Organization of the Lord

The Organization of the Lord Part 13

What is interesting about the only dispute on record among the apostles in the days of inspiration is the whole church coming to Jerusalem. We know this to be because of prophecy: “For the law shall go forth from Zion; and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-2 Nothing could be taught and it be apart of the “doctrine of Christ” and not first be preached in Jerusalem!! This is why denominational doctrines are never practiced in the Churches of Christ like the observance of Christmas, Easter, baptizing babies, baptizing saved people as a “outward sign of an inward grace”, having women preachers, song leaders, or women passing the Lord’s Supper—we could go on and on. This ONE principle stops ALL the doctrines of Mormonism, Adventism, Catholicism, Methodism, Pentecostalism, and Presbyterianism—again; we could go on and on. Why did the apostles Peter, Paul, and Barnabas come to James?? Second century writers who were leaders of the Lord’s church all agree, those who have studied this subject must agree, and the Bible supports “by example, and necessary inference” that James was the HEAD of the church at Jerusalem and when you came to Jerusalem, you were under his authority!! Ignatius, Cyprian, Polycarp, Eusebius, Chrysostom, and all who wrote in the second and third centuries record this position in every large city where there were large numbers of the Churches of Christ in one metropolis. They wore the title of bishop!! In fact ALL of these brethren just mentioned, were known as “bishops” of the city in which they lived. The New Testament called them presidents-governors-judges. The Greek word is hegomai; this word was a synonym for the word poimano (shepherd, overseer, and patriarch). In the New Testament this word is often translated “governor.” The noun form hegemon means a “prince.” We are told that technically in Roman affairs the hegomon-procurator-govenor was entrusted with administrative and magisterial powers with sole power over life and death!! Pilate would be the best know that held this office. In classical Greek a hegemon showed one the way or “one who did a thing first.” In the Septuagint hegemon translates, alluph, “chief” or “leader.”
These brethren ruled, managed, governed by “standing before or over” as in an army in order to lead or govern. These brethren, of which Timothy and Titus were the same, are mentioned in Acts 15:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and Hebrews 13:7, 17. In all these references their command was to “watch” Their positions were different than that of the “prophet” we have previously discussed in that the “prophets” were appointed by an apostle. James was not appointed by any college of apostles, he was appointed by THE APOSTLE!! Hebrews 3:1 James, Timothy, and Titus could not qualify as elders (as we understand the office)—THEY APPOINTED elders!! This no longer exist in the body of Christ, today, we have replaced it with the “Bible College professor” with
The evangelist, then, is a faithful man of God, invested with the authority which rightly and scripturally belongs to the evangelistic office, who can render a valuable service which no other can perform, in promoting the unity, the stability, and the efficiency of the Churches of Christ. He can go among the congregations, not clad in priestly robes or a clerical-cut coat, not with an air of superiority, parading his official rank and authority as “elder”, but as a brother in the Lord, with the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Whether an eldership exit or does not exist in the church, the gospel MUST “make increase of the body by the edifying of the body in love”. Ephesians 4:16

