Thursday, January 31, 2008

Are the Elders of our whole Body watching and warning the Flock???

If you are serious about treasuring Christ together you will not ignore this article and commentary.

These are the days where we need to watch so carefully taking God's Word at face value and making sure that His Word speaks for itself without our PERSONAL interpretation. TOO many leaders are teaching by detracting or adding to Scripture and teaching sugar coated feel good messages instead of the Whole truth. It is disheartening that those we seem to trust to teach us give us milk and meat adding preservatives of their own making into the mix when God's shew bread mix is a perfect recipe that needs nothing from man period. This is why denomination charters exist and other forms of man made legalistic debtors ethics exist when Jesus taught just the opposite.

Galatians 3:2
Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]

As I stand on, we must always let God's Word speak for itself no matter what. When it is taught to us we must be on our guard as well and know the Scripture. This is an honorable duty.

Richard White. (commentary 2008)

Where Are the Elders Who Guard the Flock?
By Bob DeWaay

This past weekend I received a call not unlike many dozens of previous communications from Christians concerned about unbiblical practices being introduced into their local churches. This particular one expressed a committed Christian’s concern that their large evangelical church was introducing mysticism and eastern practices under the guise of youth ministry. This church had even created a shrine of sorts in the church basement for young people to practice this mysticism.
The caller had researched this subject for several months, documented her church’s new practices and described why the practices were dangerous and unbiblical. Confident that her findings would help correct the church’s direction, she brought her research to the church leadership, only to be mollified and warned about having a bad attitude. In response she asked the leaders to compare these practices to Scripture, but to no avail. The story is all too common; why does it continue to happen?
Most evangelical churches have elders; these elders are responsible for the Lord’s flock. My interviews with people who have witnessed their churches being infiltrated by unbiblical teachings and practices have opened my eyes to a serious problem in our evangelical movement: elders who do not think that what is being taught and practiced in their church is important enough to judge biblically. This is serious. In many cases, these elders consider their primary job to be—support the senior pastor and his reputation at all costs. Their secondary job—watch over the financial well being of the church as a corporation. Their tertiary job—make sure no one rocks the boat. Thus, in these elders’ interpretation of their job description, the problem in the church becomes those concerned members who care about the integrity of the gospel message.
Most evangelical churches take seriously most of the qualifications of elders as listed in passages like 1Timothy 3. This means that they look for good family men who are faithful to their wives, have a good reputation, and are not guilty of scandalous behavior. And they do well to follow these guidelines. But these qualifications are not the end of the story. As a matter of fact, many unconverted people meet most of these guidelines. But a more important matter has been pushed aside: the requirement that elders guard the Lord’s flock from the wolves.
Let us consider Acts 20 where Paul gathered the elders in Ephesus and gave them instructions. Here is what Paul said:

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)

Paul is telling us that elders MUST guard the flock against wolves who bring false teaching. In this most important role, many are failing.
For example, someone recently told me of his frustrations with the elders of his church. The church, traditionally very conservative and solid biblically, began promoting Theophostic ministry—a ministry that involves teachings and processes that are not Biblical.[i] So he appealed to the elders, giving them evidence of serious error in this movement’s teachings and of the harmful consequences of allowing it. Rather than searching the Scripture and comparing the teachings of Theophostics with the Bible and making a decision, they referred the member to the counseling pastor who was promoting the ministry. The elders had no desire to concern themselves with this matter. If the reports I have received from dozens of people are true, this is too common.
Many elders are successful businessmen, but being a successful businessman neither qualifies nor disqualifies a man from being an elder. Churches seem to lean toward selecting such people because churches want to be successful businesses. But did Paul tell Titus to select businessmen-elders when he said: “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9)? No. If a man has no willingness to study and learn sound doctrine, is content to have only a superficial knowledge of the Bible, and is unwilling to correct false doctrine—that person is NOT QUALIFIED to be an elder. So a remedy for many of our church ills would be for our churches to select biblically qualified elders who are truly ‘apt to teach’ (1Timothy 3:2; 2Timothy 2:24 KJV). If we required this of all elders, we would not have all the false doctrine coming into the church that we see today. We would have elders with backbone who would even stand against the senior pastor if necessary should that pastor depart from the truth. A pastor who loves the truth and desires integrity in the church would earnestly desire to have elders like that around him, not merely people who are committed to whatever program he wants to promote.
Paul’s warning to the elders in Ephesus came true. Studying 1 and 2 Timothy, we find that false teachers did arise “from their own midst.” So Paul instructed Timothy about how to deal with the situation. He wrote: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines” (1Timothy 1:3).
The Greek word translated “doctrine” or “teaching” is found 15 times in Timothy and Titus out of 21 total references in the New Testament. The so-called “pastoral epistles” emphasize the importance of doctrine. Paul said that elders who “work hard in word and doctrine” should be given special honor. Elders must be “apt to teach.” Those who go astray in doctrine are to be corrected and if they refuse to repent they are to be rejected (Titus 3:10).
Combining what we know about elders from Acts 20, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus, it is clear that guarding the flock from false doctrine and teaching true doctrine is the elders’ most important role. Churches endanger the flock when they choose elders based on their business acumen, that they seem to be moral men and “nice guys,” or are likely to support the senior pastor at any cost while ignoring the importance of doctrine. Pastors who do not teach sound doctrine from the pulpit exacerbate the problem by making it unlikely that a pool of men qualified to teach the truth and correct error will ever arise in that church.
The answer is simple: we need to teach sound doctrine from the pulpit and as God raises up men trained in sound doctrine who love the truth and are willing to defend the truth against the wolves (and who meet the other qualifications) should be appointed elders. Paul’s words emphatically summarize this:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; (2Timothy 3:16 – 4:3)

