Sam Storms, myself, and Tim Kimberly have been discussing this question on Theology Unplugged. As it turns out, there are quit a few people who are going through doctrinal statement “revisions” at the respective churches. Some are making the statement longer due to all of the traditional theological issues out there that are being challenged (penal substitution, the nature of God, imputation, committment to the Reformation, etc.). However, many people are putting their doctrinal statements on diets, cutting away what they believe to be excess weight in hope of facilitating more unity.

Yet “How long should your doctrinal statements be” (what we ended up naming the Theology Unplugged series) is not exactly what I am asking. Specifically, I often wonder how diverse that the church should be? And even more specifically, I ask how diverse should we intentionally try to make it?

Another way that I look at this is to picture myself starting a church. You do the same. What do I want that church to look like, doctrinally speaking? What do I want the members to believe? How much agreement to I want on the pastoral staff and elder board (or leadership in general)? If I wanted it to follow my flow I would say that it needs have these doctrinal bents (among other things):

  • Evangelical
  • Soft complementarian (distinction in role between men and women)
  • Evangelical Calvinistic (with some wavering/maneuvering on the fifth point)
  • Somewhat liberal (or a better word, “gracious”) on the remarraige thing
  • No tongues or prophecy
  • Premillenial eschatology (but not too fanatical about it)
  • Believers baptism by immersion
  • Memorialist with regard to the Lord’s Supper

This sounds really nice and I am sure that we could have some great unity of mind at pastors meetings as we share our passions. But don’t I want some diversity? Isn’t that what being Evangelical is all about? You know our credo: “Unity in the essential, liberty in non-essential, love in all things.” Don’t I even want some diversity among the leaders? Wouldn’t this make it more Evangelical?

If so, how much and with what issues? Personally, I would have much less problem serving with someone who is a little more conservative on the marraige issue than I would rubbing shoulders with a nasty Arminian! 😉 (to say nothing of an Egalitarian!). But if the Arminian (and Egalitarian) is representative of a legitimate doctrinal position in Evangelicalism (i.e. it is not an essential issue and there are good people on both sides), then shouldn’t our staff and congregation have representatives from both sides? Shouldn’t I intentionally hire a Evangelical Arminian (or at least be open to it)?

Here are a few positives that might come from it:

  • You will demonstrate the unity and diversity of the church.
  • In doing so you will make the cardinal issues of Christianity more central.
  • Seeing as how there are good (Evangelical) people on both sides of many of these issues, your people will have more of an opportunity to hear from the opposing position in order to discover truth. And is this not what we are after? Truth? Not prejudice.

However, with some of these issues it is not practical to encourage diversity. Think of the Egalitarianism/Complementarianism issue. If I were to hire a woman Egalitarian pastor, whose theology do we put into practice, her’s or mine? If I were to allow someone who believes in infant baptism to be on the staff, what do we do? Dunk adults at night, sprinke children at day? If we had both a cessationist and continuationist on staff, whose preference rules the Sunday morning service. Would not some of these issues, while non-cardinal, confuse the congregation? If so, does this outweight the benefits?

At Stonebriar Community Church, where I was a pastor for six years, while we had a pretty tight doctrinal statement, there was some diversity represented among the staff. While I had a more liberal position concerning divorce and remarraige, others were very conservative (they would always send everyone to me!). I was a five-point Calvinist (most days) and most of the other pastors were four-pointers. I was more of a progressive dispensationalist while others were more revised (I know . . . that is not THAT diverse).

Any way, enough of the introduction. I want to know what you think.

How theologically diverse should churches be?

What are your thoughts on this matter?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    61 replies to "How Theologically Diverse Should Your Church Be?"

    • Kevin Davis

      I would first make a distinction between denominational diversity and local church diversity.

      I believe in a relatively wide diversity at the denominational level. I belong to the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), which is completely traditional and evangelical on matters of the Trinity, authority of the Bible, penal substitution, etc. These are the essentials. The non-essentials are rather broad, including all the points of Calvinism vs. Arminianism (you can be a 5-point Arminian or a 5-point Calvinist) and even the issue of infant vs. believer’s baptism.

      However, at the local level, the church does have to make some definite decisions. This is the freedom of the local church. So, for example, my church practices believer’s baptism (along with the vast majority of EFCA churches) even though a few EFCA churches practice infant baptism.

      Yet, there is another distinction to be made: what the pastor teaches and what is required of members to believe. Our pastors are moderately Reformed — including a firm belief in eternal security — but a member is not required to believe in any of the Calvinist points. Also, our pastors are classical, non-dispensational Premillenialists, but an Amillenialist can be a member. My only complaint about the EFCA is that the pastors are required to be Premillenialists.

      So, other than that last issue, I like the way the EFCA operates. It fosters denominational broadmindedness and unity, while allowing for local churches to govern themselves along stricter lines.

    • Chris Krycho

      First, I think Kevin raises several good points. The requirements for elder’s affirmation of belief and the requirements for members can (and probably should) differ. Unity among the leaders on certain key doctrinal points is more essential than for members. Denominations have yet further room to play with.

      In terms of the particulars, I think it really comes down to one question: praxis. At what point do doctrinal divisions become so significant that it is impossible to function as a local body together? Some of the examples you raised fit quite nicely here: baptism, complementarianism, etc. Depending on one’s views one salvation, Calvinists and Arminians may have some radically different views on evangelistic practice, and so on.

      So I think where it is impossible for the elders to agree on practice on important issues, or at least to be willing to have a variety of views in place, a line should be drawn. However—and this is important—just because you can’t plant a church together doesn’t mean you have no fellowship, and it doesn’t mean your churches can’t team up. As a Reformed Baptist, I’d probably be a lot more comfortable teaming up with a solid PCA church than I would a lot of not-so-Reformed Baptist churches—despite disagreements on baptism. Yet, I would also be quite happy to partner with many churches with whom I differ deeply on soteriology, ecclesiology, and other issues as long as they clearly present the gospel.

    • bethyada

      It depends on how easily you find it to work with those who differ with you.

      Some things will need to be decided as a church in the way they practice (such as baptism and complimentarianism) in that a choice is made and that is how the church functions. But it people in leadership can work with others who do not share their beliefs then a wide variety of perspectives is possible.

      Our church has a variety of perspectives within the leadership team: Arminian and Calvinist, a variety of views on eschatology, cessationist leaning and charismatics (both of whom preached in a Holy Spirit series), etc.

      But the church would not necessarily discriminate with appointment. For example it is more egalitarian, but a complimentarian would be able to lead if they could cope with the church functioning this way even though they perceive it to be incorrect. Likewise an egalitarian could work within a complimentarian church if they respectfully disagreed with the others but knowing that their church would not be appointing female elders.

      I don’t think one should seek out this type of diversity (of belief), but one can allow it. What matters is that the leaders are seeking to follow Jesus.