The Organization of the Lord Part 12

It is certainly clear that the position of James in the Church of Christ is Jerusalem was approved by all the members of the college of apostles. His function WAS distinctly a part of the Jerusalem church of the first century. That all those who visited Jerusalem were subject to his position has already been related and verified by references in God’s Holy Word. Often, the question of whether this could have been an office in every place where the Church was very large and was composed of several congregations where evangelist, elders, and deacons served the Lord is answered biblically in prophecy and practice.
Jerusalem had a special place in the development of the Church of Christ of the first century. Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-2 both teach “the law would go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” It is soundly accepted by all who have studied the New Testament that every doctrine or practice had to first begin in Jerusalem!! The reason for Paul, Barnabas, and Peter returning to Jerusalem was to settle a question about which there was disagreement among the apostles of the Lord. It was Christ Himself that predicted, determined beforehand, and implemented HOW this situation would be resolved. “Verily I say unto you, ‘whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20
In the first century Paul and Peter had a dispute over fellowshipping with Gentile Christians who had not been physically circumcised (see Galatians 2, the whole chapter). Paul writes: “I went up by revelation”. The word ‘revelation’ used here is the Greek word apokalupsis which is defined as revelation, uncovering, unveiling, disclosure. Paul, Barnabas, and Titus went back to Jerusalem by divine command!
Saul’s persecution and Stephen’s stoning caused some Greek-speaking Jews, who had come from the Dispersion to Palestine, to flee. They scattered to the island of Cyprus and along the eastern coastline up to Antioch, the cosmopolitan capital of the Roman province of Syria. Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, surpassed in population only by Rome and Alexandria, Egypt. These heard the gospel, were baptized into Christ and preached the gospel to the Gentiles in the synagogues of Antioch. So profound was the success of their preaching to these Gentiles, the church in Jerusalem, hearing about their obedience to the gospel, sent Barnabas, who was born in Cyprus, to preach to them. Barnabas then went to Tarsus and persuaded Saul (Paul) to join him. Acts 4:36,-37; 9:27; 11:19-26.
About A.D. 44, Agabus came to Antioch and foretold of a great famine in various parts of the Roman Empire. The Antioch church resolved to gather an offering for the poor saints in Palestine. Paul, Barnabas, and Titus were sent to Jerusalem with the offering. While in Jerusalem, Paul met with Peter, John, and James who Paul writes were “pillars” (leaders) of the Jerusalem church. No one demanded Titus to be physically circumcised! While these six brethren discussed the work of the Church, Paul tells us that some, who were Christians, sneaked into the meeting and tried to embarrass Paul for not having Titus circumcised. Their efforts failed and Peter, John, and James gave Paul and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship” recognizing Christ had sent Paul to preach to the Gentiles as He had Peter to the Jews, called “the circumcision”.

The Organization of the Lord Part 11

An argument against the authenticity of the letters of Timothy and Titus is the alleged presence of the so-called monarchial episcopate, or the church run by a single bishop. Those who advance this position concede that the monarchial episcopate (one-man elder ruled) does appear for the first time in the Second Century. Such a structure first occurs in the writings of Ignatius. But such a later church structure does not necessarily occur in these epistles. What is missed by almost everyone is that the name “bishop” simply means overseer. That there is NO CLEAR difference between an elder (presbuteros, Titus 1:5 and bishop, Titus 1:7. The terms are freely applied to the same persons. Earlier letters by Paul reflect a similar kind of church structure to that found here in Timothy and Titus. In Philippians 1:1, there is mentioned bishops (episkikopois) as well as deacons (diakonois) and suggest Paul’s interest in church matters (1 Corinthians 12 and Acts 14:23) Every time the word “elder” or “elders” is used in the New Testament, it does not always mean those who have meet the qualifications given in Timothy and Titus. “Elders” or “elder” could also mean “older” brethren, both men and women. IF there can be differing offices, functions, and even sexes that are described by the same name is it unreasonable to see that the use of “bishop” could speak to both sides of the structural make-up of the body of Christ? If the word is defined as “overseer” and there are two parts to the structural/governing part of the Lord’s Church, the word itself would describe the action of “overseeing” wherever it is found!! Both the evangelistic side and the episcopalian side of the church would then have “overseers,” both function as designed, and both serve the Lord’s desired purposes. This would explain Timothy and Titus, Demas and Luke, Mark and James, the Lord’s ½ brother.
Toward the end of the first century, the apostles were appointing personal representatives. We have discussed this before. This established, using the term “prophet” and knowing this was one on whom an apostle had laid hands, this passed away as did the apostles. This would have passed into the pages of history were it not for the ½ brother of Christ, James. James assumed the position in the Early Church (Galatians 2:12) that would fit the use of the term “bishop”, yet as far as I can find, James was NEVER married, which would naturally prevent him from even becoming an elder, but not a preacher of the gospel!! It is argued that 1 Corinthians 9:5 would prevent us from believing that James and the Lord’s brothers WERE NOT married, that seems to be implied, but in no place have I found this to be verified and or even mentioned.
Clement of Alexandra, Hegesippus, and Eusebius mention James as the “bishop of the Jerusalem Church” in their later histories. James ossuary (the place dead men’s bones were stored) was found and observed in 2002 in Canada. with 200 brethren/scholars of the Churches of Christ attending. On the lid of the ossuary was the inscription in Aramaic; ya’akor bar Yosef akhur di Yeshua. Translated this reads; James, son of Joseph, brother to Jesus. The word patriarch is the same as bishop.
It was believed by the early church that the death of James brought on the destruction of Jerusalem. It seems that the Pharisees (thinking James would speak to the people on their behalf) placed James on the pinnacle of the Temple. As recorded, his opening remarks were: “Jesus Christ is seated at the right of God and will return on the clouds as He comes in His glory.” The Jews immediately had him pushed off the pinnacle, his fall to the ground did not kill him, and on his knees he was praying; “Father, lay not this sin to their charge.” He was then killed with a fullers brush (used to ring out dye in clothing).

