BiblicalChurchMeeting.com

In the Bible, believers in Jesus Christ met for church in each other's homes, and every man was allowed a turn to speak in the meeting. This way of doing things was harder and took more effort than what we're used to.

For example, the men in the church needed to study the scriptures more than we do, in order to have something helpful to say to everyone. And the people had to expend some effort to show hospitality to their spiritual brothers and sisters, some of whom really needed it. Doing things this way made it so the people in a church naturally got to know each other pretty well. And since it made everyone more mindful of helping the others in the church, they grew to care about each other more than we do.

The very best way to learn the truth is to study the Bible for yourself, and have faith in what it says.


Contents

Things to Consider
Audio (MP3)

Things you Might have to Believe if you Don't Believe the Bible

What Jesus Christ Said about Scripture

Things to Notice about what Jesus Christ Said about Scripture

Why Multiple Speakers?

What Happened to the Churches?

What You Believe

Prophecy by Ordinary Christians

Good Elders

How to Become a Bible Teacher

Pretending to Find "The Pastor"

Eye Openers

The Fruit of Commercial Church

Other Errors of the Commercial Church

Advantages of the Poor

Let's Get to Know the Pastor

Christians Will Reap What We Have Sown

Not so Frequently Asked Questions

Jokes

Recommendations

Miscellaneous

How to Get Eternal Life
Audio (MP3)

Some Scriptures


Things to Consider

Audio (MP3)

Jesus Christ gave Paul very simple commandments for church that say that every man may give a talk in a church meeting, and those commandments were never repealed in scripture. The Bible never gives church leaders the authority to override those commandments by silencing all the other men in the meeting.

If you attend a traditional, commercial church, your leaders are choosing to conduct church in violation of the commandments that Jesus gave to Paul to give to the churches. The choice you face is whether to stay and keep following your leaders, or leave and get into a biblical church so that you can obey the Lord.

"The pastor" of a church is a fake, unbiblical office in which an elder is the only speaker, or he selects someone else to speak in his place. Throughout the New Testament there is nothing even remotely suggesting that an elder of a church may silence the other men and be the only speaker. Look for yourself, and you will see that there is no office even resembling that of "the pastor" anywhere in the New Testament. It is an office held by men who want people to follow themselves more than they want people to follow scripture. Some of these guys actually do want the people to follow scripture in a general sense, but they are more concerned with having disciples of their own following them, so much so that they are willing to disobey clear commandments in the Bible to get what they want. Paul warned that men like this would rise to power soon after his death, and the unbiblical tradition that those men started has dominated mainstream churches ever since.

Why do we do church differently than the way the Lord said to do it? Because we don't have much faith in God's word, and we don't love our neighbors very much. The fact that we're going by the same unbiblical traditions that were started by the early church fathers in the second century AD after the apostles had all died is no excuse. We have had the complete Bible for centuries. And in our day we can study the Bible and search for anything in it with unprecedented ease and speed. So surely we are even more at fault for our own disobedience than all the generations of believers before us.

Scripture says that every man may have a turn to speak in a church meeting, regardless of his spiritual gifts. For example, you can teach even if you don't happen to have the gift of teaching. And you don't have to have a particular gift in order to select some passage of scripture and read it to the group. In a biblical church, all that is required for speakers is that they each say something to edify the others in the group (1 Cor. 14:26, Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:1-31, 1 Cor. 13:1-13, 1 Cor. 14:1-40, Heb. 5:11-12, 1 Tim. 4:13, 2 Tim. 2:24).

The big difference between the biblical and commercial church formats is that the biblical way encourages each man to show love to the others in the group by sometimes giving a talk to benefit them, while the commercial way generally forbids that. So the biblical way helps men to mature, and learn to study the scriptures, and care more about other people. And the commercial way does not.

Let's take a look at some of the commandments that Jesus Christ gave to Paul that those in commercial churches are not obeying, as shown in 1 Cor. 14:26-40:

"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." - v26

The commandment here is to let all these ways of speaking that he just mentioned be done in order to edify the people in the church meeting, and to let all speaking be done only for the edification of the others present. The ways that he gives as examples of speaking include reading scripture ("hath a psalm"), teaching ("hath a doctrine"), speaking in an unknown tongue ("hath a tongue"), prophecy ("hath a revelation"), and interpreting someone else who spoke in an unknown tongue ("hath an interpretation"). In response to this commandment that we are told was given to Paul by the Lord Jesus himself, the commercial church says, "No. We will not let any of these things be done unto edifying."

Suppose for a minute that those who promote commercial church are right about God not giving anyone the gifts of tongues and prophecy after the apostles all died. They aren't right, but let's suppose. Then verse 26 would still include reading scripture ("hath a psalm"), as well as teaching ("hath a doctrine"), neither of which requires having any particular spiritual gift. There is a gift of teaching, but the Lord also says that every believer should be able to teach, including those without that gift (2 Tim. 2:24, Heb. 5:11-12). So if speaking by prophecy, or tongues, or any other spiritual gift were somehow impossible nowadays, every man would still be allowed a turn to speak to edify the group, according to scripture.

But commercial church proponents won't believe that, since they are not honest. Their position that "the pastor" should be the only one allowed to speak in church is not based on scripture at all. It is based on traditions established by the early church fathers, who departed from the apostles' teachings, and made the church meeting centered around themselves because they wanted disciples of their own to follow them. These guys don't study scripture to learn the real truth on this subject, but only to try to find whatever they can in the Bible to justify their tradition, and then say that the Bible supports it. When they pretend that their view of "the pastor" being the only one allowed to speak has anything to do with God supposedly ceasing to give certain gifts, they are lying. It only has to do with their agenda. They like the power, the income and the prestige of the anti-biblical position called, "the pastor," and that determines their viewpoint.

"If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God." - v27-28

The Lord commands us to let two or three men give a talk in an unknown tongue, but only if there is one person to interpret. He does not command us to have anyone speak in tongues, but he does command us to let two or three men do so if they want to, but only if there is one person who interprets. The wording here does not allow only one man to speak with this gift in church: there must be either nobody, or two or three. Again, the commercial church says, "No," to obeying what scripture says. Some like to claim that God does not give the gift of tongues after scripture was completed, but they are handling the word of God deceitfully.

God did not give us commandments in scripture that include an exception for our unbelief. If we do not believe that God gives the gift of tongues in our day, that does not relieve us of our obligation to obey his instructions anyway. God commanded us to allow it. He did not say to allow it only as long as we still believe that he gives that gift. Our responsibility is to obey these very clear commandments as written, not to sit in judgment of the word of God.

Suppose someone were to fake having the gift of tongues, for some awful reason. Would such a person be able to fool the others in the church? Maybe, but it would probably be pretty difficult, assuming that the people are already accustomed to strictly obeying God's word regarding church. Here's what he would have to do. He would have to secretly collude beforehand with at least two other men in the church to pull off their evil deed. Since the minimum number of men who may speak in an unknown tongue is two (if any), and there must be only one man who does the job of interpreting, then at least three men would need to conspire together beforehand to pull off their sin: two who would lie about speaking in an unknown tongue, and one who would lie about interpreting what he heard. And if you have three men in your church who would conspire together to pull such a thing off, then your church already has bigger problems. God knows man's sinfulness and propensity for lying, and his commandments here are worded very precisely and perfectly in order to protect his children from such wickedness.

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." - v29

We are commanded to "let" two or three men prophesy if they want to, and to "let" the others listen with scrutiny. In response to this command, the commercial church flatly says, "No." Commercial church proponents have to say that prophecy is no longer possible, because they have to pretend that "the pastor" is the only one with authority to speak in a church meeting, which is based on absolutely nothing in the Bible. They are living a lie, and are teaching others to go along with their lie.

"If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." - v30-31

While one person is prophesying, if "any thing be revealed" to one of the other men listening, the first guy is supposed to stop talking and let the other man speak. This is the format given for those speaking with the gift of prophecy, the one form of speaking that Paul emphasizes as the best way to speak in a church meeting (1 Cor. 14:1, 3, 5, 22, 24). So we should understand that this format where interruption is encouraged even during prophecy applies to all other forms of speaking, too. So if someone is teaching, for example, and another man believes the Lord wants him to interrupt, he should do so, and the original speaker should let the other man speak. Again, to this commandment of the Lord to allow interruptions, the commercial church says, "No."

Men like having power over others. When given a taste of such power, they tend to want more. And most Christian men are no exception. Of course, God knows everything about man's sinfulness and lust for power, so he commanded that interruptions be allowed in church so that no one person would ever dominate the meeting. This commandment in scripture to allow interruptions in church is intended to prevent the very situation that exists in every commercial church today: where one guy dominates the meeting, and he does not allow any other man in the meeting to say anything without special permission from "the pastor."

The office called, "the pastor," where a guy is so important that only he gets to speak and he can't be interrupted, is a fake office. It is an office that violates scripture, and elevates a man to a position of power that the Bible specifically prohibits: a speaker who cannot be interrupted or even questioned, and who does not allow the other men to have a turn to speak as well.

What is it that would make a man think that only he should speak instead of doing church the Bible's way? What would make a man think that he should never be interrupted or even questioned, and no other man should speak without his permission, in spite of what scripture says? First, he has an inflated view of his own importance. He thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think, as scripture puts it. Second, he has a low regard for the value of the other members of the body of Christ. So basically, a guy has to think that he is more important than he really is, and that the other men in the church are less important than they really are. The reason that you, as a member of the body of Christ, don't get to speak in your church is that "the pastor" thinks too highly of himself and too lowly of you.

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." - (Rom. 12:3-5).

An example of the dishonesty of "the pastor" is when one of these guys claims that the command given in James to "be not many masters" means only "the pastor" should speak in church.

"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." - (James 3:1).

And yet in this chapter Paul repeatedly urges full participation in the meeting by all the men (1 Cor. 14:5, 24, 26, 31). There is never an indication that anyone present should not speak to the group, other than the women. So giving a talk for one's brothers and sisters in the Lord in a church meeting is obviously not the same as being a "master." So what is a "master" in the context of James 3:1? It seems that being a "master" is when someone is a teacher who ministers to more people than just his local church. For example, earlier in this book, Paul said that the Corinthians have "ten thousand instructors in Christ."

"For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." - (1 Cor. 4:15).

He's obviously speaking with hyperbole about the number of teachers, but it's apparent that it was common for believers to have teaching ministries that went beyond the scope of just a local assembly. James is saying that not many of us believers should do that, since people will tend to judge what we say and do more harshly, and that criticism will be tougher to endure than most of us could handle very easily.

If James was saying that a "master" is merely anyone who gives a talk in a church meeting, then that would mean that Paul was wrong to repeatedly encourage every man to participate in the meeting. But we know that it is impossible for Paul to have been wrong here, not only because Paul was speaking by the inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16, 1 Pet. 1:20-21), but also because he even specifically told us in this chapter that the commandments that he was writing came from the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

This dishonest take on James 3:1 by "the pastor" shows just how desperate these guys can be. They have absolutely nothing in scripture to support their way of doing church, so they twist whatever scriptures they can to promote their agenda of silencing the other men in the church.

"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." - v32-33

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." - v34-35

Jesus Christ gave Paul this commandment that says we are to let the women keep silence in the churches, and the women are commanded to ask their husbands at home if they have any questions about what was said in the meeting. In response to these commandments, the commercial church again says, "No." The typical commercial church permits women to give a talk in the church meeting when "the pastor" gives them permission to do so. He does not have the authority to go against scripture, but he does it anyway, since he sees himself as being in charge and able to do whatever he wants. All of them see themselves as being above these commandments.

Although it's commercial churches that typically disobey these commandments, some supposedly biblical churches do too. If you attend a biblical church in which women are permitted to give talks, then there's good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that your church is not actually biblical at all. And the good news is also that your church is not biblical. That's good news because it means what you've been experiencing is not biblical church, but rather a compromised, emasculated counterfeit of biblical church. And now you can man up and find a church or start one yourself that will be a lot better than what you've settled for and become used to. Good news!

Another thing to notice about these commands in verses 34 and 35 is that if all you had were these two verses you would instantly know that scripture says that all the men in the church get to speak. By saying that the women may not speak, the implication is that the men may speak. That's probably why some commercial churches that do have only men speakers still don't like to quote these two verses very often: the obvious implication is that the men all get a turn to speak if they want one, not just the guys in charge.

Commercial church proponents cannot afford to obey any of the commandments we were given for church, since they have to keep up the illusion that the unbiblical power they exercise is legitimate. So a commercial church pastor may occasionally let a woman give a talk precisely because it does violate scripture. These guys cannot afford for anyone in the assembly to start getting any ideas about doing church the way the Bible says in any way, since that would be a threat to their power. So they intentionally and blatantly break the rules sometimes, just so you don't forget that they are in charge, and what they say goes.

Commercial churches change up the format of the meeting occasionally, but the one format that is almost never allowed to happen is one in which the entire assembly is present, and the men are each allowed a brief turn to speak. That's a little too close to the Bible's way of doing church, and they will have none of it.

But a long musical presentation is just fine. A movie or slide show is just fine. A message from some visiting speaker that nobody knows is just fine. A pre-approved testimony here and there is just fine. A play depicting a biblical story is just fine. But any kind of meeting of the whole church that even resembles the only way the Bible ever says to do church is usually strictly forbidden. They can't afford to let the people start getting any ideas about speaking freely, can they?

"What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." - v36-37

Here we are commanded as individuals that if we are balking at these commands and we consider our self a prophet or a spiritual person, we are to say out loud that the things Paul wrote are indeed the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. And once again, the commercial church says, "No." How many times have you ever heard a commercial church pastor acknowledge that the things Paul wrote here are (not "were") the commandments of the Lord?

"But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." - v38

So if someone will not acknowledge that the things Paul wrote are the commandments of the Lord, then we are to consider him ignorant, and let him remain so. There is no need to argue with anyone about this subject. Anyone who does not agree that the things Paul wrote here are the commandments of the Lord should be considered by every believer as an ignorant person. Don't argue with him; just consider him ignorant.

"Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." - v39

In response, the commercial church says, "We will not covet to prophesy, since we refuse to believe that God gives anyone the gift of prophecy after the apostles all died." In other words, the commercial church says, "We base our beliefs on folklore and tradition, and we don't care what the Bible actually says." Commercial church proponents are all lying.

And the commercial church says, "We will forbid to speak with tongues," in direct disobedience to a commandment of scripture that we are told was given by the Lord Jesus himself. They like to pretend that God stopped giving anyone the gift of tongues after just a few years, but they are again lying.

"Let all things be done decently and in order." - v40

Here, the commandment is to let "all things" be done decently and in order. Which things? All the things he has just been talking about: letting every man speak by reading scripture, teaching, speaking in an unknown tongue and interpreting, prophesying, and any other form of speaking to the church that is for everyone's edification. In response, the commercial church says, "No. We will not let any of these things be done decently and in order. The only form of speech we allow is "the pastor" giving his sermon."

Those employed by commercial churches hate this part of scripture because it is a threat to them. They like the power of being the only man allowed to speak. They like being able to speak without anyone else ever interrupting or even asking a question, even though scripture never authorizes anyone to be in such a position. The guys who promote commercial church, and who try to teach that the commercial church format is what Christians should follow, are liars. Nothing in scripture supports the commercial church format, and nothing in scripture supports the idea of there even being a commercial church.

The New Testament mentions five times that believers met for church in each other's homes. It never specifies any other type of building. Why do you think God did that? One reason is so that we can provide a little hospitality to our neighbors who need it the most.

Many believers do not understand how important hospitality is to some people, because we don't feel the need for such kindness ourselves. Some of our Christian neighbors are alone, poor, and without friends or family. They may go for years without being a guest in another person's home for a meal. They may go for years without anyone wanting to spend any time with them. We need to remember that Jesus Christ identified with the most needy among us, and said that when we help them by giving hospitality, food, clothing, a visit, or whatever is their need, we are really taking care of him:

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt. 25:40).