    • jim

      Good points by all:

      Being much more liberal( I still classify myself as Conservative) than most of my church members( United Baptist) I get the whole unity on essentials and liberty with the non-essentials. I seem to see the whole issue breaking down into two functions. Worshiping and fellowship. Fellowship is easy/necessary with other denominations, we serve the same Lord. It is in the worship phase that I forsee issues arising.

      Michael, you mentioned having a woman pastor, while I see no problem with that(egalitaran) I just couldn’t worship in a very charismatic settings, ex: cessationist I am, and the gifts of prophecy and tongues, the whole God told me , vision thing.
      This leaves me with thinking of the need for denominations as Christians seem to migrate to a church that suits their worship style but can enjoy fellowship with any other Christian because we are all part of God’s family.

      Is the old perverbial saying “birds of same feather flock together
      true or not!…just wondering….

    • […] Patton offers a post asking a necessary and provocative question: “How theologically diverse should your church be?” That’s a good question: How much agreement must there be in a local church?  Now, Patton […]

    • minimus

      I think that unity (internal) with (union) is the principle; internal unity produces external union.

      Principles never change, they’re always true; methods and practices can change frequently.

      I’d start with unity and union in the eldership, then aim for that with church staff, and then members (may require ongoing teaching, and a sliding scale of unity with union is likely).

      I find it crazy that your “list” includes one point that is CLEARLY contrary to scripture (see 1 Corinthians 14:4 and 14:39); that is quite troubling.

    • wm tanksley

      I don’t think that you’re achieving unity by showing that you can be friendly with people whose doctrines are, in practice, compatible with yours. You’re actually merely demonstrating that doctrinal differences are irrelevant (and only practical differences matter). And I think that’s something you don’t want to teach.

      You should be demonstrating unity by reaching out to people whose practices are NOT compatible with yours. You shouldn’t — and can’t — have them on your pastoral staff; but you should welcome them as guest teachers (so long as they’re respectful of your doctrines, as you should be of theirs). By doing this, you make it clear that the doctrinal differences really matter, and also that they don’t separate the Church Catholic — and thus you give true meaning to the word “catholic”.

      -Wm

    • Cadis

      I’m a pessimist when it comes to people getting along. I’m sure this is the reason we have denominations 🙂 Christians before us trying to fellowship with differing views in a leadership position and subsequently they split. and split. and split. and split. and split

      If you could find a few men, who were both committed to their own doctrinal views yet flexible enough to start and run a church together, I would be inclined to think, each time that leadership team was adjusted for a death or move etc. you would have a greater risk of potential problems each time you needed to take on a new team member. In comparison to a leadership team that was in agreeance. The greater risk would run in both directions of being too militant about what they believed or too lackadaisical.

      I can’t get along with my spouse some days and we agree almost 100% doctrinally. If he was an Arminian ..I can’t imagine the fuel that would give me in an argument let alone the upper hand 🙂

      Personally, I would rather a leadership team that agreed strongly and had a stricter doctrinal statement yet were fair and presented opposing views fairly yet strongly laid a defense as to why they did not hold to the opposing position. You can always get in guest speakers to present a different view but it is unrealistic, I think, that a future for a church based in agreeing to disagree will survive. Church survival is slim as it is.
      I’m such a downer 🙂

    • Marv

      Interesting. Of your eight elements, seven are positions; one is a prohibition.

      No tongues or prophecy. So I take it healing and miracles are okay? Compromise, split the difference on the “sign gifts”?

      Naturally, your doctrinal statement will back up each point with Scripture. I’m curious which passages would you put for “no tongues or prophecy”?

      Hope you’ll feel free to comment on our comments of your comments at http://continuationism.com

    • Jeff

      I’m still trying to understand why there are so many strong differences of opinion on some of these theological matters and why there is even an emphasis on lining up on things like the 5 points of Calvinism and Arminianism. I wonder if we shouldn’t be heeding the words that Jesus had for the woman at the well:

      John 4:21-24

      21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

      Should we also accept that we will all worship the Father in truth even if we don’t know the definitive answer on some of the non essential points that divide us along denominational and personal lines as a church.

      I’ve been in several protestant denominations and I’m still trying to figure out what all of them I’ve been in believe … I don’t think its possible to know what their congregants believed because I think most weren’t there to declare a strict alignment. Some clearly were but I think most were not … they were there because they enjoyed the fellowship the church offered with fellow believers in Christ after coming into a relationship with Him. In most cases for me it seemed that simple.

      I wonder what John Calvin would say if he were here today to see how his name is thrown about among the denominations but I care more about what Jesus would say. I think he would say … eyes on me … and then your eyes are on the Father.

      vive la différence

    • John From Down Under

      Your post is scratching me where I itch at the moment. I am having a major struggle with this in our church at present and am finding myself continually adjusting, maneuvering and compromising so I can fit in. My frustration is compounded by the fact that our doctrinal differences are borderline essential-non essential.

      I am finding that even the non-essentials end up frustrating you in the end because you become perpetually exposed to a particular mindset that you intellectually reject. Also, our own biases and ‘pet hates’ contribute to a subjective interpretation of what an ‘essential’ is. As an example, regular appeals in my church for being ‘hungry for God’, ‘on fire for God’ and other motivational clichés combined with appeals to ‘make decisions for Christ’ (no, it’s not a Pentecostal church), are just about driving me around the bend. I know that while unbiblical, they are not damaging but rather silly and biblically hollow. Nevertheless, I am finding myself frustrated and some times resentful of these practices.

      On the flip side, as we work with a lot of people from a halfway house that are on the fringe, I am overwhelmed by how they are drawn to Christ and how their lives are changing before my eyes (in some instances quite a dramatic change). God’s grace works through the mire of our doctrinal differences and I end up wondering ‘are these differences as important to Him as they are to me?’ I’m sure they are, but to what degree? It sure doesn’t stop Him dispensing His grace and He surely is not penalizing the church for it.

      While I would consider it important that the church ticks most of the boxes in its doctrinal identity, I wouldn’t want it to stop there, but would want to see it getting its hands dirty with some form of practical expression of the gospel. Otherwise, it feels more like college and less like church.

      As CMP alluded in past posts, the tension and friction is healthy (up to a point) as we work through some truths.

    • wm tanksley

      Jeff, it seems you have a doctrinal disagreement, but that doesn’t mean the post is about nothing. The post is about whether a church should hire staff who disagree with the church’s doctrine. So if your church’s doctrine is that nobody should talk about the “Reformed Doctrines of Grace”, should you hire someone who wants to talk about them?

      -Wm

    • wm tanksley

      John, nice comparison — “more like college and less like Church”. Good explanation!!!

