Jesus Christ Is Lord

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How To Make Your Own Gospel Tracts

Posted by Job on November 24, 2009

Back when I used to support the ministry of televangelist Bill Keller – before I stopped because of his being a Billy Grahamesque and apologist of Roman Catholics – an anecdote from a media account of his ministry caused me some concern. It appears that a fellow who was suffering from depression and other issues saw Keller’s TV show, called in to ask for prayer and counseling, and agreed to say the salvation prayer with one of Keller’s several volunteer phone counselors (which includes a number of Roman Catholic priests, just as Billy Graham had Roman Catholic clergy available at his revivals). This fellow reported that not long after securing his confession of faith, his conversation with Keller’s prayer counselor ended, and he never heard from them again. Although he reports that his life made a marked turn for the better after his phone counseling and saying the salvation prayer (his depression and feeling of hopelessness left, and he proposed to marry his live-in girlfriend, who accepted) he was not sure if he was saved, was unsure if he should be considered a Christian, and had no idea on how to proceed on any sort of faith journey or Christian walk, including reading his Bible.

I considered this to be a simple oversight of one of Keller’s counselors – as Keller does promise to to have his counselors get the address of everyone who calls his prayer line and send them materials – but it still left me wondering about just how many people who made confessions of faith due to Keller’s ministry and were then left to their own devices. Even in the case of people who do receive materials from Keller’s ministry, Keller does not have or represent a church, and I have difficulty imagining that he would be in a position to personally recommend one to many of the geographically far-flung people that he evangelizes.

I have similar concerns about some of the popular gospel tract ministries. They are effective at winning confessions of faith, but what about discipleship afterwards, i.e. placing people under the authority of a pastor, a shepherd who can lead and model them to Christian maturity? How many people converted by these gospel tract ministries do not receive guidance concerning the importance of doing so, or which church to join? Of course, for those that God uses such evangelists to convert, we can and must have faith that He will guide and take care of His sheep. However, those of us who do support and participate in some of the popular tract ministries such as those by Jack Chick, American Tract Society and Way of the Master/Living Waters can add a simple step: including a handbill or addition to every tract that you distribute that contains the name, address, and phone number of your local church. That way, anyone who reads your tract and believes the gospel will be able to contact your pastor or attend your church.

I would imagine that many churches, even those who still emphasize door to door and street evangelism, do not have such things handy. However, there is a quick, easy and cheap way to make your own that I myself took advantage of. A person can go to a place that makes business cards, post cards, stationary or similar and create their own tract additions (or their own tracts period) that contain contact information for their local church. (I would suggest not giving out  your pastor’s personal contact information unless you have his permission). Businesses providing such services are easy to find and use, and it is relatively cheap. I myself used Vista Print, an online firm that allows you to create such items using their pre-configured templates. I created 150 postcards (chosen because of they are bigger than business cards but still small enough to go inside or with most tracts) that contained the general contact information for my church on the front and a few verses related to evangelism (John 3:14-17, Romans 10:9, Philippians 2:9-11) on the back. Took about an hour, most of which was spent deciding to choose postcards over business cards and stationery, and picking out a template (though VistaPrint does have templates for church and religious purposes, I chose a basic one that was blank on the front and back that allowed me to add text and upload a picture).

Please DO NOT consider this an endorsement of Vista Print, whom I only chose because I had used them in the past and already had an account with them, so it was faster. There are many capable of providing this service, both online and traditional, further it can be done yourself via desktop publishing (something that I know absolutely nothing about other than this free open source desktop publishing software Scribus, which I will use myself when I have the time to learn how to do so). Instead, this is just a suggestion to those Christians with gospel tract ministries that I hope will prove useful. My own first batch of “gospel tract postcards” will arrive in about a week, right in time for me to start handing them out to Christmas shoppers.

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36 Responses to “How To Make Your Own Gospel Tracts”

  1. Remnant said

    QUOTE: “i.e. placing people under the authority of a pastor, a shepherd who can lead and model them to Christian maturity?”

    Excuse me, i am not under the spiritual authority of ANY mere man or pastor. Only THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE is my Shepherd, one and only. He is the only Shepherd i need to look to to lead me or to model myself after. Stop being blinded by Churchianity. Nowhere in the entire Holy Bible does it command anyone to “go to church”. It only says “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves…” So tell me, where in that verse or entire Bible does it anywhere say you have to assemble in a CHURCH building, under a “pastor”, or what day of the week you have to assemble, how often, or how many people you have to assemble with?? On the contrary, it only says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, THERE I am in the midst of them.” (emphasis mine) You can meet with a Christian in a jungle, a coffee shop, a closet, a barn, a field, etc., and THAT is “church”, for the TRUE church of Jesus Christ is not a PLACE but a SPIRITUAL body of Believers. Christians need to get over their tendency to MAN-WORSHIP, thinking they need a “pastor” overseeing them and leading them. And hence pastors race around trying to be all things to all people. STOP!!!!! JESUS CHRIST IS YOUR SHEPHERD!!!!!!

    • Job said

      Remnant:

      If this is true, why does the office of pastor (or bishop or elder) exist? Why does the office of teacher exist? And yes, pastors are called “undershepherds” in the Bible.

      And also, even if what you say is true, that you are a mature discerning Christian capable of learning and maturing in the faith without a church and pastor, this post isn’t about you. This post is about the unconverted, people who know nothing of Christianity and know nothing about the Bible. How are these people supposed to learn unless someone teaches them? How are these people going to be discipled? Jesus Christ tells us to go and make disciples. Now in practice, how is that supposed to be done?

      The early church met regularly, sometimes in people’s houses, sometimes in synagogues. Why are you rejecting the Bible’s own self witness? The early church had pastors/bishops/elders leading them. So, was the Jerusalem church guilty of “man-worship” because they were led by James, brother of Jesus Christ? Were the churches that Paul appointed elders of guilty of “man-worship”? Were the churches that Paul sent Timothy to, and commanded that they submit to Timothy’s leadership guilty of “man-worship”? Was it improper for Paul to send Timothy to these churches and demand that they receive him?

      You speak highly of the Bible, but you reject what the Bible clearly teaches and illustrates concerning ecclesiology. What you are advocating IS NOT the example that the Bible puts forth in Acts and the epistles. If you believe that it is, then you need to go read them again.

      • Diane said

        The “Office” of pastor does not exist,… “examples” to God’s people does exist as well as the command to “teach”

        • Job said

          Diane:

          I am referring to Ephesians 4:11.

          And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers

          It is tradition in most forms of Christianity that elders (or bishops) generally fulfill the duties of pastors (the Greek word there means “shepherd”) and teachers. While there can be some debate as to whether combining the roles of pastor, teacher and elder is appropriate, one cannot claim that the New Testament office of pastor does not exist, or that Christians are not required to be in fellowships led by pastors or elders. No scripture or example otherwise exists, and I am curious as to why people who believe otherwise insist that such scriptures or examples in the Bible do exist.

        • Diane said

          No, you don’t find the “office” of anything in Christ. You have gifts and callings, but no one is “under” your authority. It’s the Word of God that has authority.

          Christ says…

          “And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant, and whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
          Matt 23:10-12

          “…those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
          Matt 20:25-28

          Notwithstanding semantics and traditions, God’s gifts do not give us authority over men.

