Archive for May, 2013

AtServiceThis is one of those traditions which seems to be predominantly found in the black church. But first thing is first. What is an armor bearer in the bible? As per Got Questions:

In Scripture, an armor-bearer (also spelled armorbearer and armor bearer) was a servant who carried additional weapons for commanders. Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 16:12), Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:6-17), and Joab (2 Samuel 18:15) had armor-bearers/armorbearers. Armor-bearers were also responsible for killing enemies wounded by their masters. After enemy soldiers were wounded with javelins or arrows, armor-bearers finished the job with clubs or swords. After the time of David, armor-bearers are no longer mentioned, likely due to the fact that commanders began to fight from chariots (1 Kings 12:18;20:33).

Now as those from other churches may not know what an armor bearer is in today’s churches, let me give you a little summary. An armor bearer is basically like a preachers right hand man/woman and serves them basically, like a glorified personal assistant. Some of their duties include (and I am not making this up), carrying the pastors bible and books, getting their water to quench their thirst while they are preaching, wiping the sweat off their head with a towel while they are preaching, bring and preachers bodyguard. Picking up the pastor and driving him to church. You don’t believe me? My friends across the pond at Real Talk Radio made me aware of this armor bearer ‘training’ video

Notice that one of the first thing that he says is that it will be less scriptural (in fact I didn’t hear any in this clip)

According to the video, the armor bearer:

  • will watch out for his wife
  • will watch out for his kids
  • will have closer access than the average church member
  • represents the preacher (note…not Christ)
  • ‘covers’ the preachers
  • ‘softens the blow’ for those who want to have access to the pastor
  • should be willing to change their schedule, their lifestyle and their work so that they are available for their Pastor
  • should be willing to use up their work vacation days to serve the Pastor

He also stated that that he was there early washing his pastors car and it caused problems in his marriage. If that isn’t a red flag, then I don’t know what is.

In some churches they MUST be a tither and ‘must make the advancement of the leader the important goal’. That alone flies in the face of scripture and borders on idolatory. In John 3:30 John the Baptist stated that he must decrease and Christ must increase but many churches are looking to increase the profile of their pastor.

If this sounds unbiblical and unhealthy to you, that’s because it is. Maybe its just me but it sounds very close to a slave and not a servant. You do not see any disciples in the new testamant who had an armor bearer as it is today. The closest person I can see was Peter in the Garden Of Gethsamene when he drew his sword to protect Jesus and Jesus told him to put it away so there goes that theory

When James and John wanted to be Jesus’s right (and left) hand men in Mark 10:35-45, Jesus told them that “even the Son of Man came NOT to be served but to serve” but for some reason , they get it twisted and think that they are greater than Jesus and should be served by their armor bearer at every opportunity. This is NOT biblical and is a tradition of man.

So how did we get from the biblical definition of an armor bearer to what we have today? The answer is that they have equated the armor bearer in the old testament carrying the weapon to the armor bearer today carrying the sword (the bible). This is a classic example of eisegesis which is a common practice with many traditions . They have come up with a idea and read it INTO the scriptural text. Instead of using exegesis and getting their doctrine OUT of the text. Let the scripture speak for itself and not what you want it to say.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect – Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

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This is one of those traditional practices that you normally see at events such as ‘healing’ crusades and ‘deliverance’ ministries when the preacher lays hands on a person and they ‘fall out’ or as it is commonly known ‘get slain in the spirit’. It has almost become the norm in many churches that a lot of Christians do not even question it’s biblical validity and assume that it is from God.  See the video below as an example.

Question: Why is it that the only place in scripture where people fell backwards due to the power of God was the wicked men who came to arrest Jesus?  Selah

I know that one of the first thing people will say to defend this (or their favorite pastor/bishop/preacher) is ‘I know what I felt when it happened to me’ but we must remember that feelings and emotions are not an indication of truth. Feelings can change and deceive. See my post Emotionalism and Experience versus Sound Doctrine. The bible even states that Satan presents himself as an angel of light and he will perform many lying wonders. So what is the standard that we should follow? It is the scriptures and the scriptures alone. That is the plumbline.

My good friend, Steve Campbell wrote a good article called ‘Slain in the Spirit or just “Slain” stupid’ and I thought I would share it with you below

Just a couple of links to remind us that once again we must use the scriptures as the final authority for our faith and not these so called “fake healers and prophe-liars”…..

