for those who have no Bibles, and (5) more. The "local church pastor" can get a job, and support himself and his family as is so vividly described and outrightly prescribed in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 3:10, 1 Timothy 5:8).

There is a Greek verb word that meets the definition of "to rule", and that word is archó, Strong's 757. Let us consider the use of archó in God's Word:

     http://biblehub.com/mark/10-42.htm

Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.

NASB

but Jesus having called them near, saith to them, 'Ye have known that they who are considered to rule the nations do exercise lordship over them, and their great ones do exercise authority upon them;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

The words "as rulers" and "to rule" are both archein in the above passage. This passage also contains the Greek word katakurieuousin, Strong's 2634b, which is translated "lord it over" and "do exercise lordship over". Yet another Greek word bearing dominance by definition that occurs in this passage is katexousiazousin, Strong's 2715, which is translated "exercise authority over" and "do exercise authority upon".

     http://biblehub.com/romans/15-12.htm

Again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE."

NASB

and again, Isaiah saith, 'There shall be the root of Jesse, and he who is rising to rule nations -- upon him shall nations hope;'

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Here we see "TO RULE" and "to rule" are the Greek word archein. The powerful and precious Word tells us that it is all about our treasured Lord Jesus Christ!

Now that we considered archó, let's consider a related Greek noun word, arché, Strong's 746, which means properly, from the beginning (temporal sense), i.e. "the initial (starting) point"; (figuratively) what comes first and therefore is chief (foremost), i.e. has the priority because ahead of the rest ("preeminent") (HELPS Word-studies).

     http://biblehub.com/luke/12-11.htm

"When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say;

NASB

'And when they bring you before the synagogues, and the rulers, and the authorities, be not anxious how or what ye may reply, or what ye may say,

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Archas is the Greek word for "the rulers" in the above passage; furthermore, we also find exousias, Strong's 1849, which is "the authorities".

Clearly, God has the vocabulary to declare the reign, or the rule, but it is NOT applied within the Assembly of God between brothers and sisters apart from Pastor Jesus alone!

Is there an office of bishop in Scripture? It is claimed by the "local church pastors" that the qualifications for the office of pastor... Stop, the what for what of what??? The phrase "office of" can be found in the KJV, NASB, and ESV in 1 Timothy 3:1. The term "qualifications for the office of bishop" can be found in the NASB's headings that the translators put into the Bible. The NASB's headings are NOT part of the Scripture (neither are chapter nor verse segmentation for that matter), the headings claim to be intended to group verses for ease for the reader of the Bible, so the heading that reads "qualifications for the office of bishop" is something that man inserted into 1 Timothy 3 long after Paul, the Holy Spirit inspired writer of 1 Timothy, died - actually the headings were added to the NASB almost 2,000 years after Paul died. No, the word "office" does not appear in Scripture. That which is described about elders and servants in 1 Timothy 3 and about elders in Titus 1:5-9 are evidence of Godly life, yes it is Fruit of the Spirit. There should be no question about this, after all, in 1 Timothy 3:15 (the interlinear included above in the Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God section), immediately following Paul's inspired by the Holy Spirit description of Godly fruit of elders, Paul clearly and decisively explains how "YOU-MAY-BE-PERCEIVING how it-IS-BINDING IN HOME OF-God TO-BE-UP-TURNING (behavING)", Praise God, discerning eyes, given by God Almighty, can look at the elders and recognize elders based on Godly fruit. If anyone stands or insinuates themselves between God's ordained worship and the family or individuals, then that person's treacherous fruit is easily identified by the Word of God, in Titus 1:10-11, 13 is just one such location.

Man created corporate organizational charts to help negotiate the complexity of man's creation.

Corporate Organizational Chart Church Organizational Chart
For Profit Corporation Organizational Chart example Not For Profit Church Organizational Chart

There it is, a side by side view of a corporate org chart and an actual church organizational chart (with the people's names redacted). Do you see who is at the top of the hierarchy? Do you still doubt where the clergy sees themselves? Where the clergy sees the members/laymen? Here are four more org charts, three are from actual churches (the single org chart that mentions God is from a book that includes a section explaining church governance):

Church Organizational Chart From A Book that includes a section on Church Governance Organizational Chart
Church Organizational Chart Church Organizational Chart

In the very colorful chart, the "church pastor" ("executive pastor"?) is dead center with a "buffer" between him and everything else except his inner circle. The bottom two charts do not mention God. One has the congregation at the top of the chart, and the other has the pastor at the top of the chart. Are these just abstractions, or are they concrete representations?

When the pharisees and scribes asked Jesus why His disciples do not do like everyone else that the pharisees and scribes were accustomed to associating, Jesus gave a powerful and telling response that applies TODAY:

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+7%3A6-8&version=NASB;YLT

"Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
   'This people honors Me with their lips,
   
But their heart is far away from Me.
   
But in vain do they worship Me,
   
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.
"

NASB

'Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites, as it hath been written, This people with the lips doth honor Me, and their heart is far from Me;

and in vain do they worship Me, teaching teachings, commands of men;

for, having put away the command of God, ye hold the tradition of men, baptisms of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do.'

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

But, Jesus was not done, He had more to say about the traditions of men, and it is clear that "church" is a tradition of men:

     http://biblehub.com/mark/7-9.htm

"You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."

NASB

'Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Remember, babes drink in the pure milk that is the Word (Hebrews 5:12-13), and the mature people are on solid food that is the Word and deed by the Will of God (Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 6:1; Luke 6:46).

Consistently moving along the email from the "local church pastor" reads:

The Exercise of Church Discipline

In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus outlines the way the church is to seek the restoration of a believer who has fallen into sin-a four-step process commonly known as church discipline. First, when a brother sins, he is to be confronted privately by a single individual (v. 15). If he refuses to repent, that individual is to take one or two other believers along to confront him again (v. 16). If the sinning brother refuses to listen to the two or three, they are then to tell it to the church (v. 17). If there is still no repentance, the final step is to put the person out of the assembly (v. 17; cf. 1 Cor. 5:1-13).

The exercise of church discipline according to Matthew 18 and other passages (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 1 Tim. 5:20; Titus 3:10-11) presupposes that the elders of a church know who their members are. For example, the elders of [Mega Church] have neither the responsibility nor the authority to discipline a member of the church down the street. Sadly, the widespread lack of understanding of church membership has made it necessary for our elders to discipline not only formal members but also those who regularly fellowship at [Mega Church]. However, the Bible's teaching on church discipline assumes church membership.

The person being disciplined is not ostracized, rather they are denied the assembly; furthermore, the Gospel of Grace is proclaimed to them, just like the gentile or the tax-collector!

In the yellow, the "local church pastor" assumes that it is the elders alone that exercise discipline. There is more to that passage in Matthew 18 in verses 18-35. Immediately Jesus explains that whatever the believer binds on earth is bound in heaven, then He explains that whatever is asked in Jesus' name the Father will grant. Then He continues with "where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." First, even two gathered is an assembly. Second, beware, when assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, do not call what is evil good nor good evil because the King of kings is present. Third, immediately after Jesus commands forgiveness for trespasses, not 7 times but 7 times 70. Going back to whatever is bound, could this be binding unforgiveness upon the one planning discipline, that is the disciplinor? Look at Matthew 18:35. Could this be a warning about the "ban" or "shun"? Think of it, Jesus said take "two or three with you", and what if the "two or three" say that there really is no problem here, then it is evident that the false accuser has sinned. Jesus can say one set of words, yet He can mean multiple things. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, and Grace is a beautiful thing.

Back to his interpretion that it is the elder's authority and responsibility to exercise discipline down on the people in the pews. The heading in the NASB at Matthew 18:15 is Discipline and Prayer with the word "church" instead of assembly. Thus, the stage for the delusion of deception (recall from Jeremiah) is set. See how the accumulation of words that are NOT in Scripture being put in Scripture distorts. The discerning eye is granted by Christ Himself (Hebrews 5:14), because He opens the eyes of the blind (Matthew 9:30). Neither 1 Timothy 5:20 nor Titus 3:10-11 make any indication of "church discipline", yet there is some indication of the alarm of a wolf approaching.

Notice, in the words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew (18:15-17), He, God incarnate, does NOT say bring it to the "local church pastor" NOR does King Jesus of the Kindom of God say take it to the "elders". My God said "brothers" and "assembly".

Church Discipline or Bride's Purity: in reality, it is about purity within the Bride of Christ. Of course, if we children of God see a brother or siser sinning, we want that sibling to know the power and deep joy of Jesus, so we tell that sibling, in the Name of Jesus Christ be purified by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross shedding His Precious Blood for the sin of the world! We children of God pray for that sinning sibling as it is our hope that our sibling commune in full joy in the Spirit! The bridal purity is about the love of Christ. And this love overflows among the brothers and sisters. In this way, the Bride of Jesus Christ be pure for the Bridegroom!

Church Government, in the context that the "local church pastor" presents, does not exist. In opposition to that "Church Government" is the Kingdom of God that is composed of King Jesus and His subjects. Period.

The "local church pastor" mentions "responsibility" again. In the context of "church", I suppose that he and his friends can make up whatever rules and "in their own strength" concepts as God allows (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Oh God, my God, I beg of you, please, please forgive them and grant them sight unto repentance and salvation in Christ Jesus, that their joy may be full and your Glories proclaimed! My heart is heavy, and merely typing is scaring me, Oh Father!

The email from the "local church pastor" reads:

The Exhortation to Mutual Edification

The New Testament teaches that the church is the body of Christ, and that God has called every member to a life devoted to the growth of the body. In other words, Scripture exhorts all believers to edify the other members by practicing the "one-anothers" of the New Testament (e.g., Heb. 10:24-25) and exercising their spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-7; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). Mutual edification can only take place in the context of the corporate body of Christ. Exhortations to this kind of ministry presuppose that believers have committed themselves to other believers in a specific local assembly. Church membership is simply the formal way to make that commitment.

