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The One Man Show


If the well articulated preacher at the front were to be taken away in contemporary church meetings, 99% of the congregation would not know what to do with themselves. In all likelihood, they would probably go look for another place with a well articulated preacher at the front Without a doubt one of the saddest decisions that has ever been made, is the Bible Societys decision to combine both the Old Testament and New Testament manuscripts into one single book. This has led to widespread confusion and possibly some of the biggest theological misunderstandings in history. It has deteriorated up to the point where the majority of todays churches still cling with all their might onto the Old Testament Law, looking to it to guide them in terms of moral living. The truth is however that the law was never designed for people to try and live by - it was designed to show them how far they fall short of Gods holy standards. It was a signpost that pointed to Jesus. Its pretty lame to set up camp next to a signpost when we are on our way to somewhere else, isnt it? Fortunately a large part of the true gospel of righteousness through faith was recovered during the Protestant Reformation, where a German monk named Martin Luther and subsequently many others, rebelled against the enslaving religious systems of their day, defying the controlling and unbiblical doctrines of having to earn ones salvation by adhering to rituals and making sacrifices. These Reformers managed to restore to a large degree the pure, first century gospel, of mankind being reconciled to God through faith in Christ alone, without the works of the law: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the Law. (Rom 3:28 MKJV) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. (Gal 2:21 NKJV) But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe. (Rom 3:21-22a MKJV) For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8-9 MKJV) The gloomy reality is that in spite of the ground that was gained in restoring the gospel itself, these men did nothing to address the structured mold of the church meetings of their era or the synthetic hierarchies that existed within the religious institutions of their time. Just like many leaders within the secular church structures today, these men

thought that only ridding the message from sacred customs was important, but that the other traditions within the system were acceptable. The way how the church meetings had been reduced to one or a few people ruling over the rest with an invisible iron fist and even getting paid for it didnt seem to bother them. In todays modern secular church we are still stuck with the remnants of the worldly leadership structures that originated during the second to third centuries after Christ, when offices and formal titles were introduced into the body of Christ. It was the instatement of the ceremonial office of Bishop that started this downward trend, with a single Bishop eventually being appointed to lord and rule over each individual church. Of course with Christianity being the state religion of Rome at the time (thanks to Constantine), the Bishops later became powerful political figures within society to the degree that they were placed almost above reproach. Whenever a Bishop was accused of a crime, he was not allowed to be judged in a normal court but was referred to a specially assigned court for Bishops. As the Bishops grew in power and became more involved in government and political affairs, their day to day involvement in church services were taken over by specially assigned local priests, known as presbyters. The chief Bishop also eventually became the first Pope. These local priests then lorded over the churches for several centuries, ensuring that the ceremonies and rituals were faithfully adhered to. That was until Martin Luther and John Calvin appeared on the scene. They rebelled against the oppressive religious system of their time, challenging the domineering belief systems and doctrines, but unfortunately doing nothing about the false system of control which had the church gripped by the throat. Luther did much to advance the restoration of the gospel of righteousness through faith and shook his fist at the overbearing Catholic practices, yet continued to enforce it, howbeit in a different form - he insisted that lecture-style preaching during church meetings was unquestionably central to the Christian faith and that it could only be conducted by a formally qualified, specially appointed (ordained) minister. A Biblical church gathering in his view was a bunch of Christians who got together to listen to a sermon. Calvin did not like the term priest and instead replaced it with Pastor. He stated that The pastoral office is necessary to preserve the church on earth in a greater way than the sun, food and drink are necessary to nourish and sustain the present life. So the Reformers did well in opposing the religious doctrines of the dark ages, but passed the Roman Catholic division between clergy and laity straight into the Protestant movement. Every person was now allowed to minister as a priest unto God, but not every person could be trusted to minister as a priest unto other people. Frank Viola, in his ground breaking book Pagan Christianity, states: The rallying cry of the Reformation was the restoration of the priesthood of all believers. However, this restoration was only partial. Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli affirmed the believing priesthood with respect to one's individual relationship to God. They rightly taught that every Christian has direct access to God without the need of a human mediator. This was a wonderful restoration. But it was one-sided. What the Reformers failed to do was to

recover the corporate dimension of the believing priesthood. They restored the doctrine of the believing priesthood soteriologically - i.e., as it related to salvation. But they failed to restore it ecclesiologically - i.e., as it related to the church. While the Reformers opposed the pope and his religious hierarchy, they still held to the narrow view of ministry that they inherited. They believed that "ministry" was an institution that was closeted among the few who were "called" and "ordained."' Thus the Reformers still affirmed the clergy-laity split. Only in their rhetoric did they state that all believers were priests and ministers. In their practice they denied it. So after the smoke cleared from the Reformation, we ended up with the same thing that the Catholics gave us - a selective priesthood! It is the desire of the Holy Spirit to be able to express Himself fully through every believer, not just through one person standing in the place of Christ at the head of the body. A real spiritual leader will connect the members of the body to the Head, Jesus Christ, and not to himself. This does not entail training up an elite group of members in the form of a special task force, called a leadership team; a group that will simply continue repeating the same folly of endorsing separation between clergy and laity. In todays secular church setting it doesn't matter how hard the local leader or Pastor tries to "get out of the way" to allow Jesus to take up His place as the head of His Church. The Pastor can have the purest intentions and even pass the microphone to others to share a few words during the meetings, but in the end he still decides when the meeting is over, where the church is headed (being the official carrier of the "vision") and who gets "promoted" to official positions of leadership within the church. The system does not allow the Pastor to completely get out of the way and let Christ alone be the head of His church. The Pastor is kind of stuck where is his, despite his very best intentions. So today we have well meaning, good hearted Pastors who faithfully perform their duties within this religious system, who sincerely want their congregations to mature and become ministers themselves, but are severely limited and even opposed by the system of control which they find themselves in. If a Pastor were to really train people to teach and minister in the way that he himself does, these trainees would soon become a threat to his monthly paycheck. Heres why: If every person in that congregation could eventually mature to the point where they are able bodied ministers, skilled in the Word, flowing in power and the gifts of the Spirit, why would they still need to pay someone to do all this stuff for them?

Natural Leaders In a natural locale where no person is regarded as more important than the other, where every person is esteemed, leaders will naturally emerge without ever having to be appointed in a formal capacity. People will regard someone as a prophet by the prophesies they bring or as a shepherd by the way they protect their brothers and sisters. In this setting it becomes rather meaningless having to officially employ someone to preach the gospel since every member is a functioning, contributing part of the body. Having to sit down passively to listen to a prepared sermon would actually be more a

hindrance to experience body life between believers than it would be a blessing. Restricting the Holy Spirit to showing Himself strong through only one person during our gatherings puts a hyper-charged, mountain-sized disc brake on the diversity of ways that He can manifest Himself through the group. The Every-Member-Functioning Body It is vital to understand that life within the body of Christ can only find its purest and most effective expression when every member functions in the way it was designed to. Firstly we need to understand that life outside of the body is empty, lonely and pretty hard. In fact, its unnatural. The human body was designed with a hand for example fixed onto the end of an arm. The hand was not designed to float above the head, disjoined from the body itself. The body was also not designed with just one member doing all the work. How long would our bodies survive if only our left leg functioned? If the eyes, nose, ears, arms or any other parts stopped functioning, the body would become very limited in what it could do. If some of the internal organs stopped functioning, the body would soon lapse into a serious ailment and possibly even death. Christ, the Head of His Body There was a specific reason why scripture used the analogy of Christ being the head of His Body, namely the church. It was so that we could have a clear understanding of how Christ wanted to relate to His Body. The head of a body is solely responsible for carrying the vision, the functioning and the direction of the body. All the decision making occurs in the head and is then directly communicated to the individual parts. There is no other part of the body that can act as a go-between or a relay to convey information between the head and the body. That role is reserved for the head alone. Each and every part of the body also has a nerve that allows it to directly communicate with the head. There is no other body part that serves the function of interpreting what it thinks the head is trying to say to the other parts. The head communicates its commands directly to each and every individual part, but also to the body as a whole. It is superior in assessing the needs of each individual member and providing whatever that member needs, while at the same time judging its surroundings and being able to have several body members join forces to implement certain actions that would benefit the entire body. There is no other single member in the body that can execute this with the same degree of precision and efficiency than the head itself. Its actually a wonder in itself that the Body of Christ has been able to survive for this long, most likely only because God loves us so much. Had it not been for the continued efforts of the Holy Spirit, this usurping, illegal, rogue system of control would have suffocated the Body long ago. Generally speaking, the leadership structure and the way that church services are conducted (get it? they are conducted!) in todays secular church world portrays the

