New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, September 11 2002 Volume 02 : Number 163
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings
[NTCP] Wolves as pastors
Re: [NTCP] Wolves as pastors
RE: [NTCP] Wolves as pastors
[NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role
Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role
Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings
Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 14:46:11 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

Jay F wrote:

> Thanks for the library work. I think
> that there may have been a number
> of us, however, for whom you did
> not succeed in turning the New
> Testament Church into an annex
> on a synogogue.

Methinks that Ampe Pronke is not the only one who has picked up a
"filter" along the way. But even though biblical, historical,
archaeological *evidence* fails to impress you, I am on record stating that
I do not think that "the churches of the gentiles" (Rom. 16:4) should be
synagogue-like:

>>I am not arguing that all churches should have a 'synagogue flavor'. My
point from the beginning of this thread has been that buildings, liturgy,
and even single pastor congregations, are modeled or allowed in the
Scriptures. Therefore these three items cannot be the evils many HCers seem
to think they are.<< ("Confronting the evidence" thread, response to Mike S,
Feb. 21 02).

Though I know you were just being witty (and indeed you were and
are!), in the process of doing so you constructed a "straw man" to knock
down in the place of the *real* position I hold ... and well, let's just say
that I've seen a little too much of that on this list. :-/

"... the truth will set you free"
- -- Jesus Christ.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 14:46:49 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

Link H. wrote:

> I once sent a message addressed to
> you, if I am not mistaken on this forum,
> that there are commands to the church
> in scripture that involve a degree of
> 'spontaneity' but that I was unaware of
> any that commanded involved liturgy.
> I don't recall a reply to this particular
> point.

Okay, I'm going to answer this Link, ... but only because I can
produce that post you don't remember me sending-- and I LOVE shaming my
debate partners into submission to MY views. ;-) (Link and I go back a
long way folks. Relax.) After I do this, however, that will be the last
*detailed* post in which I will mention it for a while (unless Sam B. wants
to engage me on the topic) since I honestly don't think this is so appropos
to the subject of church PLANTING-- of which subject many list members have
been hinting(!!!) that they earnestly want to see more discussions with that
focus. I will be glad to discuss the issue of liturgy with whoever wants to
write me off-list at the above email address. But here WAS my reply back on
Mar. 25th of this year:

>>Linkus bar Hud (Link Hudson) wrote:

> The implications of liturgy in early meetings
> might be slightly implied, if you read between
> the lines, but the NT doesn't _teach_ us to
> be liturgical. THe text doesn't emphasize it.

True enough. Liturgy ("a set order of service") is specifically
mentioned in Act. 13:2, but without any implications explained (see
"Confronting the Evidence" thread, Feb. 18 for the evidence why
LEITOURGOUNTON should be rendered "as they performed a liturgy"). I admit
that. But neither does the NT teach us *anything* about clapping our hands
or using musical instruments in worship. You might argue that it doesn't
need to; hand-clapping and instrumental music were going on a-plenty in the
OT. And I would say, "RIGHT!" ... and so was liturgical worship. What's
more, I maintain that if we want to worship God on earth the way He
currently is worshipped in heaven, ...

("... your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" [Mat. 6:10]).

... then it behooves us to pay attention to the only two biblical passages
which give us a window into angelic (and others') worship-- both heavily
steeped in temple imagery and liturgy:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high
and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were
seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with
two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were
calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole
earth is full of his glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and
thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke" (Isa. 6:1-4).

And ...

"After this I looked, and ... before me was a door standing open in heaven
.... and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it
.... Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and ...
twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on
their heads .... Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing .... Also
before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as
crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures ....
Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God
Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.' Whenever the living creatures
give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for
ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down ... and worship him who
lives for ever and ever. They ... say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to
receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your
will they were created and have their being ....' Then God's temple in
heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant
.... After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle
of the Testimony, was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels ....
They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around
their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels
seven golden bowls .... And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory
of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple ..." (Rev.
4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8, cp. Heb. 8:5; 9:24).

