Just Thinking

justthinking

This page is dedicated to the honest discussion of Biblical topics and concepts. Maintain a Christ-like demenor and enjoy.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton once said:

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power
corrupts absolutely.”
No where is this truism more prevalent than in the world of Christendom. Even in our fellowship there are those who continuously wave the banner of “authority” before church members and demand that “underlings” give their total commitment to their understanding of the Scriptures.

The idea of one Christian having “authority”
over another is not a new concept – even though un-Biblical.. Surely we can find those in the New Testament who even challenged Paul’s understanding of spiritual matters. The problem has continued through the centuries and even now there are those who demand total submission to some so-called “authoratative position” they hold in some sort of pseudo-church heirarchy; or even, perhaps, their ego-driven understanding of “doctrine.”

Those leaders of our restoration heritage brought a lot of baggage with them when they determine to “speak where the Bible speaks … etc.” However, their cry for unity became overshadowed by
self-admiration and swallowed up by the montrous hydra of authority.
The early disciple continuously had a problem with
being first and most important in the kingdom of God. On one occasion, Jesus used just four words to destroy the concept of one disciple dominating another in any manner: “Not so with you.”
Perhaps it would be wise to go back to the basics
and read Matthew 20:25-28:
“25 Jesus called them together and said, “You
know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever
wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The neglect of (and out-right disobedience to) the
Lord’s directive has been the root of all the ills in the church today. If one does not like another’s interpretation of scripture he climbs upon his chair of jurisdiction and proclaims those he looks down upon to be either liberal or conservative – traditional or progressive.
He castigates, scolds, and reprimands with all the
“Holy verbiage” he can muster, for the sake of winning disciple to his position. “Love” is thrown out and “power” dominates his ego – he must be first. Oh, yes, he will lay claim to the cliché, “We
must stand for the truth.” If the truth be know, the reality is that he cannot handle the truth. For truth, strips him of his power and he becomes naked and alone – standing in violation of the Lord’s command to all his disciples, “Not so with you.”

5 thoughts on “Just Thinking”

  1. The Lord’s Supper/Communion/Holy Communion

    There is a ritual that we call the “Lord’s Supper”, “The Lord’s Table”, or “Communion”. I have done some study into this in order to determine just what understanding we should have of it.

    The basis for what we call “The Lord’s Supper” is found in the accounts of what we call “The Last Supper”, or the last meal that Jesus had with His closest disciples. The accounts of this are found in Matthew 26: 17-29, Mark 14: 12-26, Luke 22: 7-38, and 1 Cor 11: 23-25. While you should read all the accounts, I will quote the one from 1 Corinthians 11: 23-25 – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

    The term “Lord’s Supper” appears once in the New Testament. It is found in the passage in 1 Cor 11: 17-34. This passage reads: “17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.”

    In this passage, is Paul primarily speaking of “The Lord’s Supper” or is he speaking of the relationships of the Corinthians? The Lord’s Supper was just one example of the problems and divisions among them. However, even within this framework there are things that we can learn about the Lord’s Supper. They are not considering each other when they come together and eat. Paul says that “one remains hungry, another gets drunk. Well, if their Lord’s Supper was like what we do, that doesn’t make any sense. A bite of cracker and a thimble full of grape juice would not keep anyone from being hungry and you couldn’t get drunk on a whole bottle of grape juice. The Lord’s Supper that Paul was speaking of was more of a meal (like our pot lucks) than what we call the Lord’s Supper. I will let you draw your own conclusions about how someone got drunk at the Lord’s Supper.

    The term “Lord’s Table” also appears only once in the New Testament. That appearance is in the text of 1 Cor 10: 14-22, which says: “14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

    In this passage, Paul is speaking primarily of idolatry and eating what has been sacrificed to an idol. In this passage, it would make sense that, again, Paul is talking about a meal – possibly a meal in which some brought food to the meal that had been sacrificed to idols. In Chapter 8, Paul deals specifically with eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. He says that we know the idol is nothing and whatever we have comes from God. He goes on to say that not everyone knows this, and that some are so accustom to idols that when they eat such food that they consider that it has been sacrificed to an idol and because their conscience is weak they defile themselves. We know that if the Lord’s Table is what we are familiar with, this would not be a problem because the only thing that would be on the table is crackers and grape juice, nothing that would have been sacrificed to an idol. The Lord’s Table that Paul is talking about seems to have had meats and other foods as well.