Since God loves us very much, and especially has compassion on those of us who are in the most difficult situations in life, he had the apostles establish the New Testament tradition of meeting for church in each other's homes (Rom. 16:5, 23, 1 Cor. 16:19, Col. 4:15, Philemon 1:2). He wants us to learn to love the neediest among us like he does. For those who need it, there is no substitute for actual hospitality in someone's home.

Poor and alone individuals are often not loved or liked by anyone, including their relatives and their friends. They feel as if all of humanity has rejected them, and they are often right about that. No one invites them to anything, and no one wants to spend time with them. For such a person, going to a social event at a commercial church building or some other facility is not very appealing. Such a guy knows that if any of the people attending the event actually desired his company they would have already invited him into their home for a meal or to just spend a little time.

When it comes to people in need, a typical commercial church ministers primarily to needy people in other lands, or needy people in the community who do not attend the church. Poor or alone people who actually attend the church are typically not shown hospitality or any other form of tangible love by their fellow churchgoers, other than polite small talk before and after the meeting.

This is easy to confirm for yourself. If you are alone, or are considered poor by your fellow churchgoers, does anyone ever show you hospitality, or do anything to help you in any tangible way? Or if you are not alone, or are not considered poor by your fellow churchgoers, do you ever show hospitality to poor or alone individuals who attend your church, or do you ever do anything to help them in any way? For most churches and for most people, the honest answer to both questions is, "No."

The commercial church system leads us to view our fellow churchgoers sort of like we see our fellow shoppers at a local store. We are all just customers there for the product that the store is selling, which is a church "service" that the business provides for us in exchange for our money. We don't have to do anything except be nice to people, sing along, pay our dues, and watch the performance on the stage. The fact that some of our fellow customers happen to be a little needy is not really our concern.

Essentially, we go to church with strangers, or casual acquaintances at best. We know very little about each other, and the commercial church format helps keep things that way, since we are all just audience members instead of being participants in the meeting in any substantial way. On the other hand, if we were to really participate in the meeting by sometimes giving a talk for everyone, we would naturally get to know each other better, just by listening to each other. And it would motivate us to want to get to know each other better too, because we would need to know what kinds of things to talk about in order to be helpful to everyone. By following the biblical way of church we would learn to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ instead of just fellow customers, and we would start to truly care about each other the way the Bible says we should.

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" - (Rom. 12:10).

"Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." - (Rom. 12:13).

"Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." - (Rom. 12:16)

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." - (John 17:20-21).

Typically, about 38% of what you give to your commercial church goes toward salaries and wages for the anti-biblical position of a full time speaker, as well as his assistants. And about 36% goes toward paying for a commercial facility, which is never authorized or suggested anywhere in the New Testament. So about 74% of what you give to your commercial church goes to unbiblical and anti-biblical causes.

Some commercial church pastors say to their audience that doing church the way the Bible says would undermine the authority of scripture, while doing it their way supports the authority of scripture. The lie they base this argument on is that the biblical way was just a temporary measure to make up for the fact that the New Testament wasn't finished yet. So God used the gifts of prophecy and tongues to give the men in the church words to say that were just as valuable and inspired by God as scripture, in order to hold the early church over until God could get the actual Bible all the way finished. Then once the Bible was all the way done, God quit giving the spiritual gifts of prophecy and tongues, and had "the pastor" step in to save the day and preach from the full, complete Bible. So now if you don't go along with letting the pastor be the sole speaker you're the one who is against scripture.

But not one bit of that nonsense comes from the Bible. Never does it say that prophecy and tongues served as substitutes for scripture, or that they were the only types of speaking allowed in church. Never does it say that once scripture was completed believers were supposed to change how they did church. Never does it say that the church format Jesus gave to Paul was temporary at all. Never does it say that God gave the early churches some commandments for church that became impossible to obey once the Bible was finished, because God suddenly pulled the rug out from under them and stopped giving certain spiritual gifts, and never does it say that he would stop giving those gifts. Never does it say that it's okay to break any of Jesus Christ's commandments for church. Never does it say that an elder may silence all the other men in violation of the Lord's commandments. Commercial church proponents are using a tactic for which liars are notorious: accuse your opponent of the very thing of which you are guilty.

If you believe that God does not want Christians today to obey Jesus Christ's commandments for the church meeting, then try the following exercise. Write out a list of all the verses in the Bible that you believe are in support of the church format where only a church leader may speak to the group. Add no commentary to your list; just write out the text of the verses. When you are finished, read aloud the scriptures you have collected, and see whether they really say what you thought they said.

This whole matter is not really about understanding what the Bible says, since it is so simple. God made it very clear what he wants his children to do in our church meetings. We know exactly what it says, but we don't want to do it. We prefer paying someone else to speak so we don't ever have to study, or prepare a talk, or get to know anyone else. We prefer meeting in a commercial facility instead of each other's homes, so we don't have to show hospitality to any poor or alone individuals attending who may need someone to show kindness to them. We prefer a church experience where although it may cost us some money, at least we don't have to give anything of ourselves.

So how do we start loving God and our neighbors enough to do church the way Jesus said? We will have to have faith. By faith we can choose to believe those parts of the New Testament that we have rejected all our lives, and then act on that belief. By faith we can remind ourselves of the love that God had for us by giving us his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, so that if we believe in him he gives us eternal life:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - (John 3:16)

And by faith we can find other believers who want to obey the Lord's commandments, and start our own churches.

Contents


Things you Might have to Believe if you Don't Believe the Bible

Here are a few things you might find yourself having to believe if you choose not to believe what Bible says about church. If we don't believe the truth on this matter we wind up having to tell ourselves several lies.
  • Jesus gave Paul commandments for church knowing full well that he would make those commandments expire in a few years (we have to believe), yet the Lord never follows up in scripture saying it's now okay to disobey those commandments and do church differently. Seems like a pretty sloppy and deceitful way to do things, but when we reject certain parts of scripture we wind up believing in our own made-up god that isn't very bright, and doesn't care about people very much.

  • Jesus Christ's commandments that he gave Paul for the church meeting include repeatedly urging the reader to seek to prophesy, but we have to believe that God stopped giving anyone that gift by 95 AD, about when the last of the New Testament books was written. So that must mean that sometimes God commands us to do things that are a waste of time.

  • Reading the Bible by yourself can be dangerous, since only the pastor knows which commandments that were given to New Testament believers are okay to ignore.

  • Since we have to believe that God doesn't give anyone the gift of prophecy after 95 AD, when it says in 1 Thessalonians to "Despise not prophesyings," what that really means is don't despise them until the year 95, then despise away!

  • Sometimes when the Bible talks about prophecy what it really means is preaching from the pulpit by the pastor. So prophecy sometimes means, "the pastor preaching from the pulpit," and sometimes it means, "that old gift God doesn't give any more." Which one it means depends on which one the pastor needs it to mean at the moment.

  • All scriptures about church must be interpreted with the understanding that it is God's will that we follow the traditional church format where only an elder may speak.

  • The commandment that Jesus gave to "forbid not to speak with tongues" really means don't forbid them until the year 95, then forbid away!

  • The completion of the New Testament canon was an historic event that changed God's mind about how he wants believers to do church. Before scripture was completed God wanted church to be done the way the Bible says. But then once scripture was complete God changed his mind. He saw that our way of only allowing an elder to speak was better than his way of letting every man speak.

  • Peter's quotation of Joel's prophecy in Acts 2 mistakenly says (we have to believe) that the time period called, "the last days," when "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy," lasts all the way to the great and notable day of the Lord, in the end times.

    "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:" - (Acts 2:16-21)

    So we have to believe that Peter and Joel were both mistaken, since we have to believe that the gift of prophecy was only given during the first 60 or so years immediately after the day of Pentecost.

  • So according to scripture, the time period that we are in is called, "the last days," and it started on the day of Pentecost and will end with the Lord's return, and it is a time when "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." But we're supposed to believe that God won't give anyone the gift of prophecy after the year 95 AD. So wouldn't a better description of this time be that it's when "nobody shall prophesy"? If prophecy is impossible nowadays, then we have to believe that God lied to us by telling us that "our sons and our daughters shall prophesy" during this age, when in fact they can't.

  • And then we have the problem of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-12). We have to believe that these two prophets in the end times will be exceptions to the rule that no one may prophesy after 95 AD. Now since we're having to lie to ourselves, let's be sure to get our story straight. Let's see... First, God has people prophesy throughout history until 95 AD. Then, during this age of ours that God says is when "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy," no one can prophesy after year 95 because God won't give anyone that gift any more, since the Bible is finished. But then near the end God will somehow give the two witnesses the gift of prophecy, even though the Bible will have been finished for many centuries. So instead of throwing out our stupid rule we'll just say that the two witnesses are divine exceptions to our precious rule, and that's all there is to it. There's nothing left to discuss. Got it?

  • God really likes the format where only a church leader may speak to the group, even though the Bible never once mentions that format, nor does it ever say that the men from now on don't get a turn to speak.

  • God does not want you to contribute anything to the church meeting that will help the others in the group. Regardless of whatever it is you want to say that you think will help the other people, the church meeting is no place for that. God wants believing men to all sit down, shut up, and put money in the offering.

  • God gives elders the authority to do church however they see fit. They are above having to obey Jesus Christ's commandments for the church meeting.

  • Since we have to believe that God stopped giving anyone the spiritual gifts of prophecy and tongues, men in the church reading scripture and teaching that are mentioned in 1 Cor. 14:26 must go out the window too. And why is that? Because only the pastor may speak in church, and it absolutely does not matter what the Bible says!

  • God likes the commercial church system better than the New Testament tradition of meeting in homes, but he just didn't think to tell us in the Bible what he really thinks. If he could take back those five places in the New Testament that say believers met in each other's homes he would! Commercial church rules!

  • God made it hard to for believers to understand what he wants us to do in the church meeting. We need a pastor with a Bible school or seminary education to give us a long, complicated explanation of why only he gets to speak. You can't get a good understanding of God's will about church just from reading your own Bible.

  • Whenever the New Testament refers to non-elder men speaking in church these are obviously one-time exceptions to the rule. The rule is that only an elder or one authorized by an elder to speak in church may do so. It doesn't matter that that rule never appears in scripture and goes against what scripture actually does say, since God gives elevated status to "the pastor" to do things however he wants.

  • When Paul told Timothy and Titus to ordain elders, he forgot to say that the church format would need to totally change with the appointment of elders. He forgot to say that each church would need to change from the format where every man gets a turn to speak, to one where only an elder is permitted to speak.

  • You can trust the Bible for most things, but not on the subject of how to conduct the church meeting. For that, you must trust the pastor.

[end of lies]

Contents


What Jesus Christ Said about Scripture

What place did the written word of God have in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God (John 1:1, 14, 1 John 5:7, Rev. 19:13)?

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." - (Matt. 4:4).

"Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." - (Matt. 4:7).

"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." - (Matt. 4:10).

"For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." - (Matt 11:10).

"But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;" - (Matt. 12:3).

"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." - (Matt 13:19).

"But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" - (Matt 15:3).

"And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." - (Matt 15:6).

"And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." - (Matt 21:13).

"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?" - (Matt. 21:42).

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." - (Matt. 22:29).

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." - (Matt. 24:35).

"The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." - (Matt. 26:24).

"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." - (Matt. 26:31).

"But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" - (Matt 26:54).

"And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?" - (Mark 2:25).

"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." - (Mark 7:6).

"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." - (Mark 7:13).

"And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought." - (Mark 9:12).

"But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him." - (Mark 9:13).

"And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:" - (Mark 12:10).

"And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?" - (Mark 12:24).

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." - (Mark 13:31).

"The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born." - (Mark 14:21).

"And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." - (Mark 14:27).

"I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled." - (Mark 14:49).

"And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." - (Luke 4:4).

"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." - (Luke 4:8).

"And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." - (Luke 4:12).

"And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." - (Luke 4:21).

"And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret," - (Luke 5:1).

"This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." - (Luke 7:27).

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." - (Luke 8:11).

"And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it." - (Luke 8:21).

"Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves." - (Luke 19:46).

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." - (Luke 21:33).

"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." - (Luke 24:27).

"And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" - (Luke 24:32).

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures," - (Luke 24:45).

"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:" - (Luke 24:46).

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." - (John 5:39).

"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." - (John 6:45).

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." - (John 7:38).

"If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;" - (John 10:35).

"I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me." - (John 13:18).

"While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." - (John 17:12).

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." - (John 17:17).

"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst." - (John 19:28).

Contents


Things to Notice about what Jesus Christ Said about Scripture

Here are a few things to notice about what Jesus said about scripture, as listed in the above section. If we believe in Jesus Christ, then our view of scripture should be the same as his.

Eighteen times Jesus said, "It is written," when referring to some scripture. He had full confidence that what he had read with his own eyes was in fact the written word of God (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10, 11:10, 21:13, 26:24, 31, Mark 7:6, 9:12, 13, 14:21, 27, Luke 4:4, 8, 7:27, 19:46, 24:46, John 6:45). Since the original manuscripts of the Old Testament were long gone by the time Jesus was born, everyone in Jesus' day only had copies of the originals (actually, copies of copies, etc.). So Jesus' use of the words, "It is written," means that he believed in the perfect preservation of the scriptures of the Old Testament.

Six times Jesus said to someone that that person should have already read what scripture says for themselves. He places the full responsibility on us as individuals to read and know scripture for ourselves (Matt. 12:3, 21:42, 22:29, Mark 2:25, 12:10, 24).

Jesus repeatedly affirmed that scripture is to be our ultimate authority on everything (Matt 4:4, etc.), and there is to be no one and no thing above scripture to us, including tradition (Matt. 15:3, 6, Mark 7:13). Jesus' view of God's word was consistent with everything the Old Testament says about scripture, such as the fact that God has magnified the written word of God above all of his name:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." - (Ps. 138:2).

Three times he said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Jesus' exact words were to be preserved forever in the New Testament, and those words would never "pass away" in any sense of the term, such as by being buried or hidden away and unavailable to anyone for any period of time (Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). Jesus' statement here means that he believed in the perfect preservation of the New Testament scriptures that were soon to come, just as he believed in the perfect preservation of the Old Testament scriptures in his day.

Five times Jesus said or implied that the written word of God must be fulfilled, and can never be wrong (Matt 26:54, Mark 14:49, John 10:35, John 13:18, John 17:12).

In summary, Jesus' view of the written word of God was that it is infallible, it is perfectly preserved, and is the authority on what we should believe and how we should behave in our lives. Did the church you attend have that view of scripture when they decided on the meeting location, the role of elders, and who gets to speak in the meeting?

Contents


Why Multiple Speakers?

Why does the Bible say that we should have multiple speakers in a church meeting, instead of just one person?

1. Because we need to hear from each other as members of the body of Christ.

"For the body is not one member, but many." - (1 Cor. 12:14)

God does not give any one person in an assembly of believers enough to talk about in order to help everyone sufficiently. Instead, he makes it so we have to depend on each other. Each of us is only one member of the body of Christ, and on any given subject we have only one perspective, and what we say may or may not be helpful to someone else in the meeting. There are no exceptions to that, even for church leaders. One man's viewpoint is not enough to give the whole group what they need. Like it or not, God made us that way.

And it doesn't matter how spiritual we are, how much we know of scripture, how we have served the Lord, or anything else. In a church of believers in Jesus Christ, one man's take on things is not enough.

When we pretend that only one man's voice is enough, we are lying to ourselves. We are lying about our own need to hear from the other members of the body of Christ in the room. We are denying our own responsibility to participate in the meeting by sometimes giving a talk for the other people.