Who commits who to who (red section)? The Apostle Paul wrote "For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends" (2 Corinthians 10:18). God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, commits the believer to His Holy Nation, a people preserved unto Himself for His Glory!

So much of this has already been proven unscriptural, such as "church" and "corporate", but there are two important points to be made:

  1. the "local church pastor" used the word assembly in "local assembly", suddenly, near the end of his email he makes this change, yet he is still assigning possession.
  2. the "local church pastor" wrote 'practicing the "one-anothers"'. There is a fundamental problem in that phrase, and it is this, why did the "local church pastor" not write that it is about living a life of loving one another? Why do I not see love in his writing?

In Ephesians 4:11, is the single occurrence of the English word pastors (poimenas in Greek) mentioned in the New Testament, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers". Many, many people will say that the time of the apostles is no more, that the time of the prophets are no more, yet pastor is clinged onto as an office. Why is this the case? Poimen, the Greek root, is defined as shepherd. When examined in context, Ephesians 4:11 appears to be of titles for people that are gifts for the perfecting of the saints, but interestingly the sentence is past tense. The past tense nature of Ephesians 4:11 is affirming of the words spoken by our Lord Jesus reserving the titles of Pastor and Teacher to Himself (Please see this sidebar: The Standard of Truth: Our Lord Jesus Said "I AM the Truth" and this Table Examining the Words for Teacher in Scripture).

Here is a link to each and every occurrence of the Greek word "poimen" in the New Testament, all 18 of the occurrences (available at this link, 32 with related roots of poim).

This leads to another key point, the verb form, "shepherding", contains the base of poima in Greek. Elders most certainly shepherd (verb), and this is repeated again and again in the Word of God, that the flock of God will joyfully follow in the steps of the elder who is following in the steps of Christ Jesus. The elder is humble, the elder is watching for wolves, the elder would die for God's sheep because he is not a hired hand. A hired hand seeks sordid gain, that is, being paid for the office of pastor in the local church, recall the Scripture that states the one who does not work will not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). In Christ, the act of shepherding legitimately represents feeding the flock, watching for wolves, and being an example.

All occurrences of the noun Greek word poimenas, in the New Testament, were translated to shepherds with the single exception of Ephesians 4:11 where the unique, single occuring English word pastor was utilized. This anomalous and arbitrary translation of poimenas to pastor results in man creating an entire hierarchy of authority with an office, yet no indication of hierarchy of authority nor "office of" exists in Ephesians 4:11. In Christ, elders carry out the act of shepherding, yet the current connotation of pastor is superlative to the Christian denotation of elder, in that pastor carries a deep seated sense of authority. Around the year 590, Pope Gregory I wrote Liber Regulae Pastoralis or Regula Pastoralis (The Book of the Pastoral Rule, commonly known in English as Pastoral Care, a translation of the alternative Latin title Cura Pastoralis), a treatise on the responsibilities of the clergy (Pastoral Care (opens to WikiPedia). The heritage of the Roman Catholic Church is clear in these descriptions of the Latin treatise:

As exerted from Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers ser. 2, vol XII (Christian Classics Ethereal Library): The Book of Pastoral Rule: preface. Please recall Our Lord Jesus Hates the Deeds of the Nicolaitans sidebar.

Elders live and move in God, in deed (INDEED). Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus, changed the format of the enumeration in Ephesians 4:11 when he got to "shepherds and teachers" (pastors and teachers). Let's see the word for word translation for the Greek/English interlinear, "AND SAME GIVES THE INDEED [apostles] THE YET BEFORE-AVERers THE YET WELL-MESSENGERS THE YET SHEPHERDS AND TEACHers". This "SHEPHERDS AND TEACHers" rings back to:

In the Greek/English Interlinear, we find a couple of the Greek words used for "feed" to translate to "be grazing" or "graze", so we can see this as "be grazing My sheep". Now, couple that with living on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. In Ephesians 4:13, we find God moving each believer from infant to maturity as a full grown man, feeding on the Word of God. God moves every believer toward maturity, to be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Do you hear the Master, Jesus, telling us to feed on the Word of God? Did you hear the Word, Jesus, say unless you eat His flesh and drink His blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53)? The act of shepherding is a gift of God to the perfection of the saints, and to the elder, it is fruit of salvation in the Living Lord Jesus Christ.

God laid out an enumeration of gifts, apostles (ONES-SENT), prophets (BEFORE-AVERers), evangelists (WELL-MESSENGERS), and shepherds and teachers (SHEPHERDS AND TEACHers) in Ephesians 4:11. We find another passage that contains "And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:28 according to Thayer the "administrations" word ["governments" in KJV] should be rendered "wise counsels" [kybernēsis - administrations - G2941 (opens to BlueLetterBible.org)] and the word church should be the word assembly or congregation). Notice the absence of evangelists and shepherds from the 12:28 passage. Also worth noting, in 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul wrote "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." Notice "prophesy" in 14:1 is related to "prophets" in 12:28 and in Ephesians 4:11. Paul clearly states that you may especially desire to prophesy, yet prophets is second in both the 1 Corinthians 12:28 and the Ephesians 4:11 lists. Is it significant? God clearly, crucially states that these are not ordered lists; in other words, the desire for the gift of being an apostle (occurring first in both lists) is not raised above desiring that gift of being a prophet. Desiring to be an elder is a good work (1 Timothy 3:1), yet prophecy is regarded for stronger desire. Clearly, these are not rank, rather, these gifts of God are movement in maturity in the knowledge of Christ established by God as a work of the Holy Spirit.

The elder in the Assembly of God says "the Lord Jesus is worthy of all praise", and, humbly, "I am of no account".

When Ephesians chapter 4 is read in context to 4:11, we see earlier in chapter 4, "humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love", "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace", "one body", "one Spirit", "one hope", "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all", and "He gave gifts to men". In this chapter, we see so very much. One Spirit And One Heart In God, see here that God is "over all", "through all", and "in all", see here His fruit will be evident in the believer because the Father is in the believer! See more, Christ is the giver of gifts, and it is a continual feeding to His children. Look at all the references to "one" not multiple "local churches". See the reference to the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. This is significant because of the condemning fruits of factions (divisiveness, "local pastor pastor" desires to grow "his congregation", many denominations/churches in dispute), idolatry (the "local church pastor" views himself pridefully, how he calls it "his congregation"), envying (I heard a "local pastor pastor" say that he looks at other larger churches lustfully), outlined in the passage before (Galatians 5:18-21).

     http://biblehub.com/john/10-11.htm

"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

NASB

'I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd his life layeth down for the sheep;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.
Jesus Christ declared Himself the Good Shepherd (poimen is the Greek word). Since Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, what does that make everyone else? That word Shepherd was not translated Pastor, was it? That definite article "the" does not leave any squiggle room for another person. Let's imagine for the moment that the word Shepherd was translated Pastor, then no other pastor is good. Scary.

     http://biblehub.com/john/10-14.htm

"I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,"

NASB

'I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known by mine,

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.
Jesus Christ repeated Himself, because we must listen to Him. The word shepherd in English is poimen in Greek.

     http://biblehub.com/john/10-16.htm

"I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd."

NASB

"and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock -- one shepherd."

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.
Master Jesus used that Greek word poimen again, each of these three times referring to Himself, but this time the adjective is "one" instead of "good". Master Jesus said "One Shepherd". He was definitive by saying "One Shepherd". Does this leave any room to squiggle for a mere man as the second poimen? Or, a third poimen? Again, let's imagine for the moment that the word Shepherd was translated Pastor, then any other pastor is an imposter. Yikes!

In the New Testament, Master Jesus never called another person shepherd/poimen. This fact is exposed clearly in the table of every occurrence of the Greek word "poimen" in the New Testament. When Master Jesus told Peter to "graze my sheep", He did not call Peter a shepherd (John 21:15-17). There is the act of shepherding, but not a shepherd except for Jesus, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Elder, the Firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18).

Certainly no pastor is indicated, as we see from the Ephesians 4:11 mistranslated word that is shepherd in all other instances of the English translations. As we examine the four books that people call the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; these records of Jesus are devoid of Master Jesus referencing the noun "shepherd" as a mere man.

     http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-34.htm

"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,"

NASB

'Because of this, lo, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and of them ye will kill and crucify, and of them ye will scourge in your synagogues, and will pursue from city to city;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

     http://biblehub.com/luke/11-49.htm

"For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute;

NASB

because of this also the wisdom of God said: I will send to them prophets, and apostles, and some of them they shall kill and persecute,

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Master Jesus said here that God sent "prophets and wise men and scribes" and "prophets, and apostles", yet this is not the list from Ephesians 4:11. There are commonalities between Jesus' lists and Paul's lists, yet Paul's lists contains shepherds/pastors and teachers. In the immediately above passages, Master Jesus was addressing the multitude and His disciples (Matthew 23:1) as well as pharisees, so it is entirely plausable that Jesus pointed at the disciples saying "behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes" then immediately swung His finger to point at the pharisees saying "some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city".

     http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-8.htm

"But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

NASB

'And ye -- ye may not be called Rabbi, for one is your director -- the Christ, and all ye are brethren;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Master Jesus said not to be called rabbi (rabbi means teacher as defined in John 1:38 - this opens to the Table Examining the Words for Teacher in Scripture) because Master Jesus is our One Teacher, and we are all brothers! The Apostle Paul mentioned "pastors and teachers" in Ephesians 4:11, yet Jesus said "ye may not be called Rabbi". A point not worth making, yet should be made for the sake of argument, is that the Greek word for "teachers" in Ephesians 4:11 is didaskalous (G1320) while the Greek word for "Teacher" in Matthew 23:8 is kathEgEtEs (G2519); however, both of the Greek words contain "a teacher" and "a master" as components of the definitions; therefore, the Greek words seem to be synonyms. Most importantly, the context of both passages clearly refers to a teacher.

