A Study of Eternal / Everlasting

everlastingEverlasting – It boggles the mind – at least my mind!

How can I grasp this concept?

I remember laying in bed at night when I was a young’n and thinking about the eternal, and just when I thought I had it figger’d out, some extra years would appear in my thoughts. I felt like a dog chasing my tail!

“Everlasting” in the Bible

When I was a dog chasing my tail, I didn’t have the desire or will power to go to the source to research this concept. Now that I am a Christian, I have the Word of God to search for answers.

infinity 3

So lets Consider the Bible and search for answers.

First off, lets find out the words, in the Old and New Testament, that the inspired writers used to describe this concept!

Four Old Testament Hebrew words and three New Testament Greek words are translated to describe the concept of eternal/everlasting .

infinity 2

OLAM – Old Testament “Eternal”
The most common word in the Old Testament is “OLAM”.  The following table analyzes this word in describing various eternal/everlasting things.

You might be asking by this time – What’s your point Carl?

infinity 1My point is that we cannot interpret the Word of God in a strictly literal, “technically accurate” manner.  Some folk have complained that this makes the Bible an unreadable document, that is, they could not simply pick up a Bible and understand it correctly.

When was the last time you considered the Bible to be a cartoon?  When I pick up a Blondie or Garfield cartoon, I don’t intend to spend more than a few seconds (at most) in understanding the message being conveyed.  I think the attitude towards the Word should be somewhat different.

The Bible was written in a completely different culture, time and place than what we live in.  To assume that  we have the right to simply understand the message in a 20th century North American context is foolishness.  Unless, of course, we see the Bible as a magic talisman, instead of a message from the living God.

In the case of this particular study, I find it amazing that some things that are described as eternal and everlasting (in our mindset) are not!

Does this take away from the core definition of eternal/everlasting? No – the core meaning is the core meaning!  What I think I have tripped over is how the overall context can affect the specific message of a particular word.

What do I mean?

Consider

Gen 9:16

And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

What will happen to this covenant when there is no living creatures on the earth?  (BTW – that will happen!)  It is eternal between the two parties that enter into the covenant, so the default message is that although the term everlasting is used, it is not everlasting/eternal. The everlasting condition of this covenant is dependent on the existence of “every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth”.


How about this one.  The land of Canaan is to be an everlasting possession for the seed of Abraham.

Gen 17:8

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Two issues erupt in this verse.

  1. Who is the seed of Abraham?
  2. Is this promise or it’s reaffirmations unconditional?

The first point is simple to answer.  Paul labors the point of describing who the seed is in the book of Galations.

Gal 3:29

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Then two more issues occur to me. – (Come on Carl – gimme a break!!)

Was this promise or it’s reaffirmations unconditional?  Or did the Jewish people misunderstand this verse and “literally” interpret the promise, assuming the land was theirs unconditionally forever?

The very next verse after the great promise to Abraham, the Lord stated…

… Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

Unconditional promise?  Could the Jewish nation survive if they were disobedient and rebellious? (Did they?)  Could they assume upon verse 8 and ignore verse 9?  (What about the nation of Israel today?  Are they presently keeping “my covenant”? )  The everlasting possession was dependent on the Jewish nation’s keeping of “my covenant”.  It is very interesting to me that the covenant being referred to here was the Abrahamic covenant and that the nation’s allegience to the Siniatic covenant revealed the heart of the people towards God.  Additional examples of how the eternal/everlasting concept is modified by the context, can be found above and I would encourage you to consider them.

Does this contextual effect on the concept of eternal/everlasting continue into the New Testament?  I will leave that for you to study out.  Get back to me when you find something out, eh?

I gotta go study some Garfield!garfield


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Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 3

Salary 2Quite awhile ago I sent out an email to a number of prominent pastors (8 or 9) within the area I live in.  One out of the nine responded in an effort to minister.  The following  conversation is with that one pastor who sought to help.  I appreciate his willingness to enter into a discussion with me.

This third post is simply some wanderings and considerations I have had after my discussion with the Pastor!  Give me some feed back if I’m way out of line.


Consider 1 Corinthians 9:12

Remember that the topic of this passage is support (not salary) of an apostle, a traveling minister.  These verses, IMHO, do not apply to elders and pastors of local churches, who are able to maintain outside employment to assist the local body if in need.

1 Corinthians 9:12

If others (referring to other apostles – check the context!) share this rightful claim on you, do not we (Paul and his party) even more? Nevertheless, we (Paul and his party) have not made use of this right, but we (Paul and his party) endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

salary 3Is not Paul stating that using this “right”, (that is, support from a body of believers) actually hinders (places an obstacle in the way) the gospel? This is an apostle (not an elder or pastor) teaching this truth about an apostles right to support, which Paul is refusing to exercise.

How can local pastors refer to this same passage (1 Corinthians 9) to establish this right they believe they have, and yet miss this verse?

One important item that I need to clarify, for I know what some may be thinking.  I am not advocating abandonment of the Christian minister.  Support and salary are two completely different topics, and the New Testament exhorts believers to support those who are ministering among them.

Support for a Christian minister, coming from those blessed from his ministry, is a direct relational blessing.  If believers would remove themselves from unbiblical obligations, they could freely give funds, gifts and blessings to Biblically directed recipients, such as:

  • The poor (including widows, orphans, etc)
  • Travelling missionaries (those in a similar situation as the apostle in 1 Corinthians 9)
  • Christian ministers that trust in God.

