Twisted Scriptures (Part 6 of 6)

A "Twisted Scripture" is a biblical passage taken out of context and portrayed to mean something that neither its author intended nor it's original audience understood.

Let us think out loud about how gentile Christians have twisted scripture by virtually ignoring God's leaders in the assemblies of believers.

In addition to the local oversight functions of elders there were men and women whom God directly called into service. They stood apart from the oversight of the activities of the local congregations. In fact, their service was over and above the local overseers and could supersede them at any time. Their calling was universal, called to serve the greater body of Christ, not exclusively the local body. These are listed in Ephesians.

ESV: Ephesians Chapter 4
[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

As to the relative order of these callings, God Himself has set the order of service to the greater body of Christ and revealed it to the apostle Paul for everyone since to learn and understand.

ESV: I Corinthians Chapter 12
[28] And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.

God's manner of oversight is firstly apostles and secondarily prophets. All others, even though they are divinely called, are subject to these two callings. But these are not offices in the corporate sense. They are simply the natural sequence of events in the development of new congregations. The apostles arrive first and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection covering sin for all men. They proclaim the end to sin consciousness in Jesus' atoning work. For those who believe and form an assembly, prophets are needed for spiritual growth and practical guidance. Following them teachers are needed to grow the new assembly in their knowledge of God's will, their knowledge of spiritual truth. After the new congregation is established, pastors will be needed for guidance through some of the problems and conflicts all people periodically face. The local congregation grows as the evangelists proclaim the good news to people in the local area who had not yet heard it from the apostles' early visits.

Please note: the gospel is not preached to those who have already responded to it. No no! After the initial positive response to this good news, further teaching in spiritual matters is needed. That's why prophets and teachers follow apostles.

But at no time does any godly called man or woman or volunteer servant supersede the apostles and prophets. They are the foundations of the congregations. This order and these functions have never been rescinded nor have they ceased, in spite of later gentiles efforts make overseers and pastors the supreme authority.

ESV: Ephesians Chapter 2
[20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by [in] the Spirit.

These functions cease when the whole building of the followers is Jesus is built and not until then, no matter what the gentile ecclesiastical society of religious professionals tries to propound.

By man's pride and ego the simple oversight of the believers has been corrupted from simple assemblies of believers overseen by their own family heads into corporate institutions and religious commercial entities overseen by religious professionals overlording their titles and authority over God's people.

Series Summary:
The belief and practice of the Christian Faith is in two parts. One is the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. The other is the "apostles' doctrine." The gospel is facts, fundamental facts that have not changed nor even been misunderstood for over twenty centuries, though some details of those facts are disputed. Most of the twisting of scripture occurs within the scope of the apostles' doctrine, not the gospel. There is not one book of the New Testament devoted to the gospel. Rather, nearly all of it is devoted to the apostles teaching their doctrine through the medium of letters of love addressed to the congregations and individuals. The gosple is referred to in every book because the apostles' doctrine is based upon the gospel but the two are not the same thing. Confusing the two leads to sectarian divisions within the body of Christ as one group or another thinks fellowship is based on their sectarian interpretations overlaid upon the apostle's doctrine, not the gospel.

Our fellowship with God and with each other is contingent upon acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the requirement for citizenship in God's kingdom, members of HIS family. After that, we need to learn how to conduct ourselves worthy of that citizenship. (Romans 16:2, Ephesians 4:1, Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:10, I Thessalonians 2:12, et. al.) This fellowship is harmed by twisting scripture to serve the ends of sectarian, man made interpretations of the revelation taught by the apostles. There is a difference between the authority of scripture and the authority of human interpretation placed upon them to maintain traditional sectarian patterns, to perpetuate a partisan sect. Excluding or including certain portions of the body of Christ in fellowship the result of twisting scripture … in every case.

This series has been a call to the faithful who desire to embrace the fellowship of all of God's people and grow in their comprehension of the apostles' doctrine. It is a call to throw off twisted scriptures and embrace the fellowship of the whole body of Christ. Every new insight into the apostles' doctrine should be embraced as growth rather than decrying it as a thing to be shunned. May we all embrace one another as fellow citizens and grow in our comprehension of the apostle's doctrine.

ESV: Ephesians Chapter 2
[19] So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, [sojourners]  but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

If we are all members of the household of God, let us then learn to walk worthy of our calling to that family.

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