What of the Apostle Paul's writing, using the word shepherd in Ephesians 4:11? What about the word teachers in Ephesians 4:11? I must walk in the Way with the Master Jesus' words, as I abide the words of the Lord Jesus.

That which the Apostle Paul wrote appears to be identifiers of people that were given as gifts from God recorded in Ephesians 4:11, but I can not reconcile Paul's words here back to Jesus' words as a present tense nor future tense. Also, these appear to be fruits of the Holy Spirit manifested in a mere man. These are to the glory of God in the temple of God, but I can not reconcile Paul's words as present tense nor future tense in Ephesians 4:11 back to Jesus' words respecting pastors and teachers.

Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. Either God is correct or Paul is correct. Lord Jesus, being fully God, said one poimen, yet Paul wrote of poimen in the plural. The popular interpretation of Ephesians 4:11 of under-sheperds or local pastors leads to the terminal eviseration of the words of Jesus which the Apostle John recorded of King Jesus, God incarnate, saying "they will become one flock with one shepherd" (John 10:16). Both can not be true simultaneously. If we use the terminology of pastor consistently, then either a person has a Pastor that is Jesus or a person has a pastor that is a man. Many people claim that Jesus delegated or specified a man to occupy a pastoral office, but that fails when the Word of God speaks, saying "One Pastor", and the word office is not in the Greek manuscripts. Let us not forget that the synoptic gospels (the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke written by 50 A.D.) as well as Paul's letters (completed by 64 A.D.) were written prior to the writings of John written after 80 A.D.), according to tradition, so Jesus spoke of sending apostles, prophets, scribes, and wise men before Paul's conversion (on the road to Damascus); moreover, John wrote after Paul's death. Further examination of the mathematical implication of the doctrine of "office of pastor" dictates that if one claims that a man is a pastor or shepherd AND that Jesus is a pastor or shepherd, then you have two pastors, a clear violation of Lord Jesus' words, and I would have to say that such a claim rivals idolatry (Exodus 20:4). And, to consider another one of Paul's writings, do not be decieved, idolaters will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Look carefully at the verb tense of Ephesians 4:11, "And He gave some", it is past tense, not "has been giving" nor "will give", but rather "gave". Consider that timeline where I mentioned Paul's death, in the previous paragraph. Now, when a pastor, teacher, or doctor states there are no more apostles, no more prophets, but there are evangelists, are pastors, are teachers, it leads one to wonder why that pastor/teacher/doctor selectively discounts two of the five gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, particularly when my Lord Jesus Himself gave lists that include apostles and prophets yet not plural of shepherds/pastors in those lists. Rather, Lord Jesus said beware of those that come in My Name (Luke 21:8), and, again, He said watch fruits for there are ravenous wolves disguised as sheep (Matthew 7:15-20). Lord Jesus reserved the title of shepherd/pastor to Himself alone, as clearly recorded in John 10:16.

This issue of shepherd is so very relevant to each and every eternal life destination. There is One Shepherd, and His Name is Jesus, my God and my Savior. I am a follower of my Lord Jesus Christ. Period.

Lord Jesus emphatically stated "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" as recored in Matthew 23:9. Does the "local church pastor" call an Anglican priest "father" or how about the Roman Catholic pope? Three consecutive verses in the book recorded by Matthew.

So, in the view of the "local church pastor" there are teachers and leaders in the context of authority, yet not fathers. Interesting that he dismisses Anglican and Roman Catholic and Orthodox church titles, yet he clings to "pastor". More poignant, however, is that the "local church pastor" dismisses the words of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ! The Living Lord Jesus declared "Whoever then shall break one of the least of these commandments and shall teach others the same, he will be called least in the kingdom of the heavens" (Matthew 5:19). Then, He continued with "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). My Master called the Pharisees hypocrites, and for clergy to demand authority is among many things, hypocritical, whether in a congregationalist type governed church or a centralized governed church. His message is precise, never a doubt in the Spirit, that His Glory is defined in the very Word of God!

Lord Jesus conveyed intensity by repeating about spiritual leadership three times as recorded in the passage Matthew 23:8-10. The Jews emphasized crucial points by repeating the concept, and here King Jesus repeated Himself not just twice, but three times!

Where is the "local church pastor" in all of this? Look in his "local church building" in the "pastoral office" taking pains to avoid offending the sources of his ill-gotten gains... Because you won't find the "local church pastor" in Scripture, in fact, in most cases, you will find something quite different in Scripture and God's Ecclesia, after all, Jesus said "He who is not with Me is against Me" (Matthew 12:30).

I include my reply to the local church pastor from earlier this year for completeness sake. I strongly wanted to meet with the local church pastor face to face, and I invited him to my home for both of our families to break bread together, twice in earlier email exchanges. He did not reply to the email I present in this paragraph, and we have not conversed since. It was this exchange that God used to drive me to examine "church" more deeply as well as to type this essay, so while I used the word "church" in the email as a synonym for ecclesia, I now emphatically state that church is NOT a synonym of ecclesia. While God's Ecclesia may be at a church, the Church is not the Ecclesia.

The abuse within positions of power in leadership can include any of the following (as evidenced by the above):

Whether intentional or inadvertent, all human inventions that corrupt the purity of worshiping the True and Living YHWH God is an idol. The act of adding to and subtracting from God's revealed Word in the Holy Bible to accommodate man's rituals breaches the Second Commandment! God commands and approves His ordained form of worship, yet anything else is sacrilege and blasphemy. False worship and well intentioned idolatry bring the Wrath of God and death. Think about it for a moment. All men are guilty before the Just Judge. None, not one, is righteous, except Jesus! And there it is, the man, Jesus, knew no sin, but became sin for our sake carrying the crime of the world on the cross, and when He said "it is finished" the veil of the temple was torn, and every believer in the blameless One worships in Spirit and Truth. The God, Jesus, resurrected to sit at the right hand of the Father, and we worship the One true God, alone! Every moment, worshiping the Father in Christ Jesus by the Spirit, praying without ceasing. Communing with the very Creator of the heavens and earth.

This paragraph is a special note for the "local church pastor". Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. I write this out of love for you and the people that you lead. God's Word is the vital treasure that is good unto salvation. As of this writing, you attempt to elevate yourself to the position that belongs to God alone (Exodus 20:3 as well as Exodus 20:4). You tell your "church members" to do this or that. Sin no more, stop teaching wrongfully. I am deeply and genuinely mourning for your soul and the souls of those that hear your teaching week after week. Our Deliverer Lord Jesus said "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6), and the Apostle Paul wrote "a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough" (Galatians 5:9). Clearly, God explains that wrong doctrine spoils entirely, that is, a little falsehood makes entirely false. For something to be true, it must be completely true. May the Holy Spirit grant you Godly sorrow bringing repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10), and the worldly grief with it's heavy weight of church and burden of authority pass away (1 John 2:17). May you walk in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ that lead to the loving Father in heaven!

"When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel."
(Deuteronomy 32:8)

"See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand."
(Deuteronomy 32:39)

Because of the absence of "local", "church", and "roster of members" in the Holy Writ, church is heresy (2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1-6, 1 Timothy 1:3-6, 2 Timothy 1:13-14, and Jude 1 [heresy is holding to doctrine and action that contradicts the Word of God]).

There are no denominations of "church" and no "church government" hierarchy among God's Ecclesia in the Holy Writ; therefore, all of the divisive and factious trappings of "church" crumble as non-sequitor, as the tradition of men (Mark 7:8, 1 Corinthians 11, and John 17:22-23)! "Local church" by it's very nature is divisive. Something evil lurks in the halls of the "local church".

"Church" is the core of the fault. Unholy fruit springs from "church". The following "fruits" hang on branches off of the vine of "church": The rudiments of "church" include: sordid gain, patronizing people's lusts, authority, stand alone buildings, obligations, formalism, power plays, lust for money, and more. There is HOPE, come out from among them and be separate (Isaiah 52:11, 2 Corinthians 6:17) because persisting in even one of the mentioned rudiments of "church" is sin, and we know that those who practice sin have their part in the lake of fire (Ezekiel 18:4, 1 John 3:4-10, Revelation 20:15, Revelation 21:8). Jesus said to the religious leaders who loved money, "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15). A "local church pastor" that clings to the unholy fruit of "church" is deceived, and that pastor teaches in opposition to the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ (Please see this sidebar: The Standard of Truth: Our Lord Jesus Said "I AM the Truth"). "Church" is highly esteemed. "Church" is an idol, let's get even more specific, the "local church pastor" is an idol in the form of a man elevated on a pulpit as well as the "church building" treasured in the heart's of so very many! My Lord said, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin" (John 15:22). And when the ungodly are ripped from their graves at the sound of the trumpet with the loud voices in heaven, the sheer terror of denying the Living God, Our Lord Jesus Christ will be upon them as the Wrath of God is poured out (Revelation 11:15-18). Church is a massive burden, yet in God's Ecclesia is rest! My Friend Jesus said, "come to Me all you laboring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). One Man. One God. One purchase. One redemption. One salvation. One Holy communion. If you are caught up in "church", then repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Our Lord Jesus Christ is salvation, alone! I urge you to, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

Authority in the Ecclesia Defined - By the Word of God

Jesus Christ Is the Authority

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" are the words of the Eternal Lord Jesus Christ! He said "All authority"! This is recorded in Matthew 28:18 at the ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father in heaven. Let's review Jesus' command that He issued prior to stating "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth", back when Jesus sent out the twelve, as recorded in Luke 9:1, when Jesus gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. Full stop (on that point). Not long after sending out the twelve, Jesus gave authority when he sent out the seventy as recorded in Luke 10:19, Jesus said upon the disciples return, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you." Jesus' instruction and commands to the seventy as He was sending them out included for them to "heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'" (Luke 10:9). Full stop (on that point).

