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DAMAGING GOD’S MANAGING: SUPPLANTING THE LORD’S ORIGINAL MODEL WITH THE PASTOR PARADIGM

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It is a direct result of the false clergy-laity divide. Once that precedent was set, local one man rule quickly followed. Most insist on the “pastor” title.

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Everybody calls them pastor. Next to no one ever questions the title nor the position of the title holder. Much worse than this, next to no one ever does any New Testament research on this particular term to verify its legitimacy. Like so many other things regarding traditional Christianity as opposed to the Lord’s original model, the pastor title and one man rule has been successfully embedded in religious concrete with nary a fight. Though it has no legitimate reason to exist, its presence proves the further presence of misinformation by design and millions of Christians unaware of the truth. Those in control would rather not deal with any Biblical truth that challenges their position.

THE LORD’S ACTUAL MANAGEMENT MODEL

For those interested in what the New Testament actually teaches about the Lord’s original model, the following four points explain it succinctly:

  1. The New Covenant Communities were each ruled exclusively by the Lord Jesus through the medium of His Holy Spirit.
  2. He appointed men under His leadership to supervisory places of service. These men were generally entitled elders and overseers.
  3. He appointed other men to associate places of service generally entitled deacons and ministers.
  4. Each Community was supervised by a group of elders and never by one man.

I have researched this topic for decades and written long papers. I have done exhaustive New Testament studies on the subject. Because I must be relatively concise with this article, I will explain and clarify, though briefly, the New Testament facts regarding the pastor title and position, and why the issue matters. I will be quoting from my book Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church (which contains much deeper research). Each book excerpt will be indented to differentiate it from the post text. Keep in mind that the words pastor and shepherd are not synonymous:

As mentioned previously, the word “pastor” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and is translated from the Greek word poimen, which is translated as “shepherd” on every other occurrence of its use. “Pastor” is originally a Latin word and means “herdsman,” which is defined as “a manager, tender, or breeder of livestock.” Though “herdsman” and “shepherd” might appear identical, there is a difference. The Good Shepherd, for example, cannot be identified as a mere manager of livestock, but only as a caring shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. A herdsman, or pastor, is actually more similar to a hired hand in the sense that livestock is seen as a commodity, and the level of personal care is much lower than that of a true shepherd. It is in Ephesians 4:11 that we find the only occurrence of the word “pastor.” If the translators had used the word “shepherd,” as they should have, we quite possibly wouldn’t have today’s “herdsmen” in authority over God’s people, but true shepherds who assist the Great Shepherd. [1]

Again, the word “pastor” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and is translated from the Greek word poimen which is defined as “shepherd.” This Greek word occurs 18 times in the New Testament. Why is it translated as shepherd 17 times instead of all 18? There is absolutely no legitimate reason for this. Since the original King James Version of 1611 was written with a strong authoritarian bias per the king of England and his translators, this was their chance to insert an authority word since the word “shepherd” is disdained by authoritarians as weak and essentially useless for instituting rule. Of course, the Lord Jesus was never referred to as “Pastor” nor were any of His disciples. He was, however, addressed often as Shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd not the “Good Pastor.” We must follow His example:

A real pastor is nothing more than, and nothing less than, a shepherd. Many of those who represent themselves as pastors today are anything but. There are many preachers who desire a nice, steady job and a “Pastor” title. There are also quite a few homesick evangelists who would rather settle down in one location to do pastoral work instead of attend to their callings. It should be obvious that the only real pastors are those who are functioning as pastors, that is, caring for and shepherding God’s flock according to God’s will. There are undoubtedly many people who are called to be shepherds who are not serving as such, or else the Church would be in a lot better shape. Most of these are probably wasting away on pews because they don’t feel qualified when comparing themselves to the multi-credentialed big boys in the pulpits. [2]

Because a great many of our so-called Christian leaders refuse the original New Testament management model of the Lord Jesus, might they also be engaging in other violations? If their desire is to rule over the flock instead of shepherd the flock, their spiritual condition doesn’t really matter. Perhaps this is why so many Christian leaders, including those with a pastor title, seem to always be engaged in some form of hidden sin:

Through deception, each of us can become blind to our own sin at any given time. No one is immune from this possibility. The most susceptible are those who have such a high opinion of their worth and stature the very idea of their fallibility and sinful tendencies escape them. Such “right” supremacists would no longer think it possible to be unaware of or compromised by their own sin than they would think anybody else could possibly serve in their place. When this high-minded attitude is resident within professional Christian leadership, it serves as an obstructing hidden sin against abundant living for those in their care. Hence, it is far too often the case that those who lead congregations do so according to their own will since they are not fully obedient to the will of God. This is not the picture of Jesus working through a person, but a person working of his own accord.