I do not believe one's fellowship *has* to be what some would call
"high church" in order to qualify as an honest-to-goodness congregation. In
my Mar. 20 post, however, I was reacting to what I perceived to be those
advocating an almost leaderless, structureless church gathering, ... and
equating "spontaneous" with "spiritual". As if any of that were NT! But
even in 1 Cor. 14 (favorite chapter of some in the anti-liturgical crowd)
Paul still insists that "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly
way" (vs. 40). That word for "orderly" (TAXIS-- from which we get the word
"taxonomy") has as it's primary definition in:

1. FRIBERG GREEK LEXICON- "an arrangement for temple service; sequence,
fixed succession, order".
2. UNITED BIBLE SOCIETY GREEK DICTIONARY- "order, division, succession (of
priests)" (parenthetical comments within the quotation *theirs*).
3. LOUW-NIDA LEXICON- "an ordered or arranged sequence".

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see liturgical implications
there. If you think about it, a little liturgy is almost(?) unavoidable
since liturgy is really an outline of events within a meeting. A spine, so
to speak. And most so-called "non-liturgical" churches still end up
inadvertently following a liturgy of some kind. The question then becomes,
do we simply follow what we *feel* or *think* is right, or do we somehow
anchor our practices in the Bible? In other words, if we claim to be a NT
church, yet avoid that evidence (biblical, historical, archaeological) which
all indicates that the NT church was itself liturgical, and we imitate some
pattern or "non-pattern" we *imagine* the early Church to have followed--
but which we cannot support objectively-- aren't we simply describing
ourselves as "NT" in vain? ... possibly running from our true heritage,
chasing a fantasy. To put it another way, how far can we stray from the NT
church (Jew and gentile elements) in the pursuit of "freedom in the Spirit"
or even cultural relevance and still call ourselves NT? I don't have an
easy answer for that one. I'm asking you (all).

> How could this have taken place in
> a meeting which was strictly
> liturgical, following a Jewish
> synagogue liturgy?

First of all, I did mention in my last post that the Jewish liturgy
was "modified" for specifically NT practices. And gentile settings. I also
mentioned then that the ancient synagogue liturgy was "flexible" (see
"Query" thread, my Mar. 20 post; also see Levine, Lee I. THE ANCIENT
SYNAGOGUE. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000). The only liturgical
elements that we know for sure existed in synagogues during Jesus' day were:

1) the recitation of the SH'MA (Deut. 6:4-- "Hear O Israel ..."),
2) the AMIDAH, a time of silent personal prayer followed by a series of
eighteen blessings (with fairly fluid wording back then) done while
standing,
3) the scheduled public reading of the TORAH (Law) and HAFTORA (Prophets and
Writings),
4) a short sermon, done in monologue and/or dialogue style,
5) and a time to discuss the sermon

There is more we suspect was there, such as the singing of Psalms (Eph.
5:19; Col. 16), the chanting and wording of certain other blessings, the
three-fold "holy, holy, holy" (Isa. 6:1-4; Rev. 4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8),
etc., but we can't prove it. Yet. The above numbered list is certain
though.
Now read Luk. 4:16ff with new eyes. We know with near certainty what
the Torah portion was that was read (by someone else) that day in Nazareth
because we know the section of the prophets (Isa. 61) from which Jesus was
reading. There has been an assigned section of the prophets linked to an
assigned section of the Torah since the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes
(167 B.C.). The Jews back in Jesus' day, who lived in the land, completed
their cycle of Torah/Haftorah readings every three years. About the length
of Jesus' public ministry ...
Also we know for certain that many Jewish followers of Jesus remained
in the synagogues of the Roman world after the destruction of the Jerusalem
Temple (70 A.D.), and continued following the ancient liturgy for a while
with no "Christian" modifications at all, because by around 90 A.D. a 19th
"blessing"-- really a curse-- was added to the AMIDAH which, according to
the Talmud (B'RAKHOT 28b), was intended to root out MINIM (sectarians-- a
broad term which included Jews who followed Jesus). The idea was that a
person would not normally stand and call down a curse upon him/herself and
therefore would eventually leave the synagogue voluntarily. If a Jewish
person stumbled in the public recitation of the "blessing" then he/she was
at once suspected of being a MIN and handled accordingly. In one quite
ancient written version of the eighteen (plus one) blessings, discovered in
the Cairo (Egypt) GENIZAH (place to store Jewish sacred writings), the text
specifically pin-points the NOTZRIM (Nazarenes, i.e. Christians) among the
MINIM to be excised from the (non-believing) synagogue services. Justin
Martyr (2nd cent. A.D.), Origin (3rd cent. A.D.), and Jerome (4th cent.
A.D.) all mention this "cursing of Christians" within the ancient synagogue
too. The curse has since been modified to condemn general evil doers only,
and no longer specifically mentions NOTZRIM.
These early Jewish believers in Jesus-- of which it is recorded in the
Talmud and other ancient writings about some of them that they would lay
hands on people and heal them-- had no hang-ups about liturgy. It did not
stifle CHARISMATA and, what's more, it was their inheritance ... from the
synagogue. Which got it from the Temple. Which got it from the Tabernacle.
Which got it from ... heaven (Isa. 6:1-4; Rev. 4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8, cp.
Heb. 8:5; 9:24). The modern aversion to liturgy is a new, mainly western
phenomena-- a reaction to Catholicism. Not a careful and honest reading of
the biblical text.