Body of Christ to be a mouth that has grown out of proportion. There is a massive pair of lips standing at the front of an ocean of ears. Top and Bottom Opposition Two of the main reasons why there is so much resistance against ridding the church of this top heavy, one man show structure is the opposition from those at the top, but surprisingly also from those sitting in the pews: 1) Those at the top would be out of a job if all the members were to start functioning as they were supposed to. So these managers need to protect their businesses (and subsequently also their main source of income) by ensuring that the current state of affairs continue in the same manner that it has for the last few centuries. Even though this statement might be insensitive and not portray what their hearts reflect (they might think they are Gods appointed shepherds, selected to oversee His church), they are mostly blinded by the centuries of traditions of the leaders before them and have opted to continue doing things the way they have been taught and shown by their predecessors, without delving into the history behind the mold of the church system. Preachers are generally far more concerned with what they preach than with the system within which they preach. 2) The pew sitters are commonly against the idea of changing the current system since it would mean that they would actually need to start taking responsibility for hearing from God themselves, for stepping out and healing the sick, for casting out devils and operating in the gifts of the Spirit. Previously the mentality was that they could simply lure the sick or unsaved person to their church meeting and their Pastor would take care of the rest. All of that would now change if they didnt have an educated, formally ordained, full time person who had to take up all the responsibility on their behalf. The first century church meetings were a different kettle of fish. In the Corinthian church for example their meetings brimmed over with excitement, love, spontaneous singing, prophesies and interpretations, with just about everybody teaching and exhorting each other. So great was their enthusiasm that Paul the Apostle had to lay down some guidelines for them to be able to conduct their meetings in an edifying manner: Then how is it, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be for building up. (1 Cor 14:26 MKJV, emphasis added) Note that he didnt discourage them from letting everybody contribute; he merely advised them how to do it in a less chaotic fashion for the sake of the newcomers and the unbelievers who were attending their meetings. Paul was merely channeling their energy! If one speaks in a language, let it be by two, or at the most three, and in succession. And let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in a church; and let him speak to himself and to God. And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge. If a revelation

is revealed to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:27-33 MKJV, emphasis added) He spoke along the same lines to the Ephesians: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16 ESV, emphasis added) But instead the modern day pews keep filling up, adding to the proliferation of a powerless generation of believers who are accustomed to watching the Pastor or the ministry team heal the sick and cast out devils, or in some places where the jam-packed program permits, a bold enough pew sitter is allowed to come forward and give a prophetic word or two. Lets ask some tough questions again: If all of us are part of the Royal Priesthood of believers and are all considered to be Gods holy nation, then why are we paying some of the Royal Priests to preach the gospel on our behalf? But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Pet 2:9 MKJV) If all of us are competent ministers of life, carrying within us the burning flame of the good news of the New Covenant and of Gods love for us, why does only one person get to share this good news regularly within a formal setting while the rest has to passively sit down and listen to them? who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. (2Co 3:6a ESV, emphasis added) If all of us have the same measure of Christs gift of grace (remember it was given to us according to HIS measure, which means weve been given the full measure), then why do only an elect few get to exhibit it when we get together in the name of the Lord? But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. (Eph 4:7 ESV, emphasis added)

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Church Leadership
The biggest reason why so much confusion exists around the term Church Leadership today is because of the system of control within which the Bride of Christ is attempting to function. The intricate web of politics and the man-made hierarchies are suffocating the Body with its pious regulations, making the Body bend forwards and backwards at its will. In contrast, the majority of people who have a title of some sort stuck before their names within the contemporary church seem to be thriving within the system they have helped to create. The one group is struggling and the other is thriving - doesnt there seem to be some sort of correlation here? Arguably the biggest reason why church going folk struggle so hard with accepting this type of talk is that their church leaders deliberately warn them against accepting aspects of Biblical truth that they are not used to hearing preached from that churchs pulpit. So without attempting to even trying to understand it, they will walk away from it. This is the level of deception that exists in the religious institution that calls itself the church today. There are millions of people around the globe today who are serving in formal leadership positions within the secular church and possibly one of the hardest things in the world is to show them how their well meant contributions to the institutions where they serve is actually detrimental to the spiritual development of the Bride of Christ. The tragic reality is that just about none of the leaders are open to discussing this topic, since the mere fact that anybody even dares to question the way in which well orchestrated church programs are conducted in this day and age, is viewed as rebellious, usurping and seeking to bring division within the church. There are exceptions here and there, with a small minority of leaders being open to admitting that the church system is beyond repair, but because they depend on the current state of affairs for their livelihood, they are reluctant (or at best unable) to do anything about it. For those who are involved in full time, paid church ministry or church leadership, please remember to distinguish between the office we are addressing in this book and the people who are employed in that office. We are by no means attacking people personally! A Function, Not a Title As mentioned before, pastors, evangelists, prophets and apostles were all meant to be functions within the church, whether they are performed in an official capacity or not. They were never intended to be titles. Its exactly the same with church leaders. Yes, some of the early apostles did travel between the early churches and identified elders (Titus 1:5), yet the function of those who lead or govern within the church is listed as a gift in the Bible, just like the five fold ministry:

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1 Cor 12:28 KJVA, emphasis added) This means that leadership is just as much a gift of the Spirit as healing. Its not a title. It is not a position that someone can be appointed into. Instead its an out-flowing of the character and gifts that a person has been endowed with. Jesus taught His disciples the same thing: But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven. Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matt 23:811 MKJV) Modern day religion has replaced the word Rabbi with Pastor or Prophet or Teacher or Minister. People are quite happy to march around with titles stuck before their names. A little later we will take a closer look at the buzz word on the mind of everybody who has ever wanted to serve in full time ministry: Ordination. Sad But True! In some of the traditional denominations (not everywhere), the senior leader mainly serves two prime functions: firstly to act as the congregations chief moral policeman and secondly to keep the business financially afloat, which is accomplished by squeezing financial contributions out of the attendees. In essence, they are nothing more than branch managers for a thriving business. Being the carrier of an official title which elevates him above the rest of the congregation, a modern day minister also has the right to expect from the congregation to substantially reduce their ability to reason logically when they enter the church building. Being members of his church, they are definitely allowed to chew on what he says, but questioning him during his sermon is strictly forbidden and contesting his teaching afterwards is also mostly thwarted by the circle of supporting leaders that are put in place to protect him, especially in the bigger congregations. For a normal church member to be granted an audience with the senior Pastor in the mega churches is often only a far-fetched dream. It is mostly only possible after subsequent meetings with the other elders have failed, or if the matter constitutes a significant threat to their empire. It is actually quite achievable to attend one of these churches for months and months without the senior Pastor ever even knowing you. Denominational Ministers In the traditional denominations we find a very interesting but paradoxical phenomenon. The ministers, who by definition are supposed to be shepherds of the flock, have nearly

no shepherd heart at all! In fact they are quite happy to give wolves or other predators free reign in their churches from time to time. Heres how: When a minister in a denominational church decides to go on leave or calls in sick, they will let any guy who has been ordained within the same denomination come in and preach at their church, whether they know this guy or not. After all, head office has declared him competent, right? It doesnt matter if this guy brings with him the poison of his own preconceived ideas or half truths. There is no or little care for relating with this new preacher personally before allowing him to attend to the flock. Hes simply given a license to come in and sow chaos, often leaving the flock bewildered and confused. What stands out about this trend is that the head offices of these denominations do not for a single second want to appear as if theyve lost face in front of the masses of people under their control. They place the importance of office and formal training above relationships in the sense that they regard it as being more important to have a qualified, paid guy to perform the job of preaching other than having somebody from that local congregation fill in for the absent minister. This phenomenon in itself is shattering evidence of the failure of the system - it shouts loud and clear that the aim of the local minister is in fact not to train people up to start preaching themselves (else someone from the local congregation could have filled in for him), but in fact to entice them to keep coming back week after week to listen submissively to his skillful mastery of the Bible. And saddest of all is that when the preachers within these denominations find a better paying position with another congregation, they will leave their own flock behind and take the job at the new church, handing the flock over on a silver platter to whichever predator wishes to have them next. No wonder the world doesnt want to have anything to do with the church Nowhere in the Bible do we find a pattern that portrays the kind of leadership system which is found in much of the church world today. Nowhere was there a centralized head quarters which spewed out orders and decrees to its branches. In the first century church the apostles traveled between the churches, exhorting them and ministering to them, but never as their bosses. They came in beside the people as their brothers, serving them in whichever way they could. There was no governing body that lorded over any of the first century churches - they were the highest form of authority unto themselves, with Christ directly heading up each local body of believers. The very fact that we are actually able to "classify" our churches by being able to place ourselves within a certain flavor of the corporate, religious structure, is overwhelming evidence that we are in fact, controlled by a system, since each of these denominations are governed by unwritten rules of acceptable behavior. Among all the different congregations of Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, Lutheran, all the diverse flavors of Charismatic or any other type of secular church found in the world, there are clear cut similarities in their leadership structures and the manner in which they conduct their meetings. These tactics are based on centuries of tradition and is largely responsible for the masses of dormant, immature believers who fill up the hundreds of thousands of church buildings every Sunday.

