Coaches & Facilitators – BT12

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Paul does not rank grace-gifts or the people who receive them.

 

 

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Ranking grace-gifts or the people who receive them is against everything Paul taught.  Paul had to constantly emphasize Body-of-Christ Ministry to defend against these “one-man show ball-hogging leader-types” that want to control any group of people, even the Church.  Despite poor translations, Paul certainly isn’t ranking grace-gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-28, 31:  “Now there are varieties of grace-gifts (a) . . . varieties of services / ministerings (b) . . . varieties of effectual workings (c) . . . to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the sumphero coming-together-for-common-benefit . . . All these are effectually worked/accomplished by one and the same Spirit, who distributes (d) to each one individually as He will.  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ . . . ALL were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body absolutely in fact does not consist of one member but of many. . . .If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose . . .As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. . . . the parts of the body that we think less honorable we actually bestow the greater honor . . . But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. . . . Now you are the Body-of-Christ and individually members of/belonging to it. And God has set in place (e) in the church one apostles, two prophets, three teachers, then next [in time] enabling-powers (f), then next [in time] grace-endowments of healings, helps (g), governering / administrastions (h), various kinds of [supernatural] tongues . . . earnestly desire the more kreitton useful/serviceable/helpful grace-gifts.”  The translations of kreitton as “better, best, greater, greatest, higher, highest, more important” in many bibles are certainly misleading because 1 Peter 4:10-11 speaks of the correct emphasis: “Using the grace-gift EACH has received to serve reciprocally one another.”  Notice that God takes credit for the entire process into us (a), through us (b), and into others (c).  Ranking would create division, would go against symphonic gathering for usefulness, against equal care, and against equal importance! <Notes> a) into us individually, b) through us toward others, c) accomplished in others’ lives as a result of the ‘services’ through us, d) diaireo:  apportions or divides as done by a superior, e) tithemi, cf. proistemi, f) dunamis: Spirit-power demonstrations like miracles, g) those who fittingly take hold of the real needs of others, h) pilots or steers the ship.

 

Paul uses Greek numbers “one, two, three,” not ranks “first, second, third,” followed by the connector epeita “then” that literally means “on to” (epi) + “next or after” (eita), so “on to the next.”  Paul used this connector to simply say “on to the next in time” (a), as does all other NT writers such as Jesus, Mark, and John (b).  Because of the linear-time aspect, the “one, two, three” may actually also be “in time” for certainly the apostles came first in time, then prophets arose in the church, and then didaskalos teachers, but then came “signs & wonders” miracle-workers (c), and finally in time came miraculous grace-gifts of healing.  Who knows if Paul was trying to be exact with this time sequence, but it looks pretty close.  Notice that Paul no longer uses this time-connector epeita, but lists the other grace-gifts, which is actually a very small list compared to others he gave elsewhere.  He is just trying to make this point in v. 12:31:  “Not all are apostles . . . prophets . . . teachers . . . miracle-workers . . . healers . . . tongue-speakers . . . all tongue-interpreters (he threw that into his previous list), are they?”  Notice that “evangelists and shepherds/pastors” are not in this list in the 3rd and 4th positions as Ephesians 4:11 has, and many scholars rightfully see “shepherd-teachers” there to be one group as all elders/bishops/shepherds were expected to teach<Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 15:5, 7, 24; 1 Timothy 2:13, 3:10, b) Mark 4:28, 8:25; Luke 8:12; John 13:5, 19:27, 20:27, c) by the apostles: Acts 2:43, 4:30, 5:12, 2 Corinthians 12:12; then a Stephen: Acts 6:8; then Paul & Barnabas: Acts 15:12, 19, and later to others: Hebrews 2:4 as grace-gifts to the Body-of-Christ.

 

We know these aren’t rankings of people or offices because Paul reproduces a similar list in Ephesians 4:8-12 without any numbers:  “Christ gave [to the Church] grace-endowments to men . . . He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the poimen shepherds and/coupled didaskalos teachers: to equip (coach & facilitate) the saints (consecrated ‘holy ones’) for the work of ministry for building up the Body-of-Christ.”  This will be addressed in more detail concerning teachers.  But notice that Paul adds more Christ-given grace-gifts, because here he is focusing on those that deal with coaching and facilitating the congregations to actually be the “ministers.”  They are not the “ministers,” but only the “equippers.”  The bass-akwards mentality of today’s churches, where the coaches and conductors are trying to be the players on the field or in the symphony is a key problem contributing to The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit – see also Body-of-Christ ministry.

