Brother Ray has continued to expand his earlier look at Scriptural "genealogies". We have regrouped them in sequence. As he says, it is an ongoing study, a work inj progress. If you haven't look at the "genealogy" article lately, there is more there now. It's good stuff.
A TEACHING ON LOVE AND CHURCH AUTHORITY
by Ray LeRoux
Yesterday, we received a long SKYPE message from a wonderful man of the Lord. He was distressed that some believers were not following the authority of his denomination. He went so far as to state these believers were "sinning" against "the church". He asked for our thoughts on the matter.
We love this brother unabashedly and completely. He believes and operates within the spirit - most of the time. But on this matter, we disagree.
Our first thought, as always, is to go to the Word of God. John 1. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Then we moved on to John 3:16. God so loved the world that He gave.......Then to the John epistles: Little brother, love one another.
Then we moved to Yeshua who said let he who is without sin cast the first stone. And again John: he who says he is without sin is a liar. And then to one of our favourites: don't look at the sin in the other's eye but rather pluck out the log in our own eye.
All night we wrestled with our dear brother's position that rejecting "church" "authority" was and is a sin. We prayed for our brother and also for those he considers sinners (if we could pray for the salvation of Saddam Hussein on his execution day, and if we can pray for the salvation of islamic terrorists daily,as we do,then certainly we can pray for our brothers and sisters who are "called out ones" as well).
When our brother speaks about "church" "authority" he touches several critical points.
The Word in Matthew has King Yeshua stating clearly call NO man rabbi. This clearly means call no individual man (as opposed to God) rabbi or master or teacher or AUTHORITY. It also means to us that we are NOT to call any group of men rabbi or teacher or authority for there is only one rabbi-teacher-authority and that is God Himself.
So whenever a church spokesperson claims authority, we naturally shudder.
Back in our youth in America there was a Catholic priest who espoused the idea "extra ecclesia nulla salus" or outside our church there is no salvation. That meant no non-Catholic could be saved. Father Feeney was of course wrong. He was only a man. Yeshua spoke directly to this point in the Word.
But Father Feeney was only doing what MAN has been doing almost since Moses came down from the mountain with God's Word, that is attempting to introduce man's opinion and teaching and attitudes and doctrinal statements. The learned Rabbi Hillel, when asked how many Torahs (the Word) there were answered TWO, the written Word of God AND the oral Word of God as interpreted through man. Our Hebrew brothers, generations before Yeshua, began to meddle with God's Word and haven't stopped since. After the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, our Hebrew brothers replaced the temple system with a new Jewish religion focused upon the synagogue and the rabbis. Unfortunately, the rabbis,zealous in their efforts to protect God's Word, began to put "hedges" around the Word to protect it,they introduced man made rules. Then they put hedges around those hedges and yet more hedges around those hedges. Finally,when asked which took preference,the written Word of God OR than rabbi's hedges (the mishnah or the talmud or hallkak opinions, the rabbis ruled that the man made things took precedence. And so it has remained until this day.
Lest we snicker, us remember that the Roman Catholic Church did NO better continuing well up to Father Feeney in the 1950s and now onto and into the 21st century. When there is a difference between God's Word and the Catholic Church, Catholic Church dogma or teaching prevails, even though it is man made. CALL NO MAN RABBI. Or pope,or encyclical, or councils,or cardinals,or bishops,or priests. Period. The orthodox church has always held the same at the Catholic Church. And does today.
Jehovah s Witnesses. Mormons. Buddhists. Islam. The same. Man made theology and belief systems prevail.
Protestantism is no better. Even Baptists. One might say ALL man made denominations,churches and belief systems violate God's Word.
Did Yeshua come to build a NEW "church"? Are those "called out" ones in the "New Testament" age different that those "called out" righteous believers in and followers of God in the "old testament" period? What scriptures do you have to prove this point? Our discernment is that there are no such proofs in the Word.