An additional verse that some may appeal to, to justify the salaried position within the family of God is Galatians 6:6.

Gal 6:6

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.

Two things to notice

  • The context of this verse is general Christian living, not the requirements of a contractual obligation to a separate group of specialized Christians.  I once asked how this verse justifies the salary of a pastor but does not apply to a Sunday School teacher, or a “lay” Christian teaching in some manner.
  • The good things are just that – good things.  Encouraging words, financial help, a bag of groceries, an invitation to supper, a new car,  etc.

I love the opportunity to assist those I know of that are in need, or that I “sense” may need a “blessing”.  I believe the Lord is able to direct His people to assist His people.  Is that wrong?  Too simplistic?  Too ideal?

salary 1It is becoming obvious to me, that salaried positions for local elders/pastors seems to be foreign to the New Testament.

Help me find justification for the salaried position, so that I can sense that the modern church is still somewhat on track.

Although not scripture, it is interesting to review what an early church document reveals how Christians treated this topic.

Didache 2

Notice what the Didache (Also known as “The Teaching of the Twelve.”) teaches.

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.

didache

Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.

A little later in chapter 11…

But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Wow

Story Time

This topic, since I have been considering it for a period of time, was on my mind this morning, when I was visiting with a brother.  He mentioned that the church he belongs to is putting on a Christmas pageant and that they had sold 14,000 tickets, ranging from $8 to $14 each.  I mentioned that, at an average price of $10 per ticket, that church pulled in $140,000, and that this should pay for the minister’s salary.

Oh no no, he says – Our pastor makes $200,000,  plus benefits, vacation and a yearly month-long sabbatical.  Oh and this particular church has a $20,000,000 capital budget for renovations and building projects.

Silver and gold have I none – Peter – 1st century


 

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Stupid Idiots – A Response

Stupid Idiots

I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”. (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification. What follows is the email I received from this brother after sending my study to him.


Carl,

Your very e-mail fully supports the whole point of the message. In fact, I shared the exact terms from your e-mail in my message. The contrast seen in this passage is between Peter and John and the learned and wise religious leaders, the very people who made the comments about them. The key was that they took note that these men had been with Jesus. We need the same today accusations from the same people who are so smart and wise (like the religious of this context) against us today. So yes, the terms are beautiful, especially as people take note that we have been with Jesus, that very necessary observation that will make religious leaders take note to label us as stupid idiots. I made it clear that spending time in the Word is what enables us to be perceived this way by the religious. So the beautiful context shows what happens to followers of Christ when they speak filled with the Holy Spirit. They will be labeled stupid idiots by the religious who don’t see miracles for what they are and haven’t spent time with Jesus. We are willing to face death rather than be “wise’ about our words before people who could kill us. I don’t think you misunderstood my message at all.

Pastor Y

_____________________________________

I appreciate this brothers efforts to clarify the issue, but in my mind, the issue is still very muddy. Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?

In summary, I think the greek words might be better understood as being untrained (unlettered), and unprofessional (a layman).

These words do not say anything directly as to the intelligence or ability of the apostles, but simply the training and associations the apostles had in relation to those judging them.

(BTW – I think it is ironic that this man is a trained professional!)

What think ye?

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Stupid Idiots – A Description

Stupid Idiots

I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”. (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification. What follows is the beginning of the correspondence I had with this brother.


Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

A Description or a Command?

With all these technical definitions, it remains that this verse is an estimation of the apostles by the enemies of the gospel, and not an imperative for Christians to obey.

I wonder if telling the congregation to become “stupid idiots” based on Acts 4:13 was wise. In a society that is increasingly being “dumbed down”, I would hope that Christianity would argue against the trend. I surely do not advocate knowledge for the sake of knowledge, for

“knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth”.

The critical motivating factor and fruit in a believers heart, mind and soul is love to the Master and our neighbor. But the great commandment does include our minds, and that presupposes the intake of (proper) knowledge.

As I was discussing the message with my daughter, I remembered that the apostle Paul described himself (and his entourage) as “fools for Christ” in 1 Cor 4:10. Could Paul have been describing himself from the Corinthians viewpoint (ironically), and not from a point of motivation for him (us) to look to.

I know you believe that the body of Christ is made up of all kinds of folk, some common (like myself) and some professionally trained in the “rabbinical” schools of today. He is big enough to use any person who will spend time with Him and be willing to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I do appreciate the ability to converse with you – I look forward to your reply. I am sure I have misunderstood your intent and appreciate your time in helping me understand.

Thanks for your labors

Carl

What think ye? Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?

In our next post, we will review his response.


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Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 2

Salary 2

Quite awhile ago I sent out an email to a number of prominent pastors (8 or 9) within the area I live in. One out of the nine responded in an effort to minister. The following conversation is with that one pastor who sought to help. I appreciate his willingness to enter into a discussion with me.

Our previous post supplied the initial question and the pastors response. This post will supply my response and appreciation to this pastor. I am still gonna call him Pastor X cause I still think it’s cool.

My response follows.