 

We know from other such lists, that none of Paul lists are complete or ranked, so in 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul is simply providing numbering that he could have continued, but characteristically used another connector “on to the next in time”, and then finally left out all connectors entirely to save paper & ink and to keep the sentences shorter – they are normally too long as it is!  Ranking would go against everything Paul believed, for God has no favorites and is completely impartial (a), so neither should we consider others more “special” than others, lest we sin (b). Again, the emphasis is absolutely not on the individual, position, office, or title, but to “earnestly desire the more kreitton useful/serviceable/helpful grace-gifts.”  The emphasis is always on the Body and the Spirit’s giving of grace-gifts to it to praxis function in symphony for more benefit to all.  Again, the translations “better, best, greater, greatest, higher, highest, more important” are certainly misleading.  Remember that “using the grace-gift EACH has received to serve one another” is also the point of 1 Peter 4:10-11. <Notes> a) Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25, b) 1 Timothy 5:21; cf. James 2:1, 9; Jude 1:16.

 

The people who preach that Ephesians 4:11 teaches a “5-fold ministry” obviously don’t know Greek or have compared Paul’s other lists.  First, they would have to more accurately say “5-fold equippers” because the “ministry” is actually done by all the saints.  The coaches and facilitators are not the players on the team!  Second, the definite article translated “the” only pertains to 4 groups of grace-gifts or praxis functions per Romans 12:4 – they aren’t even 4 groups of people!  We see many cases of the same person at different times described as apostles, evangelist, prophet, teacher, and elder!  We also know this is the case because the conjunction kai couples related items together and is never used to simply add items to a list – the conjunction de does that!  Kai is often used for emphasis, such as “even or that is.”  The 4th group is therefore more likely: “the poimen shepherds that are teachers.”  We see throughout Paul’s writings that elders, overseers/bishops, and shepherds were 1 group of men who were required to teach.

 

We can also see from 1 Peter 5:2 that these men were simply “bishop-overseers (a) pastor-shepherding (b) the flock of sheep (c).”  Paul sent a letter to the “Elders (d) of the church in Ephesus to . . . pay cautious attention to yourselves and to all the flock of sheep (c) in/by/with the Spirit who made you bishop-overseers (a) to pastor-shepherd (e) the Church of God” (f).  So you can see that elders were shepherds, who were overseers!  These are just different words describing different praxis functions of the same group of people!  <Notes> a) episkopos, b) poimaino, c) poimnion, d) presbuteros, e) poimano – the only use of this noun for a Christian shepherd, f) Acts 20:17, 28.

 

And now we can see the relationship to teachingThe “bishop-overseer must be . . . able to teach” (a), “able by sound teaching/doctrine both to exhort and to convince/rebuke contradictors” (b).  They are the “Lord’s servant able to teach” (c) and the same as the “faithful men able to teach” (d).  These are not deacons (e).  Once again, the Catholic Church and others who try to distinguish between bishop-overseers, shepherd-pastors, and elders simply don’t know their bible or even the earliest Church writings.  Furthermore, “teachers” were not as much a separate group of a “5-fold ministry” but were simply a grace-gift or “praxis function” (f) of the 4th group that functioned primarily as “elder-shepherd-overseers.” <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 3:2, b) Titus 1:9, c) 2 Timothy 2:24, d) 2 Timothy 2:2, e) Philippians 1:1, f) Romans 12:4.

 

Finally, ranking would be against everything the NT teaches about the impartiality of God/Christ that we are to emulate lest we sin (a), especially because charis grace is “unearned, unmerited, unconditional-favor” by definition and thus not based on our own natural talents (b) so that none of us will be able to boast (c). <Notes> a) Luke 20:21; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:1, 9; cf. Jude 1:16, b) Roman 11:6, c) 1 Corinthians 1:29, 13:4; Ephesians 2:9.

 

A hierarchy of people or offices was never intended for the Church, but that instead we should “earnestly seek the more kreitton useful, serviceable, helpful grace-endownments” (a).  The translations “higher or greater” are extremely misleading and negate the definition and contextual use of this word!  All of the Spirit’s grace-gifts are to be earnestly desired (b), but especially that you may prophesy, and certainly not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues (c).  Surely ALL the work of the ministry by the saints builds up the Body-of-Christ (d), building itself up in unconditional-love (e), but prophecy speaks directly to people for their upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation (f), whereas speaking in tongues is directed to God and not men and unless interpreted can’t benefit others.  See the Body-of-Christ Ministry page. <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 12:31, b) zeloo: be zealous for, c) 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39, d) Ephesians 4:12, e) Ephesians 4:16, f) 1 Corinthians 14:3.

1 Corinthians 14:5 “The [singular] prophesying is greater (a) than the [singular] speaking in tongues” sounds like ranking but again the context is focusing on functioning grace-gifts, not the people doing them.  So although Paul wants them all to speak in tongues, he wants them even more so to prophecy.  He thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than them all, has determined to proseuchomai conversationally-pray and sing in tongues along with proseuchomai conversationally-praying with his mind’s understanding, and thus warns Christians not to forbid tongues, but just to “go for the gold” – the more useful grace-gift of prophecy (b).  This is saying that every Christian should speak in tongues, because it’s primarily a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, but also that every Christian should prophecyProphecy is the only promised grace-gift for every servant of God during the Church age that is mentioned in Acts 2:17-19, 33, 39!  It’s very disturbing to see how many churches try to get around the clear teaching of these very important grace-gifts of the Spirit.  The common emphasis of ALL the Spirit’s grace-gifts is to “to serve one another” (c).  <Notes> a) meizon, b) 1 Corinthian 14:2-5, 14-15, 17-18, 39, c) 1 Peter 4:10-11.