> But the Bible doesn't even go into
> detail about this. We can only
> guess based on cultural context.

Well, ... no. We have more than cultural context. We have Act. 13:2.
And now 1 Cor 14:40. But you are right that liturgy is not a point of focus
in the NT; it is assumed rather than commanded. I wouldn't split a church
over the issue, but I would challenge those attempting to be "NT" in their
expressions to consider liturgy as a very real option-- particularly liturgy
which seeks to incorporate elements from the two scenes of heavenly
worship-- and to not react out of bias and mis-information.

> We also need to keep in mind that the
> synagogue meeting allowed for regular
> members of the synagogue to preach,
> incorporated several people in the
> congregation in the work of reading the
> scriptures (in Hebrew/Aramaic
> synagogues, at least) and had a forum
> during which men could discuss the
> scriptures and the sermon for today--
> not things many of us associate with
> modern church 'liturgy.'

Right you are! Liturgy back then was more "user friendly". And
perceived as benign. Many of us today are still fighting the dragon of
medieval Catholicism, in which *every detail* of a church service was
dictated by custom-- and hence we cannot be objective enough about the issue
of liturgy to consider it from a truly NT perspective. Our point of
reference tends to be Protestant (in contradistinction to Catholic) rather
than *simply biblical*. I say it's time to change! What say you?<<

This is me again (on Sep 10th), back from the past. Okay, for the
record, I do NOT say that spontaneity in a church meeting is bad. Not at
all! But equating it with being Spirit-led is a fallacy!!!
What I have been striving to help people on this list to see is that
the biblical, historical, and archaeological evidence *all* supports an
understanding of NT era church worship as being liturgical. There was
definitely some structure to their meetings ... and there was some
flexibility. Spontaneity, if you will. But NT believers (or their
meetings) weren't Quaker-like. Folks didn't just gather together and wait
for God to show up (ala Gene Edwards and Sam B.). There was a holy agenda.
They knew what they were about. There was a discernable spine upon which
hung the meat of their meetings. It is clear that the early church
practiced liturgical worship-- why is that so difficult for some to accept?.
(I know that idea doesn't bother you too much, Link) The NT beleivers were
still prophesying, speaking in tongues, contributing to the teaching
ministry from all "levels" of people, etc. But their liturgy *contained*
the spontaneity, like a glass contains water, so that it wouldn't just gush
all over the place. Or lie in a "focus-less" puddle on the floor. Again,
it is not a *commandment* in the Bible to worship via, say, Chrysostom's
liturgy. Or whatever. Liturgical worship was simply assumed by the Bible
writers. But my example of Chrysostom's liturgy reflects ancient Jewish
elements gotten from the synagogue. So do other ancient Church liturgies.
It's plain that they got their model from the synagogue. Which got it's
model from the Temple. Which got it's model from the Tabernacle. Which got
it's model from heaven itself (see above).
My contention is this: if we're striving to plant churches on a NT
model, and initiate worship therein on a NT model, then we cannot ignore the
evidence for liturgy at the earliest stages of the church. That's NOT
intellectual honesty. In other words, we can't just try to do it "the way
we wanna". Ala Gene Edwards or other. Just 'cause we got sumpin against
liturgy. That's it. It's as simple as that.
Blessings on all!