The Modern Day Pastor How did the Pastor get a member of his mega church to spend 20 minutes balancing a coconut on his head? He simply told the church member the activity was a ministry. (Edward The Janitor Haveren) Its a commonly known fact that some of the most emotionally laden, unselfish and selfsacrificing people in the world are the full time Pastors in the secular church. Its probably one of the most unthankful jobs someone can dream of having, in fact during a survey* it was found that next to a car salesman, a Christian Pastor was the second most unwanted job in the USA. Thousands upon thousands of Pastors have walked away from the empires they have helped create in the past, mostly due to burning out under the intense psychological strains imposed on them by numerous factors: Every week they need to deliver a striking sermon to the mixed crowd of expectant, critical, exciting and somber faces staring up at them from the pews. They need to make sure that during the times when their church is struggling to pay all their bills, that their encouraging of the flock to give more money doesnt come across as too forceful, since people are easily offended when it comes to money these days. They are expected to deal sensibly with the immature, political bickering that is sometimes found within their congregation, but occasionally also within the leadership ladder. They need to keep up an appearance of morality, sanity, peace, wisdom and a sought after relationship with God to be viewed in good stead by the rest of the church. Pastors are mostly not expected to show any signs of human frailty due to being put on a pedestal by the congregation. In the Charismatic circles they are required to present a seamlessly orchestrated concert with a delicate equilibrium between giving the Holy Spirit room to move, while maintaining proper order during the service. They need to coordinate closely with the worship team not to break the atmosphere and yet come up with a way to convey the message they prepared during the week to fit in with whatever direction the Holy Spirit seemed to lead them during the worship session. The senior Pastor is responsible for maintaining the fragile balance between promoting people within their congregation to formal leader or elder status, while ensuring that not too many are appointed as leaders so as not to turn the entire church into leaders. There still needs to be a healthy percentage of normal people to attend and minister to. The list goes on and on, but its easy to see why the job of a Pastor isnt for everyone. But to the average church going Christian, in spite of all the evidence stacked up against this career choice, there is still something dignified about it. Its almost as if the privilege of being able to say that youre a pastor has an untainted, consecrated and authoritarian ring to it. In fact, it definitely does. Every year thousands and thousands of aspiring full time ministers enroll for elaborate ministry, college and university degrees and diplomas. Its possible nowadays to obtain formal qualifications in pastoral, apostolic, evangelical and prophetic ministry. The occupation of full time minister, after being around for more than 1600 years, has been

firmly engrained into our Christian society and way of thinking. For church going Christian parents there quite possibly couldnt be any better news than hearing their child wants to become a Pastor. Everyone knows its a tough employment preference, but as the person in charge of the spiritual wellbeing of hundreds or possibly thousands of people, what can be nobler than this? Pastor = SHEPHERD? In the non-denominational Pentecostal circles the title of Pastor has become the core around which nearly the entire movement revolves. Their buildings line the streets of nearly every town on the planet and every Sunday morning the Pastor can be found there, faithfully overseeing his flock. A striking observation is that he Greek word poimn has only been translated as Pastor once in the entire New Testament (in Eph 4:11) where it was listed as a gift that God gave to the church, along with the rest of the well known five fold ministry.
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Therefore He says, "When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men." 9 (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same also as He who ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Eph 4:8-12 MKJV, emphasis added) Its clear that Paul listed the five fold ministry as gifts, given by God to His church for the maturing and equipping of the Body of Christ. God didnt instate an order to distinguish between specially called people and normal people in the church. In some of the Bible translations the interpreters wanted to reiterate the fact that it was a gift and not a title and inserted the word gifts (appearing in verse 8) into verse 11 as well: He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher (Eph 4:11b MSG, emphasis added) It was he who "gave gifts to people"; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. (Eph 4:11 GNB, emphasis added) In a typical modern day church meeting the Pastor will direct the entire meeting, appearing initially to welcome the congregation and make some announcements, after which he will normally hand over to the worship team to sing few songs. Some Pastors prefer this order so that they can step in at the end of the last song to start ministering in the atmosphere of glory which had been created by the music. At this point the offering plates will be passed around, after which the Pastor will plunge into delivering his sermon. The lead Pastor is also expected to be flame sharp and effortlessly flowing in all the gifts of the Spirit, namely healing, faith, tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophesy, words of wisdom and knowledge, working of miracles and discerning between the spirits. He is

expected to be the most spiritually mature person in the congregation; a person who is worthy of his special calling as a Pastor, and of course of his paycheck. Away from the Sunday meetings, Pastors are also entrusted with overseeing the churchs finances, arranging extra mural activities and outreaches, mid-week prayer meetings, cell group leader meetings, church board meetings, seminars, conferences and be on 24/7 standby for emotional or spiritual emergencies experienced by anybody in their congregation. In fact, so well known are the tasks of the Pastor in a modern day church that nearly everybody who isnt a Pastor knows them as well. And yet, this function in the church was only mentioned once in the entire Bible... as part of a list of other functions. In every other instance in the Bible this word was translated as shepherd. Here are some examples: When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd (poimn). He felt sorry for the people and started teaching them many things. (Mar 6:34 CEV, emphasis added) He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray, but now you are turned to the Shepherd (poimn) and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet 2:24-25 MKJV, emphasis added) The reason why the translators used the word Pastor in Eph 4:11 (especially since this is the only place in the entire Bible where poimn was translated in this manner) was because by the time that the Bible was first translated into English in 1611, the manmade office of Pastor was already firmly established in the church. From this and also from what weve discussed in our previous chapter regarding the origin of the title of Pastor, its clear that the translators made the fatal mistake of translating human tradition back into the scriptures, instead of letting scripture interpret itself. Surely if pastors played even nearly as important a role in the lives of the first century church as they did today, we ought to have been able to read more about them in Pauls epistles; especially since its nearly impossible to find a Pentecostal church nowadays without a formally ordained Pastor leading the service from the front? Firstly its notable that a much smaller number of people have the bravado to attach as a title one of the other gifts of the five fold ministry in front of their names. There are for example far less people who actually have the courage to dub themselves Apostle George or Evangelist Jenny or Prophet William (even though some people still do!). A simple explanation for this is that if a person opted to carry for example the title of Prophet, their lives would be marked by consistent, accurate, consequential prophesies. The same with an Evangelist (who would be mightily transforming communities by bringing the good news to the oppressed) and Apostles (who would be nomadic, miracle working, church planters). These people would need to be known by the functions which they perform within the body of Christ, else other people would soon rat them out for being phonies.

However when someone opts to carry the title of Pastor, there are a myriad of manmade traditions, politics, perceptions and church policies which come into play. Its much easier for a person to hide behind this clutter of terminologies and get paid for it as well. Since we dont have an accurate description of the role of a Pastor in the first century church, lets take a look at the Greek: Poimen G4166: Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor. Since a shepherd is somebody who cares for and protects sheep, it would therefore not be inaccurate to assume that in Eph 4:11 Paul was referring to someone who loved their brothers and sisters with a fierce, protective love. They encouraged, aided and exhorted the church. Thus, they too would have been known by the function they performed. Conversely in the modern day church however, most people become Pastors after completing some Bible College course or after they have jumped through their institutions religious and political hoops long enough. Its also quite commonplace for someone to assume the role of Pastor if their parents have served in the office and they managed not to destroy their family in the process - there are literally thousands of second, third, fourth and even fifth generation Pastors who lead local churches today. Instead of being a function, it has become a full time job; an official title. To reiterate the point again, the word Pastor was a term that was put into the Bible by the translators of the time. These people took the existing traditions of their era and translated them into what they though the scriptures were trying to say, instead of staying consistent with ALL the other renderings of the word poimn throughout the Bible and translating the word as Shepherd. We therefore have no Biblical proof to for the role of the Pastor as it exists in nearly every Pentecostal church today.

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Dont Forsake Regular Church Attendance


Nope, thats actually thats not what it says, so lets quickly disarm this bomb. Hebrews 10:25 has to be one of the most abused and warped scriptures in the entire Bible. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 MKJV) We will look at two different interpretations here, the traditional interpretation and the proper interpretation, which takes into account the verses around this verse as well as references to other scriptures in the Bible. As we will see, even the traditional interpretation doesnt refer to the spectator affair that secular church meetings have evolved into.

The Traditional Interpretation This verse has been used for centuries to warn believers against the danger of abstaining from attending regular church meetings. Its not surprising to see why though, since nearly every commentary available on the internet interprets this verse in the sense that it is referring to regular church or worship meeting attendance. Here are some examples: The Berkely Version of the New Testament says: "... not neglecting our own church meeting." J.B. Phillips writes in The New Testament in Modern English: "And let us not hold aloof from our church meetings." The Living Bible states: "Let us not neglect our church meetings..." The Ryrie Study Bible writes: The term "assembling" describes "the gathering of Christians for worship and edification," and "the Day" describes "the day... of Christ's coming. Clarke continues to warn against deserting regular Church attendance, for whatever reason: "For fear of persecution, it seems as if some had deserted these meetings... They had given up these strengthening and instructive means, and the others were in danger of following their example... Those who relinquish Christian communion are in a backsliding state; those who backslide are in danger of apostasy..."

Exhorting One Another The main problem with this interpretation is that is completely neglects the part of the verse that says exhorting one another In 1 Corinthians 14 we have a wonderful picture of what a first century church meeting looked like. Everybody contributed, bringing prophesy, tongues, songs and teachings to the meeting. In fact, so eager were the people to share what God has shown to each of them that Paul had to lay down some guidelines for them to be able to continue doing it in an edifying manner. 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. (1 Cor 14:26 KJVA) The meetings normally brimmed over with excitement, joy, fascinating dialogues, diverse tongues and interpretations thereof, various teachings and the gifts of the Spirit flowing all over the place! It was spontaneous, unpredictable and somewhat offensive to newcomers and outsiders, but the believers themselves knew exactly what they were doing: They were allowing God to be Himself in their midst! It would have been an idea far removed from their minds to have only one single person stand up for an hour and deliver a prepared sermon, let alone pay him for doing it! So even when interpreting this verse in the traditional manner, as thought it was referring to an actual church meeting, the conventional argument does not hold water. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 MKJV) The first clue ought to be that this verse doesnt start with a capital letter, which means that it has to be read in conjunction with the preceding verses to be able to understand the context, especially if we remember that the original manuscripts didnt have any verse numbers in them. Lets take a brief look at the whole chapter. Hebrews 10 - The Victory of the Cross! Hebrews 10 is one of the most captivating chapters in the entire Bible. It is a crystal clear depiction of the believers absolute, unfaltering right standing with God, based on what Jesus accomplished at the cross. It exemplifies the undisputable superiority of the New Covenant over the Old Covenant Law: a system which was upheld by the ritual slaughtering and blood sprinkling of animals. These sacrifices only managed to postpone the punishment of sins for another year - it never actually cleansed the people from their sins (v. 1-4). It also debunks the popular Confess your sins to be forgiven doctrines by blatantly stating that once forgiven, a believer would have no more consciousness of sin (v. 2).

