What Is the Theology of The Shack?

The author of The Shack described his best seller as “theology wrapped in a story.” Ever wonder what the theology of The Shack is? It’s spelled out in Young’s theological book Lies We Believe About God. Here’s an article that gives some of the highlights.

https://www.challies.com/what-does-the-shack-really-teach-…/

While this article brands Young a universalist, that is a label he would refuse to wear, for he technically believes that Christ is the only way to salvation. Young is a universal or ultimate reconciliationist. He believes that through Christ alone, all men will be saved, including Judas Iscariot, Hitler, and unrepentant child molesters who use and then murder their innocent victims, and then live and die without remorse. That’s Young’s god- the god of The Shack.

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What Is a True Prophet? A True Prophet Is a Human Sign

I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; (Lam. 3:1 ESV).

When God takes in hand to make a prophet from common clay, His first order of business is to make the man the message.  God told Ezekiel, “I have made you a sign for the house of Israel”, not “Go hold up a sign to the house of Israel.”  He first makes the man the message.  God told Isaiah, “Tell Egypt and Cush that they will go naked and barefoot in a foreign land, and oh, by the way, Isaiah, you’re going to go naked, as well.”

When God gently and wonderfully stretches forth his fingers to the lips of a man, and puts His words in the mouth of the prophet, those words are to the prophet’s palate as sweet as honey.  The prophet assumes from this experience that God’s intentions are for him to preach those wonderful words from the highest roof-tops, not pray them in the lowest pit.  But, the process of assimilation, where the word goes down into the inward parts of the belly, where the man becomes the message, is a terribly bitter process.  The words that were once as sweet as honey in the mouth, become as bitter as gall in the depths of the man, where the word becomes wordless groans of intercession, as deep calls to deep.

He bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow.  He drove into my kidneys the  arrows of his quiver;  He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood (Lam. 3:12, 13, 15 ESV).

The billows and waves of God’s bitter process overwhelm the man, as the word of the Lord transforms him from within, into the message, and when whelmed in the pain, weakness, confusion, and brokenness of those waves, the man finds no outlet, no receptive ear, no hungry longing in God’s people for a word that burns like a fire and that breaks the rock in peaces.  The word that was once so sweet to the prophet’s palate, is now a bitter churning in the depths of his weak humanity, and he finds no joy in musing over the words that once brought such sweet pleasure.  He grips his stomach, and rolls and writhes in pain and weakness while the word works in the secret place where Christ is enshrined – that place that is hidden from the eyes of all but God.

Paul said, “You all may prophecy.”  However, not all who prophecy are prophets.  There is a world of difference between the gift that edifies, exhorts, and comforts, and the word of the Lord that breaks the rock in pieces, confronts God’s people with a Holy God and their own sinful corruption, and turns men from their corrupt way, or mode of life, to His way.  The prophet stands at the crossroads of men’s hearts and lives, and at the crossroads of human history, casting up a toll gate, pointing men to the ancient way, the costly way – the way of the cross.

A thousand how-to-self-help books litter the shelves of Christendom’s bookstore, and a thousand “prophets” lead God’s people astray with their lies and their lightness.  The true prophet stands outside, as always.  He slips from the isles of Super God Mart as he senses the Lord Jesus approaching His house, scourge in hand, to cleanse it of those who merchandize truth (“ministry”) and profit from party membership dues (“tithes”).  He offends men by calling their god a golden calf, by calling their self-improvement Christianity a sham, and by treating as a profane thing, that which they call holy.  Seven Mountain Mandates, Purpose Driven Lives and Churches, Wild Hearts, Shacks, and a thousand others… he mocks at their Baals, and rebuilds the altar of God, pointing men back to the cross, God’s only method and means.  He stands at a crossroads that men don’t recognize that they must negotiate, and he points them to the ancient path and the narrow gate.

