Keith Hunt - Church Government - Page Nine   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

Church Government

What the New Testament teaches on how churches should be governed


                         Part Three

                             by
                         Keith Hunt


Mr.Norman Edwards has written an interesting and edifying paper
entitled "How Does the Eternal Govern Through Humans?" For the
most part, as much as 90% I would estimate, I have no problem,
and would agree with what he states. I do take issue with some of
his comments. If in any way I am not understanding correctly
what he is saying, I apologize.Yet I am hoping my answers will
still be of benefit to those studying this important topic. From
this point on Norman Edwards will sometimes be referred to as
N.E. for short.

N.E.

The Major King James Translation Errors

"Ordination" Doctrine Forced into Bible. Most people understand
an "ordination" to be a decision made by the Eternal that is
marked here on Earth by a ceremony, or by "the laying on of
hands" or possibly just witnessed by believers. You cannot find
this in an original-language Bible. What is the Greek word for
ordain? There is no word! There are 13 different Greek words that
are occasionally translated "ordain" in the King James Version.
Every one of these Greek words is usually translated as some
other English word. For example, the KJV Mark 3:14 says:
"He ordained twelve that they should be with him, and that he
might send them forth to preach." The Greek poieo is translated
"ordain" here but it is a very general word used over 500 times,
usually translated "do" or "make." The Greek cannot mean a
ceremony or laying on or hands. "He made twelve" - that is all.
Some of the other words translated "ordain" do have a meaning
closer to "mark out publicly" or "to arrange," but none of
them have a meaning anywhere close to the Greek hagiazo which
means "to set apart for a holy purpose."

You can easily verify these facts with a Strong's or Young's
concordance. The invention of the "ordination" doctrine is also
evident in the Old Testament where 11 different Hebrew words are
occasionally translated "ordain." Many "church government" ideas
crumble when you realize that the concept of an "ordained
ministry" is simply not in the Bible.


MY ANSWER

     True, in a "religious" context, most people do understand
the word ordination to mean a ceremony of some kind and type. But
to say that ceremony is a "decision made by the Eternal that is
marked here on Earth" is another question all together. Because
men may claim such a thing does not make it so. Jesus said many
would claim Him as "Lord, Lord" - they would claim they were
Christians, yet would not do what He taught. And on the day of
reckoning Christ will say to them, "depart from me, you that work
lawlessness."
     Many things are done "in the name of God" - yet the truth of
the matter is, God is NOT IN THEM AT ALL!

     As I showed in part two of this study, an ordination
service/ceremony of and by itself does not make a man a true
minister/elder/overseer of the Eternal.

     Yes, if you are looking for some special Greek word that
signifies "ordination ceremony" as we English think of the words
in a religious context, you will not find it anywhere in the
Bible!

The Greek words sometimes translated as ordain in the KJV, DO NOT
WITHIN THEMSELVES, intrinsically carry any meaning of "ceremony."

     Now, by itself, what does that prove? Does it prove
ANYTHING? The question is not really the inherent meaning of
these Greek words, for several Greek words used in connection
with "ceremony" do not carry ceremony within them, but the
question is: Can we show from the Bible that the Eternal approves
or dis-approves of His church having ceremonial consecration,
"setting apart" - ordination services for men called and chosen
to His spiritual ministry?

     Let us look at a few other Greek words that we use and think
of as connected with ceremony, yet in truth have nothing to do
with ceremony per se.

     We covered one of these words in part two. The word being
BAPTIZE. In the Greek baptisma as a noun, and baptizoo as a verb.
Both are derived from bapto - meaning to dip. I refer you to such
works as Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
for a complete understanding and use of the above.
     What we need to note here is that NOWHERE inherent within
the above words is there ANYTHING to do with "ceremony" - a
"baptismal ceremony" or public service (small or large in numbers
of attendants) of any kind! Is it therefore evil, pagan, sin, or
even wrong, for the Christian Church of God to establish as a
basic tradition, the practice of public baptismal services or
ceremonies?
     I believe most would answer: Of course not! Why is it not
wrong? Because we have Biblical EXAMPLES of public(large and
small gatherings) baptismal services!