I’ve been saying for a while especially when you study and see the comparisons in the New Age Movement, that this whole “slain in the spirit” thing is false and has no place in Christianity…
People in the Charismatic Movement have mis-interpreted the scripture in Acts 2 and especially from verse 11 where scripture shows that some and not all of the many who had gathered accused the disciples of being drunk. This has been interpreted by The Charismatics as meaning that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you he makes you act in a manner that to others seems strange and some have even labeled this behaviour as being “Drunk in the Spirit”… Once again this teaching has no biblical foundation as the purpose of having the Holy Spirit is one of comfort, a guide and teacher…Look at John 14:26…  The Holy Spirit does not make you roll around on the floor like some socially dysfunctional person in order to show that God is working in your life.. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to ” be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
The only characters that I’ve seen in scripture who were “slain by the spirit” and not “slain in the spirit” were Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5……

Look at what happens from verse 12 in Acts 2, as Peter explains to the crowd the events that were occurring and made reference to the Prophet Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28-32.
He clearly states that the disciples were not drunk… A few major things happened on the Day Of Pentecost … The disciples spoke in tongues which were the dialects of approximately 18 different nationalities… They professed the gospel of Jesus Christ.. Peter then preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ with authority and articulacy.
Acts 2:37 shows the hearers of Peter’s sermon were “cut to the heart” ESV.. This meant that were convicted by what Peter had preached.
It then goes on to say that they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, which was the Gospel and they fellowshipped together giving and sharing their possessions to as many who had a need.
So we can see from reading the whole text that the Day of Pentecost was the birth of the Christian Church as we know it, and that the gospel was preached and the lost were saved..
We cannot just simply highlight the gift of receiving The Holy Spirit without actually showing it’s purpose.. Which is to enable us to preach the Gospel in any surroundings, especially a difficult one with clarity and authority….

We do a great disservice to the working of the Holy Spirit when we act in manner that is confusing to the unbeliever and does not audibly proclaim the wonderful works of God, which is the Gift Of Salvation to all of mankind.

So……. Have a look at these two clips and then decide if these acts truly bring people to repentance and convict them of their sin just as Peter’s preaching did on the day of Pentecost???

As Always…

Sola Scriptura..

Steve….

BUT DONT TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect – Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

I have heard this so many times but have never really seen it as something that new testamant believers have been instructed to do. Even though this is used for a variety of decisions, it seems to be predominantly when it comes to relationships and choosing a life partner. The person then waits to ‘get a confirmation from God’ so that they know if their partner is ‘the one’.

Now let me make this clear. I am NOT saying that God cannot give a confirmation, but what I AM saying is that we are not obliged, required or instructed to wait for one. It is this REQUIREMENT that has become a tradition of man. Some people refuse to make a decision until they get a confirmation or a sign from God.

I have tried to find the scriptural basis for this for myself and cannot find any so did a bit of research to see where other people are finding it from.

One came from 2 Corinthians 13:1 – “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established”

Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 which was to be used in the case of a crime where a single witness was not sufficient. If we look at the context of 2 Corinthians 13, we have to go back to chapter 12:20-21 and see that he was talking about how he would deal with sin in the Corinthian church. Compare this with Matthew 18:15-21. It is not saying that we must ask God for a confirmation before we do anything as some teach.

Further examples where God gave a confirmation was when Samuel anoints David to be King (1 Samuel 16: 1-13), when Jeremiah is instructed to buy a field (Jeremiah 32: 6-9), and with Gideon asking about saving Israel. (Judges 6:36-40) but we must remember that Samuel, Jeremiah and David did not have what we have today and that is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit residing in us so we cannot compare our situation directly with theirs. Nor can we take those narratives to say because they got one, that we must do it as well.

The problem with seeking confirmation or sign from God is that both Matthew 12:39 and Matthew 16:4 tell us that “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign“.

So if we shouldn’t wait for a confirmation or sign from God, what should be done instead? This is one of the main questions that many Christians ask when it comes to knowing God’s will in a situation and it seems as if it is a minefield. First of all, please read the answer given below from Got Questions

Question: “How can I know God’s will for my life? What does the Bible say about knowing God’s will?”

There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation: 1) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids. 2) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually. If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.

To hopefully answer this question practically, I will give some scenarios and examples (including the relationship question), which I know are not exhaustive, but I do believe that sometimes we can complicate things. I think the principles can be used in almost every area.

Scenario 1 : “I have been praying about dating this person who is not a Christian and want to know what God’s will is”

My Answer: No need to pray. God has explicitly told us in scripture that we should not be yoked with unbelievers so dont try to get God to come down yo your standard. Go up to his. Oil and water will not mix. No matter how much you shake it.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God’s will are explicitly explained in the bible

Scenario 2 I am looking for a spouse. How do I know if they are “the one”?

My Answer: ‘The ‘one’ is normally a myth. But God have given us some guidelines. Questions to ask yourself would be things like, are they a Christian? Do they love God and is this shown by their fruits? Do they encourage you to get closer to God or further away from him? Are they interested in prayer and the bible? And last but not least, are you attracted to them? If so, make yourself available and go for it!! Now as you can see, there will probably be more than one person in the world who might fit that description, so I believe that God says, be prayerful and YOU make a choice and YOU pick. Difficulties down the line is not necessarily proof that it wasnt Gods will but can be just God shaping our character and conforming us to Jesus’ image. All relationships will have their ups and downs.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God has not given us specific instructions, but has given us enough guidelines and principles to work with

Scenario 3: How do I know which school to send my child to?

My Answer: As there is no scripture verse which tells you the exact school, get all the relevant information taking into account distance, reputation, league tables and then again, be prayerful and based on that information, choose a school

Lesson learnt: Again, there are some things which are not explained in scripture at all and are not within themselves sinful and God has allowed us to make our own wise decisions based on the information that you have at your disposal. I’m sure many of you do not pray everytime you go shopping asking God which products to choose.