          Thanks

          • Greetings, Much Love to all, Grace and Peace unto you.
            This is an interesting topic (and i’m late) but “Christ” meaning Saviour is not Jesus’ last name. It is His office in the Kingdom of God. No one except the Son of God could fill that position so to speak and rightly so, the man knew no sin. Just like Obama’s office is president Jesus’ office is Christ. God is not One of confusion but of orderliness and as such has set up His church in such a way to be as edifying as possible to God’s Work. Meaning this: everyone in the Body of Christ is given a specific function and role to advance the growth of the Body. Some are called to be pastors, under shepherds of the Great Shepherd, Jesus, while some are called to be deacons, teachers, and helpers around the church. Everyone in the Church has a role and function and God expects us to live according to the plans He has laid for us. If you want to find out exactly how the church is supposed to be set up then you can in the book of Acts as well as 1st and 2nd Timothy. Even in the Old Testament, from the very beginning, God has been appointing kings, prophets, judges and leaders to Shepherd His people, Israel. God is consistent in His Work and does not change His ways from the time of old to the time of new

  2. John Kaniecki said

    Greetings,

    I hope all is well. Here is an adverisement to put in the local news paper’s help wanted section.

    Once in a life time offer. All powerful all Loving God who can create anything He wants desires you to become his child. No experience necessary. God will train, provide all needs and lavish blessings upon all who respond. Outcasts, sinners and downtrodden especially encouraged to apply. For further details read the Bible and pray. Arrange a meeting with Jesus as soon as possible.

    Love,

    John

  3. The Prodigal Son said

    Remnant & Diane…

    Hi guys. Been a while ! Hope you are both doing well…

    Sorry, but the New Testament clearly outlines FOUR distinct orders of Church government.

    1) The laity… AKA – “saints”, “brethren” and “the faithful”. The laity are the people of God; the priesthood. The three other orders arise from among the laity.

    2) The deacons… Literally ‘servants’. When their workload became too great, the apostles appointed the first deacons: “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business”.

    3) The presbyters or elders… St. Paul appointed elders in every church (what churches, eh Remnant?), and later instructed Titus to do the same in Crete.

    4) The bishop… Literally – Overseer. The bishop is the leader of the elders. The Twelve were the first to hold this OFFICE (Acts 1:20), and they in turn consecrated other bishops to follow. James was bishop of Jerusalem by 49 AD and acted as such at the first council. Peter was first bishop of Antioch, and first bishop of Rome.

    St. Ignatius (bishop of Rome after St. Peter was martyed, fr. 67 – 107 AD) wrote clearly of “Christians (laity) at one with the bishop and the presbyters and the deacons”.

    ‘Churchless Christianity’ is a crock !

    “Do you understand what you are reading ?”….

    “How can I unless someone guides me ?”

  4. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    Bishops, elders, overseers are one office not two. See Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 3.

    Love,

    John

  5. The Prodigal Son said

    John,

    Hey, hope you’re doing good too ! Been a while… glad to see you’re still around !

    With all due respect, I must reiterate that the first century bishop of Rome made a clear distinction between bishops and elders (presbyters).

    The apostles were the first bishops and they in turn appointed deacons and elders.

    The first account of the ordination of deacons was in Acts 6:1-6…

    The first account of the ordination of elders is in Acts 14:23…

    Often the terms elder and bishop are used interchangably (Acts 20:17, 20:28), with the bishop being the leader of the elders. The Twelve consecrated other bishops to follow them…

    For example, Timothy and Titus are clearly of a separate order from that of elder (see I Timothy 5:17, Titus 1:5).

  6. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal Son,

    Hi hope you are well. It has been a long time.

    From the King James Bible.

    1 Timothy 3, only mentions the title of bishop.

    Titus 1 starting at verse 5 tells Titus to ordain elders. Then in verse 7 the word bishop is used to continue the thought. Thus bishop and elder are interchangable words describing the same office.

    Examine 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 there are some basic similarities of the two. They must be married to one wife. Must have children. Be given to hospitality. I feel it is clear that the two passages teach the same thing though not with the exact same words.

    In the scriptues of Acts, Paul himself was the one to appoint elders. Not as a bishop but as an apostle. 1 Peter 5:1 Peter describes himself as an elder. We know from two passages that Peter had a wife. Paul we know was not married and never refers to himself as an elder.

    Acts 14:23 shows in elders in every church. This shows the autonomous nature of each congregation.

    A couple of questions.

    Do the people who claim to be bishops in your church have a wife and family? If not why not?

    Finally in Acts 6 the word deacon is not used. While they may well have been deacons we cannot assert so. We must back everything up with scripture.

    Love,

    John

  7. The Prodigal Son said

    Hey John,

    Thanks for the reply… I do enjoy conversing with you; I know you have no motive except your love for God and truth, and you always get me thinking.

    To start, RE: bishops & elders… I’ll provide you with a couple of verses from the epistles of St. Ignatius, ca. 70-100 AD, one of the Apostolic Fathers (who was bishop of Antioch), ordained by St. Peter…

    “The bishop presiding after the likeness of God and the presbyters after the likeness of the council of the apostles, with the deacons also who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ. ”
    - Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, 6:1

    “Follow your bishop as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God’s commandments.”
    - Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans, 8:1

    I Timothy verse 3 mentions bishop because Timothy WAS a bishop. Paul wrote the letter to Timothy while he was bishop of Ephesus, ca. 64-65 AD.

    Paul was not an elder, you say ?

    Please see I Timothy 4:14…

    “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.”

    So who then was this member of the ‘eldership’ by whom Timothy was ordained ?

    Please see II Timothy 1:6…

    “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

    That sounds like Paul considered himself part of the eldership to me…

    Titus also was ordained by Paul and was the first bishop of Crete.

    The apostles were not bishops ?

    The apostles were the first to hold this office (in Acts 1:20 ‘office’ can be literally be translated as ‘bishopric’).

    When Judas had fallen away and the disciples were considering his successor, Peter said, “Let another take his office.”

    ‘Office’ coming from the Greek ‘episkopen’ – literally ‘bishopric’. This bishopric was given to Matthias.

    Bishops are quite simply: elders to the elders.

    Yes, Churches (not under Rome & the pope’s thumb) were (and are) autonomous, but occasionally need correction.

    The story of the Titus, first bishop of Crete provides a good example. He was sent by Paul to set the Church “in order” and to “appoint elders in every city”.

    The New Testament shows that the Church has always had problems. Individuals and groups within the Church sought to lead her off the path the apostles had established, and had to be dealt with – perhaps even excommunicated.

    Even entire communities lapsed and had to be called to repentance. The Church in Laodicea is a good example (see Rev. 3:14-22).

  8. The Prodigal Son said

    As for you last two questions, they are good ones !

    First… RE: Deacons in Acts 6…

    You’re right… the Bible doesn’t specifically say that the seven were deacons, but it does detail their duties which sound very much like those of a deacon.

    Also, the number of seven deacons has always remained… we can assume this is where the tradition arose from using a measure of common sense, I think.

    We also see that St. Stephen the Protomartyr is listed as one of the seven… St. Stephen is recorded as an Archdeacon in Church records.

    Now… to your questions about my Church and its bishop and his marital status…

    Perhaps you will be suprised to learn that I presently don’t go to ANY ‘church’ because there are no Orthodox Churches where I live.