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 11:45:13 -0400
From: "Link Hudson" <Linkh * mcdowell.main.nc.us>
Subject: [NTCP] Wolves as pastors

TC wrote,
> The group I attend now is a New England United Church of Christ
> Congregationalist Church in Hadley MA. Their interim Pastor reads and
> identifies with Crossen and Mack of "Jesus Seminar" fame, and believes
Jesus
> rose from the dead only in the hearts of those who believe -- but not
> historically. Why do I continue going? Because the members have refused to
> change their liturgy, and their liturgy reflects their old reformed
covenant
> theology that, at least to me, is an alive and vibrant tradition. I hear
an
> invocation every Lord's Day that calls on God to come and save them. I
hear
> the OT reading of the Law, and the Lord's Prayer asking for repentance. I
> hear Scripture from the New Testament and from the Gospels read, although
the
> Word isn't necessarily exegeted faithfully. Time is spent giving thanks
for
> all God has done for us, and prayers are offered for those sick or in
> distress. The Lord's Table isn't every Sunday like I'd prefer it to be,
but
> it is given once a month.

Brother TC,

Your post surprises me, especially since you seem so intent on proper
doctrine. Does this IC pastor teach that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

For me personally, I would not feel free to eat with such a man who claimed
to be a brother, but did nto believe in the resurrection-- certainly if he
were teaching this damnable heresy to others. I can't see Paul eating with
Hymenaus and Alexander after what they taught.

I recall reading a tradition attributed to the apostle John, that a certain
heretical teacher was in a bathhouse in Ephesus where John had gone to
bathe. When John, according to the tradition, found out that the man was
there, he said to the one with him that they should leave. He did not want
to be under the same roof with a man under such judgement.

If a pastor of a church taught that Christ did not raise from the dead, I
can think of no good reason for one to attend such a church except if the
Lord were to lead someone to go there, interrupt the sermon and rebuke the
false teacher and the congregation, warning them of hearing such false
doctrine, and shaking off the dust of his feet if the people would not
recieve the message.

Why would you celebrate the Lord's table with an unbeliever? I read an
interesting interpretation of II Timothy 2 (see below), which seems to shed
a lot of light on the passage. In verse 19, Dr. Bill Thurmond proposed that
'iniquity' can, according to a feature of Greek, refer to iniquitous
persons. He therefore argued that this verse is referring to two quotes
from the passage about Korah's rebellion, in which those who spoke against
Moses were judged. The Israelites were told to separate themselves from
those wicked men. The ground opened and swallowed them up.

Let us look at the passage. I'll include some commentary.

II Timothy 2:16-21
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more
ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and
Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is
past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Your pastor doesn't say that the resurrection is past, but rather that
Christ Himself did not historically rise, a very central truth of the
Christian faith.

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The
Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity.

Possible reference to Korah's rebellion. Jude speaks of Korah's rebellion
in connection to false teachers his letter addresses as well. This seems to
have been a 'theme' in apostolic preaching in regard to false teachers.

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver,
but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto
honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every
good work.

Purge yourself from the vessels of dishonor. Just think about that bowl
they used to use as a toilet bowl in the old days. Imagine if you had a
gold dinner plate. Would you store it in the same place as the toilet bowl?
Even if you had cleaned out the toilet bowl, would you put your gold plates
and silver dinner goblets in that toilet bowl? Of course not. The noble
vessels have to be separate from the base vessels.

Similarly, in I Corinthians 5, Paul warned the Corinthians to expell the
unrepentant fornicating brother who had his father's wife. They weren't to
fellowship with him, but were rather to deliver him over to Satan for the
destruction of the flesh.