The Organization of the Lord Part 10

It appears that Paul left Timothy in Ephesus with the responsibility to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine (than the gospel)”. 1 Timothy 1:3 Just who would these teachers, be?? Mentioned were Hymenaeus and Alexander, preachers in the churches of Christ. Timothy was to do the work Paul had assigned him and that he was one of the most effective workers of this team of servants is told us by Paul. Paul and Timothy saw the gospel spreading at an almost unbelievable rate during this time, but while the gospel had the potential to spread as never before, it also came under attack by heretical doctrines that threatened to force their way into the churches and destroy the progress that had been made! That Paul would devote letters to brethren made responsible by the apostles of whom they were personal representatives, shows the kind of leader God had made of His apostles. Timothy was a kid, we do not know how old some of the preachers in that area were, but some had “mocked” Timothy’s preparation and authority. Paul told Timothy: “let no man despise thy youth”. One just does not walk into an area, call down other preachers (it would not matter if they were right or wrong) UNLESS they had authority over them!!
Paul’s description of the deceivers who were teaching “false doctrines” is very striking. It suggests they were teaching something “other” than what the Holy Spirit had delivered and no one was correcting the situation!! What they were teaching was probably speculation and was even outside the realm of common sense. Latent in it’s “stupidity’, therefore, was a kind of impenetrable nature (you know, something you can’t just put your hands on). Fighting against speculation with common sense and logic is often useless; the very premise of reason is foreign to those obligated to their own speculations. Both Greek and Hebrew thought agree: one argues in vain with stupidity!! Proverbs 27:22 Any cogent response to speculations such as these is only wasted; thus, the very system supporting them must be rejected. Some false teaching deserves no other acknowledgement. The system that seemed to support these false teachers was the Church of Christ. Paul HAD to resolve that problem!!
Paul passed on to Timothy a commandment, an order (paragelian: 1 Timothy 1:18 The term fits with Paul’s military imagery: the higher ranking officer was passing on a command to those under his command, or lower ranking officers assigned with responsibility of seeing the senior officers commands strictly carried out!! Officers are different than enlisted men (regulars as they sometimes are called). Their “rank” is not assumed, it is sometimes NOT earned. They just start at that positon/station. No enlisted man is their commander. The command or the task to which Timothy was entrusted was first and foremost to guard the truth of the gospel against the false teachers, (preachers unrestrained by their desires, motivated by their on aggrandizement).1 Timothy 1:3 Timothy’s orders involved supervising the conduct of these believers in the house of God (what they were teaching the Church), 1 Timothy 3:15. Doctrinal instruction and practical teaching thus are joined in these epistles as integral components of Timothy’s success. Timothy was NOT just an itinerant evangelist whose only qualification was that he was special to Paul!! He was NOT just an enlisted man, Timothy, Titus, Demas (for a while), Luke, and Mark were junior officers with orders to obey and be carried out!! Titus 1:5 Did they wear a “special” name (like reverend), clothing (wear their shirts with collars on backward), or not be married?? As I know it, Timothy may have had a misses, could have had children, it was not a qualification!!