    I was born into an Irish Roman Catholic family, but now that I’m older I have serious issues with the myriad inventions that Rome has unleashed on the world. I personally blame them for the disaster that has been the reformation.

    In my opinion, Rome has turned more people away from Christ than it has brought in. The rampant pedophilia is the main factor in all of this today, followed by the lies and the decadence.

    Rome does not practice the Christianity which existed universally for the first millenia… and it’s obvious. This is the whole reason that Protestantism came into existence…

    And this is the reason that so many so-called ‘churches’ in Europe & the West are teaching nonsense, and why I wont go near ANY of them.

    The issue here though is bishops and marriage, not me… so I can tell you this much about the Orthodoxy:

    Married men may be ordained in the Orthodox priesthood, and married bishops ARE in accordance with the general teaching of Orthodox canon law.

    I know that there are Orthodox bishops who are not married, and are in fact celibate… as for the reasoning behind the practice of bishops rising from the monastic ranks, I must admit: I have yet to really figure it all out.

    I think has something to do with the qualification to be ‘blameless’…

    I will find out though, and I’ll get back to you ASAP…

    Later

  9. John Kaniecki said

    Progdigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    I don’t think the two Timothy scriptures prove Paul was an elder. He could be referring to two seperate events. Or it could be one event but Paul failed to mention his participation in the laying on of hands.

    Regarding the Bishoprick scripture you are correct it comes from the same Greek word as bishop. But this is the only scripture that refers to the 12 in this sense. Apostle is used much more. Also Paul is never directly called bishop or elder.

    I do not trust things outside of the scripture as an authority. Too much deceit and lies have been perpetuated.

    Clearly bishops should be married. It is not a hard thing to understand. Any church that does not insist on this is in violation of God’s Word.

    Love,

    John

  10. John Kaniecki said

    Progdigal,

    Hope you are well.

    The scripture in Acts 1:20 in another version translates office. It is a quote from Psalm 109:6 which in the King James is translated office.

    I know you trust the Lexicon. I suggest you look up Psalm 109:6 in the version and see how it is translated there.

    Love,

    John

  11. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    Correction Psalm 109:8.

    Love,

    John

  12. The Prodigal Son said

    Hey John,

    Sorry I took so long to respond… never enough time, you know.

    I’m a little confused… your first response to me asserts that ‘bishop’ and ‘elder’ are one and the same office.

    Now you’re saying that the verses I listed detailing Timothy’s ordination could be two different occasions… How could Timothy be ordained twice unless it was the first time as presbyter (elder) and the second time as bishop (overseer) ?

    For the record though, I think both verses do detail the same incident…

    Paul says that he was the one who had ordained Timothy, by the laying on of his own hands.

    Notice the phrase ‘the gift that is in you’… in one verse, and ‘the gift of God which is in you’ in the other…

    In both cases the ‘gift’ was recieved through the laying on of hands. So what is this ‘gift of God’ which is in Christians AND is recieved through the laying on of hands of the eldership ?

    I think we know.

    So WHO was the ‘eldership’ ?

    If the apostles were the ‘eldership’, and Paul was an apostle – then he must have been an elder too, no ?

    Look at I Peter 5:1…

    “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:”

    So clearly Peter also considered himself to be part of the ‘eldership’.

    You said, “I do not trust things outside of the scripture as an authority. Too much deceit and lies have been perpetuated.”

    I’m sure you have heard the old saying ‘which came first – the chicken, or the egg ?’

    Let me ask you this one… which do you think came first – the Church, or the Bible ?

    In the first place, the Scriptures do not determine Church law, they merely record some aspects of it – as it stood at that time.

    The Church predates the Christian Canon of Scripture. The authority of the Scriptures rests in the Church – not the other way around.

    In the second place, I think the decision to limit the Episcopacy to celibate men was based mostly on their position as target #1 during times of persecution.

    Read the lives of the early Bishops (2nd-4th cent.) and see how many of them died of natural causes. There were times when accepting election to the Episcopacy was a virtual suicide mission. Why bring a wife and kids along ?

    Later, when the Church decided to limit the number of Bishops, rather than have a Bishop over every local congregation, the job became too much to impose on a family man. And that’s about where we are today.

    I know of a Bishop who is 80 years old, looks after a diocese which covers 13 states across the south and south east U.S., and lives out of a suitcase most of the year.

    Clearly not the ideal family man !

    But the Orthodox Church does have an early tradition of a married Episcopacy, and could return to that practice if the Church deemed it wise to do so.

    In Christ’s time, people married much younger… and more people GOT married back then. Indications are, all of the apostles and all of their chosen presbytery were ALREADY married (except for St. Paul), as was virtually everyone of adult age in those days.

    Early writings of the Church fathers indicate that bishops were chosen from among the established presbytyery, and that men who were chosen to be bishops had to refrain from sexual intercourse from that point forward.

    For these reasons, bishops were chosen who had only been married once – early in life so that their children were already grown… and who had not taken a second wife.

    So here is the Orthodox way to read the verse in I Timothy 3:

    “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of (only) one wife (…), not a novice (…)”, and may have no more children from then on.

    The celibacy practiced by monastics and a good portion of the bishopric then is derived from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, when he said:

    “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (…)

    But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

    But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot excercise self-control, let them marry.”
    – I Corinthians 7:1-9

    As for your final two posts, I’m not sure I’m following what you’re asking me here…

    The word office in Psalm 109:8, it is derived from a Hebrew word which also means ‘overseer’, so… ?

    Did that help ?

  13. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    First the scriptures in Timothy speak nothing of ordaination only of gifts. See Acts 8 as only apostles could pass on miraculous gifts. Still Paul is not called on elder anywhere else except by this inference.

    The command for bishops or elders is that they be married. Even if you think they are two seperate offices it is clear that both marriage and children are necessary. It is good to sacrifice to God but when Saul did it he was rebuked by Samuel. Obedience is key. Clearly from scripture anyone claiming to be an elder or bishop without marriage is in violation of the teachings of scripture.

    Peter on the other hand was clearly an elder. Now if you say elder and bishop are two different offices why does Peter identify himself with the lower one? I say because they are the same office. Titus 1 first uses elder and then bishop in the description of the office. Also we know one hundred percent, from scripture that Peter was married. We also know one hundred percent Paul had no wife. Thus Paul did not meet the qualifications of an elder or bishop.

    Regarding scripture and church law I will follow scripture and only scripture. Many books of the New Testament are written to deal with heresies already in the church. So who is to say who is the true follower of God?

    Finally I think both you and I are greatly influenced by the church we belong to. In my case it is the Church of Christ in yours it is the Orthodox Church. My church bases everything we do on scripture, or at least tries to. That is our authority. You say otherwise if I understand you correctly.

    Love,

    John

  14. The Prodigal Son said

    Hey John,

    In the very beginning of the Church, the apostles were the elders. But as the Church grew, the workload was just too much for them to handle, they appointed more elders to “rule” and “teach true doctrine”.

    Why can’t you see that the bishop was the overseer of the overseers ? Clearly the eldership of the apostles “ruled” over the “undershepherds” in the Bible.

    After Judas betrayed Christ, his bishopric was filled by another.

