SUFFERING & THE CHURCH

jesus_empty cross on blu bkgr So much has been written about the Rapture of the Church, but little about suffering for Christ. Don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly gotten the impression that most believers today do not expect to suffer persecution or hardship for their faith – ever. Most have been lulled to sleep by what I call ‘an easy street gospel,’ which is that since Christ bore our sins, griefs and sorrows, all they have to do now is sit back and live their little self-centric lives while waiting for His return and/or, their rapture off the earth. The focus of this study isn’t the Rapture or its timing, but suffering for Christ, which every saint is called to do, 1Pe 2:21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:

I believe the Church has succumbed to the fantasy, taught by hireling shepherds who preach prosperity and the ‘ear-tickling’ message, that she’ll never have to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ. Those shepherds conveniently leave out the unpalitable reality that all true believers will suffer on account of the Faith. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12. How many believers take it to heart though? My guess is not many. Makes me wonder if the twenty-first century, western, Church has the ‘grit’ or fortitude of its fathers in the faith, men like William Tyndale [1] (murdered for printing the bible in English) along with thousands of other martyrs who were tortured and/or murdered for their faith. A good resource detailing these events is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs [2]. Torture devices were very common in Roman Catholic medieval Catholic tortureChurch dungeons. Is the Church willing to suffer intense persecution, torture or even death, as did the first century Church, or has it succumbed to the fairytale that it will never have to face such suffering?foxe-s-book-of-martyrs-c1780-hand-col-print.-burning-at-newbury-guernsey-[2]-27473-p

Since the Scriptures are peppered with examples of the sufferings, persecutions, and hardships of the church from the beginning and continuing throughout the ages – how can we in this church age, expect to escape these things just because we’re in the ‘age of grace?’ What about the millions who suffered burning at the stake, beheading, deboweling, and dipping in molten oil, by the monstrous Catholic Crusaders throughout the Middle Ages and beyond? Here’s a partial time line of these historic facts:

1096 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter half the Jews in Worms, Germany.

1098 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter almost all of the inhabitants of the city of Antioch.

1099 Roman Catholic crusaders massacre 70,000 Muslims and Jews when they capture Jerusalem.

1208 – 1226 The Albigensian Crusades in southern France. Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter approximately 20,000 citizens of Beziers, France, on July 22, 1209. Albigensian Christians and Catholics were slain. By the time the Roman Catholic armies finished their “crusade,” almost the entire population of southern France (mostly Albigensian Christians) has been exterminated. During the six centuries of papal Inquisition that began in the 13th century, up to 50 million people were killed. Read what J. A. Wylie’s The History of Protestantism has to say about the Crusades against the Abigenses.

1236 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter Jews in the Anjou and Poitou regions of western France. The Catholic crusaders trample to death under their horses 3000 Jews who refuse baptism.

1243 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all the Jews in Berlitz, Germany (near Berlin).

1298 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all Jews in Rottingen, Germany.

April 26, 1349 Roman Catholic mobs burn to death all Jews in Germersheim, Germany.

1348 – 1349 The Jews are blamed for the bubonic plague. Author Dave Hunt tells us, “Accused of causing the ‘Black Death’ Jews were rounded up [by Roman Catholic mobs] and hanged, burned, and drowned by the thousands in revenge.”

1389 Roman Catholic mobs murder 3000 Jews in Prague when they refuse to be baptized.

1481 – 1483 At the direction of the Roman Catholic inquisitors, authorities burn at the stake at least 2000 people during the first two years of the Spanish Inquisition.

1540 – 1570 Roman Catholic armies butcher at least 900,000 Waldensian Christians of all ages during this 30-year period.

1550 – 1560 Roman Catholic troops slaughter at least 250,000 Dutch Protestants via torture, hanging, and burning during this ten-year period.

Apostle Paul’s sufferings alone are enough to make our heads spin, our hands shake, and our knees quake! Paul suffered stonings, whippings, hardships, and imprisonment for Christ. If any one of us today were called upon to suffer what he did, we would probably faint (fall away from the faith).