From verse 10 onwards it portrays how the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ has cleansed all who believe in Him from their sins forever and describes the new and better way of approaching God under the New Covenant, namely with boldness and full assurance of faith, confident that the sacrifice of Christ accomplished everything that God intended it to - to deal a deathblow to sin and present unto Himself a blameless, completely sanctified bride. This confidence comes from faith in what Christ has done, and not from ourselves. Later down in the chapter (v. 26-29) the writer of Hebrews outlines the folly of trying to return to the weak and beggarly elements of the Old Covenant temple and offering system for salvation:
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For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He who despised Moses' Law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:26-29 MKJV) There were Hebrews (Jews) who lived strictly according to the Old Testament law system. Even when they heard the truth about the gospel, they didnt want to believe it, because verse 26 says they received the knowledge of the truth and of course simply knowing about something doesnt mean that we actually believe in it. Faith knowledge. So the writer of Hebrews admonishes them by saying that if after hearing the truth of the gospel, they still decide to trample Gods New Covenant underfoot and choose to count the blood of bulls and goats as superior to the blood of Jesus, then there remains for them no further sacrifice for their sins. They are rejecting the only thing that can save them and are choosing to willfully commit the sin of unbelief in Christ! Now in this context, lets take a look at the verses surrounding our key verse: The Proper Interpretation
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Therefore, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies having been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised), 24 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:19-25 MKJV, emphasis added)

Now in the midst of all this talk about the New Covenant, about having full assurance of our salvation and of not turning back to the Old Testament Law for our salvation, why would the writer throw in a line about church attendance? It simply doesnt make sense. Lets tackle these verses one by one From verse 19 the writer starts building up to a mighty crescendo, repeatedly emphasizing how we are now to have boldness, full assurance of faith and are to maintain utter confidence in Gods faithfulness to have cleansed us completely from all sin. God who promised us eternal life is faithful to fulfill His promise and grant us an everlasting inheritance. This is the profession faith that we should be holding fast onto (v. 23) Since we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, it is His responsibility to manifest His fruit through us and it becomes our privilege to be co-laborers with Christ and walk in the good works that God had prepared in advance for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). It is therefore natural for us to encourage each other to walk in the fullness of the Spirit, not necessarily by telling each other what to do, but by being living, breathing examples of the manifested life of Christ ourselves (v. 24). Actions speak louder than words. And now our key verse: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 MKJV) The Greek word for assembling (episunagg) is only found in two verses in the entire Bible. A closer look at the other scripture that utilizes this word reveals that the context actually doesnt refer to a church meeting at all: Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2 Thes 2:1-2 ESV, emphasis added) Paul here encouraged the believers that because of the wonderful prospect of being gathered together (episunagg) unto Christ, they are not to be alarmed or frightened, which by implication means that they are to have boldness and full assurance of faith. This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews wrote. Note the similarities: our being gathered together to him the day of the Lord (2 Thes 2:1-2) the assembling of ourselves together... as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25) So the evidence seems to be pointing to the fact that Hebrews 10:25 could actually be a magnificent verse about the second coming (like the 2 Thessalonians verse), rather than referring to meeting together in a church building. The reality is however that most people have been so biased by what theyve been told about this verse, that even in the face of clear evidence they would still harbor their doubts. Lets take a look at the three different parts that make up the word epi-sun-agg (pronounced in English as ep-eesoon-ag-o-gay).

Epi G1909: A primary preposition properly meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], that is, over, upon, etc. In Greek the prefix epi is often added to words to emphasize them profoundly. Essentially it means the same as super, ultimate or hyper. Paul the apostle used it for example to describe how he would have been exceedingly sorrowful if his brother and fellow worker, Epaphroditus, had died. For indeed he was sick, coming near death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon [epi] sorrow. (Phil 2:27 MKJV, annotation added) It is also used in a word that describes Christs final appearing, epiphaneia, which happens at the end of the age: that you keep the commandment without spot and without blame until the appearing [epiphaneia] of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Tim 6:14 MKJV, annotation added) Our Greek word episunagg therefore means ultimate-sun-agg or final-sun-agg - now we need to find out what the last two parts mean. Sun G4962: A primary preposition denoting union; with or together (but much closer than G3326 or G3844), that is, by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc.: - beside, with. In compounds it has similar applications, including completeness. So now we have ultimate-union-agg or final-union-agg - lets tackle the last part Agg Reduplicated from G71; a bringing up, that is, mode of living: - manner of life. So it appears that the meaning of agg can be found by looking at its root word, ag Ag G71: A primary verb; properly to lead; by implication to bring, drive, (reflexively) go, (specifically) pass (time), or (figuratively) induce: - be, bring (forth), carry, (let) go, keep, lead away, be open. Having said all that, its clear that episunagg can be translated as follows: Ultimate/Final - Union - Leading/Carrying away Can it therefore be any clearer that Hebrews 10:25 it is not a warning against forsaking regular church meetings, but in fact a reference to our glorious final union and being carried away unto Christ Jesus? The context becomes even clearer when we then read from verse 26 onwards how those who neglect to receive salvation and by implication are unable to have full

assurance of faith, trample Gods grace underfoot and have no more sacrifice remaining for sin. So with Hebrews 10:25 unarmed, in other words having removed the confusion surrounding this verse, not neglecting the fact that it is still good for believers to meet together, lets have an open mind for exposing some of the other manmade traditions and practices that are found in todays secular churches.

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Ministry and Money


The main reason so many people keep on making financial contributions to their local churches week after week, is because they blindly accept that the secular church system with its programs, sophisticated buildings and full time employees is what God wanted His church to look like. Because of their conviction that its correct for someone to take up a permanent job within the secular church system and make their livelihood off the income collected from the attendees, they have no problem whatsoever pouring money into the offering baskets or the ministrys bank account to sustain its wellbeing. There definitely seems to be a scriptural basis for people to receive support for their ministering of the gospel, but the amount of abuse and exploitation present in todays secular church system is mind blowing. We therefore need to take an in depth look at who qualified to receive support and how they were supported by the early church. Without a doubt the strongest arguments in favor of preserving the structures of the modern secular church come from those who earn their living off it. Their arguments normally include loose citations from Pauls letters and statements such as Paul earned his living off the early churches, so why cant I? In this message we will be taking a look at the highly controversial topic of paid full time ministry and how the institutional church has turned into one of the most effective business models in the world; one that is able to survive in countries and localities where even the most ardent tradesmen have not been able to continue doing business. Christianity started in the Middle East as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. (Sam Pascoe)

Full Time Ministry In the first century church, there existed no distinction between clergy and laity. Every single member of the church was considered to be a competent minister of life, a royal priest and a functioning part of the body. It would therefore have been very strange for them to even consider paying somebody to come and do a Bible presentation at their meetings once per week. It would actually have been more of a hindrance than a blessing, because this guy would expect all of them to keep quiet so he can deliver his speech. So in the context of a properly functioning body of believers, paid full time ministry simply doesnt make sense. But we still see that certain people in the New Testament received support from the churches, so lets dig a little bit deeper. Local Elders

It was clear from the first century church blueprint that the shepherds of the churches matured from within the ranks of the local community of believers. There were two different kinds of leaders: local and roaming elders. The local leaders were generally professional workers who supported themselves and their families by working a secular job. Within the church community these local leaders would then fulfill the function of an elder (be it a deacon or bishop) and by their actions define themselves as evangelists, pastors, teachers or prophets. Conversely in our modern era, ministry is mostly confined to full time work without a secular job. An interesting scripture is found in the book of Acts, just after the first church of over 3,000 people was born. Peter and John walked past a lame man who begged them for some money. So Peter replied to him, saying: But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" (Act 3:6 ESV) Nowadays however, if a Pastor had a congregation of over 3,000 people, chances are almost certain that he would not have a problem with money. So why then did Peter not have any money to give to this beggar? Probably because the elders of the early church gave the money they collected to the people who were really in need, and not to people who put themselves in need by refusing to work with their hands. Preachers with a permanent, stationary base of people to where they can always return to preach full time after completing a seminar or a conference elsewhere, have no Biblical example to support their practice; firstly because they would have gotten in the way of every member functioning and secondly because the money collected by the church was distributed among the poor. The first century elders who stayed in a single location didnt earn any money from fulfilling their function as elders.

