House Groups, Para-Church Orgs Open Door for Division and Error
What has happened to those stalwart soldiers of the cross who once marched to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers? It is clear there is a present spiritual war in which men must fight if they would win. The fight is not for the faint hearted but for those who would be men of deep-seated faith and willing to die for the same. What happened to the correct, Biblical, patriarchal family structure as set forth in the Scripture? Why has it been abandoned by vast numbers of those who profess the Christian faith though it is clearly taught in the Bible as God’s will for mankind? Government has promoted this godless society, but one must not blame unregenerates of the world for believing and behaving according to their depraved nature. You cannot expect a buzzard to act contrary to his nature; neither can you expect man to act contrary to his nature. This is not to say they are not responsible and accountable before God, they are.
Much of the blame must be laid at the feet of Christians who failed to believe and practice the Thus saith the Lord as given in the Bible. The failure of Christians must be, in large measure, laid at the feet of those who are called of God and given gifts necessary to provide the Biblical government and instruction for the practice of the Christian faith.
Ephesians 4:7-13 provides instruction, too often ignored or translated in a manner which hides valuable truth, that if followed, would provide some relief and hope for our society. The passage presses the theme of unity for the body of Christians. It declares, in no uncertain terms, the need for men – not women – who are given gifts by Christ Himself, to fill specific roles in His service. Following the completion of His earthly mission, He provides men with gifts which enable them to act in these roles within the body of believers.
Since time and space will not allow a full treatment of the passage I must focus on the part which is most needful for today. It is an absolute for those bodies of true Christians, unless they nullify the clear teaching of the inspired Word. Christ gave gifts to certain men to meet certain roles necessary to the body of Christ in its progress through the years. One of the roles given was that of Pastor-Teacher. It is the role of one man who is given two gifts to serve the cause of Christ in the body of believers.
God has ordained and given the gift of a pastors heart, the heart of a shepherd who will watch over the flock given of God at the expense of his own life. It is his duty and privilege to oversee those under his care. He must, like any good shepherd, deal with the wayward, the immature along with those who are faithful to the Word. He governs the affairs of the body in love and according to the Word of God.
God has also given to the same man the role of teacher. It is his duty to feed the sheep. He must provide them with the instruction, not according to men, but according to God and this from the Bible. He must do so in spite of any resistance. He has the role, the authority and the responsibility. The sheep depend on him. He is their captain to lead against the enemy. There is no place for toleration to be given to error and evil. He must stand firm else the sheep will be left open to false teachers and wolves.
Following error of the past in the form of “the lay movement,” this vital position of Pastor-teacher has been increasingly ignored. It has been ignored by so-called para-church groups and by house groups. Such has not only brought division but has nullified what God has ordained for the body of believers.
The fact that one may have to sacrifice in order to find and be under the Godly order set forth for His sheep, is no excuse. The Christian faith is not a matter of convenience and accommodation. To continue to meet under other than His ordered way is a deadly danger. God has not abandoned His children. There are yet men who will fill the gap. Men who have not given in to programs of easy believism, not given in to consumer religion in which men may come and pick and choose and ignore the vitals of the Christian faith, but will be faithful in the feeding of the lambs and the sheep. He will meet the needs of the immature and mature out of the Book.
There is no place, in the teachings of Christ or His Apostles, for the plurality of Pastor-teachers over the same flock. James warns in chapter 3 against the practice of ‘many becoming teachers’. It is a serious responsibility not to be taken lightly. The absence of a Pastor-teacher opens the door for division and error, not truth and unity.
When there is a true Pastor-teacher over the local flock of those who are willing to abide by the Word of God, the unity of the faith; the full knowledge of the Son of God; the body of believers will be brought to a mature state after the measure of Christ. Romans 8:28-30 will be in the process of fulfillment. God will be glorified and the sheep will be sheep, not goats. Such alone affords a hope for a better community, state and nation.
The love and approval of the world is nothing to the Christian. The love and approval of God is an absolute. John 15.