Like Bunyon’s character Christian, when the true prophet meets other pilgrims on the path, he is supremely interested in how they came to enter the path.  Christian’s question was, “Why did you not enter at the Wicket-gate which is located at the beginning of this way?”  What does it matter, as long as they are on the path?  The true prophet understands that the nature of a gate is to latch securely closed, as well as to swing wide.  That’s what makes it a gate and not a freeway.  He has beheld the goodness and severity of Him who is the gate into the sheepfold, and his question is, “Did you enter by yonder Wicket-gate, or are you a thief and a robber (those who feel entitled to that which does not rightfully belong to them) who climbed up some other way?”  The true prophet is very severe in his insistence upon a true conversion that saves form sin, rather than the false conversion of the wide gate and the broad way worn thin by the sin-enslaved masses.

I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long (Lam. 3:14 ESV).

I have often cringed at the sight of some poor soul wearing a silly suit, pointing passing motorists to the business establishment that employs them as a human sign.  The whole thing strikes me as degrading, as the business sets a human being before the eyes of his or her community as nothing but an object, stripping them of their human dignity and individual identity, using them as a sign animated with human life, all to arrest human attention for the purpose of casting their gaze upon, and turning their thoughts to the business and the chicken, or pizza, or insurance, or tires that they sell.  The employee surrenders his or her individual identity and dignity for the identity and success of the establishment.  The same is true of the prophet.  The prophet is made a spectacle before men and angels, as his individuality and his dignity are stripped before his community to point men to another.  However, the single and striking difference is that this human sign represents and points men to Christ alone, and never to the establishment of “Christian Religion” or the merchandise that she peddles.

This is a bitter process for the man who has stood in God’s council and heard His words.  This type of prophet sells no books or DVDs, for his life and his message cause men to recoil in horror from the means that God employs and promotes through his life experience.  The cross is still an offence and foolishness to those masses thronging the isles of Super God Mart, so they naturally turn from his thoroughfare to the wide freeway of destruction, as they race to their end, following the flashy sports cars of false prophets who run, having never been sent of God, and who prophecy, having never heard God’s word, and who, in the end, will not profit God’s people at all.  These blind leaders of the blind race headlong into a ditch wide and deep enough for the masses that follow.

This whole shameful degeneration, as the bad figs become completely rotten and useless, breaks the prophet’s heart, as he is allowed the great privilege of entering into Christ’s ministry of intercession for His people who love to be led by prophets who prophecy lies, and by shepherds who bear rule by their means.

The sweet words that the years and the dealings of God have turned bitter, deep within the bowels of the man-message, are now kindling for the fires of intercession that burn deep within Christ and within the man who is allowed to be one with Christ in His ministry of intercession.  His bitterness has become his joy, as he finds deep calling to deep, and as he senses a power with God on behalf of men that preaching sweet words could never approach.  His bitterness is turned to sweetness as he now speaks to God on behalf of men more than to men on behalf of God.  This is the secret passion and pleasure of the true prophet.

Between the time the Lord called Isaiah a prophet and then actually sent him to speak, was perhaps sixteen years.  I suspect this interim period was a baptism in the bitter process that all men or women of God must endure: that of God making the man the message.  Ministry schools and seminaries put men in hoppers and crank out preachers, but all true ministers, or servants, or signs, as with Paul, Peter, Jeremiah, and other true messengers, go through the school of Christ where they learn Christ.  They go from doing, to being, as the death of Christ works in them, so that life might work in others (the essence of true ministry).  The true prophet eats the roll before he speaks, therefore, he becomes the message before he becomes a messenger.  This is God’s way… the way of the prophet, as God makes the man the message – as God makes the man a sign.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.  It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.  Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust– there may yet be hope; (Lam. 3:21-29 ESV)

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A Response To Dr. Michael Brown’s Video Are Women Called To Be Pastors?

On the ASKDrBrown Youtube channel, Dr. Michael Brown tackles the question, “Are Women Called To Be Pastors?”  He further frames the question with the following: “Does Paul forbid women from pastoring churches? What does the New Testament teach on this?”

I felt the Lord directing me to respond to Dr. Brown’s video, not to disagree with Dr. Brown, but to cast light on truth that has been obscured by perhaps centuries of religious tradition.  I am keenly aware that the Lord Jesus, who directed me to respond to Dr. Brown, is also Dr. Brown’s master, and that we are both on the same team, and part of the same family, and the one body of Christ, so my purpose is not to cause division (we already have too much division in the body of Christ), but to bring forth truth, that we might all be one in the Truth (Truth is a Person).  I am also keenly aware that, as with all truth, this truth will be an inconvenient truth for many in leadership roles in Christendom.

