Friday, October 7, 2016

New Testament Journey part 4

Church Comparison

The Traditional Church
The New Testament Church
1. The church meets in a special building
Churches met primarily in homes.
(Acts 2:46-47; 5:42; 8:3; 20:7-8; 20:20; Rom.16:3-5; 1Cor.16:19; Col.4:15; Philemon 2; 2Jn.9-11)
2. New converts are added to the existing church to make it bigger.
When the number of believers outgrew a home, a new church was formed.
(Rom.16:3-5; 14-15; Acts 2:41-47)
3. The Christian church is fractured into hundreds of different denominations.
There were no denominations; instead there was one church in each city, meeting in various homes.
(Acts 3  Rom.16:1; 1Cor.1:2; Rev.2:1; Col.4:16; 1Thess.1:1; Rev.2:12; 3:7; 3:1; 2:8; 2:18)
4. Pastors are trained in seminaries and sent out to serve in a congregation which has no real knowledge of his life or character.
Elders were local brothers who arose from within a local church where their life and character were known.
(Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)
5. The Sunday “worship service” is characterized by passivity among the laity with the Pastor or a select group of leaders doing nearly all the ministry.
Church meetings were participatory and interactive – every member had a function and contribution to make.
(1Cor.12:4-27; 14:26; Eph.4:15-16; Rom.12:3-8; 1Pet.4:10-11; Heb.10:23-25; Rom.12:15; 1Cor.12:26)
6. The Sunday morning worship service is characterized by a rigid and inflexible order of service.
Church meetings were characterized by informality, flexibility, and spontaneity. (Acts 20:7-12; 1Cor.14:26-31)
7. The goal of the meeting is worship, listening to a sermon or evangelism.
The goal of the meeting was mutual edification.
(1Cor.14:3,4,5,12,17,26; Eph.4:11-12,16; Heb.10:24-25)
8. The church is led by the Pastor (or Senior Pastor in a large church).
The church was led by a plurality of co-equal Elders.
(Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil.1:1; 1Tim.4:17; Heb.10:17; James 5:14; 1Pet.5:1-2)
9. The Senior Pastor is seen as set apart from and over the other pastors and elders.
The church was cared for by a team of elders who were accountable to each other and the church; they were also known as elders or overseers. No one elder functioned as the head of the church. (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5-7; 1Pet.5:1-2)
10. The Pastor is paid a salary by the church.
Some elders might be financially supported, but they were usually bi-vocational
(1Tim.5:17-18; Acts 20:33-35)
11. The church is comprised of both clergy and laity.
There was no clergy/laity distinction in the church – all the members comprised a fully functioning priesthood.
(Heb.13:15-16; 1Pet.2:5,9; Rev.1:6)
12. The Lord’s Supper is observed monthly, quarterly, or annually.
The Lord’s Supper was observed as often as the church regularly gathered and was the stated purpose for their meetings.
(Acts 20:7; 1Cor.11:18-20,33)
13. The Lord’s Supper is observed with a piece of cracker and a sip of juice.
The Lord’s Supper was observed as a full meal called a “Love Feast.”
(Acts 2:42,46; 1Cor.11:20-21; Jude 12)
14. The Lord’s Supper is observed in a solemn funeral-like atmosphere as the worshippers reflect on Christ’s sufferings and death. The believer’s vertical relationship with Christ is emphasized.
The Lord’s Supper was observed with glad and sincere hearts as the church not only reflected on Christ’s death, but also on the future marriage supper of the Lamb which it depicted. The believer’s horizontal relationship with other believers was emphasized.
(Acts 2:46; Luke 22:15-18,30; 1Cor.11:26; Acts 2:42; 1Cor.10:16)
15. A new believer must go through membership or instructional classes before he can be baptized.
New believers were baptized as soon as it was humanly possible.
(Acts 2:37-41; 8:12; 8:36-38; 9:17-18; 10:45-48; 16:31-34; 19:5)
16. Baptism is performed by the clergy.
Baptism was performed by any Christian.
(Jn.4:2; Acts 8:12; 8:36-39; 9:18; 22:16; 1Cor.1:17)
17. The church must be present when someone is baptized..
The church was not always present when someone was baptized.
(Acts 8:12; 8:36-39; 16:31-34)
18. Pastors deliver monologue sermons with no opportunity for questions or input from the congregation.
Various brothers taught the church, and allowed the congregation the opportunity to question them and/or add their own insights.
(Acts 20:7; 1Cor.14:29-35)
19. The church allocates the great majority of its finances for administrative overhead (salaries and building expenses).
The church gave primarily to relieve the poor and assist Christian workers, often beyond their means; they had very little if any administrative expenses
(Acts 2:44-45; Gal.6:9-10; 1Jn.3:17; 1Tim.5:17-18; 1Cor.9:6-14; 2Cor.8:3; Phil.4:15-18; Lk.12:33-34; Eph.4:28; James 1:27)
20. Believers are often urged to tithe; that is, they are taught to give a minimum of 10% to the church.
Believers gave voluntarily as God had blessed them and they had purposed in their heart; tithing was not carried over into the NT church.
(2Cor.8:3-4; 9:7)


