Hey, remember when I wrote that mad long article about the local church? I casually mentioned that the right church holds to scripturally correcting its members. I never really explained what I meant by that, so people had questions. Questions like “what does it mean that a church corrects its members?” Or “what does church discipline look like?” Or how does church discipline work? And, does church discipline work at all? I even got “who is allowed to carry out church discipline and why?” Good questions all but, I’ll take a step back to work through the rationale with another crazy long article. Audio to come soon.
The church today is known by her division. She’s gotten a reputation. Maybe social media makes it seem worse than it is, but that doesn’t matter.
That said, this doesn’t mean that all divisions are wrong. Paul, noting the divisions in ancient Corinth (1 Cor 11:18) pointed out that through divisions they would identify their true working Christians (1 Cor 11:19). Indeed, in Romans 16:17, Paul both warns about division and then encourages it in the same verse!
So, what should the church do? In seeking to be known by her love (John 13:35) should the church pursue unity at all costs? When, if ever, is it right to divide?
Christians, hearing the phrase “obedience to the Word of God” might be quick to assume that this is a call to obey what the Word of God has to say. They’ll hear the words and think that there is some command, or some passage of the Bible, that is not being obeyed and this is the reason for the call that we need to be obedient to the Word of God. Indeed, there are many passages that highlight the importance of obeying what God has to say: we must submit to what He says. He is the master; we are the servants.
That said I like Paul’s example of how one ministers in obedience and subjection to the Word of God. In Colossians 1:225-28 he sees himself as completely swallowed up in the mission and calling of the church. The church, he knows, is to suffer so he happily rejoices in suffering for her. Christ’s body is to be continually afflicted and, in obedience to the word of God, Paul tries to take on what is lacking in those afflictions. God commissioned him to do the work and he sees himself as a complete servant that is wholly given to that work so as to present the word of God in its fullness.
But the obedience to the word of God is also seen in the future reality of the church. Let me explain.
Testimony, even rephrased as bearing witness, is for court-room dramas and evangelical fundamentalist Christians circles. It shouldn’t be though. Peter tells us to be ready to answer any person who asks us why we believe (1 Peter 3:15). Simply put, giving your testimony is telling your story to answer the question of how God has worked, and continues to work, in your life.
Many Christians, are afraid of the “telling” bit (since speaking in front of people is horrifying). Others fear the “story” thinking that their testimony is boring. Some folk don’t know how to do it and others just do a bad job. This post will teach you how to give your testimony in any situation.
Scripture tells us almost nothing about the selection, work, and office of the deacon.
In the early church, deacons were church officers—third to bishops and elders—and they had to be obeyed and respected “as Jesus Christ.” (Tabb, B. J. (2016). Deacon.) Mounce (Pastoral Epistles) points out that at one point the deacon was over the church serving the bishop (Pastoral Epistles, 210) instead of serving the church. Today, a deacon is everything from a trustee to ordained ministers who are a step down from priests.
We need to dig deep.