 

None of this has to do with being the “big kahuna” that “calls the shots!”  In fact, one person can receive many grace-gifts ‘into them,’ and many grace-services ‘through them’ to have many grace-effects ‘in the lives of others,’ relying on the occasion and the ministry of the Spirit at that time.  For example, Paul says he was set into place as an apostle (a), as an evangelist-preacher (b), as a teacher (c), but he is also listed with the prophets of Antioch (d).  Titus, Paul’s partner and fellow worker (e) and travelling companion (f), evangelizes/preaches but also teaches (g), is an alongside-counselor/adviser/encourager as a refreshment to others (h), and an earnest proistemi managing-caregiver (i).  Paul also leaves him as an administrator to set/place down (kata + histemi) fellow elders (j).  Timothy was an evangelist-preacher (k), yet he was also to be devoted to charging, urging, invoking (likely: of the Spirit), and teaching sound doctrine (l).  One person can “wear many hats” as the Spirit directs!  It is absurd to try ranking the grace-gifts or the people that God uses, because this goes against everything Body-of-Christ ministry is described as. <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11; Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 15:9, b) 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, c) 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, Acts 13:1, d) Acts 13:1, e) 2 Corinthians 8:23, f) Galatians 2:1, g) 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:17; Titus 2:1, 7-8, h) 2 Corinthians 7:6, 13, i) proistemi: 2 Corinthians 8:16, j) Titus 1:5, k) 1 Timothy 4:14, 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:6, 14, 4:5, l) 1 Timothy 4:11, 13, 16, 6:2-3.

 

As Christian musicians, are we going to fall into the historical errors of the Catholic Church and later Protestant churches in attempting to rank certain gifts over others, when the NT doesn’t support this, and it violates the impartial nature of God and clear instruction to treat others the same way?  Are we going to miss the emphasis to work like a symphony together, serving one another, for greater common benefit?  Are we going to get caught up in organizational divisions or focus on communal fellowship?  Are we going to perpetuate the fallacy of “4 or 5-fold ministry” when ALL the saints do the work of ministry?  Are we still going to think that the “equippers” are the “ministers” when they are just coaches and facilitators?  Are we confusing the conductors with the musicians and the coaches with the football players?  Are we going to keep insisting that presbyteros elders, poimen shepherds/pastors, episkopos overseers/bishops, and didaskalos teachers were separate office/positions/titles when in the NT early Church they were simply different praxis functioning grace-gifts of the same group of men?

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT10

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These different “functions” or “grace-endowments” are not offices for money.

 

 

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The functioning grace-gifts of Romans 12:2-10 are absolutely not offices, positions, and titles as the Catholic Church and many Protestant churches have treated it as, “borrowing” from an ungodly world – these are the stones building The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit.  Paul says in Philippians 2:3 to “Do nothing in possibility from eritheia selfish ambition or empty self-glorifying pride, but instead each of you should in self-humility be motivated to treat one another as more important than yourself.”  Is this what you see in most church ministries?  Wait until you work “behind the Wizard of Oz curtain!”  The Greek word eritheia literally means “work for hire or merely for money, like a mercenary, acting like a mercenary for one’s own gain, even if it causes strife, placing your own self-interest ahead of the Lord’s good for others.  The NT usage is the seeking of followers, a self-seeking pursuit of office or for worldly gain.” – see the Donations, Body-of-Christ Ministry, and Teach One Another pages.  These worldly methods were actually seeping into the Church, and sadly we see this continued throughout Catholic and later Protestant church history!

 

This word eritheia is listed in Paul’s “works of the flesh that are evident” (a), and he was afraid to find this when he revisited an unrepentant church:  “I’m afraid that somehow when I come I will not find in you what I wish . . . but . . . eritheia selfish-ambition . . .” (b).  God’s “wrath and anger are to those who live in this eritheia selfish ambition” (c).  Paul said there were “some, to be sure, who are preaching Christ through envy contention strife (eris comes from eritheia) . . . proclaiming Christ from eritheia selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me during my imprisonment” (d).  There were also so-called “wise and understanding” Jewish teachers in the early Church, who were actually against “The Truth” (e), that James had to deal with:  “If you have bitter jealousy and eritheia selfish-ambition in your hearts, do not go about boasting and tell lies against The Truth.  Such ‘wisdom’ does not come from above but is earthly, soulish (f), demonic.  For where there is jealousy and eritheia selfish-ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice” (g).  <Notes> a) Galatians 5:19-20, b) 2 Corinthians 12:20, c) Romans 2:8, d) Philippians 1:17, e) Jesus and His gospel, f) the adjective of psyche – see the Identity page g) James 3:13-16.