Roaming Elders The roaming leaders in the first century church were mostly restricted to the apostles and some of the evangelists (Act 21:8 & 2 Tim 4:5), with one or a few disciples accompanying them on their travels. They received occasional assistance from some of the churches during their journeys, yet by Pauls amazed reactions to these gifts we can clearly see that he didnt expect them, which meant he didnt consider them as being a regular form of income. He didnt desire to be paid for preaching the gospel. Even when I was in Thessalonica, you helped me more than once. I am not trying to get something from you, but I want you to receive the blessings that come from giving. (Phil 4:16-17 CEV, emphasis added) By his use of words when he addressed the carnal Corinthians (from whom he didnt accept any support), we see that Paul actually lamented accepting these gifts from the churches, feeling like he was stealing from them: I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. (2 Cor 11:8 ESV, emphasis added)

Robert Baker, in A Summary of Christian History, noted: The introduction of ministerial stipends and the implication that a paid ministry was expected to give its whole time to the service of the church made the distinction between clergy and laity more emphatic. Carl B. Hoch, Jr. (Professor of New Testament at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary) says: In New Testament days, leaders were normally not paid. That is, money was given more as a gift than as an income or a salary. Leaders like Paul could receive money, but Paul chose not to receive any from the Corinthians (1 Cor 9:8-12). He wanted to serve without depending on any church for financial support money was never to be the driving force of ministry (1 Pet 5:2). Unfortunately, churches today will not call a man until they feel they can support him, and some men will not seriously consider a call if the financial package is "inadequate" (All Things New - Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1995 - p.240).

Follow Pauls Example Since the majority of arguments in favor of receiving a regular paycheck from the church seem to come from Paul the Apostles letters, lets take a closer look at what Paul actually had to say on the matter. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 My dear friends, you surely haven't forgotten our hard work and hardships. You remember how night and day we struggled to make a living, so that we could tell you God's message without being a burden to anyone. (1 Thes 2:9 CEV) Note Pauls careful use of words; he said that he and his co-laborers worked so that they could preach the gospel - Paul did not consider preaching the gospel as work. Read the verse again! It was very clear in Pauls mind that these were two separate issues. Paul undeniably states here that if the church has to pay somebody to preach the gospel, it is a burden to the church. The truth is that its a hindrance to the gospel, an obstacle that Paul the Apostle worked day and night to avoid! Imagine running the 100m sprint with 20kg weights tied to each leg - that's what paying someone to preach the gospel is like. The following scriptures speak for themselves: And Paul remained two years in his own hired house. And he welcomed all who came in to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God, and teaching those things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, with all freedom, and without hindrance. (Act 28:30-31 MKJV, emphasis added) and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thes 4:11-12 ESV, emphasis added)

For we are not as many, hawking the Word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. (1 Cor 2:17 MKJV, emphasis added) Although he was a traveling leader who had a right to claim support, the Apostle Paul set himself as an example to others by working with his own hands: I have never wanted anyone's money or clothes. You know how I have worked with my own hands to make a living for myself and my friends. By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, "More blessings come from giving than from receiving." (Act 20:33-35 CEV) Referring to the example that he had personally set to them, Paul reinforced that the caretakers of Gods children ought to conduct their work without expecting financial or material gain. Not only that, but Paul also instructed people to work for themselves: Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need. (1 Thes 4:11-12 GNB) Paul wanted to instill this principle even deeper: Our orders - backed up by the Master, Jesus - are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don't permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn't sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn't be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn't because we didn't have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious. Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? "If you don't work, you don't eat." And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately - no excuses, no arguments - and earn their own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty. If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don't let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he'll think twice. (1 Thes 3:6-14 MSG, emphasis added) Lets now take a look at two portions of scripture that have been employed to extract enough gold from believers to make the secular church system one of the most flourishing businesses in the world today. 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in Word and doctrine. (1 Tim 5:17 MKJV, emphasis added)

This scripture does not refer to money. The measure of confusion surrounding this scripture is staggering. The Greek word used for honor is the word tim in the Greek. Sometimes when it referred to an objects inherent value, this word was translated as price or proceeds - but never as payment for doing work. In every other place in the Bible when the writers wanted to refer to compensation (financial or otherwise) the word misthos was used, meaning reward or wages. Why did Paul not use that word in this instance? Possibly because thats not what he meant? Lets substitute the word honor with money in some of the other places where our key word tim was used and see if it still makes sense. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor (money) in his own fatherland. (Joh 4:44 LITV) Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel to honor (money) and another to dishonor? (Rom 9:21 MKJV) And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we put more abundant honor (money) around them. (1 Cor 12:23a MKJV) ...for you were bought with a price (money). So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:20 ESV) Therefore to you who believe is the honor (money). But to those who are disobedient, He is the Stone which the builders rejected; this One came to be the Head of the corner. (1 Pet 2:7 MKJV) And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor (money) and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever (Rev 4:9 MKJV) Its amazing how the translators changed the word honor to money only in this one instance, quite possibly because they were involved in paid full time ministry as well! Moreover the background of this chapter was that Paul didnt want people to be a financial burden to the church: But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn first to carry out their religious duties toward their own family and in this way repay their parents and grandparents, because that is what pleases God. (1 Tim 5:2 GNB) If any believing man or believing woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be charged, so that it may relieve those who are widows indeed. (1 Tim 5:16 MKJV) Pauls meaning was clear: the church ought not to be burdened unnecessarily. So in light of this emphasis, why would Paul go on and essentially contradict himself a few verses later? If even the widows ought not to be leeching off the church, why would Paul now be throwing wide open the doorway for healthy, capable ministers to do the same?

The subsequent verse is habitually also used to substantiate the belief that Paul was referring to money: For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox treading out grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his reward." (1 Tim 5:18 MKJV) In their book The Practice of the Early Church: A Theological Workbook, Atkerson and Svendsen write about 1 Tim 5:17: "The word "honor" in this verse means just what it is translated as - honor, not pay (unless we want to conclude that we should give some elders "double pay"!). If Paul had intended to teach that elders are to be paid, he could have used the Greek word misthos, which means "wages" (which he used in v.18). In v.18, Paul simply says that, just as an ox deserves to eat because of his work, and just as a worker deserves to be paid because of his work, so an elder deserves honor because of his work." The very next verse gives us an example of how such honor can be bestowed upon an elder: Do not receive an accusation against an elder except before two or three witnesses. (1 Tim 5:19 MKJV) So its quite realistic to say the claim about this verse referring to money is far-fetched. Lets look at the second golden scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. (1 Cor 9:14 ESV) Nearly all people in "full time ministry" justify earning a monthly salary using the right that Paul mentioned here, completely disregarding his example, which was never making use of this right. He called it being a burden to the church. When reading the Bible, context is everything. The context of this chapter is that the Corinthian church was beginning to question Pauls apostleship because he wasnt claiming any support from them when he ministered, something that they had possibly gotten used to with some of the other apostles. Its important to note that Paul wrote this chapter in defense to his right as an apostle and not as an evangelist, prophet, teacher or shepherd (pastor). Paul was specifically defending the right that an apostle had to claim support in this chapter. Paul argued that if he could convince the Corinthian church that an apostle had a right to claim support, it would automatically validate his apostleship as well. Look at how he starts the chapter: Am I not a free man? Am I not an apostle? Haven't I seen Jesus our Lord? And aren't you the result of my work for the Lord? Even if others do not accept me as an apostle, surely you do! Because of your life in union with

the Lord you yourselves are proof of the fact that I am an apostle. (1 Cor 9:12 GNB) It was a prerequisite that someone had to have physically seen Jesus before they could be considered an apostle, a fact that Paul here cites as part of the proof of his apostleship. He then continues addressing those who were passing judgment him: When people criticize me, this is how I defend myself: Don't I have the right to be given food and drink for my work? (1 Cor 9:3-4 GNB) In his second letter to the Corinthians he made a startling statement: Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. (2 Cor 12:!4 ESV) Once again Paul said that he didnt desire to receive support, adding that the children (the church) should not look after the parents (the leaders), but that the parents should look after the children. It appears that our modern day churches might have missed this verse altogether. Getting back to 1 Cor 9, it's imperative to understand that Paul was not contradicting his other letters in this chapter. He still considered that being supported was a burden to the church. He strongly admonished elsewhere that those who didn't work shouldn't eat, repeatedly referring to his example of not burdening the church: You yourselves know very well that you should do just what we did. We were not lazy when we were with you. We did not accept anyone's support without paying for it. Instead, we worked and toiled; we kept working day and night so as not to be an expense to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to demand our support; we did it to be an example for you to follow. While we were with you, we used to tell you, "Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat." (2 Thes 3:7-10 GNB) Paul didnt change his mind about these issues in 1 Cor 9. The right that Paul mentions to claim support in this last scripture was once again because he was an apostle. In 1 Cor 9 Paul even reverts to the Old Testament Law to substantiate his claim as being an apostle:
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Who serves as a soldier at his own wages at any time? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock and does not partake of the milk of the flock? 8 Do I say these things according to man? Or does not the Law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox threshing grain." Does God take care for oxen? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? It was written for us, so that he who plows should plow in hope, and so that he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others have a share of this authority over you, rather should not we? But we have not used this authority, but we endured all things lest we should hinder the gospel of

Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And those attending the altar are partakers with the altar. 14 Even so, the Lord ordained those announcing the gospel to live from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it is good for me rather to die than that anyone nullify my glorying. (1 Cor 9:7-15 MKJV)

Note that under the Old Testament, whenever people brought offerings to the temple, it was in the form of food. So even if somebody wanted to use these verses as proof text for claiming support, their remuneration would need to be in the form of food. But Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 9 was not to prove that he should be paid for what he did - the context is that he wanted to prove his apostleship. However We did mention earlier that from a historical point of view, Paul definitely did receive gifts from some of the churches, but we have no evidence that these gifts were consistent and substantial enough for Paul to sustain himself from it. Paul also saw the wisdom in not becoming dependent on these gifts, to the extent that he worked day and night not to have to survive on them. Heres why: When we tie ourselves to another person or an institution for support, we constantly need to monitor our behavior so that we don't over-step the boundaries of that person's comfort zone or the rules of acceptable behavior of that institution. Whether its consciously or not, we lose our freedom by making ourselves answerable to them. Its fascinating how everybody in "paid ministry" so quickly refer to this so called right that Paul mentioned, completely ignoring the example that he said, by not being a burden. But if some people wanted to make use of their right to be a burden, that's probably their choice. Jesus of Himself also said that He was not like the hired workers who look after His sheep: I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep. Hired workers are not like the shepherd. They don't own the sheep, and when they see a wolf coming, they run off and leave the sheep. Then the wolf attacks and scatters the flock. (Joh 10:11-12 MKJV, emphasis added) Lets look at the Greek word used here for hired workers: Msthtos From G3409; a wage worker (good or bad): - hired servant, hireling.