    Even Job (suprisingly) seems to agree with me on this one. You just cannot divorce Scripture from the Church… the Church chose which Scripture would be in the Bible !

    Even your Bible is not the same as the Orthodox ! We use the Septuagint Old Testament instead of the Masoretic Texts. Much has been censored from your Old Testament. Why do people trust texts handed to them by what were essentially Pharisees ?

    With the increased clarity and honesty of the Greek O.T., comes also greater understanding of the New Testament as well.

    Nor can you divorce the Church from history.

    Here’s how I see all of this:

    “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”… But because it was the Mediator who established the Church, which is His body – we who are joined to Him are joined to His body as well.

    To say that we love Christ, who is the Head of the Church… and at the same time reject His body is to deny New Testament teachings.

    It was Christ Who founded the church: “I will build My Church”… on the Day of Pentecost, believers ask Peter, “What shall we do?”

    Following Peter’s word, they are baptized and join with the other believers – some three thousand of them.

    Having been joined to Christ and His Church, these baptized believers became the body of Christ.

    Christ said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church… that means the Church He founded is still in existence to this day.

    He also said that His Church was “the pillar and ground of the truth” and that the Holy Spirit would lead the Church into all truth… this means that there is AT THE PRESENT, a Church that teaches the truth, and that has always told the same truth.

    So in conclusion, the true Church: 1) Was there in the beginning…
    2) Was always thare…
    3) Is still here…
    4) Has never changed (truth is constant)…

    Tell me John, have you ever read the ‘Christianity’ page @ Wikipedia ? There’s bound to be a couple of things there you didn’t know… I know I learned a thing or two !

    Just type in a search: ‘Christianity’… May I also suggest the corresponding pages for ‘Orthodox Christianity’ and ‘Church of Christ’… then maybe ‘Timeline of Christianity’.

    “Pillar and ground of the truth” means there is only one Church which has always held that truth. We must decide which one.

    Good talking with you, John.

  15. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    I am not divorcing scripture from the church. But it is scripture that dictates how the church is run not the other way around. In this particular case the question can be asked ‘Does a bishop need to be married?’ The clear answer is yes. Now if a church does something contrary to the Word of God by allowing bishops not to be married they are in error. Somebody in the church may have changed the rules by that is what Paul calls ‘another gospel’.

    No it is not clear that apostles were elders. They only apostle we see who was an elder is Peter. Go to Acts 1 where they are replacing Judas’ ‘bishoprick’ or ‘office’. The qualifications there were that the man must have accompanied them the entire time of Jesus’ ministry and have been a witness to the Lord’s ressurrection. This criteria is very different that 1 Timothy and Titus. The twelve are called apostles multiple times but never elders and never bishops. The only scripture you can bring up is Acts 1:20 which uses the term bishoprick which in Psalms 109:8 is translated as office.

    You have never answered my question. Why in Titus 1 does the description begin with the term elder and then continues with bishop. The whole thought of the passage is describing one position. That is why I view the two as one. So how can you say they are two different positions.

    And yes, unfortunately the church has changed. It has gotten perverted and has gone apostate. This was predicted by the Bible. Look at 2 Peter 2 “But false prophets also rose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    Or Acts 20:29 “I know after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to drawaway the disciples after them.”

    Both of these passage are for Christians and talk about the chruch.

    Satan himself comes as an angel of light.

    Let’s make this one hundred percent clear. Whosoever does not obey the Word of God is in error. So if you have unmarried bishops, or woman bishop, or do not wish to have bishops in your church then you are doing something against the will of God. I don’t care what any man said claiming things have changed. The Bible is the authority not man.

    I think everyone will admit that there is much heresy in Christianity. The only problem is that we all point the finger at each other and say that group is in error not us. In the Church of Christ we need Book, Chapter and Verse to prove anything.

    So with that in mind if you want to prove your assertion that the apostles were all elders give me book, chapter and verse that states that.

    Love,

    John

  16. The Prodigal Son said

    John,

    Hey there… hope everything is going good for you.

    You said, “I am not divorcing Scripture from the Church. But it is Scripture that dictates how the Church is run not the other way around.”

    You ARE divorcing Scripture from the Saints of the Church which compiled and Canonized it in the first place ! There was only ONE Church at that time.

    The Church rejected any books which did not adhere to the doctrines they had recieved… If there was only one Church, with the Holy Spirit leading them into all truth… then how could they have gone wrong ?

    I know that the Bible you read is not even the same Bible that existed in the beginning, so ? If you’re going to live your life according to what is in your Bible, wouldn’t you like for your Bible to be the same as the one carried by Christ and the apostles ?

    Now do you suppose that EVERYTHING that the apostles ever said or taught is recorded in the Bible ? The apostles went on to be bishops in the early Churches !

    Don’t you think they continued teaching and making decisions beyond what’s recorded in the Bible ? They did.

    ‘Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word, or our epistle.’
    - II Thessalonians 2:15

    Some things were taught in person… others by way of written letters to the Churches… So obviously they taught many other things in person, in the Churches the visited as well as the Churches they themselves were presiding over – AS BISHOPS !

    Every Christian should read ‘The Church Fathers’ – the earliest writings of those who were IN the early Churches – in order to determine what is known as ‘Patristic consensus’…

    ‘But we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.’
    - II Thessalonians 3:6

    I think you’re right, John… in the very beginning, bishop and elder were the same office. We’ve already established that, with the ‘eldership’ being the ones who passed on the gifts of God, right ?

    It’s obvious that the terms bishop and elder were (in the very beginning) seemingly interchangable… but again, as the Church grew in size – the logistics changed… there became too many Churches for the apostles to cover, so the office of bishop (as distinct from a regular elder/presbyter) was created.

    We see in Scripture, beause of logistics – the creation of the office of deacon… what would be so hard to believe about the creation of a new title to differentiate between the apostles (the first bishops/elders), the other elders (who were not apostles), and the presbytery who they led.

    ‘And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.’
    - John 21:25

    Now about Scripture dictating the Church and not the other way around… you’re wrong. That may be how it works in a protestant church like yours, but the Orthodox Church were the ones who decided which books to canonize and which would be rejected. The Bible was the fist book ever and it was the Church who assembled it !

    Many books WERE rejected… They were rejected because they went against what the Church already believed at that time.

    The article on this site about St. Nicholas confirms what I say, and what all history says… first: Nicholas was a priest… then he became a bishop.

    Here’s what I think… I Timothy 3 describes the posistion of elder and says they must be married. This is consistent with the Orthodox today, which has married priests and deacons. The posistion of bishop over the elders arose later – though obviously VERY early on in Christianity.

    Since there was only ONE Church at that time – with the Holy Spirit guiding them into all truth, I don’t see how they could have been wrong about anything, as a whole.

    I Timothy 3 calls the Church: “The House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”

    You say that your church allows the Bible to dictate doctrine… but by whose interpretation ?

    Every ‘denomination’ (abomination) out there – of which there are hundreds – ALL SAY THEY FOLLOW THE BIBLE, BUT THEY ALL INTERPRET ITS MEANING DIFFERENTLY ! Visit a ‘Church of Christ’ in a different locale, and you will find a preacher with different ideas from your preacher.

    Truth is not subjective John…. there is only one truth, so only one Church is the real Church – the pillar and ground of the truth.