Last but not least, Jesus Christ suffered beating, scourging, mocking, and crucifixion unto death for Man’s sin. Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you;

“There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution.” – Corrie Ten Boom, born April 15, 1892 in Haarland Netherlands, near Amsterdam. Corrie was a born again believer who’s family hid Jews during the Nazi takeover of her country. Betrayed by a Dutch citizen, her whole family was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp and murdered, but she survived and shared her story in a book titled The Hiding Place. She ministered to concentration camp survivors after the war ended, and began a worldwide ministry. She died on her birthday in 1983. [3]

Does the Church have what it takes to endure suffering for Christ? The Church needs to ‘gird up its loins,’ and brace itself for persecution and suffering which is surely coming. It’s inevitable if you’re a true believer and follower of Christ – “Truly, I say unto you, If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you….” The ‘easy street’ gospel, as I call it, isn’t the TRUE gospel of Christ, and is misleading many believers, lulling them into a deep slumber. We want to believe that we’re exempt from the kinds of suffering and torture that Christians have undergone in times past, but it isn’t true. It’s time for us to put away our ‘rose-tinted glasses’ and pray for the keen vision of an eagle, so that we might see that our true destiny in Christ is to suffer as He suffered, walk as He walked, and love as He loved! Anything less is an empty profession of faith; a mirage without substance and unacceptable to God!

“It would be years later at The Voice of The Martyrs conference that I would come face to face with my distorted understanding. I heard stories from all over the world of suffering happening to Christians. The first evening I listened as a man from Pakistan explained the hardships the Pakistani church endures, and then described the torture and eventual murder of a young Christian boy. This young man died at the hands of his torturers simply because he was a Christian. For the first time in my life I contemplated the possibility that God does not intervene in every situation and take the suffering away from His people.” Suffering – the Mark of the Church [4]

The true Church of jesus Christ is called to suffer hardships and persecution for their allegience to Him and to His Truth! The true Church of Jesus Christ is called to endure hardness like a soldier and endure sound doctrine versus the false ‘prosperity and easy street’ doctrines which compromising, hireling shepherds teach and preach to their flocks. Woe to those who compromise the truth or who teach only the palitable parts of it. Our Lord Christ doesn’t sanction teaching only part of the truth or half truths. It behooves every believer in Christ to study the Bible for themselves, to dig out the truth buried sometimes deeply in its pages. We must learn how to feed ourselves and quit being lazily content to eat left-overs and regurgitated food! Real faith makes certain demands on us, like ‘studying to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed…’ 2 Tim 2:15. We’re to study the words of God for ourselves, and prove whether the things we’ve been taught, line up with His words or not – Act 17:10 & 11.

We need to OPEN our spiritual EYES. If you can’t see these things, then pray and ask God to open your eyes so that you may. The times we live in are dark and we need the Light of God’s wisdom and truth more than ever before; far more than material wealth and possessions. Most of Christ’s disciples lived in poverty or had only their basic needs met; most weren’t wealthy and yet they thrived on what’s more important. They lived not by (physical) bread alone, but by every word (rhema) which came from the mouth of God – Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, and they had the LOVE of God and the love of His whole counsel (truth) BURNING IN THEIR HEARTS! – Luke 24:32

THAT, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE AGAIN! We need to get back to a place where THE most important thing in our lives is following Christ, bearing His truth to the world, winning souls, and living HOLY lives before Him in HUMILITY (not in pride and arrogance).

So, therefore, let us HUMBLE ourselves in these dark days, SEEK His face in prayer and supplications with many FASTINGS – and WALK IN OBEDIENCE to ALL His instructions, not just the ones we like. If we ‘purify our hands and our hearts’ – “Purify your hands ye sinners, and sanctify your hearts…” maybe we’ll escape the dark schemes of the wicked to deceive and lead us into disbelief coming upon the whole world, and ”stand before the Son of Man WITHOUT SPOT, WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING….” James 4:8, Lk 21:36, Eph 5:27

Since we’ve all been called to SUFFER for Christ, walking in His footsteps, then it makes sense that we PREPARE our hearts and minds beforehand to endure to the end when it comes.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11

Debra R. Stout, March 10, 2016  *[caps, bold, and italics are mine].

Endnotes:

1] http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/translator-william-tyndale-strangled-and-burned-11629961.html
2] http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html (book is online to read for free)
3] http://www.biography.com/people/corrie-ten-boom-21358155#synopsis
4] http://www.persecutionblog.com/2014/09/suffering-the-mark-of-the-church.html

Flat Earth; Truth or Science Fiction?

Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament (or expanse) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

H7549 ra^qi^ya From H7554; properly an expanse, that is, the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky: – firmament.
H7554

H7554 ra^qa A primitive root; to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by implication to overlay (with thin sheets of metal): – beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth, over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.

H7549 ra^qi^ya BDB Definition:
1) extended surface (solid), expanse, firmament
1a) expanse (flat as base, support)
1b) firmament (of vault of heaven supporting waters above)
1b1) considered by Hebrews as solid and supporting ‘waters’ above

Firmament
From the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation of the Hebrew rakiya. This word means simply “expansion.” It denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately above us. They who rendered rakiya by firmamentum regarded it as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen_1:7). The rakiya supported the upper reservoir (Psa_148:4). It was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen_1:14), and is spoken of as having “windows” and “doors” (Gen_7:11; Isa_24:18; Mal_3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.

Psa 148:4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, And ye waters that are above the heavens.

David wrote this after the great flood of Genesis. Thus, the flood didn’t remove or disintegrate the ‘firmanent’ or vault which God placed above the Earth.

Job 37:18 Canst thou with him spread out the sky, Which is strong as a molten mirror? (or molten looking glass). Isa 40:2

Pro 8:27 When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep,

H2329 chu^g
BDB Definition:
1) circle, circuit, compass
2) (BDB) vault (of the heavens)

Amo 9:6 it is he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name.

H92 ‘a gu^dda^h
BDB Definition:
1d) vault (of the heavens), firmament (binding earth to the heavens)

Eze 1:26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above.

Isa 40:22 It is he that sitteth above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in;

Tents are always stretched out over a flat surface!

Isa 66:1 Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what manner of house will ye build unto me? and what place shall be my rest?

The shape of a ‘footstool’ is just like the domed-shaped firmanent God placed over the Earth which has ‘pillars’ (as a footstool has legs).

Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over empty space, And hangeth the earth upon nothing.

In Job 9:6, Job acknowledges that the Earth has ‘pillars.’

Job predates Genesis. Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Job 38:6 Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner-stone thereof,
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

1Sa 2:8 For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah’s, And he hath set the world upon them. (pillars – ma^tsu^q; column or hill top)

The earth sits upon ‘pillars?’ The dry land appeared out of the face of the ‘deep’ (oceans).

Job 26:10 He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. [ESV]

inscribe (compassed KJV) – chu^g
BDB Definition:
1) to encircle, encompass, describe a circle, draw round, make a circle
1a) (Qal) to encircle, encompass

Isaiah knew the difference between a ‘ball’ and a ‘circle’ – *(problem with this comment is the definition for ‘ball’ ends up including ‘circle,’ as seen below! -D.S.)

Isa 22:18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball… (H1754 du^r; a circle, ball or pile:- ball, turn, round about)

What was placed INSIDE the ‘Tent?’

Genesis 1:14-28; ‘lights’ – sun, moon, and stars. Then, fish, birds, and other living creatures; whales, creeping things, cattle, etc. Then, God created Man.

The only way you can see the stars and other luminary bodies (which never change their distance from one another) in the same positions, is if the heavens is a sphere that moves around a stationary earth below it. If the earth was a spinning ball, the stars and other luminary bodies in the heavens, would be constantly changing their positions and distances as we viewed them from earth. Since this does not occur, then earth must not be moving, but the heavens over it are.

The phrase ‘face of the earth’ is used 29 times in the Old Testament. So, where then is the face of the earth? The face is usually the front of a thing or person, and there’s a backside. A round object has no front or back.

Jos 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

If the sun and moon stopped moving, then the earth must be stationary, because if the earth spins around, then the sun and moon would still appear to be moving, even if they had stopped moving. Thus, the earth could not be spinning around, it is stationary, ‘unmovable’ as the Bible has said.

The Earth has ‘end’s and ‘corners’ and is not a ‘sphere.’

1 Sam 2:8
Ps 74:14
Job 28:24
Isa 11:12
Dan 4:10, 11
Mt 4:8
Rev 7:1
Rev 20:8

“Compass” def. – Hebrew word for ‘circle of earth’; encompass, encircle, draw round, make a circle.