In sequential order, we have Jesus giving the disciples authority over all demons, to cure diseases, to tread on serpents and scorpions, over all the power of the enemy, and proclaim the gospel. After that, Jesus declares that all authority has been given to Him.

In no sense does Jesus declare that one disciple has authority over another disciple.

Jesus Christ Is the Foundation

Jesus said "the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth" as recorded in John 4:23, and a mere two verses earlier, King Jesus explains to us that true worship is independent of location (John 4:21).

Again, be comforted, God no longer commands attendance at a building to be in the presence of God because our Friend Jesus said of His Ecclesia that "the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Every moment, every God-given breath of the believer is God's and in God's presence, so we pray without ceasing.

The Apostle Paul wrote "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ" as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:12, and again, brother Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write "...gave him to be head over all things to the assembly, which is his body..." as recorded in Ephesians 1:22-23, yet again Paul the evangelist explained "He is the head of the body, the assembly" in the epistle to the Colossians (verse 1:18).

When Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my assembly," as recorded by Matthew (16:18) the translators used a word that identifies a building rather than the people. Truly, He said that upon the great truth/rock, Himself being the Truth, confessed by Peter, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus would build His assembly, His gathering of redeemed people. The ecclesia (ek, "out of or from," and kaleo, "a calling or to call") is His called out people, not dependent on location, not even time! The ecclesia is Christ's congregation in all times and all places.

Jesus, fully God, did not seek to rise above men according to Paul as well. "But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:7-10) A man of no reputation, lowly, meek, humble. His example is perfect, it is about love!

Let's take what Christ Himself said as recorded by Matthew: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Chapter 20:25-28)

Integrity of Greek to English Translation of Hebrews 13:17

     obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves

     or

     you people be persuaded by the ones leading you, and you people yield

Now, we need to examine the hard Scripture, certain cornerstone writings about hierarchy, there is an English translated passage that mentions obeying the rulers (clearly referring to the clergy, pastors or bishops or other "church leadership") and submitting to them, so please let us consider the letter to the dispersed tribes, the Book of Hebrews:

(the actual Greek/English interlinear is included below for these verses)

For emphasis, the Jews repeat a concept, and Our Lord Jesus employed this mechanism. According to the content of the Greek Interlinear, we find this repetition occurring here in verses 7 and 17, but it seems to be obscured in the KJV translation (and my preferred NASB).

Shortly before these passages in Hebrews, we have the inspired Word of God defining faith as well as providing examples such as "By faith Noah" and "By faith Abraham", in Hebrews 11. This is relevant to Hebrews 13.

A very powerful passage of Scripture is this: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2:21). This following in His steps is relevant to Hebrews 13.

Here is Paul explaining those we should imitate: Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)

In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (5:21, submitting is hupotassomenoi [note hupotasso] which is explained shortly). Notice, that in the fear of God every one is to submit to every one within the Assembly of God.

Returning to Hebrews 13:17, when we examine the Greek Interlinear, we find the word translated to "obey" is "peithesthe" (Blue Letter Bible, Strong's G3982; BibleHub, Strong's 3982) which is "be persuaded". Peithesthe is not obey; on the other hand, the Greek word "hupakouó" (Blue Letter Bible, Strong's G5219; BibleHub, Strong's 5219) is the English word "obey" of which hupakouó (obey) does not appear in this passage!

In Hebrews 13:18, the very next verse, we see peitho again! "Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things" (Hebrews 13:18). That "we are sure" is peithometha as in "we are persuaded". Belief and faith and persuasion and conviction (convinced) and "are sure" are all intimately related. We find "persuade", that is "peitho", in both verses 17 and 18 because of faith and belief!

Table Examining the Lexicon of πείθω (peitho, persuade): this provides a purview of how this word was used - particularly of interest for Hebrews 13:17. The one time in the lexicon that contains the exact same word as Hebrews 13:17, peithesthe is not obey; on the contrary, peithesthe in the lexicon is "BELIEVE".

In Hebrews 13:7, 13:17, and 13:24, the word "hégeomai" (hEdoumen...) is a verb which in English we would roughly call it a transitive verb in the plural thus meaning "ones-LEADING" in all 3 verses. It appears to be the ones going before, somewhat like some people marking the steps, remember 1 Peter 2:21. The phrase "rule over" does not occur in the Greek, so it can be discarded.

Again, in Hebrews 13:17, the word "submit" is translated from "hupeikete" (Blue Letter Bible, Strong's G5226; BibleHub, Strong's 5226) which according to Strongs 5226 includes "to yield, to submit", yet we find BE-YE-UNDER-SIMULATING for "hupeikete" in the Greek Interlinear; therefore, deeper inspection of "hupeikete" is required. The Greek word "hupeikete" occurs one time in the New Testament which is here in Hebrews 13:17, so examiniation of usage extrabiblically near the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews is helpful.

Hupeikete is composed of two roots, hupo and eikó:

Yes, according to the lexicon and Strong's, there are two words in Greek spelled exactly the same, "eiko", with one meaning "yield" and the other meaning "resemble/imitate". There exists a third word that is nearly the same, "eikon" which means image/likeness/statue; furthermore, eikon should bring reminisence of "icon" for computers - an "icon" represents an entry point for a full computer application program - something smaller pointing at something bigger.

Table Examining the Lexicon of ὑπείκω (hupeiko, yield); this provides a purview of how the hupeikete word was used - and all the extrabiblical instances included in the lexicon used appearing along with hupeikete as in Hebrews 13:17 are "yield".

The term "yield" as extracted from the lexicon, as well as the interlinear's "under simulating", for "hupeikete" is profound when the entire passage is read in context, or even the entire epistle. Notice "hupeikete" is NOT "hupotassó"; moreover, "hupotassó" represents a militaristic ranking as it translates "to place or rank under, to subject, mid. to obey" (Blue Letter Bible, Strong's G5293; BibleHub, Strong's 5293, and since hupo was covered, here is "tassó" meaning "['place in position, post'] was commonly used in ancient military language for 'designating' ('appointing, commissioning') a specific status, i.e. arranging (placing) in a deliberate, fixed order" Blue Letter Bible, Strong's G5021; BibleHub, Strong's 5021). Hupotassó appears in Ephesians 5:21, thus making all the people in the Assembly of God the same rank. Hupotassó does NOT appear in Hebrews 13:17, yet the authority hierarchy definition of hupotassó is wrongly applied to the word hupeikete thus giving the false and deadly illusion that a spiritual leader is being defined. Remember Lord Jesus' words about any person being called a spiritual leader, "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ" (Matthew 23:10).

A synonym for hupeikete is anachoréite (ἀναχωρεῖτε). This Greek word meaning "yield" could have been used, but why did God have the author use hupeikete? Could it be that God wanted people to see "eiko" in order to see not only the denotation of "yield" but also to be aware of the alternate word of "simulate"? The proximity of the two identical words of "eiko" with the third word of "eikon" are telling; furthermore, there are no "coincidences" with God. After all, imitating the Righteous One, Jesus Christ, is central!

Hupeikete may even be along the lines of yield unto imitation according to the will of God for the purposes of Hebrews 13:17 - consider Hebrews 13:7 with the intervening passage, the Christ said "I gave you an example that you also should do as I did" (John 13:15). Behold, the Lord, the Messiah said "example"! Here is more of the passage to see the SERVANT example as opposed to the AUTHORITY claimed by clergy, the Lord Jesus said "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for [so] I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor [is] one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them" John 13:12-17).

Notice the word "authority" is NOT a word in Hebrews 13:17, no, it does NOT say "submit to their authority" NOR "submit to them" NOR "submit yourselves". Hebrews 13:17 straightforward states "You people be persuaded by the ones leading, and you people yield, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." The command "and [all of you] yield" means something special. Does the command "yield" apply to a mere man or the Word? Especially consider that the Word, Lord Jesus, said "you are all brothers" (Matthew 23:8) and "One is your Leader, that is, Christ" (Matthew 23:10). Hebrews 13:17 is NOT about men's authority over other men in God's Holy Nation.

Notice also that Hebrews 13:17 reads "as they that must give account" which does NOT say "they will give an account"! Take special note of that "as" in the sentence. This clearly refers to the elder that cares DEEPLY for God's people! This is not an authority.

Is God telling us about authority hierarchy? Is God telling us that we need to join a local church? Is our Redeemer telling us that when we see Godly people, that we are really seeing Christ in them, and thus looking through them at Christ the Lord? Is God telling us about His children turned to Him in the unity of love glorifying Him for all the world to see? The answer to the last two questions are a resounding YES. He established His Ecclesia such that the deep love will bring glory to God and He will use love to bring comfort to His Children (John 13:35). Not only that, but the world will be without excuse on the Day of Judgment (Romans 1:20). Hence His Ecclesia are His hands. His feet... The laborers in the harvest (Luke 10:2).

Jesus said something that is downright revealing when he explained to those He ordained to be the ones-leading, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4)

Let's piece together some of the words and concepts we find from the various verses of Hebrews 13 mentioned above! Based on the Greek text, as opposed to the oppressive authority hierarchy English translation, we see something wonderful and beautiful, this summary seems to convey the message of the verses:

Believe the ones that follow in the steps of the Lord Jesus whether martyred, sleeping, or living, and yield to one another even imitating the steps of the mature follower of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior for the ones walking ahead are vigilant over your souls, not being selfish, as the Word of God releases from their hearts, will give the Word of God with joy, this they do without groaning unprofitably for you in speaking the Word of God.
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-28)

And, here are Hebrews 13:7,17,24 in the interlinear (with KJV on the right - these are sourced from http://www.Scripture4All.org/):

Jesus spoke this: "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:3-6) Think of how children trained up in the Lord LOVE the praise of their father and mother, loving to help because they know to do all as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17)! King Jesus talks about authority among siblings as well, that is, the absence of authority between siblings. King Jesus reserves authority for His Majesty!

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24) declared the Lord Jesus.

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15) warned the Lord Jesus.