The format where only one man speaks is in direct contradiction to the teaching that we are members of the body who need each other, and of course the Bible never says to do church that way. It's a terrible way to do church, not only because it directly violates the Lord's commandments to let every man speak, but also because it renders each man in the meeting useless and unneeded.

But if we were to obey what the word of God says, we would discover that we actually do need each other. Every man would get a turn to speak if he wants a turn, so that he could say something that might help someone else in the meeting.

"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).

Commercial church proponents sometimes talk about believers being members of the body of Christ, and they say that we need each other, but it is only empty talk that means nothing. In what way, exactly, do we need each other?

When a man is only allowed to sit quietly in a pew and listen to the man in charge, what good does he do for anyone else in the meeting? How do they need him? How do they benefit from him? He has some spiritual gift that God gave him. How do the other people in the meeting benefit from him having that gift?

If you are a man who believes in Jesus Christ, what do you do during the church meeting that benefits anyone else? Whose life is now better because you sat there as a member of the audience?

If you are a genuine, born again, believer in Jesus Christ and have been a Christian for more than a little while, you surely have something to say that would help other believers. If you aren't allowed to do so in your church meeting, that's a shame.

2. Because truth thrives when there is scrutiny.

Another benefit of the Bible's format for church is that with multiple speakers, the full truth about any subject tends to prevail much better than it does otherwise. When only one man can speak and he cannot be interrupted or even questioned, a lot more falsehoods are going to slip through and be allowed to stand. Whether deliberate or unintentional, things will be said that are either flat out wrong, or so out of balance as to be misleading. And if you're just a lowly parishioner, there's not a thing you can do about it.

Each of us is wrong sometimes, including church leaders. Since each of us has been wrong in the past about some things, common sense tells us that we are still wrong about some things right now that we don't yet know we are wrong about. Of course we always think we are right about everything we believe, but thinking we are right doesn't make us right.

You may have read some things on this page that you are sure are wrong, or that at least need some clarification. And you may well be right. This page probably does say some things that are wrong, or that at least need another believer's perspective. If we were right now actually in a biblical church meeting instead of you just reading this text, you would have an opportunity to also speak, and you could lovingly make the needed corrections.

Consider the life of Peter. He was an apostle of Jesus Christ, and one of his three closest friends. The Lord spent three years teaching him. He spoke on the day of Pentecost when three thousand people were saved. He wrote two books of the New Testament in which he was never wrong, since he was "moved by the Holy Ghost" while doing so. But he was wrong sometimes. Remember when Paul had to correct him because he wouldn't eat with the Gentiles any more, and started compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jews?

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed." - (Gal. 2:11).

Peter was an elder in a church, too. He died an honorable death as a martyr for the Lord Jesus. But sometimes he was wrong, just like each one of us.

The biblical way of church is that no believing man is ever silenced, nor does he need special permission from anyone to give a talk to the assembly. The word of God gives each and every believing man both the right and the responsibility to sometimes give a talk in a church meeting.

Contents


What Happened to the Churches?

What happened in history to the churches? How did church assemblies go from following the biblical way of letting every man speak, and all the people in a church meeting seeing themselves as brothers and sisters in Christ, to what we have today, with one guy above everyone else? How did elders change from being humble overseers and participants in the meeting, to becoming dominators of it? How did the churches go from having leaders who were meek men who sought to serve the others as "last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35), to having leaders who function as the complete opposite of that, who assume for themselves a power that scripture never gives them: that of silencing all the other men?

Of course, scripture tells us exactly what happened. The Lord let Paul know that this awful shift in the churches would happen after his death, and he warned everyone he could repeatedly about it day and night for three solid years. In his speech to the elders of the churches in Ephesus in Acts 20:28-31 Paul said:

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

That is of course exactly what happened, and why church assemblies today do not give a second thought about their disobedience to Jesus Christ's commandments for church. As soon as Paul and the other apostles were dead and gone, men rose to power who wanted the people in churches to follow themselves instead of the word of God:

"Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." - (Acts 20:30).

These men established a new way of doing church that was centered around themselves. Instead of being humble overseers, they became authoritarians, going beyond the authority that scripture gave them. And they liked that power. They liked being the only one permitted to speak. They liked being the focus of the meeting. They liked having disciples of their own following them.

Paul warned everyone he could day and night for three years that this huge change was coming, which he described as happening "after my departing," meaning soon after his death. It was so troubling to Paul that it brought him to tears when he spoke about it. A very big and very bad change was coming soon.

This was not to be some small offshoot of churches, by the way, or Paul would not have been so deeply disturbed about what was coming up. He knew that this change was going to be mainstream, and it was going to be very bad. And as history tells us, things went from bad to worse. Over the years, the powerful "church" men became more powerful and more authoritative, inventing church hierarchal authority structures and church offices that were completely foreign to scripture. And scripture became increasingly less important, giving place for outrageous heresies to arise that exist even to this day. Even the way of salvation by simply believing in Jesus Christ became lost and unknown, as far as the mainstream of churches was concerned. And it all started with the rise to power of the early church fathers. After the apostles had all died, these men abandoned the apostles' teachings about how to do the church meeting, and instead decided that they should be the only ones qualified to speak to an assembly of believers.

A typical man is brought to tears occasionally, but not too often. Even when grieving for a lost loved one, the crying subsides after a while. Other than grieving, imagine how unusual it would be if a man you knew cried once a day for an entire week. Now imagine how odd it would be if a man was brought to tears twice a day for one thousand days in a row, like Paul was. He knew that soon after his death, most believers would abandon Jesus Christ's commandments for church, because self-centered elders would rise to power who would change the church format to one that would accommodate their craving to have their own followers. If Paul's reaction to this knowledge was to cry twice per day for one thousand days in a row, how important do you think biblical church is to the Lord?

Today's men serving as "the pastor" are following the traditions established by the early church fathers, rather than going by what the Bible says. They do not want you to follow scripture, but instead want you to follow them. That's why on the subject of church you probably won't ever hear one of them say, "Study your Bible, have faith in what it says, and go by that."

Paul knew that this terrible shift away from biblical church would take place. He warned everyone he could day and night for three solid years that it would happen, and sure enough, it did.

Contents


What You Believe

If you choose not to believe what the Bible says about how we are supposed to do church, here's a summary of what you do believe, assuming that you are a real Christian.

You believe that the Bible is the word of God, sort of. In other words, you believe that the Bible contains some good information about God, but you don't see it as being word for word the holy scriptures that were written by men while they were being "moved by the Holy Ghost," and that have been supernaturally and perfectly preserved to this day.

You reject parts of the Bible, since everyone else does. You look around at what other people are believing, and can't bring yourself to believe any differently. You prefer going along with the crowd rather than to stand alone and choose to believe everything in the words of holy scripture all by yourself.

You believe in a god that gave mankind an easy to understand set of commandments for how to do church, but he didn't want anyone to obey those commandments other than the very small fraction of humanity who were alive at the time. In other words, you believe in a god that was either too weak and powerless to make the Bible say what was needed for the rest of the people that would be born later, or he was an idiot who accidentally included commandments for church in scripture that were meant for only those few people to obey. Your god didn't think to consider what would happen in the future. He didn't plan ahead, and didn't consider the billions of people who would come along later and read those commandments for church, and who might make the "mistake" of thinking that they are actually supposed to obey them. Your god is not exactly playing with a full deck.

You believe in a god that doesn't want anyone nowadays to obey his commandments for church even though he put up a huge, flashing sign right beside those commandments that says, "THESE COMMANDMENTS FOR CHURCH ARE FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF." Your god is a deceptive god, since he gave us those commandments, put up a huge sign saying that they came from Jesus Christ himself, but does not actually want us to obey those commandments at all. Or maybe your god is like a doddering old school teacher, who included those commandments in the Bible as a history lesson for his students, so we could get a glimpse into how people did church back in the olden days, before mankind was blessed with "the pastor" to run things.

Your god is a really stupid god, who could not figure out how to communicate to his children what he wants us to do in church, so mankind had to take up the slack, and invent a guy called, "the pastor," to step in and perform a church service for you every week. And your god wants you to pay for this performance by putting money in the offering, and if you don't do so he won't bless you financially.

In summary, you believe in a false god who is a weak and stupid version of the real God. In your daily life you find it hard to trust this powerless, idiot god you have formed in your mind, so when circumstances don't go your way, you get upset with your fake god, you easily become unhappy with your life, and deep down you wish that your god were smarter and loved you more than he does.

Contents


Prophecy by Ordinary Christians

Although scripture does not require that those who speak in a church meeting have any particular spiritual gift, it does urge believers to "covet to prophesy" (1 Cor. 14:39). And it presents the ideal church situation as being one where all the men prophesy:

"I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying." (1 Cor. 14:5).

"If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:" - (1 Cor. 14:23-24).

"For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." - (1 Cor. 14:31).

All scripture is prophecy, but most prophecy is not scripture, nor is it infallible speech.

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." - (1 Pet. 1:20-21).

The authors of scripture were "moved by the Holy Ghost" as they spoke, and their words were without error. Their words were in fact God's words. But prophecy by ordinary Christians in New Testament churches was fallible. They were not moved by the Holy Ghost as the authors of scripture were, but used their own imperfect words to speak about whatever God put on their heart to talk about.

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;" - (Rom. 12:6).

If a believer is commanded in scripture to prophesy "according to the proportion of faith" he was given, that means that it's possible to do otherwise, and not perfectly obey that commandment. A believer may be too timid to fully talk about what God showed him and put on his heart to talk about. Or he may go beyond the faith that God gave him, and throw in his own opinions and his own ideas, and not stick to the thing God showed him, and the faith that God gave him about it. The point is that regardless of how well or poorly he obeys the commandment to prophesy "according to the proportion of faith," his words are his own.

When believers prophesied in churches, it was always to be under a very specific set of rules given by the Lord himself. Those rules were based on the fact that the person speaking was in fact not speaking infallibly, and was not being "moved by the Holy Ghost" as he spoke, as the authors of scripture were:

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." - (1 Cor. 14:29).

The person prophesying was to be listened to with scrutiny by everyone else. They were to judge whether what the person said was right according to scripture, and was right according to what Jesus and the apostles taught. If anything the person said was wrong or incomplete, or needed other scriptures to balance it out, he was supposed to be interrupted.

"If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." - (1 Cor. 14:30-31).

If prophets in New Testament churches had in fact been speaking from the mouth of God, scripture would have prohibited anyone from interrupting them. Instead, it encourages interruption, and presents it as a normal part of church.

Prophecy in New Testament churches was done by ordinary Christians, speaking imperfect words in order to benefit the people in the meeting. Their words were fully their own, and they were responsible for what they chose to say, how they said it, and when they said it.

"And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." - (1 Cor. 14:32).

Prophets used to be called, "seers," because they saw something that not everybody else saw. God showed something to them, and he wanted them to tell others about it.

"(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)" - (1 Sam. 9:9).

Prophecy is when God shows somebody something that he wants that person to talk about, and then that person talks about it. In the special case of scripture, the prophet's words were a result of the person being "moved by the Holy Ghost" while speaking, and they were in fact God's words. But other than scripture, when a person prophesies he uses his own imperfect words to talk about something God showed him. What he says is to be judged by other believers as to whether it is right and consistent with scripture, and he is to be interrupted if anything is not quite right, or is incomplete.

The imperfect speaker may or may not do a very good job of talking about what God showed him. Hopefully, he will walk in the Spirit and speak with good motives and a clear conscience, and he will stay within the bounds of the faith that God gave him on the thing he's talking about. But what if he doesn't? It's very possible that the prophet may even have the wrong motives.

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." - (1 Cor. 13:2).

The point of prophecy in the churches was to benefit the people listening by edifying them, exhorting them, and comforting them (1 Cor. 14:3-4). But what if the person prophesying didn't do a very good job, or didn't have a charitable motive, or the people listening didn't pay attention? Then the prophecy would likely fail to edify, exhort or comfort as it should have.

"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." - (1 Cor. 13:8).

Notice, by the way, that the above verse does not say that God will stop giving anyone the gift of prophecy or the gift of tongues, as some commercial church proponents like to claim, because they incorrectly think that it helps promote their agenda that only they should be allowed to speak. Regarding prophecy, it simply says prophecies fail sometimes. If God wanted to tell us that at some point he would no longer give anyone the gift of prophecy he could have just come out and said so. But of course the Bible never says that, because he already declared that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" during the entire age we are in that is called, "the last days." And a lot of the very next chapter is spent encouraging the reader to seek to prophesy, and we are told much later in the New Testament to "Despise not prophesyings." Why would God have said that if he was going to pull the rug out from under believers soon afterward and stop giving that gift?

And as for tongues, it says, "whether there be tongues, they shall cease," which obviously refers back to verse 1, and simply means that every tongue ceases at some point, even for those who can speak with the tongues of men and of angels. Again, if God wanted to tell us that he would at some point stop giving anyone the gift of tongues, he could have simply said so. Instead, the next chapter tells the reader very precisely how the gift of tongues must be used, if included at all in a church meeting (no more than two or three men, and must have an interpreter). And just because it says that tongues "are for a sign" to unbelievers, why would that mean that God would stop giving anyone that gift, and stop that sign from happening? It sure doesn't say that he would. Also notice that the very last thing said in the entire New Testament about the gift of tongues is the following commandment that we are told was given by the Lord Jesus himself: "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." - (1 Cor. 14:39). Why would God leave things like that for his children to read down through the centuries if he was going to stop giving anyone that gift?

Even if God were to decide to never give anyone the gifts of prophecy or tongues ever again, or even if an entire assembly of believers did not include anyone with either gift, or anyone who even knew what spiritual gift he might have, it wouldn't change the fact that the only way God ever gave us to do church is the way where every man gets a turn to speak if he wants one.

The Bible says that during our age called, "the last days," both men and women are able to receive the gift of prophecy. During a church meeting only the men may prophesy (1 Cor. 14:34-35), but the women may do so at any other time. That means, for example, if a church meets for an hour once a week, for 167 of the 168 hours of the week the women in the church are eligible for the Lord to enable them to prophesy.

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:" - (Acts 2:17-18)

"And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." - (Acts 21:8-9).

The idea that since scripture is completed there should be no one using the gift of prophecy is obviously not from scripture, but even the logic of that idea is wrong. In fact, there should be a lot more prophesying going on because scripture is complete. The Lord now has all of scripture that he can use to speak to us, and put things on our heart that he wants us to tell people about. And as listeners, we now have the entire completed scriptures by which to judge any prophecy anyone ever gives, or claims to give. So we can do an even better job of judging prophecies than before the Bible was completed.

The idea that prophecy in the churches was a temporary thing that was supposed to hold the churches over until the whole New Testament was finished did not come from scripture. That idea was invented by proponents of traditional, commercial church in order to keep themselves in power, and in order to maintain their status as the sole speaker. They are counting on you not knowing your Bible very well. And they are counting on you not thinking for yourself.

Contents


Good Elders

What makes someone a good elder? This question is important for believers to ask ourselves, for a couple of reasons. First, since leaders of Christians are supposed to lead by example, we want to make sure that the example they are setting for us helps us to be more like Jesus. And second, it's an important question to consider because we need to be good stewards of what God has given us, and scripture says that it is sometimes appropriate to give materially to church elders.

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." - (1 Tim. 5:17-18).

Notice that there are two distinct kinds of elders mentioned. Some elders "labour in the word and doctrine," meaning they are in full time ministry for their life's work. Other elders have a regular, secular occupation, and biblically speaking, should be much more common. There's no difference between the two as far as their role in the church meeting is concerned. For both kinds of elders, we need to consider whether they "rule well."

Let's first deal with good traits that an elder should have regardless of whether he has a secular job or is in full time ministry. Later, we will think about those who are called into full time ministry work, and what specific traits they should have. Then we'll think about what motivates a man to become an elder. And finally, we'll consider how many elders a church should have.