So now, which do you think is more effective? Believers Meeting in the traditional, church setting with the same format week after week and have the same man preach to you? Or meeting in a small group of believers (10-15 people) interacting personally as well as having the opportunity to become a family that develops close, intimate relationships with each other as well as being able to build each other up and discovering and sharing our spiritual gifts together?
 As I look at how the body of believers met during the time of Jesus, I ask myself this question, “It can’t get any simpler than this can it?How and why have we made it so complicated?”

Scripture Examples of Simple Believers Meetings:


They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

1st Corinthians 13:26-33

          What shall we say brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.(Where does this happen in the Traditional Christian Church?) Everything must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two or at the most three should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
          Two or three prophets should speak, (Where does this happen?) and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be “instructed” and “encouraged.” The spirit of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

·       Please think about this scripture. How could this possibly work in a large group of believers? It can’t!
·       Where do you find this simple form of New Testament Christianity in the traditional body of believers? You don’t!
·       You might have cell groups, but they are not autonomous. They are still under the authority of the synod, pastor, or whatever else you might call it.

Does this happen in your traditional body of believers?
This is what we are supposed to be doing when we gather together as a body. We are to Instruct, Encourage, Strengthen, Comfort, Edify, Build each other up according to their needs. Ask yourself, Can this happen in the present way believers meet on Sundays? I don’t think so! If it does then that would be the exception rather than the rule. Everyone is to be responsible and everyone should come prepared to contribute to the body of believers when we meet as the New Testament body of believers.

Quotes to Ponder and Reflect On: Read Again
·       Santayana – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
·       Tertullian – “Custom without truth is error grown old.”
·        Morpheus - “You take the blue pill, the story ends and you wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”


Acts 17:10-11
          As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving at Berea, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now, the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the word with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


Acts 20: 28-31
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, “savage wolves” will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even “from your own number” men will arise and “distort the truth” in order todraw away disciples” after them. 31 “So be on your guard!” Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”

Greek Language Definition of:

Church – Ekklesia- meaning a called out body of believers. Everyone had an equal right and equal duty to take part in the assembly. There was not one man leading and the believers were not spectators as they are in the body of believers today.

In the New Testament times, the church had no buildings. Christians met in any house that had a room large enough to accommodate them. These gatherings were called house-churches. (Romans 16:5: 1 Cor. 16:19; Col 4:15; Philemon 1:2)              William Barclay

Traditional Church Buildings: History

“The church of Jesus Christ met in homes of its members for the first three hundred years after its birth. There is no evidence of buildings until the third century.”    Robert Banks

·       For the first 300 years of Christianity, there were no church buildings (Make special note of this), the believers met in their homes.
·       Roman Emperor Constantine – legitimizes Christianity by the creation of the Edict of Milan. Christianity then morphed into a state religion with all its trappings, i.e., authority, priestly dress, salaries, choirs patterned after pagan ceremonies and Roman government.
·       Constantine orders construction of church buildings patterned after Greco-Roman pagan temples and Jewish synagogues. The word church in the Greek used in the New Testament always refers to an assembly of people (ones called-out or called-out ones), not a building.

