Friday, September 26, 2014

The Golden calf of Oversight Lordship




Unquestioning loyalty to oversight is the mark of a cult.
The statement, the oversight must be obeyed, right or wrong, characterises almost every assembly and unifies them all. It negates the view that assemblies are autonomous. I have been told that discipline exercised in one assembly should be recognised by all.

I left the RAF in August,1961 and in October of that year I was commended to the grace of God for the work of the gospel. From 1961 to 1980 I visited more than 200 assemblies and might have thought the vast majority were cloned from the first J N Darby assembly. It was not only seen in the
way they met and the way they conducted their meetings that revealed their sameness. It was foremost in the fact that the oversight were not to be challenged on any ground.

The result is the Brethren Movement (this term is used by Ritchie ltd., so I feel free to use it), now not much more than a cult. It can be no better while carnal men rule assemblies. They are self-reproducing, selecting men of similar vein to join them on the oversight. “The oversight” is another term not found in Scripture.

I add therefore an article on the recognition of elders, written by me some ten years ago.
****

On the Recognition of Elders, being mainly an exposition of 1 Thess 5: 12,13


V.12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
V.13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

The plea “KNOW THEM” is directed to the brethren by the apostle Paul. We do not read, “KNOW US”! The responsibility for recognition lies with the saints. That is, they are to use discernment and understanding as to who their leaders are.

Alas, there have always been men who, in the spirit of Diotrephes, have demanded recognition. They desire the pre-eminence in the assembly of God’s people. No spiritual man will need to make such a demand, for his own life and work will be his commendation and will bring him recognition in the assembly.

Thus the responsibility rests with the saints to give recognition where it is due, rather than with a body of elders seeking to enforce it, for such action is NICOLAITISM (Rev. 2: 6, 15). Nicolaitism ―Victory of the people― is the very root of clerisy from which there was a marked turning away in the latter half of the 19th century. Now we find a turning back again with men ready to “Lord it” over the saints and many ready to let them.
At Thessalonica the leaders were at first not obvious for it was a new work. They emerged under the leading of the Holy Spirit and so to facilitate their ministry, and for the spiritual health of the assembly Paul besought the brethren to give attention in observing who were actually guiding the assembly. Paul did not supply them with a list of names to be read out at the Lord’s Supper.

So how were they to be known? The answer is plain; they “which labour AMONG you”. So how are they to be known today? One might watch to see who goes along to the oversight meeting but some might go in who were never appointed by the Holy Spirit. They have been voted in or have been selected by some leading brother. Also there may be true elders, labouring among the saints who would be unwelcome at the oversight meeting. A man who asks for or demands a place on the oversight should be regarded with the utmost suspicion. He wants the office without the work ― a mere position seeker. The man who is seen labouring among the saints is the man to recognize.

What is it then to “LABOUR AMONG” the saints? Labour is that toil which requires effort and produces weariness. It is at a premium among the saints today and where it does exist, it goes largely unnoticed. But the labouring elder goes on serving the saints anyway. He does not cry out to be noticed, but his work is assisted by those who, appreciating his labour in the word, give him their full support.

An example of such labour is seen in 1 Cor. 16: 15. It is ministry. Essentially it is serving the saints, supplying first of all to their spiritual needs. Thus an aptitude for teaching will be revealed in their labour (1 Tim. 3: 2, Titus 1:9). How strange that some expect to lead the saints but are never heard giving a word of ministry. Much of the labour will also be spent in visiting the sick, the elderly, and any straying sheep. So an elder will be known by what he does and also by his personal character as outlined in 1 Tim. 3.
The next phrase “and are over you in the Lord” has been much misunderstood and abused. Many have used the phrase to justify a hierarchy and to mark off two distinct classes in the assembly, viz; the oversight and the members (laity). That there is no thought of dominion in the phrase is seen in that they labour AMONG (not over) you. The Greek word is proisteemi and is used for one who is a Protector or Guardian;one who oversees, one who gives aid. It is not used in the sense of PRESIDING OVER. It is in the former sense also that the word is used in 1 Tim. 3: 5, “If a man know not how to rule his own house...” (Not in a sense of a rigid authoritarian or despotic approach but in caring, guiding, protecting, feeding, etc) “how shall he take care of the church of God?” And this is what rule is all about in the church of God. So again, a man is recognized as an elder because he is seen to be guiding the church. It goes without saying that he is guiding the assembly in the truth of God’s word.