Remember that we shouldn't pronounce any kind of judgment on anyone or speak badly about anyone, but rather consider quietly to ourselves whether we think a man is a good leader or not, and whether we think he deserves the "double honour" that scripture is talking about. We are each, as individual believers in Christ, to decide whether we believe an elder "rules well" or not.

1. Things that apply to all elders, whether in full time ministry work or not.

Let's assume that every elder we're talking about fully meets all the criteria for being an elder that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus. We're really only talking about men who are qualified to be an elder, since if someone isn't biblically qualified, there's no way that he "rules well."

One of the easiest things to consider about whether an elder is a good leader or not is simply our own subjective opinion of whether we think he cares about us. We should ask ourselves the question, "Does he genuinely care about me, and my life, and my well being?" Your own personal impression of the man is very important, since as an elder he is sometimes supposed to function like a shepherd, which includes looking after the well being of individual sheep. If everyone else talks about how wonderful someone is, but you get a vibe from him toward you that he really doesn't care for you, then that's all you need to know right there. You should go by your personal impression of how he treats you, instead of the popular opinion.

We should also consider whether an elder sees himself as part of the church, or as separate from it. Jesus said that someone who wants to be a leader among believers should not behave as if he is above anyone else and therefore rule with authority, but instead he should behave as a servant, and lead by example.

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." - (Matt. 20:25-28).

Jesus said that those who lead believers are to have a mindset and way of leading that is entirely different than that of other kinds of leaders. Governmental authorities, employers, and even parents all act from a position of authority over the people under them, as they should. But one who leads believers is not to behave that way at all. Instead, he is to lead by example, by being such a good servant to everyone in the assembly that people genuinely want him to be one of their leaders, and they want to be persuaded by him. They know him as just one of the guys, and they can see that he has learned a little something about being like Jesus, and we admire that and want to learn from him.

It's pretty easy to see when an elder is really behaving as your boss instead of your servant. If he's the only one who is allowed to speak and you have to stay quiet, that's your boss. Someone in the role of your servant doesn't act that way toward you.

An important aspect of an elder's leading by being a servant is to not exalt himself by accepting a title of authority that sets him apart from others. Consider what Jesus said about that:

"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." - (Matt. 23:1-11).

Jesus said that his followers were to reject anyone calling them, "Rabbi," since that means, "master," and they were all on the same level as brothers in the Lord, and Jesus was their only Master. The title, "Rabbi," or more generally, "Master," is something that on its face says, "I am a leader." But in a deeper sense it conveys something else to others, too. Such a title says, "I outrank you. I rule; you follow. I speak; you listen."

Someone who wants to be a leader of believers must not think of himself that way, and must reject any such title. Regardless of whether the title is exactly the word, "Rabbi," "Master," or "Father," the idea is still the same. We are not to accept any kind of title that says, "I'm above you," regardless of whether that title is "Pastor," "Bishop," "Elder," or anything else.

When a man embraces the title, "Pastor so and so," what is he really saying, especially considering how the commercial church system works? Here's what he is saying: "I outrank you. I teach; you learn. You have much to learn from me, but I have nothing to learn from you."

Any elder who calls himself, "Pastor so and so," has completely missed the lesson that Jesus was teaching. He may seem like a pretty good guy, but he disrespects scripture, thinks too highly of himself, and is no servant. He is the exact opposite of the kind of man we should accept as one of our leaders. Not everyone is cut out for the kind of servant leadership that Jesus Christ taught.

Not only are leaders not to accept any kind of leadership title themselves, but we are commanded not to call anyone by that kind of title, either. Whenever we use a title of authority for anyone who leads believers in Christ, we are playing along with his delusion, and we should not do that.

Notice that no apostle ever called himself or any of the other apostles, "Apostle so and so." That's because they were all taught directly by Jesus, and they knew better than to exalt themselves like that.

So when we are considering whether a man is an elder who "rules well" or not, we have a very easy way to know whether he even knows anything about Christian leadership as a servant. If he attaches a title of authority to his name, or even accepts other people calling him with such a title, he's not a good leader for Christians. He does not deserve the "double honour" that Paul's letter to Timothy is talking about.

An elder should also understand the fact that he is just a part of the body of Christ, and he needs to hear from other parts of the body as much as they need to hear from him. If he favors the traditions of the early church fathers over scripture, and thinks only he should speak and everyone else should only listen, he's not someone to have as your leader. That kind of man is your boss, not your servant.

Of course there are times when an elder will need to assert his leadership (Heb. 13:7, 17), but these times are by far the exception, not the rule. When something unexpected happens where the group needs someone to be a leader and step up and make a decision, he should be up to the task. For example, if there is a troublemaker in the meeting, or some kind of conflict that calls for someone to settle things, he should be the kind of guy who can handle the situation well, and to everyone's satisfaction.

In those kinds of situations, he should be able to step up to the task at hand, but should do so while still fulfilling his duty to be everyone's servant, and not rule unilaterally, as if he is "in charge" of anything. Christians in the New Testament made big decisions as a group, with a consensus of everyone. Even when the apostles were involved, leaders would discuss things among themselves first, but final decisions were made by a consensus of the whole group:

"Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:" - (Acts 15:22).

Also see Acts 1:15-26 for another example of making a decision by having a consensus of the whole group.

An elder should be able to teach the basics of the Christian life and the Bible, but he isn't required to be a great teacher, or have any kind of formal education. Notice that Paul's lists of requirements for being an elder that he gave to Timothy and Titus say that a man should be able to teach, and should be skilled enough to use sound doctrine to "convince the gainsayers," or in other words, be skilled enough to defend the basic truths of the Christian faith against those who oppose us. An elder should be a pretty good teacher, but he doesn't have to be great.

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" - (1 Tim. 3:2).

"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." - (Titus 1:9).

So the Bible says that an elder should be able to teach, but it also says that about the rest of us. We should all learn to be able to teach, even if we are not elders, and are merely "servants of the Lord."

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient," - (2 Tim. 2:24).

"Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." - (Heb. 5:11-12).

Also notice that neither of the lists of requirements to be an elder include anything about quitting one's job and living by faith in God to supply one's needs. Doing that takes a lot of faith, and is not for everyone. Only those few elders whom God calls to the work of the ministry have to have that much faith. Other elders are mainly just supposed to be decent guys with good character, and who are good husbands and fathers.

One of the most overlooked requirements for being an elder is that he is supposed to be a man who shows hospitality to others.

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" - (1 Tim. 3:2).

"But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;" - (Titus 1:8).

To know whether a man is a lover of hospitality or not, ask the people in the church who need hospitality the most: the poor and alone. They can tell you right away whether he has ever invited them over for a meal and fellowship.

It's important to not compromise on any of the requirements for being an elder that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus. If we do, then we will wind up with someone that does not really have God's blessing for the position. Someone may be a great guy, but if he doesn't fully meet all the requirements we are asking for trouble if we treat him like he should be an elder anyway.

For example, there is a requirement that an elder have children. It also says that they should be well behaved, but let's look specifically at just the requirement that he has children.

"One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;" - (1 Tim. 3:4).

"If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." - (Titus 1:6).

This means that a man who has had no children is not qualified to be an elder, and neither is a man who has had only one child, since the word God chose to use for these scriptures is, "children," plural. Remember that we are supposed to live by every word of scripture (Matt 4:4).

The requirement here is not just that a man be a father, but specifically that he has had more than one child. A man who has had no children or who has had only one child is not qualified to be an elder, since he doesn't meet the requirement of having children. By the way, even if an elder's children were to all pass away, God forbid, that would not disqualify him and force him to step down, since his children would still be alive to the Lord, "for all live unto him." (Luke 20:38b). So he would still meet this requirement.

Remember that this requirement that a church elder has to be a father to more than one child was given to us by our Creator, who knows everything about human nature. It must be that God knows a little something about how a man thinks and behaves differently once he and his wife have raised not just one, but two children. For example, raising two or more children means that he and his wife have had to teach their children how to be good to each other and get along with each other. Our Creator knows that a guy who has shouldered that responsibility is better equipped to deal with an assembly of people than someone who has only raised one child.

Whenever a guy does not fully meet all the requirements for being an elder but still considers himself to be one, you can be pretty sure that he's also wrong about the rules for the church meeting. And that is especially true when it comes to the more concrete requirements, as opposed to the ones that are more subjective. For example, a guy is objectively either "the husband of one wife" or he isn't, but whether he is "vigilant" and "patient" and "of good behavior" are more subjective calls.

The more objective requirements for eldership include being married to only one woman and never having been divorced, having two or more children, and being a Christian for more than a little while. Guys who fail on any of these more objective requirements are more likely to be wrong on things regarding the church meeting itself. If a guy objectively doesn't qualify to be an elder but still considers himself one, he is more likely to be wrong regarding the least popular rules for the church meeting, such as allowing prophesy and tongues, allowing interruptions, and forbidding women to give talks in the meeting.

That makes sense, if you think about it. If a man objectively doesn't meet one of the more concrete requirements for being an elder, then why does he want to be one? It's usually the same old story: he likes the power, or the income, or the prestige that he gets by being considered a church elder, and he's not willing to give that up. If he can excuse himself from the Bible's rules when it comes to being an elder, then he is a guy without much personal integrity, and will tend to be a panderer, and teach what is popular rather than what is strictly biblical. It's very important for Christians to NEVER consider someone to be a church elder who fails on any of the requirements. If we do, then we are asking for trouble. Don't call him an elder, and don't stay in a church where he is considered an elder.

2. Things that we should consider for those elders who are in full time ministry as a "pastor and teacher."

Now let's think specifically about those elders who "labour in the word and doctrine" for their life's work. Most elders (at least biblically speaking) do secular work for a living. They are not called to be elders by God (no one is), but are merely men who desire the office, meet all the criteria for eldership, have been a part of the church they are in for a long time, and everyone agrees that they want the man to be one of their leaders.

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." - (1 Tim. 3:1).

Desiring to become an elder and then serving as one is not the same as being called by God to "the work of the ministry," as mentioned in Ephesians chapter 4:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" - (Eph. 4:11-12).

Those whom God calls to the work of the ministry include men called to be "pastors and teachers." These are men who not only serve as an elder in a church, but also have received a calling from the Lord to be in "the work of the ministry," and almost surely serve more people than just those few folks that are in the same local assembly.

Remember that biblical churches always met in someone's home, and to do so they had to be numerically small. Since the material support of those in "full time Christian work" is generally supposed to come from those to whom they minister, those in the ministry full time necessarily have to have a broader scope to their ministry, because it would be way too much of a burden for just the few believers in the church to give them full time support.

"If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" - (1 Cor. 9:11). Also see Rom. 15:27.

So if someone is an elder who is also one of the few men called by God to be a "pastor and teacher" with a ministry that reaches outside of just his church, our criteria for whether we think he's doing a good job as an elder should be a little different than that which we use for regular elders. The elders in full time ministry are generally supposed to be fully supported by believers. Other elders support themselves and their own family with their own labor. If we think they "rule well," then we should show them our appreciation in whatever way that we think is appropriate, such as an occasional small gift.

But the decision of whether to help support someone who claims to be called into full time work of the ministry is obviously a bigger question, because we are talking about much larger gifts being needed. Such gifts should never be solicited in any way. Those who give these gifts of support are to do so cheerfully, and totally of their own free will, and without anyone compelling them to give in any way, such as by passing an offering plate, or with any kind of public notification of how to donate to someone's support.

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." - (2 Cor. 9:7).

If God calls a man to quit his job in order to do the work of the ministry as his life's work, then God will see to it that the man gets what he needs without him having to say anything to anyone except the Lord. If God calls someone, then he will see to it that the person is fully supported. One time when Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission, he taught them to rely totally on God to provide for their needs.

"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." - (Matt. 10:9-10).

When God calls a man into the work of the ministry, he makes sure that he gets everything he needs in the way of support for himself and his family. He is really working for the Lord, and so this divinely provided support, or even the lack of it, is one way God can communicate with him and guide him. When the man lets no one but God know what his needs are, God is then able to really be his boss on the job. And if God decides to "fire" him from the work, for whatever reason, all he has to do is dry up the support.

A man truly called of God into the work of the ministry will be careful to not let his needs be known to anyone but the Lord. He doesn't drop hints to anyone, and he doesn't let anyone take up an offering for his support. He leaves it totally up to God. If the support dries up, then it just dries up, and he understands that to be God's will. He should take that as God telling him that he should go back to supporting himself doing regular, secular work. If God truly calls you into the work of the ministry, then he is the one responsible for your support. If he decides to fire you, then that's his decision, and you should be fine with it.

This way of doing things may sound a little extreme, but that's only because it is so uncommon. But it is perfectly biblical. There are a lot of full time Christian workers who claim that God called them into the work, when he really didn't. They don't rely on God alone for their support, and wouldn't even consider living that way.

Men serving as "the pastor" in a commercial church generally know nothing of that kind of life. Instead, they get a salary from the church organization, and unless they really mess things up with some kind of scandal, that salary will probably keep coming in from now on. And since commercial church relies on the selfishness of believers, the job is pretty secure. We like not having to study, or prepare a talk, or get to know anyone else. We like not having to be hospitable to those who need it. Someone willing to help us be selfish like that will be pretty secure in the job.

When it comes to supporting people materially, be wary of anyone who claims that God called him to be a pastor and teacher. Surely God has genuinely called some men to that ministry, but such guys seem to be very rare. Many are not as they appear, and deserve no support at all from us. Before giving any support to such a person, get to know him for a while. See whether he fully meets the requirements for being an elder, as described earlier in this section. See whether he strictly obeys Jesus Christ's commandments for church, or instead panders to the people, and teaches his own brand of "house church" that includes disobeying Jesus' least popular commandments for church.

Consider whether or not he sees you as a member of the body of Christ who has something valuable to say. Have you taught him anything, or does he only teach you? See whether he lives frugally or otherwise, as is indicated primarily by his housing. Consider how well he takes care of himself, physically. See whether he is in reasonably good shape, or is he overly fat or weak, which can indicate slothfulness or lack of self control. See whether he truly trusts God for his needs, or instead tells everyone how to donate to his support. See whether he charges anything for any of his teachings, or instead gives everything away free of charge.

If you do decide to support someone, be careful. Try giving just a little bit of support, and then take a while to observe. See whether he is truly grateful, or instead takes your gift in stride. See whether his attitude is consistently that of being your servant, or whether he is rude to you sometimes. If he fails in any area, don't give him anything else, and instead give to those who are truly in need. Remember that you are the one who gets to decide whether an elder "rules well" or not.

3. What kind of men desire the office of elder?

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." - (1 Tim. 3:1).

Let's compare the men who desire to be "the pastor" of a commercial church to men who desire to be "an elder" in a biblical church. Men who desire to be an elder in a commercial church are a different group of men than those who desire to be an elder in a biblical church. The offices are very different, and attract very different types of men.

A man who wants to be "the pastor" of a commercial church is drawn to the office primarily because he desires the power, the income and the prestige of that position. He likes the power of being the only one permitted to speak. He likes the idea of ruling over other men, and keeping them silent. He cares very little about helping other men mature spiritually, and has no desire to help other men in the church learn to become good speakers themselves. Like the early church fathers that came along after the apostles had all died, what's important to him is to have disciples of his own following him.

He likes the prospect of having a salary that is automatic, and that requires no faith, no prayer, and no reliance on God. Just show up, do a decent job of speaking, act like you care about people when they are having troubles, and everything is good.

He looks forward to the prestige of the office. He looks forward to attaching a title of authority to his name, and being called, "Pastor so and so." He looks forward to the local fame in the community of being "the pastor" of a church. He looks forward to being greeted in stores around town, and for people to call out to him saying, "Pastor, Pastor." He looks forward to a life of ease, comfort and respect.