    The term “break bread” also appears only once in the New Testament. It appears in Acts 20: 5-12, which reads: “5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days. 7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”

    Though the phrase “break bread” only appears once in the New Testament, it does appear in the Old Testament a couple of times and in both cases (Ex 2:20, Jer 16:7) it seems to apply to a meal. This particular passage has been used by many to say that we should have the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week. The primary thrust of this passage is the raising of Eutychus from the dead. The sentence “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” is just as easily understood to indicate that this story took place on a day when they came together to have a meal and since Paul was leaving the next day, he spoke until midnight.

    It would seem that in all the passages we use about the “Lord’s Supper”, each passage has more to do with a meal than with the “ceremony” or “ritual” that we call the Lord’s Supper. It would seem also that there is no clear indication of when or how often we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

    Jesus seems to have taken two very common items on the table at their meal, two things that would have been on any table of the day at any meal, and used them to create “memory hooks” for the disciples to remember Him.

    In Matthew 26:26-27 and Mark 14: 22-23, it says that Jesus took the bread and the cup “while they were eating”, so this happened during a meal. Jesus told His disciples to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him. He also said that WHENEVER you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim His death until He comes.(1 Cor 11:26).

    It would seem that the Lord’s Supper is part of a meal, any meal, at any time. It would not be out of line with the scriptures to understand that EVERY time you eat bead or drink from the cup that you are to remember the Lord – not just on Sunday during a specific ritual – and in so doing, you would proclaim the Lord’s death at every meal.

    Comments?

    1. I agree that we should remember God at all times in that He alone is the giver and sustainer of life and it is He Who gives us every good and perfect gift even though we are undeserving of them. Every day that He allows us to live should be lived for Him in our every word and deed. We should thank Him daily and give Him the glory and honor for His great love and sacrifice for us. Without Him, we are nothing.

  2. In Matt 28:18-20, it says — 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    In Mark 15:15-16, it says — 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Trust me, the importance of baptism is not missed. In Matthew, before baptism is to make disciples and in Mark, before baptism is to preach the good news (gospel). Within our brotherhood, so much imphasis is placed on baptism that I feel we may bypass something of even more importance. Before baptism has any meaning we must teach people the good news of Christ and lead them to make the decision to become His disciples.

    If we teach people that the gospel is, indeed, good news for them and those people come to realize the importance of what God and Jesus did FOR THEM, then discipleship would naturally follow. Once a person truly becomes a disciple of Christ, everything they learn that He wants them to do becomes a given.

    We put a lot of emphasis on baptism. We teach them that you HAVE to be baptized in order to be “saved” or have their sins forgiven. Do we teach, with equal importance, that they must forgive others before God will forgive them (or before they can be “saved”)? I don’t think so. Do we teach, with equal importance that we must love our fellowman? I don’t think so.

    Generally speaking we treat the commands of Christ the same way we do sin. Concerning sin, we teach that there are “big” sins and “not so big” sins. Deny this if you think you can (which is worse, murder or gossip — see what I mean). We teach that the command to “be baptized” is a biggy, loving your fellowman, not so much — you can learn that later, after you have obeyed the “big” one.

    If we teach the gospel first and foremost, and actually emphasize that, discipleship follows as a natural progression — if one truly becomes a disciple, there are no “big” commands and “not so big” commands — they are ALL what a true disciple will obey without reservation. They will be baptized, they will forgive others, they will love their brother, their neighbor and their enemy — why wouldn’t they if they are His disciple?

    Doing things this way would take less time, be more effective, create less controversy among believers, be easier to duplicate — and besides that, it is what Jesus told us to do.

    Your comments?

  3. I copied the following from a facebook page — thought it was worth a read:

    ADULTERY DEFINED

    Origin of the word: The English language did not have this word until the 16th century. Its Latin root was first put into the Bible text in the 4th century. When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, called the Vulgate version, he used the Latin word “adulterium” to translate the Greek word “moichatai” in the divorce passages. There is no etymology connecting these two words. They do not mean the same.