Reasons against Institutional Church Building

“It is amazing how religious and tight-lipped people get when they enter a church building.”                                                                                                                                     Darryl Erkel
·       There were “no church buildings for the first three hundred years” of the churches existence.
·       People go unnoticed when the body of believers becomes too big.
·       People can hide in their sins.
·       Not designed for interpersonal communication.
·       Designed for rigid one-way communication.
·       Fosters spectator-mentality, and passivity.
·       Superficial and shallow.
·       Fosters rigid formalism.

·     Very Important To Think On These Reasons!

In Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:48-50, he pointed out, “The most high does not live in houses made by men.” Interesting! Hmmmmm…Why would he have said this if he didn’t mean it.

In Isaiah, God stated in chapter 66: 1-2, “that Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, what kind of house will you build for me or, “Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?” Interesting! Hmmmmm… These are God’s own words to  Isaiah. Would God say this if he didn’t mean it?

In John 4:28, Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in “spirit and truth” for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.”
These are Jesus own words. He never alluded to meeting in a building, whereas the Jews felt that they must worship in the temple in Jerusalem or on the mountain.

Summary and Conclusion:
We, as believers, have been and continue to be concerned and stand firm against false teachings like Creation versus Evolution, The Emergent Church, The New Age Movement and numerous other false teachings. It is all right and good that we stand strong and expose these deceptive, false teachings and teachers. However, we have failed to see that there is a 2000 year old deception created by other believers and the Early Church Fathers that some of us have been blind to and it is right before our eyes. It has infected the lives of believers through the ages, and it continues to this very day. It is an organizational system that fosters “tradition” above truth.
The devastatingly deceptive error that believers have been following over the past 2000 years was the development of a separate class of priests that laid the foundation for a division among believers. Mainly, the Early Church Fathers created and promoted this system, and it became the Catholic Church of yesterday and today. Also, if closely examined, one can see that the Protestant believers have developed a similar system based on the same man-made traditions. Both of these groups have fallen prey to the same error.
It is absolutely crucial for believers to see and understand that there has been a cruel deception, or we will continue down the same path of the “Traditions of Men” for many more years to come. I encourage you to examine your Christian experience in the traditional body of believers and measure it against the way the Apostles and Jesus’s disciples met in the first century. How does it measure up? Also, it is a must that one examines the Early Church Father’s writings, church history, and the context of the New Testament books throughout the ages up to the present day to discover this truth. 
          You may ask yourselves, “why is he doing this?,” or “maybe he’s just doing this to cause division and make a name for himself?” Let me assure you that in my heart of hearts, I am only seeking to be sincere and truthful when it comes to discerning the truth about meeting as the New Testament, First-Century believers. I am convinced by what I discovered, and, I believe that meeting as the New Testament believers did in the first-century was the intent of the Apostles. It is the best, most effective way for Christians to gather, learn, develop relationships, build each other up, and worship the Father in spirit and truth together as the family the Father has made us to be.
If you have any doubts about what I have brought to you, again, I encourage you to be like a Berean, and search for the truth through the scriptures, church history, and Greek New Testament word meanings,

1.    Bible- Old/New Testament Scriptures
2.    The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment- Tim Challies
3.    Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew/Greek Words
4.    Strongs Concordance
5.    Pagan Christianity-Frank Viola
6.    Rethinking the Wineskin-Frank Viola
7.    The Way Church Ought to Be-Robert A. Lund
8.    Article-The Traditions of the Early Church Fathers-Beresford Job
9.    Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
11. Biblical Church: Beresford Job
12.The Pilgrim Church: E.H. Broadbent (church history)
13.The Torch of The Testimony: John W. Kennedy (church history)

Other Quotes:
“The issue before us is not going to be merely how far particular churches take such traditions and practices, but the mere fact that they are embraced and practiced at all. It is not how far down the road we might find ourselves to be, but that we are on the wrong road in the first place.”   Beresford Job

“Homes are conducive to the family concept and mutual edification which should mark the gatherings of all Christians.”   Darryl Erkel

“When every member of the body functions in the meeting, Christ is seen and is assembled in our midst.”    Frank Viola

 “As the members of the community eat and drink together their unity comes to visible expression, and they deepened their relationship to Jesus and each other.”   Robert Banks

Acts 2:46, 8:3, 20:20, Romans 16:3-5, 1st Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2, 2 John 10

“The artificial environment of the church building promotes an impersonal climate that inhibits intimacy and participation.”    Frank Viola

“The spirit of community, personal relationships, and bonding was chief among all the early believers.”     Frank Viola

“The present day pastoral system is quite unscriptural; It is an invention of man.”    
                                                                                                              Watchman Nee
“The Institutional Church is essentially a nursery for overgrown, spiritual babes by turning people into being passive receivers.”     Howard Snyder

Galatians 4:8-10

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods, but now that you know God – or rather are known by God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved all over again? You are observing special days, months, seasons, and years. I fear that you that I somehow have wasted my efforts on you.”