On the other hand, a man who desires to be an elder in a biblical church really has nothing to gain for himself. He knows that there is very little power, no pay, and very little prestige. He knows that he doesn't get a title of authority attached to his name, and he doesn't get to be famous in the community as being "the pastor," since there is no such office in the Bible. His attraction to the office is based on his love for the Lord and for his fellow believers, since there really isn't anything much to gain for himself.

He knows from scripture that he is to serve as an overseer, to make sure the assembly follows the commandments we were given for church, and to help ensure that all things in the meeting are done "decently and in order." He looks forward to fulfilling his responsiblity to "feed the flock of God which is among you" by sometimes giving a talk, but he also looks forward to helping other men in the church grow spiritually, and learn to become good speakers themselves. He looks forward to other men in the church maturing and becoming elders in the assembly as well.

If an elder in a biblical church serves well for a long time and has a ministry that reaches more people than just his local church, the Lord may call him to quit his job and become a "pastor and teacher" whose life work then becomes "the work of the ministry." At that point, he looks forward to relying totally on God for his support, and not letting his material needs be known to anyone but the Lord from now on.

The men drawn to the position of being "the pastor" in a commercial church would have no desire to be "an elder" in a biblical church. One position brings power and respect. The other requires service and love. For pretty much any given commercial church, a guy who calls himself, "the pastor," is among the least qualified men in the assembly to hold the office of elder. He likes being a boss, not a servant.

4. What is the appropriate number of elders in a church?

The biblical number of elders for an assembly of believers is zero or more. In other words, it depends. The normal situation for a church starting out is to have no elders, since the people need to get to know each other for a while before even considering whether any of the men might be qualified to be good leaders. And it may well be that a particular assembly of believers does not happen to have any men who are qualified to be elders, but it would still be a perfectly valid and good church. Notice that Paul told Titus to ordain leaders in various churches "if any" of the men were qualified.

"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." - (Titus 1:5-6).

The words, "if any," mean that if a church didn't have any men who met the qualifications, Titus was not to ordain anyone in that assembly. The words, "if any," also mean that whoever met the qualifications and wanted the office was to be ordained as an elder. So there is no set number of men per church who may be elders. Whoever meets all the qualifications and desires to be an elder should be ordained as one.

And consider the fact that these churches in which elders were being ordained were already legitimate, active churches before anyone was ordained. They didn't have any elders, and yet they were doing just fine because they were obeying Jesus Christ's commandments for church that say that every man may have a turn to speak. And once elders were ordained in a church, nothing about the church meeting was supposed to change. Nowhere does it say that any church was to start doing the church meeting any differently after ordaining some of the men to be elders.

Of course, it's better to have elders than to not have any, at least in a biblical church, but there is never an indication in the Bible that there should be only one elder in an assembly, or that there should be a hierarchy, with one elder being "the senior pastor," as some commercial churches have. We are specifically told that Paul saw to it that multiple elders per assembly were ordained, and no one guy was to be any more important than anyone else:

"And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." - (Acts 14:23).

Notice that it says, "elders," plural, in every "church," singular.

In a very practical way, a biblical church recognizes that the head of the local assembly is Jesus Christ. So of course there is no need for anyone else to also be in the role of being the "head" of the assembly, as is the case in commercial churches. Every man in the assembly is capable of giving a talk to benefit the people. In a biblical church, men study the Bible, and they give talks for the people. Such a church functions just fine whether there are any elders present or not. In a commercial church, the men tend to be spiritual babies who don't even read the Bible much, and would have no clue about how to give a scriptural talk to help the others. So they have to have someone to be in charge as the head of the assembly or they can't even function.

Commercial church is a business, and must be run as one. The biblical way of doing church, where every man has the authority to speak granted to him in scripture, would not work for a business. Instead, you need to have one guy in charge at the top to run things, and he either speaks himself or decides who does speak. He may be called, "the pastor," or maybe, "the senior pastor." But in reality, his function is to serve as the head of the church. And he may not ever admit it, but that is exactly what he wants. As Paul told the elders of Ephesus, the men that rose to power soon after Paul died craved the power of having disciples of their own following them. And the guys today who call themselves, "the pastor," are following in their footsteps.

"Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30).

"The pastor" of a commercial church is always a guy who cares more about people following him than people following scripture. We're far better off being in a biblical church that might not even have any elders yet, than being in a church where some guy thinks it's okay for him to be the head of the assembly instead of Jesus Christ.

Contents


How to Become a Bible Teacher

To become a Bible teacher, follow these steps:

1. Study the Bible.

2. Teach somebody something from the Bible.

If you have followed these steps, congratulations! You are now officially a Bible teacher!

You don't have to be called by God in order to teach, and you don't have to have the gift of teaching, since it's something you're supposed to learn to do anyway as a believer. The recipients of the book of Hebrews were scolded for remaining spiritual babies, and not all being teachers yet.

"Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." - (Heb. 5:11-12).

It's perfectly normal for a believer to become a teacher as he grows closer to the Lord, and learns more of scripture, and learns to love his fellow believers more. For a Christian man to become a teacher should not be a rare thing. What should be rare is a believer not ever maturing enough to want to become a teacher.

Being an expert teacher or being in full time ministry does not give a guy the right to prevent regular folks from teaching sometimes as well. So we should never be intimidated by expert teachers, or those teachers who are in full time ministry, and we should not think that because they may be more knowledgeable and may be better speakers than we are, they should speak and we should not. Since teaching helps the teacher himself to learn, and mature, and love his fellow believers more, it may sometimes even be better for a guy with little experience to teach than for someone who is an expert. And remember that the biblical format for church encourages interruptions, so if a new teacher gets something wrong it should be no big deal. Those in the church with more understanding can always just interrupt and provide a correction.

A lot of people in Christian ministry, even in biblical churches, fall into the error of thinking that they are more valuable than other members of the body of Christ. Those who go into full time Christian work are especially vulnerable to this error. It's very easy for them to start to think that they are on a higher level and have a higher value than other members of the body of Christ due to their status of being in full time ministry. They lose sight of the fact that Jesus is above all of us, and we are all on the same level as brothers and sisters in the Lord. They lose sight of the fact that we are all members of the body of Christ, and that each member is needed by the other members. They know these things on paper, but they no longer feel that way in their heart, and it makes them give off a vibe of being superior. Going into full time ministry does not mean that other members of the body of Christ have nothing valuable to say. A sure sign that someone has fallen into this error is when he does not want to learn anything from rank-and-file Christians who don't share the same status.

In commercial churches, this attitude typically shows itself by the guy actually changing his name to signal to everyone that he's above them. For example, a guy named, "John Doe," who becomes a minister in a commercial church will typically change his name to, "Pastor John Doe," in spite of the Lord really frowning on that kind of thing. He does this in order to signal to everyone that from henceforth he shall be treated with the greater level of respect and honor that a minister deserves. Yuck. Every guy who does that is delusional and full of himself. Just call people by their actual names, and run from anyone who suggests that you address him using the title of spiritual authority that he has attached to his name.

Those who minister in biblical churches are susceptible to getting this attitude as well. They may have enough sense not to honor themselves by changing their name to, "Pastor so and so," but they might still want to try to assert dominance over others, and signal to people that they are more valuable than the other members of the body of Christ. For example, a guy in full time ministry may find it gives him an edge to refer to himself as a "Bible teacher," as if every other believing man who can teach is not also a "Bible teacher." Being called by God to teach, or doing it full time, or having the gift of teaching, does not change Jesus Christ's commandments that say every man may speak, including teaching. If God says that every man gets to speak, and that includes teaching ("hath a doctrine"), then God thinks that every man can have something valuable to teach.

Elders have a greater responsibility to teach because scripture especially commands them to do so, but it also says that every other guy has both that responsibility and that right. Elders are charged with feeding the flock of God, and being able to teach, and being able to use sound doctrine to convince the gainsayers. But they should not use this greater responsibility to teach as an excuse to think that what they have to say is always more valuable than what some other guy might teach, if given a chance.

Contents


Pretending to Find "The Pastor"

In spite of the fact that there is no church office called, "the pastor," in scripture, and there is no office in the New Testament in which someone is permitted to be the only speaker, guys in commercial churches sometimes pretend to find "the pastor" in the Bible. As we will see, this is not an honest mistake, but a very obvious attempt to deceive the people into believing that the fake office they themselves hold is legitimate and biblical.

The most common way "the pastor" does this is not directly and with a full explanation, but rather with a more indirect and subtle approach that makes people think that he has inside information that his audience is not privy to. So when he happens to be speaking about a section of scripture that mentions something about "elders" of churches, he will try to pretend that what scripture is really talking about is guys who were "the pastor" of a church. For example, consider the following verse:

"And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." - (Acts 20:17).

When commenting about scriptures like this, dishonest church leaders will say something to the effect of, "This is when Paul called for all the men who were each the pastor of a church in Ephesus." But this text never uses the word, "pastor," at all, much less does it say anything about anyone being "the pastor" of a church. They say this kind of thing because they have an agenda, and can't afford to just let scripture say what it actually says, and with the words that it uses. This verse is just one example. They will often substitute "pastors" for "elders" in other places too, because they want people to think that whenever scripture mentions elders what it's really talking about is guys who are "the pastor" of a church. They usually make these kinds of comments quickly and casually, and then move on to other things, leaving the impression that they simply provided a little needed clarification, when the truth is that they were being deceptive, and pretended that scripture says something it doesn't say.

Another subtle thing they do is to pretend that various people in the New Testament were "the pastor" of a church, when they weren't. Here are a few examples:

1. Pretending that Paul was "the pastor."

We are told several times that Paul was a single man, and was therefore unqualified to be an elder in a church, and yet some commercial church leaders will refer to him as a pastor. Remember that to hold the office of elder a man must be married, must have only one wife (no divorced men qualify), and must have children that are well behaved (among other qualifications).

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" - (1 Tim. 3:2).

"One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;" - (1 Tim. 3:4).

And yet we know that Paul was not married, and therefore was not qualified to be an elder of a church:

"For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I." - (1 Cor. 7:7-8).

Since Paul was so obviously not an elder, why do they make this claim? They do it because it makes themselves seem more important and powerful. They think that since Paul was an important man, if they say that Paul had the same office as them, it elevates their standing. Remember that these "the pastor" guys are all really fond of power and prestige. But when it comes to honesty? Not so much.

2. Pretending that Timothy was "the pastor."

First of all, in everything that scripture says about Timothy, it never mentions anything about him being an elder. Not once. If God wanted us to think that Timothy was an elder, he could have just come out and said so. Or he could have at least given the slightest hint that such was the case. But he didn't.

Commercial church pastors don't like the fact that scripture never suggests that Timothy was an elder, while it does say that he had authority to speak, and even calls him a "minister" (1 Tim. 4:6, 11, 13, 16, 5:20, 6:17, 2 Tim. 2:24, 4:2). So instead of just accepting what scripture does say, they like to pretend that he was an elder. They don't like the idea of anyone but "the pastor" having authority to speak in church, so they say that Timothy was an elder simply because they need that to be the case.

Second, for Timothy to have been an elder he would have had to have been a married man, with well behaved children. And yet scripture never says anything about Timothy being married or having children. Again, that seems like a big thing for God to leave out if it were true. If he had a wife and children, you would think that in at least one of Paul's two letters to Timothy he would have mentioned them.

Third, if Timothy was in fact a married man, then he was not a very good husband and father, considering how he treated his family. He was an assistant to Paul, which meant that he was constantly traveling along with him, and also traveled without him. He was on the road or staying at a remote location pretty much all the time. If he had been an elder, that would mean that either he left his wife and children at home while he did extensive traveling, or he took his wife and young children with him, which would have been tough on them. Remember that we are told that Timothy was a young man, and was young enough for Paul to have admonished him to let no man despise his youth:

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." - (1 Tim. 4:12).

So any children Timothy supposedly had would have been very young, which would have made traveling with them especially difficult for them and for his wife. Whether Timothy left his fictional wife and children at home, or took them with him on the road as he was serving as Paul's assistant, he would have been a lousy husband and a bad father. For a young man with a young wife and young children, occasionally traveling with them on short trips where they are away from home only for a short time and not very often is fine. But for a man like Timothy to take a young family with him as he continuously travels and stays at remote locations would have been irresponsible.

Fourth, if Timothy was an elder, he obviously wasn't a very good one. Being an elder would have obliged him to serve in the ways that elders are supposed to serve. He would have been obliged to serve as an overseer, shepherd, teacher, and provider of hospitality for the people in the church in which he was ordained. But Timothy was almost never home, and could not have fulfilled the duties of an elder. With being on the road so much as Paul's helper, if Timothy was in fact an elder, then he was quite a neglectful and uncaring one.

The obvious truth is that Timothy was just as he's presented in scripture: a single man who served the Lord very well, but was not an elder of a church. Maybe he became one later in life, but it's clear that at the time of the writing of the New Testament he was neither qualified to be an elder nor had the time to serve as one. Remember that Paul was pretty much in the same situation: not qualified to be an elder, and was way too busy serving the Lord in other ways to have been one.

3. Pretending that Titus was "the pastor."

The situation with Titus is pretty much the same as with Timothy. There is never a mention of any wife or children, or of him being an elder, but some "the pastor" guys try to pretend that he was an elder in a church.

He essentially worked as another assistant to Paul, traveling with him constantly, or staying in remote locations away from home for long stretches of time. In order for Titus to have been an elder, that means he was not a very responsible guy. He either left his family at home while he took these long trips and stayed at remote locations, or he took his wife and children with him on the road, staying away from home for long periods of time, sometimes in difficult and hostile situations. Either way, he would have been neither a good husband nor a good father.

And if Titus was an elder in a church, then he wasn't a very good one. He was constantly traveling or staying abroad, and would have been an awful and neglectful elder. He would have spent long stretches of time where he had no contact with the very people he was supposed to be overseeing and caring for. As with Timothy, if Titus was an elder, then he was a lousy one.

Remember that commercial church pastors have to pretend that "the pastor" is all over the place in the New Testament in order to try to give legitimacy to their own job, and make it seem biblical. They can do this with no problem, for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that they know that the people in the assembly do not know the Bible very well at all. In fact, they are counting on it. So they can lie about people in the Bible holding the office of "the pastor" without any fear of being called out on it. After all, the very presence of the people in an assembly that disobeys what scripture says about church shows that they don't read or study the Bible much, so "the pastor" knows that he can safely pretend that the Bible says a lot of things that it never actually says at all.

Another reason is that they know that nobody in the audience will dare to go against decorum and interrupt "the pastor," or ask to give a talk after he's through with his sermon. None of those guys allow that. And if they ever did allow that kind of thing, it would probably be so that they could figure out a way to humiliate the offender who dared to question the expertise and knowledge of the man of God who rules the assembly.

In spite of "the pastor" claiming that various men in the Bible were "the pastor" of a church, the New Testament only once names anyone who is an elder.

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:" - (1 Peter 5:1).

So Peter, the apostle, is named as an elder. That's it. No other elder is ever named in the New Testament. And no one is ever called a "pastor." The only time the word, "pastor," is used in the entire New Testament is when Paul lists "pastors and teachers" as being among those called into the work of the ministry to edify the church.

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" - (Eph. 4:11-12).

These are men who first held the office of elder in a church, and then God called them to the work of the ministry to serve more people than just those in their home church. They live by faith, and they don't let their material wants be known to anyone but the Lord. And they fully rely on God to provide for their needs.

