The New Testament Journey:
The Priesthood of All Believers;
The Original Way
“What is called Christianity today, and what has come to be called “the church”- has become a tradition, institution, and a system quite fixed, rooted, and established as ever Judaism was, and it will be no less costly to change it fundamentally than was the case with Judaism…a “very heavy price” is attached to the change which is necessary to really solve the great problem.”
T. Austin Sparks
For the most part, the churches that are in the world at present know not how they came so to be, continuing only in that state which they have received by tradition from their fathers (The True Nature of a Gospel Church, edited and abridged by John Huxtable [London, 1947], p.35).
"God's house" must not be identified with any building, for this clouds the fact that Christ's people are a "spiritual house." The old covenant emphasis on places has passed away because the fulfillment of these types has come in a spiritual people (John 4:20-24).
Hello, Let me introduce myself and tell you a little of my life history. My name is Pete Horvatin. I’ve been married to my sweet wife Bernie for many years. We have two, grown children, Dan and Kim, and seven grandchildren. Bernie and I have been believers all of our married life and Bernie has been a believer before me. In fact, she is the one who was instrumental in me coming to faith. We have been members of a variety of denominations throughout our many years of marriage, i.e., Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, and a few other non-denominational, Bible-Based churches. Bernie attends Faith Baptist church.
Please, before you even ask, “Well, were does he attend church? Let me tell you that, I have not forsaken the assembling together of other believers with myself, I do worship my heavenly Father, I do believe in Jesus as my Savior, and I do not neglect the reading and studying of the word.
Today, I want you to understand that I don’t have an axe to grind against the leadership of today or the traditional body of believers, but it is my intent to inform and impart the full knowledge to you of what I believe to be the original intent of the Apostles from the scriptures. If you are willing, I’d like to start by reading a couple of quotes for you to think on while we are together.
· Change is nearly always difficult especially when it involves (Focus on these words) “long-standing, deeply-seated traditions” that we have become accustomed to. Anonymous
· Just because people have believed something and handed it down through the years, does not make it true! Anonymous ( Pay close attention to these quotes)
Food for Thought Questions:
· Do you feel guilty when you don’t attend “Church” or miss a couple of Sundays in a row? Ask yourself, “Why?” Tradition!
· Do you feel uncomfortable when the “Church Service Format” is changed? “Why?”
· Do you feel that the Church building is the “sacred space of God or house of the Lord” “Why?” Tradition!
Two Key Questions:
· Why would believer’s meetings that were held in the home during the first three centuries of the New Testament where everyone participated be good for the New Testament believers, but somehow unworkable for those throughout the centuries as well as us today?
· Ask yourself, “How can close relationships develop with other Christians if you only meet for two hours on a Sunday and those two hours are taken up with singing, sermon, announcements, etc.” Relationships that develop in the Institutional body of believers are the exception, not the rule.
My Purpose Is Threefold:
· To study about Christian Church history and the influence of some of the early believers during Paul’s time, and the Early Church Fathers in discerning the truth about leadership, believer’s meetings, and church buildings.
· To truly see how The Traditions of Men have been accepted by many believers as concrete truth.
· To encourage you to return to The Simplicity of First-Century Christianity and meeting in the home.
First, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but for me, when I discovered and examined the truths based on research from the scriptures, church history, and Greek Language Word Meanings, I felt as if a door of freedom had been opened to me.
A friend, of my wife and I, was talking with our former pastor and asked him, “how do you address the needs of seniors in your congregation?” He told her, “we really don’t, they kind of fall through the cracks. When she told us that, it really started me thinking that in the body of believers something is drastically wrong. It’s about relationships right?
This little story started me on a course of research and discovery of and for the truth about the traditional body of believers and the system that they have become a part of. I have to say that I am very confident about the information I am presenting to you, but overwhelmed by the task set before me. I feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg because there is so much to “unlearn and re-learn” for all of us.
You may be curious or for whatever reason you have come, but I can just about guarantee that if you come from a traditional believers background and mindset, as you listen or you read, you will experience a variety of emotions. You may not believe me at all, feel shocked, offended, angry, feel attacked, feel defensive, feel I’m being divisive, you may even walk out. However, I seriously believe some of you will be pleasantly surprised and feel that “someone finally understands how I’ve felt all these years about the reality of “going” to church and meeting with other believers”. It is my prayer that I will not cause division among brothers and sisters in Christ (even though some of you may see it that way), but as the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:25 we are to “put off falsehood” and “speak truthfully” to his neighbor for “we are all one body”.
Let me say, If I use an unusually strong tone (or what some might perceive as a strong tone), I want you to understand that I’m not angry. We, as the body of believers, are to be like the Bereans and thoroughly examine biblical teachings in search for the truth. I cannot stress enough “the importance of spiritual discernment.” However, much of what I will be discussing with you about leadership and believer’s meetings is very unpopular, and, dare I say, considered to be spiritually incorrect. It’s not this way to all, but to the majority of mainstream Christian Churches around the United States today. In fact, if you believe something other than what many traditional Institutional body of believers are set on to be true (excluding foundational Christian Doctrine) then most likely you will be argued with, attacked personally, or quite possibly shunned or put out of your fellowship.
(SO BE PREPARED!)