Our Earth is an Island –
Ps 24:2
2 Pet 3:5
Ps 104:6
Gen 1:1, 2

The Earth is ‘stretched out’ – Ps 136:6, JOb 26:7, Isa 44:24, Isa 42:5

Website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi2NbIf_7p4

**The comments, Scriptures, and viewpoint aired in this video are not mine, but those of the producers of – The Global Lie /Flat Earth Revelation. There’s more information given in the video, what’s here are just the notes I took down while listening to it. In the video the speakers talk about what people believed hundreds of years ago, which was that our earth was ‘flat’ not round, and that an astronomer named Copernicus invented the notion of a ’round earth.’ I’ve posted this for your information and further study. As of yet I would need to study this subject further to make a decision one way or the other, and there seems to be compelling arguments and evidence on both sides. However, since I’m a believer in the Bible, I can’t shrug off what’s written in it, yet one has to be very careful how he interprets what’s written therein.**

Debra R. Stout, March 10, 2016

Other Fascinating Resources –
http://www.testingtheglobe.com/bible.html 
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/5000-for-proving-the-earth-is-a-globe/                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth

 

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

  God in GloryIn this article, I’ll briefly address the doctrine of Dominionism which goes back at least as far as the 1950’s, but has gained momentum in recent years.

What we know today as Dominionism doctrine is a hybrid of Roman Restorationism, Dominionism, Preterism, liberal A-millennialism, Post-millennial eschatology, and Later Rain doctrines.

The doctrines of Dominionism are rooted in the earth. Their basis is the (false) teaching that man must take dominion of this earth and change it for the better before Jesus can come. The emphasis, therefore, has shifted from ‘looking up’ to ‘looking around’ to see what can be done to patch up the environment and change society into a more godly one. This scheme is unscriptural and should be rejected as heresy. Taking restoration teachings to their logical conclusion, it is clear that nothing less than world Christianisation would work the miracle of planetary salvation. This, say the leaders, would be the ‘Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness’ promised in the Old Testament. However, given the condition of the human heart, and satan’s plans for world dominion, it is actually the universal reign of terror through Antichrist! In the Word of God, not universal obedience but universal wickedness is forecast before the Coming of Christ, and all nations will follow the satanic plans of the ‘Beast’. [Rev 13:3,4] To set about organising and networking for a New Order and for global dominion is to throw huge parts of the Church into the hands of ‘another christ’ and ‘another gospel’. [1]

“Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. “ – C. Peter Wagner [2]

One of the key principles of Dominionist theology, is that believers are to ‘fight’ and ‘struggle’ in order to ‘take over’ the world’s major systems (business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion) and ‘make’ them subservient to Christ and His rule NOW, not later when He returns to earth. Dominionists believe that He can’t come until we do! [3]

Is this what the Scriptures teach? Where’s the proof of that in the Bible? How did Dominionists come to such conclusions?

Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Interestingly, the Greek term for ‘kingdom’ is ‘royal power, kingship, dominion, and rule!

Notice that Jesus said that IF his kingdom were of the world, then his ‘servants would FIGHT’ to get him released. ‘fight’ = G75 agonizomai From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

Where, or on what, do Dominionists base their theology that Christians must take the world and its systems for Christ, even before He returns? Isn’t it written that Christ’s kingdom will be set up when He returns?

Mat 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

This verse is obviously talking about the time of Christ’s second coming to the earth when He arrives with angels, in his glory. At that time, Jesus will invite the ‘blessed’ to inherit the ‘kingdom’ prepared for them. The kingdom being offered to the saints at that time, sounds like a real, physical place.

Luk 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luk 17:21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

‘observation’ From: G3906 paratereo; to inspect alongside, that is, note insidiously or scrupulously: – observe, watch.

What’s meant by Luk 17:20, is that God’s kingdom coming to reside ‘within’ us, cannot be observed or seen with the physical eye. The coming of God’s kingdom IN us, could easily get confused with the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth with signs preceding – Mt 24:5-15.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

‘kingdom’ = G932 basileia
Thayer Definition:
1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom
2) a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king
3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah

What’s meant in Col 1:13, is that Christians are given ‘dominion’ or ‘authority to rule over God’s kingdom,’ having the royal power conferred on them! Hallelujah! (Notice it says, God’s kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world!) Is this likewise what’s meant in Eph 1:3, Phil 3:20, and Eph 2:6? – ‘and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.