Paul may be making the same case about false teachers-- Alexander and
Hymenaeus.

So if there is a man who teaches that Christ did not rise, or even believes
it, I don't see why you would attend his church meeting and break bread with
him. Imo, this is not obedience to the teaching of scripture.

Couldn't you get a reformed liturgy on tape and listen to it, or at least
attend somewhere that you could participate in this liturgy where all the
participants were Christians?

Link Hudson


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 11:14:34 -0500
From: Phillip Cohen <harborlights3 * juno>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Wolves as pastors

Hi Link,

> If a pastor of a church taught that Christ did not raise from the
> dead, I
> can think of no good reason for one to attend such a church except
> if the
> Lord were to lead someone to go there, interrupt the sermon and
> rebuke the
> false teacher and the congregation, warning them of hearing such
> false
> doctrine, and shaking off the dust of his feet if the people would
> not
> recieve the message.

We are currently considering attending an IC where they have women
preachers. Seems to us the Scripture teaches clearly against that.
However, this church seems to have so many positive things to offer. The
spirit there and the lives of the people are so much cleaner than all the
"doctrinally right" churches in the area. Any Scripture for this?

Phillip & Mary Cohen
harborlights3 * juno
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward . . . 1 Corinthians
9:17


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 18:30:14 +0200
From: "Keith Smith" <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Wolves as pastors

Dear Bro. TC,
I'm afraid that in broad terms I have to agree with Link's post. Although
you have a strong faith and theological base, I really feel that putting
yourself under the authority of false teachers places you and yours in
danger. I know that when there are few churches about it's easy to make
compromises, but I don't feel that that is our calling. Here in my area of
Spain there is just one other lively church apart from ours, and their
doctrine makes Ampee's look good! But folk who believe the truth go along
because that's all there is, and sooner or later become conformed. I praise
God for the dozen or so who have now left to form a HC, and get back on
track. I'm praying that the Lord will soon give you His way ahead.
Just a thought on something else that Link wrote:
Couldn't you get a reformed liturgy on tape and listen to it, or at least
attend somewhere that you could participate in this liturgy where all the
participants were Christians?

Are there any IC where all of the participants are Christians? I would be
hard put to it to claim that even of some HCs.
Blessings
El chico en EspaÒa
Keith


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 14:02:15 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

Praise the name of the Lord. Hi all.

After long contemplation, Link Hudson set his hands to the keyboard:

>Was Paul an elder?

Sure was, he employees the same word family in "aged." Phlm. 9 Yet for
love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the AGED,
and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

The apostle John mentioned his seniority in two of his letters (2 John 1,
3 John 1) as well as did the apostle Peter (see below).

>One could debate the issue, but his traveling apostolic ministry differed
>from that of the local church elders he appointed.
>
>Paul, an apostle, pastored as well. He asked the Corinthians who 'pastors'
>a flock and does not eat of the milk of the flock. Jesus also told Peter to
>'pastor' his sheep. (Why did they translate the word for tending sheep as
>'feed' in the KJV?)
>
>My point is that 'pastoring' may be a ministry done by more than local
>church elders. Ephesians 4:11 lets us know that 'pastors' are among the
>gifts given to men. Being an overseer in the church came with a long list
>of requirements. But being a 'pastor' seems to be a matter of being gifted.

Your point is well received, bro. Just as elders are specifically called
upon to pray for the sick - others should also pray for the sick. Just
because one particular group is enjoined to perform a task does not mean
that others are excluded.

Pastoring is simply the non-technical outworking of that ancient
rhetorical question: Am I my brother's keeper? Yes - a thousand times
yes! As one grows older, he should become wiser, more experienced, and
have more resources for ministry than younger ones. Therefore it is
especially and naturally incumbent upon the elders to be shepherds. What
else would you expect in a patriarchal environment?

>I think there may be some pastors who are not elders. They are gifted to
>sheep-tend, but are not older men. Some novices seem to be gifted as
>pastors, though overseers are not to be novices.