      Don’t slide the other way, though, and become more like an army and less like Church, or more like a Political Action Committee and less like Church, or more like a soup kitchen and less like Church. A Church is like all those things, but isn’t any of them. It’s also like a college — Timothy was instructed to select men who could _teach_. Christ ordered the apostles to _teach_ in the Great Commission. Christ went through all the cities and villages _teaching_ and preaching the Gospel.

      But I don’t mean to disagree… I like how you said that.

      -Wm

    • Michael T.

      I think a base question that needs to be asked before we can get to the issue of diversity on the pastoral staff is the issue of what things the church should take a stand on as a matter of doctrinal statements. I for instance am an Arminian, but would not go to any church which took a hard stance in their doctrinal statement for Calvinism OR for Arminianism (The senior pastor at my church is an Arminian as far as I can tell while I know the pastor who oversees some of the adult ministries I am a part of is a Calvinist). This is because while I will debate that issue into the ground I do not believe it to be an essential issue and I believe taking a specific stance on such an issue destroys unity and violates the Evangelical Credo. I know John Piper for instance will not allow anyone to speak at his church on any subject even as a guest, who does not affirm Calvinism. To me this is the mark of a fundamentalist, not a Evangelical.

      As for the arguments about unified Elder boards and such I believe the Elder Board should be representative of the church laity and if the laity is split about an issue, the Board should be too. If they are unified, the Board will naturally be unified as well. The only dividing lines put up should be those of Christian Orthodoxy which are required to be a member in the first place.

    • Michael T.

      By the way if I seem to pick on John Piper a lot it’s simply because he is a well known and outspoken Calvinist pastor in the area I live and denomination I grew up in so I have a significant degree of familiarity with him I might not have with others.

    • minimus

      One thing I like that Ted Haggard said, was having a “free market” philosophy; feel free to have a church or a small group of whatever “flavor.”. (Did I just quote Ted? Oh boy)

      Some people like curry, some people don’t.

      When I hear about what some churches do, say, and teach I often shake my head.

      I would NEVER do some of the things other churches do, say and teach, but it sure seems like Jesus is blessing churches that’d I’d NEVER go to, much less recommend.

      So OUR church will obey Jesus as we feel He leads us elders, and YOU can take it or leave it. You are more than welcome to vote with your feet and go to such and such a church that does this and that.

    • Jeff

      Wm (11)

      I didn’t mean to imply the post was about nothing. I’m just trying to take a stand to say that I agree with the decision to include diversity of doctrinal beliefs in the non essentials in the local church staff. I’ve elected to attend several churches without complete alignment on minor points of doctrine. I always feel that I’m being asked to sign up to a complete list of things (some explicit and some inferred) and that complete list isn’t always important.

      I think the Enemy delights in the church being so divided over minor points of doctrine and he cherishes the moment that one loses their way in the midst of a doctrinal standoff. After all that distracts from the ultimate truth of Christ’s love for each of us and his delight when we find our way to Him in the midst of the chaos.

      I think diversity and sharing beliefs and traditions on many levels (cultural and doctrinal) would ultimately strengthen the church.

    • Hans

      I am a member of a church that has a statement of faith that is relatively short and reflects the semi-pelagian theological viewpoint of most American churches these days. As one assistant pastor told me the deepest theological discussion the staff gets into is where to go to lunch. As goes the staff, so goes the congregation and I would say most are not that interested in theology except in the major points of orthodoxy.

      So I am really curious about how the theological diversity amongst pastoral staff works itself out in the day-to-day functioning of the church. If a church’s sermons primarily consist of “The N-steps to accomplish X in your life ” I guess there won’t be much conflict when pastors of different theological stripes take to the pulpit on different weeks. But if Arminian lead pastor Fred is preaching through Romans and right at the start of Romans chapter 9 he has to go out of town for some reason, how does the Calvinistic assistant pastor Jim pick up preaching on Romans chapter 9 in the lead pastor’s stead?

      Seems like your two strategies are either avoidance of conflicting issues or a constant undercurrent of divisiveness.

    • cherylu

      As I have mentioned on other threads on this site, I was once a part of a church with this diversity in leadership. One of the main issues was continuationism versus cessationism. It ended up splitting the church in the end. So long as it reamained something that no one really taught on from the pulipt we were fine. But once it was out in the open and the two main teaching elders at that time had opposing views and one taught one thing one Sunday and shortly after, the other would teach just the opposite, it was a disaster. Maybe it would of been different if it had been stated when this subject was brought up that there were two opposing views held by the leadership and within the congregation itself and this is just one side of the issue. But both sides taught their version as the truth. That of course is the simplified version of what caused the split. But it got to be ridiculous as you wondered how the two opposing views were both going to be presented as the absolute truth of the matter next.

    • Michael T.

      Hans,
      I’m going to answer you’re question indirectly first and then directly. In a theologically diverse church there are some things which people on the staff must have.

      1. Those who are on staff must have a firm understanding and agreement on what the cardinal issues are and what the issues are that are non-essential. If a church for instance considers Arminianism vs. Calvinism non-essential then someone who is more Fundamentalist and considers these essential issues would not be a good fit for the staff.

      2. There must be an air of respect for the other side among those on staff. This in some ways goes along with point 1. If someone thinks those who disagree are simply deceived idiots such a person again wouldn’t belong on staff at a church that is theologically diverse on that issue.

      3. When preaching through passages that are contentious on non-essential issues there must be some planning done ahead of time.

      So for instance if we were doing a series on Romans 9 at a church with both Arminians and Calvinists I would begin the series by having pastors from both sides present on stage. Then I would have both pastors tag team throughout the series, each presenting both sides as they go along, just as CMP does when presenting different views in his Theology Program.

    • mbaker

      This is where I think a detailed doctrinal statement is in order, on what the individual church considers essential and non-essential issues. I have no problem with those who spell it all out in the first place, because I would not like to discover down the road that I’m the square peg in a round hole, so to speak.

      Things can change with different churches, and certainly this happened to my husband and I. When we moved back to this area, we went to a church I had gone to many years ago. We sat there for two months, listening to the pastor speak good biblically sound messages. My husband and I decided we should take the membership class they offered. The first two on baptism and communion were right on. The third however, was the deal breaker.

      We discovered that in order to become a member of this church, which was in its governance a form of Rick Warren’s Saddleback church, we had to sign an oath that we would never disagree with the pastor or the elders. No way could we go that far in giving anyone that kind of unconditional authority over us. They, however, considered that an essential requirement for membership, even though their doctrinal statement did not reflect that.

      So I think it is wise to keep on top of things whether we admire the leadership or not. Sometimes ‘ theologically diverse’ is defined differently to different people, and we need to know where a church stands on ALL issues of the faith before committing. What is essential to one may not be not be essential to the other.

    • A. Amos Love

      Hmmm? Local Church? My Church? Your Church? Our Church?
      Church membership? Pastoral Staff? Leadership team?
      Can’t seem to find those terms in my antiquated KJV.