Pastor X

Thanks for getting back to me on this. Some of these verses seem to be helping with the argument for a salaried position but after looking at their context and setting, it doesn’t seem to be as strong an argument as I thought. I have been a believer for many years now, and have used the very same verses to defend my thinking in this topic, but …

Bound Sheep

OLD TESTAMENT BASIS
As for your reference to the levitical priesthood, we are under a New Covenant where each believer is a priest before God. I fear that I do not see any direct NT link between professional Christians (clergy) and the Levitical priesthood. (Although if you know of any clergy performing the levitical sacrifices to satisfy the old covenant that these provisions were specified under, let me know.)
THE RIGHT OF SUPPORT

salary 3

Your point referring to 1 Corinthians seems to be an argument for an itinerant preacher, and not a stationary pastor. The right of support (support same as a salary?) is valid, but not necessarily for the local pastor/priest associated with one local church body. The apostle Paul did much traveling, where the “pastor” (actually elders) of the churches were stationary and could hold down a “secular” job while ministering to the believers in their group.
As a matter of fact, Paul spoke in Acts that the elders/pastors were to give to the church and not be a burden to the group. They were to help the weak and remember that it is more blessed to give than receive. Notice that the context includes the topic of coveting silver and gold.

Acts 20:33-35

33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.

34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.

35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

1 Peter 5:1-3 seems to address this same topic. (I think Peter is addressing motivation in these verses.)

Peter is kinda rough – using terms like “shameful gain”.

Calm down Peter – you need to get with the program.

1 Peter 5:1-3

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:

2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

DOUBLE HONOR

salary 1

When you referred to 1 Timothy 5:17-18, this is the set of verses that started this concern for me.

1 Timothy 5:17-19

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

As I was studying these verses earlier, I found that honor = Strongs greek # 5091. Thayer definitions below.

Strong’s # G5091, τιμάω timaō

Thayer Definition:

1) to estimate, fix the value

1a) for the value of something belonging to one’s self

2) to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate

As I look at these definitions, there doesn’t seem to be any specific thought of money being an issue. This of course does not take away from your argument, that Paul could be gently breaching the salary concept. But if he is, then we need to put widows on a salary, since the same word for honor is used in verse 3.

1 Timothy 5:3

3 Honor widows who are truly widows.

And we need to ensure that all slaves are placing their masters on a salary, since this word is also used in verse 1 of chapter 6.

1 Timothy 6:1

1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

Surely, the church of the living Christ is a priesthood of believers. At times, I fear that having paid clergy can work against the church body, creating a group of believers dependent on a paid staff (clergy).

As an aside, I found that Peter used the word cleros (a root for the english word “clergy”?) to define all of God’s people in 1 Peter 5:3. Kinda found that to be ironic!

I heard a believer once say that to find the strength of a church, one needs only to remove the pastor. I realize this is very difficult stuff, and I have feared even bringing this topic up for many months. I am thankful that you responded so quickly and sought to help.

If I am missing something, or you find that I am not understanding a truth, please be assured that I would be very happy to continue this discussion. It is truth that believers need to seek, and not just to blindly follow traditions.

Thanks again for your ministry.

Rom 5:3

Carl


Pastor X has not had the opportunity to reply with any additional exhortations or instruction. I appreciate this mans desire to help me, and I hope the best for him and his ministry.

After receiving the pastors notes, and waiting for a response, my mind started wandering and considering. Some of those wanderings and considerings will be in our next post.

Hope to see you there.


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Stupid Idiots – Unlearned Christians

Stupid IdiotsI went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”.  (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification.  What follows is the beginning of the correspondence I had with this brother.


Pastor Y

If it isn’t to much, I would like to ask for some clarification. I hope I do not come off as critical or judgmental, but I am concerned about truth and aim to be gracious in my concerns (John 1:18).

During the message today, you were exhorting us to be “stupid idiots”. Surely I am misunderstanding your intent when you say that, and I think others may have also. (At least my daughter was confused.)

I took a look at the verse(s) in Acts that you were referring to and found the following (Forgive the KJV, but I have spent too much time in it to give it up!!)

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

First off – unlearned (Strongs 62)

Vines states – “Unlearned (ἀγράμματοι) Or, very literally, unlettered. With special reference to Rabbinic culture, the absence of which was conspicuous in Peter’s address.”

Robertson states – “They were unlearned (agrammatoi eisin). Present indicative retained in indirect discourse. Unlettered men without technical training in the professional rabbinical schools of Hillel or Shammai. Jesus himself was so regarded (John 7:15, “not having learned letters”). ”

Clarke states – “Αγραμματοι, Persons without literature, not brought up in nor given to literary pursuits.”

ISBE states – “Unlearned un-lûr´ned: Acts 4:13 for ἀγράμματος, agrámmatos, literally “illiterate.” But nothing more than “lacking technical rabbinical instruction” seems to be meant…”

I am not sure if “stupid” and “lacking training” are synonymous. I have known many men and women, both believers and unbelievers, that are lacking in training but I would never consider stupid. (And some who have much training but….)

What think ye?

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 1

Quite awhile ago I sent out an email to a number of prominent pastors (8 or 9) within the area I live in.  One out of the nine responded in an effort to minister.  The following  conversation is with that one pastor who sought to help.  I appreciate his willingness to enter into a discussion with me.

This is the initial email I sent out!  The next post will supply my response and appreciation to this pastor.  I am gonna call him Pastor X cause I think it’s cool.


Brother

I am a Christian, having been saved at the age of 21 from a life of drug abuse and alcoholism.  I have sought to walk with the Lord ever since.  If I could take a few minutes of your time, I would appreciate it.