Recall from the Other Essential Definitions section, that the false Greek goddess Circe "with a touch of her wand she changed ... some into wolves". The Church (Circe) with men (wolves) claiming authoritative hierarchical structure are in an institution that has etymological basis for a lineage from Circe in Greek!

Drink in the passage in which the Lord Jesus Christ mentions "false prophets" who "are ravenous wolves":

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn [bushes] nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven [will enter]. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and [yet] it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as [one] having authority, and not as their scribes.
Matthew 7:13-29
Let's examine a few more passages that have been misinterpreted by man, then made into evil traditions in which "charge" plays an ungodly role! The concept "charge over God's flock" and "rule" is truly absent in the Greek manuscripts. In the context of the English translation of "charge", the clear reality is "feed" as in taking lambs to eat (shepherding) and "walking in steps" as in stepping along after the ones leading ahead that are in the steps of Christ! As you read this, observe God's love for us as it is not dominance, but rather lovingly feeding with heed to the welfare of the assembly of God! The welfare of the assembly of God includes identifying wolves dressed in sheeps clothes!

See there in 1 Peter 5:3, not exercising lordship over Jesus' heritage, rather be a pattern for His Flock, following Jesus Himself in the Holy Spirit. It is about Jesus, not man-made authority and charge here on earth!

"But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant" (Luke 22:26). The word leader is hēgoumenos (note the resemblence to Hebrews 13:17's ones-LEADING). That word in Hebrews 13:17 can NOT be an authority because of that which Lord Jesus states here in Luke 22:26!

"Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great" (Luke 9:48. Is a churchman that calls himself "pastor" least or great? The answer is self-evident! The Lord Jesus said "they will become one flock with One Shepherd" (John 10:16) - that word Shepherd is poimēn in the Greek which is translated to "pastors" in Ephesians 4:11 - it is audaciously arrogant, prideful, and presumptuous to assume the title of poimēn that the Lord Jesus Christ reserved to Himself - the churchman that takes the name of pastor claims to be great by virtue of God's reservation of the title "pastor" unto the Son of God. It is so very, very sad and scary that "local church pastors" set up a system of idolatry whether intentionally or ignorantly. Examine obedience, Christ Jesus repeatedly spoke of doing the will of the Father in heaven. Obedience to God's authority, not to men's authority within the assembly of God, is part of the core message of the New Testament; therefore, clergy is in open disobedience to God and rebellion to God. God had Samuel say something about that:

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+15%3A22-23&version=NASB%3BYLT

Has YHWH as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of YHWH? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry

NASB

Hath Jehovah had delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as [in] hearkening to the voice of Jehovah? lo, hearkening than sacrifice is better; to give attention than fat of rams; for a sin of divination [is] rebellion, and iniquity and teraphim [is] stubbornness; because thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, He also doth reject thee from [being] king.

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

 

The words to abide for the believer as spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ are so very important in this matter, they bear repeating here!

 

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A8-10&version=NASB%3BYLT

But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called [a]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

NASB

And ye -- ye may not be called Rabbi, for one is your director -- the Christ, and all ye are brethren; and ye may not call [any] your father on the earth, for one is your Father, who is in the heavens, nor may ye be called directors, for one is your director -- the Christ.

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

 

And more words of the Lord Jesus Christ for the believer to abide!

 

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+20%3A25-28&version=NASB%3BYLT

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

NASB

Ye have known that the rulers of the nations do exercise lordship over them, and those great do exercise authority over them, but not so shall it be among you, but whoever may will among you to become great, let him be your ministrant; and whoever may will among you to be first, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Appoint: Duality of Meaning in English
     (Definition) Set Apart By God
     (Definition) Elders Identifying Elders

Jesus also spoke this: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28) Here we hear the Lord Jesus clearly proclaiming that the rulers in the world exert authority over their fellows, BUT NOT SO AMONG GOD'S HOLY NATION, HIS ECCLESIA.

There are English translations that talk of "appointing elders". In English, the word "appointing" carries the meaning of selecting or designating to fill an office or a position. One instance is Acts 14:23, where Paul and Barnabas had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Let us look at the Greek word that has been translated to appointing. it is cheirotonEsantes, and it's meaning in the Greek/English Interlinear is HAND-STRETCHing. Could it be that Paul and Barnabas were in the cities of Lystra and Iconium and Antioch, that they stretched out their hand to point out the mature men of God that exhibited the fruit consistent with Spirit led lives, thus it would be confirmed to the babes in the faith whom the elders are?

Another example related to "appointing elders" is "ordain elders" which occurs in English in Titus 1:5 where the Greek word for "ordain" is katastEsEs which narrowly translates to SHOULD-BE-DOWN-STANDING as indicated in the Greek/English Interlinear. Again, this word, katastEsEs, indicates to stand the elders in front of the assembly to confirm that which is already evident, that the elder is an elder.

Please listen, the elders are already elders by the will of God. The description of an elder in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9 are of fruits; in other words, the men are already elders. The ceremony for an elder is carried out by God Almighty, and it is of value in His court.

As we see from the example of Paul, the Apostle, addressing the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:17 and Acts 20:28, it is evident that the word elder in English refers to both presbuterous and episkopous. I have read that presbuterous is of Hebrew origin while episkopous is Greek.

Let us consider "appointed" in "When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48). This word "appointed" is the Greek word tetagmenoi which means HAVING-been-SET; meanwhile, the "appointed" in "When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed" (Acts 14:23) is the Greek word cheirotonEsantes which means HAND-STRETCHing. In Acts 13:48, God sets apart. In Acts 14:23, the Apostles pointed out the elders, those same Apostles having prayed with fasting first to God Almighty, the men whom God had set apart as elders.

As we've already examined, what part does the word pastor have in Scripture? The word "pastor" carries a fabricated connotation just like "church". There is a definite distinguishing factor between shepherd (the true meaning of poimen a.k.a. pastor) and "office of pastor".

Undershepherd Doctrine

Jesus was surrounded by rabbis, yet not a one was appointed by Jesus as pastor or shepherd, save Himself (John 10:16). Think all those doctors, professors, leaders, yet not a one did He set apart as leader, except Himself (Matthew 23:10). Not a one of the scribes nor pharisees certified as a teacher, for the Christ is the One Teacher (Matthew 23:8). Not a one of the priests nor religious leaders were ordained as a spiritual "father" for there is only the Father in heaven (Matthew 23:9). Today, there is a great multitude of men declaring themselves and their colleagues as teachers, professors, pastors, and doctors, yet our Lord Jesus Christ did something in humility, and it is diametrially opposed to the traditions of men existing today!

Under-shepherd is absent from the Holy Scripture; therefore, under-shepherd is a fallacy (fallacy defined - opens to thefreedictionary.com). The Lord Jesus repeatedly expressed Jesus alone is shepherd as a recurring sentiment. He even supplemented with His command to "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15), and Jesus the King said further "if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There [He is],' do not believe [him]. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance" (Matthew 24:23-25).

The Creator Jesus plainly stated "I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes" (Matthew 23:34) and "I will send to them prophets and apostles" (Luke 11:49) and to His disciples "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19). Focus carefully on the absence of poimen/pastors/shepherds in these lists of whom is sent as provided by the Son of the Living God! In stark, plain, and clear terms, I emphatically state that during His life on earth as revealed by the Word of God that the Lord Jesus never said that He would send pastors.

Our Lord Jesus made it clear that false prophets will come, even claiming to be the Christ (Luke 21:8, Mark 13:5, Mark 13:21-22, Matthew 24:4-5, Matthew 24:11, Matthew 24:23-26). The false prophets will say "look here" and "there". There are pastors that call the church building the Lord's house as well as their requirement to report to the building every Sunday, but look at what Lord Jesus said that false prophets would say "look here" and "there". Those men calling themselves pastors are doing that which the Christ prophesied they would do. Those false pastors give each other hearty approval, slaps on backs, and events such as "sherherding conferences" to make sons to be just like them (Luke 11:48, Romans 1:32). Those pastors are destroyers of peace with God among the churchmen for those pastors know the ordinance of God. Even so, knowing God's righteous judgment, there are pastors that claim to be God's duly ordained pastor in the office, they arrogantly claim to be Christ's representative pastor with consummate authority over the churchpeople here on earth, yet, and this is an indomitable "yet", Our Lord Jesus said "they will become one flock with One Poimen" (that Greek word poimen has been translated to English as pastor and/or shepherd) thus Pastor Jesus is the One True Pastor.

The Good Message: Proclaim and Dialog - or Ambiguous Preach

Let us consider the format for the gathering of the saints as opposed to the evangelizing of the lost. There is a very real distinguishing factor between the "dialog" of the gathering versus the "proclaiming" of the Gospel of Christ. God, infinitely wise, tells us to "go out", to reach out, to proclaim Jesus, to immerse the lost in the Name of Jesus! Thus, the lost are found, the found believer is added to the number in the Assembly of God. Now, the follower of the Way longs to gather for worship of the Living God, prayer with the brethren, and fellowship in love. This is the Holy Father's ordained plan.

The "local church pastor's" nearly universally constrain their "preaching" to the pulpit. They say "come in" and "bring them in" to the church; opposingly, God said and demonstrates that we saints go out.

There is a fundamental error in this reverse direction practiced by local church pastors. The error is not abiding in Jesus' words. This leads to further error. The message from the pulpit is confused. The "local church pastor's" message format is mixed into something we can barely call a "hybrid" - preaching.

An illustrative event happened some years ago at a church we attended. A fellow that attended the church invited a few of his coworkers to come to church. Those coworkers visited once. Why did they not fall on their faces worshipping God because the secrets their hearts were laid bare (1 Corinthians 14:25)? An unbeliever or an ungifted man is convicted by the prophesy by all. "All" who??? Those in the gathering prophesy. That "all" could certainly mean more that one person prophesying, but in that church those years ago, it was controlled down to the "worship team leader" alloting time instead of orderly with multiple people prophesying with active elders. When the "worship team leader" handed the reigns of the service to the "local church pastor", the "local church pastor" proceeded to preach the sermon that was outlined and included in the bulletin. There were a few visitors from India that day in a room of over 120 people. I suspect that "local church pastor" had a dilemma (if he knew about the visitors). I imagine the dilemma was whether to preach the Gospel to the unsaved or Biblical exhortation of those in church.