 

As Christian musicians, are we going to continue the historical error of a hierarchy of ministry offices, positions, and titles when there is no NT support for this, but actually many warnings against it?  Are we going to perpetuate the error of expected financial support borrowed from failed OT and worldly models, helping to build The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church?

 

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT9

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Biblical “leadership” is a functioning grace-gift of the Holy Spirit, not a natural talent.

 

 

 

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Biblical “leadership” is not a natural talent to “borrow” from the world to use FOR God.  This “borrowing” from the world are the stones building The Great Wall that is quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church.  The Greek word proistemi is most often translated “leader,” literally meaning “before” (pros) + “to stand” (histemi) before in a location or in time, but its contextual meaning is that of people who take responsibility for admonishing (a) others (b).  Since “admonishment” is something all Christians should be doing for one another (c), the word proistemi also carries the idea of specializing in this kind of care-giving, thus to be managed-caregivers (d).  Just who are these people?  <Notes> a) noutheteo: ‘placing in the mind of’ – urgent reasoning by instruction and warning, b) 1 Thessalonians 5:12, c) Colossians 3:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:15, d) Titus 3:8, 14.

 

Elders (presbuteros) in the Church are “before” (pros) others “in time,” simply because they came earlier in The trusting-relying-Faith and thus are naturally suited for “proistemi responsibility of being before others as managed-caregivers,” and honored for such service (a).  However, there are young believers that are far more mature in their trusting-relying-faith than older believers, so we are not to despise these youth (c), even treating them as elders as Paul likely did for Timothy since he was giving Timothy rules for elders to obey (d).  This doesn’t make them bossy “rulers” as too many translations imply!  They aren’t to use a condescending, harsh, micro-managing style that we’ve seen all too often in the world, yet many in the Church have “borrowed” this model from the world!  No, this proistemi managed-caregiving is the same approach elders are to have for taking good care of their own children without losing their own dignity, respect, honor, and admiration (b). <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 5:17, b) 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12, c) 1 Timothy 4:12, d) 1 Timothy 5:17-19.

 

How do elders like parents keep from loosing the submissiveness (a) of those they are to be managed-caregivers (d) of in order to retain their own honor?  The world tries many things like yelling, beating, grounding, etc.  The Lord doesn’t treat His kids this way, and so the bible is full of instruction on godly parenting, like “Fathers, do not in possibility provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in/by/with the little-child-tutorage (b) and instruction of the Lord” (c).  <Notes> a) hupotage, from hupotasso = assign/put in order/appoint a ‘military’ post/duties under, b) paideia: elementary home-schooling, c) Ephesians 6:4, proistemi.

 

There is much written in the bible about this gentle, unconditionally-loving approach to teaching little children – see BT11 Least Among You.  I’ve taught hundreds of elementary and middle-school kids and you have to handle them with great care, because being fragile they can easily break.  But if you honor, respect, and show them dignity you get this back.  If you yell, criticize, make fun of them, or berate them, you will hurt them, build distrust and anger and resentment, and their little brains/hearts can’t process it, they will start “acting out” in unpredictable ways, and you will “loose their submissiveness.”  Why?  Because you lost your own self-control!

 

How many bosses in this world have treated you like an unconditionally-loving father, gently correcting your mistakes or outright rebellion?  Surely this is a grace-gift of God!  The problem with most of this world’s leaders, and too many in churches, is that they have “conformed to or been pressed into the pattern of this world” – thus building The Great Wall quenching the Spirit in the Church – and certainly have not “been metamorphically transformed by the renewal of their minds to . . . discern the will of God” – see New Covenant Ways – BT16.  For this reason, they don’t heed Paul’s warning in Romans 12:2-10: “that everyone among you are not in possibility to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but instead to think with a temperate/sound mind (a), each down-from/according-to the [singular] measuring-cup (b) of/belonging to trusting-relying-faith (c) that God has already measured out into portions (d).”  In those times the “measuring cup” measured a standard portion of grain or whatever that was being sold to insure fairness and equity for all – a quart is a quart for everyone!  But that’s not what a lot of churchmen believe – they believe they either got a bigger measure than the cup could hold or maybe they got multiple cups, even though no scriptures support this idea! <Notes> a) sophroneo, b) metron, c) pistis: relational conviction of trusting reliance, d) merizo.

 

What is the “temperate-thinking mind” that Paul says that these worldly “high-and-mighty” people in the Church should have instead?  The Greek word sophroneo means “safety-minded, safe as to what regulates life like our diaphragm, also derived from phroneo, controls our ability to breathe which controls our heartbeat and thus our life.  It also means to have a sober outlook that reflects true balance, truly moderate, controlled to blend the extremities of truth on both side of a matter.”  This is really about discernment by the Holy Spirit, which even little children can do – see BT8 Least Among You.  We will see that Paul is emphasizing the balance of the body’s individual members for the safety and life of the entire body, in this case the Body-of-Christ!

