Walking The Tightrope


Being a fundamentalist today is like walking a tightrope. You’ve got to make it past Lordship Salvation without getting wrapped up in it.. You’ve got to make sure you’re a dispensationalist. You’ve got to avoid Ruckmanism/Pearlism/Hyles-ism/ Riplinger-ism. You’ve got to avoid THeological liberalism.

Every teaching tool you turn to, you’ve got to be careful. Many commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, harmonies, teaching tools of all kinds, are written by theological liberals.

Logos is the most serious Bible study tool I’ve ever owned. But I’ve got to wade through interviews of people who’ve uncovered “Startling new discoveries on salvation” on the homepage – and what it boils down to is, it’s a heretic with a new book Logos is triyng to sell. Logos runs it by their resident scholars, who are theological liberals, and they see nothing wrong with it, because they don’t believe ether.

Accordance is written by a woman who’s devised a great study tool, but it’s clear from her blog entries on the Accordance web site that she too is caught up in THeological Liberalism.

Bound up in ALL of this is CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Roman Catholicism, because all Christian denominations should be one and united, despite serious doctrinal error and the basic facts that most people who claim to be Christian are not saved.

We need to be TOGETHER, and UNITED! It would be RUDE to tell someone who believes in Salvation by works that they’re hellbound! Why, it might make them feel bad!

“What about the eternity in hellfire part?”

“That’s not my responsibility.”

It IS your responsibility. If you partner with some theological liberal and don’t bother to tell him he’s hellbound, what will you say to him at the Great White Throne judgment when he says, “Why didn’t you say something?” Yes, you’re going into heaven. But he’s going to Hell. I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that the resident scholar at Logos is not going to be with me in Heaven, but will be screaming in torments forever, in the lake of fire. So much so, that when his materials are free giveaways by Logos, when his classes are avialable, I avoid them like the plague. The same goes for NT Wright, and this new guy that looks so grim when he talks about his new discoveries about salvation being works oriented. The same goes for David Stern, the mis-translator and author of the Jewish New Testament translation. And CS Lewis. Etc.

I can understand why many IFB just lock themselves away with their King James and plug their ears. I’ve been tempted to do that myself. But I’m learning HUGE amounts about the Bible.

THe single hardest thing for me is, staying away from other translations, to stay away from other denominations. Wow, it would be GREAT to stop fighting, to stop swimming against the current. But we’re in the middle of the great falling away, the great apostasy. To give in is to join up, to help establish the wordwide faith that will help the Antichrist move into power. And I don’t want my eternity in heaven to be tainted with the knowledge that because I gave up, because I stopped fighting, I helped establish the Antichrist.

WAAAY too many people are going to have their eternity tempered with that realization. Way too many.

Don’t you be one of them.

How to find a Biblical Church


How to find a Biblical church.

In today’s world, finding a Biblical church sooner or later is going to become a necessity. The church you’re in right now probably has plans to turn into something that’s not a church, if they haven’t already.

The first thing you should ALWAYS do is ask to see the statement of faith. If they don’t have one on the website, be worried. A statement of faith nowadays has to be incredibly long, not a short little three paragraph thing.