The Organization of the Lord Part 9

The evangelist has qualifications as do the ecclesiastical order of the body of Christ. Only such men are eligible as possess these specified requirements. The evangelist must be learned in the Holy Scriptures, and continue in them. 2 Timothy 3:14,17; 1 Tim 4:13-16. He must be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. 2 Timothy 4:13-16. He must be pure. 1 Timothy 5:22; 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22 He must be of those who have a good reputation where he is known. Acts 16:1-3. These qualifications demand the most thorough preparation, high moral attainments, wide experience and unfeigned and abiding faith. If these instructions are strictly heeded and fully carried out, only the strongest, true and tried men will be found in the evangelistic office!
How should an evangelist be selected and inducted into office? The call and ordination of Timothy furnishes an instructive example Paul found him at Lystra, and learned of the faith of his mother and grandmother, and that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures. He learned of the “good report” of the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Acts 16:1-3 It is generally understood that the brethren of Lystra (I am not sure they were elders or if there were elders among them) recommended Timothy to the apostle. This is a precedent, that at least two local congregations join together, led by some previously approved evangelist, to set a brother apart for “the work whereunto I have called you.” Paul then gave Timothy post-graduate training in education, and taught him all the details of the important work to which he was about to be called, the work of a prophet. A gift was given him by prophecy “with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” 1 Timothy 4:14 Then a gift of God was conferred “by the putting on of Paul’s hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6 It was given to him by prophecy, or according to prophecy; that is, by a particular inspiration or prophetic impulse moving Paul to make choice of Timothy for this office, and to approve him in this manner. This was a divine sanction of the person chosen as fit for several functions. These invested Timothy with the evangelistic office and the office of a prophet.
All Churches of Christ, however numerous, constitute but ONE Church of Christ; and in all cases where public officers are to be chosen, especially evangelists, who are to be regarded as officers of the whole body, a concurrence of a plurality of churches by their officers or other chosen representatives should be regarded as necessary. Unlike the eldership, the evangelist can serve more than one congregation, simultaneously, be a member of a congregation in yet another locale, and be an officer in all the congregations in which he might work. This gives the evangelist general acceptance, and constitutes them public, responsible agents of the whole Body of Christ!
It is interesting to note that the congregations presented Timothy (on whom they had laid hands) to Paul (who also laid hands on Timothy). Why both? It was for two offices! Timothy was to be a preacher’s teacher, a prophet, qualified by an apostle!! Listen to these words: “The things you did hear of me from many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, such shall be competent to teach others, also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 “Put them in remembrance”, “teach them to avoid vain babblings, it will eat them alive” verse 16, as it did Hymeneus and Philetus, who had ‘wondered away’, verse 18, for ‘the Lord knows who are His’ and teach everyone to depart from adding to the Word of God, that they might be a vessel of God for every work for which God has called them, for some oppose themselves.” Verse 21,25, 26 “Do this in meekness, Timothy” for they are captives of Satan and your job is to expose or restore them! (We will continue in chapter 3, next)

The Organization of the Lord Part 8

Studying the “mind of God” over 1/2 a century has taught me that God has a purpose for everything and everything has a purpose. To understand His “Mind” you must understand just what He purposed, organizing His Church as He did!
There was and is a reason why He set first, in the Church, apostles. I have tried to explain that as thoroughly as the purposes of these articles would allow. Next, He gave some to be prophets. Ephesians 4:11 The Greek word ‘gave’ is didomi, it is a verb which means to give, give out, hand over, entrust, give back, or give up. This is the same word used in John 3:16; “He gave His only begotten Son”. See also John 1:12, Luke 7:44, Mark 11:28, Mark 6:28 (both times) Matthew 14:16, 19; 10:1; John 14:31, and Acts 11:17,18. There are seemingly three different categories of usage of this verb. One, is the giving of physical items (as John the Baptist head), secondly, a “divine” giving or blessing from either God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, and finally, that that man gives to God in terms that are immaterial or spiritual, such as ourselves. It is important to note the use of didomai for those things that God gave to Jesus in John’s gospel. It states that God gave to Jesus ‘all things’, John 3:25; ‘all authority’, John 5:27; ‘sheep or followers’, John 10:29; and finally ‘His disciples’, John 17:2. This verb is in the third person singular indicative aorist active which means the one who is spoken about receives one thing specifically, pointedly, at a particular time. In the indicative mood the time of action is usually past and does not cease. Impressed?? Next, I speak in tongues,ha, ha!!
These men (there were no women prophets of this category) had particular qualifications and particular reasons for existing. Prophets, by definition, are those who “speak for another”. For whom these prophets spoke sheds light on their purpose in God’s plan. It is reasoned by some of my brethren, they were spokesmen for God, and that they were, but SOME in a particular and designated role were spokesmen for the apostles they represented!! We see that Paul used Timothy and Titus all the time for jobs he couldn’t get to!! 2 Corinthians 2:13, Philippians 2:20 All who have studied their role in the Church have noticed they were those “on whom an apostle had laid hands” as directed by the Holy Spirit, but seemingly have overlooked they also performed a special function. This would not have been forced upon our minds HAD Paul’s epistles to Timothy and Titus not given us. They were evangelist with a special mission. As elders had particular qualifications, so did these men as evangelist, but they were prophets with power to “set things in order, having been appointed”. Titus 1:5, Acts 20:13, 1 Corinthians 9:14 It has to be noted that these were not just mere evangelists as were Philip, Stephen, of Acts 6, even though the apostles laid hands on these fine brethren; these men were spokesmen for the apostles of Christ and had a particular function to perform!!
There is something else that is very interesting when noticed: preachers were to be supported by the church where elders were forbidden to take oversight “for filthy lucre’s sake”. 1 Peter 5:1 When speaking of him “who feeds the flock,” the provisions of the Law of Moses are mentioned “which minister about holy things”. Paul says, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 There is in the Church of Christ two governments that function to lead the House of God, the evangelistic and ecclesiastical (pastoral). The Pope is the outgrowth of assumptions of power by elders, not evangelist. The evangelical office was absorbed by their ‘bishop’, and the only barrier to an ecclesiasticism was removed!!