The way Dr. Brown framed and answered the question regarding women as pastors, makes it clear that when he speaks of a “pastor,” Dr. Brown is speaking of what is known today as the “senior pastor” or head of a Christian organization that we call “a church.”  So, let me start by saying that I agree with Dr. Brown that women are not called to be what he calls “senior pastors” of “churches.”  However, neither do I believe that men are called to be such.

I believe that what we know today as a senior pastor, acting as head of an organization we call a church, is an invalid expression of New Testament Christianity, that it was unknown to the early church, and that it is unsupported by scripture.  Not only are the terms unbiblical (at least in the ways in which we use them), but the realities to which the terms “senior pastor” and “church” point are unbiblical on so many levels.  Let’s start with the term “senior pastor.”

The English word “pastor” is a translation of the Greek word that literally means “shepherd.”   Excluding its references to Christ Himself, this word is used as a noun to describe a man as a shepherd of God’s people only once in all of the NT, and yet, the “senior pastor” is the most prominent figure in modern Protestant Christianity.  Let me say that there is only one “Senior Pastor”, or “Chief Shepherd” mentioned in all of scripture (1 Pet. 5:4), and that is Christ!  It’s interesting to note that only Eph 4:11 even mentions the pastor.  That’s pretty scant biblical support for the “office of senior pastor.”  In fact,  someone has pointed out that there is more Biblical precedent for snake handling, than there is for what we know today as the “senior pastor.” [1]  Let that soak in for a minute.

Ministers are experts at regurgitating orthodoxy, but when their guards are down, and they begin to admit the reality of our practice, and therefore our inward convictions and motives, they tend to inadvertently proclaim the truth of the matter, heterodox, though it be.  Thomas Trask, one of the men who dared to put their hand to the ark of God in an effort to control the Brownsville Revival, interviewed Steve Hill, and asked him about the role of the pastor.  Steve Hill stated the truth that he would never preach as doctrine, when he said, “There is only one central headship of the church, and that is the pastor, but there is a place for the evangelist in the local church.”

In the Brownsville Revival documentary, Senior Pastor John Kilpatrick’s wife, in a moment of candor that struck my wife and I to the heart, said, “God always comes to the headship first.  If the pastor doesn’t want this move of God, He will not come.  It has to come through the pastor.  ‘When my husband said, …  It was like all heaven came down.'”

Brother, you who occupy the position of senior pastor, you who criticize a woman pastor for usurping the place of man as head of a church, you should tremble.  These unguarded statements quoted above betray the dirty truth of Protestantism, and that is that, like Priest and Pope, the man-made position of “senior pastor” has usurped Christ’s place as Head of His church.  The issue is not male or female.  The issue is who’s in charge.  Who owns the people?  Who’s in control?  Who directs the whole thing?  Who is head?

You see, Dr. Brown’s position on women pastors, which is in harmony with many other Bible scholars, such as Dr. John Macarthur, or Dr. John Piper, is an incorrect position, simply because it is based upon a false presupposition, and that is that a single man that we call pastor (the CEO of a corporate entity that we call a church), is a biblical position in the first place.  It is one of the clearest examples that we have today of a Babylonian church system that is based upon fallen man and his ways, rather than upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

Dr. Brown, as well as John Piper, when speaking of the practicalities of women and ministry, both give examples of the legitimacy of women who minister to the body of Christ, and yet, reframe the whole issue, with phrases like Dr. Brown used in his video, such as “governmental authority.”  In other words, both seem to recognize, as all of the NT teaches, that in Christ, there is neither male nor female, and that in an open and participatory gathering of believers, as in the first church, or on the frontlines of church planting and evangelism, the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit flow unhindered through believers of either gender.  However, they reframe the question in a way that reserves the headship of the church for man.  You see, when it becomes a question of “senior pastor,” it all comes down to who’s the boss?  Who’s in charge?  Who’s the big cheese?  Who does God have to get permission from in order to come to His people?  That’s the real issue here.  Women are free to serve, but man reserves the right to run the show.  “My church, my congregation, my people.”  Statements such as these are so common that they have desensitized God’s people to the scandal of it all!