  • What’s their stand on the Bible? Any Bible? The Message? Do they believe the Bible was inerrant and Inspired ONLY in the original manuscripts, or do they believe the one in your hands is inerrant and inspired?
  • What’s their stand on Salvation? I ask this becase literally, the most popular and famous Christian writer today – N. T. Wright – is preaching heresy, and so many Christians are dazzled by his writings that they’re not stopping to say “wait a minute…” Does this church believe salvation is a free gift of God and not of works, in accord with Eph. 2:8-9? Don’t assume they believe a Biblical message of salvation. If their altar call doesn’t mention Repentance… worry about it.
  • Do they baptize by immersion? If they teach baptism is not for today, avoid that church. I mentioned Jason Cooley a couple of times on this blog until I realized that was his stance, and now I reccommend people avoid him. If they offer you a choice, or baptize infants, leave that church.
  • Does it feel like a house of God, or a rock concert? I strongly feel that churches should play doctrinally strong hymns and not rock music for the service. While there are strong arguments for and against Christian contemprary music, there’s one thing you cannot deny – once a church makes a move for including modern music in its service, the doctrinal positions soon change. That’s not even a 70% type of statistic from what I’ve seen, that’s a 100% statistic. That alnoe should make you nervous. find me one church with a drummer, a bass player, and guitar solos that preaches the wrath of God against sinners and a literal eternity in burning fire and torment for anyone who is not born again. You can’t play half the service of universalist man-centered music and then preach a God centered message – it won’t last that way for long.
  • Do they preach a literal eternity in a fiery Hell for any who are not saved?
  • Do they accept EVERYONE who names the name of Christ as saved, despite evidence to the contrary?
  • Are the Deacons saved? Big question.
  • Are the walls painted black in the sanctuary? Really. I’m not kidding. There are several churches in my town whose walls are painted black, so that the light show works better.
  • Do they preach the whole word of God?
  • Do they make their doctrines based upon emotions, feelings, and what’s pleasing to the flesh – or do they base their doctrinal stand upon the Bible? THat’s a strong question nowadays. Believe it or not, David Cloud’s latest book makes the charge that Southern Baptists respond institutionally more by emotions than the word of God – and I can’t refute that.
  • Do they join hands with those who take unBiblical doctrines, or do they advocate Biblical separation from those in error?
  • Do they preach a Biblical pre-tribulation rapture, or do they assume somehow that there won’t be a rapture, or that “The Church” must go through part of or all of the Rapture? This is a big issue. Like the contemporary music issue, it’s the tip of the iceberg that something is wrong.

Okay, now let’s examine the other side of the issue.

  • Does the congregation look like they’re afraid to raise their eyes to look at the pastor?
  • If you try talking to someone before the service, do they cast a fearful eye at the pastor first before answering you?
  • Do the congregation member’s eyes pass by you as if you don’t exist? I learned in seminary that “As the congregation is, so is the Pastor first.” If the congregation ignores you, so wil the pastor.
  • Do they kick the homeless and needy out of the church – or does the Deacon pull them aside and give them money so they can get some real food? Big issue for me. I saw the Deacon in my old church pull a homeless man who was begging during the service out of the sancutary – and then empty his wallet into the man’s hands. That deacon remains my hero, dsepite my leaving that church. By the way, that Deacon was a military retiree, on a fixed income.
  • Is there a constant theme of, “you’re not getting this kind of Biblical truth anywhere else!”
  • Does the church have pictures of Jack Hyles or Peter Ruckman prominantly displayed?

As we get farther and farther into the age of apostasy, it’s getting harder and harder to look for a Biblical church. So many churches are starting to remove denominational names from their church name (Baptist is not a denomination, but you know what I mean). And some are even removing the word “Church” from the name.

If they’re taking the word Church from the name… it’s a hint.

Use of the word Pharisee


I constantly encounter the word Pharisee by Christians, mostly Evangelicals. Recently, I encountered a hyper-grace believer on this blog, who was quick to try to subtly worm her way in by asking questions, subtly finding a way to slam Fundamentalists, and seized on that as a chance to argue with me that I was a Pharisee, full of works, because I wrote about… repentance and prayer.

Okay, Let me translate the word Pharisee for my Gentile readers, and let’s see if you understand how that word sits in my ears.

“Fundamentalist narrow minded Pharisee!”

In my ears means, “You Bible believing Jew!”

Jew.

You know, It’s been many years since I was called “Jew Boy” in school. Anti-Semitism still reigns in today’s society. Obama’s America in the last years of the reign of his regime had institutionalized Jew Hating. Schools of higher education were encouraged to be racist – against Jews. They used phrases to disguise it – “Divestiture”, “Censure”, “Israel”.

What it amounted to is that America has become increasingly intolerant, in the name of tolerance.

It’s bad enough I have to endure that from the unsaved, but to have my Christian brothers and sisters routinely engage in antisemitism is too much.

When you call someone Pharisee, understand this – you are being a racist. You are being a bigot. You are being an anti-Semite. You’re being a Jew Hater.

in 2008, one night late at night, while reading a book by John MacArthur and searching for the truth, I broke under the weight of my guilt over sin, and I cried out to God to save me from Hell. I called upon Jesus Christ in desperate need, and He answered. At that moment, my heritage ceased to be of importance. yet it’s thrown in my face over and over again.

