July 31, 2011
We have gotten to the place that there is no sin and nothing to be refrained from as we are under grace. To suggest that something may be sin or a person is a false prophet is to be labeled a legalist and unloving without grace. Nicolaitane doctrine is prevalent in the Church and should be not tolerated anymore than Phariseeism or Saducceeism. Even Baptists have some of these among them.
Nicolaitanes. Irenaeus (‘Haereses,’ i. 26, 3) and Tertullian (‘Praescriptione Haereticorum,’ 46) suppose followers of Nicolas, one of the seven (Acts 6:3,5), as there was a Judas among the twelve. They, Clemens Alexandrinus (‘Stromata,’ ii. 20; iii. 4) and Epiphanius (‘Haereses,’ 25), confound the later Gnostic Nicolaitanes, followers of one Nicolas, with those of Revelation. Michaelis’ view is: Nicolas (conqueror of the people) is the Greek of Balaam, from the Hebrew: Bil`am (OT:1109) `Am (OT:5971), Destroyer of the people. Revelation abounds in duplicate Hebrew and Greek names: Apollyon, Abaddon; Devil, Satan; Yea [Nai (NT:3483)], Amen. The name, like other names, Egypt, Babylon, Sodom, is symbolic. Compare Rev 2:14-15, which shows the true sense; not a sect, but professing Christians who, like Balsam, introduced a false freedom – i.e., licentiousness; a reaction from Judaism, the first danger to the Church, combated in the council of Jerusalem, which, while releasing Gentile converts from legal bondage, required their abstinence from idol meats, and concomitant “fornication;” also in the letter to Galatians. These Nicolaitanes, or followers of Balaam, as Christ designates them by a name expressing their true character, abused Paul’s doctrine of the grace of God into a plea for lasciviousness (2 Peter 2:15-16,19; Jude 4,11, who both describe such seducers as followers of Balaam). They persuaded many to escape obloquy, by yielding in what was a test of faithfulness, the eating of idol meats: going further, they joined in fornication of the idol feasts, as permitted by Christ’s ‘law of liberty.’ Thus the ‘love-feasts’ were made like pagan orgies (Jude 12).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
July 23, 2011
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. KJV
I am afraid that there are many pastors who need to read this passage and ask themselves if they are truly ministers or dictators? Someone once said that no man is a leader until his leadership is affirmed in the hearts of his followers. There is an old joke about a young Lieutenant who asked someone if they had seen a group of soldiers come by there as he was trying to find them because he was their leader.
I have heard too many sermons and comments by pastors using “touch not my anointed” and “don’t go up against God’s man”. A leader who leads by force or threats is not a leader. A leader leads by example. A good Sergeant always take care of his troops. A good pastor cares for the congregation. He is called to feed the sheep, not beat the sheep or fleece the sheep.
If a man has to continually remind the congregation that he is the “man of God” then either he is not the man for that congregation or he is doing something wrong. Yes, there will always be some tares and maybe a Diotrephes or Absalom in the gate, but if you are the man God called to that church then God will weed them out or minimize their influence. If the church is loaded with them then you need to leave and let the dead bury the dead rather than try to threaten corpses back to life.
We have basically two types of attitudes about pastors in our culture. Either we place him on a huge pedestal and then lose our faith when he gets dizzy and falls or we have what I call a Bounty(r) towel philosophy. We bring a man in to wipe up all our messes and then when he has done all he can and is worn and torn we put him the trash and look for another. Balance is hard to find.
What pastors and members need to realize is that the pastor is just a man with the gifts a pastor needs. He is still human and yes can make mistakes. He can even sin. He seeks to do neither, but the possibility is there and he needs to be open to constructive criticism. It is good to even look at not so constructive criticism and see if there is even a mote of value in the log they are using to beat you down. Dismiss the emotions, false accusations and such, but look for anything that might be true, though exaggerated, and use it for improvement.