Titus 3: 8,14 shows us also that proisteemi  is a matter of maintenance and not dominance. The guides maintain the assembly as they would their own families.  

The man whose own children mix freely with the world and with Christendom is hardly in a position to maintain the local assembly. Indeed, we should consider him a fraud, especially if he shared or encouraged his children’s activities.

The final thing in this verse concerning elders is that they “ADMONISH YOU”. The same Greek word is translated “WARN” in v.14. That is, they are to be continually “PUTTING YOU IN MIND” ― of what? The Scriptures! For says Paul, “these things are written for our admonition.” So the elders are men of the Book who know the Book. A mark of false men is that they give appearance of knowing the Book but they falsely interpret it and often publicly criticise it. We are not required to recognize such despite what pretentious claims they may make for themselves. We are not expected to recognize the unrecognizable.
We note also from v. 14 that the unruly brother (defined in 2 Thess 3: 6 as the one whose life is contrary to the apostolic tradition) is to be warned (admonished, reminded of the Scriptures) by the BRETHREN. It is not merely a function of the elders to do this. The brethren are exhorted to do this whenever necessary and their authority is the word of God.

Then, and only then, if such a person will not respond to specific appeals of Scripture, the saints are to withdraw from him. This is not the same kind of discipline mentioned in 1 Cor. 5.

Having take n note as to whom the Spirit of God would have us recognize as leaders in the assembly (By their fruits ye shall know them), they are to be esteemed very highly in love. And note this, it is FOR THEIR WORK’S SAKE, It is not for their sake, not so that they won’t feel slighted, but for what they are actually doing in the assembly. We see that recognition has to be earned. It cannot be demanded. It is for  that labour of love that the saints need and so those who are supplying it are themselves esteemed very highly in love because of it.

An example of such labour we noted in 1 Cor. 16: 15 where a whole family had addicted itself to the ministry of the saints. What an addiction! They couldn’t give it up. Many today are addicted to their TV sets or their secular employment and are rarely seen at the meetings unless it should be an oversight meeting (for which there is no Scripture). But those of Stephanus’s house were true shepherds. The evidence was there ―the needs of the saints took priority in their lives.

Paul says “that ye submit yourselves to such”. Here only, incidentally, is the word “submit” (or as it may be rendered, OBEY) used in an authoritarian sense towards SUCH (those who exhibit like character as Stephanus’s family) who are true elders.
To all this we add our AMEN. How gladly and how wholeheartedly will we surrender to those who love us, caring for our souls. and placing our interests before their own, teaching us the word of Truth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Great News
The Javelin of Phinehas by William Lincoln is now availabe on Google Books.
Google it and read it.

I was first told of this book by T Garrett, an elder in the Onslow Road Assembly, in the '60,s and have waited until today to read it! Tom never read it.
RS

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Again, beware Contemporary Worship Music



We posted an article in June this year, warning against Contemporary Worship Music as represented by the Gettys.

R Cargill, in his article “A Goodly Heritage”, Believer’s Magazine, September 2014, writes
“many beautiful, expressive, and Scriptural hymns have been written recently and sung widely.”
He mentions “How deep the Father’s love for us” and “In Christ alone my hope is found”
These are indeed beautiful Scriptural hymns, but R Cargill does not give a warning against them. He claims they are widely sung which we presume will include his own circle of fellowship.
The fish in the river sees the fly but does not see the hook! We attach therefore the comments found on David Cloud’s website:

Stuart Townend is charismatic in theology and radically ecumenical in philosophy, supporting the Alpha program which bridges charismatic, Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches. He is a member of the charismatic Church of Christ the King in Brighton, U.K. and supports the “extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit,” which refers to the demonic/fleshly charismatic mysticism such as meaningless gibberish, spirit slaying, holy laughter, and shaking.
Townend is at the forefront of producing TRANSITION SONGS and BRIDGE SONGS designed to move traditional churches along the contemporary path toward Christian rock. From the perspective of the CCM artists involved in this, they aren’t doing anything sinister. They are simply and sincerely trying to “feed” the “broader church.” But from a fundamentalist Bible-believing position, the effect is to draw “old-fashioned” Bible churches into the contemporary orb, and that is most sinister.