We as Christians should not be racist. You should not say hurtful words. Don’t you think, if you call someone a Pharisee, you might have to explain that to Jesus Christ? When God says Israel is the apple of His eye, don’t you think you might want to be cautious about that?

When God says those who bless the seed of Abraham shall be blessed and those who curse Abraham’s seed will be cursed… you might want to be more careful?

You Gentiles reading this, understand this – you are a wild olive branch, grafted onto the vine of Israel. You’re joined into the vine along with me. We’re together. You have to live in the same place I do – forever, and ever, and ever.

Christians as a whole have examined their racism, realized its a sin, and repented of it. Except where the Jew is concerned. You look at someone who embraces the Bible as God’s instructions, and you snarl, “Jew!”

You say “Pharisee”, but I hear “Jew.” And it’s right back to 6th grade, and people shouting Jew Boy, and doing the Sieg Heil salute in my face, and shouting “Heil Hitler” as they spit on me.

I’ve gotten over that – certainly 6th Grade was a long time ago. But that feeling comes back when I hear Christians say, “Pharisee”.

To explain it, the Sadducee party disappeared in AD 70 with the destruction of the Temple. The only group to survive was the Pharisees. Jews today are the heirs of the Pharisees, and certainly it took a long time to break free of the mindset of the Chassidic teachings I’d learned, the Orthodox lifestyle. Seriously, it took a long time for me to be able to cut my fingernails without water nearby (if you don’t understand that, it’ll take too long to explain).

If you want to call me Fundamentalist, that’s fine. If you want to call me a literalist, someone who believes the Bible literally, that’s great! If you think I’m self-righteous, say that!

But anti-Semitism should NEVER be in the mouths of Christians. NEVER. If you harbor any anti-Semitic thoughts, pray about them. It’s like all sins we struggle with.

Don’t ever call anyone a Pharisee ever again.

Being a Pastor 7 – Preaching


Let’s move on to some of the more serious elements of being a pastor.

The primary job of the pastor is this – feed my sheep.

Something to remember – the congregation is composed of people just like you. There’s no distinction between “Clergy” and “Laity” in the Bible.

Everyone in your future church has the same sin issues you do. At any point in time, at least a quarter of any given local church will be in a state of backsliding to some degree or another. And any given message you preach, if it’s Biblical, is going to offend someone.

I would try this – be honest with your congregation but not in a mocking or cocky way. Honest, and with humility, remind people that preaching the Bible requires stepping on toes.

“One of the hard things about preaching, is that often some of us are struggling with the flesh. Our Old Man rises up in us routinely. There’s only two states a Christian has – when you know the Old Man has risen up, and when you don’t know the Old Man has risen up. And sometimes it will seem like I’m preaching to you directly. I’m not – God just delivers a message home without me.”

That had an ABC structure, and it was honest. A. We struggle with our flesh. B. It’s part of the regular Christian life, for ALL CHRISTIANS. C. God is the one who convicts.

Honesty will go a long way with your congregations.

There’s a funny phenomenon I’ve noticed. Most Pastors think “Preacher manner” is to… um… become effeminate in the pulpit. Our voices raise and soften, our gesture minimize, for fear of frightening our congregations. Many preachers micro-shrug when they preach, not knowing that’s perceived subconsciously as lying. Believe it or not, this softening of your mannerisms does not convey a message of caring to the congregation, but rather one of weakness.

Independent Baptist Pastors, on the other hand… tend to macho up.

Try this. Be strong. Be unassuming. Be Humble.

WHo’s got good preaching manner? Johnny Mac is good. john Macarthur spends much of his time breaking every rule about preaching. He’s looking at his pulpit most of the time. He doesn’t pace, he doesn’t even move. But he’s… strong in mannerism,

Danny Castle is a… wow. I could never be Danny Castle. Man, he gets FIRED UP when he preaches! If that’s you naturally, go for it. If it’s not… don’t affect it!

Be bold, but not cocky. You are preaching the word of God and it is never something to apologize for. When you get up there, and your hand has the fingers slightly curled as you gently wave it from the pulpit, you’re softening the message, believe it or not! You don’t have to pound your pulpit, you don’t have to do the “Kararte chop” for emphasis, but understand…. what you do physically is recieved louder by the congregation than what you actually say!

