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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute 36--single bishop

36—Single bishop
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
            God’s ways aren’t our ways.  In the Old Testament, in Numbers chapter 11 verses 26 to 28, Eldad and Medad began to prophecy.  Moses was urged to silence them, but Moses replied that he wished all God’s people would prophecy.  In the days of the Judges, Deborah, who would have seemed to be the least likely to be a good judge, was the best, and Samson, who would have seemed to be the best, was the worst.  Then, the people of Israel wanted a king, God warned them they wouldn’t like it, they persisted in asking contrary to God’s warning, and God gave them what they wanted.
            In the New Covenant, with the sending of the Holy Spirit, God instituted a new people, a people of faith, not ethnicity, and a belief with every person a priest, no temple, no officials, with the Old Covenant fulfilled, as Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice.  There were leaders, according to spiritual maturity, maybe Jewish in ancestry, maybe not, maybe male, maybe female, maybe upper class, maybe lower, this appearing in a male- dominated, class stratified society.  There were elders, apostles, pastors, teachers, not by human appointment, but by gifting, wisdom, experience.
            After the passing of the apostles Jesus mentored, history indicates that the world’s organizational patterns began to creep into the church.  Ignatius was the first person we see in history who appears to be elevated in status above the typical believer.  He taught that, to resist heresy, one person needed absolute power, like a government.  It took until the 3rd century before this idea had moved across the church.  At that time, this person was called a bishop, be was, in authority, more like a contemporary pastor.  Eventually, the name was changed to priest, and presbyters were designated to serve the Lord’s Supper, which over this time had changed from a meal to a ceremony with a small amount of food.
            You can email me at  For more information on organic church*, visit or locally (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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