So why do "the pastor" guys constantly use the word, "pastor," instead of, "elder," whenever they are talking about elders? And why do they pretend that various men in the New Testament were also "the pastor" of a church, when it's obvious that they weren't? It's because they need for the people to falsely think that their own office is legitimate. And the Bible is really no help for them when it comes to promoting this agenda. So instead of simply saying what the Bible actually does say, they pretend that this or that fellow in scripture was also "the pastor," in order to deceive you into thinking that their own office is legitimate, so they can continue to get your support.

Contents


Eye Openers

Take one hour of your life some evening and do nothing but study the Bible on the subject of how the church meeting is supposed to be done. For that one hour, read nothing else. It could change your life.

Do you believe God gave us a Bible that makes it easy for everyone to understand what he wants us to do in the church meeting, or a Bible that is so hard to understand on that subject that we need a paid expert to tell us what to do?

Try to rid yourself of the false idea that there are two levels of Christian men: those who teach and those only allowed to listen. Your pastor probably has some kind of formal Bible education, and it may seem like he knows scripture much better than you do. So what? According to the commandments of Jesus Christ given in scripture, you still get to speak, even with your limited knowledge. Those who promote the idea of a separation between "clergy" and "laity," where the clergy have valuable things to say that they got from God, while everyone else is not so privileged, are lying.

The only way that God ever gave us to do church is the one in which every man is able to participate in the meeting, and any man can interrupt if he believes the Lord wants him to. If God wanted us to instead have one man do all the talking every time, and not let anyone else interrupt or even so much as ask a question, don't you think he would have given us something in the Bible that says to do it that way? And yet THERE'S NOT A SINGLE VERSE OF SCRIPTURE THAT SAYS TO DO CHURCH THAT WAY!

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you believe that scripture is God's word, right? You believe that we are to live by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, right? Then why do you suppose that FIVE TIMES it says that believers met for church in each other's homes? Do you think God made a mistake? Do you think it doesn't matter to him where we meet? Are you okay with the fact that it never says that believers should pool their money together and get some property, and meet in that place? Does it bother you that no church in the New Testament ever collected money for themselves, so they could have a nice, comfortable building in which to meet, and forget all about that whole hospitality thing?

Consider the home in which your pastor lives. Take a look at it from a distance, if you can do so. If you are alone or poor, have you ever wondered why he never invites you over for a meal and fellowship, even though twice the Bible says that being hospitable is a requirement for being an elder? Why do you think that is? It's because you are nothing but a customer to him. And since he figures you are not one of the better paying customers, he doesn't want to waste his time with you.

Commercial church proponents sometimes like to say that in the New Testament, once new churches were well established by the apostles, God wanted them to shift from doing church with multiple speakers the way the Bible says, to elders doing all the speaking. They say that God shifted the responsibility of teaching away from the men of the church to just the elders, and now they are the only ones authorized to speak. They are lying to your face. The early church fathers that came along after the apostles had all died were the ones that made that shift, which Paul warned for three years was going to happen. Today's guy called, "the pastor," favors the traditions established by those men over what the Bible actually says.

Take a look at what your church has in writing about "what we believe," and find the part on the subject of church. If your church is like most, you'll notice that there's nothing said about why they do the church meeting the way they do it. No explanation is offered as to why they do the meeting where only one man can speak, he cannot be interrupted or even questioned, and every other man has to stay silent.

Typically, if a commercial church ever says anything about why they do the church meeting the way they do it, "the pastor" will do so in a sermon, rather than putting it in writing. That's because he knows he can't be interrupted or questioned during a sermon, and no one else can speak. He can say whatever he wants, and leave out whatever scriptures he wants to leave out, without any consequences. These guys don't want to put what they believe in writing, since that would open it up for real scrutiny, and it would easily be ripped to shreds.

Remember when Jesus said that leaders of believers were to lead in a completely different way, by being servants instead of ruling with authority?

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." - (Matt. 20:25-28).

And yet commercial churches operate exactly like the assemblies of other religions, where they have one guy in charge up at the front, he's the only one who speaks, and everyone else is just a listener. So why do our assemblies look just like theirs? Because our leaders are not behaving as our servants, but instead are "exercising authority" on us by keeping us quiet, which is going directly against Jesus Christ's commandments for church that say every man gets a turn to speak if he wants one. We can pretend that the man in charge up on the stage doing all of the talking and preventing all the other men from having a turn to speak is our servant, but he really isn't. He's our boss.

The Bible does say that there are some people who are not allowed to give a talk in the church meeting: the women. It says that all the men get to speak, and scripture strongly encourages them all to do so. So in your church, the only person in the role of a man is "the pastor," since he's the only one allowed to speak. And if you're a Christian man, you have no problem with that, right?

Biblical church is free. In the Bible, the "church" always only means the people of the church, so there are no expenses, no commercial building to have to pay for and keep up, and no one's salary to have to pay. Any elders who might be in the church are all volunteers, and they do not charge anything for their services.

On the other hand, commercial church is a business that provides a service to people that is called, "church," in exchange for the money you put in the offering. But what they provide does not even resemble what the Bible says a church meeting is supposed to be like. What you're paying for when you put money in the offering is the convenience of not having to fulfill your God given responsibility to love the other members of the body of Christ in the room. You don't ever have to give a talk, show hospitality to anyone, or even get to know anyone. When we pay to go to a commercial church, we are essentially paying for the privilege of not having to do or say anything to help anyone else in the meeting.

This page asks you to believe parts of the New Testament that your pastor does not want you to believe. It is asking you to obey commandments of Jesus Christ that your pastor does not want you to obey. It's that simple.

What if you were to believe what the Bible says about church as described on this page, and it turns out to be wrong? What if this page is all a lie, and it turns out that church is supposed to be done in the format where only one man speaks, and we should all meet in a commercial facility after all? Then when judgment day rolls around for you as a believer in Christ, you'll have a perfectly good excuse to tell God. You can show the Lord the very scriptures on which you based your beliefs, and you can point out the fact that he never said to do church any differently anywhere in his word. Of course this is a ludicrous scenario, since God will never go against his word, and those who follow and trust his word will never be ashamed for doing so.

"Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." - (Ps. 119:6).

Contents


The Fruit of Commercial Church

Let's consider the fruit of a typical commercial church. Generally speaking, how are the people of such churches usually doing, spiritually, after having attended a commercial church for years, or maybe even for their whole lives? How much do they love God, and how much do they love their neighbors, especially those who are Christians?

Most in such a church do not read their Bible daily. Most will never even read the whole thing once. Most will never memorize much of it. Most never meditate on it, much less daily. Most do not seek for answers to life's problems in it. Most do not routinely make decisions in their lives based on what they personally read for themselves in their own Bible.

Most of the men are not able to give a scriptural talk to other believers that might be helpful to them. Most do not yet love other believers enough to even want to learn to do so, or to overcome their fear of public speaking. Most do not love their fellow believers enough to seek a spiritual gift, or to learn which gift they already have.

Most are unable to adequately explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to someone, nor are they able to explain how to get eternal life by believing in him. Most of them do nothing personally to spread the gospel.

Most never give sacrificially, to a degree that affects their lifestyle.

Most never seek the Lord by fasting even one day of their lives.

Most do not pray daily. Most do not genuinely seek the Lord in prayer during times of trouble. Most do not wait on the Lord ever, much less daily. Most do not pray regularly for their authorities, for other believers, or for unbelievers.

Most are not even aware of the need for the kindness of hospitality among people with whom they attend church.

None of these rather lousy fruits should be surprising. Since actions speak louder than words, people attending commercial churches are taught every week by the very format of the meeting that the Bible is not trustworthy enough to follow what it says. By being kept silent, the men are taught that they are each not valuable enough to be of help to anyone else in the meeting by giving a talk for them. The men each think that "the pastor" is supposed to handle all of that kind of stuff. The men are essentially taught to remain immature, selfish spiritual babies, rather than to become strong, loving, good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Contents


Other Errors of the Commercial Church

In addition to the two main errors that this page focuses on about commercial church (letting only "the pastor" speak, and meeting in an institutional facility instead of people's homes), here are a few other errors that the commercial church tends to make.

1. Delaying baptisms.

In the New Testament, believers were always baptized immediately after believing (Acts 2:41, 8:12, 38, 9:18, 10:48, 16:15, 33, 18:8, 19:5). And obviously, any believer could baptize any other believer (three thousand converts were baptized in Acts 2, Philip was not an elder in Acts 8, etc.). The early church fathers, the power hungry men whom Paul warned would rise to power after his death, changed that. They introduced a mandatory time lapse between believing and getting baptized, in order for the new believer to have some time first to pray, or go on a fast, or get married, or get permission from a church leader.

What an awful thing to do to a brand new believer: to make him wait some time before obeying the Lord on this matter that is very clearly supposed to happen immediately. Leaders of today's commercial churches follow the tradition of the early church fathers on this matter because they don't love the people very much, but they do love controlling people, and they like the prestige and attention that they get by being the one who does the baptizing. The well being of the new believer is very low on their list of priorities, so they don't mind a new believer waiting several days or weeks to do what they should have done for him on the very day he believed.

Not baptizing new believers immediately also makes it so more people will respond to an "altar call" than would respond if doing so meant getting baptized right then. This practice artificially boosts the success and reputation of "the pastor" or the visiting evangelist by inflating the number of converts to be more than those who are genuine. It is very wrong and harmful to both those who are genuine and those who are not quite ready to go all in and become a full-fledged believer. In response to a call to become a believer in Christ, it's certainly a lot easier for someone to raise his hand or walk to the front than it is to agree to get baptized, and commercial churches know that.

Some of the early church fathers delayed baptism because they believed in (and invented) the heresy of baptismal regeneration, or the idea that someone is born again upon being baptized, rather than when he believes in Jesus Christ. So instead of baptizing someone immediately after believing in Christ, they required that a prospect for baptism have a time for prayer, fasting, and repentance of his sins before being baptized. This preparation time was to ensure that the believer was in a state of mind to never commit a serious sin ever again, which they taught would cause him to lose his salvation and be forever damned if he did so after being baptized. And they taught that the priest's words spoken over the person being baptized would bring down the power of the Holy Spirit into the water, imbuing it with special power. Of course we know that this is all salvation-by-works nonsense, and yet the practice of delaying baptism is still done widely today by commercial church employees who claim to follow the Bible. They do this kind of thing because tradition is more important to them than following what it says in the word of God.

2. Neglecting what we were commanded to do in favor of what is popular and traditional.

Commercial churches fill the meeting time with things we're not commanded to do in the church meeting, to the exclusion of those things we are commanded to do. We are commanded to let every man speak in the church meeting in order to edify everyone. Doing other things in the church meeting can be fine, but to do those things instead of obeying what God commanded us to do is not good. There's nothing wrong with singing songs, or playing music, or showing a movie, or performing a skit. But to do those things that we were not commanded to do during the meeting, while neglecting to do what God did command us to do, is sin.

3. Recruiting church leadership from outside the church.

Commercial churches have a practice of recruiting "the pastor" from outside the church instead of ordaining men already in the church to be elders, as is commanded in scripture. They do this because commercial church by design is centered around "the pastor," and such a guy is essential to the existence of the business. Recruiting such a person is needed because the men in the commercial church have been taught to remain spiritual babies, and they typically have nothing of value to say to the other people in the church, so they have to hire someone from the outside. The typical commercial church cannot even function unless they have someone in the unbiblical position of "the pastor" to run things. Since the men have been taught to be useless, they typically are in fact useless in a church meeting, and have no idea how to give a talk to benefit the people. So they recruit someone from some other area, so he can move to the community and be hired to perform this unbiblical job, just so the assembly can function.

4. Reducing the Lord's supper to a religious ceremony.

Most commercial churches change the Lord's supper from the Bible's way of it being part of an actual meal among believers who love each other and have fellowship, to a formal and quiet ceremony with token "elements" provided by the church business, instead of real food. This practice keeps the people from eating an actual meal together and having fellowship with each other like Christians did for the Lord's supper in the Bible. It is supposed to be a time of examining oneself, and judging oneself, and of discerning the Lord's body, but it is also supposed to be a time of having a meal with one's brothers and sisters in Christ. The word used is, "supper," which means that it's supposed to be a full meal, not just token elements. The last supper that took place the night before Jesus was crucified was a full meal shared among Jesus and his disciples. And the instructions given in 1 Cor. 11 also make it clear that it should be a time when believers are coming together to eat a meal, and they include the admonition that everyone should be courteous to each other and wait for each other as needed. Turning the Lord's supper into a silent religious ceremony with special, token elements instead of an actual meal also helps promote the idea that the church employees are providing something uniquely blessed and divinely authorized for the people that they could not have prepared on their own.

5. Pretending that it is the church's responsibility to evangelize, rather than the responsibility of each believer.

Commercial churches often pretend without biblical support that it's "the church" that is to do the work of evangelism, instead of church simply being the meeting together of believers to edify each other. The only evangelism associated with a church of believers in the New Testament is when Paul encourages every man to seek to prophesy in the meeting, and he mentions the possibility of an unbelieving person attending the meeting, and the fact that if everyone prophesies it could convince him to turn to the Lord:

"But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." - (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

Commercial churches often invest more effort into evangelism than into the spiritual well being of those who are already attending the church. And most of those successfully reached in a commercial church's evangelism efforts never show up to attend a meeting, and those new converts that do attend soon discover that they are valued primarily for what they can put into the offering plate, and often quit attending. A lot of the "evangelism" done by a commercial church is really more about finding people who are already Christians who might want to start attending the church, and bringing in more offering money. That which is called evangelism by a commercial church typically has more to do with keeping the business going than with people's souls actually getting saved.

6. Changing the meaning of "church."

In the Bible, "church" is always only the people who make up the assembly. In a commercial church, there are two distinct entities: the church business itself, sometimes called, "the church," and the customers who frequent the business, who are also sometimes called, "the church." The business that is sometimes called, "the church," will occasionally let the customers vote on various things, but the customers are not part of the business and have virtually nothing to say about how the business conducts itself, other than the few things the people are allowed to vote about.

So you have two groups that are called, "the church." One group is the people who run the business that takes in money, has employees, has a budget, and uses a commercial building. The other group is the customers who pay into that business. While the word, "church," in the Bible always refers to the entire assembly of believers, the word, "church," for those who attend commercial church usually means either the commercial building where they meet, or the business that operates out of that building. Only occasionally do folks mean the actual assembly of people when they refer to "the church."

This particular error is actually not entirely a bad thing, as far as people waking up to the truth about biblical church is concerned. For a genuine believer who wants to contribute something to help the others in the meeting, when it dawns on him that he's not really part of "the church," that can help wake him up. Maybe it will help him see the truth that he is not valued for who he is as a believer in Christ, but for what he can put into the offering for the business that is "the church."

Contents


Advantages of the Poor

It's generally easier for poor people to believe in biblical church than it is for everyone else. In order to believe in the Bible's way of doing church one has to have a lot of faith in God and his word, and poor believers have more faith than everyone else.

"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5).

Having an unusually large amount of faith in God's word is helpful in this matter, since one has to think differently than the majority, and most of us have a hard time doing that. The subject of biblical church does not require a lot of scholarship or Bible knowledge, since the Bible is very straightforward and simple on the subject of what to do in church. What is hard to do for most of us is to think independently, and believe something that relatively few people believe. None of us want to be an oddball, so it requires having a lot of trust in God and the Bible he gave us in order to break from the crowd, go out on a limb, and just believe what it says.

Believing in biblical church is tough because it means believing that the great majority of Christians are wrong about this subject. And not only that, it means believing that Christians have generally been wrong about this subject for centuries: ever since right after the apostles died (that's about when the church format changed, but they were still meeting in houses; meeting in commercial facilities didn't happen until a couple of centuries later). So that is somewhat of a hard pill to swallow unless we have a lot of faith in God's word. And since God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, they are probably going to be the first to accept the truth on this subject in any kind of large numbers.