      Isn’t it called “The Church of God?”
      Isn’t it Jesus, who will “build” and “add to” “His Church?”
      Isn’t it Jesus, who’s the head of the body,
      (the ekklesia, the called out one’s), “The Church?”
      Isn’t it Jesus, who shed “His Blood” to purchase “The Church of God?”

      But, maybe we’re talking about – the church of man?
      You go to a secular Goverment organization, IRS,
      and ask permmision to be called “Church,”
      you fill out a form, called a 501 (c) 3.

      When/if you’re approved, you become a Gov’t approved, Gov’t inspected,
      501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation.
      Does that sound like “The Church” (People, His body) that we find in the Bible?

      Did Jesus shed “His Blood” for a building, an organization,
      an institution, a denomination, a corporation?

      Hmmm? Should we call a $ Corporation – “The Church of God?” AAARRRGGGHH!! 🙁

      Love NOT the world and the things of the world…

      Here’s a short doctrinal statement.

      And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
      them also I must bring, and they shall **hear my voice;**
      and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
      John 10:16

      One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice. 😉

      If Not Now, When?

      Be blessed in your search for Truth… Jesus.

    • wm tanksley

      A. Amos: God, speaking through His apostles, placed authority in the hands of men, and commanded them to choose and train men who would be able to train the Body of Christ.

      The question we’re looking at is how to _choose_ those men.

      -Wm

    • A. Amos Love

      wm – -Are you choosing men to be paid by, a 501 (c) 3, $ Corporation?
      Then you have a challenge. Not much in the Bible about that.

      When Jesus choose men to learn from Him NOT many approved.
      “The Religious System” thought they were **unlearned and ignorant.** Acts 4:13

      Jesus choose John the Baptist, a fairly strange messenger, Yes? 😉
      Jesus choose Paul, a murderer, killing Christians. Go figure. 😉

      Today, we don’t see many 501 (c) 3, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporations…
      1 – Allowing Jesus do the choosing.
      …Ye have not chosen me, but “I have chosen you,” and ordained you. John 15:16.
      2 – Allowing Jesus to do the teaching.
      …It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. John 6:45
      3 – Allowing Jesus to do the leading.
      … Those “Led” by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom 8:14.

      Men think they can “lead” and have a better way of doing things. “Ishmael” anyone?
      How’s the Religious $ Corporations way of hiring “pastoral staff” been working lately.

      By the way, “pastoral staff” and “leadership teams” are NOT found in the Bible.
      The “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Reverend/Leader” is NOT found in the Bible.

      Seems the “Burnout” and “Depression” rate for “Pastor/Reverend/Leaders” is increasing.
      “Pastor/Leaders” and the families, pay a horrible price trying to please so many masters.

      http://pastoralcareinc.com/WhyPastoralCare/Statistics.php

      # 80% of pastors’ spouses wish they would choose a different profession.
      # 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
      …………..Many pastor’s children do not attend church now
      ……………because of what the church has done to their parents.
      # 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

      Seems we have a major problem with $ Corporations doing the choosing. Yes? 🙁

      Jesus always has a better way.
      Jesus… My…

    • wm tanksley

      Amos, I appreciate your attitude towards tax-exemption status; but you seem to have a complete failure to understand why it’s a problem. Your argument falls flat because it starts as an argument from lack of evidence (yes, the Bible says nothing about tax exemptions… But that doesn’t prove anything), and worse, it moves on to sadly misquoting the Bible. Every verse you cite shows that God unconditionally chooses not leaders, but all of His followers.

      Take a look at the epistles to Timothy, wherein Paul explains to Timothy how to choose leaders for the Church. If the Holy Spirit didn’t intend the leaders of the Church to be chosen by men, then why did He inspire those instructions on how to choose leaders? Yes, the calling of overseer/bishop/episcopate is a gift of God, not of man; but men have to recognize the appropriate use of the gift and follow it.

      The question of tax exemption is an interesting one, but completely off topic. The pros and cons are serious and profound, but for none of the reasons you list. And it’s completely irrelevant to this topic.

      -Wm

    • wm tanksley

      I think a base question that needs to be asked before we can get to the issue of diversity on the pastoral staff is the issue of what things the church should take a stand on as a matter of doctrinal statements. I for instance am an Arminian, but would not go to any church which took a hard stance in their doctrinal statement for Calvinism OR for Arminianism

      I think you are asking the right question, but please consider that such a church cannot teach consistently on the nature of salvation. I approve of a church not making a distinction (my church doesn’t), but in order to maintain that the sermons have to teach the same thing that the doctrinal statement does: that the distinction isn’t something to actually discuss. And that’s just not true; it IS something to discuss, even though it’s not something that’s clearly settled.

      I do not believe it to be an essential issue and I believe taking a specific stance on such an issue destroys unity and violates the Evangelical Credo.

      If this is not an essential, then what we’re called to is tolerance. Tolerance doesn’t mean we don’t speak lest we offend; it means we allow others to speak. That means we allow taking a specific stance, and we tolerate the results.

      I know John Piper for instance will not allow anyone to speak at his church on any subject even as a guest, who does not affirm Calvinism. To me this is the mark of a fundamentalist, not a Evangelical.

      I find this hard to believe. I know Piper requires this of his own church staff, but Piper keeps getting in trouble for inviting controversial pastors to speak at his seminars. Warren definitely isn’t a Calvinist, but he’s keynoting the 2010 Desiring God conference.

      But yes, I agree that this IS the mark of a fundamentalist. Well said.

      -Wm

    • A. Amos Love

      wm -You write…
      “Take a look at the epistles to Timothy, wherein Paul explains to Timothy how to choose leaders for the Church.”

      FYI – “Leaders” are NOT mentioned in 1 Tim 3. The qualifications are for bishops and deacons. In Titus 1:5, the qualifications are for elders. Are there any scriptures that say a bishop, deacon, or elder are “Leaders?” I looked, can’t seem to find any.

      In my experience, “The Religious System,” of today, doesn’t care at all about these qualifications. BUT, If you want to use these qualifications for choosing men as “Leaders” of a 501 (c) 3, Corporation, then you have a challenge. The qualifications are kind of tuff, and there are tuff qualifications for his children also. Would love to meet a “Leader” of a 501 (c) 3, Corporation who meets “All” the qualifications and is “Blameless.”

      Blameless… How important is this qualification today? 😉

      An overseer, elder, “Must be”“Blameless”- That “must be” is the same Greek word as …You “must be” born again. John 3:17. It’s Strongs #1163, **die** – It is necessary (as binding). Computer – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

      Blameless… Webster’s – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
      Computer – that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable.
      Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.

      How many, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering these qualifications, can see themselves as blameless, without fault and thus qualify to be an overseer, elder?