Salary 2

My question is this.  Does the Word of God explicitly instruct any congregation to commit to a pastor a salaried position?

I have been a believer for more than half my life and have been involved (heavily) in Baptist church’s, but have been challenged lately in my studies to find clear direction for this issue.  I would appreciate your assistance with this and await your reply.

Carl


The following text came from one pastor in a local church.


Carl,

Thanks for sending us your email.  The Word of God is clear that salaried positions within the church are entirely permissible.

OLD TESTAMENT BASIS

In the Old Testament, the Levites (those who worked in the temple) received support in the form of food, money, and even lodging.  See, for example, Numbers 18:20-21 and Hebrews 7:5.

Numbers 18:20-21

20 And the LORD said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.

21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting,

Hebrews 7:5

5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.

THE RIGHT OF SUPPORT

salary 3In 1 Corinthians 9:3-15, Paul argued extensively that those who work hard to sow spiritual seed should be able to reap material blessing as well.  However, Paul did not use that right (notice he calls it a “right”), but rather preached free of charge so that no one could accuse him of preaching the gospel for material gain, like so many false teachers did.

3 This is my defense to those who would examine me.

4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink?

5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?

7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?

9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?

10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.

11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?

12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?

14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

DOUBLE HONOR

salary 1First Timothy 5:17-19 states that the elders who direct the affairs of the church, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching, are worthy of “double honor.”  And why is this? Because the worker is worthy of his wages, and Paul uses the Old Testament image of the ox not being muzzled when he treaded out the grain.

5:17-19

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Clearly, the Bible teaches that it is permissible (and even wise) for a local church to pay those who work hard at shepherding the flock, preaching, and teaching.  In some contexts (like Paul’s), it may be wise for a pastor not to accept a salary.  Bi-vocational work may advance the Gospel further in some instances.  Paying salaries to pastors allows them to concentrate all of their mental and physical energies on doing the work of shepherding, preaching, and teaching, thus allowing them to do these tasks most effectively.

I hope this helped.

Blessings,

Pastor X


Our next post will include my response and appreciation for this pastors desire to help me understand.  Hope you can visit and comment.

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Stupid Idiots – Introduction

Stupid IdiotsMany times I have heard that Christians are idiots, dumber than a bag of hammers, fools, brain dead… You get my point, right?

Well I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”.  (His words, not mine!)

During the message, I expected one of two things to happen

  • I would understand his underlying premise and it would finally click, that is, that I would understand the bigger message.
  • The brother would at some point, use the message to rebuke us for our intellectual weakness.

I was wrong on both points, but I clung on to the first point until after the service.  I got home and began to discuss the message with my family, and we were all confused.  It seems we all got the message that Christians should be stupid idiots.

This man is a professional communicator leading one of the larger churches in the area.  The idea that he was misunderstood by my wife, my two daughters and myself was too much for me to swallow!  How could this be?

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification.  What follows in my next post is the beginning of the correspondence I sent this brother.

What think ye?  Before we go on to our next post, let me know what you think.

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Christian Accountability – Watch & Account

What is Christian Accountability and is a Christian influence-or-accountableAccountable to Church Leadership?

This post will address the last two words in our word matrix.

WATCH & ACCOUNT

These words supply two characteristics of the man who persuades and leads the christian are revealed in this passage.

Lets review the passage and then discuss.

Hebrew 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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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.

I have emboldened the verse under consideration. The following posts will address Hebrews 13:17, and a considered review of critical words the apostle uses in exhorting the believers he is writing to.

Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of study for Strong’s full definitions.)

This next study will incorporate the last two words under consideration, due to both of them describing the christian leader being referred to in this verse

Hebrews 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.

Watching

As you can see from the context, the first characteristic of the christian leader is that he is “watching”.  It is very interesting to me that this term has everything to do with being awake, alert, attentive. Attentive to “your” souls.

Is the “your” plural, that is, is the writer stating that the minister is concerned over the body of believers as a congregation, or is it more personal than that.  Could it be that the writer is referring to individuals?

Am I too jaded when I question the watching of men over my soul when they do not even know my name?

How many times have I put myself under a man who has never known what the condition of my soul is, where I am at in my christian journey, whether I understand the gospel, whether I am in sin…..

I do know that there have been times when I was sure the minister was watching over my wallet!

In the future, I would like to address the general topic of a ministers relationship to support, but at this time, suffice it to say, I believe the Word does not give authority of one man over another in the delegation of that man’s gifts or talents.

What is my point?

This verse is describing a man who is giving of himself for the purpose of others.  If taken literally, and I assume that it would play out this way, the godly christian minister would actually lose sleep over the condition of those he ministers to.  This type of minister would be one I would gladly give deference to, and seek to be easily persuaded by faithful Bible teaching.

Account

The minister in this text is one who will give account of the believers he has ministered amongst to the Lord, at least in the last day.  (Could it be that this minister is giving account of those he ministers to during his times with the Lord on a daily basis?)

It is funny to think that many in the church today advocate an accountability to each other to ensure faithfulness to God.  This passage, (and the rest of scripture, I believe) does not advocate any type of primary horizontal accountability.  Of course we are responsible to love and care for one-another.  This is not accountability.

My accountability is to the One who owns me.  My Father, not my brothers.  Love the brotherhood, Fear God.