John the Baptist in what is recorded for us, did all his
baptizing in the river Jordan, out in public view, with possibly
hundreds of people watching from all walks of life. Jesus was
baptized by John in the river Jordan. with again possibly
hundreds looking on. Three thousand were baptized by the
apostles/disciples on the Day of Pentecost after Peter's
sermon. Surely these baptisms were a public affair.
     There must have been something said and done during those
baptisms. We certainly know something was done, the person being
baptized was put under the water by the person doing the
baptizing. In the examples above where many were being
baptized over a period of hours, there would have been order and
a logical format established. There would have been what we think
and understand in English, as a baptismal service or ceremony
taking place. A ceremony where things were being said and done in
an organized and orderly manner, with others looking on.
     The Christian church has from these and other examples
correctly taught that from a religious theological church
doctrine stance, there is nothing wrong with, and there is
authority from God, to establish a tradition and custom of public
ceremony baptisms, without the need for the word baptism/baptize
to intrinsically mean "ceremony."

     One more word example - the Greek word for marriage. The
noun is gamos, and the verbs are from gameoo etc. See Vine's
Dictionary.
     The noun is usually found with words such as "feast" or
"garment." So we have in the NT "marriage feast." and "wedding
garment."
     There is nothing inherent, inborn, innate, in the word
itself to do with "ceremony." You may want to take a few minutes
or hours and peruse some of the Bible Dictionaries or Hand Books
on the development of marriage ceremonies. You will be amazed at
what you will discover. Obviously the first marriage ceremony was
the simplest in terms of other humans in attendance, as there
were none - only Adam and Eve. But it did not stay that way, in
the process of time many different cultures developed many
different customs of "marriage ceremonies" and "wedding feasts."
     Nothing in the word "marriage" itself establishes such
customs and ceremonies. Not even any direct command from the
Eternal to bring this man and woman together "in the prescribed
ceremonial pattern I give you to follow."
     It "just isn't there folks." You cannot find it in the word
"marriage" nor in any command of instructions from the Eternal.
Nothing about "ceremony" for marriage. Yet, does that mean it is
pagan, or sin, or wrong, for the Christian church to establish a
tradition of performing a marriage ceremony/service for those
called together to be husband and wife?
     No! Of course not! And why does the Christian church believe
it is not wrong to have marriage ceremonies or services? Well,
one very good reason indeed. Jesus(God in the flesh) gave His
approval to man made marriage/wedding feasts and ceremonies,
when He attended one in Cana of Galilee and turned many gallons
of water into the very best of wine, so the attending people
could rejoice.
     Take a few minutes and investigate the traditional Jewish
marriage feast, it is quite revealing.
     There is nothing in the word of God to command us to observe
a marriage in the way the Jews did or do observe it. Nothing in
the word to tell us to do it this or that way either. Nothing in
the word marriage itself to instruct us concerning ceremony. But
it is clear from the examples in the Bible(i.e. marriage feast or
supper of the Lamb Rev.19) that God has approved of His people
establishing public marriage ceremonies, feasts, services, or
whatever you want to call such organized proclamations of
sanctifications to holy consecration.

     So it is with men called, and selected to serve in the body
of Christ. Called to serve in a certain specific function -
either as spiritual overseers/elders or as physical
servers/deacons(and as concerning the physical, women as
deaconesses).
     We have before shown and proved that Acts 6 was some kind of
physical service/ceremony, done in an open public church setting
to some degree(several elders and disciples involved), with
certain physical things performed. And all this was done to
men who were to be set apart officially for the church, in the
performing of physical duties - to serve tables! If such an
example of ceremony is given concerning the consecration,
appointment, ordination, of men to physical duty within the
congregation, HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU SUPPOSE THE CEREMONY OF
CONSECRATION TO SPIRITUAL OVERSEERSHIP SHOULD BE FOR MEN CALLED
AND PROVED?

     The Christian church as a whole has seen that from the
example of the consecration service/ceremony of Aaron in the Old
Testament(covered in part two) and that recorded in Acts chapter
six for deacons, God has given His approval for His NT
church to establish as a traditional custom, an ordination
ceremony/service for those called to be elders or deacons.

     God most certainly does have an appointed, called, elected,
chosen, proved, ordained ministry in the church, the body of
Christ! God certainly does have an appointed/ordained ministry in
the true Church of God. Those ministers have been recognized and
publicly consecrated by other existing elders and disciples. Ones
to come will also be so openly shown to the people and the world.