 

Again, the metron measuring-cup was a device used in a marketplace to insure that nobody got more or less than what they paid for.  It was used to insure that their scales were “balanced” or fair, one side equal with the other.  God is the one who distributed to each one of us so that the Body-of-Christ is balanced and fair.  It was done “already” before we came around, so it wasn’t based on our talents or our worth, but by unconditional-favor-of-grace.  He is not measuring out trusting-relying-faith with this device as too many translations imply.  The genitive of possession means the measuring-cup belongs to a [singular] trusting-relying-faith, not various amounts of faith as if kernels of corn!  When Paul talks about [singular] trusting-relying-faith, he is talking about the difference between Christianity and all religions, especially the Jewish one, just as Jude 1:3 identifies this as “The trusting-relying-faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” – the same for ALL!

 

All religion, including the OT one, are based on works that merit favor from God, but Christianity is all about receiving the unconditional-favor-of-grace of God by trusting-relying-faith.  So, contrary to what I’ve heard too many Christians say, God isn’t portioning out “differing, unequal or unbalanced” grace-gifts based on the amount of trusting-relying-faith that each of us has, as if we could merit any of these grace-gifts.  Instead the measuring-cup is measuring out in a balanced, fair way solely by God’s will, grace-gifts that are based solely on unconditional-favor-of-grace.  Here’s the proof in verses 4-6:

 

“For just as in one [physical] body we have many members and/coupled the members do not all have the same function (a), so we, though many [members], are One Body in Christ, and/thus individually members reciprocally of/belonging to one of another.  Having charismata grace-gifts that differ down-from/according-to the unconditional-favor-of-grace given to us, let us use them:  prophecy . . . teaching . . . managed-caregiving (b) with zeal . . . Unconditionally-love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”  Each person in the Church has a different praxis function, but some wanted more honor shown to them, like so many “leaders” in the Church today! <Notes> a) praxis: functions, sustained activities, deeds, and/or responsibilities, b) proistemi.

 

These different “functions” correspond to the different “grace-gifts.”  The Greek word charismata comes from charis, which is our word for unconditional-favor-of-grace. These “grace-gifts” are given to us solely by the unconditional-favor-of-grace of God, by the Spirit of God, thus the term “grace-gifts,” to carry out God’s will in the Church.  So much is written about these Spirit’sgrace-endowments” in the NT (a), but one thing is clear about them – they absolutely have nothing to do with our talents, skills, dedication, service, or that God likes or loves any one of us more or less than another.  If any of this were true, the grace-gift would not longer be unmerited or unconditional. <Notes> a) Romans 1:1, 5:15-16, 6:23, 11:29, 12:6; 1 Corinthians 1:7, 7:7, 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10.

 

As Christian musicians, are we getting our idea of “leadership” from the world or from NT example?  Do we realize the NT meaning of “leader” is simply that of being “positioned before others to help manage their care, even by encouraging instruction or corrective warning?”  Isn’t this more of the slave or servant role that Jesus spoke so much about if you wanted to be “great” in the kingdom?  Is this what you see in many churches?  If you have looked “behind the curtain” in many churches, don’t be surprised to see “leaders” losing their cool and using a bossy, authoritative approach to get their way, much like in the world!  But how does that inspire us to be like them?  This is not the gentle way that Christ teaches us as “little children” nor the way parents should of children.  Will we conform to the world’s model of “leadership” or be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” by firstly, not considering ourselves higher than anybody – that’s how we “ought to soberly think” and “outdoing one another in showing honor,” because the Body-of-Christ simply has different functions, none of greater or lesser importance!  God has given us ALL the same measuring cup of faith and grace-gifts.  Nothing is given based on merit but on unmerited, unconditional-loving favor by the definition of grace!

 

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT8

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The so-called “Wise and Understanding Ones” are the last to enter the Kingdom.

 

 

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Paul warns in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat (a) you through philosophy (b) and empty (c) deceit (d), down-from/according-to the tradition of men, down-from/according-to the ‘abc’ elementary principles (e) of the world (f), which are absolutely in fact not down-from/according-to (g) Christ. <Notes> a) sulagogeo: lead away, sway, or seduce from truth, carry one off as a captive, slave, or one’s booty or spoils, b) philosophia, c) kenos: useless, devoid of truth, fruitless, vain, d) apate: seductive, deceptive, delusion, e) stoicheion: fundamental, abc-like, even demonic-inspired elements f) context: the religion of the Gentiles and even the Jews, g) kata:  down from, in the same manner of, according to.

 

Philosophy (philosophia):  love for wisdom, zeal for or skill in any art, science, or any branch of gnosis info-knowledge.  It may be used here in Colossians 2:8 of “the theosophy or sophistry of certain Jewish-Christian ascetics, which busied themselves with refined and speculative inquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the rituals of the Mosaic Law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.”  The Gnostic-like heresy at Colossae would undoubtedly have been regarded by Paul as an “elementary, abc-like teaching” at best, because of their puffed-up”  pride in acquisition of gnosis info-knowledge (a) and “secret mysteries” that people, who were members of the cult, were privey to.  <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 8:1.