The writer of 2Timothy, seems to be suggesting that he hasn’t entered into the ‘heavenly kingdom’ as of yet, but it will be waiting for him at the end. Could he have meant that it’s a progressive kind of entering into His kingdom; little by little as he’s delivered from every evil deed? Or, does he mean that he will enter God’s kingdom at the end of his life, or at the end of the age? While the kingdom of God resides within those who believe, is there still a tangible, physical, kingdom awaiting us at the end of the age, when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom (rule, government) on the Earth, or is it solely a spiritual reality that exists inside of those who believe?

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the….

God’s Kingdom will be established on earth, in His timing, not ours. While I believe all the spiritual gifts are for today, I’m uncertain and uneasy about Apostolic rulership of the Body, since the scripture states that Jesus Christ is the ‘Head of the Body’ and of ‘every man,’ according to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3.

What I see in the Bible is that until Yeshua returns, the whole earth will remain in turmoil and unbelief – Luk 18:8 Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (See also – Lk 18:8, Mt 24:9-12, Mt 24:24, 1 Thess 5:1-3, Luke 17:22-30)  This is not to say however, that there can’t be much more of God’s Kingdom established in us, and on the earth than there is now. I think the Church has lost much of its authority to influence the world through default, and by merging with the world and its systems instead of remaining separate from it.

“Be ye separate!” The Church is supposed to be “called out” (ecclesia) from the world; to be “separate” from it (2 Cor 6:17, Rev 18:4) but instead, has become “one with it” in many ways. Jesus said that his own were not ‘of the world’ so how can we become one with it? Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Another tenet of Dominionism, is that Apostles are now being restored to their initial and proper place in the Body of Christ which is to ‘govern’ the Body. Dominionists believe that Apostles are more than missionaries or ‘sent ones’ sent to build churches in foreign lands, but are to act as the Authority of God over members of Christ’s Body. In other words, individual members come ‘under’ their authority and must ‘answer’ to them, not just to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Is this what the Bible teaches?

According to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3 – Jesus is the HEAD of all things pertaining to the Church, and the HEAD of every man. So how then can it be that Apostles have the ‘headship’ or ‘rulership’ of the Church? Can there be more than ONE head? What body has TWO heads, unless it’s a freak of nature?

Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

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.
‘head’ = G2776 kephalē
Thayer Definition:
2) metaphorically anything supreme, chief, prominent
2a) of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife
2b) of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church

If it be true that Christ is the ‘head of EVERY MAN, where would be the need for an Apostolic ‘headship’ or covering for members of the body?

According to the Bible, apostles and prophets were given for the perfecting and edification of the saints, and for the work of the ministry.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Far as I can see, there’s no scriptural support for Apostolic rulership of the Church. There are however instructions regarding submission to those in authority and for mutual submission to one another –

Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. *(pastors, deacons, elders? civil authorities?)

‘obey’ = G3982 peitho;
Thayer Definition: 2b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with
3) to trust, have confidence, be confident

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort,
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

‘lords over’ = G2634 katakurieuo;
Thayer Definition:
1) to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master
2) to hold in subjection, to be master of, *exercise lordship over*

Elders, deacons, and pastors, aren’t to “lord it over” God’s flock, but lead by “example.” That goes for Apostles and Prophets too. In fact, throughout Church history, an Apostle was also a ‘deacon’ or an ‘elder,’ as well as a ‘sent one,’ sent to preach the gospel or on special missions.

Luk 11:49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’

‘apostle’ = G649 apostello; From G575 and G4724; set apart, that is, (by implication) to send out (properly on a mission) literally or figuratively: – put in, send (away, forth, out), set [at liberty].

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, *all of you* be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

‘submit yourselves’ = G5293 hupotasso;
Thayer Definition:
1) to arrange under, to subordinate
2) to subject, put in subjection
3) to subject one’s self, obey
4) to submit to one’s control
5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice
6) to obey, be subject

Take note that it’s the “younger” or those “new to the faith” (neophytes, newly born) who are being admonished to “submit” to an elder in the church. By making such a distinction, it may be that mature members need not be in submission to an elder, since they are mature in the faith, and are more likely to be elders themselves. An elder was and still is, a member who has reached maturity in the faith, having achieved a level of knowledge and understanding of the faith by which they’re able to instruct others. An elder is someone other members recognize as being worthy of their respect, due to the obvious unction of the Holy Spirit upon them.