So… preach in front of a mirror while you’re in the first month of Seminary. Or video tape it, and ask someone to critique it for you.

Okay, let’s work on tone of voice. Your preaching tone of voice literally should be the same pitch as your speaking tone of voice. Don’t raise it in pitch to project.

Here’s something I haven’t heard anywhere else, but it’s true. Lower frequencies require twice the db to be as loud as higher frequencies. Most people raise their voice in pitch to shout or be heard. Far better to make sure your church as a good PA system, and not an old Fender 4 channel 100-watt PA system from 1974.

Instead, consciously practice preaching in the same key as your speaking voice… but a little louder. Let the PA do the work. I preached one sermon where the microphone I was wearing had dying batteries. As the sermon went on, my voice was getting quieter. So, I began projecting louder.

Here’s the question… how do you develop a louder voice? The answer is quite simple, and I learned it by accident. When I was 9, my mother bought a book at the grocery store about a boy in Spain who was learning to free-dive for pearls. So he practiced filling his lungs with air, every day – and holding them.

So, being a 9 year old boy, I’d walk around, doing just that. My speaking voice projects… well… way too loud. When I cough, apparently I’m deafening. And my cat runs away from me.

Let’s get to the last part. DON’T SLOUCH. Impossible to get good voice tone (it’s called timbre, by the way – pronounce that word TAMBER, not TIMBER), and it leads to the impression you’re not exactly sure. Stand up on your feet, chest out when you preach! You want to project the impression you are CONFIDENT. TRy to find some of those old public speaking films from the 1950’s, and notice the posture they want you to take (they were usually made by AFI – American Films… And were usually horrible!). Yes, they’re on the internet for free.

Okay, there you go. Starter notes on preaching. tomorrow, I’ll start on how to write a sermon.

preaching

 

Being a Pastor 5 and Being a Christian – Bible Study 1


I’m writing this one as a combination of both series at once, trying to save on repetitious reading, because probably the non-ministry types (both of you – I say this tongue in cheek because every Christian is called to ministry in some way – but I’m referring to preaching ministry when I say “Ministry”) are reading these too.

Okay, we’re going to detail how to do the Bible study. I’ve done this several times in the past, but now i’d like firm commitments between you and God that you’re going to do this. Just leave a comment saying, “I started!”

First, you need to set up a Bible reading plan in your software, or on your calendar. This year, we’re doing the one I wrote about of Old Testament in the year, and New Testament Twice. It’s not too late to join in, you just need a week of massive reading to get caught up. At the time I’m writing this, I’m at Jacob’s life story in Genesis. You’ll just have to read 30 chapters or so of Genesis and about 8 chapters of Matthew to get caught up.

If you’re doing the manual study with Bible and notebook, you’ll need certain tools. A Bible atlas, a concordance, a book of cross references, and a Bible Dictionary. I’d prefer you have a topical Bible too. It seems like whenever I’m reading these articles by other people, how FEW of them tell you to have a Topical Bible! Well, let’s say you’re in Genesis, and you want to look up wells. You can look them up in Strong’s – but let’s not forget, the Bible uses terms that would have made sense to people living in Israel. Some wells are mentioned by name, and not just by “The well”. So, a concordance would’nt llist Beersheba – even though that’s a town built around seven wells. References to Beersheba can be to the town, the people there, or the wells themselves. Topical Bibles will contain that information.

You need…

  • King James Study Bible
  • Strong’s Concordance
  • Nave’s topical Bible
  • Torrey’s Topical Bible
  • Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
  • Webster’s 1828
  • King James Interlinear
  • Vine’s
  • A notebook
  • Bible marking pens
  • A good pen for writing in your notebook – I’m a huge fan of Tul pens, pronounced Tool (Tul owners often call themselves Tul users!)
  • A good Dispensational Commentary. One of the best is Bible Knowledge Commentary by John Walvoord.

I’ve listed severeal Bible programs if you prefer to do it that way – the ONLY condition is, you MUST be able to do Bible study without distraction. If using a computer distracts you into checking your email, local news, the scores of the New York Whatevers… then close the computer, get all the books I listed off of the bookshelf, sit down in a room with the door closed, and open your Bible.