There is only one Head of the church, which is the body of Christ, and that is Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, THE Senior Pastor, and there is only one body of Christ, and one church, not 10,000.  When Dr. Brown used the term “governmental authority,” a phrase that I have not found in scripture in reference to His church, [2] I tend to believe that what he meant by this phrase is “church politic.”  Politic is the pragmatic business decision made in a thousand churches in a thousand ways that preserves the pastor’s place as CEO of the business venture, his place as king of his little kingdom, and his place as the spiritual head of a multi-headed monstrosity that we call the body of Christ.  Is it any wonder that she is full of wounds, bruises, and putrefying sores, and that her shepherds and prophets have healed her hurts slightly.

Church politic is the sword that was unsheathed against Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and against God’s precious people, and His glorious work in their midst.  It is the sword that is drunk with the blood of a thousand living martyrs who have found themselves in the inevitable conflict between following Christ as a bondservant, and remaining in good standing with those who have a position, an organization, and a name for which to contend.  The tragedy is that men are so blind as to believe that this whole devilish system is the “governmental authority” of the Kingdom of Heaven, and so blind that they continue to bleed to preserve it and perpetuate it.

Politic is a word with Greek roots that speak of citizenship in a city.  Church politic…  It’s all about citizenship in a city, and there are only two ruling cities in the Earth today.  One is Babylon, a city and a tower made of Earth, standing as a monument to man’s ambition, pride, abilities, and fear of the breakings of God; a city of confusion, dispersion, and eventual ruin and decay.  The other is the New Jerusalem, a purely heavenly city, of heavenly origins, not rising from the dust of the earth, but descending from Heaven above.  It’s substance is not made of the Earth, but of living stones, joined together as family, by cords of love and bonds of relationship.

These two ruling cities are irreconcilable.  In fact, as the board of directors of Brownsville stated, they have “irreconcilable differences.”  The conflict must come.  They cannot coexist in peace.  Those of the New Jerusalem will never have a place in Babylon, and visa versa.

The winnowing and separating had to come.  Those of the Heavenly City can reach in love to those of Babylon, but they will never find an extended hand to grip.  Their purposes, means, and destiny are too different, and each has a sense of the reality that neither can affect the final change in the other.

I know who I am in Christ and in relation to His people, the family of God.  Likewise, I can reach in faith to a brother who I wish to hold near and embrace in the household of God, and yet, he has a deep inward sense of the chasm that lies between us, and to leave his position and place in the city in which he has invested all that he is, would mean a death too great.  And so, the separation is inevitable.  The separation was always inevitable.  The revival couldn’t continue, and God knew it wouldn’t, but he had to come to the organized church first.  However, their is a bright future, to which we all look in FAITH!

Dr. Brown, the mayor of Babylon “can fire you from being president, but he cannot fire you from being a father.”  If all of you who were a part of BRSM, and of the Brownsville Revival, jealously guarded John Kilpatrick’s reputation, and covered his sins, evading Saul’s spears, then you passed the test and qualified yourselves for what God is going to do.  Don’t perpetuate the wretched cycle by becoming a Saul yourself, ruling over and contending for your little kingdoms (churches, ministries, etc.).  Allow the Lord to strip you of all of that, so that you might be a part of David’s Reign, as Christ takes His rightful place as Head of His body, the Church.  [3]

There is no hierarchy in the Body of Christ.  Jesus Christ will only be Head of His body by becoming the Head of every man!  [4]

You all, who were a part of BRSM, who passed the test, have a bright future, but that future doesn’t include God coming again to the old dry, rigid, wineskin that always breaks under the pressure of the expanding Kingdom of Heaven, and the moving of the Holy Spirit.  It has proven to rupture every time, and God will not waste his precious New Wine on it again.  He gave us a hundred-year prophetic picture of bringing back the ark of God the wrong way.  This prophetic picture opened the twentieth century with the great Azusa outpouring, and closed with the great Brownsville outpouring.  It was a picture to us of doing it the wrong way.  If we are going to have the glory that our hearts will never be satisfied without, we must seek Him for His proper order, and bring back the ark of God the right way, the way He has sanctioned, or it will only bring death.  For much more clarity on this prophetic picture see the following video on the subject.  It brings to light what happened at Brownsville, and why:  Bring Back The Ark

That leads us to the second point.  Just as the position of senior pastor is an unbiblical position, so also, what we know today as “a church” is a completely unbiblical entity.  If the senior pastor, as a spiritual head, is Protestantism’s scandal, then so too is the religious business venture that we call a church.