From 1 Pet 5:3 and 5, it would seem that elders, deacons, and pastors – are admonished not to “lord it over, or exercise lordship over” other members in the Church. It’s certain that all members of the Body are to submit themselves “to one another” and that any submission to an elder or the like, is done WILLINGLY and not through COERCION or certain members pulling rank on other members.

Dominionists are saying that Apostles receive ‘new’ revelation all the time through the Holy Spirit, and that those revelations are on equal footing, are as authoritative as the written Word of God. Many would disagree. It’s my personal opinion that we must be very careful about receiving ‘new’ revelation if it contradicts what God has already revealed in the written Word, or isn’t supported by it.

That being said, there are some verses in the New Testament, where it’s stated that after Jesus went back to His Father, He spoke to and gave instructions to his Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

Act 1:2 until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Eph 3:3 how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That the calling of the Gentiles was made known by the prophets in different ages of the Jewish Church is exceedingly clear; but it certainly was not made known in that clear and precise manner in which it was now revealed by the Spirit unto the ministers of the New Testament: nor was it made known unto them at all, that the Gentiles should find salvation without coming under the yoke of the Mosaic law, and that the Jews themselves should be freed from that yoke of bondage; these were discoveries totally new, and now revealed for the first time by the Spirit of God.Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Thus, while the revelation of the mystery of Christ was prophesied in a couple Old Testament books, it wasn’t fully made known until it was disclosed to Paul and others in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit. Even so, the revelation wasn’t completely new, it had been previously mentioned in the Old Testament.

In conclusion, I’m all for establishing as much of God’s rule on earth as is possible, but primarily WITHIN individual members of HIS BODY. That’s where His Kingdom should FIRST be established, and where the Body should be focussed. I don’t see anyplace in the Word which states or suggests that we’re going to subdue the world and its systems before Jesus returns, or, that He can’t return until we do. Nor do I see any scriptural mandate to even attempt such a feat. What I do see taught in the Bible is that believers in Christ will SUFFER persecution and deprivation before He comes the second and last time to establish His Kingdom on earth, and that they’re to be waiting patiently for Him. – Mt 10:22, 39; Mark 13:9-13, John 15:18-20, 2 Cor 1:7, 2 Cor 4:10, Phil 3:10, 2 Tim 4:5, Rev 3:10 (for starters).

Debra R. Stout © Februrary 14, 2016

Endnotes —

[1] http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/dominionismexposed.html
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecszOPc95s8 This was a transcription of a recording of C. Peter Wagner delivering a speech to the 2008 “Starting The Year Off Right” conference. YouTube location of this recording is. This is also posted at http://www.rightwingwatch.org/print/8018 where these words are transcribed. *Apparently these are no longer available, sorry. If I find these sources again, I’ll update with new links. 
[3] http://www.theocracywatch.org/dominionism.htm  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Theology

 

Open Theism Denies GOD’S Foreknowledge & Sovereignty; A Radical Departure from Historic Christianity

(Photo of a Fig tree) John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Pro 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the LORD directeth his steps.

Pro 19:21 There are many devices (H4284 plans, purposes) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (H6965 be fixed, be fulfilled).

Pro 20:24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Psa 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; [ESV]

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (H3559 “direct” – fix, establish, determine, prepare, arrange, order)

Isa 46:10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;

Isa 46:11 calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.

Isa 43:13 Yea, since the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who can hinder it?

Deu 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, And there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Exo 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Isa 14:27 For Jehovah of hosts hath purposed, and who shall annul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Job 9:12 Behold, he seizeth the prey, who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Rom 9:18 So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will?

Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.

Eph 1:11 in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;

Act 2:23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay:

1Pe 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:
1Pe 1:20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,

Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

“meant” – H2803 châshab
A primitive root; properly to plait or interpenetrate, that is, (literally) to weave or (generally) to fabricate; figuratively to plot or contrive (usually in a malicious sense); hence (from the mental effort) to think, regard, value, compute: – (make) account (of), conceive, consider, count, cunning (man, work, workman), devise, esteem, find out, forecast, hold, imagine, impute, invent, be like, mean, purpose, reckon (-ing be made), regard, think.