      And if you can see yourself as blameless; Is that pride?
      And no longer without fault?

      The Bible talks about bishops, and elders.
      And qualifications for bishops and elders.

      Can you have one without the other?

      Jesus… The Lord is My Shepherd…

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      And I have some question’s about the use of the word “leader.”

      The word “leader”seems like a “high place.” Yes?

      Jesus always took and recommended the “low place.” Yes?

      Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of no reputation
      and took on the form of a servant. Php 2:7-8

      How do “you” reconcile the use of the word “leader”
      when “Jesus” told “His disciples” not to be called leader?

      Jesus in Mat 23:10 told His disciples “NOT” to call
      themselves master/“leaders”
      for you have one master/”leader” the Christ.

      King James Version –
      Neither be ye called masters:
      for one is your Master, even Christ.

      The Interlinear Bible –
      Nor be called leaders,
      for one is your leader the Christ.

      Phillips Modern English –
      you must not let people call you leaders,
      you have only one leader, Christ.

      Today’s English Version –
      nor should you be called leader.
      your one and only leader is the Messiah.

      The Amplified-
      you must not be called masters ( leaders )
      for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

      Jesus told His disciples not to be called “leaders” and none did.

      Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
      Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
      Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
      Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
      Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
      2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

      His disciples all called themselves “servants,”
      None called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
      None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

      If Jesus instructed “His disciples” NOT to call themselves “leaders”
      and someone calls themself a “leader”
      or thinks they are a “leader;”

      Is it possible they are being “disobedient” to Jesus?
      Is it possible they are NOT a “Disciple of Christ?”

      Just wondering. Be blessed.

    • cherylu

      A Amos,

      I am wondering what you think this verse means:

      Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    • Michael T.

      WM,
      Warren (I assume Rick here) claims to be a Calvinist.

    • A. Amos Love

      cherylu

      I have a few answers for you. I’ll give the more technical later.

      Here’s how I first understood Heb 13:17. I’m very familiar with it. Oy Vey!!! 🙁
      I struggled with what I was taught in “The Abusive Religious System” of today.
      I’ve looked at it often since the early 90’s, after leaving “Leadership” and
      “The Abusive Religious System” through much pain and tears and “Spiritual Abuse.”

      When you’re in an “Abusive” relationship it’s difficult to reason “Truth.”
      Even in the natural, the “Abused” often defends the “Abuser.” So in the Spiritual.
      Not till you leave, and some healing takes place, can you see much at all.
      But God… is faithful…

      …Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
      John 18:37

      In my experience…
      Those who are “Spiritually Abusive” preach “Obey your leaders” a lot.
      But didn’t spend much time with me… Getting to know me… and…
      “Keeping watch over my soul.”

      In reading, over and over again, I noticed there are no Titles” or “Positions”
      mentioned in Heb 13. NO pastors, NO elders, NO overseers.
      Just someone who was keeping watch over “My” soul.

      I also noticed, “Spiritually Abusive Leaders” when questioned,
      or disagreed with, no longer considered “my’ soul important. 😉

      First qualification for me on who to obey, became…
      Who knows me, cares about me and watches for my soul. 😉

      More coming…

      Jesus loves me… and forgives me all my sin…

    • A. Amos Love

      cherylu

      “Abusive Leaders” want you to “obey” – But don’t spend a lot of time with…

      Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
      1Pet 5:3

      Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
      but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
      Php 2:3

      Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
      Eph 5:21

      Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
      in honour preferring one another.
      Rom 12:10

      Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
      Yea, **all of you** be subject **one to another,** (subject = submit)
      and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud,
      and giveth grace to the humble.
      1Pet 5:5

      …they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles
      “exercise lordship” over them;
      and their great ones “exercise authority” upon them.
      But so shall it NOT be among you:…
      Mark 10:42-45

      So, the second list of qualifications for who to obey, and submit to, became…
      1 – Are they living examples of – NOT lording it over “Disciples of Christ?”
      2 – Are they living examples of – lowliness of mind?
      3 – Are they living examples of – “esteeming others better” than themselves?
      4 – Are they living examples of – submitting “One to Another?”
      5 – Are they living examples of – preferring others before themselves?
      6 – Are they living examples of – being clothed with humility?
      7 – Are they living examples of – NOT “exercising authority” over His Disciples?

      In my experience with “Pastor/Leaders”…

      No matter how loving, eventually…
      No matter how humble, eventually…
      No matter how much a servant, eventually…

      They will “exercise authority” and “lord it over” God’s precious sheep.
      That’s always the beginning of “spiritual abuse.”

      “Pastor/Leaders” = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always

      I’m in agreement with David – The Lord is my Shepherd – Jesus…

    • A. Amos Love

      cherylu

      Why did Paul give qualifications for “elders” if not important?
      The Bible warns about 1-False apostles. 2- Many false prophets. etc, etc….

      For **false Christ’s** (false anointed ones) and **false prophets**…Mark 13:22

      **try the spirits** whether they are of God: because
      “MANY” ** false prophets** are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

      And “MANY” **false prophets** shall rise, …Mat 24:11

      For such are **false apostles,** ** deceitful workers, **
      transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 2 Cor 11:13

      … to **know them** which labour among you,
      and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 1Thes 5:12

      So, the third list of qualifications are given by Paul. 😉

      1 – **blameless** — unrebukeable, without fault.
      2 – husband of one wife — married, male.
      3 – rules well his own house — have a family, children.
      4 – not greedy of filthy lucre — Not greedy for money.
      5 – vigilant — no excessive wine, calm in spirit.
      6 – sober — of a sound mind, self controlled.
      7 – of good behavior — modest, unassuming, reserved.
      8 – no striker — not quarrelsome, contentious.
      9 – not a brawler — abstaining from fighting.
      10 – not self willed — not self pleasing, not arrogant.
      11 – not soon angry — not prone to anger.
      12 – temperate — having power over, restraining.
      13 – **holy — undefiled by sin, free from wickedness.
      14 – **just — righteous, virtuous, innocent, faultless.

      And their children must qualify…
      “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly”

      15 – faithful — believing, one who trusts in God’s promises.
      16 – not accused of riot — Strongs – asotia — unsavedness.
      ………an abandoned dissolute life, lost to principle.
      17 – unruly — disobedient.

      if someone thinks they qualify?
      Is that pride and thus NOT without fault?

      The Bible talks about elders and qualifications for elders.
      Can you have one with out the other?

      Jesus…

    • A. Amos Love

      cherylu

      Heb 13:7
      Remember them which have “the rule over you,”
      who have spoken unto you the word of God:
      whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

      Heb 13:17
      Obey them that have “the rule over you,”
      and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls…

      Heb 13:24
      Salute all them that have “the rule over you,”
      and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

      The Greek word “hegeomai” is 28 times in the NT.
      Only 3 times as, “have the rule over” all in Heb 13.
      Moderen translations often use “leader” here.