We must remember that as Christians, the Holy Spirit is constantly guiding us, and the fact that we may go through some ‘stuff’ is no indication that it was not God’s will or that it happened because we didnt seek God for a confirmation first of all. It was God’s will that Jesus should be tempted of the devil, it was God’s will that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, it is God’s will that those who live godly will suffer persecution.

As I have stated above, there is no biblical basis that believers MUST get a confirmation before making any decision. Jesus never instructed us to do so, the disciples were not instructed to do and Paul was never instructed to do so.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect – Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 5) : Armor Bearers

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

(Malachi 3:6-12)

The Old Testament

The scripture above is the favorite text given by most Christians to ‘prove’ that we should tithe. Now when interpreting scripture, we should always look things such as the context. Who was it written to? What was the culture? Because even though all scripture is FOR us, not all scripture is TO us. So if we look at the scripture above, who was Malachi writing to? Was it to everyone? Well we only have to go to verse 6 to see the it was the children of Jacob. In other words, Jews. It was not a blanket command to everyone.

The first mention of tithing was in Genesis 14:20 where Abraham ‘gave tithes of all’ to Melchizedek. but notice how Abraham did this freely and it was not a commandment from God. Then in Genesis 28:22, Jacob decided to give a tenth, again not a commandment from God. Then the next mention of tithing is in the mosaic law in Leviticus 27.

Now exactly what was the tithe? Well according to the Levitical law, the children of Israel (apart from the tribe of Levi) had to give 10% of the increase of their land and livestock, to the Levite priests and this would also go to help the poor. As a matter of fact, they would have actually tithed around 23.3% annually because they were required to present two tithes yearly of 10% each of agricultural produce and livestock (Numbers 18:21-32 and Deuteronomy 14:23-27) , and a third of 10% every three years of agricultural produce only (Deuteronomy 14:28-29) ….but I don’t see many churches or Christians rushing to tithe 23.3%!!!

All the scriptures about tithing are either in the old testament or refer to the old testament laws and was mainly about agriculture. Hence why it talks about the storehouse (NOT your church) which was simply a room in the temple. (See 2 Chron 31:11, Neh 10:38-39; 12:44; 13:12). And the opening of ‘the windows heaven’ simply meant that God would let it rain abundantly on the crops and he would not allow the devourer (i.e locusts) to destroy those crops. That is it. Nothing super spiritual about it. All you have to do is look at the context and read it for yourself.

So what happens when you take Malachi 3 out of context? You get video ‘challenges’ such as the one below

Malachi 3 DOES NOT mean that if we give a tenth of our income, God is guaranteed to rain down monetary or any other blessings on us as some teach. Some even teach that nothing will ‘devour’ your finances as if tithing was some sort of insurance policy.

I did a previous post called ‘What do we do with those old testament laws today which you can view here where I broke down the various laws in the old testament. Tithing would come under civil law and is not binding on us today.

The New Testamant

So what about the new testament? Is tithing mentioned? Well we can see Jesus apparently endorsing tithes in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42……or did he?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Matthew 23:23)

These scriptures are the ones that people use as proof text that Jesus commanded that we tithe today, but while Jesus was alive he was still operating under the old testament laws and the new testament had not fully been ratified. How do we know this? I would say for two reasons.

Firstly, when Jesus healed people, one of the first things he told them was to show themselves to the priests (Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14, Luke 17:14). This was part of the levitical law (Leviticus 14:2) and we do not have to do this today.

Secondly, Hebrews 9:15-17 makes it clear that a new testament can only come in place after the death of the testator.

15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

The other references to tithing are in Hebrews 7 which just reference the old testament stating historical fact so again, they are not a commandment to us.

So what is the new testament pattern for giving?

2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 give us the principles for giving today.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (which tithers do); for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7)

In a sense, it is harder to give from the heart as God sees the motives for why you are giving.

Many people are living in bondage to tithing, giving out of what they don’t have and as a result, get into real debt.

Here is an example of the type of advice that you should NOT listen to

So basically Pat Robinson has told this writer to keep tithing at the risk of losing their home and being unable to pay their bills. This is very bad advice and if your church or Pastor gives you the same advice, do not adhere to it.

I think the bible says something different.

11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality , that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. (2 Cor 8:11-14)

If you are in serious debt e.g. arrears in loans, then you should be doing what you can to pay back that money to the loan company and then when you can, then give . This is called good stewardship and should not be seen as ‘not putting God first”. If you don’t have, you can’t give and should not be made to feel guilty for ‘not paying your tithes’. As the scripture above says, there should be equality, but that it not what we see these days. A lot of churches are getting fatter financially and their members are suffering as a result.

For those of you in debt and are still tithing. Please watch this video and do not live in bondage to tithing. There is so much freedom in Christ.

So in conclusion, there is no where in scripture that expects or commands New Testament believers to tithe

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect – Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God