There are teachers in the world today teaching a doctrine called, OPEN THEISM which calls into question the absolute Sovereignty of God.

It is a false and dangerous doctrine which in effect tries to weaken or reduce God’s power and foreknowledge to that which mere mortals have. It makes God out to be just like one of us! For a thorough examination and illumination on Open Theism vs. Classic Theism, I recommend these resources: 1) Their God is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God Aug 12, 2003, by Bruce A. Ware; 2) Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity by John Piper and other theologians. (See at Amazon.com)

Excerpts from the second book —

This work argues that open theism undermines the heart of biblical Christianity: the inerrancy of Scripture, the trustworthiness of God, and the Gospel of Christ.

The heart of open theism is that humans and angels can be morally responsible only if they have ultimate self-determination – and have it to the degree that their self-determination rules out God’s ability to render or see any of their future acts as certain. Therefore, open theism’s most obvious departure from historic Christianity is its denial of the exhaustive, definite foreknowledge of God.”

“The very identity and reality of the God of the Bible is at stake.” The essays in this book contend that open theism presents us with a different God – a God compatible perhaps with contemporary sentiments, but one who is not the God of the Bible.

Controversy is required when essential truths are called into question. “The proper activity of professing Christians who disagree with one another is neither to ignore, nor to conceal, nor even to minimize their differences, but to debate them.” The apostolic command is clear. We are to “maintain the truth in love,” being neither truthless in our love, nor loveless in our truth, but holding the two in balance. ~ John Stott

The truth about Yahweh, our God, is that He has all Foreknowledge of the future, and He is completely Sovereign. The biblical account of Joseph is one very good example of how Yahweh wove the events and choices of men together, for not only Joseph’s good, but for “many persons” – to keep them alive during an extensive famine. To understand the scope and meaning of Joseph’s life, read Genesis Chapters 37-50.

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

No one can ‘stay’ or withstand God’s will and plans for individuals and for the course of life on planet earth, or in the heavens. What Yahweh wills, He can do, for He is all-knowing, all-seeing, and almighty. Yahweh is God immortal and immutable. God does what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, and how He wants to do it; and no one can stay His hand, “stay” – H4223 (Aramaic) mechâ’ basically means to “hinder.” In other words, no one can stop God from doing what He means to do.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

“called” – G2822 klētos; Thayer Definition: 1) called, invited (to a banquet) 1a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ 1b) called to (the discharge of) some office 1b1) divinely selected and appointed

“purpose” – from G4388 protithemai; Middle voice from G4253 and G5087; to place before, that is, (for oneself) to exhibit; (to oneself) to propose (determine): – purpose, set forth.

“foreknow” – G4267 proginōskō; From G4253 and G1097; to know beforehand, that is, foresee: – foreknow (ordain), know (before).

“predestinate” – G4309 proorizō; Thayer Definition: 1) to predetermine, decide beforehand 2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity 3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

These Roman verses make it crystal clear that God foreknows people – what they’ll do, and what choices they’ll make ahead of time. In this case, He knew which persons in the world would believe on Him, even before they were born! Because God knows and sees every day of our lives before we’re born (Ps 139), He’s always way ahead of us. God ‘calls’ and ‘predestinates’ those He foreknew to be ‘conformed to the image of His Son.’ The calling and predestination of God is for the purpose of conforming His chosen ones to the image of His Son Jesus. In Romans 8:28, we read that “all things work together for good ‘to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (not men’s purposes). And what is His purpose according to these texts? It is to “be conformed to the Image of His Son.”

God is in full control of the Universe – He is Sovereign; nothing surprises Him, he’s never caught off guard, and He certainly isn’t guessing about what the Future holds for anyone! God knows the ‘end from the beginning,’ doesn’t need or heed the counsel of mere mortals, directs the lives of men but no one can direct Him! God performs His will absolutely and without contest. He’s the Almighty, All-knowing, All-Seeing, ever Present God and Creator of all that exists. If He were anything less, He would be no higher than the average mortal; a sacrilegious thought if ever there was one.

To God be the glory, power, might, and dominion, now and forever ~ Amen! (based upon Jude 1:25)

Debra R. Stout, March 5, 2016