The Organization of the Lord Part 7

The second theory about men like Timothy and Titus is that they constituted the office of evangelist and claim a special work assigned them by proper authority to appoint elders of the church. This authority to assign a special work to elders is the evangelist in the primary organization and there is no properly constituted eldership without a practical recognition of the work of the evangelist in their creation!! He is the minister by whom men believe, and whose duty it is to care for the converts, he adds to his work a staff of men who will watch for the social needs and welfare of those who he has won to Christ. In an orderly administration, the evangelistic office is first in time and in authority!! When pastors or elders negate this premise, they deny the creator which made them possible!! The apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:8, 11 gives the organization of the Church of Christ. The special endowment of the first two offices mentioned was completed and the church was fully established and equipped. The last three depend upon native and acquired gifts, and a knowledge of the things learned of the apostles. They were made perpetual in the church by specific commandment and will be needed so long as sinners are to be converted, the flock of God is to be fed and cared for, and the ignorant of all ages and conditions are to be instructed in the Word of God!! These were necessary then, have been necessary ever since, and are no less necessary, now!
The evangelistic work is a perpetual work. While time endures it will be the duty of the church, through her own chosen and appointed representatives, to convert and baptize the people; to gather the converts together into separate and distinct congregations for their edification, improvement and efficiency, and to have a watch-care over many weak and sickly congregations. Evangelists from the beginning received their commission from the churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the apostles and prophets-example: Timothy, Acts 16:2; 2 Timothy 2:2. This shows the practical value of Paul’s three pastoral letters to these brethren. They define the work of evangelists, and instruct them in their duties, as Paul’s epistles to the churches instruct Christians in the details of congregational and individual life. The evangelistic office is a work to be done by an evangelist who has been chosen and set apart for the performance of that work by the gospel of Christ. Without this truth, the letters to Timothy and Titus are needless!! The answers to the questions of what were and are the duties of this office, who is eligible to fill the office, and how should the evangelist be selected and inducted into that office are found in the pastoral epistles of Paul with approved precedents recorded in Acts.
What are the duties of this office? Let it be clearly understood, the evangelists is NOT a law-maker nor an original law proclaimer! He is a re-proclaimer of the Law of the Lord as he has learned it FROM inspired apostles and no other men!! What was learned by the primitive proclaimers, evangelists from the apostles in person can be learned by modern evangelists ONLY from their writings. Paul writes: “All scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for instruction, for reproof, for correction, for discipline in righteousness, that ‘the man of God’ may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “The man of God” of this passage is such an evangelist as Timothy, as will be evident by comparing it with 1 Timothy 6:11 The evangelist must learn the law of God, be an executor of the will of God expressed in His law, and must apply the word of God in his life and the regulation of the conduct of all believers (even elders and deacons), disciplining the saved by the preached Word!!!