Therefore, many spiritually hungry and unfulfilled seekers of life have unknowingly committed the sin of appropriating for themselves leaders other than Jesus. The Lord makes it very clear that He is the only Good Shepherd, and though a believer may gain assistance from a person of more mature spiritual standing, such a person must never occupy the foremost place of authority in a believer’s life. Such facts bring us to the sad conclusion that many Christian leaders and/or pastors are not true shepherds at all, but mere hired hands. They might indeed care somewhat for those in their congregations, but they certainly don’t possess the same level of care as the Good Shepherd. As hired hands whose salary stems from the pocket of their congregations, they can get by without being tapped-in to God’s payroll and yet maintain their ministerial credentials. The shepherdless sheep, however, are not quite as artful and are often scattered by the wolf. [3]

HOME GROWN WOLVES

While churches have been hyper-sensitized to all manner of possible minor deviations from doctrinal and cultural protocol arising from the congregation and (Aghast!) mysterious visitors, no one ever looks in the other direction. The dude in the pulpit is thus most often immune. He is rarely queried. As long as he gets the denominational doctrine right people look the other way. This would explain the previous passage regarding sin in high places. Where then, would the enemy strike? Would the enemy seek to clandestinely enter the well guarded congregation, the laity class, where every member must always toe the mark and squeal on those who don’t? Or would he attempt a takeover by going after those high and lifted up with little or no accountability that control the operation? We should all know that the devil will always try to gain control of the few in control in order to control all. This is yet another reason why such false Christian authority positions are highly vulnerable to temptation. It is the opposite, of course, with legitimate, accountable, and transparent Christian eldership groups. These men act in the service of the Lord Jesus and not only watch over the flock but each other as well.

Could this be why the clergy boys double down and also establish protective manned check points toward their hidden ivory towers? And condition the congregation to never question “them that have the rule over you?” Do they set up all this protection to keep people from finding out what they really are and what they’re really up to? This is a far cry from the way the Lord Jesus and His followers ever conducted themselves. The “One Man Show” Ruling Paradigm has thus done great damage to the Lord’s management model and has had a devastating effect on what could have been regarding American Christianity’s positive impact on the country. The enemy has gained a beachhead:

 Christianity in general has become too stodgy and complacent to be changed by Him in any appreciable manner, since the will of the people for His control is greatly lacking. Revival and/or renewal do not address the root of the problem, and this consequently demands a new approach. The people who are at least trying to obey Him in this regard are finding some success, and their new-found fresh spiritual forays contrast sharply with conventional methods. It is in comparing the two that we discover a glaring truth.

When the splitting of community became official, it easily did more to thwart God’s plan for evangelizing the world than anything else man has devised. The reason why is simple—ninety-something percent of the membership was removed from the process. The “laity” was deemed unqualified for officially ordained Christian service and, consequently, unworthy of receiving God’s call. Yet, there was a time when all believers heard the call of God, and each person heard it from Jesus Himself. At the present, due to the entrenched tradition of the clergy-laity division, many Christians never consider the possibility of devoting their lives to God because they have been made to think that God only chooses certain rare holy ones for His work. If this is true, the Lord is breaking His own commandment by judging a good many people as unqualified before they ever get a chance to prove themselves.