    All ‘churches’ have their own ‘version’ of the truth, but only one can be the CORRECT, AND ACTUAL TRUTH !

    Now the Bible also says that Scripture is of no private interpretation.

    The Ethiopian said, “How can I (understand what I am reading) unless someone guides me ?”

    If Sola Scriptura was acceptable, then why did Philip chase the man down, and baptize him ? To show him that he must become part of the Church to experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    The Roman church separated from the one Church, but the one Church remained… Thus, Rome and the Pope LEFT the House of God, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Soon new inventions and doctrines abounded & multiplied.

    All the people could see that Rome had become apostate, which of course led to the protestant movement and the Reformation… Why didn’t they return to the one Church ?

    Martin Luther himself came to the conclusion that the unbroken Church of the New Testament was the Greek Orthodox Church… However, he thought (mistakenly) that it was defunct.

    The Church however had always been alive under the millet system of the Ottoman empire which had captured the ‘New Rome’ – Constantinople.

    Read about the desisions of the first seven ecumenical concils, held when Christianity was universal, and all Churches taught the same thing.

    Understand that the councils were convened not to determine what Christianity WAS – but to define in no uncertain terms what it WAS NOT.

    Now according to Scripture, the Holy Spirit is passed from SOMEONE WHO ALREADY HAS IT… through the laying on of hands. So, someone cannot pass on the Holy Spirit – unless someone has given it to them first.

    This means that a Church should be able to demonstrate an unbroken chain of touch all the way back to the apostles… would you agree ?

  17. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    Now we are getting somewhere. Your Church teaches things not in the Bible, or at least you claim these things have changed.

    1 Timothy 4:1-3 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

    I could quote more scriptures.

    No I believe the vast majority of the Churches of Christ would agree on many things, especially fundamental things. That is the Bible as the Word of God, baptism for remission of sins and others.

    I question your history. Already when the Bible was being written heresies and apostacies were in the Church. Many scriptures teach us that this would continue. I reject any teaching outside of the Bible as the work of man. Some men may have said some stuff better than others but the bottom line is that they are all men.

    Love,

    John

  18. The Prodigal Son said

    John,

    Thanks for your reply.

    You said, “Now we are getting somewhere. Your Church teaches things not in the Bible, or at least you claim these things have changed.”

    No John… what I said was that we agree that the offices of elder/presbyter and deacon should be married. Orthodoxy does not disagree with this stance, unlike Roman Catholicism.

    It may be that the office of Bishop as Shepherd to the elders arose shortly after, but the account is not recorded in Scripture. If that is the case, because the office of Bishop is not mentioned – then neither are its prerequisite requirements.

    But regardless, I still maintain that the admonishment (which has likely been muddled through translation) regarding elders & deacons on the issue of marriage – is ACTUALLY saying that elders and deacons must have NO MORE than one wife.

    Research the Pharisees and the Talmud and you will see that the Talmud condones polygamy (having more than one wife), even though the Mosaic Law specifically forbade it…

    Proving that, as with every other commandment, the Pharisees – through sophistry and wordplay – had turned that commandment upside down, and took as many wives as they could afford.

    By requiring that elders & deacons had NO MORE than one wife, the Pharisees – if they remained in their decadent lifestyle… were disqualified for service/leadership posistions in the Church.

    On another note, I have a question for you…

    What percentage of Pharisees and Judeans would you estimate were of Edomite extraction ?

    (Anyone else may feel free to reply too !)

    The ‘Jews’ have gone to great lengths to obscure the fact that (after Rome) the Edomites were running Judea in Christ’s time.

    Anyone ?

  19. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    No bishop is clearly given as a position in which one has to be married and have faitfhul children. Read the passages it is very clear. The word bishop is used. I do not see how you can deny that these passages talk about bishops.

    Love,

    John

  20. The Prodigal Son said

    Hi John,

    Let’s not be difficult.

    For instance – does the leader of your church call himself ‘bishop or elder’ ?

    Does your Church have any deacons ? Deaconesses ?

    Does your church partake of the Lord’s Supper ? If so – do you use unleavened bread and wine ?

    What about baptism ? Anything less would be un-Biblical, wouldn’t it ?

    Don’t get me wrong John… I consider you one of my online friends, and all I say to you is said in love !

    Now I asked you a question above that you just skipped over… and I made many other points that you did not rebut or even address… I hope I’m not upsetting you am I John ?

    Look – I researched your church… near as I can tell, it was founded in 1906. What I want to know is – who baptized your first ‘bishop’ ?

    Who laid hands on him to pass on the gift of the Holy Spirit ?

    Now John… ’tis the season to be jolly, so If you’re getting perturbed – just say so – and I’ll move along.

    With love in Christ,
    Joshua

    ICXC NIKA

  21. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well.

    No I was not intentionally skipping questions.

    What is the difference between the Church of Christ and denominations?

    Deonminations are built on the creeds of others, but we only use the Bible. Thus we are not protestant but what we call reformation. That is getting back to the original texts and that alone. For example the reformed church looks at Calvin or the Methodist Wesley. We only view the Bible.

    Yes, we have bishops and elders, we view them as the same position. Elders are always plural so there must be more than one. Elders must have one wife and believing respectful children.

    Yes we have deacons, but no deaconesses. There is only one scripture that refers to deaconesses depending on translation.

    We have the Lord’s supper every Sunday with unleavened bread but with grape juice or fruit of the vine.

    We practice baptism by immersion to adult believers. It is how one is added to the Church.Acts 2:47 This is an extremely important topic and we should discuss it further. Baptism of babies is an error and does nothing regarding salvation.

    The Holy Spirit is given in baptism. See Acts 2:38. Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. One reason proper baptism is extemely important.

    Laying on of hands could only pass the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 8. This could only be done by an apostle.

    Regarding false teachings and apostles and elders being different positions please see Acts 15.

    I apologize if I seemed a little ‘grumpy’ perhaps I was. Time is short now and my mother is very ill.

    Any other questions feel free to ask. I can scripture for all these things I bring up.

    Finally it is the belief of the restoration that at some time since Pentecost that there has been faithful believers that existed somewhere on the Earth.

    Love,

    John

  22. john kaniecki said

    Joshua or Prodigal,

    Hope you are well.

    Both you and I would readily agree the Catholic Church became apostate. However I base this on scripture. For example scripture says to call no man ‘father’ for you have one “Father” in heaven.

    I would argue that your church is in error as well.

    To answer your question on Bishop the position is as described in Timothy and Titus. If you feel it came later than that is an addition to the Word of God.

    The head of the Church is Jesus. I reject the concept that Peter was the head. Other than Mathew 16 I know of no other scripture that would support that view. I understand in Mathew 16 that the rock is not Peter but his confession that Jesus was the Christ. Every other reference to the rock in the New Testament is clearly about Jesus. Jesus is clearly the head of the Church.

    Also Paul rebuked Peter.

    I would agree that the Protestant movement did not return to the true Church. Romans 16:16 is the scripture we use for our name. Of course Church of God is biblical as well. But Lutheren, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc is not.

    The Church of Christ says that we are the Church you can read about in the Bible.

    Love,

    John

  23. John Kaniecki said

    Joshua,

    Hi hope you are well.

    I also consider you a friend as well and appreciate that friendship very much.

    Here is the crux of the matter if you will.

