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  #11  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:03 PM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by Amanah View Post
thank you Brother Aaron, very thought provoking.

One problem I can see with the hierarchical organizational model, is that you are constantly supporting a structure that is also a business, which results in the church leadership being kept in a family because the family owns the building. And if that family goes astray, you are out of luck and your investment is a loss.
The possibility of that is a concern. But I see the issue at a more fundamental level. Take the use of your the word hierarchy. Words have meanings, and they have history, and even when we are ignorant of those things, those things carry forward with their use.

So what is a hierarchy?

It's a compound word made of two parts:

Hiero, meaning priest and archon meaning rule(r). So, originally hierarchy refers to priests who bear rule.

Does anyone who uses the word mean those things? Probably not. But if we are talking ecclesiastical structure, then that original meaning very much comes to bear.

Because we have to ask ourselves: Are we all priests, or just some of us?

If we say that all are priests, and I think that's the prevailing view within the Apostolic Movement, then other questions arise:

Which priests get to rule, and which priests get to be ruled? How is that determined? Vote? Appointment? Fiat? Simply carrying the title "pastor" or "elder" or "bishop" doesn't make a person so, or prove that that person was qualified to take on the position. Not automatically at least.

So, we say, "Let's turn to the Scriptures". Good idea! But what if the lens through which we study the Scriptures is not the correct lens? Or if the filter through which we interpretation the Scriptures isn't the right filter? Sometimes even agreeing on definitions can be hard.

Now, if we agree quickly, things turn out well. But when we disagree, who gets to be the final voice that puts the foot down? The guy with the title or position?

Well, the hierarchical system of leadership which we currently make use of would say "Yes. The person holding the title or position is the final authority".

But, in the non-hierarchical model, what maybe could be called the communal model, no one tries throwing their weight around or putting their foot down, demanding that others submit to them. Each are allowed a voice, and wisdom can come from the unlikeliest of places.

Take Acts 15. Why didn't Paul just show up and say "All right. Listen up. I'm the God-called Apostles to the Gentiles and this is how it's going to be!"

I mean, we reference his writings as fully authoritative for us as believers. His written word is law, for us, right? So why didn't he do that? Because even the God-called Apostle to the Gentiles preferred the method Christ gave to the church:

You are all brothers. No one shall exercise dominion over another. Do not do as the Gentiles do. Be not as the hypocrites and Pharisees, who sit in Moses' seat. Be the least. Esteem yourselves as unprofitable slaves. Be not called "Teachers", for One is your Teacher, even the Anointed One (or Father, or Rabbi, etc.).

Paul saw the wisdom in allowing the process of discernment to work through the council of apostles and elders. Even though he was right! Even though his position on circumcision for the Gentiles was correct. Even though he was recognized by the pillars in Jerusalem as being appointed to the nations. He yielded all of that authority to the community of believers, and God vindicated His position before all, then picked him to take the epistle toward the Gentiles declaring the consolation.

Now, we know that the various organizations within Pentecost all have General Conferences, and positions papers are presented, and those present vote and articles pass or not. Fine.

But what about the local church? How are disputes handled? Call up headquarters and demand a hearing at GC? Papal bull?

The position I advocated was that there were five of us (elders), and Christ alone is chief shepherd and if we are as spiritual as we claim, as our assembly believes us to be, when an issue comes up, or a decision has to be made, we each ought to be able to seek the Lord, and He then, being able to speak to each of us, and get an answer from Him, and come together and find agreement because He spoke to each of us the same thing.

There didn't need to be a hierarchy. No one needed to be above anyone else. No papal bulls needed. No priest to rule, and no priest to be ruled.

Well, the rest is history. But the assembly we are with now, not only do we meet in homes only, there is no hierarchy except for 1 Corinthians 11:3. We make every decision by consent of the whole. Everyone has a voice and can speak to any issue that comes up, even regarding doctrine, or disagreements about doctrine. Each are also welcome to remain silent, if they don't want to give input. Every man a priest and pastor of his home, none being found as busy-bodies in other men's affairs. Otherwise, no titles, no positions, just functions according to the grace of God given.

Are there trusted older men and women, who through time and experience, and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, who are present and ready to step in and speak, offer guidance, wisdom, and/or correction, as needed? Yes. But they aren't the top rung of a organizational ladder or hierarchy. It is true community. We don't live on a single compound or anything like that, but we live a communal life with each other. All who have, give, and share, and contribute, in either carnal or spiritual things, or both. Whoever wants to open their home volunteers. No pressure. Each are expected to live for the Lord, no matter how long we might go between meetings. There is no schedule involved.