     The appointed/ordained ceremony of an individual to the
spiritual overseership or deaconship, does not automatically
transform them into a true elder or deacon in the body
of Christ, IF they have not already been living in word and deed
as an elder or deacon. Just as a person receiving their doctor
diploma at an official ceremony, is not a true doctor, if they
have not been living in theory and deed, the qualifications and
standards that are required for being a doctor.
     Doctors are put through the test, in mental theory(study
etc.) and practical work usually as interns before any public
recognition is granted them. This is not done overnight, nor
should it be, because of the grave responsibility put on the
shoulders of those entering the medical profession.
     Similarly, for those who would desire the function of
elder/overseer in the church(which desire is not necessarily
wrong - 1 Tim.3:1), there should be a long time testing and
proving - many years in fact. Paul said the church
servers/deacons should be proved(1 Tim.3:10). If proving was
necessary for them who would serve in physical things, then how
much more do you suppose, is proving necessary for spiritual
elders?
     I tell you that to meet the required qualifications given by
Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for church overseer in
1 Timothy 3, takes MANY years. The very word elder carries with
it the meaning of older. The reader may want to request my
in-depth article called "Qualifications For The Ministry" if they
would like to study this more

     Those who have been ordained to the church eldership and
were not qualified, or did not have the true heart and mind, or
were ordained because of church politics, only prove one thing:
The devil can appear as an angel of light, or can come as a wolf
in sheeps clothing. Men may have been fooled, BUT GOD CANNOT BE!
And the fruits of such a man's ministry will eventually be
revealed, for Jesus said that by their fruits we shall know them.
The true child of God who has his/her nose in the Bible, who
lives and thinks true Christianity, will know who are the true
faithful elders of the Lord.

     Because the homosexual community conducts marriage
ceremonies and ordination to the ministry services for its
followers, does this mean the true body of Christ cannot
do likewise? I guess not!

     The word of the Eternal, not by any specific word with some
special inherent meaning, BUT BY CLEAR EXAMPLE (Lev.8; Mark
3:13-14; Luke 612,13; Acts 6:1-7; 14:23; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim.5:22)
teaches us that it is appropriate, fitting, relevant, and
correct, for the Church of God to practice the public
acknowledgment that men have been appointed/ordained to serve as
elders in the body of Christ.

N.E.

Ministers and Deacons Not Different. They are both servants. Most
KJV uses of the word "minister" are translated from the Greek
diaakonos (noun) or the diakoneo (verb meaning "to minister").
All occurrences of deacon and deaconess are translated from
these same words - the New Testament writers could not possibly
have had two "offices" in mind and then used an identical word
for both of them! How could you "raise someone in rank" from a
diakonos to a diakonos? King James 1 needed to justify his church
offices from the Bible so his translators supplied him what he
needed. Furthermore, diakonos, does not imply any kind of
elevated or ecclesiastical position, but means a real working
servant and is so translated many times: "but the servant who had
drawn the water knew [that it was created by a miracle]"
(John 2:9). Diakonos could not mean a "teacher" in the
congregation because it is used to describe women which were
forbidden to teach (1 Tim 2:12). Martha "served" the
Messiah (John l2:2) and Phebe was a "servant of the Church''(Rom
16:1). The Scriptures do not support the traditionally taught two
classes of people: the "ministry" and the "lay members." (The
latter term is not found even in the KJV.) Had the Greek diakonos
always been translated "servant," people would have understood
the Messiah's organization much better.

MY ANSWER

     Ministers and Deacons are not different...... well, in one
way. Yet they are different! But then again they are not
different. Seems like I am contradicting myself doesn't it? All a
little confusing to you? Hang on, hold your horses, don't gallop
away into the sun-set. l will fully explain, and I hope make it
quite clear.
     Many will no doubt think this Greek word diakonos/diakoneo
is used dozens of times, all over the place, in the NT. That is
not the case!

     They are used quite a number of times, about 65 times
altogether. Then the Greek words
doulos/doulia/douluo/doulon/douloo also translated serve/servant,
are used even more times in the NT. See the Englishman's Greek
Concordance pages 145, 163, 164.

     Here is what the Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary has
to say concerning the word "deacon" on page 147.

