The early church (more pure and rightous and "spiritually" powerful) had an adminitraive form exactly opposite from the historical church that we keep analysing..reforming..tinkering with, and wondering "Where is the Beef? Where is that original power that fired it up at Pentacost?
I say and I see in the New Teatament that it was organized along far different lines by the Holy Ghost through the Apostles that Jesus appointed to "kick start" His body of believers..there fore His design and His Master plan to be His people and to earn the name "Christian" a FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST.
Let me begin this review with a simple truth about what went wrong and just "How" wrong it became because of one simple misstep..one simple form that has become the blueprint since the Roman System took over for the next 1,000 years.
The title Pastor..the word P A S T O R is not in the New Testament at all...
The word Pastor is not in the New Teatament for you Bible scholars (?), students (?), out there, the plural form of the word appears once only, "pastors" as a description of one of the five separate and distinct offices or functions or expressions of the group of elders as defined in Ephesians 4;11, "And to some, his gift, (to the church) was that hey should be, ,apostles, prophets , to some, evangelists, to some pastors, and teachers.
The word efders appears over sixty 60 times in the New Testament for you slow at learning, hard of hearing, or visually handicapped, (read blind.) I count five different, distinct offices, don't you? Five different types of manifestations of the Spirit through your TEAM, or pool of elders or "overseers", That doesn't imply there should only be five principal elders either, Five is not a magic number, there may be two prophets, seven evangelists, three pastors and four teachers for example, the number five is to show the various manifestations or channels of the Spirit, moving through the local (holy) ground or LOCALE, (example Church of Ephesus, Church of Corinth, Church of Rome, Church of San Fransisco, Church of Topeka, Church of Dallas, Church of Singapore, Chirch of Moscow, Church of Peking, Church of Paris, Church of London, and so forth and so on) each local church is necessary , in otder to form a healthy limb of the One True Body, the Universal Church Triumphant. The five fold ministry is likened to the five fingers on the hand of God in the "local" Church, as an appendage of the larger mystical and corporate body.
Let's get it right for once before the Lord returns. Let's really present Him a Church that is united under the banner of Love and Unity of the Spirit operating in unison under One Head, that follows the model given to us in the Bble, written by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and built on the Blood of the Saints during the birth pangs of the Church almost two thousand years ago. Not this ugly, man made, tradition bound, hundred thousand headed hydra passing itself off as the Lords Church. I think the title"Practicing Christians" is a very appropiate term, they are still just "practicing". Well, they have been practicing for too long now. It's at least time for a Recital.
How God designed a local church where the brethren had to learn to love one another since they were yoked together in a union as overseers of the flocks they were responsive for as ELDERS.
Paul now..not Saul any longer, now a man aflame for Jesus did this....
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in
order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every
city, as I had appointed thee:
In every town he came to he preached the gospel..souls were saved..he taught them..asked the Lord, who are the elders here Lord? The Lord showed him and he ordained them..period., real simple so far right?
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
church had elders right?
When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
so the main church then in Jerusalem had elders also right?
And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
more of the same..OK so far?
And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. pretty simple
Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria an Cilicia:
And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Did he call for the priest? pastor? senior elder? NO
And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Oh for the miracles of healing elders again. gee will they never stop? When do we get to the part where my church is described? We just have a apastor and a bored..Oops board.how come we are so different from what the bible says?
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
So Peter was an elder? appearantly
And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed
in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
why not four and twenty pastors? evangelists, prophets? priests, bishops, because Gods word says elders thats why. Do you want to be seated about the throne, clothed in white raiment? Well then let’s get down to business with Gods Word, OK?
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and
cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
so elders have crowns? they are from a Royal Priesthood and are called elders the highest title you can attain too.
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of * the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Hey, these Elders are real close to the Lord..real tight. I like that
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God,
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they ?
And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God,
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
The KJV Strong's Version
So dear christian..it should be abundantly clear that the original church, the one that we claim to be inheritors of, and members of had a substantially different form of government that our churches today. What is wrong with following a single leader which we have today? Let’s examine the biblical reasons first then the psychological.
First of all let’s look at Gods word again.
The natural tendency iingrained in mankind for eons is to look for leadership outside ourselves. To look for that special leader, that person who takes more initiative, organizes, leads, inspires, (like Aaron.speaks well), disciplines, teaches, corrects, has visions on behalf of the group, and has “spiritual insights” experience beyond the norm. People are attracted to those kind of leaders by nature..but is that spiritual? Appearantly not according to the bible.
God wants everybody to hear from Him and act as His prophets, His agents on earth, but the people are not willing. Remember Moses in his assignment as leader of the people and the incident when Moses had to climb the mountain and sojourn with God? The people said Moses you go talk to God he is so scary so you go face him since you are the leader.
In other words the people do not want or are unwilling to assume responsability in matters of such gravity and such profound consequence.
to be continued...