“Church” is the English word for the biblical word that has nothing to do with a building or an organization, but literally means “the called out ones.”  The people of God are the only legitimate meaning for the word church, and yet, when we say the word, we don’t think of the people, but the entity, and the entity exists for no purpose whatsoever that is necessary to the building of the body of Christ.  Rather, it exists to provide for man’s ambition, man’s need for significance, and man’s monetary gain, as well as man’s misguided and fallen propensity for religious holy places (temples), holy men (priests), and holy objects (relics).

The body of Christ, the church, is a living entity, an organism, not an organization, and her expression is to be that of shared lives and love relationships in the context of the home and workplace, where we live life, as the center for Christian fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism, and not in the context of a religious organization with its corporate structure based upon the sale of a product called the worship service, or preaching/teaching, or programs such as Sunday school, outreach, women’s ministry, ad infinitum.

What we have today as independent, and often competing entities called churches, is the end product of the fallacy that Paul addressed in the Corinthian church, when he confronted their carnal and infantile attitude of heart expressed by the phrase, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas.”  When Jesus addressed the seven churches, He saw and addressed a single church in each city.  Paul allowed no divisions whatsoever in the body of Christ, and yet, we think that every time we  create a new division and slap a name on its marquee that we are church planting and doing the work of God. [5]

The first church was an example of what we should be, and that is one unified church in every city (or cluster of cities with today’s increased mobility and communication networks) where elders (those more mature in Christ, not in years only, but in the revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ, and in union with Him) and overseers (those with spiritual vision and qualifying inward character, light, and ability to instruct) equip the body of Christ to minister growth to herself as every member, whether Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher, or not, does its part, as these expressions of service (as well as many others), and not titles of a position, minister to one another in the context of shared lives. [6]

Elders and Overseers (who do the work of pastoring God’s people, rather than hold a title or position called “pastor”) and who are always mentioned in the NT scriptures in the plural form, do not reign in a position of authority over God’s people, but rather, stand before them as examples of Christian character and godly living. [7]  As a leadership team, they are further down the narrow path that leads to life, so they can say, to God’s people, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  They are not capstones that rule from above, as with today’s senior pastor, but foundation stones that serve and support from beneath.  They are true servants that take no ownership of God’s people, and yet bear the weight of responsibility for the people that make up, not “their congregation”, but the one single congregation that is to be the bride of Christ, as stewards of the mystery entrusted to them.

In regard to ministry, they are without ego, and are motivated by no personal interests, such as “doing ministry” as a career, but are, as Paul gave the example, willing to work with their own hands to provide for themselves and their families, all while laying down their lives, as members of a family, for the people of God that have one Head, even Jesus Christ.  As ministers or servants, they operate as part of a team that works together with the same goal, and that is to build the body of Christ, not to build a ministry, a church, an organization, a name, or a reputation.

They may move from venue to venue as directed by the Holy Spirit, whether from house church to house to house church, or from a school auditorium to a rented community center, all without drawing men to themselves, or without any inward desire for a territory, a reputation, or an entity on which the can put a name, or in which they can find personal significance or stature in the eyes of the world.  They don’t perform as a different class of Christian, but live and love, succeed and fail, all in the context of love relationships as members on equal ground with other members of the family of God, which they have the spiritual vision to see as one universal family, with no walls of division.

When every member, whose lives are their worship, brings their part to the gathering, whether at home or cathedral, whether to cook or to pray, whether to work or to worship, whether by two or three or three thousand, the gifts and the ministry giftings, such as the shepherd gifting, flow naturally from both male and female in the context of shared lives and body ministry, just as in the family unit, for the body of Christ is meant to be a large family.