     "diakonos.........primarily denotes a 'servant,' whether as
doing servile work, or as an attendant rendering free service,
without particular reference to its character. The word is
probably connected with the verb diookoo, ' to hasten after,
pursue' (perhaps originally said of a runner). It occurs in the
NT of domestic servants, John 2:5,9; the civil ruler, Rom.13:4;
Christ, Rom.15:8; Gal.2: 17; the followers of Christ in relation
to their Lord, John 12:26; Eph.6:21; Col.1:7; 4:7; the followers
of Christ in relation to one another, Matt.20:26; 23:1; Mark
9:35; 1 0:43; the servants of Christ in the work of preaching and
teaching, 1 Cor.3:5; 2 Cor.3:6; 6:4; 11:23; Eph.3:7; Col.1:23,25;
1 Thes.3:2; 1 Tim.4:6; those who serve in the churches, Rom.16:1
(used of a woman here only in the NT); Phil.1: 1; 1 Tim.3: 8,12;
false prophets, servants of Satan, 2 Cor.11: 15. Once diakonos
is used where, apparently, angels are intended, Matt.22:13; in
v.3 where men are intended, doulos is used.
     Diakonos is, generally speaking, to be distinguished from
doulos, 'a bondservant, slave'; diakonos views a servant in
relationship to his work; doulos views him in relationship to his
master. See, e.g., Matt.22:2-4; those who bring in the
guests(vv.34,6,8,10) are douloi; those who carry out the king's
sentence(v.13) are diakonoi.
     Note: As to synonymous terms, leitourgos denotes 'one who
performs public duties'; misthios and misthotos, 'a hired
servant'; olketes, 'a household servant'; huperetes, 'a
subordinate official waiting on his superior' (originally an
under-rower in a war-galley); therapon, 'one whose service is
that of freedom and dignity.' See MINISTER, SERVANT.
     The so-called 'seven deacons' in Acts 6 are not there
mentioned by that name, though the kind of service in which they
were engaged was of the character of that committed to such."

     End quote from Vine.

     I gave you the full quotation from Vine's. 

     The word diakonos(the verb is diakoneo) is, I will call it,
an UMBRELLA word, under which several persons shelter, a tent
type of umbrella. The following diagram I believe will illustrate
the truth of what Vine's Dictionary brought out.


                   D  I  A  K  O  N  O  S
    
_____________________________________________________________

Domestic/Civil Ruler/Disciples/Christ/Teachers/Servers/Angels

     The umbrella word diakonos......C O V E R S.....all of the
above people and spirit beings, BUT all of the above persons
though the same diakonos in the meaning of servers, are DIFFERENT
from each other in function and even in authority. It is
something like saying: All Californians are Americans, but not
all Americans are Californians.

     A civil ruler, gudge, police officer, etc. is a diakonos but
his function and authority is quite DIFFERENT from the domestic
servant diakonos. They are both diakonos - both the same in one
sense, yet both different in function and responsibilities.
     The angelic beings are diakonos - servers, yet their
function and authority is NOT the same, it is different from the
function and authority of civil rulers.
     Jesus Christ is a diakonos. He serves also(one function is
as our High Priest, interceding for us). His function and
authority is not to be compared to the function and authority of
domestic servants.
     Satan the devil also has diakonos members in his band of
followers, they appear as the diakonos of righteousness, but in
fact are the diakonos of evil - the Devil himself
(2 Cor.11:13-15). In no way is the function and authority of
Satan's diakonos to be compared to the function and authority of
the disciples/diakonos of Jesus Christ.

     THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DIAKONOS! All are
"diakonos" but not all function the same, not all even have the
same authority! Jesus is a diakonos(servant), but His function
and authority is higher than any other except the heavenly
Father. The civil ruler diakonos has in his particular functions
certain authority over the diakonos of the followers of Christ.
Try saying he does not if you are hauled before the courts
because you broke the speed limit law, and see how far it gets
you. The diakonos of Jesus have more authority over spiritual
matters than the un-converted domestic diakonos of the world.

     So it is in the Church, the body of Christ. All in that body
are diakonos - servants in one way or another, but not all
diakonos have the same function, nor even the same authority. The
seven men chosen to "serve tables" and to see that ceratin
"widows" were taken care of in physical necessities, spoken about
in Acts chapter six, were given a particular function and with
that function, a certain authority. It was given to them by the
apostles/elders and the church. They had the authority to
literally hand out, as they deemed proper, physical goods to
members of the church. Someone else from who knows where, walking
into the store house of the church and deciding to take what he
wanted to give to whom he wanted, could be stopped and prevented
from doing so by any one of the seven. For it was THEY who had
authority over such matters, and functioned in that
administrative duty, and not just "blow Joe" from Tim-buck-too.