Hebrews 5:11-14
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk being still an infant in not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness, but solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
2nd Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.
1st John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Christian Authors Who Have Examined The Issue of Traditional, Institutional Church vs Home Congregations. ( a better translation of the word church, ones-called out.)

T. Austin Sparks              Steve Atkerson
Frank Viola                     Jon Zens
Arthur Wallace                Harry Foster
Watchman Nee                Christian Smith
Beresford Job                  Howard Snyder
Witness Lee                     Dan Trotter
Robert Banks                   Stephen Kaung
Carl W. Ketcherside         Robert C. Girard
E. H. Broadbent

New Testament Journey part 3

Leadership: Where Things Started To Go Wrong.
In Jesus own words about leadership, he said to the Apostles, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew 23:8-12

Acts 20:28-31: This bears repeating!
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, “savage wolveswill come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and “distort the truth” in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 “So be on your guard!” Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you “night and day with tears.”

          Many times in our day, it is not politically correct to judge other Christians. However, we must remember that judgment begins with the household of God. So, Is there some unwritten rule somewhere that Christians are not to question other Christian’s beliefs about the Institutional Churches traditional practices?  No way! We are to “test” the spirits in the search for truth, but with gentleness and respect”.  From my research, it is absolutely imperative to speak the truth in love.
An early example of how leadership might have gone awry is what “Diotrophes” did to the Apostles, other believers, and believers that he was fellowshipping with. The scripture below points to what could possibly be the early beginnings of the development of the “clergy/laity division.”

3 John 1:9-10
9 I wrote to the church, but “Diotrophes,” who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so (that is believers welcoming other believers) and puts them out of the church. WHAT!!!

·       Paul wrote to the Elders of the churches. (there were more than one)
·       Elders were the spiritually mature leaders who developed from the body of believers over time.
·       Elders, overseers, pastors, ministers, shepherds, deacons (means servants), etc., are terms that are all synonymous terms. They meant “functions,” not offices. Over time, we have let these words, through tradition, morph into words that are incorrectly defined. Mainly, these definitions came from the traditions of the Early Church Fathers.
·       Elders gave guidance and direction to believers through maturity, wisdom, and gentle persuasion, but decision-making was by consensus of the entire body of believers. (Not based on supposed Democratic voters meetings.)

False Teachings ofThe Early Church Fathers and Others Influence:The Major Fatal Flaw:
So, “who caused the deception?” False teachers and false teachings were abundant during the time of the Apostles. The Post-Apostolic, false teachings of the Early Church Fathers heavily influenced the beliefs of the Christian’s around them. If they would have stuck to what Jesus taught the apostles, and the apostles passed on to other believers they would have been on the right path. However, the Early Church Fathers went astray when they themselves developed (I think it was partially out of ignorance and partially intentional) their own organizational system. From this point, the Early Church Fathers started straying from what Jesus taught, and believed that what should be taught was Jesus teachings plus their teachings. In fact, they went beyond and believed that their teachings super-ceded those of Jesus.
          With this belief came the development of a division caused by the Early Church Fathers.  From the quotes below, it is not hard to see that this foundational error of the Early Church Fathers developed into a system. Their “organizational system” was completely spread throughout the body of believers by the end of the fourth century. From this “biblical error,” all other areas of the body of believer’s practice were and continue to be affected and in error. These are the areas that were affected: The pastor, sermon, order of worship, church buildings, Lord’s Supper, baptism, tithes, clergy salaries, music ministers, choirs, Sunday morning dress, etc., etc., etc.

Examining The Early Church Father’s Quotes:
Clement of Rome, in his epistle to the Corinthian Church in AD 95, wrote:
"The high priest has been given his own special services, the priests have been assigned their own place, and the Levites have their special ministrations enjoined on them. The layman is bound by the ordinances of the laity."WHAT?!!!!