Boiling down to the key point, God is right. God tells us to "proclaim" and "herald" to the unsaved, and there is a certain "one way" communication element in this, in that, we are constantly moving the message toward Jesus and His work. God is ever so very right. God tells us saints to dialog when we gather, and there is a certain interactive communication element in this. Put the believers chairs of the gathering in a circle, and watch the power of El Elyon, the Most High God, at work! Watch as the Holy Spirit brings folks to raise holy hands and reverentially to knees in prayer!

Vote and Survey: Selecting A Church Leader, the Pastor

Pulpit Committees organize for the purpose of seeking a pastor/leader for church. Pastoral responsibilities, qualifications, and minimum education requirements are enumerated, and the head hunting begins. The searches can be global in scale, and too often, a stranger is brought into the church.

Church members get surveyed for their desired traits in a pastor. Some surveys go further to inquire of the church members for the "direction" that the church should be taken by the leadership team. The survey results may be added to the pastoral responsibilities.

Church members "vote" for their preferred pastor.

Does this sound led by the Holy Spirit? Does this sound Scriptural? In Acts chapter one, before Pentecost, we find prayer and the use of lots when Matthias entered the number with the eleven Apostles. In Acts chapter six, we find the Apostles say to the assembly to look among the assembly for seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom to serve tables occupied by widows. We find the assembly speaking out to a conclusion (chose [we can do nothing without Jesus Christ in us]) of Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas. The clergy and many theologians use words such as "The Appointment of Deacons" with the associated hierarchical structure of institutionalized church organizations, yet such language does not occur in the New Testament (please see the sidebar Servant Vs. Deacon for a textual examination). In the assemblies, we find elders, according to the Holy Spirit, pointing out elders, who are already elders according to the Holy Spirit, among the assemblies.

Stale Church: Because "Local Church Pastor's" Covet Authority

Week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Required attendance at the "local church" with guilt poured out by the "local church pastor" for absence. An epidemic of in-grown and stale churches permeate the land as "local church pastor's" cling to their authoritative office. Are the church-goers going out to spread the Gospel of our Dear Lord Jesus Christ? The laborers in the harvest are few, but the church-workers are many. How does the church grow? Babies, becoming those who grow up in the church. Oh, there are people switching from one "local church" to a new "church home", because they are seeking a church to meet "my needs" or more accurately "my wants"! "I need a solid children's program" say some. Others say "I want a young mother's group", or "I need a weekly men's breakfast." Yet others say "I want a singles ministry." See the "I" in these examples, they are self-serving (selfish, and Holy Scripture spends many a word on the matter) rather than seeking first the Kingdom of God (2 Timothy 4:3-4 [ear ticklers seeking in accordance with their own desires defining their own acceptable "doctrine" of a god conformed to them], Matthew 6:33 [seek first the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus' doctrine is inseparable, and the heavenly Father provides for needs]). I've heard less of "everybody is ignoring the senior citizens." Sometimes there is a "church-split" that results in recruiting efforts by the factions. Some claim "revivals" as a source of new church-attendees (by the way, the concept of "revival" is not in the New Testament, we find Life in the New Testament). It is impossible to find a truly God fearing church that is surrounded by the love of God and fully moved by God's Spirit. It is impossible because "church" is illegitimate.

Greatest And Least Includes Authority, Jesus' Words

Here are three distinct times where Jesus did not say "John, you're first and foremost with that aggressive attitude of yours, let's call you senior pastor - that's foreman for all you newcomers, Peter, we'll put you in the office of deaconate - for clarity that is the supervisor responsible for disciplinary investigations and punishment, and all you non-apostles are called lay workers until further notice. James, you are just not quite there yet, so let's revisit this promotion to executive management with a formal review in six months." Preposterous! Absurd, I write! It might be worthwhile to revisit those church organizational charts again to see what man has made it.

Hypocrisy and Authority

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5). When a man states "I am an authority with charge over you", that man's standard of measure will be applied to him, for example, the "local church pastor". It is a hypocrite that is the "local church pastor" demanding submission to his office, and he is damned for practicing idolatry and attempting to steal God's exclusive authority. The "local church pastor" walks in a lawless state (notice in the sixth paragraph of the next statement of Jesus, that He says "inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness").

Jesus railed against hypocrites. He railed against blind guides. Hear the Word of the Lord (please, read this aloud):

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:13-36).

May the Bright and Morning Star grant that church leaders hear the voice of our Lord Jesus and abide in His Word!

If you are an official church member, then BE SOBER AND ALERT (1 Peter 5:8) because church is a man-made factory. If you are holed up in a "church building" on Sundays and/or Wednesdays, then let us see the Word of God speaking:

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A14-16&version=NASB;YLT

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

NASB

Ye are the light of the world, a city set upon a mount is not able to be hid;

nor do they light a lamp, and put it under the measure, but on the lamp-stand, and it shineth to all those in the house;

so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who [is] in the heavens.

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Examine the fruits of the "local church pastors". For if any pastor claims authority in God, then that man bears fruit of arrogance, pride, and hypocrisy. Yet, the elder of God's Assembly is submissive, humble, and overflowing in the love of God. Also, examine yourself, for the question is plainly presented, do you give authority to the "church pastor" or clergy? If yes, then you practice idolatry, so confess your crime against God to the High Priest, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and sin no more. Pray to the Heavenly Father, fervently, unceasingly, in the anointed Name of Jesus, Son of God, imploring to be an instrument of peace for Lord Jesus stated "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you" (John 15:16). That fruit that Jesus mentions, is doing the will of Him who sent Him, and His will includes proclaiming the Kingdom of God and worshipping God and serving God only! God may send you into the churches to spread the Good News, but God will not have you compromise by using a wrongful method, such as church membership. The "means to the end" will be in accordance with His Holy Word in the Holy Spirit! And never, never forget, we children of God worship in spirit and in truth. That's it, no constraint, no temple built by men's hands required. We worship God in the morning, afternoon, evening, night. We worship God while driving, working, eating. We worship God when gathered with our brothers and sisters in the Spirit of Truth as well as when it is one of us individually with the Holy Spirit. We worship God while we live and after our journey on this earth is done! We worship God forevermore.

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+5%3A1-5&version=NASB;YLT

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

NASB

Elders who [are] among you, I exhort, who [am] a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and of the glory about to be revealed a partaker,

feed the flock of God that [is] among you, overseeing not constrainedly, but willingly, neither for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind,

neither as exercising lordship over the heritages, but patterns becoming of the flock,

and at the manifestation of the chief Shepherd, ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory.

In like manner, ye younger, be subject to elders, and all to one another subjecting yourselves; with humble-mindedness clothe yourselves, because God the proud doth resist, but to the humble He doth give grace;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Praise God! Here, right here, we see the description of a God ordained elder that feeds the flock of God. No sordid gain. Not exercising authority over God's heritage. Being patterns for the flock of God. Subjecting one to another in love!

As established earlier, archó, Strong's 757 is the Greek word that equates to the English verb "rule" (to rule), and the related Greek noun word, arché, Strong's 746 corresponds to "ruler". The term "Chief Shepherd" is derived from the Greek word archipoimén (Strong's 750) in 1 Peter 5:4 (above). Notice the "archi" in archipoimén - which "archi" clearly relates to "ruler" because archipoimén is a noun. To build an Undershepherd Doctrine by using "Chief Shepherd" or "Ruling Shepherd" is not only dangerous and blaspheming, it adds to Scripture. Please note, the word undershepherd is not in Scripture.

YHWH is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

"I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11).

Hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and the Word of God is the Good News! The Good News is there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Listen, there is one Master, and His name is Jesus. There is one Authority, and He is the Author and Perfecter of the faith. Jesus is the Authority, and He assigns to His elders to walk where He walked, and His steps never fade. Let's say it again, Jesus leads and His sheep follow. In His steps.

The ones-leading give until it appears there is no more to give, and God causes the fountain to spring forth even more in abundance, and the elder gives more because of the love of God!

The children of God joyfully follow the ones who walk in the image of the Leader, Jesus Christ. Even into the fire or to the lions, for what more can they do once they have killed the body (Luke 12:4). We, followers of the Way, know the joy to come, and proclaim it in our very lives, and deaths, to share in the sufferings of Christ if He so ordains, that some might be saved from the wrath of God! It is about love for the family, even the one who does not know that they are predestined to be of the family of God (Psalm 119:73, Isaiah 64:7, Matthew 20:23, Matthew 25:34, John 6:37, John 6:39, John 17:2, John 17:6, Romans 9:18-24, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 1:2, Revelation 13:8).

God's Plan

Since you are reading this, it is God's plan.

Because of the passionate love among the Father and the Son in the Spirit, and that the Son loves His Bride, so very much love that Jesus bore the shame of the cross! By this everlasting love, His Chosen Bride joins in communion of the deep, deep, rich love of God!

Unity and harmony in the Body of Christ is absolute. A gathering of the Assembly of God meets in a place, yet it is joined by the Spirit of the Living God to every assembly in every place. The Body of Christ is precisely synonymous with the Assembly of God. A Holy Spirit baptized believer is a member of Christ's Body, and the believer gathers according to the Spirit. The believer is set free (2 Corinthians 3:17) of the bondage of worldly memberships (as it is written by the Apostle Peter that we are foreigners and sojourners in this land [1 Peter 2:11]); rather, the believer gathers as part of Christ's Body as led by the Holy Spirit (as it is written in Hebrews [10:25], not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near)! There is One God, One Jesus Christ, and one Body of Christ.