      It is Strongs #2233 hegeomai. In the KJV it is translated,
      KJV – count 10, think 4, esteem 3, have rule over 3, be governor 2,

      It does mean, to lead. It also means “to go before.”
      A guide who goes before? – Or – I’m the leader/boss?

      Seems the qualification to who we submit to is in
      Heb 13:7 “who have spoken unto you the word of God.”
      Heb 13:17, “they watch for your souls.”
      Not a “Title” pastor or a “position” overseer or elder,
      BUT, someone who knows you and cares for you.

      This hegeomai is being attentive to me.
      Speaking the word of God and watching.
      Not demanding that I submit to him.

      If they aren’t “watching for your soul” do you “obey” and “submit?”
      Not anymore. Thank you Jesus.

      The Greek word for “Obey” in Heb 13:17 is the root word for faith.

      Strongs #3982 peitho – pi’-tho
      KJV – persuade 22, trust 8, obey 7, have confidence 6, believe 3, be confident 2,

      Hmmm? persuade, trust, have confidence, believe.
      Maybe that word “obey” is different from how we understand “obey” today. Yes?

      The very next verse, Heb 13:18, uses #3982 peitho also.
      Only this time it is NOT obey. The word is TRUST.

      Heb 13:18
      Pray for us: for we *TRUST* we have a good conscience,
      in all things willing to live honestly.

      Paul uses #3982 peitho, here in, Gal 5:10.
      I have *confidence* in you through the Lord.

      Maybe we need to…

    • A. Amos Love

      cherylu

      Outside of Heb 13 in your version is “leader” ever used?
      And “Elders’ are NOT mentioned as “leader” in Heb 13.

      It’s interesting that “hegeomai” is also “esteem” 3 times.

      Php 2:3
      Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
      but in lowliness of mind let each *esteem* other
      better than themselves.

      1Th 5:13
      And to *esteem* them very highly
      in love for their work’s sake…

      The same word “hegeomai,” which many refer to as leader/boss, a high place,
      is used when encouraging those who need to be in “lowliness of mind”
      and to “esteem” #3982 others better than themselves.

      The way I see it now; If someone insists that they are “my”leader,
      And they have the rule over me, then I can check them out with these quidelines.
      They need to be in “lowliness of mind” and “esteeming” others better than themselves.

      That “ hegeomai” is different then today’s leader. Yes?
      Don’t find many “leaders/pastors/elders” esteeming others
      better then themselves today. Or submitting one to another.
      They seem to want the TOP spot. They seem to want…
      Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, Reputation, etc…
      All those things that come with the “Title” and “Position”- “Pastor/Leader.”
      All those things Jesus spoke against. Yes?

      You can tell which “hegeomai” is present when
      confronted with opposition or a different opinion.

      What kind of fruit do we see when today’s “overseer/elder” is challenged;
      “Accusation” “ Argument” “Ridicule”“Name Calling” “Put Downs”
      or “lowliness of mind?” “Love, joy and peace?” “Submitting, one to another?”

      Here’s Heb 13:17 in the “NKJAV.”

      That’s the “New King James Amos Version.”

      Heb 13:17
      Be persuaded by, trust, and obey, those you have confidence in
      those you esteem as they guide you and think to submit yourselves:
      for they watch, pray and are paying attention…

    • wm tanksley

      Warren (I assume Rick here) claims to be a Calvinist.

      Yes, a “Kuyperian Calvinist”, I think. But I’ve listened to a few of his sermons; I think he meant “Kuyperian” only in the sense that believers need to bring all creation into submission to God. His sermons contain no trace of Calvinism, just man and law-centered teaching.

      He gives interesting teaching; often good teaching. But the gospel is at best a bit player; it’s all about our own efforts.

      -Wm

    • wm tanksley

      Amos,

      “And if you can see yourself as blameless; Is that pride?
      And no longer without fault?”

      Is it your opinion that by saying “blameless” Paul was intending to hint that nobody could possibly meet the qualifications, so therefore nobody needed to follow any leadership? So, basically, Paul delivered many of his exhortations to Timothy with a nudge and a wink?

      -Wm

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      Don’t know for certain what Paul had in mind, at the time, about “Blameless.”
      But, he did give some difficult qualifications for “bishop/elder/deacon.” Yes?
      “Blameless” seems to be important to Paul. He mentions it more then once. Yes?

      Didn’t Paul also leave us a way out “if” we can’t find someone who qualifies?

      In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, to ordain elders in every city.
      But in verse 6 Paul leaves a way out (?) saying,

      “If” any “be blameless.”

      This is a very large, little, word: “IF.”
      This “IF” is found many times in scripture.

      In verse 7 Paul explains why he leaves us a way out.

      For a bishop “must be blameless.”

      That “must be” is the same as “Must be” born again.
      Sounds important. Yes?

      Paul didn’t say “they” can grow into being blameless.
      To be ordained “bishop/elder” “they” **must be** blameless.

      Titus 1:5 …ordain elders in every city…
      Titus 1:6 If any be blameless…
      Titus 1:7 For a bishop **must be** blameless…

      Why do you think Paul was adamant about a“bishop/elder” being “Blameless?”

      And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
      them also I must bring, and they shall hear “my voice;”
      and there shall be “one” fold, and “one” shepherd.
      John 10:16

      One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
      If Not Now, When?

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      Following “Leadership”, following a man, seems important to you.
      Are you a “bishop/elder/deacon?” Do you want people to follow you?

      Do you meet “All” the other qualifications for “bishop/elder/deacon?”
      What qualifications are NOT important?

      If you have a **bishop/elder** who doesn’t meet the qualifications?
      Then what? What should we call an “Unqualified” **bishop/elder?**
      What would you call a Doctor, a Lawyer, who is “Unqualified?” Hmmm?
      How would you feel if you hired a Doctor, a Lawyer, who is “Unqualified?”
      “Unqualified” could be very expensive and very unhealthy. Yes?

      “Unqualified” bishop/elders, very expensive and very unhealthy for many. 🙁

      In “the Church of God,” the body of Christ, we have a “Leader” who’s “Blameless.”
      And meets “All” the qualifications. His name is {{{{{{ Jesus. }}}}}} 😉
      The Bishop and Shepherd of my soul. 1 Pet 2:25.

      We’re “sons of God” when we’re “Led’ by the Spirit. Rom 8:14.
      NOT when we’re “Led” by a mere “Unqualified” human.

      IMO – “Leadership,” in the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax deductible,
      Religious Corporation, is highly overrated and very dangerous.

      How has human “Unqualified”“Leadership” been working for you.
      People are fleeing the church of man, The Corportions, The Denominations.

      Why follow a man when you can follow Christ?

      My sheep “hear my voice,” and I know them, and they **follow me:** John 10:27.