The only thing which actually disqualifies a person from ministry is the same thing which disqualifies him from membership in the Church, and that is simply a lack of full commitment to the absolute Lordship of Jesus. There is nothing inherent within any sincere believer which disqualifies him or her from the Lord’s service—somebody else’s service yes, but not the Lord’s. Every Christian needs to know that all legitimate calls to ministry come only from the Lord, and each should be encouraged to find his or her place of service. There are abundant ministry needs to address, very few who feel worthy to address them, and many who were discouraged from entering the Lord’s service by inept ministers who were more than likely never called themselves, at least, not by God. [4]

ESTABLISHING DOMINION THROUGH ARCHITECTURE

Why are church building interiors arranged like theaters, auditoriums, assembly houses, and ancient Roman amphitheaters, with platforms and stages, and lecterns and pulpits? The Lord’s original apostles and the entire first century Christian Community never appropriated any of these. Instead, theirs was an organic fellowship utilizing available organic means. For example, they never had any central meeting house but always met in private homes. They took care of one another. What one lacked another provided. They steered clear of any institutionalism, prideful shows of earthly power, or dominance over the people dogma precisely because they were spiritually powerful humble servants, exactly as their Lord commanded them to be.

This question of church buildings thus pretty much answers itself for those paying attention. To go along with clergy dominance, it helps to create imposing material representations of said dominance. The people need to know who’s in charge. It began about 1700 years ago with the first “cathedrals.” They simply transformed Roman government structures for Christian use and then continued with the government model to showcase their rule over the people. Never mind that the Lord Jesus never engaged in such earthly nonsense. When did the Lord and His men ever advocate for the building of static church buildings? There were no church buildings for three centuries and the early believers managed to turn the world upside down anyway. The Lord’s kingdom was and remains a spiritual kingdom devoid of the mandatory trappings of earthly kingdoms.

Also, when did the Lord Jesus ever act like a duded-up ruling potentate preaching down from on high to the lower class? Is He not the most humble Man who ever lived? Did not the Creator Himself choose to present Himself that way? Why did God enter this world like everyone else, as a mere babe? Is He teaching us something with His perfect attitude? Is He not our perfect example?

There is a massive disconnect in this area. When presented with such information most Christians simply stare and say nothing or get angry and go into defense mode. This is highly unfortunate. I am not saying that good is not being done in traditional Christian settings. But such tradition has most often been a huge drag on what could otherwise be accomplished. And nothing subverts the process more than a solitary strong man in control dictating anything and everything, and building according to his vision instead of the Lord’s vision. These ruling pastors (and this is a perfect grammatical definition) are most often working in direct opposition to the Lord Jesus rather than working in concert with Him. The Lord is thus forced to support them in part because of the limited good done in such places since they are on balance better than nothing at all.

STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2Timothy 2:15] 

Imagine rightly praising your first grade child for doing well in his or her school work. Then imagine the idea of praising him or her when the child continues to operate on a first grade level in the second or third grade. Then think about what happens when kids are passed on to the next grades when they never complete the required course work for their previous grade. You will eventually have some really ignorant children and teenagers that simply cannot handle the work which the grade they were passed to requires.

Did you know we have an absolute epidemic of ignorant children in schools? That we have ignorant teenagers actually graduating from high schools? That some of these are actually attending college? In the early years of this country, roughly three centuries ago, children were learning new languages. They were reading the classics at early ages. They were reading the Word of God and understanding it. They had difficult course work but many were mastering it. Have you seen the bright but disciplined children in this world mastering musical instruments? Have you noticed how some children learn practical work at early ages and later become masters at their trades?

We do a great disservice to children by allowing them to be dumbed down rather than instructed properly toward higher levels. How many people notice the miracle of very small children somehow learning complex grammar and language at the age of two to three years old? How did their grasp of grammar and vocabulary suddenly shoot through the roof? The so-called experts have no answer for this. It defies evolutionary thinking. It is impossible that the children learned it on their own. It is not possible to teach it. They acquire a great amount of information and ability at an extremely young age and begin working out complex problems when they should not be able to.

Then they are placed in “schools” with extremely limited learning environments with forced low common denominators that cause their revved up rocket engine minds potentially taking them into outer space to be downgraded to virtual Model T’s and in other cases horse and buggy technology that make it difficult to get on down the road and impossible to travel any appreciable distance. Rather than continuing toward epic flight they are forced into slave galleys pulling at oars to support the institution and its parasitic inhabitants and leaders instead of the other way around.