If, on the other hand, you can use some discipline to study on your computer (David Cloud says he can’t – I can. Different for every person), then get whatever Bible software you prefer for free. My wife actually got rid of Wordsearch recently, as it seems to be in terminal crash mode. She now uses Bible Gateway, which is a good method of study. And free.

I’ll repeat this – if you are in some kind of apologetic or preaching/Teaching ministry, whether live or blogging – you MUST get one of the more serious Bible programs – Bibleworks, Accordance or Logos. I don’t personally recommend Bibleworks, as it’s lacking in many of the library books you need – but if you’re willing to use two programs or a Bible program and lots of hardcover books (that’s what they recommend), you may like it. I personally like to have all my materials in one program.

You need a study notefile. Every Bible software has a way to do this. Just Title it “Bible Study 2017” or whatever you personally call it. It’s called Notes in Logos. Just create a new Notes fiel from the Documents menu.

  • Make sure you make at least ONE note a day on your reading from the Old Testament, and one from the New.
  • If you read the Bible with the intensity of wanting to highlight something every day, and making a note on something every day, you’re studying right.
  • You MUST open a Bible atlas once a day. How far from Gezer to Beersheba? What’s the southernmost town in Israel? Where is Sardis? Is Jericho UP or DOWN from Jerusalem? Make notes on it. Not important? It really highlights why Isaac was so self righteous over the well incident. Count how many miles Abimelech’s men pushed Isaac.
  • You must look up at least two words a day. Don’t assume you know what the words mean. You can look them up in the original languages (DO NOT DO STRONG’S WORD STUDIES IN GREEK OR HEBREW UNLESS YOU KNOW THOSE LANGUAGES! DANGER DANGER DANGER!!!!!), or in Webster’s 1828. Logos does not have Webster’s, unless you build it as a personal book – if you do, complete with headwords, then I want a copy please! If you are using a program that doesn’t have the Websters 1828, then you will probably need to open a program that does have it (such as Swordsearcher, KIng James Pure Bible Search, or Bible Analyzer).
  • You must highlight one verse per chapter.
  • If you’re doing the so-called “Inductive Bible Study” in either Logos or Accordance or your hardcover Bible, that’s great… make extensive notes on what symbols you are using, so you don’t get confused. You can download a PDF of suggested symbols from Precept Ministries. If you’re doing the hardcover method instead of software, print out the PDF from Precept and keep it in your Bible.

Questions!

  • What is the point or theme of this passage?
  • Is there divisions in this passage? Write the outline.
  • What other passages in the Bible speak on this topic? (hint – TSK or Topical Bible)
  • Is there any helpful insight commentators have given? (I’ve found some good in commentaries, and I’ve found utter rot in commentaries. Buyer beware.)

This is really enough for one year. If you do this briefly every day, you’ll make huge inroads. If you do a little bit here and a little bit there, you’ll gain Bible knowledge a little here and a little there. Better not to study at all, if that’s the case. Every Christian owes it to themselves to do this kind of study.

Tim LaHeye says that 15 minutes a day of study is MINIMUM, in addition to devotional reading.

Let’s get started!

Being A Pastor 4


I’ve just gone through Thingamablog on my computer, looking to see if I’ve ever written an exhaustive list of the rules of Hermeneutics. To my surprise, I’ve got several articles where I list some parts, and some articles where I list other parts.

Let’s go through the list!