    Our English dictionary, in defiing the word “adultery,” says first that it is derived from the Latin word “adulterium,” which, it says, means “to adulterate.” It then defines “adulterate” as meaning “to corrupt, falsify, or add extraneous ingredients.” Then, without explaining why, it gives as the number one definition, “To have unlawful sexual intercourse with the spouse of another.” If the word “adultery” comes from a word that means “to falsify or corrupt,” from whence comes the sexual definition? No explanation is given and no etymology is cited. The Greek lexicons do the same. They take the sexual definition and feed it back into a definition of the Greek word “moichatai,” while giving no etymology.

    The word enters the English language. No form of this word was in English translations of scripture until the Geneva Bible in 1570. Two English translations before the Geneva Bible were made by Wycliffe (1384) and Tyndale in 1535. Both ignored Jerome’s rendering and translated “moichatai” as “breaketh wedlock.” Although Wycliffe translated from the Vulgate version he did not accept “adulterium” nor its cognates as a rendering of “moichatai.” Tyndale worked directly from the Greek text. He also saw “moichatai,” as it applies to marriage, as meaning to break wedlock.

    Apparent bias. Jerome was a Catholic theologian. Putting this word in the text accommodated Catholic theology. It placed into the Bible an element of support for their “sacrament” theory of marriage. Catholic theology and the Vulgate version strongly influenced developments that occurred in following centuries. The vulgate version became the standard Bible used in the Catholic Church. In the middle of the 16th century the Council of Trent pronounced it “authentic,” the official Bible to be used in all liturgical activities of the church. The English Church was an outgrowth of Catholicism and it retained many of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Considering the word “adultery” as meaning a sex act gives support to the Catholic idea that the church is the determiner of who is eligible to marry and who is not.

    The Geneva Bible translators were from England. They made their translation in 1560 and presented it to the queen in 1570. They brought the word“adulterium” over from the Vulgate version and coined the word “adultery” for their translation. This created a new word and for the first time the sexual idea was put into an English Bible as a translation of “moichatai” in the divorce passages. 41 years later (1611) the King James version, also made in England, placed the word “adultery” in these passages. Virtually all translations since that time have continued to follow that course.

    To find out the real meaning of the Greek word in the text one has to check out its usage in the Bible. Doing that reveals a lot. We find that this word is applied to a number of different kinds of action. In the divorce passages (Mat. 19:9, luke 16:18 etc.) it refers to two acts of unfaithfulness, neither of which is a sex act, putting away a faithful wife and marrying another. In several passages it refers to idolatry. (Jeremiah 3:8, Vs. 9 “with stones and trees”). Thayer cites Revelation 2:22 as a case in which a form of this word refers to those who “at a woman’s solicitation are drawn away to idolatry.” He also recognizes one of its meanings as “to falsify, to corrupt,” which agrees with the dictionary definition of “adulterate.” He even says one of its meanings is “to usurp unlawful control over the sea.” (Lexicon, pg.417) In James 4:4 it is applied to “friendship with the world.” In Mat. 12:39 it is applied to seeking after a sign.

    One thing is consistently there. These are a variety of different acts but one ingredient is common to them all, unfaithfulness or betrayal. In Malachi 2:14 God said that He had been a “witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously.” At verse 16 He said that what the Lord hates is “putting away.” Jesus applied the same idea in Mark 10:11, “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery (moichatai)against her.” So betrayal or unfaithfulness is its basic meaning. It can be committed in different ways but the definition of the word is unfaithulness, whether against God or against a mate, or anyone to whom we owe commitment. To restrict its meaning to one kind of action, such as a sex act, or idolatry, is wrong and gives support to some of man’s worst errors.

    Your thoughts?

  4. I am saddened and afraid — I see things that tear at my heart.

    Sometimes we are so intent on slicing, dicing, dissecting every piece and passage of scripture that we fail the see the message that God wants us to understand.

    The message of God to us is the same message that has existed from the beginning of time, it has never changed. I think that Jesus said it best in Matt 22:37-40 –” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    All the law and the prophets hung on these two commands, these two commands are also the basis for the gospel. Without these two truths, the law of Moses meant nothing, without these two truths, the gospel means nothing.

    These two truths are what will make us spiritual and like God and Christ. I don’t think that there is anything more important than learning and living these two truths.

    In every passage we study or discuss, in every topic we discuss, we need to always, always apply these two truths – without them nothing we do matters at all.

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