Timothy would have been such a pastor, though not so called. We are
reminded of the great weight attached to age in the ancient world by
Paul's charge to him to let none despise his youth. Some think he was
almost 40 at that point on the time-line.

The "novice" thing has been perceived and translated as a "recent
convert" but this isn't accurate, according to some. Literally, it means
"not a young plant." A simple metaphor to mean "not immature." Deissmann
of Germany, who translated a large number of the earliest Greek papyri,
confirms it.

Jesus, btw, is a pastor (Good Shepherd) but not an elder. He died young.
A no-brainer, huh?

>If I were to draw a Venn diagram of 'pastor' I might draw a circle with
>'elder' in the pastor circle. I might also draw a circle with 'apostle' on
>it within that circle. Another circle 'teacher' would be partly in and
>partly out of the 'pastor' circle. I'm not sure my diagram would be right


------- <><><> -------


Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 14:52:26 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

Here is the balance of my last post, which was somehow lost in transit.

>If I were to draw a Venn diagram of 'pastor' I might draw a circle with
>'elder' in the pastor circle. I might also draw a circle with 'apostle' on
>it within that circle. Another circle 'teacher' would be partly in and
>partly out of the 'pastor' circle. I'm not sure my diagram would be right.
>Maybe 'elder' should be partly out of the circle. Some elders of the church
>don't seem to pastor (disobedient ones perhaps?)

Some elders don't seem to pastor, indeed. Most are unaware of their
assigned role which is a huge tragedy. But praise God that many fulfill a
shepherding role out of sheer instinct - or rather the Holy Spirit
prompting them.

Well, if the word elder has been so transformed that it now applies to
younger ones, when did that magnanimous change occur? In other words,
when we come to New Testament elders - why should we differentiate them
from Old Testament elders???

Here is just one example from each Testament in which they, the elders,
are contrasted to younger ones:

1 Kgs. 12:8 But he (Rehoboam) forsook the counsel of the old men, which
they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up
with him, and which stood before him:

1 Tim. 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the
younger men as brethren;

This next one really nails it down. Oh well, :) it should....:

1 Pet. 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an
elder...
1 Pet. 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight
...
1 Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.

The most backward cultures in the world know their elders. The Christian
church apparently does not.

David Anderson


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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 23:08:25 -0400
From: "Link Hudson" <Linkh * mcdowell.main.nc.us>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

In response to David Anderson,

I (Link) had written
> >Was Paul an elder?

Dave responded.

> Sure was, he employees the same word family in "aged." Phlm. 9 Yet for
> love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the AGED,
> and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

The Strong's says that the word here is 'presbutes' rather than
'presbuteros.' I'm not sure the nuance here. Maybe Paul is callign himself
'old' rather than 'older.'

The issue I've tried to determine the answer to is whether or not
'presbuteros' has an 'official' sense to it to refer to a certain position.
I think it can.

The New Testament speaks of the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the
people. If I understand correctly, the members of the Sanhedrin were
divided into three categories: the chief priests, scribes, and elders of
the people who had risen up through national judgeships. Maybe all three
groups could have been considered 'elders' as well since they claimed to
correspond to the 70 elders of Israel in the OT.

The Gospels and the book of Acts refer to the elders, or presbuteros, of the
people in contexts which seem to indicate a specific subset of leaders, and
not merely all the older men of Israel.

Imo, older men would have been considered 'presuteros' in a generial sense,
but there seems to have been a specific sense in which 'presbuteros' was
used in an official sense.

If 'presbuteros' meant _only_ old men, and didn't have any official
connotation to it, then why would the apostles have appointed elders in the
churches. The elders would have already have been clearly recognizable as
'older men' by looking at them. I think the term 'elders of the church'
refers to 'official' elders, just as the 'elders of the people' in the
Gospels refers to certain government officials. (I suspect we are in
agreement on this issue for the most part, but I feel the issue is worth
elaborating on.)