     Paul went into some detail concerning all the diakonos
functions in the body of Christ with the church at Corinth. It is
found in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. The eye has a certain function
within the body, even a certain amount of authority over its
function. The foot has function with authority over its duty. The
foot cannot function as an eye, it was not designed to do so, nor
was it given the abilities or gifts to function as an eye. The
foot cannot authorize itself to see. The eyes cannot function as
feet, or claim authority to move down to the ankles and become
feet.

     All the members of the body are "parts" - all serve - all
are in that sense diakonos, but not all are the SAME, there are
DIFFERENCES, otherwise all would be an eye, or all would be a
foot, or all would be a hand. And if all were a foot or ear or
hand, WHERE WOULD THE BODY BE?

     The Church of God is ONE body - we are ALL servants/servers
- we are all diakonos, but we have DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS and with
those functions goes varying differences of authority.
     If it was not so, then as Paul points out, we would be one
part not many parts, and if we were only one part then there
would be no body. Yet, thankfully as he showed, there are many
members(parts/functions/responsibilities) which make up that one
body.

     As we have previously expounded, there is an eldership
ministry - an eldership/overseeing diakonos in the body of
Christ. And there is also a specific chosen class of individuals
called and appointed, to the function of administrating physical
duties. They are the diakonos of "tables."
     Both classes of elected persons, for basic functions of the
duties they are called and appointed/ordained to do, are servants
- diakonos. Yet, in saying that I still need to emphasis that
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, THEY ARE NOT THE SAME in function or
authority.

     Even within the eldership not all function in the same way.
There is differences in the eldership ministry. God inspired Paul
to break it down into various "parts" of that bodily function.
Some were to function as apostles, some as prophets, some as
teachers, and so on (1 Cor.12:28). Apparently by using the words
"first" - "secondarily" - "thirdly" God shows that He gives a
higher function to certain sections of the eldership part of the
body of Christ. I have before proved we are here talking about
function not dictatorial "rank" authority. Nevertheless. we can
see that there are DIFFERENCES even in the overseership of the
church.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ELDERS AND DEACONS

     Surely after all that I have presented in this study so far
of over one hundred pages, the reader can clearly see that the NT
church does have a body of men who have been called by God to be
OVERSEERS, GUIDES, SHEPHERDS. SPIRITUAL ELDERS AND LEADERS over
the rest of the membership in the body of Christ. Surely a simple
reading of the NT will give the truth of the matter on that
understanding. If some still want to argue to the contrary, all I
can say is that if they are correct, then words of the NT do
not mean what they say and do not say what they mean. So nothing
in the NT is reliable. But that is not the case. The NT is quite
clear, there is an eldership ministry function within the Church
of God.

     We see from the first chapters of the book of Acts, HOW that
ministry did function. Up to the beginning of chapter six the
apostles - the appointed elders - LED the way, guided the way,
taught the way. From the last part of chapter four and the
beginning of chapter five, also what the apostles said to the
disciples in the first few verses of chapter six, it is clear
that the elders functioned BOTH in the overseership of the
spiritual and the physical. They had jurisdiction and authority
over both aspects of the church - the spiritual religious and the
physical administrative.

     When the trouble erupted between the disciples over the
neglect of certain widows(chapter six) and the apostles made the
decision as what to do about it, namely, others were to "take
over" and be responsible for this physical duty, they were in
effect handing over, delegating part of their overseership to
others. As Jesus once said concerning the Father and Himself,
"the one sent is not greater than he who sent him." And on
another occasion "The Father is greater than I."

     The elders, in delegating other individuals to the function
of official servers of physical concerns in the church, did not
in so doing, make those persons greater in function and authority
than themselves. In fact the ones sent to function cannot be as
great in function and authority as the senders, especially as
this was a function to physical duties only.
     Was there a DIFFERENCE still existing between the diakonos
of the apostles/elders and the diakonos of those who were to
"serve tables"? Oh, you bet there was!