Otherwise, it's every one of you has a psalm, a doctrine, a revelation, and each can prophesy one by one, and speak words to edify, exhort, and comfort. The whole congregation is involved at the level each individual part desires. We provoke one another to love and good works. Christ ALONE is Head.
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Last edited by votivesoul; 04-13-2018 at 10:14 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:19 PM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
Brother Votive, this a good thread. Unfortunately, I have no answer except we all gotta do what God tells us to do. The church's destiny is in His hands, I just want to be part of it.
Thanks, Esaias

That's about what it comes down to, in the end. For me at least, there's a really big emotional hurdle that makes it hard. I can discern, feel, however you want to word it, the actual bonds in the Spirit between members of the Body, like a networking or spider's web, each member a node, and I can feel the love God has for each person flowing through the bonds of the Spirit, and when people began rejecting the whole counsel of God, and bonds start to fray, it just gets to be more than I can take sometimes.
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:28 PM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

God's preferred system only works if everyone is on board with it. As soon as Diotrephes starts to get ideas, things go downhill. Too many wanna be chief.

And so, here we are, with 20,000+ denominational voices screaming for attention. And they are not shutting up anytime soon.

I suspect God will have to find some stones from which to raise up children unto Abraham...
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2018, 12:37 AM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
God's preferred system only works if everyone is on board with it. As soon as Diotrephes starts to get ideas, things go downhill. Too many wanna be chief.

And so, here we are, with 20,000+ denominational voices screaming for attention. And they are not shutting up anytime soon.

I suspect God will have to find some stones from which to raise up children unto Abraham...
Or (hail) stones that weight about a talent each.
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2018, 10:10 AM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

Wow
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  #16  
Old 04-14-2018, 09:36 PM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

A man's gifts make room for him. By their fruits they are known. Also not everyone is an eye. or a hand. Gifts and calling show up in an individual. The church family works smoothly if we don't try to steer the Holy Ghost ourselves. Votive you posted that God told you in prayer to wait out the situation, when where you told to stop waiting?
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  #17  
Old 04-14-2018, 11:11 PM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by Evang.Benincasa View Post
A man's gifts make room for him. By their fruits they are known. Also not everyone is an eye. or a hand. Gifts and calling show up in an individual. The church family works smoothly if we don't try to steer the Holy Ghost ourselves. Votive you posted that God told you in prayer to wait out the situation, when where you told to stop waiting?
Three years later.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:10 AM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by votivesoul View Post
Three years later.
There are always a lot of different variables to why we wait so long or not long enough. Church seems to be the place where we have more freedom to be able to make decisions to leave. While in secular work, or even worse prison, we aren't afforded the luxury. As children some times in bad situations we are under abusive authorities. We just can't leave, we have to stay and work through it the best we know how. Sometimes exceeding years, years we can't even begin to see the end. Jobs with bosses who are total jerks, who misuse their power and authority to make each day a living hell. Yet, people need the money to pay bills, to feed a family, to prevent being thrown out in the street.
All they have is prayer, and they pray that God gives them a better opportunity.

Yet, sometimes God (for whatever reason) doesn't give that open door. What He does give you is one more day with strength to get through that day.
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  #19  
Old 04-15-2018, 07:38 AM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by Evang.Benincasa View Post
There are always a lot of different variables to why we wait so long or not long enough. Church seems to be the place where we have more freedom to be able to make decisions to leave. While in secular work, or even worse prison, we aren't afforded the luxury. As children some times in bad situations we are under abusive authorities. We just can't leave, we have to stay and work through it the best we know how. Sometimes exceeding years, years we can't even begin to see the end. Jobs with bosses who are total jerks, who misuse their power and authority to make each day a living hell. Yet, people need the money to pay bills, to feed a family, to prevent being thrown out in the street.
All they have is prayer, and they pray that God gives them a better opportunity.

Yet, sometimes God (for whatever reason) doesn't give that open door. What He does give you is one more day with strength to get through that day.
Spot on, my older brother!

I worked four years third shift as a Night Auditor at a resort. It was a miserable job but I stayed because it was the only one I could get after I graduated college right when the recession hit hardest and the economy tanked. So I held it and held it, and prayed and prayed for God to release me and allow me to find different work. No amount of applications or resumes made a dent in my situation.

