Who’s in charge if a congregation has no elders?

The above question was recently asked and answered (in connection to the preacher’s “authority”) in an issue of Gospel Minutes. I always enjoy the Q & A section of their publication.

I believe a sufficient answer was given (the basic gist of the answer was “not the preacher”), but I would like to add one more “suggestion” that was not included. A suggestion I cannot say I have ever seen/heard included when this question is being addressed (although I hope you’re familiar with it). Continue reading

#authority, #bible-questions, #congregations

Confusing spiritual mercy with a lack of physical justice

It seems as though many people in the religious world do not know the difference between spiritual mercy triumphing over spiritual justice and spiritual mercy that ignores physical justice – even to the extent that child molesters are given a pass from deserved prison time simply because they wear a collar around their neck!

“…Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.” (Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy)

“Penalties” including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry? The reality of such a “penalty” is nothing but a prime example of what it means to confuse mercy with a lack of physical justice. It would do an injustice to the phrase “slap on the wrist” if someone were to use it in connection to the “penalties” listed above.

Spiritual mercy is God’s business, and such a mercy can be found by meeting his requirements regardless of the sin that has been committed.

Physical justice is the responsibility of those who are in authority upon the Earth. Without physical justice there is no law; only anarchy. And when such justice is blatantly ignored by those in authority, the victim is forced to suffer an injustice twice…once at the hands of the criminal, and again at the hands of the “authority” who perverts the very definition of the word justice with their less than paltry judgment.

The justice being ignored by the Vatican’s pope is not something that has been incurred by a speeder, a jay-walker, someone stealing so they can eat, or even two consenting adulterers. The crime was the institutionalized sexual assault of children! And a lack of cuffs around the wrist due to a collar around the neck perverts the concept of mercy triumphing over judgment by denying physical judgment a chance to even take place.

““Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

#authority, #justice, #mercy

A man of his time

A well-known New Testament scholar made this remark: “At least some of the calumnies down the years are unfair, even ridiculously incorrect.  For example, he was certainly no misogynist!  For one thing, his numerous positive references to women co-workers and leaders in his churches testify otherwise.  He was, to be sure, a man of his time, and so he seems to have held (with most others of the day) that a wife was bound to her husband.  But he also held, unusually for his time, that a husband was equally bound to his wife, including a sexual exclusivity that husbands as well as wives owed to their marriage partners (e.g., 1 Corinthians 7:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).  This effectively challenged the “double standard” in sexual behaviour otherwise commonly approved in the Roman period.”

The “Conversion” of Paul

The disappointing aspect of this paragraph is in the remark that pertains to the sentiment of Paul being a man of his times and seems to have held that a wife is bound to her husband. The author of the blog is not speaking against Paul, it must be said. I am only troubled by the words used and what may be conveyed with the use of them.

That Paul was a man of his times is perfectly normal to understand, and even accept. We are people of our time also, struggling with the variety of opinions holding sway. So fluid are some of these opinions is almost boils down to what day of the week the opinion holds sway, and on that day some accept, but on other days not.

Yes, it is true that Paul was a man of his times, but that which he wrote was not as a man of his times, but by the authority of God (1 Corinthians 14:37). When Paul spoke favorably about women he did so, not as a man of his times, but by the authority of God. Whatever Paul thought about the role of women, to himself he kept it and allowed the authority of God to guide his pen and his teachings. I am confident, however, that God’s opinion became Paul’s.

Would it not be great if preachers did the same today?

#authority, #headship, #misogyny, #women

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4-14-2015 “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) – Speaks Boldly

Whether Jesus preached that great Sermon on the mount, or in Capernaum’s synagogue, “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29; Mark 1:22 NKJV). There is a difference between preaching what one knows about the Scriptures, and preaching as an author of the Scriptures. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:10 NKJV). No church or preacher today has been given that same boldness to change or privately interpret the Word of God. But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” (John 7:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#astonished, #authority, #boldly, #privately-interpret, #scriptures

I was watching Fox News while they interviewed…

I was watching Fox News while they interviewed John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel. I was surprised when he spoke out strongly against what he called “the manmade global warming myth”. Coleman had written an article accusing the media of becoming propaganda activists for environmental extremists. He claims the threat of Global Warming is a crock and an example of manipulated science. He says that gullible Hollywood types, clever politicians and naïve conscientious citizens mean well but have been duped. Well, I’m certainly no expert, and therefore don’t know who is right and who is wrong. But I’m glad to hear that there is another side to “The Inconvenient Truth”. It reminds me of the proverb (18:17 “The one who states his case first seems right, until another comes and examines him.” When two experts take diametrically opposite views, how can the uninformed know who to believe? I suppose this is why there is so much cynicism regarding Christian leaders. People need to know the truth. At least there is a recognized authority on which to establish truth from error: the word of God. But even this is assailed in many circles today. This is Just A Minute.

#authority, #just-a-minute, #weather

Articles on Liberalism

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On my website, I have posted the first in a series of articles entitled, “The Implications of Liberalism.” Based on research I did several years ago, I examine the subject of liberalism and its ideas and presuppositions. I will not be naming brethren or congregations. My purposes are larger than personal attacks.

Liberalism is real despite the sloppy ways that the word is used today. The concept has a lengthy history and those who follow its tenets have fairly common beliefs and plans. The more we understand Satan’s attacks the better off we will be as we teach and preach (1 Peter 5:8).

“Despite the traditional use of Christian phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions.” [J. Gresham Machen].

I hope you will share your thoughts. People often have emotional responses to the word ‘liberal” and instead of reasoning through the ideas, they just start yelling. Satan is succeeding at destroying the Lord’s Church and the dangers are too serious for us to put feelings over truth.

We must ALWAYS “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) because hateful words, even if truth is taught, turn people away from God. God gave us brains, language and reasoning skills and we must use them to reach lost or confused souls.

#authority, #conservative, #liberalism, #liberals, #truth

Authority and Respect

On occasion we speak about authority in religion, putting emphasis on God’s authority in the things we do as the body of Christ in our worship to Him. This is most appropriate, and we ought not to minimize it like, unfortunately, some do. Not only are we to operate this way, but our respect for authority needs to be in place before obedience can express itself properly.

To respect authority is to look at one who is in a position that demands attention and submission. One’s parents are in position that demands attention and submission; one’s teacher is the same. The submission that one gives to a parent may not be the same that one gives to a teacher, but there is similarity.

When the Lord said to His disciples that He had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), He did not delegate that authority to anyone else. It is still His authority, and it is to Him that we submit ourselves. To not submit to His authority do is to fall under the disappointment and disapproval of the Lord Himself (Luke 6:46).

How does one show respect toward authority? One shows respect toward authority by submission, that is, by obeying the one who is in position of responsibility in exercising that authority. This can be done willfully or unwillingly. If it is the latter, then respect is in mere appearance, not in substance. If it is the former, then respect is not only in the deed (act of submission), but in the heart (substance) also.

While toward man we might feign appearance of respect, there is no such feigning to the Lord. To man we don’t answer, but to the Lord we must.

#authority, #obedience, #respect, #submission