The Organization of the Lord Part 6

When Christians repudiate all other authoritative creeds, Bible Colleges, professors, “the way we use to do it” exercises, divers intellects and wills to the authoritative voice and guiding hand of the Son of God, there will be a complete restoration of the original unity of the Church. Faithful men, who continue in the “things which they have learned and have been assured of”, knowing that they have learned them of the only Spirit-endowed apostles of Christ, will be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” so long as the church is to endure. Thus by the institution of our Lord, the building has one and the same sure foundation through the centuries, He being “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me.” He has assailed the gates of Hell and defied all the assaults of Satan and his impious minions. The spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ has been diffused throughout the earth and is united when is stands on the consolidated authority of “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
From the apostles the authority of Christ descends to evangelists. This is contrary to what is taught in most arenas of higher learning, but the scriptures will bear out this truth!
Often quoted, but never studied is the WHY of Paul’s writing to Timothy and Titus. Is there any person or class in the church of today to whom the instructions contained in those epistles properly apply, and who are authorized to perform the duties enjoined on these brethren? The determination of this question turns upon the relationship of the persons addressed in these epistles to the writer of them, and thus, incidentally, to the primitive church. Upon this pivot the evangelistic office hangs. Touching this point there are two theories. One is that Timothy and Titus were evangelists as other Christians of their day, whether official or unofficial; but in so far as they did other things; appointing and ordaining elders and deacons, “setting in order the things that were wanting in the churches,” they acted solely as the personal agents or representatives of Paul!! Timothy and Titus were not the only brethren in this area of work; it was also known that Barnabas, Silvanus, Tychicus, and Epaphroditus were used in the same way. “Called by some as “sub-apostles” these men were personally deputized to act as agents, or, to use the modern term, sub-legates, of the apostles in doing what belonged to the apostolic office which the apostles were unable to perform personally in all places where such work was needed. Is this the apostolic succession the Romans are looking for?? Paul’s language in 2 Timothy is a commission to his own son in the faith, with authority to hand it, with its full content, to men whom he shall judge to be faithful; who were in turn authorized to hand I t down in like manner “to others, also”. This constitutes a legal succession in this office, which Timothy received from his inspired instructor! Assuming these functions are the proving and approving by ordination of presbyters and deacons in local congregations, trying and rebuking with all authority the “elders that sin,” and the settling of all questions that arise in the proper ordering of the churches within the given city or province. This sub-apostle theory was invented to exclude the evangelistic office. In Romanism, this is the office of the Bishop! Were Timothy and Titus qualified to be elders? If not, this is not a theory, it is a farce!!
The other theory is that Timothy, Titus, and others were evangelists, preachers of the gospel. Their duties were extended to cover the whole field of the applied principles of “the glorious Gospel of the blessed God,” to other functions because of their appointment to perform these responsible duties. The apostles performed these duties until others were qualified, by their instructions to perform them!!

The Organization of the Lord Part 5

God, incarnate, is the head of His own spiritual house. Hebrews 3:6 Exalted, as the Lord God who purchased with His own blood the Bride, whom He loved from the beginning, IS the same yesterday, today and forever. He ALONE, holds the keys/reins of government over this institution!! He could never have a successor and needs none, and hence makes no allusion to succession in His declaration to build His church. Christ is the Rock, Deuteronomy 32:4,18,37, the rock of ages, the everlasting Rock. There are not two rocks, the primary and secondary. The apostle Paul writes: “Ye are built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself, being the chief corner-stone.” Ephesians 2:20 The authority communicated to the apostles was limited by the explicit instructions in their commission, and it still exists in the church, and will continue to exist to the end of time, embodied in the inspired record of their acts and teachings!! Peter was a great Christian, but Peter is NOT a ROCK!!
The conversation Jesus had with His disciples in Caesarea Philippi has often been confused because it has not been studied. Jesus asks them, “Whom do men say that I, the son of man, am?” They give the common reports concerning Him, which are not laudatory to Him, as they would have been to most men. He then says to them, “but whom say ye that I am?” All the disciples are addressed. The question assumed that all present could answer. Simon Peter, being inspired by God, the Father and known to be strongly impulsive, is the first to speak. There are times questions asked cause hearts to stop, eons of time seemingly pass before there is an answer, though it is but a moment Sometimes eternal truths are spoken in seconds that eternity, alone, will explain. As though God, the Father, could not wait or be restrained, God the Father answers, “This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him”, or speaking through a human vessel He cries; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”!! As Jesus later said; “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me, I knew that Thou hearest Me always; But because of the multitude that stand around, I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” John 11:41-42 There is nothing unusual about this incidence that the Romanist should get so excited about; the same is said when Jesus was baptized by John the baptizer, Matthew 3:16-17, God, the Father shouted it from the Judean sky!! So great was the truth Peter was said to be “blessed” because through Peter’s mouth flowed the words DIRECTLY from the lips of the Ancient of Days.
A denominational pastor and a preacher of the Church of Christ were discussing the plan of salvation when the preacher of the Church of Christ said to the denominational pastor; “What is the element in baptism that washes away sin, water or blood?” To which the denominational pastor replies; “Why blood, of course.” The preacher says to him: “correct, upon this confession of truth, having repented, you can be baptized and be saved!!” Who would EVER imagine that the words, “this confession” refer to anything else than the truth confessed by the denominational pastor?? It would NEVER occur to an unbiased listener that “THAT CONFESSION” describes the PERSON of the confessor and not the confession, itself!
This “great confession” is again heard when Philip taught the Eunuch JESUS, Acts 8:35-38. Peter applies this prediction to Christ ONLY in 1 Peter 2:6. John wrote his gospel that men may believe what Peter confessed, John 20:30-31, Paul openly taught in Acts 18:5, “testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.” When writing to the Church o f Christ in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul wrote; “that Rock was Christ”.