Bridge songs include Townend’s “How Deep the Father's Love for Us” and “In Christ Alone” by Townend and Keith Getty. ̶  David Cloud; wayoflife.org

It may be that R Cargill is an Ecumenist, or just plain ignorant. In any case discerning believers will be very wary of anything published in Believer’s Magazine.
RS

Friday, August 29, 2014

New Blog

I have created a new blog for conversion stories.

See www.uswhicharesaved.blogspot.com

the title is Redeemed of the Lord say so

You are welcome to submit your story for publication.
I don't promise all will be published.

Email to waymarks@ntlworld.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hebrews 6: 2



Hebrews 6: 2 updated
Of the doctrine of baptisms (baptismos)

“of the doctrine of washings”    JND
“instruction about cleansing rites”    NIV
“and of instruction about washings”    ESV

The writer to the Hebrew Christians is establishing the importance of not having to return to teaching again the first principles of the faith. The first steps are repentance toward God, faith in Christ, followed by water baptism. The once and for all baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is also a basic teaching.
Cleansing rites and washings have nothing to do with the Christian faith. They belong to Judaism.

The Judaizers, warned about by Paul in his epistles, were having a devastating effect on many Jewish converts Thus we see that J N Darby, himself opposed to Christian baptism, continued in the work of the Jadaizers, along with the producers of the modern perversions and parodies of Scripture.

The AV translators were well aware of the alternative translation of baptismos as is revealed in Hebrews 9: 10, which stood , only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptismos), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them, only until the time of reformation.

Washings, etc. ceased at Pentecost and therefore could not constitute first principles.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

God not so longsuffering after all - Dr J Jacob, Bicester



Genesis 6: 3
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

We heard a preacher, Joshua Jacob,of the Bicester Brethren assembly, tell his audience that in the light of Genesis 6; 3, if they rejected the gospel, they might find “they have crossed the line” and God would no longer allow them to get saved. He taught that one could pass the point where it would be impossible to repent. He was not speaking of death and he was not speaking of dementia.
I inferred from his preaching that God’s longsuffering could run out while a man was still fit and well physically.
I do not know of a line that can be crossed because one has gone too long in unbelief.  This is not what Genesis 6: 3 teaches.
Note: Ch.6 v.1  adam is plural. Men are spoken of.  In v.3 adam is singular. The race is seen as one. What applies to one man in this context applies to all. The striving ceases for the whole human race. It is done because of his being flesh and therefore having limited time on this planet.
Note also: spirit is with a small s. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this verse. It is the breath God breathed in, as v.17 reveals. The breath of life.
The fact is we are born into disobedience and remain in it until we repent and trust Christ, or death takes us out of it. Only then does God’s grace cease towards the sinner. God’s pleading voice is heard through the gospel\ of Christ and not through emotional appeals or threats. a gospel preached on the wrong application of this verse leads to confusion and false professions of faith.
J Jacob appears not to understand the nature of the Gospel of Christ.  He uses Proverbs 29: 1,( He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy)  to teach that if a man errs too often, then God will summarily execute him. How many times will God allow the "hard-neck" to get away with it? 
This can be hearrd on the Hebron Hall, Bicester, website audio messages. 

The whole human race is opposed to God, each soul hard-necked from birth. Reproof in this dispensation is through the convicting of the Holy Spirit by means of Scripture.Judgment for the unrepentant sinner is reserved.
We assume there is none left at Bicester with any grasp of the truth of God. How is it that J Jacob is not reproved for his ignorance and abuse of Scripture?
RS