The Other Half of the Picture The blame for the current situation cannot be laid squarely at the feet of those in paid full time ministry, since we find in the secular church system today that people have no problem paying money to a guy every week to do what God actually commanded them

to do. We are shifting our responsibility to be competent ministers and carriers of Gods Kingdom onto a select few specially called people, imitating the generations of powerless, visionless believers who have gone before us, pew sitting their way into heaven. All of us are in favor of people prospering and being loaded with wealth, we are after all children of the king! But selling the good news to people reinforces the idea of distinction between clergy and laity and makes Christians believe that only certain people are "called" to be ministers of the gospel. It also makes people believe that their "day job" is less spiritual than being "employed" in full time ministry. So there's this cheap notion that some people are less spiritual than others simply because they've not been able to wriggle their way onto the "leadership" of a local church somewhere, and have consequently not been able to quit their secular jobs to take up paid positions within that church. If the body of Christ had every member functioning during its meetings (and not just have one lone ranger running the show week after week), with every person bringing a teaching or a prophesy or a tongue (all done orderly of course), there would be no need pay someone to stand in the front and expect the rest to keep quiet while he (and he alone) has the privilege to share what God has shown him during the week. On the contrary, it would be absurd! A Broader Look: Church and Money Lets now a take a step back and look at how our modern day churches have become utterly dependent on money for its continued survival. Lets start with a sobering question: If all the financial contributions were to be taken away from the place where we fellowship, would that fellowship still survive? Think about this for a moment With this in mind, the following logical question presents itself: What is holding our church together; is it money or relationships? The peril of having a church rely heavily on money for its conservation is that the stability and security of that church then becomes only as certain as its relationships with the people or the institutions who supplies it with the money. Once those relationships become tainted, the money stops. In cases where the money doesnt stop, exploitation and control normally sets in. In either case, its bad news. In the first case the church has to close its doors. In the second case the church continues to function, but subjects all its attendees (even if its only indirectly) to the manipulation and politics that goes on in the top levels. Its a Numbers Game! If the secular church were one half as concerned with mobilizing and commissioning the people who attended their regular services than with the number of people they get in, the face of the world would have been different today. Nowhere in scripture were we

ever commanded to gather up thousands of people around us. In fact, the command was to go to all the nations and not bring in all the nations. In every single place where believers get together in a structured manner with a full time Pastor preaching from the front, an organist or a worship band leading the people in singing some songs or hymns and where the congregations are made to sit down in the pews (or luxury chairs nowadays), there are overhead costs that need to be covered, such as: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) The pastors salary The rent or mortgage of the building Building maintenance Electricity and water bills Continuous upgrading of the infrastructure as the numbers grow Bookkeeper Salaries for more and more full time staff as the work load gets bigger Etc.

The overwhelming majority of pastors try to avoid the issue of numbers for as long and hard as they can, but in the end the facts always stare them in the face: They need numbers to survive. The more people we can get in, the faster our bills will get paid. In any case, we will be doing better work for Gods kingdom since we will be reaching more people, wont we? But heres the sobering reality: Apart from the type of service that they sell and the method of collecting the money, what difference is there between the above financial business model and for example a company that provides a consulting service (such as engineering or legal advice) that would have the following expenses: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) The advisors salary The rent or mortgage of the office building Building maintenance Electricity and water bills Continuous upgrading of the infrastructure as the numbers grow Bookkeeping services Salaries for more and more full time staff as the work load gets bigger Etc.

There doesnt seem to be much difference between the two. Without the clients paying for the services provided, the business simply wont survive. More and more funds are needed just to keep the system running. Curry Blake from John G Lake Ministries1 says: The pastor used to be spiritual, but now all he can do is preach about money! Well you know why? Because hes got to have some! He used to be able to devote his time studying scripture and seeking the Lord, but now hes got to get in enough money in to keep the beast running. Wayne Jacobsen in his book, The Naked Church, wrote the following: The church is naked. Who hasn't seen its deficiencies and wondered why we keep on going with it? But this is difficult to admit. If it is true, what do we do with our multimillion-dollar

mortgages and operating expenses, our singing celebrities and their adoring fans, our committees and their policy statements?

Methods of Collecting the Money The sophisticated machinery of the church system will come to a grinding halt and be reduced to nothing more than a pile of rusted bolts without its most important lubricant: the tithe. Whether the motives preached are that people need to be giving out of a motive of love, generosity, joy or whatever, the fact is that the money still goes towards keeping the system running. There are two important aspects to consider when giving away money: 1) Our motive for giving as well as how much to give: 2 Cor 9:7 teaches us to give cheerfully and not reluctantly or out of compulsion. We therefore have the privilege to make up our own minds as to how much and how regularly we are able to give cheerfully and not have the Pastor twist our arm to give just because the establishment needs funds. 2) Where to give Most preachers will only cover the first point, but never guide people with some wisdom in where to give their financial gifts. Any money that manages to leave the church to go the poor or needy or to missionaries, is the portion thats left over after all the salaries, mortgages and other costs have been deducted. In general people are oblivious of these issues, all too happy that the money has now left their hands and that its therefore up to their church leaders to apply wisdom in where to spend the money. Well how about this: Since we are now the church and not the fancy building where people meet on Sundays, its unbiblical to give money to the institution that calls itself the church. How about trusting the Holy Spirit to start showing us where to give for a change? In churches where the Biblical truths of the grace and righteousness of God are the prevalent messages, the Pastors are beginning to trust the Holy Spirit who lives inside their flock to lead their people into truth in terms of moral living. The leaders in these churches have learnt to actually stop being the congregations moral policemen and have started trusting that the Holy Spirit would wake up the desire in their flock to live moral and upright lifestyles, befitting those who belong to the Kingdom of God. These preachers have learned the value of stopping to try and lord over their congregations. And yet these same leaders still dont trust the Holy Spirit to do the same work when it comes to the giving of financial gifts, for the simple reason that they need the money to keep their establishment running. The congregation cant be trusted to give to whoever they feel led to give to, because then the churchs bank accounts would run dry. A very peculiar phenomenon that is widespread among all religious establishments is that whenever people are encouraged to give money to the Lord, they are also provided with the ministrys bank details or an offering basket where they can deposit or drop the money with which they intend to bless God. Its truly fascinating!

Will You Still Preach the Gospel If You Stopped Getting Paid For It? Many faithful church goers would argue that their Pastor is not in it for the money, that their Pastor preaches the gospel because of his love for God. But have they ever stopped and thought about whether their Pastor would continue preaching the gospel if they stopped paying him for it? Would he still show the same zeal for Gods kingdom if nobody in his church made any financial contributions and he had to stand by and watch the entire local church fall apart? Theyd have to sell the building, retrench the salaried staff, sell off their audio visual equipment, etc. and get back to the place where they met simply in homes, like people did in the first century church. The very thought of this would probably give most people who love their local church a few nightmares. Some of the people who dont pay their Pastors a salary might probably be smiling at this point, thinking themselves to be exempt from this issue. The sad news is that even though their Pastor or preacher isnt getting paid for their service, unfortunately they are still preventing every member of the body from functioning the way God had intended His church to function, by standing at the head of the church week after week while their congregation gets to stay warm and comfortable in the pews. But lets put all this aside for a moment and ask the question again: If we were to cease receiving money for spreading the good news, would our motives for ministering the gospel remain the same? If church leaders really had any confidence in the message they were preaching and were confident that they were making disciples and empowering other believers to become teachers and ministers themselves, why don't they give other people in their congregation the opportunity to teach and preach from their pulpit as well? A noteworthy phenomenon is that even when some of the other appointed elders in the congregation (other than the "senior pastor") starts being given the privilege to preach, the frequency at which they preach is still governed in such a way that the "senior pastor" still preaches enough to justify earning his salary. It's true that trust and responsibility is something which is earned over time, but if the system were actually set up in such a way that it was based on relationships and not on money, then there would have been no need for believers to "earn" trust before they could function as teachers or leaders. They would simply have slotted themselves into that function within the community of believers where they were fellowshipping through the way in which they conducted themselves. The way in which the current church system functions however, shows a greater resemblance to a business model with paid employees than it does to a living, breathing organism.