In His ministry, did not Jesus persuade the populace, even seeking to make those interested more curious by telling dark sayings and parables?  He taught those who wanted to be taught, and lead a life that no man has ever led.  He is One who we should gladly hear and obey.  He is watching for our souls, and if you have a minister that exhibits these qualities in your life (professional or not) be thankful to the Master for him.

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Christian Accountability – Submit

What is Christian Accountability & is a Christian influence-or-accountableAccountable to Church Leadership?

This post will address the third word in our word matrix.

SUBMIT

To submit to One is to understand His wishes and to accept them as your own.

Lets review the passage and then discuss.

Hebrew 13

When this question arises, ie. “Is a Christian accountable to Church Leaders?” invariably the passage in Hebrews 13 is referred to. Therefore, lets consider the passage.

Hebrews 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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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.

I have emboldened the verse under consideration. The following posts will address Hebrews 13:17, and a considered review of critical words the apostle uses in exhorting the believers he is writing to.

Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of study for Strong’s full definitions.)

The word of concern in our passage is used only once in the New Testament, and of course it is in Hebrew 13:17.

Hupeiko to resist no longer, but to give way, yield (of combatants) metaph. to yield to authority and admonition, to submit submit (one’s) self

The issue of authority is raised, by the inclusion of this word. The question that is of importance is

What is the authority that a believer is to yield to.

One possibility is that the elders are to be submitted to. This is correct to the point that believers are to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) and to consider one another above ourselves (Phil 2). I am not persuaded that this verse is giving any additional authority to any man simply because of a position in the church.

Another possibility is that the authority to be submitted to is the Word of God. I think this is the answer to our problem. And yet…

Thinking back, there were a group of folk that were very Biblical. Memorized vast amounts of the scripture (that they had!) and lived a very separated life. Always went to meeting, gave according to the scriptures and sought to obey every precept in their religion.

They ended up killing the Messiah.

I am not sure how this is gonna work out in my thinking, and if y’all can help me, it would sure be appreciated. It turns out that there is One who has authority, and I am trying to figger it out in relation to the Word of God.

He said ….”All authority has been given unto Me”

Lets consider one situation.

Jesus brings to our attention the time when David was on the run from Saul, and needed food for his following. We find the passage in Matthew 12

Matthew 12:1-8

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

How is it that Jesus would refer to a time in Davids life that he performed an unlawful deed, admittedly so, and then use it to justify His disciples actions (plucking and eating some “corn” as they traveled through the area.

The disciples were not doing anything opposed to what the Word was allowing.

Deuteronomy 23:25

When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

So why did Jesus bring up the incident with David? He could have easily rebuffed this complaint with the above passage. But I think Jesus was after bigger fish to fry. It has to do with ….

Da Sabbath

and the religious zealots affection for that special day.

Could Jesus be equating the the sabbath observance (even that which was prescribed in the Old Testament, not merely that which the pharisees had corrupted to its present state) to the ceremonial law describing the eating of the shew bread?

What about the priestly service overriding the observance of the sabbath?

Jesus took this incident and taught of a higher authority over the law, and as I read through the gospels, He seemingly rode this horse often!

So – what authority is applicable in the verse we are considering above (Heb 13) ? I am still trying to process this as I work through the epistles. It is a challenge. I know in the past, I have considered Paul to be the one to listen to, actually filtering out Jesus words by interpreting Paul’s words according to my desires.

I find it amazing that Jesus never abrogated a moral commandment, but those things that are least (ceremonial issues) had become the greatest with men, and Jesus was all about upsetting the apple cart!

Find following some additional greek words that the author to the Hebrews could have chosen to use in our text, but didn’t.

Hupotasso

to arrange under, to subordinate to subject, put in subjection to subject one’s self, obey to submit to one’s control to yield to one’s admonition or advice to obey, be subject A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use,it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”. submit (one’s) self unto5, submit (one’s) self to3, be in subjection unto2, put in subjection under1, miscellaneous12

Wow – glad he didn’t use this word in the text!

Dogmatizo

to decree, command, enjoin, lay down an ordinance submit…to decrees

I think we get our word “dogmatic” from this word! (Makes me consider whether being dogmatic is being Christ-like)

Douleuo

to be a slave, serve, do service of a nation in subjection to other nations metaph. to obey, submit to in a good sense, to yield obedience in a bad sense, of those who become slaves to some base power, to yield to, give one’s self up to

I like this possibility, seems to have a similar sense to hupeiko

Sunapago

to lead away with or together metaph. to be carried away with of a thing, i.e. by a thing, so as to experience with others the force of that which carries away to yield or submit one’s self to lowly things, conditions, employments: not to evade their power

Hupakouo

to listen, to harken of one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter) to harken to a command to obey, be obedient to, submit to

End Notes – Strongs Definitions

G3982 πείθω peithō pi’-tho

A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.

G2233 ἡγέομαι hēgeomai hayg-eh’-om-ahee

Middle voice of a (presumed) strengthened form of G71; to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider: – account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.

G5226 ὑπείκω hupeikō hoop-i’-ko

From G5259 and εἴκω eikō (to yield, be “weak”); to surrender: – submit self.G69

ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō ag-roop-neh’-o

Ultimately from G1 (as negative particle) and G5258; to be sleepless, that is, keep awake: – watch.

G3056 λόγος logos log’-os

From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): – account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.

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Christian Accountability – Rule

What is Christian Accountability & Is a Christian influence-or-accountableAccountable to Church Leadership?