    From the Bible we know that even at the time when the apostles were living heresies were in the Church.

    This is my understanding of Church history which is not extensive but not superficial. The Church was founded by Jesus. There were twelve apostles Judas being replace by Mathaias. Paul to was made apostle to the gentiles. Jesus is the Head of the church. All this is found in scripture.

    After the deaths of the apostles things took a turn for the worse. Originally the congregations were headed up by a group of elders. The eldership then dissapeared into the form where a bishop, singular took over. Years past and there were several centers of Christianty (though even at this point I would not even call it true Christianity). I believe the centers were Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome and Alexandria but I could be wrong about the cities. However in these cities a single man or patriarch took control of the churches in the area. Later on in Rome, Constantine declared the patriarch or bishop of Rome to be the Pope. Constantine made Christianity the offical religion of the Roman Empire. What happened was that the pagans took their practices and made some superfical changes claiming it was Christianity. For example Christmas is the shortest day of the year. They declared it the birthday of Jesus. Yet we bring Christmas trees into the house, something straight out of paganism.

    Now I know for certain the Catholics did revision on history. This concept is not unique to the Catholics alone. Read the history books of America. ‘Manifest Destiny’ is god’s mandate to America to settle a vast wilderness and reign from sea to shining sea. More correctly it was the genocide of the natives and the destruction of competing European powers for dominance of a land that belonged to none of the pale skins.

    Anyway one thing I am certain of that is a distortion of history is that Peter was somehow put in charge of the Church. As I mentioned below the only scripture that I know of that can make that argument is Mathew 16. But as I explained I believe the rock is the confession Peter made that Jesus is the Christ. That after all is the cornerstone of the faith.

    Now there may be some profit in learning about the early Church and so forth. However I once read City of God by Augustine and was not in any way impressed. I have desired to read Eusbias’ church histroy but have not done so. (Excuse my ignorance in my spelling.)

    So there in lies some of my frustration. I do not trust the history but put full trust in the scriptures. Yet not the scriptures but the Word of God as illuminated by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You on the other hand put your trust in the scriptures but say they are not complete and furthermore that things changed. For example the argument you made about bishops not being married. I am sure many were martyrd as you say, that would not suprise me at all. But to use that as an excuse not to get married is not a good one. It is still a clear violation of the requirements laid out for a bishop in both Timothy and Titus!

    So that is where I am in this discussion. You notice that to almost all your questions which I have answered about the Church of Christ I probably agree with you in doctrine. You have not yet responded to that blog but I assume you will in the future God permiting.

    Now I would like you to search your own church history and examine how the church switched baptism from immersion to sprinkling. Romans 6 clearly says baptism is a burial. Colossian 2:12 also speaks of this burial.

    Now both you and I agree that the Catholic Church is not the true Church and is apostate. If I were discussing spiritual matters with a Catholic I would give them scripture or the Word of God which according to Ephesians 6 is the Sword of the Spirit, a Christian’s only sanctioned weapon.

    Now if you were discussing things with a Catholic I would imagine they could produce their evidences outside of the Bible just as you do for the Orthodox church. You may argue they are wrong but I am confident that they would argue in their favor. So you would come to a stand still.

    Now you and I both agree that the Protestant movement is not correct. Perhaps for different reasons. My problem with the Protestants is that instead of returning fully to the Word of God they set up something extra as well. Perhaps it was done to clarify things but still there is something extra added.

    I think the only question I have not yet answered is about the Jews. I do not believe the Jews in Isreal or real Jews for two reasons. One is they cannot trace back their blood line and two they listen to the Talmud which is an abomination instead of the Torah. They are pharisees and worship the god of mammon. This is not a comdemnation of the entire people who call themselves Jews, just those that own the banks. It is interesting the history does not teach us who owned the double decker slave ships or who sold the Opium into China or who loaned the European countries money with the promise made that whoever won the war would also pay the debts of the looser.

    Well I have three blogs in a row. I hope this clears the air, so to speak.

    Love,

    John

  24. The Prodigal Son said

    John K.,

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom ! I have prayed for her and I will continue to do so. Make sure to smile for her John, and to try to make her smile too. It’s important to keep spirits up.

    Wow – lots to respond to… I do hope Job doesn’t mind our little discussion. I’m suprised he hasn’t told us what he thinks about all of this. I personally would be interested to know.

    Anyhow – I’m a little unclear… do you mean to say that your church has ‘bishops’ AND ‘elders’ – as in two separate posistions ? Or did you mean that they are the same posistion – but you may address them as either/or ?

    Either way, my next question will be: who ordained your bishops/elders ?

    If your church was founded in 1906 – who was the first bishop/elder ? Who ordained him ? To what denomination did that first leader of your church belong to before 1906 ?

    I’m sure you see where I’m going with this… obviously you don’t believe in ‘apostolic succession’.

    Apostolic succession effects the power and authority to administer all of the sacraments (excepting baptism and marrige), and is passed on through the laying on of hands in ordination, and ordination can be conferred only by a bishop.

    That bishop – of course had to have been ordained as well by a bishop himself, and on back, and on – in an unbroken line of bishops chosen by, and stemming from the original apostles selected by Jesus Christ. Therefore it becomes clear that this succession of an unbroken line of touch is necessary for the valid celebration of the sacraments today.

    Also showing the importance of this unbroken line of succession – Christ said the gates of hades would not prevail, and that He would be with the Apostles to the end of the age. If the succession which He set in motion were to end… then God is made a liar.

    Also, a Church which CAN show succession – BUT: no longer teaches what was taught by the apostles or their immediate successors – such as Timothy or Titus (all of which is not recorded in the Canon of Scripture):

    Thus – as is the case with the Roman church, through their deviation from what the ONE Church taught – this has also invalidated their ability to administer the sacraments.

    What does your church say about the Nicene Creed ? Do they agree with all of it ?

    You were referring in your post to what was known in the days of the declaration of the Creed… as the Pentarchy… or the Churches of:

    Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome.

    The Bible is made up of many books (and letters become books), but there were many, many others that are not included (the apocrypha)… Why are these ‘books’ not in todays Bible ?

    The Churches got together and decided which ones to include, and which not… So your Bible IS as it is because of the same early Church which you now reject.

    The apostles went on to be bishops in the Churches of the Pentarchy and elsewhere. Do you deny this ?

    Church of Constantinople – St. Andrew
    Church of Alexandria – St. Mark
    Church of Antioch – St. Paul
    Church of Jerusalem – Sts. Peter and James
    Church of Rome – Sts. Peter and Paul

    Through the missionary work of these Churches were founded the Churches of Sinai, Russia, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and successively many others.

    Each of these Churches is independant in administration, but with the exception of the church of Rome – which separated in error and invention from the others in the year 1054… all are UNITED in faith, doctrine, apostolic tradition, sacraments, liturgies and services (in various languages).

    Together these Churches constitute the Orthodox Church.

    The Patriarch of Constantinople can trace succession all the way back to St. Andrew…
    The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria to St. Mark.
    The Russian Othodox Churh to St. Andrew.
    The Armenian Apostolic Church to Sts. Bartholomew and Thaddeus (Jude).
    The Malankara Orthodox Church of Cyprus to St. Barnabas.
    The Ethiopian Orthodox Church to St. Philip.
    The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem to St. James the Just.
    And Rome to Sts. Peter and Paul (however since Rome unilaterally changed the Nicene Creed they were excommunicated de facto)…

    You said that Constantine bestowed power on the pope ?