This is the context in which Dr. Brown and others can see the validity of women in ministry, just as is taught by all of the NT scripture.  Where they stumble, is where many stumble in Biblical interpretation, and that is in the flawed attempt to read back into scripture our unbiblical model and then attempt to make scripture line up.  This is an exercise in folly.  Are women called to be “Senior Pastors” of a church organization, a corporate entity with separating walls of division, that serve only to further destroy the body of Christ, rather than to build it (“I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Baptist, Assemblies of God, First Church of Such and Such”)?  Are women called to be senior pastors of a church?  No!  Absolutely not!  But, neither are men!  And let me say that “pastor” as with all five ministry gifts, was never intended to be a title for an office or position (something Jesus did not allow [8]), but rather, describes a work.  [9]

A true overseer, who may be an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher, and who works along side on equal footing with other members of the body who may operate in these giftings, whether overseers or not, would naturally recoil from the notion of any of God’s people being dependent upon them, for their goal is to grow them up into all things in Christ.  Their goal is never to have a following, to expand their mailing list, to increase their Youtube views, or to be recognized as the source of the heavenly outpouring, but to connect all of the members of the body to their Head Christ Jesus, so that they can relate to Him directly and receive direction directly from their Head.  Oh, God, reveal your sons (huios) whether male or female!  Give us true shepherds after your own heart, as you promised through the prophet!

As Frank Bartleman traveled the nation during the early part of the twentieth century, attempting to “bring Pentecost” to churches across the land, he consistently found pastors planted squarely in the way of the moving of God’s Spirit.  I have seen that many times myself, over the years.  God has either had to lay the pastor out, getting him completely out of the way, or God has had to move through him to get to His own people.  You see, Mrs. Kilpatrick’s statement about God having to come through the headship is sadly correct, not because it’s God’s way, but because God’s people have submitted themselves to Priest and Pope as their head, rather than Christ.

In the end though, revival always dies because the man won’t stay out of the way for long.  He has a kingdom to contend for, and when the ark of God is in the midst of His people, Jesus will always bring them down to the threshing floor to sift motives and to strip lives, uniting them with Him in His death.  For the pastor (king) the death is always greater, and so few are willing to lose all to have His precious ark.  So the man saves his life, and loses the glorious ark of God, stripping the people of the Glory, as he puts forth his hand in an endeavor to control, to preserve, to save the life he eventually loses.

Oh, we need a revolution in the body of Christ!  We need an uprising in the hearts of men and women against an ungodly rule that has usurped Christ’s rightful place as the one and only Head of His body!  Here’s your call, “Come out of her my people, that you not be partakers of her sins, and therefore of her plagues, for her end comes in a day.”

The question burning in my heart that heats my tears is not, “Should women be pastors?”, but “When will He give us pastors after His own heart who will shepherd His people and feed His people (instead of feeding off of them) with knowledge and understanding, until they have no lack, and there is no weak or feeble among them?”  (Jer. 3:15, 23:4)

Isa 56:11  Yea, the dogs are greedy, they can never have enough; and these are shepherds that cannot understand: they have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, from every quarter.

Jer 23:1-4  Woe unto the shepherds that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith Jehovah.  Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, against the shepherds that feed my people: Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith Jehovah.  And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and multiply.  And I will set up shepherds over them, who shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be lacking, saith Jehovah.

Jer 25:34-36  Wail, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow in ashes, ye principal of the flock; for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are fully come, and ye shall fall like a goodly vessel.  And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.  A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and the wailing of the principal of the flock! for Jehovah layeth waste their pasture.

Jer 50:6  My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting-place.

Eze 34:2-4  Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the sheep?  Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fatlings; but ye feed not the sheep.  The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them.

Eze 34:9-10  therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah:  Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.

Zec 10:3  Mine anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the he-goats; for Jehovah of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Notes:

[1] Two scriptures regarding “snake handling”

Mar 16:18  …they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Act 28:3, 5  But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand.  Howbeit he shook off the creature into the fire, and took no harm.

Only Eph. 4:11 mentions the pastor.

[2] Governmental Authority:

Rom 13:2-3  Therefore whoever [a]resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. 3 For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. (AMP)

While I understand that decisions must be made by church leadership, we must understand that there is no positional authority in the church, as there was in Israel, under the Old Covenant, where graceless men had to be obeyed because of an office that they occupied, such as prophet, priest, or king.  This is similar to the civic, or governmental authority that Jesus spoke about when He said, “Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Not so shall it be among you: but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mat. 20:25-28).