 

Paul is always attacking such people, saying that this gnosis doesn’t even come close to genuinely, experientially, relationally epiginosko knowing the mystery of God that is Christ (a), The Unconditional-Love of Christ that surpasses gnosis knowledge (b), which the whole Church is to grow up to attain (c), the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of The Truth that is consistent with godliness (d), this full knowledge of every good thing that is IN US (by the Spirit) for the sake of Christ (e), so we can be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (f), so we can escape the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (g), so we can grow in unconditional-favor-of-grace and/coupled knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (h), recognizing that the Son of God came to give us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true – and we are in Him who is true – in His Son Jesus Christ (i).  The gnosis info-knowledge of religion, whether the OT religion of the priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, or Gentile religions and philosophies, is completely different-in-kind than the New Covenant Way of knowing God through Christ – see Knowledge<Notes> a) Colossians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 10:5; Philippians 3:8, b) Ephesians 3:19, c) Ephesians 4:13, d) Titus 1:1, e) Philemon 1:6, f) 2 Peter 1:8, g) 2 Peter 2:20, h) 2 Peter 3:18, i) 1 John 5:20.

 

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, “For Christ did not send me to water-baptize, but to preach the gospelabsolutely in fact not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.  For the logos gospel message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Spirit-enabling-power of God.  For it is written:  ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding (a) of the understanding ones.’  Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through [human] wisdom did absolutely in fact not experientially, relationally ginosko know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the logos gospel message preached to save (b) those who have trusting-relying-faith (c). For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Spirit-enabling-power of God and/coupled the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is mightier than men.  For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise down-from/according-to the flesh, not many mighty (d), not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that in possibility no flesh might glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification (holiness) and redemption – that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Yahweh.'”  <Notes> a) sunesis: connect-the-dots inductive reasoning, b) sozo: deliver, reconcile, restore to wholeness, heal, c) pistis: relational conviction of trusting reliance, d) “might and power” is the external and internal resources of the flesh – see Identity.

 

Here we get see the “least among them” are the “weak things of the world” and “the base things of the world” and “the things which are despised” by the world -– these God has chosen before “the greatest among them,” which are the “the things which are mighty.”  Why?  So that NOBODY will be able to boast before God of any self-importance!  Everything is upside down!  The wise and understanding ones are destroyed and shamed by the logos gospel message of The Truth of Christ crucified that they deem foolish.  All their efforts of sophia wisdom and sunesis rational reasoning never led them to experience God, never rescued them, never restored or reconciled them, never made them righteous, never set them apart as sanctified or holy, nor ransomed them for God.  What vain glory many men will end up with!

 

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-6 Paul continues:  “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did absolutely in fact not come with [human] excellence of speech or of [human] wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined absolutely in fact not to experientially, relationally ginosko know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were absolutely in fact not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration/manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit and/coupled of enabling-power that your trusting-relying-faith should not in possibility be in the wisdom of men but in the [Spirit’senabling-power of God.  However, we [do] speak [the Spirit’s] wisdom among those who are mature, yet absolutely in fact not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.”  

 

This is a direct slam against the great thinkers and orators of Paul’s day that were trained as rabbis to endlessly debate the Torah Law of conditional-favor (just as Paul had been trained to do), and also an obvious slam against Greek philosophy, logic, and rational-thought sciences that all stem from the Greeks, like Plato and Socrates.  Paul actually considered his intensive rabbinic training with the greatest teacher of his time, Gamaliel, a complete loss, detriment, and heep or excrement compared to the gnosis info-knowledge that belonged to Christ – if there was anybody to study under, it was Christ (a), and so now Paul is dedicated to destroying any arguments against Christ (b).  Can you see by now that human wisdom and understanding is actually a great detriment!  It can really keep you from coming to the Lord, and ignorant, foolish, little children (and the like) will actually see and enter the kingdom before them.  I fear a lot of theologians don’t have a clue who the Lord is, but they can tell you so much “about” Him!  <Notes> a) Philippians 3:8, b) 2 Corinthians 10:5.

 

As Christians musicians, are we “borrowing” from the “wisdom” of the world’s religions, even the Old Testament, and philosophies believing they are something more than simple abc’s common to them all, making such an approach laughable foolish to God?  Instead, shouldn’t we be getting our wisdom down from Christ through a direct, genuine, progressive, experience with Him, exactly as the little children and other “least among us” do because they can’t read or comprehend as the so-called “wise and understanding ones” can?  The Spirit’s enabling-power to ongoing save/restore us through the gospel message just doesn’t depend on reading comprehension of anything, even a bible, but seeing and hearing the signs & wonders that should be accompanying the genuine gospel message according to Paul and Mark 16:17-20 and then intimately engaging with Christ.  This is something that “least among us” actually do more readily than the “wise and understanding” who don’t know they are trapped under their “pile” of bible knowledge.