    Not so. The major reason for the east west schism of 1054 was an assertion by the pope of ultimate authority and papal primacy OVER the patriarch of Constantinople, and indeed all of Christendom !

    The Patriarch flat rejected the assertion and promptly excommunicated the papal legates. They in turn issued a bull of excommunication to Patriarch Michael… in it, one of the reasons cited was ‘the Eastern Church’s DELETION of the ‘filioque’ phrase from the Nicene Creed’.

    When in FACT… the exact opposite was true: The Eastern Church had not deleted anything ! It was the Papist Western church that had ADDED the ‘filioque’ phrase to the Creed !

    The Papal bull was publicly burned in Constantinople.

    The ‘filioque’ is the phrase, “and from the Son”.

    The Creed says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. Rome and the pope ADDED the ‘filioque’, so that it read, “from the Father AND FROM THE SON.”…

    Today – changes are myriad and uncountable. The Roman Church does not practice the Christianity of the apostles recorded for posterity by the ‘Church Fathers’.

    Many people lump the Orthodoxy in with Roman catholicism – which is an unfortunate mistake. They think they know what Orthodoxy is all about, but they are deceived to the point where they refuse to even examine the historic Church for themselves, instead heeding the accusatory whispers of anti-Christs.

  25. The Prodigal Son said

    (cont.)

    John, you said ‘reformers’ study Calvin and Wesley… I assume you meant to say ‘protestants’ here.

    About the verse you assert says bishops must be married…

    The Word says, “(…) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, (…)”.

    If the qualification is only saying they need to be married – then why doesn’t the Word just say, “(…) A bishop must be blameless, married, temperate, sober-minded, (…)” ?

    Why the specific qualifier of “one wife” ?

    See John, like I said – under the Pharisees (of which the leadership was of Edomite extraction – NOT Israelite), the oral laws has superceded the laws of Moses, and allowed men – even ‘rabbis’ to have as MANY WIVES AS THEY COULD AFFORD !

    Jesus came to rescue the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel (such as Paul) from this doctrine which was an abolition of the Mosaic Law (delivered BY Christ to Moses).

    Jesus warned us of the leaven of the Pharisees… I think that refers to the Talmud, Zohar, etc… but after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD – where did the Pharisees go ? Did they vanish ? No !

    When Jerome was translating Scripture into Latin – instead of visiting the (Orthodox) Christian Church in Jerusalem… he went to see the ‘Jews’ – the Masoretes. But who were these Masoretes ? They were Pharisees, through and through ! And they had mare leaven to disseminate !

    They had altered, deleted MANY passages in the Old Testament to obscure many references and prophecies pertaining to Jesus Christ, as well as to hide the fact that the Edomites had become ‘Jews’ in approximately 126 AD.

    What if we looked at the New Testament from the perspective that the ‘Jews’ who persecuted Christ were not Israelites – but that many of them; and certainly their leadership – were actually Edomites ?

    What if those Edomite Pharisees and their followers are the ones who came to be known as ‘Jews’ ?

    What if then those calling themselves ‘Jews’ adopted the title of Israel ?

    See how that works ? The fact that the verses HAVE BEEN changed to hide all of this is very telling. They have successfully manged to erase that fact from the Western and English Bibles all based on the Pharisaic/Masoretic Old Testament texts (including the King James).

    If you’re going to base your faith ENTIRELY on the Bible, at least use the uncencored version ! Christ quotes from the Septuagint in the NT, not the vulgate, so… ?

    You said your church has no deaconesses ? That is un-Biblical – according to your own theory. You must follow every word.

    You have mentioned a couple of times that things only have ONE verse to back them up… So what ? One verse is not NO verses… you can’t dismiss even one verse – these verses must also be taken into account and conclusions suitably adjusted.

    Re: infant baptism… Jesus said not to deny the little children to come to Him. He also said that adults must become as little children in order to enter the kindom of heaven.

    The fact is John… children already believe. ALL children are born as children of God… but sadly the world we are in tries to transform us into sons of Satan.

    There are plenty of verses showing that the Holy Spirit is recieved through the laying on of hands of an apostle or a bishop, and not only through baptism… does the church of Christ ignore these as ‘only one verse’ references as well ?

    You mention Acts 8… this is part of the proof for what I have said.

    Look, in Acts 8: Philip the deacon and evangelist, preached in Samaria. Many believed and were baptized…

    THEN, the apostles came and later confirmed these new believers with the gift of the Holy Spirit – through the laying on of hands.

    Later, the apostle Paul met some disciples of John the Baptist who had not been present when Peter spoke at Pentecost. They believed in Christ, were baptizd, and the Holy Spirit came upon them – again through the hands of an apostle.

    Now look at Acts 8:18… makes it pretty clear I think.

    “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”

    I know you are lumping the Orthodox in with the Romans… Orthodox do not baptize by sprinkling – but by threefold immersion, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

    P.S…. In the beginning of II John & III John (1:1), John refers to himself as “The Elder”.

  26. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi hope you are well. My mother is doing extemely well praise God. There are many praying for her. She seems to have taken a turn for the better after leaving the hospital and nursing home. Thanks for your concern.

    Now to the business at hand.

    In Acts 8 the passing on of the Holy Spirit was for miraculous gifts. Acts 2:38 states the Holy Spirit is given at baptism. Only apostles could pass on the miraculous gifts. Notice Philip though an evangelist could not do it. Look at Acts 19:6. In Corinth Paul lays hands on the apostles and then they speak in tongues. Now if the Holy Spirit is given as you contend by others than the original apostles then do you speak in tongues? Or heal like Peter and Paul did? Or like in Acts 8:13 can you like Philip do miracles and signs?

    Elders, bishops must be married. 1Timothy 3:4 says he must have children with all gravity. 1 Timothy 3:2 “must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaivour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” You can’t eliminate the second critera. If you do so then you can eliminate any of them. 1 Timothy 3:5 A bishop needs to have decent children as it shows that he can rule his own house and thus rule the house of God.

    Now to Titus. Titus 1:5 He is to appoint elders (plural) in every city. Now I will contend there was only one congregation in each city and the command was to appoint more than one person. Titus 1:6 “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” The list continues in verse seven. Once again identical to 1 Timothy 3. An elder must be a man, married to one wife and have decent children. Elders or bishops as they are used in Titus interchangeably were for the spiritual oversight of the congregation.

    If you say that an elder does not need to be married you could say, as others have, an elder or bishop could be a woman.

    This is not a difficult scripture. I can see perfectly well how you can argue the Holy Spirit is passed on by the laying on of hands. Even though Acts 2:38 clearly says it is given at baptism, scripture also says it is passed on by the laying on of hands.

    But here we have a list of requirements. You want to get rid of an item on the list yet I am sure you insist on keeping the rest on the list! You can’t have it both ways.

    Love,

    John

  27. John Kaniecki said

    Prodigal,

    Hi, I will continue now.

