Thursday, June 05, 2014

Church Authority

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  How was Jesus sent?  He was sent by the Father with all authority in heaven and earth (Mat 28:18) in such a way as to never bind a believer to a falsehood since whatever is bound or loosed on earth is also bound or loosed in heaven (Mat 18:15-18).  Nothing untrue can be bound in heaven therefore whatever is bound on earth must be true.

But is this how it was understood at the time of the Apostles?  Were there disagreements between the disciples?  If so, how did they resolve it?  One need not look any further than verses 1 and 2 of the Book of Acts, chapter 15.  It says:

“ 1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

One set of Christian teacher were telling new converts that they are to be circumcised first if one was to be saved.  The other set, Paul and Barnabas, told the converts that circumcision was unnecessary.  Who were the converts to believe when confronted with conflicting teachings?  The converts sent both groups to Jerusalem to settle the matter. The leaders of the Church…Of the WHOLE Church decided the matter for all believers in Christ.  As is clearly seen a little further down when Paul and Barnabas traveled through the towns after the Council of Jerusalem, Scripture says that “As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.”  It wasn’t a choice or simply for those believers in Jerusalem but for all believers in Christ.

The first followers went to the Church when disputes arose between believers to settle the matter because that’s how Jesus told the Apostles to do it.  He told them try to settle the matter between themselves but if they couldn’t, they were to go to the Church.  The buck stops at the Church.  Here is how Jesus put it.  When one sins against another (separating oneself from the Body of Christ is a grave sin against the whole body), they are to:

If your brother sins, go and point out his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won him over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Mat 18:15-17)

These verses show us that the Church that Christ builds must have a visible aspect to it because there is no way two individuals in a dispute can go to all believers in Christ (all Christians) when so many believe contradictory doctrines.  Paul tells us in his first letter to Timothy that some will abandon the faith by believing false doctrines and therefore instructs Timothy to go to the Church, the One True Church to settle the matter.  Go to the leaders of the Church.

And because Jesus promised us that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church in Matthew 16:19 means that His Church will never teach false doctrines.  If His Church did teach a false doctrine as true then that would put the faithful at peril of losing the faith (1 Tim 4:1).  His Church could never do that since it would go against its very nature of being the upholder and defender of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).

Let’s use a concrete example to clarify what I’m saying.  Let’s say my cousin comes to me one day and tells me that his wife is pregnant and she feels she isn’t ready for a child right now.  She decided to have an abortion, and failing to convince her and following Scripture my cousin comes to me with another friend to try to convince her not to have the procedure.  But she still wants an abortion.  My cousin then goes to his church (which is Catholic) for help.  Now, since the Catholic Church teaches that absolutely, abortion is wrong, we know the church will tell her that she shouldn’t have an abortion.  But she just goes to her church (one of many possible ones who do teach that abortion is a personal choice and can even be redemptive).  So now we have come to an impasse, which church are we to listen to?  Which church is actually teaching the truth?  You see how the idea of His Church being only a conglomeration of all believers prevents us from knowing the truth with certainty?  His Church must have a visible entity so that all may know the truth of what He teaches.  And His teachings are made known to us in its fullest form through His Church because only His Church has been given the promise of being led into ALL truth (John 16:13).

The only Church which has had a physical presence throughout the centuries beginning in the first century up to today’s councils is the Catholic Church.  All these councils, 21 in all beginning with the council at Jerusalem found in Acts 15, are teaching doctrinal truth because we know that His Church is the pillar and defender of the truth.  We can know this Church is the Catholic Church by simply going through the writings and declarations inside the documents produced by these councils were written by Catholic Bishops and ratified/approved by the Pope. When it comes to doctrinal matters, either of faith or morals, we are to accept the Catholic Church’s doctrinal teachings whether we like them or not, whether they are easy to follow or not because they are the truth. 

Isn’t it a great blessing to be able to go to an authority that can guide and correct our wayward ways by identifying the truth in a sea of confusing and conflicting ‘truths’?  Thank you Lord for giving us a sure fire way of knowing the truth!

God Bless
Nathan

3 comments:

  1. THE PASTOR BY STEVE FINNELL
    Was there ever and office of, The Pastor, approved of or mentioned in New Testament Scripture? No, there was not. There was no single pastor appointed as the authority over any local church congregation.

    The word pastor is mention one time. (Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (NKJV)
    Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)

    Pastors were shepherds. Bishops, elders, and overseers are one and the same; and they were the pastors or shepherds.

    1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (NKJV)
    1 Timothy 3:2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. (New Living Bible)
    1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (New International Version)

    Titus 1:5-7....appoint elders in every city....7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, (NKJV)
    Titus 1:7 Since an overseer manages God's households, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.(NIV)
    Titus 1:7 An elder is a manager of God's household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. (NLT)

    Acts 20:17,28 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to 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. (NKJV)
    Acts 20:28 Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to be shepherdsfor God's church which he acquired with his own blood. (God's Word-Translation)

    Notice that the apostle Paul called for the elders (plural), he did call for The Pastor (singular).


    Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church,and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

    The apostle Paul and Barnabas appointed elders (plural) in every church congregation. They did not appoint a pastor (singular) in every church congregation.

    Elders, bishops, and overseers are the same office and their responsibilities were to pastor or shepherd the individual church congregations.

    THERE WAS NO SINGLE PASTOR WHO HAD AUTHORITY OVER A INDIVIDUAL CHURCH CONGREGATION.

    Men today like to called Reverend Pastor.
    Reverend means awesome. So they want you to refer to them as Awesome Pastor.

    Psalms 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (KJV)

    The Lord has earned the right to be called reverend (awesome).
    Is there any man that has earned the right to be called Reverend (awesome) Pastor?

    THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ONLY MENTION A PLURALITY OF ELDERS IN CHURCH CONGREGATIONS.

    MEN HAVE INVENTED THE REVEREND PASTOR (SINGULAR) AND HAVE PLACE HIM IN AUTHORITY IN LOCAL CHURCH CONGREGATIONS.



    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr Finnell, would you care to interact with the actual post instead of speaking on the origin of words? Where did I go wrong, precisely, in my blog post?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nathan,
    Finnell will not post a response to you. He's done this before, he posts a prewritten article (this one from his blog: http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-pastor-steve-finnell-was-there-ever.html) I've tried to engage him, he does not respond. He just cowardly posts his articles in unrelated articles on this and other blogs out there. His blog has less than half the page views of this one, and we're not one of the most accessed blogs out there either. You've issued your challenge, but I would be VERY shocked if Mr. Finnell actually responds to you... it's not in the nature of a coward to reply to a challenge, and thus far it has not been apparently part of Mr. Finnell's nature.

    AMDG,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete

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