Training for Reigning - 25 - Why can't we go there? pt3

NOW LET’S CONCLUDE the theme occasioned by Nancy’s question. When she came to understand how truly evangelical her high school friends’ church really was, she found it puzzling, you recall, to see why she couldn’t go there - sometimes, at least. Of course she had no thought of joining them. She merely wished to go there occasionally, and have her girl friends come with her to the Assembly meetings. Indeed, it seemed to her a bare possibility that they might see for themselves the more Scriptural order of a New Testament Assembly . . . but any way, SHE WANTED TO GO - so why couldn’t she?
That was why we were noting in earlier chapters the first part of the answer: our faithful God has called His children unto a fellowship, a sharing-in-common, that belongs to His Son: I Cor. 1: 9. With this in view we have been testing by His Word two of the five basic ideas of dnominational church practices - reaching the unhappy but inevitable conclusion that they were contrary to God’s mind as revealed in the Scriptures. So, also, shall we be forced to a similar sentence (alas!) respecting the other three.
(3) Denominational churches usually are presided over by a clergyman, styled "reverend," who presides over the worship, administers the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, and who is paid a salary for his services, having sole rights in the pulpit.
Contra: Since Psalm 111: 9 declares that God’s name is reverend, surely the argument that the term can be used as a scholastic degree is in no sense sufficient to erase the crass effrontery necessary for even the best of sinners to assert that his name is reverend also!
In Philippians 1: 1 we learn that the Assembly there was composed of saints, oversees ("bishops") and ministers in the sense of servants ("deacons") - ALL IN THE PLURAL. Again the priesthood of ALL believers is distinctly taught (1 Peter 2: 5,9) as are the corresponding facts that no one man has all the gifts needed for Assembly ministry (1 Corinthians 12: 7-11; 28-30; Ephesians 4: 7), and that all gifts are needed; 1 Corinthians 12: 21-25. Sole rights in the pulpit is an idea contrary to 1 Corinthians 14: 29-31.
The Apostles (whose example we are told to follow: 2 Timothy 3: 10, 14; 1 Corinthians 11: 1; etc.) received general instruction re their support from the Lord, Himself. Often times they worked with their hands to earn their living (1 Cor. 4: 9, 12) but never were they paid a salary for their Labors for the Lord. See: Luke 9: 2-5; 10: 3-8; 22: 35; 1 Thessalonians 2: 9; 2 Thessalonians 3: 8; 1 Corinthians 4: 9-12; 9: 14 with Philippians 4: 14-18.
Sometimes folk offer the definitely figurative language of 2 Cor. 11: 8 as an excuse for paying salaries to their ministers. But if we were expected to understand that some Assemblies paid literal "wages" to Paul, then we shall be forced to admit, also, that he literaly "robbed" them when he accepted their money! But vs. 9 with Phil. 4: 14-18 tells the full, true story.
(4) Division of the people of God into "clergy" and "laity" is directly opposed to New Testament teaching. Christ established an equal and undivided brotherhood under His own direct Lordship; Matthew 23: 8-12. But scarcely had the apostles gone to Heaven before men rose up, assuming priestly authority, to fill the gaps (as they argued) left by the loss of His sent ones. Indeed, our teachers believe that John refers to these men when he speaks of the "Nicolaitanes"- a compound word meaning "Conquerors of the laity," the people. But notice the Lord’s words in Revelation 2: 6, 15: "which I also hate," "which thing I hate." Next, contrast the use of the word "kleeros" (from which "clergy" is derived) in 1 Peter 5: 2-3. There "the flock of God" is stated to be His "clergy"- His inheritance.
Furthermore (as has been noted earlier) we learn in 1 Peter 2:5, 9, about the priesthood of all believers - not just one man per church.
(5) And now in conclusion, with reference to the acceptance of money for the Lord’s work from unsaved people, read Proverbs 15:8a; 21:27; 3 John 7.
Much more might be added, I regret to say. But if you have followed these sketchy notes, surely you young people will realize that no denominational church ever can fill the requirements set forth in the Bible for a collective fellowship that belongs to the Son. Since the entire system of organization employed is opposed to His revealed mind, there just isn’t a Scriptural Assembly basis which we can share in common. Fellowship with them, therefore, is impossible.
But there is a second matter to consider. If you begin to go back and forward to such places you will soon become A NARROW CHRISTIAN! God does not want His children to be narrow - to be "straitened." HE WANTS THEM TO BE ENLARGED. That is why the Holy Spirit issues a second call to us: "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6: 11-13-18.