This exact dynamic has transpired in American Christianity. The arrogant clergy boys and their sycophants have created institutions that serve them instead of serving the people. The people suffer. Christians never get the teaching they need or the Biblical and spiritual knowledge they require. These Pharisaical leaders almost never create a single disciple but maintain dumbed down “congregants” who rarely progress and are next to worthless spiritually. Most American Christians have never had a real born again experience. Most have never read the Bible. Most are Biblically illiterate. Most have a dirt foundation with a future fall. It is almost never the case that such eternal church-going Christians cannot learn or be properly discipled as the Lord clearly commanded. It is that true discipleship is at odds with the traditional curriculum. Keeping the congregation dumbed down and under control is a much better management model because it’s a much better business model. It is better to keep everyone in elementary school perpetually to keep them coming, giving their money and support, and maintaining the rule of the clergy and local “pastors.” The last thing they want is people doing things the Lord’s way. I mean, if everybody developed as real ministers of the Gospel and actually graduated, how could that be good for the local church?

SUPPORTING THE COUNTERFEIT

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46] [5] 

Why is it that most Christians never properly compare the Lord’s ministry style with their own and comprehend the night and day difference? Is it simple cognitive dissonance? Why do so many Christians look upon the Lord Jesus, the original apostles, and the first century Church as primitive and even wacky, and their methods those of a long dead culture that could never work in the present? The reality of the matter is that the Lord’s management model, which is the perfect model, is rejected not because it doesn’t work or cannot work but because it conflicts with what Americans Christians have built in its place.

Why do so many Christians support the Pastor Paradigm? Why does the majority continue to insist on supporting a failed model? The official model is a counterfeit substitute that falls short on many levels. It is why American Christianity in general continues to deteriorate and lose influence. Look around! America and Americans are suffering! Real Christianity is under attack! It is only the current Great Awakening which largely exists outside official channels that is allowing for a vehicle through which the Lord can work. Sound familiar?

They refuse the Lord’s full authority, refuse His perfect management model, and refuse to allow the infusion of spiritual life that so many are desperately praying for. For them it will always be business as usual.

“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:8-13]   

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[2] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[3] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[4] © 2001 Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[5] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

EVERY TIME A DOOR SLAMS A PASTOR GETS HIS WINGS (2020)

“Next…”

“Hi. I’m Mrs. Jones. I sit in the third row every service, and…”

“I know who you are Mrs. Jones.”

“Well I know that but I wanted to make this official because it is an official thing we are doing here isn’t it?”

“Okay yeah go ahead.”

“Well, I think you should preach on the things that make people feel good but not so good that they won’t get the message, okay?”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means you should preach real good but not get too off or wacky.”

“Wacky? Wacky?”

“Well, I think you know what I mean so you just do that…”

“Next.”

“Pastor, I think you should be cognizant of the fact that people work hard and are busy and need things that are strong but not so strong that it adds to our burden okay? Because life has many burdens and…”

“What do you mean ‘Preach strong?’”

“Okay, I mean strong like in doing it in a way that we get a good message but not something weak but good. You know, strong.”

“Okay, strong. I’ll try that. Next.”

“Pastor Bailey I really like that you are giving us this opportunity to tell you what to preach and, no, wait, not tell you what to preach but suggest, er, to tell you what we would like, or need, er…”

“So what is your, uh, suggestion?”

“So, my thing is I like those kind of Scriptures that are like verses of poetry, you know? I really like those especially because they look great on little wall plaques or bookmarks and I like when I can go to church and picture in my mind mountain vistas and seascapes and scenes of nature. So I think poetry verses are good.”

“Poetry verses? (Are you for real?) You mean Psalms?”

“So, I don’t know what that is but if its poetry verses then I guess yes…”

“Sigh… Next. Please.”

“Pastor, I think you do a great job but we need more teaching! I like real teaching so we can get in deep! Are you familiar with Matthew Henry? Now he could get in real deep and we could all learn…”

“You want me to read Matthew Henry Commentaries from the pulpit?”

“Well no, not especially, but like that, because we need real teaching!”

“Okay, thank you. Real teaching. Please close the door behind you. Thank you… What do we have so far Jennifer?”