Believing in biblical church also requires acknowledging that we have been wrong in our thinking in the past, and the poor are generally better at being able to do that than those who aren't poor:

"The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit." - (Prov. 18:11).

Rich people tend to think more highly of their own opinions than the poor do. You may have known some rich people who don't ever think they are wrong about anything, or at least hardly ever acknowledge that they are wrong. Poor believers are generally more likely than others to recognize that they have been wrong about something they have been believing, and are more inclined to start believing differently than they have in the past. They don't have a "high wall in their own conceit" to have to deal with, like the rich do.

Also, the poor tend to be able to "see through" people better than others, which helps them to more easily see the phoniness of commercial church.

"The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out." - (Prov. 28:11).

For example, a poor person can more easily see certain types of hypocrisy. Believers who are poor and alone in life understand the value of hospitality better than others do. They can see why God made being hospitable a requirement for being a church leader. If a poor person goes to a commercial church where nobody ever even invites him over for a meal and fellowship, and yet that same church spends a lot of effort on things like financial seminars, retreats, and events at the facility, he's more likely to see through the hypocrisy of such a place, and wake up and believe the truth.

Also, the poor have less to lose than others do, and so it's generally easier for them to not worry so much about their social lives when deciding what to believe.

"The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke." - (Prov. 13:8).

The rich are generally not as good as the poor at being able to hold correct but unpopular opinions, such as believing in biblical church. The rich have a higher social status, and have more to lose.

The poor are also more likely to be unmarried than those who aren't poor, and this makes them more inclined to want to please the Lord, which includes believing in the way that God gave us to do church. The Bible says that single believers have a greater desire to please the Lord than married people do.

"But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." - (1 Cor. 7:32-33).

So when a single believer goes to a commercial church, the fact that he is forbidden to participate substantially in the meeting stings him a little more than it does a married guy. The married guy is more likely to be fine with being passive and useless in the church meeting than the single guy is. The single believer really wants to serve the Lord and please him, but about the most he can do in a commercial church is to serve in some way that makes no impact on people's lives, such as by greeting people at the door and handing out church bulletins. The single believer sees the huge discrepancy between how much he desires to please the Lord, and the menial ways to serve that are available to him in a commercial church. A single man who really wants to please the Lord is more likely to recognize that the commercial church he attends offers nothing valuable for him to do in the way of service. Although the Bible encourages him to participate in the church meeting and try to say something that helps others, the only way the commercial church lets him serve is to do things like passing out bulletins and taking up the offering. A single guy who loves the Lord is more likely than a married guy to find that situation unacceptable. And that makes him more likely to take a leap of faith and believe what the Bible says about church.

The poor are also less likely to have the problem that Jesus spoke about in the parable of the sower, where the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word, and a believer becomes unfruitful. When that happens, a guy is probably not going to care much about things like the subject of biblical church.

"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." - (Matt. 13:22).

For a believer, being poor can help take the attention away from unimportant things like wealth and status and comfort, and put the focus more on eternal things. A rich believer is more likely than a poor one to fall among the thorns and get wrapped up in the things of this world that don't matter in eternity. Among Christians who believe in biblical church, not very many of them are rich.

Contents


Let's Get to Know the Pastor

Support for the fake office of "the pastor" is the main thing that keeps people from believing in biblical church, so let's get to know him a little.

The pastor is not someone you will find anywhere in the New Testament. You won't find that name for an office, and you won't find any office in which a man is given the right to silence the other men in the church, in direct violation of Jesus Christ's commandments. What you will find is the office of elder, sometimes called by other names, in which decent men who are good husbands and fathers help oversee the assembly, as well as contribute something to the meeting by sometimes giving a talk, along with all the other men. But "the pastor" is different from a biblical elder. He is a man who sees himself as being better than everyone else in the assembly, to the point where he has decided to be the only speaker, in spite of what scripture says. He not only violates what scripture says about how to do church, but makes a living by doing so.

And he not only makes his living by breaking the Bible's commandments, but claims that God called him to do so. He fancies himself as being "the man of God" for the church, who was called by God to be a "pastor and teacher," but his actions prove that God didn't call him at all. God never calls anyone to do anything that goes against scripture, and when a man prevents the other men from speaking and doesn't allow himself to be interrupted or even questioned, he is very much going against what scripture says. God does not call people to do things that require disobeying scripture.

The only way to do the church meeting ever given in scripture is to let every man speak, and let any man interrupt any speaker if he believes the Lord wants him to do so. The Bible's way of doing church does not have room for anyone who is better than everyone else, but that is exactly how "the pastor" sees himself. He thinks he is somehow divinely qualified to speak while other men are beneath his rank, to the point where he thinks it's his duty to prevent them from saying anything in the meeting without his permission. He won't even entertain the idea, lest somebody says something that doesn't line up exactly with what he sees as the perfect and doctrinally correct viewpoint: his own. Or, lest someone else says something that actually helps the other people in the church, thus treading on what he sees as his territory.

He is basically a con man who has lied so long about what the Bible says about how to do church that he starts to believe his own lies himself. He looks out every week at his admiring audience who quietly listens to his every word, and he starts to think that God really did call him, and he really is better than everyone else in the church. He must be better than everyone, since God wants him to be their only speaker. The proof that he shows to himself that God called him and anointed him for such a position is simply that he is actually doing it. That's proof enough for him. He makes a comfortable living from it, and he gets thanked and admired by people in the church every week. In his mind, that's all the proof he needs. The way he looks at it is this: he preaches the gospel, some people get saved, and some Christians learn some valuable things. So God must have called him to do what he's doing.

"The pastor" is a guy whose understanding of God is seriously messed up. He thinks that God called him to violate scripture for a living, that God approves of the unbiblical way he's doing the church meeting, and that God has exalted him to be on a higher level than anyone else in the church, to the point where he's their only speaker. He thinks God has anointed him, and only him, to speak in church, and did so without needing a single word of scripture to support that idea. His view of God is so clouded that it affects his own self awareness. He can't see that he's no better than the rest of us.

He is a perfect example of hypocrisy. He says in his sermons that the Bible is the word of God, and we should follow it better than we do, but while he's saying that he is blatantly disobeying what it says about how to do the church meeting. He teaches others to follow the Bible, but sees himself as being above scripture, and not subject to it.

He is a guy with an abundance of time during the week to study the Bible, and yet somehow he can never quite grasp the very simple commandments we were given for how to conduct the church meeting. If he ever speaks about those commandments in a sermon he has to flat out lie, and it can be embarrassing to watch. If you've ever seen such a guy speak about what the Bible says about church you know that it can be quite a spectacle, and can be disconcerting if you're not ready for it. Here's a guy who when speaking about other subjects may be insightful and helpful, but when it comes to this particular subject he falls apart. He cannot deal with the actual words that scripture says. It can be revealing to see a man read a verse of the Bible and then brazenly say that what he just read means something different from the very words he just spoke. But he has to do that, because if what the Bible says about church is true then his entire life is on the wrong track. By violating scripture for a living he has essentially rendered himself incapable of being objective. He cannot and will not believe what the Bible says on this subject, because he literally can't afford to do so.

A guy who calls himself, "the pastor," tends to say a few things in his sermons that are for the purpose of letting everyone know how knowledgeable he is. He does say some helpful things, but will occasionally throw some things into his sermons that don't actually help anyone, but that do let everyone know that he knows the Bible backwards and forwards, and that he is the undisputed all time champion in the assembly when it comes to Bible knowledge. Since he is speaking from scripture he sometimes says some things that really do help people, but sometimes he likes being seen as an expert on the Bible more than he likes saying things that are truly beneficial.

The pastor of a church sees himself as being called to the work of the ministry as a "pastor and teacher," as mentioned in Ephesians chapter four. But in spite of the name, "the pastor," the typical guy is pretty much all "teacher" and very little "pastor." That's because he likes the prestige of being a teacher a whole lot more than he does actually loving the people in the church and being a servant to them. So when he shows hospitality, for example, he typically does so for those in the church who don't really need it. He will do a few high profile acts of kindness, but when it comes to loving his neighbor as himself regarding poor folks who are actually part of the church, he thinks, "What's the point?"

"The pastor" is basically a warmed over version of "the priest," with the exception that the pastor operates on this side of The Reformation, and so he has more regard for the authority of scripture, and less regard for unbiblical traditions. And as a result, he does do a lot of good. He preaches the gospel, says that belief in Christ is the only thing needed for salvation, and says that the Bible is the sole infallible source for Christian doctrine. But because he still follows man's way of doing church and rejects God's way, he prevents all the good that would happen if the people were persuaded to follow the Bible's way of church instead. That good would include Christians caring more about each other, being better students of scripture, and being more effective ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the world. But because of his own craving for admiration and power, as well as for a sweet and easy way to make a living, he cannot bring himself to believe the truth about what the Bible says about how to do the church meeting.

Contents


Christians Will Reap What We Have Sown

Since Christians overwhelmingly support the unbiblical office of "the pastor," we will reap what we have sown. Since the great majority of Christians are opposed to biblically mandated free speech during the church meeting, it's only right that God chastises us and diminishes our free speech in general in our everyday lives. We should not cry about losing our everyday free speech as long as we are still supporting an unbiblical church system that prevents free speech during the meeting. God has been patient with us for a very long time.

Why should God help us keep our free speech in society when we refuse to follow the free speech format for church that Jesus Christ commanded? If we don't allow the men to have free speech in the church meeting as commanded in scripture, it's only right that God sees to it that our own everyday free speech is eroded away.

If we support the anti-biblical and authoritarian office called, "the pastor," then we deserve to be ruled over by a government that is increasingly authoritarian and oppressive. Every guy who calls himself "the pastor" is an authoritarian, in that he assumes for himself a power that scripture does not give him: that of silencing the other men. If we support such an authoritarian and anti-biblical office instead of following the way that God gave us to do church, then God will have to lovingly chastise us by letting us have authoritarian rulers in government who increasingly take away our freedoms.

We should repent. Each of us should decide right now to never attend a commercial church meeting ever again. We should resolve to never give any money to a commercial church ever again. We should start our own churches in which we really do obey scripture, not just claim that we do. We should humble ourselves, pray, seek the face of the Lord, and turn from our wickedness of disobeying the commandments that Jesus Christ gave us in the Bible for church.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." - (2 Chron. 7:14).

Here's a summary of some modern societal problems and how they correspond to our sins in the churches. God has to live with us Christians forever, and he wants us to be as much like Jesus as we can be, so we'll be happy and so he can enjoy our company as much as possible throughout eternity. So God lets us have these societal ills largely so that he can let Christians reap a little bit of what we've been sowing, so hopefully, one day, maybe, we'll start to repent.

Societal Problem Our Sins in the Churches
Reduction in free speech.
We forbid the men from having free speech in church as commanded by Jesus Christ in scripture, so God reduces our free speech in our everyday lives.
Rising "gender" confusion and perversions.
We forbid most of the men from speaking in church, while we allow women to have temporary authority over the men by speaking sometimes, both of which are against scripture. We treat men like women, and women like men. So God lets the society around us reflect what we're doing in church. Christians have no business complaining.
Increasing financial woes, such as inflation, shortages, unemployment, businesses going under, etc.
About 74% of what we give to a commercial church helps nobody but ourselves. About 36% goes toward paying for for a commercial place to meet instead of meeting in our homes, which would be free. And about 38% goes toward paying someone to speak for us instead of the men giving talks themselves, which would also be free. The money we give to commercial church is mostly not "giving" in any kind of charitable sense, since we are merely paying money unnecessarily to make our church experience more comfortable for ourselves than if we were to follow the Bible. We throw money away on commercial church, and pat ourselves on the back for our "generosity."

We like caring for the poor as long as they are kept a comfortable distance away from us. We may give a little to the poor in the community who don't attend the church, as well as to poor people in other lands, but we don't show hospitality and kindness to poor and alone people who actually attend our church. Since we neglect the poor who sit beside us, God lets things go badly for our society financially.

Contents


Not so Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where does the Bible say to change the format of the church meeting from letting every man speak, to only letting the pastor speak?

A: Nowhere.

Q: Where does the Bible talk about the office of "the pastor," who runs the local church and is the sole speaker, and who does not allow any other men to speak except with special permission?

A: Nowhere.

Q: Where does the Bible say that believers should pool their money together to get a commercial facility in which to meet, instead of meeting in each other's homes, like the New Testament tells us five times?

A: Nowhere.

Q: Where does the New Testament say that one role of a church leader is to be the only person who speaks in a church meeting?

A: Nowhere.

Q: Where does the Bible say that believers are no longer under any obligation to obey what Paul told us are "the commandments of the Lord" about church?

A: Nowhere.

Q: Where does the Bible give church leaders the authority to silence other believing men in the meeting, so they are not allowed a turn to speak to the group?

A: Nowhere.

Q: When Paul instructs Timothy to ordain men to be elders, where does he say that these men are each to be the only speaker in the meeting?

A: Nowhere.

Q: When Paul instructs Titus to ordain men to be elders, where does he say that these men are each to be the only speaker in the meeting?

A: Nowhere.

Contents


Jokes

What would you call someone who comes to church with no intention of learning anything? The pastor.

What would you call someone who moved to your community, came into your church, and taught everyone to disobey Jesus Christ? The new pastor.

What are the spiritual gifts of the commercial church? Greeting, bulletin distributing, ushering, and offering collecting.

What would you call a commercial church pastor who shows hospitality and kindness to poor and alone people in the church? Imaginary.

From which part of the Bible do commercial church pastors get their format for the church meeting? It must be the outside part, since the inside part says to do it differently.

On board an airplane there is a swindler, a liar, and a commercial church pastor. Then the plane lands, and he walks out.

What would you call a commercial church pastor who speaks objectively and honestly about what the Bible says about how to do the church meeting? Fictional.

Where is one place you'll never see the pastor of a church? The New Testament.

What's the difference between a heretic who says we shouldn't obey Jesus' commandments in the sermon on the mount, and a heretic who says we shouldn't obey Jesus' commandments for how to do church? Not much.

What would the names of commercial churches be like if they had to be truthful?

 
Bible Doubters Bible Church
 
Hospitality Withholders Fellowship
 
First Assembly of the Biblically Ignorant
 
We Do Not Study the Bible Baptist Church
 
Look at Our Expensive Building Bible Church
 
Pastor John Doe's Church, Pastor John Doe Presiding
 
Beta Males and their Families Community Fellowship
 
Middle Class and Above Only Please Bible Church

Your god might be an idiot if...

If your god gave you clear and concise commandments in the Bible for how to do church but doesn't want you to obey them, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god wants you to do church where only one guy may speak but he forgot to mention that format anywhere in the Bible, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god had men write the original manuscripts for the Bible under his inspiration but he forgot to perfectly preserve those scriptures down through the ages, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god couldn't get fifty-four expert translators together to give you a perfect Bible, so that sometimes you have to translate from the original languages yourself, which you don't even speak, in order to know the truth, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god thinks that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are high quality biblical manuscripts instead of garbage that was sloppily written and edited by unbelievers, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god wants you to have a guy called, "the pastor," to be in charge of your church and be the only speaker or decide who else may speak but he forgot to mention such a person in the Bible, then your god might be an idiot.

If your god gave you a Bible that says five times that believers met for church in each other's homes but he wants you to instead meet in a commercial facility, then your god might be an idiot.

Contents


Recommendations

If you are still unsure about the subject of biblical church, here are some recommendations to help you overcome your uncertainty.

Pray, and ask God for wisdom. Then read your Bible. That's it. Don't read any other books on this subject. Don't listen to anyone's message about this subject. Don't read anyone's web site about this subject, including this one. You can do all of that later, once you thoroughly know the truth for yourself. But before that time comes, those things will just be distractions to you. The only way you will ever come to a full, solid understanding of the truth on this matter is if you place your confidence totally in the written word of God, and you get to work studying it for yourself.