If presbuteros' can have an 'official' sense, then the question is whether
or not the literal meaning of 'older one' is still attached to the word.
Some in the so-called 'IC' see the word as having an official sense only,
and do not attach much signifigance to the literal meaning of the word. I
think the Bible indicates that elders were older men physically. After
addressing the elders, Peter tells the younger to submit to the elders, as
you pointed out. Paul tells Timothy how to treat the elders/older men, and
then tells him how to treat older women and yougner women. Later in that
chapter, he talks about the elders that rule well-- with the same word for
'elders.'
> The "novice" thing has been perceived and translated as a "recent
> convert" but this isn't accurate, according to some. Literally, it means
> "not a young plant." A simple metaphor to mean "not immature." Deissmann
> of Germany, who translated a large number of the earliest Greek papyri,
> confirms it.

Do you think this word may indicate that elders should be older men,
physically? Not 'whiper-snappers'?

> Jesus, btw, is a pastor (Good Shepherd) but not an elder. He died young.
> A no-brainer, huh?

Not according to Ireneaus' contraversial minority view. :)

> Well, if the word elder has been so transformed that it now applies to
> younger ones, when did that magnanimous change occur? In other words,
> when we come to New Testament elders - why should we differentiate them
> from Old Testament elders???

I stumbled across an Orthodox web page telling about some cannons from the 2
or 300's. One point was that an 'elder' could not be under 30. If I
remember correctly, a footnote said that the Romans changed this to 25
without going through proper channels (a church council perhaps.) The
Christians who wrote these church cannons within the first few hundred years
of the apostles, who presumably spoke Greek, thought of 'presbuteros' in an
official sense, without paying much attention to it's original literal
meaning. I think it is likely that the word had an 'official' meaning in
the first century, but that the literal meaning which referred to age
gradually became less and less important.

I'd like to comment ont he verse from kings,

1 Kgs. 12:8 But he (Rehoboam) forsook the counsel of the old men, which
they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up
with him, and which stood before him:

If I remember correctly, the word for 'elders' here is not the standard
'bearded ones' word ('zaqin' is it?) used to refer to the 70 elders of
Israel-- the word which seems to correspond with NT 'presbuteros.' But
there is till a relevant principle in the passage, imo.

Link Hudson
Marion, NC, USA


------- <><><> -------


Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 11:54:14 +0200
From: "Ampe Pronk" <marcusampe * tiscalinet.be>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

bwilliams, cosmicjiil, Maieler-Daemon and others, are requested not to send
any viruses anymore.
Please all who like to sent their so called "opponents" letters, do it on a
Christian level, and be an excample of the Love of Christ.
Let us pray for those who have bad things in their mind!
Yours ,
Marcus Ampe

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions/planting ~ ~ ~

info page: http://world-missions.org/planting <><><>


Date: 11 Sep 2002 09:17:14 -0400
From: Mike Sangrey <msangrey * BlueFeltHat>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] re: elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

On Tue, 2002-09-10 at 23:08, Link Hudson wrote:
> In response to David Anderson,
>
> I (Link) had written
> > >Was Paul an elder?
>
> Dave responded.
>
> > Sure was, he employees the same word family in "aged." Phlm. 9 Yet for
> > love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the AGED,
> > and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
>
> The Strong's says that the word here is 'presbutes' rather than
> 'presbuteros.' I'm not sure the nuance here. Maybe Paul is callign himself
> 'old' rather than 'older.'

`Presbutes' is the noun; `presbuteros' is the adjective. The `-teros'
ending indicates a comparative (as opposed to a superlative), so what
we're looking at is like the difference between `more' and `most'.
`Presbutes' is masculine gender noun and `presbutis' is the feminine.

Similarly to English, adjectives can be used as nouns. We can say,
"That person is older" and we call it a `predicate adjective' but it's
really performing the same function in the sentence as "a rock" is
performing in the sentence, "That person is a rock," even though `rock'
is not an adjective.

The same type of thing is happening with `presbuteros' in the NT.

> The issue I've tried to determine the answer to is whether or not
> 'presbuteros' has an 'official' sense to it to refer to a certain position.

I love these wrestling type of questions!

> I think it can.