So Who Gets To Be On The Payroll? So we have established that there definitely exists a precedent for people to be paid for ministering the gospel. However in light of all weve discussed above, lets try and narrow down the list of people who would actually be eligible to receive financial support, following the Biblical example of the first century church. Heres a list of criteria that needs to be met: 1) They need to be preaching the gospel

Right there nearly 90% of people in full time ministry are disqualified, since the volatile mixture of Old Covenant Law and New Covenant Grace coming from the pulpits do not amount to the gospel that the New Testament ministers lay their lives down for. The good news of Gods unconditional love and the finished work of the cross is preached with a subtle amount of condemnation mixed in, creating a poisonous brew that tastes good initially, but causes insecurity and immaturity in the body of Christ. 2) They are nomadic Against the backdrop of a church that is experiencing true body life, where each members opinion is considered to be valuable and every person is encouraged to contribute to the gatherings and bring their individual giftings and flavor of life to the table, there exists no scope for single person to dictate the meetings. Thus the idea of a formally appointed, paid leader to govern the regular assemblies does not have a basis in scripture. We do however find more than scant evidence of the early churches sending support to Paul and his traveling companions. They came in and spent some time at the churches in the different cities, exhorting, teaching and ministering to them (sometimes even for considerable periods - but never with the intention of staying permanently) and then departing again to allow the church to return to its every-member-functioning ways once more. 3) An exception to the rule The only way that a stationary minister of the gospel could justify being supported, would be if they had local people gathering in an every-member-functioning setting and were training them to be competent ministers themselves. They would be pouring themselves into the lives of those they were discipling on a daily basis, teaching them the principles of the kingdom and walking them toward the road of maturity by being living examples of what they were propagating. They would not shy away from allowing everybody to contribute during their meetings, since that would actually be their main goal: To present unto Christ a mature bride. The difficulty in finding people to support somebody in a role like this is of course overwhelming. The relationship between the person who ministers (lets call him a local apostle for arguments sake) and the people who support him would need to be based on love, care, sincerity and be manipulation-free. The local apostle would also understand that he would only be able to equip these people for a certain period of time before releasing them and moving on to another group of people, in order not to keep them dependent on his giftings and preventing them from starting to step out themselves. The local apostle might in some cases find that his previous disciples are willing to support him in his future endeavors, but it would all need to be on the basis of love and respect earned over a period of time. Since the issue of money is such a controversial one and the majority of money collected by secular churches is taken in the form of tithes, lets take a more detailed look at some interesting facts regarding the issue of tithing.

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The Sacred Cow of Tithing


Under the Old Testament temple system, Israel never had to bring money to the temple it was always ten percent of their produce or animals. This was done so that the Levitical priests who conducted temple service could have food to eat. The following portion of scripture sheds a very interesting light on the subject: You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire - oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. (Deut 14:22-26 ESV) At the end of every year the people had to take ten percent of their produce and consume it upon themselves - God even commanded them to go and buy alcohol to add to the festivities! Its questionable if any pastor has ever preached this portion of scripture in their church before. Then at the end of every third year Israel had to look after the Levites: And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do. (Deut 14:27-29 ESV) It would be interesting to see how many pastors would be happy if their congregation only tithed every third year We also need to remember that the Old Testament temple system formed part of the Old Covenant Law, a covenant which God had made with Israel. Jesus alluded to the fact that He would instate a new temple order with His death on the cross when He said in John 2:19 - Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. He was referring to His own body in this instance of course, but in 70AD Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire and with it the temple as well.

The new temple order that would be established by Jesus was to be a living, breathing organism. God wanted to get people out of buildings and into the world and not have them design an even fancier temple system in its place! To get back to the issue of tithing, since the Old Testament temple system has been replaced by a new one where people are Gods temples, then strictly speaking there are even greater grounds for believers to consume their tithes on themselves. Many people would be off far better if they simply tithed to themselves so that they could stop being a burden to others. There is nothing wrong with being generous and in heaps of cases it would actually liberate people from a lot of religious condemnation and guilt to be more generous towards themselves at times. Jesus said Love your neighbor as you love yourself - how much do we love ourselves if we never take some time or some money to spoil ourselves a little? At this point some people may be so offended at the last statement that theyd want to scream! Thats normally what happens when truth exposes religious strongholds in our minds: we tend to get angry or offended. But think for a moment about all the church meetings where we have been spoon fed by the guy upfront that we have to give money to his establishment. Week after week our minds have been trained that its the right thing to do, without anybody ever telling us otherwise. Well the BIBLE just showed us otherwise - guess who needs to change their minds about this issue?

Abraham By far the greatest argument in favor of the tithe, even in the circles where grace and New Covenant theology is preached, is the fact that Abraham tithed before the law was given to Israel and that because of this, Abrahams example ought to be followed by us as New Covenant believers today. Well here are the facts: 1) Circumcision and burnt offerings were also around before the law, so does this mean we ought to still be doing this as well? 2) There was only one recorded event of Abraham ever tithing, so what does this mean for the churches where the offering plate is passed around every Sunday? 3) Abraham gave ten percent of the spoils he had captured during a war, not from his own possessions. (Gen 14:16 & 20). He later also gave the remaining ninety percent of the spoils back to the king of Sodom (Gen 14:21-24). So Abraham kept nothing back for himself! 4) If Abrahams example is a command for Christians to give 10% to God, then his example should also be imitated by giving the remaining 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom. 5) Abraham gave the tithe to the high Priest, Melchizedek, who according to most Bible scholars represented Jesus (see Hebrews 7). So if Abrahams example were to be followed, then Jesus Himself would have to come and meet us in the street with bread

and wine and we would give Him ten percent of the loot we had just recovered from some battle we had fought. 6) Abrahams tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible in a manner that endorses tithing, not even in the Heb 7 scriptures. Thus, even if we followed Abrahams example by the book, we would still not be giving the money to a church establishment.

The Malachi 3 Manipulation Method Teaching people to tithe out of Malachi 3 is Old Covenant Law! Remember that the entire Bible was written for us, but not everything in the Bible was written directly to us. This section of the prophetic book of Malachi was written specifically to the priests of the nation of Israel who were still living under the Old Covenant Law and had at the time turned away from God. And now, O priests, this command is for you. (Mal 2:1 MKJV) We shouldnt read what it doesnt say! The following is a short extract from Matthew Henrys Concise Commentary on the Book of Malachi: Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets, and is supposed to have prophesied B.C. 420. He reproves the priests and the people for the evil practices into which they had fallen, and invites them to repentance and reformation, with promises of the blessings to be bestowed at the coming of the Messiah. Malachi was rebuking the nation of Israel for forsaking God and not keeping the Law of Moses, which included tithing. And what were the results of breaking these laws? Curse upon curse (see Deuteronomy 28:15 onwards). But we know that we are not under the Law of Moses and its curses anymore, because Christ became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Lets take a quick look at probably the most abused verses in the entire Bible: Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, In what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:8-11 NKJV) Here are some good reasons why this passage of scripture cannot be used to motivate people to tithe: 1) Under the New Covenant Jesus Christ became a curse for us so that we would never have to bear any of the curses for disobeying the Old Covenant Laws, including tithing:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone having been hanged on a tree). (Gal 3:13 NKJV) So if God now wanted to curse us for not paying tithes it would mean He that He has to go against what Jesus accomplished at the cross, which implies that Gods Kingdom is divided. 2) Gods blessings in the New Covenant (after the cross) are not dependent on our knack to impress Him with our law keeping, in this case, our ability to give money. If we really had to sow money to receive Gods blessings, it wouldnt be called grace anymore, would it? Because the beauty of grace is in the fact that it took everything we deserved (punishment for sin) and placed it on Jesus and that it freely gave us everything which we didnt deserve, namely love, forgiveness, blessings, salvation, healing, finances, etc. So by now teaching people that they need to tithe first in order for God to bless them, is essentially throwing Gods free gift back into His face and opting to buy it from Him instead. The Levitical priests, who had no share in the inheritance of the land of Canaan, survived from the food that the other tribes of Israel brought to the temple. This entire system of Old Covenant priesthood was done away with at the cross, allowing every believer who walks the earth to become a priest who can minister directly unto God (1 Pet 2:9). Therefore the tithing system, which essentially existed to sustain the Old priesthood order, ended at the cross as well. And even if it still existed, the tithes would need to be in the form of food. Not once in the entire New Covenant do we see that Christians were instructed to tithe. Not once do we see them having to contribute towards maintaining glamorous buildings or towards the paychecks of full time, local preachers. Instead they had their gifts distributed among the poor, the widows, the orphans and the roaming, church planting elders according to the mind-set modeled by Paul: Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7 WEB)