The Christian life is a life of submission and obedience to the Lord Jesus.

This post will address the second word in our word matrix.

RULE

The central word of the gospel when it comes to the claims of Christ.  In a very real sense, Christian accountability is ultimately to Christ, and is the bedrock of all Christian accountability.  But the issue is whether this accountability is transferred to church leaders, and if so, what does it look like?

Lets review the passage and then discuss.

Hebrew 13

When this question arises, ie. “Is a Christian accountable to Church Leaders?” invariably the passage in Hebrews 13 is referred to. Therefore, as a starting point, lets consider the passage.

Hebrews 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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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.

I have emboldened the verse under consideration. The following posts will address Hebrews 13:17, and a considered review of critical words the apostle uses in exhorting the believers he is writing to.

Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of study for Strong’s full definitions.)

RULE (hēgéomai)

The Greek term hegeomai is found in 27 verses in the New Testament,

Of the three occurrences of the term hegomai used in the New Testament translated as “have the rule over”, all three are in this chapter!

Hebrews 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.

Hebrews 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.

Hebrews 13:24

Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

Of the two occurrences of the term hegomai used in the New Testament translated as “be governor”, one is referring to a political office, and one is referring to a governor of a ship

Matthew 27:23

And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

James 3:4

Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

It is interesting that the governor of the ship is small, unseen (underwater!) and in the back of the boat – but I don’t want to make too much of that!

One instance, where the term “hegeomai” is used in the New Testament, when associated with biblical church leadership is found in 1 Thess 5:13, where Paul connects “hegeomai” with love, and due to the leaders works sake.

1Th 5:13

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

Although the same term (hegomai) is used in the New Testament for political “rulers” and church “rulers”, it is evident that two points need to be clarified.

“Ruler”, when used in reference to church life may not be an accurate translation, given the alternative ways this Greek word could be translated, and the freaky way it is translated only in this set of verses. Remember – it is only translated “rule” in Hebrews 13 of the New Testament

Jesus Himself delineated a difference between the two types of leadership in Luke 22:25 (also Mark 10:43)

Luke 22:25-27

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

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.

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.

Mark 10:42 – 45

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.

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

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

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

It is interesting also, that the term used to describe exercising lordship over a people, used by the Lord in verse 25, is kurieuo. (See below for definition of greek word.) And it is very interesting that Paul uses the very same term in 2 Cor 1:24, in relation to how believers are to relate to apostolic authority.

Many in the church seem to read this verse like this.

2 Corinthians 1:24 …we have dominion over your faith …

But is that what the apostle said?

2 Corinthians 1:24

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

Notice that Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, uses this term in 2 Corinthians 1:24.

Now if any human had “dominion” (rulership?) over a group of Christians, I would imagine that all would agree that Paul did. But he denies any type of dominion over these believers. How crazy is that – Has he not heard how important it is for believers to be accountable to a leader? Something is definitely wrong here Paul!

Again, it is interesting that Paul seemed to have a bit of a problem with enforcing an authoritarian stance over his disciples (maybe cause they weren’t his disciples, they were His disciples)

1 Corinthians 16:12

As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

Notice that the great apostle Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, who talked directly to the Lord Jesus and was commissioned to bring in the gentile harvest, “greatly desired” Apollos to go with the brethren to the Corinthians, but Apollos didn’t want to.

WHAT?

What type of submission is that – Surely Paul reamed him out for not doing as he said. Maybe I will go study that passage out, and look for where Paul “bit his head off”

When I find it, I will let you know!


End Notes – Strongs Definitions

G3982 πείθω peithō pi’-tho

A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.

G2233 ἡγέομαι hēgeomai hayg-eh’-om-ahee

Middle voice of a (presumed) strengthened form of G71; to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider: – account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.

G5226 ὑπείκω hupeikō hoop-i’-ko

From G5259 and εἴκω eikō (to yield, be “weak”); to surrender: – submit self.

G69 ἀγρυπνέω agrupneō ag-roop-neh’-o

Ultimately from G1 (as negative particle) and G5258; to be sleepless, that is, keep awake: – watch.

G3056 λόγος logos log’-os

From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): – account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.

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Christian Accountability – Obey

What is Christian Accountability & Is a Christian

influence-or-accountable

Accountable to Church Leadership?

The Christian life is a life of submission and obedience to the Lord Jesus.

This post will address the first word in our word matrix.

OBEY

The central word of the gospel when it comes to the claims of Christ.  In a very real sense, Christian accountability is ultimately to Christ, and is the bedrock of all Christian accountability.  But the issue is whether this accountability is transferred to church leaders, and if so, what does it look like?

Lets review the passage and then discuss.

Hebrews 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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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.

Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of study for Strong’s full definitions.)

OBEY (peítho)
A cursory glance through Strong’s definitions reveals that the prevalent meaning of peítho is not obey.

It seems the prevalent meaning is “to persuade” or “to be persuaded” As a matter of fact, if the three verses in Hebrews 13 were translated “to be persuaded”, the concept of obedience (in opposition to persuasion) in relation to this Greek word would disappear from the New Testament.

To be persuaded is a completely different concept than that of to simply obey!  Of course the end result may “look” similar, (that of a believer conforming to the character of Christ) but I am thinking the method of achieving this end result is what is of concern to the Lord.