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT7

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Let the little children come to Me!

 

 

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Matthew 18:3-4 says: “Then Jesus called a young/infant (a) child to Himself, set (b) him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted (c) and become as young/infant (a) children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles (lowers) himself as this paidion young/infant child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” <Notes> a) paidion, b) histemi: placed, made to stand up, balanced into place, implying that this ‘young/infant’ child was so young that Jesus may have picked him up and had to help stand, c) strepho: turn around one’s mind, a synonym for metanoeo: repent or think differently towards someone, to have a change in moral conviction.

 

The one thing about a little, young/infant child, they can’t and don’t neet to get caught up in sophisticated reasoning as to why to listen to what their parents tell them to think or do.  They innately know this.  And their parents doesn’t expect them to.  They tell them to not “run out into the street” because they want to protect them from danger. Little kids don’t have a clue what a car is or how dangerous it can be.  Our heavenly Father doesn’t need to go into a “contextual, rational, higher reasoning” of gnosis knowledge explanation when He gives us such warnings.  He hopes that our fellowship is good enough that as a little child we simply “trusts and obey,” as the song says!

 

Later on, when they grow up, kids like to ask “why.”  When they are teenagers, they could care less about the “whys” and just believe their thinking is better anyway!  And even if they understood “why” they often just want to rebel anyway.  The older we get, the more and more unlikely we will simply trust what God has to say, not try to over-analyze it, or try to rationalize around it.  After all, the deception of Satan in the garden of Eden was to say “Did God really say….” and “Didn’t He really mean this….”.  The Lord is telling Christians and musicians that we need to “reset back to the beginning – be like these very young, trusting children that just listen and trust!”

 

Is it naïve or foolish or ignorant or too “fundamentalist” to be like a paidion young/infant child when it comes to God’s message to us?  Do the post-modernists, German textual “higher” critics, and de-mythification “experts” of many mainstream Christian denominations that suppose they are “more enlightened” than the millions of Christians that have come before them – do they really have an advantage over all the other Christians?  Are these “special people” of clergy really smarter than the “common laity?”  Is their “greatness of wisdom” that says “did God really say?” make them any closer to being “like a paidion young/infant child” that Jesus calls us to be?  Do they really have a clearer picture of how to be saved?  Is their “broader road” that encompasses more of the scientific thought of men in the last 100 years really helping Christians walk through the “narrow gate” that leads to fellowship?  In the next BLOG Topic, let’s see what the Apostle Paul, an ambassador of Christ sent to the “smart thinking, special people” of Greece.

 

As Christian musicians, are we more concerned with reaching adults or those as simple as little, infant-like, children?  Are we using “adult” ways to reach people, or the ways God would reach “little children?”

 

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT6

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God teaches the Least to the Greatest, the Last before First!

 

 

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Hebrews 8:11 cites Jeremiah 31:34 because it radically distinguishes the New (a) Covenant (b) from the old covenant (c), for the definition of chadash and kainos for “New” means “fresh, completely different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior”  In Jeremiah 31:31-32 God clarifies this: “I will make a New (a) Covenant . . . absolutely not in fact or in possibility (d) like the covenant that I had made . . . My [previous] covenant they (the Jews led out of Egypt) broke.”  <Notes> a) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior, b) essentially the NT, c) essentially the OT, d) the rare ou me, the strongest negative possible.

 

A key, radical difference is that the “Law of God” will no longer be commandments written on stone or paper for God’s people to learn from human teachers, read, studied, debated, or memorized in order to know the Lord.  This time, according to vv. 33-34, God says: “I will put My torah/nomos law/principles within them – I will write it on their hearts, . . . and/coupled absolutely not in fact or in possibility (a) actually shall each person teach his neighbor (b) and each person [teach] his brother (family members) to experientially, relationally know (e) the Lord, for My people shall ALL mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know (c) Me – from the least of them to the greatest.”  In fact the NT explains that the kingdom of God comes to the so-called “the least or last” first, and the so-called “greatest or first” last (d).  There is much written about who these people are, which we will explore now in the next BLOG Topic, but also see The Least Among You. <Notes> a) again, the rare ou me, the strongest negative possible, b) fellow Jews, c) eido, d) Matthew 20:8, 16; Mark 9:35, 10:31; Luke 13:30, e) ginosko. See also Knowledge, New Covenant Ways, and Only 2 Commandments.

 

As Christian musicians, are we going to lead people back to the old covenant or a completely different-in-kind New Covenant?  Do we still insist that God’s instruction is still on paper that needs to be taught by us, or do we trust that God desires to teach us ALL directly in our hearts?  Do we also recognize that God is going to do this with those we likely think are “the least among us?”