Where did the Apostles write about ordinances for the laity and being bound by them? They didn’t!

Where did the Apostles ever speak of their Christian brothers and sisters as layman in their writings? You won’t find it!

Ignatius - Bishop of Antioch AD 110
To the Ephesians:
"Your REVEREND presbytery is tuned to the Bishop as strings to a lyre...Let us be careful not to resist the Bishop, that through our submission to the Bishop we may belong to God...We should regard the Bishop as the Lord Himself..."WHAT?!!! 

Where is the humility of a servant?  There is None!
Where did the Apostles ever demonstrate this type of thinking in their actions? They didn’t. 
Paul was not high-minded like this. In fact, He said, “I am the worst of sinners.”

To the Smyrneans:
*"Let no-one do anything that pertains to the church apart from the is not permitted to baptize or hold a love-feast independently of the Bishop. But whatever he approves, that is also well pleasing to God." WHAT?!!!
“He that does anything without the knowledge of the Bishop serves the Devil.” WHAT?!!!!
Where did the Apostles ever write this type of requirement in the New Testament scriptures and said these things?
 They didn’t!

To the Magnesians:
*"I advise you to always act in godly concord with the Bishop, presiding as the counterpart of God, and the presbyters as the counterpart of the council of the Apostles...As the Lord did nothing without the Father, either by Himself or by means of the Apostles, so you must do nothing without the Bishop and the presbyters."  WHAT?!!!
Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t!

To the Trallians:
"...respect the Bishop as the counterpart of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and the college of the Apostles: without those no church is recognized."  WHAT?!!!!
“It is therefore necessary that, as you indeed do, so without the Bishop you should do nothing, but should also be subject to the Presbytery (Elders), as to the Apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, if we live, we shall be found.” WHAT?!!!
Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t!

Tertullian - AD 200
·       This is a very interesting quote “Custom or (Tradition, my word) without truth is error grown old.” Tertullian.  (Pay close attention here.)
This comes from the man who helped develop the priesthood/clergy leadership structure.

"The supreme priest (that is the Bishop) has the right of conferring baptism: after him the presbyters and deacons, but only with the Bishop's authority.
What? !!!!!
Otherwise the laity also have the much more is the discipline of reverence and humility incumbent upon laymen (since it also befits their superiors) “It would be idle for us to suppose that what is forbidden to PRIESTS is allowed to the laity. WHAT?!!!The distinction between the order of clergy and the people has been established by the authority of the Church."
WHAT? !!!
Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t! There was no separate authority or class.
Cyprian - Bishop of Carthage AD 250.
"If Christ Jesus our Lord and God is Himself the High Priest of God the Father, and first offered Himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and commanded this to be done in remembrance of Himself, then assuredly the priest acts truly in Christ's place when he reproduces what Christ did, and he then offers a true and complete sacrifice to God the Father, if he begins to offer as he sees Christ Himself has offered."

Where did the Apostles speak of  priests as the mediators of and for the people? They didn’t! The only thing Peter stated was that we are  “a priesthood of all believers”.

Scriptures Concerning Believers as Responsible Users of the Word

Romans 15:14
 I myself am convinced my brothers that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”  Interesting! Where do you find the need for a priestly/pastor mediator for man before God? You Don’t!

2nd Timothy 3:6
All Scripture is God – breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that “the man of God” may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Where is the need for one man to guide the flock? There isn’t!

Acts 4:13
When they say the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were “unschooled, ordinary” men (take special note and mark this in your Bible), they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Interesting, Peter and John were “unschooled and ordinary”. Hmmmmmmm.

2nd Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; (accurate) and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being “ineffective and unproductive” in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1st John 2:27
27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Anointing defined: This passage teaches that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the efficient means of enabling all believers to possess the knowledge of the truth!
We are all men and women of God. There is “no clergy/laity division!” We are all or can be competent in the use of the word and it’s application.
Why do most Christians do the things they do and never ask Why?

The answer is “Human Tradition”!

Let me repeat a quote,

“Change” is nearly always difficult especially when it involves “long-standing, deeply-seated traditions” that we have become accustomed to. Anonymous

Paul speaking to the Galatians said, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by “human effort?”  Galatians 3:3

Jesus Words to the Pharisees/Scribes/Sadducees:

“Why do you transgress” the commandment of God for the sake of your traditions?”