When someone brings to my attention a careful argument against some thinking that is predominant in my life, and is seeking to persuade me through the scriptures, I am (hopefully) more apt to accept the correction or rebuke.

When someone demands conformance due to his position in a organization, something inside me tends to ask “Why?” My sinful nature? I don’t know, but I don’t find much justification (in the Bible) for obedience to a mans demands simply due to his position within an organization.

Please understand. I am not advocating “lone wolf” Christianity, or a spirit of removal from the family of God.

What I am advocating is acknowledging responsibility for one’s belief, and therefore your action’s before God.

(Hopefully we will address this issue in a later post!)

A long time ago, Moses wrote concerning prophets and their authority over His people.

Deuteronomy 13

1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Here we have Moses advocating a discerning spirit that stands up to “prophets” within the church, prophets with supernatural powers that seem to have authority in their “ministry”.

Did Moses advocate obeying these prophets?

Verse 5 seems to say they should “kill em”.

These prophets were in a position of seeming authority with all this wonder-working power. But the message these prophets were preaching was one of drawing the people away from God. The people of God needed to love God enough to reject these evil, self promoting men.

Teach me, persuade me of the scriptures.  Human authority is only human authority.

Story time.

A long time ago (not as long as Moses story!), I was a newly married fella, with a job delivering papers. (over 400 each night!) I would usually start around 2 in the morning and be finished around 6.
One beautiful morning, around 5, I was delivering to Georges home. Now George is a fine christian man, one that I respected and listened to. He was awake and he invited me in for a wee drink. I asked him a Bible question and he took me to the scriptures, explaining where I was lacking in my understanding. This fella had a degree in Bible something, but he never referred to his ability to understand the Word, or his awesome knowledge base that I should respect. He showed me the Scriptures. And usually I was persuaded.
Thanks George.

We will address “RULE”  in the next post.  Please return to “Considering the Bible” with me.

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Christian Accountability – Introduction

What is Christian Accountability – Introductioninfluence-or-accountable

Christian life is a life of submission and obedience to the Lord Jesus.

It was a while back, when my wife and I were in a Bible study, discussing various topics, when the subject of accountability came up.  Now, as a Christian, I have always been taught that the Christian life is a life of submission and obedience to the Lord Jesus, and by association, one of submission to authority found in church officials/employees/ministers.  Many passages speak of mutual submission (Eph. 5:21 comes to mind) and of obedience to men placed into church offices.

The last few years have given me pause in the last statement I just made.  No, not the last statement, – just the last phrase of that statement.

You see, I have been pondering a question!

Is a Christian Accountable to Church Leadership?

Some Ground Rules for Discussing “Christian Accountability”

If some of these questions seem to have answers that are inanely obvious, consider answering them with passages from the Bible.

Please do not post an answer that sounds like…

We have always done it that way.

  • It may be right, but previous practice does not justify itself! Prove your point from the Word of God.

That question is ridiculous.

  • Send me a ridiculously easy passage that refutes my erroneous thinking.

That question makes me so mad…..

  • Emotions are not the issue, truth is the issue.

Your thinking is not logical.

  • Someone once said “Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence”

I will overwhelm you with proof texts.

  • Quantity does not equal quality! Please try to focus on the specific topic being addressed.

Posting an answer that includes a short, well prepared question, has tremendous power. Many times the Lord Himself answered His antagonist with a specific, pointed question. Your mission, (should you decide to accept it), is to sharpen a question (if applicable) and/or supply a correcting Biblical teaching.

Some issues that are important in addressing the question above, and which may become topics on their own will be…

  • Does the Bible demand accountability to anyone?

  • Does the Bible define two classes of Christian – That is, clergy and layman?

  • Does the Bible defend the practice of salaried clergy?

  • Does the Bible describe the church as a business? (If not, golly, what could it be?)

  • Does the Bible delineate structure within the Body of Christ?

I anticipate this particular topic to have multiple posts, and I am looking for a “vibrant” discussion, so lets go!

Hebrew 13

When this question arises, ie. “Is a Christian accountable to Church Leaders?” invariably the passage in Hebrews 13 is referred to.

Therefore, as a starting point, lets consider the passage.

Hebrews 13:7-17

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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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.

I have emboldened the verse under consideration. The following posts will address Hebrews 13:17, and a considered review of critical words the apostle uses in exhorting the believers he is writing to.

Following is a matrix of words that need to be considered in understanding the teaching of Hebrews 13, especially verse 17. (See end of each study for Strong’s full definitions.)

We will address each of these words in the following posts.  Please return to “Considering the Bible” with me.


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Inherit the Kingdom? Who knew?

The New Testament uses two words for “know”, ya know?

When I see a two Greek words translated as one English word, my spider senses start tingling. It interests me. One instance where two Greek words are used, (translated as one English word), is found in 1 John 2:29

 1John 2:29

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

John uses two Greek words, defining which translates to our word “knowledge “.

  • The first Greek verb referring to “knowledge” is εἴδω, eídō. (Strongs #1492) See Thayers definition below.

  • The second Greek word to show up in this verse referring to “knowledge” is γινώσκω, ginṓskō. (Strongs #1097), See Thayers definition below.

Story time that helps me remember the difference in these two Greek words.

charlie brown pitching.gifWhen I was younger my brother and I were playing softball with an older teenager (Scott and I were 8 and 12 at the time.) The batter was a 19 yr old fella that stayed with us. Lets call him Hank.