  1. Treat every verse as literal unless the passage says otherwise. Don’t assume, as some do, that “like unto” is telling you its figurative – it’s figurative if the passage tells you shortly that someone is to give the understanding of it. Compare Daniel and the he-goats, the bear with the ribs, etc. The Bible declares its a vision, and an angel is commanded to give the interpretation. Jeremiah buries a loincloth at the riverbank, and digs it up. Is this describing the Papacy? Martin Luther? No. The passage gives the interpretation a few verses later.
  2. All scripture is inerrant, inspired, preserved and perfect, without error or contradiction. Get this rule in your head, and suddenly a lot of rebellion against the word of God suddenly is gone forever.
  3. We take what the Bible says as a whole. In other words, don’t serive your doctrine from one verse or one chapter – you really need to take what the Bible has to say on a doctrine as a whole.
  4. The unclear verses must give way to the clearer verses. This is a well established rule, and only cults and textual critics violate this rule. If you have 50 clear verses saying X and 3 verses saying Y, then the answer is X. Once you realize that, and examine the three verses with that understaning, you realize those three are not saying Y… they’re saying X, but giving more information about it.
  5. We never establish doctrine off of a ἅπαξ Hapax. Hapax is Greek for once. Any verse mentioned ONLY ONCE in the Bible we cannot make a doctrine from. Baptism for the dead. All I’m going to say.
  6. We never establish doctrine off of a parable. Parables, believe it or not, and despite everything you’ve heard Pastors say – are designed to CONCEAL knowledge, not make a story memorable. What is the oil in the Parable of the wise and foolish vergins? Salvation, right? So… how could the foolish virgins buy some from the wise virgins? And why could the wise ones not sell it? This kind of thinking is forcing a point, which we call “making a parable walk on all fours”.
  7. Avoid making doctrine from the following 4 books – Job, Lamentations, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. Remember that Job and his friends were wrong. If you take something that Bildad says and build a doctrine around it… you’ve just built an error that God specifically says is wrong.
  8. Treat the Bible Dispensationally. There’s a lot I could say on this. If you refuse to do this, huge amounts of the Bible are indecipherable. Once you do it, suddenly the Bible is open to you.

I’ve given examples of this repeatedly. Church – Universal or local? The answer is obvious. If you follow the rules above (not my rules, by the way) there’s only one answer, and 99% of Christianity shrinks from the answer in horror – the church is local.

Salvation – by faith or works? Follow the rules above – it’s by faith.

Is God through with the Jew? Follow the rules above, no. Not by a long shot.

Who is the 144,000 Jews? Follow the rules above, it’s easy – 144,000 Jewish evangelists. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are famous for taking this wildly out of context. I remember a JW telling me their Kingdom Hall had one of the 144,000. I asked if they were Jewish. The answer was ‘no’. I asked what mark was visible on the flesh of their forehead? The answer was “none”. I told him the supposed witness was… Biblically not one of the 144,000.

Useful tools – a topical Bible. Nave’s and Torrey’s are the two I’m used to. Torrey’s is better, but Nave’s has far more entries.

Concordance and an Interlinear. They’re built into Logos. I’m going to say this nicely, but if you’re going in the Ministry, quite simply, a good enough Bible program is not good enough. Logos, Accordance, or Bibleworks are what you need – and I really can’t recommend Bibleworks because it has so few books built in! I recommend Logos, but some people think differently, so I suggest Accordance as a backup.

If you’re going to be a pastor, then you need to take one year of Greek and one year of Hebrew – minimum. Seriously. And your Bible software has to have better language tools than just Strong’s. I can do more work in original language study in Logos in one hour than I can using a Bible software that depends on Strong’s in a month.

I’m serious.

Logos has far more original language tools than Accordance, but you can do a lot with Accordance. If all you’ve got is $60, then Accordance Starter may be right for you. I will say this – many Bible Colleges, Seminaries and Universities require Logos Gold as the minimum starting package. The answer is obvious – you get BDAG and HALOT, two really important Greek and Hebrew tools. Vine’s is highly recommended as well. Even if you choose a free on-line Independent Baptist Seminary, you should REALLY consider getting at least Logos Bronze.

I’d do this for the year before Seminary. You’re going to undertake some serious Bible study in the year before Seminary. Why? If you were going to swim college, you’d spend countless hours in the pool building up stamina. Well, same for Bible College. Get your mind USED to rapid-fire Bible study. Start getting deep into THIS, then back out at a moments notice to search THAT. The first year of Seminary, you’re required to read the entire Old Testament and entire New Testament. At the same time, Church History, Bible Doctrine 1 & 2, Greek 1 & 2, survey of Old Testament, Survey of the Gospels and New Testament.

It’s a lot. Get used to it NOW, so you’re not getting the first month overwhelm of “I hope I can do this”. The other thing to watch out for is – around year 4, the last six months, you’re OVER IT. If you make it a habit to study, study, study… then by year 4 you’re used to it. And the year you spend in study will greatly increase your grade point average.

I wish i’d done this part better! I’d have ended up with higher than an A- average.

Being A Christian – the Autonomous Local Church


There’s a lot I could say about the Local Church. One of the biggest errors in most Christian’s doctrines is in the area known as Ekklesiology – the study of the local church.