thought that only ridding the message from sacred customs was important, but that the other traditions within the system were acceptable. The way how the church meetings had been reduced to one or a few people ruling over the rest with an invisible iron fist and even getting paid for it didnt seem to bother them. In todays modern secular church we are still stuck with the remnants of the worldly leadership structures that originated during the second to third centuries after Christ, when offices and formal titles were introduced into the body of Christ. It was the instatement of the ceremonial office of Bishop that started this downward trend, with a single Bishop eventually being appointed to lord and rule over each individual church. Of course with Christianity being the state religion of Rome at the time (thanks to Constantine), the Bishops later became powerful political figures within society to the degree that they were placed almost above reproach. Whenever a Bishop was accused of a crime, he was not allowed to be judged in a normal court but was referred to a specially assigned court for Bishops. As the Bishops grew in power and became more involved in government and political affairs, their day to day involvement in church services were taken over by specially assigned local priests, known as presbyters. The chief Bishop also eventually became the first Pope. These local priests then lorded over the churches for several centuries, ensuring that the ceremonies and rituals were faithfully adhered to. That was until Martin Luther and John Calvin appeared on the scene. They rebelled against the oppressive religious system of their time, challenging the domineering belief systems and doctrines, but unfortunately doing nothing about the false system of control which had the church gripped by the throat. Luther did much to advance the restoration of the gospel of righteousness through faith and shook his fist at the overbearing Catholic practices, yet continued to enforce it, howbeit in a different form - he insisted that lecture-style preaching during church meetings was unquestionably central to the Christian faith and that it could only be conducted by a formally qualified, specially appointed (ordained) minister. A Biblical church gathering in his view was a bunch of Christians who got together to listen to a sermon. Calvin did not like the term priest and instead replaced it with Pastor. He stated that The pastoral office is necessary to preserve the church on earth in a greater way than the sun, food and drink are necessary to nourish and sustain the present life. So the Reformers did well in opposing the religious doctrines of the dark ages, but passed the Roman Catholic division between clergy and laity straight into the Protestant movement. Every person was now allowed to minister as a priest unto God, but not every person could be trusted to minister as a priest unto other people. Frank Viola, in his ground breaking book Pagan Christianity, states: The rallying cry of the Reformation was the restoration of the priesthood of all believers. However, this restoration was only partial. Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli affirmed the believing priesthood with respect to one's individual relationship to God. They rightly taught that every Christian has direct access to God without the need of a human mediator. This was a wonderful restoration. But it was one-sided. What the Reformers failed to do was to

recover the corporate dimension of the believing priesthood. They restored the doctrine of the believing priesthood soteriologically - i.e., as it related to salvation. But they failed to restore it ecclesiologically - i.e., as it related to the church. While the Reformers opposed the pope and his religious hierarchy, they still held to the narrow view of ministry that they inherited. They believed that "ministry" was an institution that was closeted among the few who were "called" and "ordained."' Thus the Reformers still affirmed the clergy-laity split. Only in their rhetoric did they state that all believers were priests and ministers. In their practice they denied it. So after the smoke cleared from the Reformation, we ended up with the same thing that the Catholics gave us - a selective priesthood! It is the desire of the Holy Spirit to be able to express Himself fully through every believer, not just through one person standing in the place of Christ at the head of the body. A real spiritual leader will connect the members of the body to the Head, Jesus Christ, and not to himself. This does not entail training up an elite group of members in the form of a special task force, called a leadership team; a group that will simply continue repeating the same folly of endorsing separation between clergy and laity. In todays secular church setting it doesn't matter how hard the local leader or Pastor tries to "get out of the way" to allow Jesus to take up His place as the head of His Church. The Pastor can have the purest intentions and even pass the microphone to others to share a few words during the meetings, but in the end he still decides when the meeting is over, where the church is headed (being the official carrier of the "vision") and who gets "promoted" to official positions of leadership within the church. The system does not allow the Pastor to completely get out of the way and let Christ alone be the head of His church. The Pastor is kind of stuck where is his, despite his very best intentions. So today we have well meaning, good hearted Pastors who faithfully perform their duties within this religious system, who sincerely want their congregations to mature and become ministers themselves, but are severely limited and even opposed by the system of control which they find themselves in. If a Pastor were to really train people to teach and minister in the way that he himself does, these trainees would soon become a threat to his monthly paycheck. Heres why: If every person in that congregation could eventually mature to the point where they are able bodied ministers, skilled in the Word, flowing in power and the gifts of the Spirit, why would they still need to pay someone to do all this stuff for them?

Natural Leaders In a natural locale where no person is regarded as more important than the other, where every person is esteemed, leaders will naturally emerge without ever having to be appointed in a formal capacity. People will regard someone as a prophet by the prophesies they bring or as a shepherd by the way they protect their brothers and sisters. In this setting it becomes rather meaningless having to officially employ someone to preach the gospel since every member is a functioning, contributing part of the body. Having to sit down passively to listen to a prepared sermon would actually be more a

hindrance to experience body life between believers than it would be a blessing. Restricting the Holy Spirit to showing Himself strong through only one person during our gatherings puts a hyper-charged, mountain-sized disc brake on the diversity of ways that He can manifest Himself through the group. The Every-Member-Functioning Body It is vital to understand that life within the body of Christ can only find its purest and most effective expression when every member functions in the way it was designed to. Firstly we need to understand that life outside of the body is empty, lonely and pretty hard. In fact, its unnatural. The human body was designed with a hand for example fixed onto the end of an arm. The hand was not designed to float above the head, disjoined from the body itself. The body was also not designed with just one member doing all the work. How long would our bodies survive if only our left leg functioned? If the eyes, nose, ears, arms or any other parts stopped functioning, the body would become very limited in what it could do. If some of the internal organs stopped functioning, the body would soon lapse into a serious ailment and possibly even death. Christ, the Head of His Body There was a specific reason why scripture used the analogy of Christ being the head of His Body, namely the church. It was so that we could have a clear understanding of how Christ wanted to relate to His Body. The head of a body is solely responsible for carrying the vision, the functioning and the direction of the body. All the decision making occurs in the head and is then directly communicated to the individual parts. There is no other part of the body that can act as a go-between or a relay to convey information between the head and the body. That role is reserved for the head alone. Each and every part of the body also has a nerve that allows it to directly communicate with the head. There is no other body part that serves the function of interpreting what it thinks the head is trying to say to the other parts. The head communicates its commands directly to each and every individual part, but also to the body as a whole. It is superior in assessing the needs of each individual member and providing whatever that member needs, while at the same time judging its surroundings and being able to have several body members join forces to implement certain actions that would benefit the entire body. There is no other single member in the body that can execute this with the same degree of precision and efficiency than the head itself. Its actually a wonder in itself that the Body of Christ has been able to survive for this long, most likely only because God loves us so much. Had it not been for the continued efforts of the Holy Spirit, this usurping, illegal, rogue system of control would have suffocated the Body long ago. Generally speaking, the leadership structure and the way that church services are conducted (get it? they are conducted!) in todays secular church world portrays the

Body of Christ to be a mouth that has grown out of proportion. There is a massive pair of lips standing at the front of an ocean of ears. Top and Bottom Opposition Two of the main reasons why there is so much resistance against ridding the church of this top heavy, one man show structure is the opposition from those at the top, but surprisingly also from those sitting in the pews: 1) Those at the top would be out of a job if all the members were to start functioning as they were supposed to. So these managers need to protect their businesses (and subsequently also their main source of income) by ensuring that the current state of affairs continue in the same manner that it has for the last few centuries. Even though this statement might be insensitive and not portray what their hearts reflect (they might think they are Gods appointed shepherds, selected to oversee His church), they are mostly blinded by the centuries of traditions of the leaders before them and have opted to continue doing things the way they have been taught and shown by their predecessors, without delving into the history behind the mold of the church system. Preachers are generally far more concerned with what they preach than with the system within which they preach. 2) The pew sitters are commonly against the idea of changing the current system since it would mean that they would actually need to start taking responsibility for hearing from God themselves, for stepping out and healing the sick, for casting out devils and operating in the gifts of the Spirit. Previously the mentality was that they could simply lure the sick or unsaved person to their church meeting and their Pastor would take care of the rest. All of that would now change if they didnt have an educated, formally ordained, full time person who had to take up all the responsibility on their behalf. The first century church meetings were a different kettle of fish. In the Corinthian church for example their meetings brimmed over with excitement, love, spontaneous singing, prophesies and interpretations, with just about everybody teaching and exhorting each other. So great was their enthusiasm that Paul the Apostle had to lay down some guidelines for them to be able to conduct their meetings in an edifying manner: Then how is it, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be for building up. (1 Cor 14:26 MKJV, emphasis added) Note that he didnt discourage them from letting everybody contribute; he merely advised them how to do it in a less chaotic fashion for the sake of the newcomers and the unbelievers who were attending their meetings. Paul was merely channeling their energy! If one speaks in a language, let it be by two, or at the most three, and in succession. And let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in a church; and let him speak to himself and to God. And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge. If a revelation

is revealed to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:27-33 MKJV, emphasis added) He spoke along the same lines to the Ephesians: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16 ESV, emphasis added) But instead the modern day pews keep filling up, adding to the proliferation of a powerless generation of believers who are accustomed to watching the Pastor or the ministry team heal the sick and cast out devils, or in some places where the jam-packed program permits, a bold enough pew sitter is allowed to come forward and give a prophetic word or two. Lets ask some tough questions again: If all of us are part of the Royal Priesthood of believers and are all considered to be Gods holy nation, then why are we paying some of the Royal Priests to preach the gospel on our behalf? But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Pet 2:9 MKJV) If all of us are competent ministers of life, carrying within us the burning flame of the good news of the New Covenant and of Gods love for us, why does only one person get to share this good news regularly within a formal setting while the rest has to passively sit down and listen to them? who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. (2Co 3:6a ESV, emphasis added) If all of us have the same measure of Christs gift of grace (remember it was given to us according to HIS measure, which means weve been given the full measure), then why do only an elect few get to exhibit it when we get together in the name of the Lord? But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. (Eph 4:7 ESV, emphasis added)