Scott bugged me to let him pitch, and I was stuck out in the outfield chasing balls. Everything was going along just fine (for Scott) until Hank connected on one of Scott’s pitches, and drove a line drive ball right into Scott’s face.

I know about this incident. Scott knows about this incident

Do you think there is a difference between Scott’s knowledge and my knowledge? If you were to say that Scott “ginṓskō” of this incident while I “eídō” of this incident, you would be right!

So lets summarize – “ginosko” refers generally to experiential knowledge, while “eídō” generally refers to factual knowledge.

So lets get to the point of the post. I was looking at Ephesian 5:5 when I was reminded of this “knowledge” concept.

Ephesians 5:5 Wuest

for this you know absolutely and experientially, that every whoremonger or unclean person or covetous person, who is an idolator, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.

So What?

So whats the big deal on this verse about knowing, Carl. Consider the message in the society we live in. Three characteristics are called out of those who will not inherit the kingdom.

  • The sexually immoral

The Greek word translated sexually immoral is πόρνος, pórnos. (Strongs #4205), See Thayers definition below.

The transliteration pornos gives it away. The word originally meant “to sell”, and defined specifically a male prostitute. Eventually this word came to simply mean a fornicator, whether a man or a woman.

  • The impure

The Greek word translated impure is ἀκάθαρτος, akáthartos. (Strongs #169), See Thayers definition below.

This term is very broad, describing moral filth in thought, word or deed. The term leans towards sexual impurity. Check out Galatians 5:19 to see the link of impurity with sexual filth.

“The impure“ is a kind, gentle translation.

  • The greedy

The Greek word translated greedy is πλεονέκτης, pleonéktēs. (Strongs #4123), See Thayers definition below – (not really necessary cause we all know what greed is!!!)

This Greek word is made up of two words –  pleíon = more + écho = have. It speaks of one who is grasping for more, more than is due, and especially of those things that belong to someone else.

So lets think about this

If you are chatting with a friend and he or she speaks of pornography as a normal or common lifestyle, you can know he/she will not inherit the kingdom.

Is that what Paul is trying to get us to understand?

If they are constantly spewing filth from their mouth, or their actions imply filth, (which in this culture is becoming so widely accepted by so many!), you can know they are definitely not going to inherit the kingdom.

If they only need one more dollar, and live their lives in the grasping of the wind, you can know they will not inherit the kingdom.

Please understand me – I am not suggesting we go tell every person who is living a life of pornography, impurity and/or greed of this truth. They don’t care and they will only mock. They need to see the gospel and be open to the grace of God before they will accept any bad news.

We do though, need to know (both experientially and factually) who it is we are speaking to. As your friend or coworker exhibits these characteristics, Paul says you can (experientially and factually) know of their relation to the kingdom. They will have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. “

Which brings up an exception and conflict.

The Exception and Conflict

CSLewis (1)This exception occurs when he/she lives a life of pornography, impurity or greed and professes of being a believer.

I need to inform him or her that he or she is deceived.

How do I do that? A lot depends on your relationship with the person. Remember we are to be wise as serpents, knowing when and how to “strike”.

Some may respond to gently referring them to the passage we have been discussing, and some may need to be strongly rebuked. But with both efforts, the Word needs to be referenced and not simply our opinion. Asking them what they think of the passage usually is a good method to begin the discussion, or asking them what the passage means. Depending on the Spirit to guide in your discussion is critical.

Considering the moral temperature of the society we live in, and the many surveys telling us that a high percentage of Americans consider themselves believers, this exception and conflict will surely occur in our day to day lives.

As an aside, I fear the church of God is blindly accepting everyone’s profession as true, that the Christian life is not what defines a man or woman as a Christian. It seems that if you grew up in a christian home or nation, if you “asked Jesus into your heart” 44 yrs ago, made a decision for Christ (whatever that may mean) or just assume God is nice, everything will be just fine.

My friends, to know Jesus is the difference. To know him experientially on a daily basis, this is life.

Do not be lulled into a false security simply by trusting in a knowledge of Jesus, a sterile factual (εἴδω, eídō) knowledge. Many have that knowledge and are living a life that tells us they are not going to inherit the kingdom.

To “know” (γινώσκω, ginṓskō) Jesus is to be changed by Jesus, to experience His kindness and mercy, to sense His willingness to guide and correct. This is life! As you “know” (ginosko) the kindness of the Master, it will draw you into wanting to “know” (eido) more truth (found in the Word!) about Him. As you “know” (eido) more truth about Him, and obey the knowledge of Him in your life, you will “know” (ginosko) greater and greater joy and contentment, a settled peace, even in the midst of tragedy and pain.

Don’t lose out on life by being satisfied with simply a sterile, factual only, knowledge of Him.

 

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Thayer’s Definitions
1. eídō
to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses, to perceive, notice, discern, discover, to see i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything, to pay attention, observe, to see about something i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it, to inspect, examine, to look at, behold, to experience any state or condition, to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit, to know, to know of anything, to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive, of any fact, the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning,, to know how, to be skilled in, to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to
2. ginṓskō
to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel, to become known, to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of, to understand, to know, Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, to become acquainted with, to know
3. pórnos
a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator
4. akáthartos
not cleansed, unclean, in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the levitical law, in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life
5. pleonéktēs
one eager to have more, esp. what belongs to others, greedy of gain, covetous