“It looks like you are supposed to preach things that make people feel good but not so good that they don’t get the message. Nothing wacky. And it must be strong but not too strong because people are tired. And, oh, it must involve poetry verses and also be deep teaching. Deep. Teaching. Got that?”

“Are you sure this is in the contract?”

“Page 16, Clause 3.”

“Do I have to listen to anyone else tonight?”

“Only one more. It says you must seek five new members each week.”

“Each week!”

“Yes. I’ll get the last one… Who’s next out here?”

“Me!”

“Okay, come in…”

“Hello Pastor!”

“Hello. Well?”

“Here’s what I think. I think you should preach whatever the Lord puts on your heart.”

“Do I even know you?”

“I’m new.”

“Okay. So you’re new. Hi. I’m George Bailey, er, Pastor Bailey. Good to meet you. Your name?”

“I’m Clarence. And I know all about you! What’s important is that you obey the Lord. That’s my advice.”

“But I have to obey all those people! It’s in my contract.”

“I know, but…”

“And next week it’s five more! And then the next! I can’t do this! I must be off my nut! This can’t be happening! I wish I was never born!”

“Oh, you mustn’t say that! …Wait. …You know, I think that could work! …Okay, you were never born. You don’t exist.”

“Don’t exist! Wait a second! This all sounds familiar! Are you some kind of angel or something?”

“Why yes.”

“Great! Now you’re the new pastor too! Later! Don’t hold my calls, Jennifer…” (Slam)

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

EVERY TIME A DOOR SLAMS A PASTOR GETS HIS WINGS (2019)

“Next…”

“Hi. I’m Mrs. Jones. I sit in the third row every service, and…”

“I know who you are Mrs. Jones.”

“Well I know that but I wanted to make this official because it is an official thing we are doing here isn’t it?”

“Okay yeah go ahead.”

“Well, I think you should preach on the things that make people feel good but not so good that they won’t get the message, okay?”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means you should preach real good but not get too off or wacky.”

“Wacky? Wacky?”

“Well, I think you know what I mean so you just do that…”

“Next.”

“Pastor, I think you should be cognizant of the fact that people work hard and are busy and need things that are strong but not so strong that it adds to our burden okay? Because life has many burdens and…”

“What do you mean ‘Preach strong?’”

“Okay, I mean strong like in doing it in a way that we get a good message but not something weak but good. You know, strong.”

“Okay, strong. I’ll try that. Next.”

“Pastor Bailey I really like that you are giving us this opportunity to tell you what to preach and, no, wait, not tell you what to preach but suggest, er, to tell you what we would like, or need, er…”

“So what is your, uh, suggestion?”

“So, my thing is I like those kind of Scriptures that are like verses of poetry, you know? I really like those especially because they look great on little wall plaques or bookmarks and I like when I can go to church and picture in my mind mountain vistas and seascapes and scenes of nature. So I think poetry verses are good.”

“Poetry verses? (Are you for real?) You mean Psalms?”

“So, I don’t know what that is but if its poetry verses then I guess yes…”

“Sigh… Next. Please.”

“Pastor, I think you do a great job but we need more teaching! I like real teaching so we can get in deep! Are you familiar with Matthew Henry? Now he could get in real deep and we could all learn…”

“You want me to read Matthew Henry Commentaries from the pulpit?”

“Well no, not especially, but like that, because we need real teaching!”

“Okay, thank you. Real teaching. Please close the door behind you. Thank you… What do we have so far Jennifer?”

“It looks like you are supposed to preach things that make people feel good but not so good that they don’t get the message. Nothing wacky. And it must be strong but not too strong because people are tired. And, oh, it must involve poetry verses and also be deep teaching. Deep. Teaching. Got that?”

“Are you sure this is in the contract?”

“Page 16, Clause 3.”

“Do I have to listen to anyone else tonight?”

“Only one more. It says you must seek five new members each week.”

“Each week!”

“Yes. I’ll get the last one… Who’s next out here?”

“Me!”

“Okay, come in…”

“Hello Pastor!”

“Hello. Well?”

“Here’s what I think. I think you should preach whatever the Lord puts on your heart.”