     The diakonos of the seven were to meet many of the same
qualifications that Paul later laid down for the men who would be
overseers in the church(1 Tim.3). And why not! The apostles were
handing over HALF THE DUTY THEY HAD BEEN DOING! It would have
been quite irresponsible for the apostles, not to have done it
the way they did. A high and important administration duty
falling under the total functioning of the elders work, demands a
highly qualified person.
     Yet, you will notice in Acts chapter six and also in 1
Timothy 3 that those individuals chosen for physical duties DID
NOT HAVE TO TEACH OR TAKE CARE OF THE CHURCH IN ANY SPIRITUAL
OFFICIAL WAY, AS DID THE "EPISKOPOS" - OVERSEER, OF 1 TIM.3:1.

     Paul makes a deliberate Greek word DIFFERENCE in 1 Timothy
3. He gives the specific qualifications for those who will be
"episkopos" in the church, who will as this study has before
shown, be overseers, elders, spiritual guides and leaders, those
who will shepherd the flock. Then in verse eight he gives the
qualifications for servers - diakonos - deacons. The context must
show a difference between the two or Paul is needlessly repeating
himself. And there are differences, namely the two most important
ones I have given before - teaching and care of the church(verses
2, 5).

     The context of 1 Timothy 3 leaves us in no doubt that Paul
was specifically talking about TWO very important, nay, about the
two MOST important functions in the working church, that of
spiritual elder and that of physical administrator(or deacon as
most churches call them). Any other explanation falls under the
weight of NT evidence, for if Paul was addressing ALL saints, all
Christians, throughout the church, he could have used words such
as "saint" or "church" or "brethren." Again if he was addressing
all the saints to encourage all of them to attain these
qualifications and goals, then the whole body would be an eye or
a nose or a foot, and where would the body be then?

     The apostles had decided the physical affairs that they had
been administrating as part of their complete shepherding of the
church, should be handled by qualified persons. Individuals who
would be called and elected and whom the elders would
"appoint over this business" (as we saw in part two of this
study). They were chosen to "serve tables" only - serve in
physical matters. They did not have to as an official function
preach, teach, or do any spiritual caring or guiding of the
church, for that the apostles/elders would retain as their number
one concern and responsibility.

     THAT MY FRIEND IS THE BASIC DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE
APPOINTED TO THE SPIRITUAL ELDERSHIP AND THOSE APPOINTED TO
PHYSICAL SERVINGSHIP/DEACONSHIP.

     There is a difference between ministers and deacons (as the
words are customarily used in today's popular church language).

     So there will not be any misunderstanding, I refer you back
to my earlier pages in the first section and main body of this
work. On a personal basis, everyone in the body of Christ is free
to spread the gospel in letters, written articles, speech, and
whatever the Spirit of God leads one to do, large or small, near
or far. This is what Stephen and Philip (two of the seven
appointed to serve tables) did. Many today call it "personal
evangelism." And that is precisely what it is. But they were not
called to officially function as elders to "take care of the
church of God."

     Paul said in the context of deaconship to Timothy, "they
that have diakonos well, purchase to themselves a good
degree...."(1 Tim.3:13).
     The Greek for "good degree" means actually "a step" such as
in a stair case. Certainly such individuals will go on to
perfection as all Christians should strive for, but
also will earn respectability from fellow humanity.
     It will also be a step, if the Lord calls and appoints a
man, to the eldership. Many a fine elder has come to that
appointment through first learning to be faithful in the
physical things, growing in grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus,
and after being proved and tested, given the responsibility to
spiritually "take care of the church of God."

     Ministers and Deacons are not different, then again
Ministers and Deacons are different. No it is not a
contradiction. Now I hope you know and understand that both are
correct.

     Mr. Edwards writes: " The Scriptures do not support the
traditionally taught two classes of people: the 'ministry' and
the 'lay members.' "
     That is indeed very true! What the NT does teach and support
is one body of diakonos persons divided into FOUR classes. The
first class is really a class by itself apart from the other
three classes, which are joined into one diakonos to and under
the  first diakonos. Really got you wondering now haven't I.