Do not think the issue of "church", "church membership", "local church pastor", "church discipline", etc is trivial. Some people say this does not matter. Know that the prayers of the sinner who turns from God's instruction are not heard (Proverbs 28:9, John 9:31).

"'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?' says the Lord" (Acts 7:49)

"Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27)

"Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father" (John 4:21).

"I also say to you that you are Pebble, and upon this Rock I will build My assembly; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16-18). Pebble in this statment is translated Peter in many translations, but HELPS Word Studies indicates "4074 Pétros (a masculine noun) – properly, a stone (pebble), such as a small rock found along a pathway. 4074 /Pétros ("small stone") then stands in contrast to 4073 /pétra ("cliff, boulder," Abbott-Smith)." from 4074. Petros).

God Himself clearly indicates that WE cannot build a church building for Him, and Solomon, king of Israel, declares the solid truth about God!

Hear Lord Jesus "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17)! Jesus declared this after overturning the tables of the money changers and releasing the animals, which were on sale for sacrifice, from the merchants in the Temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:12), but another occurrence of Jesus purging the Temple in Jerusalem MUST be heard (John 2:13-22) - specifically these words of Jesus and the meaning of the words of Jesus the Christ are poignant to the subject at hand:

  1. The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?"
  2. Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
  3. The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"
  4. But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
  5. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
So, Master Orator Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body (verse 21 above), but there were those that thought He was talking about the Temple in Jerusalem. Now, hear the God that creates His Assembly, Jesus the Lord: "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17)! In this sentence spoken by the Son of God, Jesus speaks using the future tense (around 30 AD), and Prophet Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple (prophesy around 30 AD and fulfillment around 70 AD [destruction of temple occured about forty years after Jesus' resurrection from the dead {Second Temple [opens to Wikipedia], The Destruction of the Second Holy Temple [opens to chabad.org]}]). The same Jesus that predicted the temple building radical stone displacement is the same Jesus that declared the "My house" sentence clearly speaking of His Own House, His Own People, the Assembly of God. Jesus did not say that His house would be church buildings permeating each city with shepherds, also known as local church pastors, giving weekly sermons to people silently lined up seated facing those shepherds - even looking up to those shepherds on a stage. King Jesus said "a house of prayer"! A family in a house!

With this being addressed, it is good to recall, again, the words of the Everlasting God Jesus Christ "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with One Shepherd" (John 10:16). Here Yeshua Messiah identifies Himself as the "One Shepherd", "One Pastor", "Heis Poimen" (Heis is Greek transliteration for the English word One). There are no other shepherds appointed by Jesus nor other shepherds with delegated authority by Jesus. Jesus reserved the title, the glory, the authority, and the honor unto Himself as Shepherd! Praise be to God!

Remember what Jeremiah cried out to Jerusalem and Judea! "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you," (29:11-14). That is an important passage, but let's jump to another important passage, the passage immediately prior to it: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, declares the Lord." For thus says the Lord, "When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place." (Jeremiah 29:8-10). If the words of a prophet, today as a proclaimer of the Good News, match the Word of God, then the words are good. No variation.

Jeremiah also spoke the words of God when he said:

     https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+27%3A5-7&version=NASB%3BYLT

"I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings will make him their servant.

NASB

Thus do ye say unto your lords, I -- I have made the earth with man, and the cattle that [are] on the face of the earth, by My great power, and by My stretched-out arm, and I have given it to whom it hath been right in Mine eyes.

`And now, I -- I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and also the beast of the field I have given to him to serve him;

And served him have all the nations, and his son, and his son's son, till the coming in of the time of his land, also it; and done service for him have many nations and great kings.

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

God termed Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon as "My servant". It is plainly evident that it was pleasing in God's sight to give Nebuchadnezzar the earth, men, and beasts. God punished Judah using Nebuchadnezzar, that is, God punished His Chosen People. Also, the timeline of Nebuchadnezzar's ruling lineage was preordained by God. God commanded the captives to "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile" (Jeremiah 29:7). It is clear that God, in His sovereignty, may choose to use the heathen as his instrument, even those that are of Babylon. "Local church pastors", hear the Word of the Lord!

Danger in Tolerating the Works of the Nicolaitans:
The assemblies tolerating the works of nicolaitans fails to satisfy the One who has the sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 2:12). The Lord Jesus said much Life giving words, but let us focus on, 'So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says' as recorded in Revelation 2:15-17. The Nicolaitans are people that separate into clergy and laity/laymen (see also the Our Lord Jesus Hates the Deeds of the Nicolaitans sidebar above). The warning here is clear, and those that do not hear are destined for eternal destruction by the just God. To those people that have been lied to by the clergy, repent, turn to God by the strength of the Almighty, and abandon the wrongful doctrine of the clergy!

Is it cold and spiteful to say such things? Jesus did not mince words when saying "woe to you" to the pharisees and the scribes (Matthew 23). And, again, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" the words of Lord Jesus (Luke 6:46). Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God (John 3:36, John 5:38). Whoever abides in the teaching of Lord Jesus has both the Father and the Son (John 17:6, John 17:23). If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works (2 John 1:9-11).

Jesus, the Word, commanded that people be consumed by Him, abide His words. At the cross in Love, He brings repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), and He imparts the very faith (Ephesians 2:8-10) moment to moment. We are made to bring pleasure to God as well as to glorify God (Philippians 2:13, Revelation 4:11).

The sad fact of the matter is that many church-goers have a deep seated sense of fear that their salvation is in jeopardy in the face of the local church membership doctrine of men with the ensuing accompanyment of control, power, authority, and money.

Hear the words of the psalmist "Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments" (Psalm 119:73). He declares the Glory of God, that the Grand Creator not only "made" but also "fashioned" which describes the ongoing life in God the Father. And, we see the psalmist crying out to God to "give me understanding". The Christian crys out to Jesus for all things, including understanding the Word of God.

     http://biblehub.com/3_john/1-9.htm

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

NASB

I did write to the assembly, but he who is loving the first place among them -- Diotrephes -- doth not receive us;

YLT


Why two columns? A convention reminder.

Praise God! See here, the Holy Spirit inspired Apostle John wrote that it is oppostion to the teaching of the apostles to love the first place! Not only that, but the lover of first place does not receive the truth.

God is masterful in His planning. He laid out a gathering where everyone called by the Holy Spirit participates. We are fallible people in that we know in part and we prophesy in part (1 Corinthian 13:9), yet God is whole and holy. When in the gathering, a person may stand to speak as led by the Spirit, but if someone sitting down is given a revelation, then the person standing must keep silent (1 Corinthians 14:30). Order is maintained. God is glorified. Do you know a pastor that would put up with such a thing in the "church building"?

The hand of God fashioned Paul as we see in (Acts 9). When Saul was on the road to Damascus, God turned him around. God told Saul to go into the city to await instructions, and God sent Ananias. God did not tell Saul to report to a church, and Saul was with the disciples of Christ. Once converted, immediately Saul went out to proclaim Jesus in the streets, and the followers of the Way were wary of him! There is NO mention of a church nor a church sending him, rather Saul went out according to the Will of God!

Another example of God NOT telling someone to go join a church is the Ethiopian eunuch that was reading the Isaiah scroll (Acts 8:26-40). Philip, the Apostle, explained the meaning to the eunuch, the eunuch asked to be baptized, and after the baptism, God whisked Philip away. And that's the end of mention of the Ethiopian eunuch in the New Testament, with him going on his way rejoicing!

Again, we find that Paul arrived in Ephesus, where he found some disciples that had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul proclaimed the Truth, that is Jesus, to them, and they were immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. This is recorded in Acts 19:1-10. Afterward, Paul proclaimed the Kingdom of God in the synagogue. Please note that there is NO mention of telling the disciples to join a church nor start a church. God drew these disciples, and God made them Christ's Body. We know they were together with Paul because it is noted a couple of times as in Acts 19:9 and Acts 19:30. There is no question, this is God's Ecclesia. God assembled them.

We are priests, every one of us believers, proclaiming the excellencies of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:9), our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not according to the order of Aaron, not the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:11), the One spoken of belongs to another tribe, not Levi, but rather Judah, another Priest arose according to the likeness of Melchizedek, according to the power of an indestructible life, forever a Priest, bringing in a better hope through which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:13-19). Jesus guarantees a better coventant (2 Corinthians 5:5). There were many priests to tend to the sacrifices for the people because those priests were limited by death, yet Jesus is the permanent Priest; therefore He alone is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He alone always lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:22-25). We priests have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of our King Jesus "since we have a great priest over the house of God" for He sprinkled our hearts clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, the Lord Jesus is our hope, without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-23). We have an altar (the altar is NOT the pulpit) from which those who serve the tabernacle (a building) have no right to eat (the body and blood of King Jesus because those who serve the tabernacle are not serving King Jesus). Our King Jesus suffered outside the gate, let us go outside the city also, suffering also for we do not have a lasting city, state, nor nation here, rather we are seeking that which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:10-16). Jesus made the way for us believers, and we are all priests with One Eternal High Priest. No pastor, no Roman Catholic priest, no mere mortal person is an authority between us and God, no one, because we believers, by grace, have been claimed by the Author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9). Hear the Word of God, oh, hear Him!

There are zero instances of people being told to become members of a local church nor to plant a local church with membership, authoritative hierarchy, and edifice in the New Testament! There is freedom in this, rejoice like our brother the Ethiopian eunuch!