“Do I even know you?”

“I’m new.”

“Okay. So you’re new. Hi. I’m George Bailey, er, Pastor Bailey. Good to meet you. Your name?”

“I’m Clarence. And I know all about you! What’s important is that you obey the Lord. That’s my advice.”

“But I have to obey all those people! It’s in my contract.”

“I know, but…”

“And next week it’s five more! And then the next! I can’t do this! I must be off my nut! This can’t be happening! I wish I was never born!”

“Oh, you mustn’t say that! …Wait. …You know, I think that could work! …Okay, you were never born. You don’t exist.”

“Don’t exist! Wait a second! This all sounds familiar! Are you some kind of angel or something?”

“Why yes.”

“Great! Now you’re the new pastor too! Later! Don’t hold my calls, Jennifer…” (Slam)

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

LORDING IT OVER THE PAWNS

     Christians have been taught by those who rule over them to never question religious authority. Thus, those in control equate themselves with infallibility and inerrancy.

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       And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:24-26]

      This is obviously not the case among the majority of churches and denominational hierarchies. These always feature top-down leadership in which the congregants have very little say. Everyone is expected to merely obey what comes down from on high and respect their leaders with a respect deserved only for the Lord.         

         We could fix this and all the damage it causes by simply:

(1) Allowing the Lord Jesus to have full control, and

(2) Adopting the leadership method He taught and advocated for

         We see His method very clearly in the New Covenant writings. One of the first things we notice was that there was never any “one man show.” There were always at least two men going out to minister together in evangelism and several men appointed as elders of groups. These were older men, hence “elders.” There was no central elder. The elders worked together.

         This correct method eventually devolved over time into the incorrect method of rule by one man and this ruler became known as a “pastor” although there is no New Covenant authority for such “leadership.” Churches then devolved into clergy-laity set-ups in which the laity had no voice and were merely dictated to and told what to believe.

         Whoever decided to invoke their God-given freedom to do individual research and study to become a better disciple was eventually falsely disparaged because his discovered truth always threatened those in charge.

         Consider the following words of Paul written to Timothy, and remember such universal New Covenant discipleship terms applied to all Christians such as “servant” and “workman:”

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” [2Timothy 2:15-19] [1]

      The Greek word translated as wickedness in this verse is defined as “injustice, unrighteousness, doing wrong, evildoers, iniquities, iniquity, injustice, unrighteous, unrighteousness, wickedness, wrong.” What could be more wicked than a Christian leader teaching anything opposed to the Lord’s teachings or refusing to teach the fullness of the Lord’s teachings?

         CHRISTIANS ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE WORLD WITH WHICH THEY ARE PRESENTED

         At that time, the two guys mentioned by Paul had adopted a wrong belief and began telling others. It was up to Timothy, as advised by Paul, to avoid this type of “worldly and empty chatter” that leads to such “gangrene.” We know what gangrene is, and it is not pleasant. It begins with a small infection. The offhanded beliefs of the two men with no Scriptural backing were as an infection that invaded the community. The infection was teaching something as true that is not true.

         Hence we understand the great need, especially in these latter days, to stand strong for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus and oppose strongly all the false teachings adopted by so many “Christians” since, who like those two men, have infected overall Christianity with various gangrene-like spiritual diseases which have spread far and wide.

        It appears that in the majority of congregations, Hymenaeus and Philetus have taken over, and without much of a fight.

          You will know them by their fruits.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.     


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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COMPETING AGAINST THE LORD: “Churches” versus the Kingdom

         The Lord Jesus created one Church. It signifies the one Community of the Lord Jesus on the earth, composed of every real Christian. The word “church” is derived from the Greek Ekklesia and the Hebrew Qahal. The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus is, of course, a spiritual kingdom. It has one King—the King of kings, the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last—YeHoshua HaMashiach.

        The moment a religious chartered institution, including an individual local “church,” is formally formed, it becomes a competing entity to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. It creates a clergy-based leadership team almost always consisting of one man at the top of the pyramid who has been invested with the ultimate power to do whatever he deems appropriate within the bylaws. He usually has a church board, an elder staff, or a small committee of some sort that shares his power in a sense, but most of these are mere sycophants, or yes-man boards who do little more than support him, not much different at all from the way a pack of wolves will honor a single alpha male as pack leader and submit to him completely.