      And he saith unto them, **Follow me,**
      and I will make you fishers of men. Mt 4:19.

      Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself,
      and take up his cross, and **follow me.** Mk 8:34.

      Human leadership? Follow man? or
      “Led by the Spirit? Follow Jesus?

      If any man “serve me,” let him **follow me;** John 12:26

      …choose you this day whom ye will serve…
      … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
      Jos 24:15

    • wm tanksley

      Amos, since you don’t know the precise meaning of Paul’s word ‘blameless’, you shouldn’t preach on what it means. And the last thing you should do it choose a single specific meaning in a way that nullifies the meaning of the surrounding text!

      Yes, an elder must be blameless, but this doesn’t mean that only Christ is an adequate elder; what it actually means is that the qualified elder cannot credibly be charged with violating the principles that Paul cites, positive and negative.

      It seems to be a big deal to you that many, many elders we have in the church now aren’t qualified. I happen to agree with your premise; but my conclusion is different from yours: rather than withdrawing from the Church because of a bad leader, appeal to the elders for correction.

      Paul warns in 1 Tim 5 that an elder should only be accused on the testimony of two witnesses — and notice what happens next… “Those [elders] guilty of sin must be rebuked before all.” If Christ were the only elder, then why is this plural, and why does the passage assume that some will be guilty?

      If all the elders are corrupt, perhaps you’ll need to find a new local church — or perhaps you need to stay and agitate for reform. But it seems to me that leaving the churches entirely misses the point.

      -Wm

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      I’m enjoying the communion, koinonia, fellowship.
      Doing this in remembrance of Jesus.
      Remembering His death, burial and resurrection until he comes.

      Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
      and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
      and a book of remembrance was written before him
      for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
      Malachi 3:16

      You write…
      “But it seems to me that leaving the churches entirely misses the point.”

      Sorry if I didn’t explain myself properly.
      Seems, what we have here is a ”problem to communicate.”
      When you say “church” and I say “Church,” it just ain’t the same thing.

      I never left “The Church of God,” the ekklesia of God,
      the called out one’s of God, the body of Christ.

      I left the church of man, the doctrines, commandments, and traditions of man,
      the “Abusive” 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious Corporations.

      A simple word like “church.”
      What do most people **Today** think that means.
      Ask someone, believer or non-believer, to describe, explain
      or point to “church.”

      1 – Building with a steeple on it? — Is that in the Bible?

      2 – Pastor – in a Pulpit – Preaching – to People – in Pews? — Is that in the Bible?

      That’s what the world thinks, the believer and the unbeliever, isn’t it?

      Isn’t that what “Local Church? My Church? Your Church? Our Church?”
      and our 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporations,
      have accomplished with four buildings on four corners in a lot of local towns?

      Haven’t we deceived the people we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

      How many will know and understand that they can “become”
      “The Church of God,” “the ekklesia of God.” The called out one’s of God.

      Jesus love me this I know…

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      How many will know that “The Church of God”
      “The ekklesia, the called out one’s of God” are;

      Kings and preist’s unto God.
      The Bride of Christ.
      Servants of Christ.
      Sons of God.
      Disciples of Christ.
      Ambassadors of Christ.

      “Spiritual Abuse” by “Unqualified” elders in “The Corrupt Religious System”
      has a huge benefit for those who desire “Truth.”

      The “Spiritual Abuse” drives you to Jesus… 😉

      And you learn, you can get it from Jesus, directly.
      You become a “Disciple of Christ.” And learn from Him.
      NO longer a “disciple of man.” You need NO MAN teach you.

      John 6:45
      It is written in the prophets, And they shall be “ALL” **taught of God.**

      Deuteronomy 4:36
      Out of heaven he made thee to **hear his voice,**
      that **he might instruct thee:**

      1 John 2:26-27
      These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
      But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you,
      and, **ye need not that any “man” teach you:**

      “Disciple” means, learner and student.
      “Disciple of Christ” means, a learner and student of Christ. 😉

      Jesus taught “His Disciples” Not to be called “Rabbi/Teacher in Mat 23:8.

      But be not ye called Rabbi: for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ;
      and all ye are brethren.

      Jesus, my Lord, my God, my Savior, my Master….

    • A. Amos Love

      wm – Now… about this word “Church.”

      In “the Church of God” there is “Liberty.” Glory!!! Thank you Jesus. 😉
      Everyone can, and is expected to, participate.

      How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you
      hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation,
      hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
      1Cor 14:26

      In the church of man there is “Bondage,” “Pew potatoes,” “Spectators.” 🙁
      For a long time I was in “bondage” in the church of man. The Corporation.
      The main requirements for acceptance – Pay, Pray, and Obey.

      I wanted to know what this word ”Church” means for me.
      Looked up the definition in the Greek,
      Printed out every verse that has the Greek word “Ekklesia.”
      Read the verses, over and over again,
      Prayed, asked God, What does this mean, “Church?”

      IMO – The best way is “Get It” for yourself, from Jesus.
      Then NO ONE can take it away.

      When searching the scriptures, I found…
      NO one ever went “To Church.”
      NO one ever joined “A Church,”
      NO one ever applied for “Church” membership.
      NO one ever “Tithed” to a “Church.”
      NO one ever brought their friends to “Church.”
      NO buildings with Steeples and crosses called “Church.”
      NO – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews. 😉

      Had to throw out “all” I thought I knew about “Church.”
      Jesus warned us, “The Traditions of men” make “Void” the word of God.

      KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
      ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
      NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

      Where people go sunday morning is NOT “The Church of God” in the Bible.
      It is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation.

      Should we call a $ Corporation “the Church of God?” AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

      Most of what goes on sunday morning is NOT in…

    • […] Michael Patton on how theologically diverse one’s church should be. […]

    • wm tanksley

      You need NO MAN teach you.

      Then you have to start pointing fingers at the first heretic, who said: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

      He obviously didn’t understand how to be taught of Christ — He actually ordered people to go and teach.

      And then another author: “For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher.” Whoever said that should be ashamed, right? Then he goes on to say: “And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.” There’s that teaching again! And worse, teaching by PEOPLE!

      It goes on; Paul in particular seems to assume that not only should people teach, but that not everyone should do so.

      -Wm

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      Yes – Jesus instructed “His Disciples” to teach in Mat 28:20.
      “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

      Here are some things “His Disciples” observed and Jesus commanded.

      Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which **I say?**
      Luke 6:46

      My sheep **hear my voice,** I know them, and they FOLLOW ME:
      John 10:27

      To “His Disciple”s Jesus said… NOT to be called Rabbi/Teacher or Master/Leader.

      But be not ye called Rabbi: for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ;
      Matthew 23:8

      Rabbi – #4461 rhabbi {hrab-bee’} Rabbi,
      a title used by the Jews to address **their teachers.**

      Rabbi – Dictionary –
      an **ordained teacher,** The spiritual head of a congregation.