And I think it can, too. The fact that `presbuteros' (the adj) was used
to refer to the Elders of Jerusalem supports it (eg Mat. 16:21). The
trick is to discover what the various nuances of a word are, what the
normal nuance is (the "loudest", if you will), and what it takes in the
context to bring out the other nuances. For example, if I say the word
`atmosphere' you probably think of the relatively thin layer of air
surrounding the planet. However, if I build a context around that word
by talking about an house church meeting and then say, "The atmosphere there was
so nice," there's a totally different nuance. And, chances are, you
don't even think of the "normal" one.

I've snipped your observations which, IMO, support your point quite
well.

<snip>

> Imo, older men would have been considered 'presuteros' in a generial sense,
> but there seems to have been a specific sense in which 'presbuteros' was
> used in an official sense.
>
> If 'presbuteros' meant _only_ old men, and didn't have any official
> connotation to it, then why would the apostles have appointed elders in the
> churches.

Yes, that word `appoint' (kathistemi, cf Titus 1:5) rubbed me the wrong
way for quite some time...until it won.

> The elders would have already have been clearly recognizable as
> 'older men' by looking at them. I think the term 'elders of the church'
> refers to 'official' elders, just as the 'elders of the people' in the
> Gospels refers to certain government officials. (I suspect we are in
> agreement on this issue for the most part, but I feel the issue is worth
> elaborating on.)
>
> If presbuteros' can have an 'official' sense, then the question is whether
> or not the literal meaning of 'older one' is still attached to the word.

Another good wrestling question!

Words are squishy, like balloons filled with jello. The context in
which a word is found pushes and pulls it in different directions and
gives it far clearer definition. However, the word brings to the
context what it is to begin with. Words aren't nice, neat, crystalline
bricks with hard, precise edges. All words are ambiguous (even H2O, the
chemical formula, is somewhat ambiguous: does it mean the water from
the tap, or lab grade purity?). Nevertheless, a specific word can't
mean whatever we want it to mean. For example, calling a three year
`elder' wouldn't fit. BTW, comedians make their money off of this fact
about words. Sometime listen to what a comedian does with words and
context to cause people to laugh.

> Some in the so-called 'IC' see the word as having an official sense only,
> and do not attach much signifigance to the literal meaning of the word. I
> think the Bible indicates that elders were older men physically. [...]

Where I'm at right now in this whole question is that `elder' refers to
a person who has the characteristics of an older person. Too many, IMO,
have based `elder' on education ("they have an advanced degree in
Bible") or success ("they have done well in business"). These things
might be true but I think they're coincidental at best. The question
is, what does this person act like. The expression, "He's older than
his years" fits here, I think. Just as an older person (age-wise) is
sometimes immature, so we can have cases where a younger person is more
mature than their years indicate. But, life experience has a way of
maturing a person, and that takes time.
> [...] After
> addressing the elders, Peter tells the younger to submit to the elders, as
> you pointed out. Paul tells Timothy how to treat the elders/older men, and
> then tells him how to treat older women and yougner women. Later in that
> chapter, he talks about the elders that rule well-- with the same word for
> 'elders.'

IMO, that's a good observation. Titus is VERY similar.
>
> > The "novice" thing has been perceived and translated as a "recent
> > convert" but this isn't accurate, according to some. Literally, it means
> > "not a young plant." A simple metaphor to mean "not immature." Deissmann
> > of Germany, who translated a large number of the earliest Greek papyri,
> > confirms it.
>
> Do you think this word may indicate that elders should be older men,
> physically? Not 'whiper-snappers'?

For me, can a person fresh out of seminary pastor? No. That person has
to get a life and live for a while and learn where people hurt.
However, to balance this somewhat, I notice that one qualification
relates to children IN the household. Apparently Paul thought of elders
as still having children at home. There's some flexibility there, and I
don't want to read our 2.1 children back into the 1st century, but it
seems to me the expectation was focused on how the family unit was
working. And, THAT indicates the level of maturity. And I think that
is where the focus is. Paul could have said something like: "whose
children are all productive in the kingdom of God" which would have
indicated an older elder (or is that an elder older? <smile>).

Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa.
"The first one last wins."
"A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."


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