For this subject in particular, specifically read the New Testament. Read all of it, over and over again. Then read it again and again, and concentrate on understanding every single thing it says about church. Study your own Bible on this subject and read it repeatedly until you not only fully know and understand everything it says on this matter, but you also have enough faith to actually believe it.

You might be wondering why anyone would recommend to do so much reading and studying about a subject that the Bible presents as being very simple. That's because you have been lied to your whole life on this matter, and breaking free from those lies might not be very easy. You'll need to do some work to convince yourself that the office of "the pastor" is not hiding somewhere in the pages of scripture that you somehow missed. So repeatedly comb through every single verse of the New Testament if that's what it takes to convince yourself of the truth that there is no office even resembling "the pastor" in scripture, and that the Bible's way of doing church is what God wants for you instead.

If you instead decide to focus your efforts on reading or listening to what other people say about this subject, you will never understand this matter very well. If you do that, you will always be depending on what some other person said that the Bible says, and you will never see things as clearly as you could. If you want to know the truth, you must make the conscious choice to read and study your own Bible and believe what it says for yourself.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." - (2 Tim. 2:15).

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." - (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Contents


Miscellaneous

This part is for things that seem like they should go in a Miscellaneous section.

1. Are women sometimes allowed to give a talk in a church meeting?

2. Would the apostles have sold any of their own spiritual teachings?

1. Are women sometimes allowed to give a talk in a church meeting?

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." - (1 Cor. 14:34-35).

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." - (1 Tim. 2:11-15).

Some people claim that there is an exception to these commandments because of what it says in the first part of 1 Cor. 11 about a woman praying or prophesying.

"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." - (1 Cor. 11:5).

They say this part must be talking about the church meeting because chapters 10 through 14 are largely about church. And they say that since it must be talking about the church meeting, then what 1 Cor. 14:34-35 says about letting the women remain silent applies only to those women who have neither long hair nor a head covering.

People who claim this are forgetting one of the most basic rules of Bible study: when there are two scriptures that you think contradict each other, you first start with the certainty that the Bible is perfect, and that both scriptures are exactly right in what they say. Then you work on understanding why both are correct.

The question to consider here is whether the praying and prophesying mentioned in 1 Cor. 11 is during a church meeting or during the other 99% of the week. One way to find the answer is by examining 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15 to see whether these scriptures have any room to allow for such an exception. Let's take a look.

1 Cor. 14:34-35:

"Let your women keep silence in the churches:"

No mention of any exception yet. So let's move on.

"for it is not permitted unto them to speak;"

Still no mention of, "unless they have long hair or a head covering."

"but they are commanded to be under obedience,"

Now we get to the reason why we are to let the women remain silent: because the church meeting is supposed to support the way God made the family: where the wife is supposed to be in subjection to the husband in the same way that the church is supposed to be in subjection to Christ: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." - (Eph. 5:22-24). We can't change the way God created us, so there's still no exception yet.

"as also saith the law."

Here it refers to what the Old Testament teaches about a woman being in subjection to her husband. For example: "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." - (1 Peter 3:6). There's still no exception mentioned.

"And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home:"

Looks like there's still no hint of allowing any kind of exception to the commandment. If there is an exception that lets women speak if their head is covered, why did the Lord command such a harsh restriction here, with no exception given, where she shouldn't even ask a question until they get home? Why no mention of those long haired women who make up the exception?

"for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Okay, now. This scripture is either true or it isn't. There simply is no logical room for an exception to the commandments given in 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

Let's also look at 1 Tim 2:11-15, and see whether we can find any wiggle room:

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection."

Seems pretty clear. No exception is in sight yet.

"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

Okay, so there's no teaching allowed. That's easy to understand. But what does it mean to usurp authority over the man? It answers this question right there: not being silent. The person giving a talk to an assembled group of believers has an implied, temporary authority during the time that he's speaking. The Bible does not allow a woman to be in that position of temporary authority over the men, but must learn in silence. By the way, this authority is supposed to be weak and fleeting for every speaker, since scripture does allow him to be interrupted by any other man, and to relinquish authority to the new speaker as needed.

"For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

Now we're back to the reason for these commandments again: because it's the only way to do church that is consistent with creation. The man was made before the woman. And it was only Eve who was deceived by the serpent: Adam was not. The implication in this scripture is that ever since then the woman has had the greater susceptibility to being deceived.

Since these scriptures from 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 provide no room at all for exceptions, then 1 Cor. 11 must be talking about women praying or prophesying during 99% of the week, and not the 1% of the time that folks are in the church meeting.

This kind of error, where people embrace a silly notion that is so obviously refuted by the very clear wording of other scriptures, can happen when you don't really have free discussion in your church meeting, but instead everyone thinks they have to defer to an expert who exercises an inordinate amount of power over the group. That situation is both the fault of the expert, and the men who choose to accept being inappropriately subordinate to another man.

Whenever a church falls into this particular error of letting a woman exercise temporary authority over the men by giving a talk, you can be pretty sure that there is some guy in the church promoting this error who profits from it financially. Either he's a commercial church pastor who thinks he will lose some offering revenue if he doesn't let women give talks, or he's some kind of supposed expert who makes his money by teaching a version of church that is more palatable to his followers than what scripture commands. Any regular guy with no agenda can clearly see what scripture says, and has no problem understanding it.

2. Would the apostles have sold any of their own spiritual teachings?

Do you think any of Jesus Christ's apostles would have ever sold any of their teachings related to their ministry for the Lord, so that only the people willing to pay for that material would get it and gain the insights taught therein, while those unwilling or unable to purchase it would not have access to it?

For example, do you think that Paul, in his spare time, would ever have written and sold a book that contained additional spiritual insights that were not included in his other writings, but only available to those who bought his book? Or do you think Peter would have ever put together a book about eldership that contained certain helpful information that was only available to those willing to buy that book? Let's think about it.

God has ordained that those who preach the gospel (speaking to people about everything that Jesus taught and everything that the New Testament says) are to "live of the gospel," meaning that they should be supported by believers who have benefited from what they preached.

"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." - (1 Cor. 9:14).

While preachers of the gospel are supposed to be supported by believers, they are not supposed to ask anyone for support, or let anyone know what their material needs are, but are to freely give away their service to people. If a preacher of the gospel asks for support, or tells everyone how to donate to his support, or makes his needs known to people, or does anything short of flat out giving away his ministering free of charge, then he is not freely giving away his service to people. One time when Jesus sent his twelve disciples out on a missionary trip to various cities and towns, he told them to pack very lightly, and rely totally on God for their support, and to freely give away the services they were providing.

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." - (Matt. 10:5-10).

So while Jesus told his disciples to "freely give" away their service to the people, he also said to rely on God to provide for their needs, and God would take care of both them and the people they reached with the gospel who decided to help support them. His statement, "for the workman is worthy of his meat," means that God would see to it that they were compensated for their labor. And he also made it clear that those believers who did decide of their own free will to help support them would be rewarded as well.

"He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." - (Matt. 10:41).

Paul, the most prolific and hardest working of the apostles, while acknowledging that God ordained that those who preach the gospel should be and will be supported (1 Cor. 9:14), would generally try to avoid getting support from people. He wanted to make sure that nobody would ever get the wrong idea that the gospel was not free, or that he was interested in getting people to support him. He wanted to reach as many people with the gospel of Jesus Christ as he possibly could, and he could see that by avoiding support, he would also avoid ever turning anyone off about the gospel.

"But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more." - (1 Cor. 9:15-19).

He even kept up his tent making occupation in order to help make sure that the gospel was always 100% free, and that no one was offended, or was made to feel that they ought to give him anything (Acts 18:3).

So Paul would of course never have charged anyone for anything he ever did or taught, other than tent making. And while the other apostles did not go as far as Paul did, in that they apparently did more readily accept support (1 Cor. 9:5-14), they certainly did not ask for support, or make their needs known, or charge anyone for their teachings. Instead, they surely remembered what Jesus had taught them about that: "freely ye have received, freely give." - (Matt. 10:8b).

Contents


How to Get Eternal Life

Audio (MP3)

To get eternal life, you must believe in Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - (John 3:16).

Each of us needs Jesus Christ, but most of us don't realize how much we need him. That's because we tend to think that we're good people, and God is probably pleased with us. We think we're doing fine on our own, but we're really not. Each of us has sinned, and as a result God is not pleased with us at all. Whether we know it or not, we've each got a serious problem, and if we don't realize it we're not going to do anything about it. Notice what Jesus said:

"And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." - (Luke 5:31-32).

In the same way that people usually don't go to the doctor unless they think they're sick, a person needs to really understand that he's a sinner before he will see his need for Jesus Christ.

To see that you're a sinner, you need to think about what God requires of you. God requires that you love him with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength, and that you love your neighbor as yourself. Here's what Jesus said to a scribe who asked him what the greatest commandment in the law was:

"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." - (Mark 12:29-31).

Think about that for a minute. Has there ever been a time in your life when you didn't really love your Creator with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Have you ever done or said anything that showed at that moment that you didn't really love God like you should? Has there ever been a time when you did not love your neighbor as yourself? Have you ever stolen from someone, or lied about someone, or said something unkind to someone, or hated someone? Have you ever done or said anything to another person that you knew would make things worse for that person, while making things better for yourself? If so, then you're a sinner. And that means there's hope for you, since Jesus came here for us sinners.

Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners. That's the whole reason Jesus became a human being: so that he could die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, so that if we believe in him God forgives us of all of our sins and gives us eternal life. Jesus Christ came into the world, lived perfectly and never sinned, was crucified on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead the third day.

When the Son of God was on the cross, the Father made him to actually become sin in his eyes, so that he could forgive us and make us righteous in his eyes:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." - (2 Cor. 5:21).

God sees the blood of Jesus Christ that he shed as he was dying on the cross as the thing that justifies us before him:

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." - (Rom. 5:6-9).

Not believing in Jesus Christ is a very bad sin. It is in fact the sin that will keep you from receiving eternal life. If you don't believe in Jesus Christ and receive the free gift of eternal life that God is offering you, then you will simply get what you deserve, in God's eyes, as a sinner. Your name will not be written in the book of life, the wrath of God will stay on you always, you will be damned for eternity, and you will end up in the lake of fire.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." - (John 3:36).

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." - (Rev. 20:15).

You must repent of your unbelief that is keeping you from believing in Jesus Christ, and believe in him with all your heart. You can believe in him right now. Nothing is stopping you at this moment. Call out to him right now, as a sinner, and believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart.

If you do believe in Christ, then the next thing you should do is to say so out loud. You should say so to the Lord, and you should say so to someone else. And if you truly do believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead, you will not be ashamed to tell people. Notice what it says:

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." - (Rom. 10:9-13).

If you do believe in Jesus Christ, then you will seek to get baptized. You will want to do so regardless of the consequences, because you are not ashamed to be a believer in Jesus Christ. Basically, there are two types of people: those who believe in Jesus Christ and who of course want to get baptized, and those who don't really believe in him.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." - (Mark 16:16).

Find a Christian who is willing to baptize you in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" - (Matt. 28:19).

Believing in the risen Lord Jesus Christ in your heart is what makes you righteous in God's eyes. Getting baptized is what you do as a result. It is the answer of your newly clear conscience toward God. You are identifying yourself to God and to everyone as a believer in Christ, who died, was buried, and then rose again from the dead.

Find someone familiar enough with the Bible to know that new believers in Christ in the New Testament were baptized immediately after believing, and that any believer can baptize any other believer. If someone wants you to wait and not get baptized today, but first go through an educational course before you get baptized, run from that person and find someone else. Such a person may seem like he knows what he's talking about, but he disagrees with what the Bible says. Notice that all of these folks were baptized the same day that they believed:

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." - (Acts 2:41).

"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." - (Acts 8:12).

"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." (Acts 8:36-38).

If you're still not convinced to become a believer in Jesus Christ, then read the gospel of John, the fourth book of the New Testament. God loves you very much, wants you to enjoy eternal life and be with him forever, and has provided you with that book for the purpose of helping you believe in Jesus Christ. It's not a very long book. Just read it. Even if you are already now a believer, reading the book of John is a good starting place to help you get to know the Lord better. As a believer, you'll find that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you're reading. And if you're not yet a believer, he'll help you to become one as you read.

"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." - (John 20:31).

Contents


Some Scriptures

Here are some scriptures related to church practices, church leadership, traditions, and prophecy during our age.

Church Practices

Church Meeting Place

Church Leadership

Tradition vs. the Bible

Good Traditions

Prophecy in the Last Days

Miscellaneous

Other

Church Practices

Rom. 12:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 Cor. 11:

1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

1 Cor. 12:

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

28 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.

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 13:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1 Cor. 14:

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

26 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.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Heb. 5:11-12:

11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

1 Tim. 4:13:

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

2 Tim. 2:24:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Contents

Some Scriptures

Church Meeting Place

Rom. 16:5:

Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Rom. 16:23:

Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

1 Cor. 16:19:

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Col. 4:15:

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Philemon 1:2:

And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

Contents

Some Scriptures

Church Leadership

Matt. 20:25-28:

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Matt. 23:1-11:

1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Mark 9:33-35:

33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Mark 10:42-45:

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Luke 22:24-27:

24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

John 21:15-17:

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Acts 11:27-30:

27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 14:23:

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Acts 15:1-6:

1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

Acts 15:22-23:

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

Acts 16:1-5:

1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 20:17-38:

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:

20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.

34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

Acts 21:18:

And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Philippians 1:1:

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

1 Thes. 5:12-13:

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

1 Tim. 3:1-13:

1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

1 Tim. 5:17-20:

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Titus 1:5-9:

5 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:

6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

7 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;

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Heb. 13:7:

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Heb. 13:17:

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

James 5:14-15:

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

1 Peter 5:1-4:

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Contents

Some Scriptures

Tradition vs. the Bible

Matt. 15:1-9:

1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Mark 7:1-13:

1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Col. 2:8:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Contents

Some Scriptures

Good Traditions

2 Thes. 2:15:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

2 Thes. 3:6:

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

Contents

Some Scriptures

Prophecy in the Last Days

Acts 2:14-21:

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 11:27-30:

27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 15:32:

And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

Acts 21:8-15:

8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

Rom. 12:6:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

1 Cor. 11:4-5:

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

1 Cor. 12:28-29:

28 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.

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1 Cor. 13:2:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1 Cor. 13:8-13:

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

1 Cor. 14:1-6:

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

1 Cor. 14:21-25:

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

1 Cor. 14:29-33:

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

1 Cor. 14:37:

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

1 Cor. 14:39:

Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Eph. 2:20:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Eph. 4:11:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

1 Thes. 5:20:

Despise not prophesyings.

Titus 1:12:

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

1 John 4:1:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Rev. 11:3-12:

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

Contents

Some Scriptures

Miscellaneous

Luke 20:38:

For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

John 1:1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Acts 1:15-26:

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 2:41:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 8:12:

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:38:

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Acts 9:18:

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 10:48:

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 16:15:

And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

Acts 16:33:

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

Acts 18:3:

And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Acts 18:8:

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 19:5:

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Rom. 15:27:

It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

1 Cor. 9:

1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,

4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?

5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Gal. 2:11-16:

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

1 Tim. 4:6:

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1 Tim. 4:11:

These things command and teach.

1 Tim. 4:13:

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Tim. 4:16:

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

1 Tim. 5:20:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

1 Tim. 6:17:

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

2 Tim. 2:24:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

2 Tim. 3:16-17:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Tim. 4:2:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

1 Pet. 1:20-21:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

1 John 5:7:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Rev. 19:13:

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Contents

Some Scriptures

Other

Matt. 25:31-46:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

John 3:

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

24 For John was not yet cast into prison.

25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 17:

1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Contents

Some Scriptures