Greek Language Word Meanings:Tradition and Transgress

Transgress Means:
Paranomia – contrary to the law
Parabaino – to go beyond the commands of God
Hyperbaino – overstepping the limits, breach of the law

Tradition Means:
Paradosis – “handing down”
Paradidomi – “to handover or deliver”

All of these definitions are applicable in the case of the Pharisees/Scribes/Sadducees.

Just because people have believed something and handed it down through the years, “Does not make it true!”

Pharisees Did This By Developing:The Jewish Law

Halakhah – Jewish Law – means “the path that one walks.”
613 laws to follow – 248 positive/365 negative laws

Three categories of Jewish Law:
·       Gezeirah or Fence Laws – Laws designed so Jews would not get too close to breaking the Torah Law.
·       Takkanah – Rules for the general public welfare.
·       Minhag – Customs developed by the Rabbi’s for worthy religious reasons.

·       Jesus disciples picked grain and ate it without going through this traditional ritual of washing their hands.
·       Pharisees traditionally washed their hands all the time before eating.
·       Jesus healed the whole man on the Sabbath.
·       Pharisees did no work on the Sabbath, i.e., pick up pencil on prayer book on Shabat
·       Modern Day Example: In Israel, on Shabbat, elevators – stop on every floor so Jews won’t have to push any buttons – Pushing buttons equals work.
They surely went beyond the commands of God! In fact, Jesus came to set the people free from this type of burden that the Pharisees were forcing the people to carry, i.e., ritualistic ceremonial traditions. This is why in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find “rest” for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Mainly, the reason for sharing this information is to demonstrate not only the legalism of the Pharisees, but how it relates to the body of believers today. We, as believers, have ignorantly taken on, carried up to the present day, and adhere to the same burdensome traditions of the Early Church Fathers and other legalists. We ourselves have unnecessarily placed a yoke of slavery on our own shoulders.

Hebrews 6:1-2
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts (defined as “useless rituals in the Greek Language”) (Mark this in your Bibles) that lead to death.

Hebrews 9:14
How much more then will the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts (defined again as “useless rituals in the Greek Language”) that lead to death so that we may serve the living God.

Galatians 4:9
“But now that you know God or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved all over by them again?”

Let me share another story that I believe demonstrates how others inside the church and the Early Church Fathers deceived the Christians of their time and is continued up to and in our present day.

How to Catch a Rat:
A grandpa’s grandson had a chicken coop that was invaded by rats. Attracted by the feed, they had moved in. He asked for his grandpa’s help and they set out a couple of traps. After a week, they had not caught a single rat. A farmer friend came by and offered some advice. “No rat”, he said, “Will touch an exposed trap. You’ve got to disguise it with food. Fill a pan with meal and place a trap in it. Cover it well with meal so it is completely hidden.” It worked! The next morning they had a big, fat rat.

          All this is a reminder that the devil knows this trick all too well. He has used other believers and the Early Church Father’s “man-made traditions” to deceive and drive a dividing wedge between all believers. He took that error and hid it under religious “things” like ceremonial rituals like church services, sermons, titles, authority/power, etc., etc., and in turn, it became the foundation for the Catholic Church. The Institutional Protestant Church has fallen prey to the same man-made traditions as well.

Important Note:
·       Every believer must have a discerning spirit and attitude, not just the spiritually mature.
·       Be “continually watchful for false teachings and keep your spiritual radar on “high alert” and in the receiving mode. We must watch over our hearts with diligence.

Scriptures Concerning Discerning Truth About Tradition: A Fuller Picture

Colossians 2:8
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through “hollow” and “deceptive philosophy”, which depends on “human tradition” and the “basic principles of this world” rather than on Christ.

Scripture Breakdown: Meanings According to the Greek Language.

See to it
Paul sees the situation in Colossi as very serious, almost to the point of having to command them to do what he is saying. Be very aware!

No one takes you captive
To be taken captive in this context means to take control of a person and carry them away from the truth into the bondage of error by the false teacher’s subtle persuasion.