I have read countless statement of faiths, that profess a belief in a Universal Church. Using the rules of Hermeneutics, we turn to the rule that states, “When you have many verses that state a particular doctrine, and one or two that seem to say something else, we interpret the minority verses by the understanding we get from the majority.”

Weak Ekklesiology has caused COUNTLESS pastors and “Scholars” to do the opposite. The Bible has just over a hundred references to the church… and 94 of them clearly define the church as a visible, local entity.

Using the rules of Hermeneutics, we have to therefore define the word “church” biblically as a visible, local body. Any references to the church must then be understood in that context alone.

THe concept of a Universal Church then is literally unBiblical. We’re trying to force a concept (Universal) to fit a word outside of its Biblically given context (church), based upon a 5 verses in Ephesians.

Remember the Hermeneutic principle – if you have 94 verses that clearly show the church to be a local body, and 5 that suggest it is Universal…

…you can’t go by the 5. You have to go by the 94.

The concept everyone is trying to hang onto (Universal body of Christ) is being hung on the wrong word, here! IT should be hung on the word Kingdom!

As you read your Bible this year, try this – when you read the word Church, make sure you understand it as local only… and see how your understanding of this doctrine suddenly changes.

The concept of church now changes dramatically. Most christians have a truly weak Ekklesiology. If I were to rate it in intensity, it’s somewhere around a 10-watt bulb. It should be that of a 65-watt bulb.

Because of this error in the understanding of Church, men have chosen to create denominations. Denominationalism is unBiblical. There’s no dispensation given for, “we’re Methodists, and we do this…” “We’re Lutherans, and we do this…”

The Bible gives you doctrines, Ekklesiology, church polity, everything all wrapped up in its 66 books. If you deviate from what it presents – you’re in error.

Denominationalism is a grand example of that. If the Bible shows you believer’s baptism by immersion, and you sprinkle a baby and call that baptising… it’s wrong. It’s in error. You don’t have it right – you’ve got it wrong. There’s no dispensation for doing things wrong, just because you’re Episcopal, etc.

The next issue of the church is church polity. That means the rule of the church. Denominationalism gives you (usually) someone over your church that is not part of your church.

The Denomination can step in and say, “You’re not keeping according to our by-laws” – and you have to fix it or risk being kicked out. That simply can’t be found in the Bible. There’s special pastors who are over multiple churches, a completely unBiblical concept.

What the Bible presents is this – a local church. Whose in charge of it? The local church body. The Pastor functions as an overseer. Um… that’s about it.

How does a local church deal with an errant pastor? They assemble three persons, well thought of in the congregation, and they approach the pastor and say… “we need to talk”.

Nobody from another church is tapped to talk to the pastor. That’s a separate church interfering in the business of another church.

implicit in this is the concept of democracy. The congregation gets the vote in many things. Why? It’s the Biblical example. In Acts 6:5 the local church in Jerusalem selected deacons.

What about elder boards? Elder boards, even the concept of an elder – is completely unBiblical. The word elder (Presbyter) is interchangeable with Bishop and Pastor.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11, KJV)

“PAUL and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (Philippians 1:1, KJV)

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (Titus 1:5–7, KJV)

In Titus we see Elders (v. 5) suddenly called Bishops in v. 7. It’s the same office. An Elder is a pastor. What’s the Biblical name for a Pastor? Pastor, Bishop, Elder. Same term describes the same office. this means in Presyter polity churches with Edler boards, the Elders are going to find themselves having to account to God why they were not fulfilling the office of Pastor – indeed, why they undertook the office when not called to preach.

Not good, really. Pastors have to give account in ways that the average Christian does not.

Some churches like to create associations or conventions, for the purpose of being able to get together – as churches of like faith and practice – and do things. Picnicing is one thing – but inter-church cooperation in the purpose of missionaries, etc… that’s a question for that body to decide by vote. And the case has been made that it’s not really Biblical to have churches get together and create mission boards. A church calls and commissions a missionary, and several churches may all participate in sponsiring that missionary – that’s fine. And churches should be doing this, supporting missionaries.

I’m not going to go on and on about the local church. Since apparently I’m called to preach, I tend to want to talk about this topic for hours. Hopefully, you’ve learned something today!

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