Then, that last year, an intern named Yanyu from China who was getting her Master's Degree in Accounting from Purdue University was hired on and I was given the task of training her to learn the audit as the first process of how resort accounting operations worked. The short version:

I taught her as much as I could about being born again while working together. Invited her to church (the one I've been describing in this thread) and she came several times.

I introduced her to a couple from the church and she became friends with them. The husband's mom had been in some form a missionary to China, working as an English teacher, connected to a woman named Jenny Miller, a somewhat well-known pioneering Apostolic missionary to China. Well, the mom had a friend from China staying with her here in the States, and while visiting with them one night, my co-worker received the Holy Spirit.

We were already gone from that church by then, but I was contacted by the couple, who wanted me to know and who thanked me for all I had done to help win Yanyu to the Lord. Turns out, Yanyu had a video of her baptism, which had happened with a Chinese campus ministry back at Purdue, and the friend from China watched it and interpreted it and said Yanyu had been baptized in the name of Jesus.

Two weeks or so later, Yanyu was back to China. I had been begging God for a new job but He had other plans. When she came to the resort and started as a Night Auditor instead of in the Accounting Department like she had been promised, she became very crest-fallen and depressed and felt like God had somehow let her down and she just couldn't see why God had brought her to WI, to the resort to the Night Audit team. She had to stay in a cr@ppy dorm, couldn't get any sleep during the day because of remodeling construction, etc. But once the opportunity to witness to her and evangelize her became available, I finally realized why God parked me for four years at a dead end, soul-sucking job and wouldn't let me move on.
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Last edited by votivesoul; 04-15-2018 at 07:42 AM.
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  #20  
Old 04-15-2018, 07:51 AM
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Re: A Glorious Church?

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Originally Posted by votivesoul View Post
Spot on, my older brother!

I worked four years third shift as a Night Auditor at a resort. It was a miserable job but I stayed because it was the only one I could get after I graduated college right when the recession hit hardest and the economy tanked. So I held it and held it, and prayed and prayed for God to release me and allow me to find different work. No amount of applications or resumes made a dent in my situation.

Then, that last year, an intern named Yanyu from China who was getting her Master's Degree in Accounting from Purdue University was hired on and I was given the task of training her to learn the audit as the first process of how resort accounting operations worked. The short version:

I taught her as much as I could about being born again while working together. Invited her to church (the one I've been describing in this thread) and she came several times.

I introduced her to a couple from the church and she became friends with them. The husband's mom had been in some form a missionary to China, working as an English teacher, connected to a woman named Jenny Miller, a somewhat well-known pioneering Apostolic missionary to China. Well, the mom had a friend from China staying with her here in the States, and while visiting with them one night, my co-worker received the Holy Spirit.

We were already gone from that church by then, but I was contacted by the couple, who wanted me to know and who thanked me for all I had done to help win Yanyu to the Lord. Turns out, Yanyu had a video of her baptism, which had happened with a Chinese campus ministry back at Purdue, and the friend from China watched it and interpreted it and said Yanyu had been baptized in the name of Jesus.

Two weeks or so later, Yanyu was back to China. I had been begging God for a new job but He had other plans. When she came to the resort and started as a Night Auditor instead of in the Accounting Department like she had been promised, she became very crest-fallen and depressed and felt like God had somehow let her down and she just couldn't see why God had brought her to WI, to the resort to the Night Audit team. She had to stay in a cr@ppy dorm, couldn't get any sleep during the day because of remodeling construction, etc. But once the opportunity to witness to her and evangelize her became available, I finally realized why God parked me for four years at a dead end, soul-sucking job and wouldn't let me move on.
As for the three years at the church, a lot of that time was me searching my own soul for indications of carnality. I constantly felt the need to check myself and make sure what I was seeing in the Bible was really there, and not a deception, or illusion.

Another part of it was because it was where God saved me. It's where every member in my family the Lord used me to win came to be saved. At the time, some family had moved on to other assemblies, but my brother was still there, and he and I were super-close. My best friend who won me to the Lord was there, his brother, my good friend, had become the pastor. Their mom, was a member, and she was like a second mom to me. I had known this family and been incredibly close to them for 25 years at that point, since we were little kids. Through thick and thin, side by side through all the spiritual trenches, as it were.

So, in a way, I was too close to say something earlier. But I also understood God's timing, and how He has a plan and rushing ahead of His plan was to get in His way, a big no-no. So, until I knew 100% the time was right, I zipped my lip, until I knew He wanted me to speak.
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