The Organization of the Lord Part 4

The commission of Christ to His apostles defines the scope of their office. It is the letter of instruction from the King to His ambassadors. It comes from Him who is clothed with All AUTHORITY in Heaven and on earth. It commits to these apostles all the interests of the kingdom of heaven on earth. When endued with power from on high, they were to make disciples of the nations, introduce them into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, and teach them to observe all things commanded by Him. All this involved the full proclamation of the Gospel, the announcement of the law of pardon as Heaven’s ultimatum to a rebellious world, the institution of ordinances for the observance of Christ’s disciples, and the giving of all needful laws for that government of the church through all the ages, and the extension of the kingdom of God into all the world.
Whatever was said and done by those apostles bound men on earth and Christ in heaven! If they had transcended their commission, their utterances would have had NO legal force, anywhere. They acted clearly within their commission; this demands all to come under their “thrones”, the legal documents, the most important ever written!! The assumption of apostolic succession in office is the basis of Roman, Grecian, and Anglican episcopacy. This illegal, unauthorized change reaches the point of widest divergence of church organization, and demands repentance.
The Roman Catholic claim Christ organized His church with Peter as head! The immense superstructure of the papal hierarchy is reared upon this supposed supremacy and his successors in office. They claim Matthew 16:18-19 as legitimacy for this claim while this passage says NOTHING about succession in office. The church of Rome is built on false assumption and strong delusion, not on God-given authority!!
Prominence is not pre-eminence- precedence is not presidency, primacy is not equivalent to supremacy!! Prominence in the apostolic college, precedence of the name of Peter, and primacy in the preaching of the Gospel do not establish the pre-eminence, the presidency, or the supremacy of Simon Peter!!
Let us talk about the “rock”. When Simon, son of Jonas, was brought before Jesus, He said, “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted, a “stone.” John 1:42 The fact that Peter was given “keys” shows Peter’s primacy (he was the FIRST to preach to the nations), not his supremacy!! Peter was not “this rock”and was never meant to be!! Every Greek scholar knows that Jesus used the word petra and that it means a mass of living rock when He said; “and upon this rock”. To refer to Peter, Jesus called him petros which is single stone, a piece of rock. Without violence to the language, Christ could not have used petra as used in Isaiah 28:16 “a sure foundation”, for it was of Christ the prophet spoke “to whom coming as to a living stone” (an unbroken rock). Paul declares that “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11 The apostles were as single stones in the foundation of the “holy temple”, 1 Corinthians 3:16, because they were next to our Lord and received inspiration first, directly from Christ, and then the Holy Spirit, which enabled them to speak with authority in the church. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, whom the Father in heaven revealed to Peter and others at His baptism by John, and not Peter, is this “rock”-foundation of the church. The sacred structure of the church was built by the work of the divine Architect of the Universe, for He, ALONE, even among the Gods IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS!! Colossians 1:18; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:10, 2:10; Ephesians 1:20-23 Christ (God), not Peter (frail human), married the church!!!