In the New Testament church, there is no positional, or governmental authority.  There is only relational authority.  Christ is Head of His church, so men only have His authority in so far as they are acting in accord with His mind, nature, purposes, and commands.  We don’t submit to our overseers (and to one another Eph. 5:21), because of their position over us, but because we are convinced by the word of the Lord flowing through them.  We humble ourselves and allow ourselves to be convinced by them, as we sense the wisdom of God from Christ, who is our Wisdom.  If they are out of accord with God’s will, we must submit to Christ as our Head, and not to man, unless we can do so with a clear conscience and for the Love of our brother, in order to maintain the bond of peace.  In fact, in the NT, while we do see human leadership, we never see human headship, except in the marriage relationship.  The only headship we see in the church is Christ’s headship.

Positions and titles, such as that of the senior pastor, where the pastor can hire and fire other ministers, and where he expects submission from subordinates because he has a position of rank in the church, is positional authority that is patterned after the world’s system where “their great ones exercise authority over them.”  This, Jesus prohibited for true leaders in the church.  His is a completely different form of authority, based upon love, servanthood, surrender to the Father’s will, and relationship with the family of God.  This is relational authority.  It is much higher than “governmental authority,” and it is not the privilege of males, but the responsibility of all of God’s children who are mature, whether male or female.

[3] David’s Reign

[4] Christ’s Headship does not flow down through a hierarchy:

1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

This hierarchy of headship is not speaking of women in relation to men in general, but the wife in relation to her husband, only.  In the church, while we are to submit to our overseers, and to one another, their is only one Head of the church, and that is Christ, and we all bear the responsibility of connecting directly to and receiving direction directly from our Head, Christ Jesus.  No man acts as our head; only Christ Jesus.  The head of every man is Christ

Eph 1:22-23  and he put all things in subjection under his [Christ’s] feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Col 2:8-11  Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ;

Col 2:18-19  Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he hath seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increasing with the increase of God.

[5] No Divisions Allowed:

1Co 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1Co 12:25  that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

[6] Body Ministry:

Eph 4:11-16  And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: … speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

1Co 14:26  What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Rom 14:19  So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.

Rom 15:14  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.

1Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

[7]  Imitate those who do not rule over you, but stand before you as examples:

Mat 20:25-28  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Not so shall it be among you: but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

1Pe 5:1-5  The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away.  Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.

Heb 13:7  Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

[8] No titles of Christian position, and all on same level as brethren:

Mat 23:8-12  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren.  And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.   And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.

[9] Shepherding or pastoring the flock is the work of those with oversight:

Joh 21:16  He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep.

Act 20:28  Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.

1Pe 5:2-3  Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.

 

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Soteriology Part 1 – Temporary, Failed, and False Conversion

From the Soteriology series.

In part 1 we look at temporary conversion (problem soil), failed conversion (problem seed), and false conversion (renovation, as opposed to regeneration).

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Soteriolgy Part 2 – True Conversion Is A Mighty Act of God

From the Soteriology series.

This message brings to light scriptural truths regarding true conversion, as an act of the will and power of God, through our personal testimonies.  True conversion is not an act on our part, but a mighty act of salvation on God’s part.

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Choices for His People

Wow, this is a word the Lord spoke to me 17 years ago, shortly after he saved me, that we are seeing played out before our eyes in this political and cultural season of choice. This 2016 presidential election is more critical even than we have been warned, but for a much different reason than men are aware. It’s not critical for our nation, but for the church, as she is being sifted by the man Donald Trump.

http://www.buildinghishouse.org/prophecy/choices.shtml

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Mal. 3:15-18

And now we are calling the arrogant blessed. Not only are the doers of wickedness built up, they also test God, and escape. Then those fearing the LORD spoke together, each man to his neighbor. And the LORD listened and heard. And a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD, and for those esteeming His name. And they shall be Mine, says the LORD of hosts, for the day that I will make up My treasure. And I will pity them as a man has pity on his son who serves him. Then you shall again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God, and him who does not serve Him.
Mal. 3:15-18
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