     Christ Jesus is the first diakonos - servant - perfect,
sin-less, chief Shepherd of the church. He was the first human to
be raised to eternal life by the Father. He is in a class all by
Himself. Everyone else comes under Him, yet He is willing to have
them joined to Him, willing to call them His brothers and
sisters. And those brothers and sisters with all their differing
gifts and talents distributed by the Holy Spirit, make up the
varying parts of the "body of Christ" (1 Cor.12). Those parts all
come together as ONE under THREE classes of diakonos - servants.

     This clear proof in given throughout the NT by putting
scripture with scripture. Then thankfully this proof is given
very plainly to us in one verse! It's been there all along
friend, I did not put it in your Bible during the night. Will you
believe it? Will you let it teach you the plain truth? The true
Church of God is made up of THREE classes of people!

     Turn to it, and mark it! Philippians chapter one and verse
one!

     This is how the Greek reads: "Paul and Timotheus,
bondmen(doulos) of Jesus Christ, to all the saints(agiois) in
Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, WITH the overseers(episkopois)
AND those who serve(diakonois)."

     CAN THERE BE ANY MISUNDERSTANDING? Paul addresses the church
at Philippi - addresses them as having THREE CLASSES, three basic
divisions of functioning people. There are the saints, there are
the overseers, and there are the servers.

     Obviously he contrasts the saints from the servers, and
contrasts them from the overseers. We have seen that all in the
body of Christ come under the umbrella word of diakonos, all in
the body are servants to Christ and to each other. Paul here is
not thinking about that aspect of Christian unity or local church
unity. He is thinking about the basic THREE functioning classes
of people that are within and make up not only the local church
but also the general church.

     There is no other way to understand Paul here, any other way
interprets Paul as repeating himself needlessly, and using
language that would contradict "synonym" use.
     In Paul's mind the church at Philippi consisted of THREE
classes of people that functioned in three ways. There were the
saints in general, who were not functioning as overseers/elders
or deacons. There were overseers/elders who were not functioning
as deacons. And there were servers/deacons who were not
functioning as overseers.
     Here Paul sets the saints in general apart from the
diakonos, showing that there was a class of persons in the church
who functioned in an official appointed way as servers. Why not,
for that official function had been establish by the apostles in
Acts chapter six. Besides that class of persons was also the
official functioning class of elders or overseers, who were
appointed/ordained to "teach" and to "take care of the church of
God."

     Oh, I better SAY THIS LOUD AND CLEAR, for I know some will,
even after reading all I have written in the first section of
this study, run off - gallop away - and claim I am promoting the
teaching of "authoritarian ranks" within the church. NOTHING
COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!

     The THREE classes of persons Paul mentions are not ranks,
they are functions! God gives the gifts of those functions to
whom He will. Not everyone gets the same gifts, and no matter
what gift is yours, you are not "greater" than your brother or
sister.
     The fruits of the Spirit ALL CAN HAVE, but the gifts of the
Spirit ARE DIFFERENT from one member to another. There are
differences, not in rank, but in function and responsibility.

     Salvation and the fruits of the Spirit are EQUAL for all.
Every member in the body of Christ is on equal footing and the
same playing field, when it comes to those two things. Salvation
and conversion is very personal for everyone. There is no
physical man between you and God, it is that personal. Entering
the Kingdom is not dependent on any flesh and blood person, it is
you, Christ and the Father. Your REWARD will be given based upon
what you do with what you have been given.
     Some little old saint that has never functioned as a deacon,
or as an overseer, may very well be given a higher reward in the
Kingdom because they really increased what they were given, and
some overseer or deacon did not, and so will not receive as high
a reward.
     God is completely fair and righteous, all will receive a
reward according to what they have done with what they were
given. Some just do not have the gifts to be an overseer in the
church, or even function as a deacon, but WOW! They are a dynamo
of a Christian saint, using every gift given them to the fullest.
Another man may have the qualities and gifts to be an elder, yet
never use those gifts to full potential, or go to sleep on them.
He could end up with a lower reward in the Kingdom than the
dynamo saint.
     All of that being the truth of the matter, which it is, does
not negate the truth that God does still have THREE basic
functioning classes of people in His church - overseers,
deacons, and saints. Not necessarily in that order, as Paul
displayed to the church at Philippi.

     Also remember as we have covered in-depth already, when it
comes to personal evangelism, the door is wide open for any
Christian to walk through and "have at it" using his/her natural
abilities together with God's gifts of the Spirit.

                       TO BE CONTINUED

     ..................................................

  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help