    As I am blogging I am recalling my history I studied of the Church. If I remember correctly the dispute over the Nicine creed had something to do with just one word. When I read about this I thought this is probably one of the most stupid things ever. Let me say I have heard of Church of Christ congregations breaking up over what color to paint the wall. Or in the Church of Christ there are the one cuppers. That is that Christ used one cup at the Lord’s supper and thus so should the church during communion. Congregations have broken up over this issue as well. Yet I think that these congregations had serious fundamental problems and the break up reasons were only excuses.

    As far as creeds, I reject them all as man made. The Bible is sufficent in itself to tells us what to believe. Who are you to add to the Word of God? Or anybody for that matter.

    Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” Two things then are necessary for salvation, belief and bapism. Belief is not enough James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble.”

    Acts 2:38 baptism is for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the remission of sins. Now you contend new born babies are Children of God. I disagree, but I know of scriptures that indicate babies are sinless. But bapism is for the remission of sins. So if babies have no sins, or as you say, are children of God already (though I disagree with this) than why are they baptized?

    Now let me ask you some questions about the church you belong to. What is it’s name? Where is that name in the Bible? Do you worship saints or pay them homage over ordinary believers? Do you have preists apart from lay believers? If you do have preists apart from the majority of the congregation do you call them father? Do you hold that Mary was sinless? Do you pray to Mary? Do you believe the building you worship in is some how holy? Do you have an authority over your bishops?

    Perhaps you are right that I am grouping your Orthodox church with the Catholic church. The answers to these questions will help me in understanding your group.

    I think I have covered what you have brought up and I will await until I get your response. I hope that all is well with you.

    Love,

    John

  28. The Prodigal Son said

    John K.,

    Hey John… so happy to hear about your mother’s improvement ! The power of prayer is undeniable and has been validated by science.

    Again, apologies for taking so long to respond… so much going on now – never enough time !

    Seems I’m not the only one either ! Not much going on here… I’m pretty sure I saw a tumbleweed roll across the home page !

    Anyhow, one last thing about bishops and marriage… and then I’m going to let this one go.

    Here’s how I see it… At the time of Pentecost, pretty much everyone was married – and married from a young age. Lacking birth control – chances are good that anyone who was married (virtually everyone) also had children.

    So when Jesus chose the apostles it would have been almost impossible to FIND 12 unmarried men. Likewise, when the apostles appointed elders in the Churches, they would have been hard pressed to find men like St. Paul.

    The practice therefore was that elders – once ordained would refrain from that point, from having sexual relations or having any more children.

    That was THEN. After that point, the Churches had St. Paul’s words concerning the requirement of ANY member of the Church regarding sex and marriage to contend with… is it a requirement from that point in time on ?

    “(…) But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself.
    But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they remain even as I am; but IF they cannot excercise self-control, let them marry.”

    Clearly, he is saying he wishes everyone could remain unmarried and celibate as he is, but AS A CONCESSION to lack os sexual self-control we should then marry.

    “But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.(…)

    But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him wallk. And so I ordain (command) in all the Churches.”

    “Now concerning virgins: (…) I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress – that it is good for a man to remain as he is:
    Are you bound to a wife ? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife ? Do not seek a wife. (…)

    But this I say brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, (…)

    But I want you to be without care. He who is UNMARRIED cares for the things of the Lord – how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world – how he may please his wife. (…)

    And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. (…)

    Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin does well. So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.”

    The Bible is more than I Timothy 3… Those verses should be reconciled with the verses above from I Corinthians, as well as with the recorded history of the ONE original Church.

    I will adress the rest of your questions tomorrow… Sorry, but I have to go to town.

    Later,

  29. The Prodigal Son said

    Hey John,

    So much for “tomorrow”, eh ? Oh well, better late than never I guess… Sorry to keep you hanging like that !

    My best friend had a small house fire, so I’ve been helping him clean up the damage.

    I see you still haven’t answered some of my earlier questions… I would add this question: Does your church celebrate Christmas ? Christmas is not in the Bible, so I assume you reject the day ?

    ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

    Above, you said, “Now if the Holy Spirit is given as you contend – by others than the original apostles, then do you speak in tongues, or heal, or can you perform signs and miracles ?”

    Each are given gifts according to the will of God. Some receive one gift… some another. Tongues are for a sign to those who do not believe, and are not neccessary (as some say) to prove the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    For the record – I personally have never spoken in tongues, and in fact – I believe that the majority of those who say that they do are lying; they are faking it in order to belong… and they KNOW they are ! (‘Independant Conservative’ admitted here that he had done this, to his credit.)

    I think babies are baptized (at least partly) for the same reason that Jesus Himself was baptized…

    John did not WANT to baptize Jesus because he knew that Christ did not NEED purification.

    John said, “I need to be baptized by You (Jesus), and are You coming to me ?”

    But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
    - Matthew 3:14-15

    In John 3:5 – Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.
    So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    So if a baby is not old enough to conciously COMMUNICATE belief, and that baby dies – unless the baby has been baptized – that baby cannot enter the kingdom of God.

    Jesus told us NOT to deny the little ones to come to Him. He also told us – that WE must become as little children to the same end.

    This sinful world tries to corrupt us from the instant we are born, but the ‘natural law’ has been “written” by God directly in the heart of every human who has ever lived – as the voice of CONCIENCE. It is a reliable guide to God’s righteousness for those who are pure in heart… but can be dulled or obscured by sin.

    Babies – of course – are innocent… born pure in heart, blameless – their conciences as yet crystal clear. Christ says we must baptize, so we baptize.

    ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

    Now to your questions…

    I would associate myself with any apostolic Church, as long as they were Orthodox. Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, etc… All maintain the correct faith and worship of Jesus Christ.

    Orthodox do not worship saints, the Virgin Mary or any other except God – through His Redeemer, Jesus the Christ.

    There is veneration, and we emplore saints to pray for us here in the world – in the realm of the god of this age. This is in demonstration that those in Christ – the saints – do NOT DIE, and that they are still part of the Church of the Israel of God.

    The archangel Gabriel said to Mary :

    “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.”

    Clearly, God Himself chose to honor Mary in Gabriel’s address to her… And Mary herself, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – predicted the honor that would be afforded her throughout history when she said :

    “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

    But Gabriel said, “Blessed are you among WOMEN.”, so she is not a goddess to be worshipped… but she is the Theotokos
    (God-birthgiver), the very mother of God incarnate – to be honored above all other women, for after all – Mary was the FIRST person on earth to receive Jesus Christ !

    Mary’s love and trust for God allowed God’s grace and mercy to enter into our fallen world through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

    Finally, in the Orthodox Church, the laity does have authority over the bishopric. Orthodoxy is not like Roman catholicism – with one leader like the pope… rather ALL bishops are considerd as equals, and all are priests.

    Merry CHRISTmas, John and everyone !

    ICXC
    NIKA

  30. The Prodigal Son said

    PS John,

    When I said that I wanted to let this one go… I didn’t mean that I don’t want to talk to you anymore…

    Only that I think we’ve gone over the bishops and marriage issue long enough… I would still like to converse with you about other stuff though !

    PPS,

    I said in the last sentence above, “All bishops are considered as equals, and all are priests.”…

    What I really should have said was: “All bishops are considered as equals, and all OF THE LAITY ARE CONSIDERED AS priests.”

    Merry CHRISTmas John, and all !

    ICXC
    NIKA

  31. Philip said

    Check out the tract challenge – http://thischristianblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/tract-challenge/

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