The word CHURCH is NOT found in the original texts. The closest we come is the Greek word ecclesia from which we get English words like ecclesiastical. But the word, even in Greek, can only mean a group of people set apart. A people called out to be different. A people who are in the world but no longer of the world. Yeshua, we can soundly maintain, never came to start a physical building program. He never came to begin any denomination - other than the family of righteous ones who believe in the Father, who trust and obey and live accordingly,who follow Torah. One of Yeshua's names is "the living Torah".
Even if Yeshua had come to build a church,in the sense that we know it,he NEVER ceded authority to ANY man,Christian or not. Yeshua NEVER amended his commandment to call no man rabbi or authority.
All of which gives us a good healthy - and we believe scripturally sound discernment - to run as fast as we can and as far as we can from "church authority". We are reminded of God's Word which promises "synagogues" of Satan, of the evil one.
We are reminded in the Word that Yeshua humbly washed the feet of His disciples and followers.
We are reminded in the Word that when Yeshua spoke of "tradition",i.e.,man made authoritative opinions, it was ALWAYS cautionary if not negative.
We are conscious of the original text language that differentiates between Torah (the Word of God) and man made "law" or legalism.
The beloved teacher David Pawson points out there will be NO Catholic section in Heaven with the Lord, our Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Or NO Baptist section. Or any other denomination or sect or religion, Christian or not. They each and all may be,and will be in eternity,but they just as likely as not will be in that section of eternity set aside for the "synagogues of satan",i.e.,in hell or eternal damnation.
So we lovingly answer our beloved brother that he is not on solid scriptural ground when he puts his stock in "church authority".
In any dialogue on this topic,we are sure to be reminded that the scriptures DO talk about "elders" and emissaries. But we would maintain the discernment that these scriptural references are to elders IN THE WORD. Do not the scriptures teach us that Sha'ul (Paul) considered that ALL he had learned of men,from man, was of nothing (the language is more graphic and decidedly negative) and that he ONLY taught and preached the Word of God.
And Yeshua Himself summarized the entire Word of God as first the SHEMA,Deuteronomy 6:5) and secondly to love one another as ourselves.
The next point we would make is this: Yeshua promised to send us a comforter,the Holy Spirit, to indwell in EACH believer. He has done so. Each of us has sufficient resources IN THE SPIRIT and only in the spirit. The spirit needs NO help from man or denominations or religions. As God the Father is complete in Himself,and just as Yeshua and the Father are one and complete,so is the spirit.
If we are born again and in the spirit,each of us is GIVEN through the Spirit sufficient discernment to understand all of the Word that is necessary for each one of us. The Word is simple enough through the Spirit. We need no intermediary other than that given to us in the Word. We need NO intercessor other than Yeshua. As man, we can do nothing. From God,we have been given EYERYTHING.
It does help to meet with other called out ones. We are told to congregate together. To live together. To pray together. To praise together. To work together. To love together.
But we must avoid assiduously becoming entangled in and mired down by the muck of man made rules and legalisms in the process. As Sha'ul teaches in the Word,we are to be Bereans,to search the Word daily.
When Lord Yeshua in his seven letters to the messianic communities (they were not are led to believe seven "churches"), cautions us not to lose our first LOVE, He is clear. When He cautions us about the "nicolaitans" we should attempt discern what nicolaitans referred to.
The beloved apostle John didn't begin to write his "gospel" and "revelation" and his three very brief letters until nearly 30 years after all the other eyewitnesses had passed from this world until the next. His final message,the one he considered most important, was little brothers,little children,love one another.
Our beloved brother who inspired this meandering 21st century epistle or letter, can not be loving his brothers and sisters if he accuses them of being sinners and apostates. He could be acting outside of love. If he makes love conditional upon denominational membership or submitting to it's authority,he comes dangerously close to "adding to" the Word of God, a prohibition mentioned both early in the Torah and at the conclusion of Revelation. Very dangerous ground indeed.
Little children love one another. Love your brother and sisters who have been called out. Even love the unsaved.
Do not grumble. Do not set “called out ones” against each other. Love. Pray. Go to the Word.