      Rabbi – Strongs –
      my master, as **an official title of honor:** Master, Rabbi.

      Neither be ye called masters: for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.
      Matthew 23:10

      Master – Dictionary –
      **a man who rules others** or has control, authority, or power over something;
      specifically, **a man who is head of a household or institution.**

      Master – Strongs # 2519, kathegetes –
      from # 2596 + # 2233 (to lead) – A guide, teacher, master.

      The Interlinear Bible-
      Nor be called leaders, for one is your leader the Christ.

      Phillips Modern English-
      you must not let people call you leaders,
      you have only one leader, Christ.

      Today’s English Version-
      nor should you be called leader,
      your one and only leader is the Messiah.

      I instruct potential “Disciples of Christ” what Jesus commanded “His Disciples.”
      To be a “Disciple of Christ” “a Learner, directly from Jesus?”
      They are to “Hear His Voice” and “do” the things He says, and NOT man.
      They are never to call themselves “Teacher” or “Leader.” As per Mat 23:8+10.

      wm – Are you a “Disciple of Christ? Hearing “His Voice?”
      Doing what “He” commands?

      Or – Do you call yourself a Teacher? A Leader?

    • wm tanksley

      Yes – Jesus instructed “His Disciples” to teach in Mat 28:20. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

      Excellent.

      Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which **I say?** Luke 6:46

      Jesus was saying things to those people, speaking to them with sound from His mouth to their ears. But Christ did not intend His message to stop with His human body’s capabilities; in fact, He commanded His followers to speak with His authority, and even gave them power to call down curses on cities, proclaim the accused innocent, and excommunicate the unrepentantly guilty.

      And to teach and administer His church.

      To “His Disciple”s Jesus said… NOT to be called Rabbi/Teacher or Master/Leader.

      He also told them not to call anyone Father, and then He told them to honor their father. I’m sure you agree that there’s more to this command than a simple instruction on what words to use; I think you need to consider that it’s not at all intended as an instruction on what words to use.

      wm – Are you a “Disciple of Christ? Hearing “His Voice?” Doing what “He” commands? Or – Do you call yourself a Teacher? A Leader?

      Are you a disciple of Christ, doing what He commands — which includes submitting to the leadership and teaching in the Church He established?

      If you’re not, you’re not listening to his whole command; instead you’re rebelling against leadership on the basis that THEY are disobeying a command. Pick the log out of your own eye, before you pull the speck from your brother’s eye.

      If your “teachers” are teaching you error instead of truth, you should indeed protest. But if you’re protesting merely because your teachers are using the “wrong” word for what they do… When what they do is what they were commanded to do by Christ… You have the more serious problem.

      (And as for tax…

    • wm tanksley

      … deductibility: you picked a very shallow starting point for your argument. Nobody’s sinning by choosing a C, S, 501(c)3, or other corporate form, so long as they’re following the law and teaching Christ crucified. Admittedly the restrictions of 501(c)3 can tempt many to fail to teach, so I respect those who choose to not accept them.

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      There was a time I was in agreement with your ideas.
      I bought into “the Religious Corporations” “Traditions of men.”
      I was a “Leader/Teacher.” Taught people to – Pray, Pay, and Obey…
      I was so proud of myself. 😉

      “Titles” become “Idols.” “I believed the lie and started to die.”

      You write…
      “which includes submitting to the leadership and teaching
      in the Church He established?”

      Seems you favor a “Special-class” of christian for leader/teacher.
      Most want a “Parent” organization for protection and “leadership.”

      “Leader/Teachers” told me – “this is the church He established.”
      Let’s take a look at a few today who meet those standards.

      1 – “Special-class”- “Highly Trained, Paid, Professionals.”
      2 – “Parent” organization, “Protecting,” and “Exercising Authority.”

      1 – We have the “Catholic Church of Rome.”
      How are they as a witness for Christ? Who are they ordaining?
      Many are upset with “Highly Trained, Paid, Professionals.”
      Many are upset with the “Parent” “Leadership.” Child abuse?

      2 – We have the “Episcopal Church of America.”
      How are they as a witness for Christ? Who are they ordaining?
      They’re ordaining “Bishop/Leaders” in same sex relationships.
      Many are upset with “Highly Trained, Paid, Professionals.”
      Many are upset with “Parent” “Leadership.” Splitting, again.

      3 – We have the “Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”
      How are they as a witness for Christ? Who are they ordaining?
      They’re ordaining “Pastor/Leaders” in same sex relationships.
      Many are upset with “Highly Trained, Paid, Professionals.”
      Many are upset with “Parent” “Leadership.” Splitting, again.

      Jimmy Baker, Jimmy Swagert, John Piper, Francis Chan, Ted Haggard,
      Catholic Priests… And the list goes on… and on… and on… Oy Vey! 🙁
      Highly Trained, Paid, Professionals and a “parent” watching over…

    • A. Amos Love

      wm

      If I follow your advice…
      Join a church/corporation, and submit to leadership?
      Which church/corporation should I go to…

      Let’s see…. We have

      The Traditional Church,
      The Institutional Church,
      The Religious System Church,
      The Steeple $ Corporation Church,
      The 501c3, non profit, tax deductible,
      Religious $ Corporation Church,
      The Brick and Mortar Church,
      The Pastor Led Church,
      The Multiple Elder Led Church,
      The Congregational Led Church,
      The Pope Led Church,
      The Bishop Led Church,
      The Chief Executive Apostle Led Church,
      There really is a Chief Executive Apostle
      No Kidding. Saw it with my own eyes.
      The Fluid Church,
      The Solid Church,
      The House Church,
      The Simple Church,
      The Organic Church,
      The Small Group Church,
      The Institutional Church,
      Oh, i said that one already.
      The Denominational Church,
      The Non-Denominational Church,
      The Inter – Denominational Church,
      The Intra – Denominational Church,
      The Underground Church,
      The Full Gospel Church,
      The Mega Church,
      The Baptist Church,
      The Lutheran Church,
      The Evangelical Church,
      The Charis maniacle ism Church,
      The Pente it’s going to cost you a Lot ism Church,

      Wikapedia says there are 38,000 denominations. Oy Vey!!!
      Even if they overstated by 90%, that’s still 3,800 denominations.

      All started by “Special-class”“Leader/Teachers” who were
      not happy with other “Special-class”“Leader/Teachers.” 😉

      How does that sound to you; as a witness for Christ? 3,800. Wow! 🙁
      Gives the world a lot of confidence in “Special-class”“Leader/Teachers.”

      “Chaos” anyone?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

      Nope – don’t think there is much benefit for God, or me,
      with “Special-class”“Leader/Teachers.”

      Jesus… My sheep **hear My voice** and FOLLOW ME.

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