Hollow and Deceptive
This was the character of the Philosophy. Hollow meant that there was “absolutely no purpose” or is completely fruitless, nothing of truth or reality. Deceptive meant “to give a false impression by appearance, statement, or influence.” Also, to be led astray was done by subtle persuasion.

Philosophy at the time was solely based on human thinking apart from God, i.e., religious doctrines and speculations, i.e., Gnosticism, Aceticism, Stoicism, Epicureanism.

Human Tradition
In this context, Paul was talking about the “human traditions” that perpetuate error and cannot be supported by God’s word. These traditions were fabricated by man and given more importance than God’s word. Some examples of this are the Rabbi’s Talmudic teachings that were based solely on their own authority as well as the Pharisees observance of ritual and ceremonial laws. (I’m sure that some of the Early Church Fathers who continued their traditions were sincere even though what they taught was wrong. A person can be sincere, but, also, can be sincerely wrong.)

Basic Principles of this World
In context, this meant the basics of religion or the ABC’s.

Romans 16:17
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.Keep away from them.”

I urge you
Paul’s thinking-I beg of you please! Very Urgent Message!

Watch out
Examine and scrutinize carefully. Keep your eye on those who cause divisions (dissensions) and obstacles (hindrances). During Paul’s time, he was encouraging the believers in his day to make this a“continual activity” because there were many, many false spiritual teachers present.

Divisions and Obstacles
They refer to a person or thing by which one is drawn into error, or sin, or trapped by an enticement. Other thoughts are that they make progress slow or difficult, or they interfere with the activity or progress of something, or they block the way.

Contrary to the Teachings
Is that which goes against the Gospel truth.

Keep Away From Them
We are to obey this command of “continually avoiding association with them”, and steer clear of them. Don’t give them the time of day. Also, this conveys the idea of protecting fellow believers who are not as spiritually mature as others as well as new believers. It may sound harsh, but do this! If you know what they stand for, than why associate with them?

Colossians 2:20-23
20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom”, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Human Commands and Teachings
The human commands and teachings of the Pharisees meant a formalized set of man-made rules/prohibitions as well as coercing others by the imposition of these rules, i.e., Legalism, Asceticism, Ceremonial rites and rituals, as well as an organizational system.
What was happening at the time of Paul was the Colossians were being led into the error of believing that they could not eat certain foods as well as by keeping other rules they would be the key to greater spirituality.

To shrivel, wither, spoil, ruin, or corrupt. Also, refers to a state of ruin, destruction. It pictures deterioration, disintegration, or rotting like organic matter. It pictures a “departure from the original or from what is pure and correct.”

Appearance of Wisdom
All these precepts and teaching can be lumped into one category. Paul’s thinking was that these teachings had a reputation at the time for “popularly passing as wisdom” i.e., seeker sensitivity, New Apostolic Reformation, Latter Rains Teachings, Word of Faith Teachings, etc., etc., but they lacked the reality of true wisdom. Similarly, it is the same way we operate in the traditional churches today.

Self-Imposed Worship
The thinking is a religion thought up by one-self. The idea pictured is an individual practicing beliefs resulting from their own desires and initiative. Also, a man worships what seems best to him by his own will.

False Humility
An external effort by showy piety means - To make a show of reverence for divine things by complying with painful rites or ceremonies.
Examples: No Long hair, no makeup, long dresses, unusually long periods of fasting, going to church multiple times per week, etc.,etc.,etc.

Harsh Treatment of The Body
Not sparing or holding nothing back. The picture is of severity and austerity, and in context, most probably is alluding to Asceticism, i.e., self-denial, self-torture to attain a higher state of holiness. Also, it is not uncommon in ancient as well as modern religions to find thinking and practice of extreme self-denial or self-torture of the body with the notion of purification of the soul.

Restraining Sensual Indulgence

They cannot keep the reins on the flesh. Man-made rules are of no value. Jesus alone provides the power for purity, cleansing, and fullness of spirit.
          So, why have I given you all this information so far? It is for you to gain a sense of what was happening during Paul’s time as well as how this flowed into the development of the traditional body of believers through “man-made traditions” concerning leadership and believer’s meetings.
          The above scriptures and the breakdown by meaning are for you to think about when you are making a comparison of New Testament Christianity during the Apostles time with the body of believers today! They speak directly about human tradition.