Now, on the congregation side, you must take great care to not let a pastor bully you or make you believe that he cannot be challenged for that is not true.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. KJV
A pastor/elder is still a brother and if he sins against you have a right to rebuke him as a brother. Matthew 18 is always the rule and the goal is reconciliation not alienation.
1 Tim 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; KJV
The Greek word translated here as rebuke comes from a root of revere. Thus I believe it carries the idea of disrespect especially since the positive way to do it is to intreat him as a father. If you feel the pastor/elder has done something wrong or has an improper interpretation of a passage you don’t run up and shove your finger in his face and dress him down like a Drill Sgt might do a raw recruit or secretly stir up a movement to remove him. Instead you get him alone and respectfully present you case praying that truth may be revealed. It may be revealed that you are wrong and not the pastor. It is better to have that truth come out after a private session than after an emotional public one or to have a group of embarrassed people you stirred up look at you.
It does not say that he cannot be questioned or challenged. It merely instructs you how to present your grievance or question.
epitimao (ep-ee-tee-mah’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:5091; to tax upon, i.e. censure or admonish; by implication, forbid
KJV – (straitly) charge, rebuke.
parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh’-o); from NT:3844 and NT:2564; to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation):
KJV – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.
I always tell my people if you think I am wrong bring me Scripture and treat me kindly. I don’t really care what Dr. Goodwards on the TV or radio said in his latest book or even what your sainted Granny said, but if Scripture proves me wrong then I thank you for not leaving me in my error or ignorance.
1 Tim 5:19-20
19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others KJV
elegcho (el-eng’-kho); of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish:
KJV – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.
Note that the language here is similar to Matthew 18. If an elder or any other person will not listen to your grievance then you take two or three and if the issue is not solved there then you bring it to the Church for their decision. If the facts can be proven against an elder or anyone they can be censured and if their is no repentance or depending on the gravity of the matter they can be removed from membership and shunned by the congregation until there is repentance and reconciliation made.
Yes, the Scriptures do say the office of pastor does come with some authority and that the people show “obey them that have the rule over you”.
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. KJV
Yet this is not a carte blanche authority. This authority must be in the confines of Scripture. Men have abused this authority usually in places where the pastor is viewed as king. There is only one King. Pastors are shepherds that must account to the Chief Shepherd. No woman should submit to an immoral relationship or strip naked to see if she is deemed worthy to be blessed because the “pastor” says so and she must obey. Balderdash! Yet, women have done so. No man has to feel guilty because in trying support his family with their minimum needs because he must work on a Wednesday night and cannot be at prayer meeting. Pastor, if you have people who cannot meet on Wednesday maybe you need to consider changing the day the congregation meets for prayer rather than castigating the ones who cannot make it. Indeed if we were smart we would merge some churches and use the combined staff to open the Church 24/7 so we could meet the needs of all men and eliminate some excuses. The list of abuses are endless and we must seek to put an end to such a list.
A true pastor serves his way into leadership, not brow beats and threatens. You preach against sin and warn the unruly, but you do it in a way Christ would do it. He had his sharpest remarks against the religious leaders, not the sinners or the sheep.
Brother or Sister, if you have a man in the pulpit that leads by fear or guilt and cannot be intreated then you need to treat him to an empty pew and find a true pastor. God will not kill your child, burn your house down or anything else they may threaten you with as you go.
Brother Pastor, if this is how you were trained then you need some retraining. Being rude and crude to your people is not what you are called to do. You do not have to threaten or cause them to feel guilty over everything under the sun. You job is to rightly divide the Word to your people and minister to them.
We are not cowboys driving a herd. We are shepherds leading the flock. The Holy Spirit will drive home the Word and cause them to fear, have guilt, repent or receive comfort and strength as He sees they need. Your job is much easier than what you may have been led to believe. I am certainly not saying become a love and prosperity preacher for that is the other extreme. Christ is balanced so seek balance.
May God bless this to some pastors and members!
I will probably lose a lot of pastor “friends” over this one.
All word studies are from (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)