Pray that God will raise up people in our evangelical churches who will do what Paul instructs and that local churches would have godly elders who will guard the well being of the Lord’s flock.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Reality of telling the Truth.

Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Psa 89:14 Justice and judgment [are] the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.

In this day and age as relativism continues to rear its false bearing head especially now in our modern day churches, Truth wars are a ever assent battle because of opinions and worldly minded centered teaching has made the conscience not in tune with the reality of the true Gospel Jesus preached. These days it is hard for a amateur writer like myself to ever break into the public forum because I take the Bible at face value and will not ever detract or add to what the Gospel perfectly says alone. And I will not bend the truth a little to get ahead nor will I ever try to tickle itching ears to hear only the good things to make people feel good.

The Gospel is not supposed to make you feel good or is to make you feel happy. It should never be sugar coated or to make you think you will be we wealthy if you do right and clean up your act. And I do not have the right to tell you anything else but the whole Truth not leaving out the uncomfortable parts. The Bible must be taught as it speaks by itself alone for the Gospel is God and His WORD stands alone. And nothing should be detracted from or added to it by any man.

Lately, I have had some very convicting persons (Christians included) send me some not so pleasant messages about some of the subjects I have written about, of course they are misinformed about my research and tend to think that I am just spouting out my opinions which in some cases I do but for the most part I always try very hard to present the whole Truth and I always try to back it up with the reality of Scripture in its context. I also as well do write with fear and trembling because of what the Book of James Chapter 3 states in verses 1-2;

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body.

It is hard to tell the harsh Truth and point it out to all persons Christian or not but the reality of Truth must be told. As God is a God of Love He is also a Righteous Judge and HE will punish sinners who do not turn from their sin completely. Hell is a reality and this is for those who will not heed His very WORD and walk in it. As Jesus clearly states;

Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him DENY HIM-SELF, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

1Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

So as this seems an apologetic letter to all who have read my articles here at this blog please understand that mostly everything I do is all in love of those who read because I really want to see you there in heaven reigning with Christ forever.
My aim here is to have you treasure God our Father in Christ Jesus so much that nothing of this world will matter much to you because greater things are coming. This world is passing away and all the cesspool luxuries with it. Nothing should matter most to you than God. All your pleasure should be in hIM. And I wonder why we all have a hard time with this. Why wouldn't we want to treasure the ONE who creatively created us? For it is HE who gives us all things and made them for our pleasure for HIS pleasure. As The Westminster Catechisms state in the first question;

Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

So reality must be told regardless of the reaction. It is so important that you and I must know the Whole Truth and nothing but even if it hurts or is uncomfortable. Being a Christian was never meant to be comfortable in this world. And If you are totally sold out to HIM then you will understand. You must pay attention that it is not all about you or me but all about HIM. As these verses by Jesus Himself so warningly says to us all;

Rev 3:14-16 ¶
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Continuing to share with brokenhearted love the whole Truth like the watchman on the wall.

Eze 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take [any] person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

In HIM we treasure alone

Richard White (Jan 27 2008 (C))