I join with Paul the Apostle in these words, "to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21), and again "Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20). By the power of the Holy Spirit, we go out to a couple of local marketplaces weekly to evangelize to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Evolutionists, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Roman Catholics, and others. God dramatically altered the local demographic here in Fremont within the last 20 years, thanks be to God because now, in a way, we can just walk out the front door to bear witness of Christ to the nations. When I was a young boy in this city in white suburbia, a Sikh in a blue turban came through the city, and it was earth shattering news to us; extrapolating to today's large city in this huge metropolitan area, the people from the area of Arabia, Middle East, India, China, and Latin America outnumber the people of largely European descent. By God's grace, we give the complete Bible free of charge in 10 languages, for God's glory. An example of God's mercy, we met people visiting from China, who have then taken Chinese Bibles back to China, sometimes for themselves, sometimes for others. Let's continue in this moment to visit the works of God (John 6:28). We talked with girl of about 16 years old. She expressed that she was not a believer, but she was on her way to meet with another girl to read the Bible at the library, but they had two different English versions. God directed us to speak at length with her of who the Christ is, the prophecies, the birth, the life, the crucifixion and death, the resurrection, the ascension. We even took some time to discuss the purposes of Israel. She took a couple of NASBs to read, one for her and one for her friend, so they could read aloud to each other easily. She said that she could not read the Bible at home where she and her mother shared a bedroom. She had been "kicked out of school". God made a way for her, and we heard her hunger for the Righteous One. We told her to cry out to Jesus, it might be in the depth of the night, but when the forces of darkness surround her to cry out "Lord Jesus help me!". On another occasion, we met a young seminarian of about 32 years old, and he had finished his thesis. He thought he was ready to go be a pastor. His proudly explained that his thesis declared that the only necessary parts of the Bible are Psalms, Proverbs, the 4 Gospels, Acts, and Revelation, and the balance could (or should) be discarded. We talked and requested him to read Revelation 22:18-19). We proclaimed the wonders revealed in the Holy Bible to him, and that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that men wrote the Bible, and that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to hear the Bible. We closed ranks to praise our Creator in prayer, and after the amen, he sat there, head hung low, slowly his head started shaking, as in a person shaking their head "no", and barely audible he said "I never surrendered to Jesus, I've never surrendered to Jesus". When he stood up, he was transformed. With the rich blue sky above and the sun reflecting off his face unlike when he arrived, he declared that he must return to change the thesis the include the entire Bible. I thought there were moments there that he was going to start dancing in the street for joy. As I dismantled the canopy (for the marketplace had closed, and the street would return to vehicular traffic shortly), I would step backward from a task, and he was right behind me, so close that his toes would get crushed under my heal. I'd say sorry, He'd say it was OK, then we'd repeat at the next corner of collapsing the canopy. Both these people, different days, were there for a couple of hours. We do not make friends with the world, rather our joy is the Word opening friend's eyes that the friends come to Our Father's wedding feast for His Son, friends that are the Bride of Christ!

When a person is baptized by the Holy Spirit, God Almighty joins that new Child of God to the ecclesia, and the new convert is born unto a family that never perishes, that requires no further joining on the part of the convert, that is, no "local church membership". This is consistent with Scripture; otherwise it begs the question "do you crucify Christ again?" and, again, what work have you wrought upon yourself by joining a church? There is no indication that Jesus assumed that we would be committed to a local church, rather He sends out because all authority is His (Matthew 28:18-20). In fact, apostle means "sent out", and from Strong's "especially a man sent out by Jesus Christ Himself to preach the Gospel". We that believe are committed to Christ by Christ.

Sand falling out of hand in the Mojave Desert. The devil attempted to use the Word of God against the Lord Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus' baptism; however, Jesus spoke the Word with power, and the devil departed at King Jesus' command. The issue of "local church" and it's implications are profound. It matters whether one serves "local church" or serves God. Our lives are but like grains of sand. Who are any one of us here on earth to try to tell the Grand Creator of heaven and earth, the One who created the sand of the vast Mojave Desert, that God Almighty's high ways are not enough? No man. No man can create a single grain of sand from...nothing.

Shed all ungodly and unscriptural aspects that offend Him Who sits on the throne! Trust Him Who defends and delivers us into His Hands for eternity! When we believers step out of the boat onto the crashing waves (Matthew 14:22-33), the Lord Jesus is with us! In other words, when we walk out of the "church building" doors in faith, we stand on the Rock (Matthew 7:24-27)! Pray without ceasing! Read the Holy Scripture, daily. Sing praise to the Creator, daily. Gather in the house, daily. Love God and love His people. Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ tirelessly, for this too is love. Be holy, as your Father in heaven is Holy!

Gathering

Love in the Body of Christ is essential. United in worship and adoration of the Living God! Each member of the body displaying gifts and abiding in the Holy Spirit. The gifts of God include helping, hospitality, evangelizing, exhorting, encouraging, shepherding, praising God, and more. We, the Body of Christ, gather to worship, and that God would exercise the wonderful gifts that He gives. We break bread in our homes, together and united, that is, we eat meals together, conversing, praying, worshipping, and fellowshipping. We gather in homes, markets, and wherever the Spirit leads. We gather at any hour of any day. We are a family that gathers, and our family has one Head, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God's light penetrates the darkness; in other words, we are instruments of mercy that God uses to carry the declaration of the Kingdom of God to people in the culture, so that "cult" people transform into children of God. The children of God recline at table with us, at the spot ordained by our awesome God. We are separate from the world and culture, not touching the unclean thing (that means being a clean witness for Christ without political involvement nor cultural entertainments), and the world does not comprehend us; moreover, we break bread, fellowshipping about His marvels, gathering at a banquet assembling toward that banquet yet to come, which celebrates the consummation of the Son's eternal marriage to His Chosen Bride! We are headed toward a banquet in our Father's house! We know that which we have received from our priceless Redeemer, our great Deliverer, our strong Defender, our faithful Love, our Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us revisit the first paragraph of this essay:
God the Father loves the Son of God (John 3:35), Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Son of God loves God the Father (John 14:31), and this communion is in the Holy Spirit of God (1 John 5:6-8)! Perfect Love in one God (John 17:21), Agape! The Father in Heaven's banquet is for His Son, and the purpose of this feast is to celebrate the marriage to His Chosen Bride, and she has the favor of the Father because of the Son (Matthew 22:1-14)! Let us examine His authoritative declaration of His Bride, His Holy Nation (1 Peter 2:9), His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12), the Assembly of God (1 Corinthians 1:2)!

Some people call this "unchurch" or "dechurched" ; meanwhile, others call it "church free". I call it the Way. I call it Life. I call it the Truth.

While we are here on earth, respecting His ecclesia, it is about the Father's love for His Son, Who dearly loves His bride so very much that He came to serve and claim a rebellious and undeserving people. The Lord Jesus Christ's purchased people are His ecclesia.

PARDONS

God knows His plan for all time. I am just a sheep that fearfully wrote this as led by the Holy Spirit. If my flesh interfered with any of God's desire within this, I apologize to my Loving Father in the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord.

Lord Jesus, please grant sight to all those still yet living, mentioned in this essay, to those that do not know You. I beg You, my King, to bestow Godly sorrow that leads to repentance. I pray that You open their hearts to believe. I ask that You make them children of God, that You add laborers to the harvest. All of this, Lord Jesus, for Your glory! Amen!

I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD!
   GOD THE FATHER, THE WORD OF GOD JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT

I believe in one eternal God, existing as three distinct and equal persons being Love (Genesis 1:26 [plurality], Isaiah 48:16 [all three mentioned], Romans 1:7 [Father], John 8:58 [Son, referring back to Exodus 3:14], John 15:26 [Spirit], 1 John 4:8 [Love]).

I love my God, my heavenly Father, Who loves me. I was formerly a slave to sin, dead in my trespasses against the Mighty and Just God, yet now I live for God opened my eyes to see that I was purchased, the ransom for my crimes against God paid by the very blood of His Son, my Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. God has given me the precious gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit. When the Father in heaven looks at me, I am safe and heard because I am covered by the blood of Jesus! I know God loves me because He disciplines me (Psalm 94:12, Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6, Revelation 3:19), and in the time of writing this essay was great testing to which my God exercised the Holy Spirit filled loving family that He generously gives me for which I am absolutely grateful and thankful to my Lord Jesus. There is no greater joy than knowing my God, and being known by Him! May I, unworthy as I am yet this Lord's House, be an instrument of peace.

To those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, remember, the promise of God the Father in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Holy Spirit bringing communion with the Father in heaven. Eternal life is the joy of being with God, and in His lovingkindness He bestows it on His children! Do not grow weary, proclaim the Gospel in Love! Rejoice, for the day draws very, very near.

EnvelopeEmail comments: Kermos <Kermos@JesusDelivers.Faith>


Essay: http://www.JesusDelivers.Faith/ChristianWritings/OneSpiritAndOneHeartInGod/
Revised Date: Sat Dec 9 16:56:58 UTC 2017

Comments:

Kermos, Wed Dec 23 14:36:48 PST 2015: A couple of brothers and I went to meet with the "local church pastor" whose email is included above in order to discuss this matter. Early in the meeting, I told him about this essay, and that I wanted to talk with him as well as give a copy of the essay to him (which he said he would not read). He said he would not talk about the fact that local (topikos) nor church (kuriakon) do not occur in Scripture, and the pastor said he would escort us out of his office immediately. At the last moment as we prepared to leave, I told him about my plan to release this essay with his email included, and he said go ahead. We were at his office for only about a couple of minutes. The pastor said something that needs inclusion. When the pastor said that I need to be under the authority of a leader, I responded with the words of Jesus, do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Jesus Christ. The pastor told me I twisted that Scripure! My Lord Jesus Christ was God on earth when He spoke those very straightforward and plain words. My conscience is captive to the Word of God, and I say the Lord Jesus Christ enunciated exactly what he meant!

Kermos, Tue Jun 21 15:00:00 PST 2016: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought a certain Christian into fellowship with us from a city thousands of miles away. He contacted us and read One Spirit and One Heart in God. It was truly a blessing from God. He told us of where he fellowships, at that city, where the Spirit of the Living God led the assembly to move into the same building as well as close houses, even the same house for some. May God the Father shine his countenance upon these holy ones greatly in the love and communion of the Lord Jesus!