         When a man is invested with such power he is bound to fail the Lord’s commission, lead his people astray, and royally screw things up over time. It keeps happening over and over, but such Christians who support this format refuse to see that the set up is messed up and rather than change the faulty format they insist on forcing everyone to adhere to it as the ultimate “right thing to do.”

         In other words, a monster is created and rather than kill the monster they insist on supporting it regardless of cost or what it does to people, and whoever has a different opinion is run off or destroyed by said monster. The concept of spiritual peace and love as taught by the Master is thrown out the window and is used and referred to only in the abstract in order to save the man-made substitute.

         To illustrate the difference between religious institutions and the one Ekklesia, Qahal, or Community of the Lord, the Southern Baptist Convention is not the Kingdom but a competing entity. The Roman Catholic Church is not the Kingdom but a competing entity. A Pentecostal mega “church” is not the kingdom but a competing entity. These legal religious institutions may or may not have real Christians as members, but such members are often unclear on the concept of the Lord’s original intent and curriculum. Thus, they give too little honor to the Lord Jesus and too much honor to their chosen leaders, who are often compromised.        

JUDAS

         Judas would not last long in the vast majority of churches unless he made it to the leadership team. In fact, this is where Judas spirits usually end up. But rather than go after the leader as the original Judas did, the real Judas spirit, since it longs for power over people, wants to control the institution. In this sense it works with the leadership team over the congregation. All it needs to accomplish this is a willing leadership team.

         The very fact that the Lord Jesus instructed His real disciples to call no one the “leader” except Him, and that most Christians insist on doing otherwise, and that “pastors” love being called “leader” and revel in the authority it brings (though many will affect a faux humble attitude), proves that almost all Christians and Christian leaders insist on violating the following pure commands of the Lord:

           “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

         “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

         “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. [Matthew 23:8-10]

         The preceding commands of the Lord Jesus in Matthew’s gospel are essentially no different than the first three of the Ten Commandments:

         Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” [Exodus 20:1-7]

         In the Matthew account the Lord Jesus clearly identifies Himself as (1) The only Teacher, (2) The only Father, and (3) The only Leader. In the Exodus account, YHWH Elohim clearly identifies Himself as the only God, which encapsulates everything that God is to His people, such as their loving Deliverer from bondage which always starts the process of salvation.

         But Christians in general are grossly confused by these clear facts. They are confused for a reason. They are confused because the very clear commands of the Lord Jesus regarding leadership and authority have been grossly violated. They refuse to see or even consider that He is indeed the only Teacher, Father, and Leader. As a result, they also grossly violate the first three of the Ten Commandments by making idols and worshipping them, and taking the Name of the Lord in vain:

         For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth… [Philippians 2:9-10]

         Because people have it stuck in their heads that an “idol” is a crude little ancient statue made of metal, wood, or stone representing some weird foreign deity and nothing else, they are blinded to the reality of what the Lord was teaching: The most fully evolved “idol” is a living human being. Hence—

         “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. [Matthew 23:8-10]

         We can add to this many other titles such as “reverend” and “pastor,” the latter of which is a pure corruption of a bad translation and appears only once in the NT. It should have been translated as shepherd. Most “pastors” love their title for obvious reasons, but are not true shepherds and in fact abhor the designation of shepherd due to its inferred lack of status, decorum, and authority. They do not want to be characterized as mere sheep herders off in a pasture somewhere with a stained robe and weathered stick.

         If Christians are waiting for reform in this area from the top, such reform will never arrive. We see by what happened to the Lord Jesus that challenging false leadership will be costly. They killed Him. In America, because we have laws against that sort of thing, false leadership resorts to chicken solutions like spreading false gossip and innuendo, blackballing, the use of supreme indifference, quiet hatred, and generally breaking every commandment of the Lord to attack His prophets and maintain personal power. All of this is done to prop up false leadership which proves further that it is false leadership, often infused with the power of a Judas spirit, which uses betrayal of the brethren as the means toward its highest goal: Power over them.

         “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:5-6] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.