 

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT2

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Therefore, we don’t consider ourselves “worship leaders” either.

 

 

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Based on the world’s definitions of leader we saw in the BT1 BLOG, we don’t much like the term “worship leader” that so many are quick to label themselves as in Christian music.  I certainly don’t see myself as a leader, but more as a “coach” and “facilitator” who organizes what others have taught in the NT, so that the actual “players” – “the saints who do the work of ministry” (d) – can get more easily and accurately taught by the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul was very upset about Christians following so-called human “leaders,” even himself, arguing that this actually causes division in the Church, instead of simply being “followers of Christ” (a), especially “because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps” (b).  After all, isn’t “Follow Me” the consistent call of Jesus to be His disciple or “follower” (c)?  <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, b) 1 Peter 2:21, c) Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24, 19:21, 28; Mark 1:17, 2:14, 8:34, 10:21; Luke 5:27, 9:23, 59, 18:22; John 1:43, 8:12, 10:27, 12:26, 13:36, 21:19, 22, d) Ephesians 4:12.

 

Then why are we being “followers” or disciples of mere human beings in the Church?  Paul would certainly correct much of the Church today similarly as:  “Each of you says, ‘I follow Paul’ or ‘I follow Apollos’ or ‘I follow Cephas’ . . . Is Christ divided?” (a).  “I could not address you as Spirit-kind-of people but as flesh-kind-of people, as infants in Christ . . . you are still fleshly and walking as mere men.  For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely fleshly (c)?  What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  [They are] servants . . . WE are God’s fellow workers.  YOU are God’s field, God’s building. . . . Do you not know that YOU are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in YOU?”  (b). <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 1:12-13, b) 1 Corinthians 3:1-16, c) see Identity.

 

We saw in the BT1 BLOG that this division between “special people” as clergy or leaders and the rest of us “commoners” as laity or congregational members is straight from the pit of hell!  Paul exclaims:  “I appeal to you, brethren, . . . that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind” (a).  “I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.  For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you” (b).  “But God has so composed the Body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it [as we erroneously treated it], that there may be no division in the Body, but that the members may have the SAME care for one another” (c).  Divisions are listed in “the works of the flesh that are evident” (d).  Who it is that “causes division, [but] worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (e)?  “As for the person who stirs up division, . . . have nothing more to do with him” (f).  As we’ve seen in the BT1 BLOG, the Catholic Church introduced the division in the Body-of-Christ by creating the “clergy versus laity,” but many Protestant churches have carried on this divisiveness, simply changing the name/office/title of their “clergy” to a hierarchy of Head Pastors, Associate Pastors, and “Lead” this, that, and the other thing!  This makes the rest of the church no longer “special” but simply “common.”  See the Body-of-Christ and Teach One Another pages. <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 1:10, b) 1 Corinthians 11:17-18, c) 1 Corinthians 12:24-25, d) Galatians 5:19-20, e) Jude 1:19, f) Titus 3:10.

 

But Paul tries to guide Christians out of this: “Be imitators (followers) of me [only] to the degree (a) I also [am] of/belonging to Christ” (b).  He correctly lumps himself in with ALL other followers who belong to Christ!  None of us should be following any aspect of anybody unless those “aspects” are imitating Christ!  Paul also says, “You ought to imitate us . . . giving you an example to imitate,” but in what way?  They preached the gospel without an expectation for payment, because they “earned their own living” – and it wasn’t from ministry!  This was the Lord’s command and Paul said it twice!  But evidently not many ministers believe this, because they rather require a salary to preach – see the Donations page.  So again, Paul is essentially saying, “Follow only what you see ‘of Christ’ in us.”  <Notes> a) kathos: down-from/according-to the manner in which, b) 1 Corinthians 11:1, c) 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.

 

But this means you have to actually be a “follower of Christ” in order to discern what in other Christians is actually “of/belonging to Christ” and what is simply human ambition – see New Covenant Ways – BT16.  But that requires actually “perceiving and hearing with understanding the actual voice” of Jesus!  Again, Jesus has the final word and the Greek isn’t metaphorical but very literal:  “He (the Good Shepherd) goes before them (His sheep), and the sheep follow Him, for they already have, with ongoing results, mentally ‘seen’ to perceive/know (a) His actual Voice (b).  A stranger they will absolutely not in fact or in possibility follow, but they will flee from him, for they have absolutely not in fact, already with ongoing results, mentally ‘seen’ to perceive/know (a) the actual voice (b) of strangers . . . My sheep ongoingly hear/listen to understand (c) My Voice (b) and ongoingly I experientially, relationally know (d) them, and they ongoingly follow Me” (e).  So if you get sucked into following a false leader, it’s because you simply aren’t learning directly from Jesus! (f).  <Notes> a) eido, b) phone, c) akouo, d) ginosko, e) John 10:4-5, 27, f) see the Prophetic and Knowledge pages.

 

As Christian musicians, are we stuck in the Catholic Church’s worldly definitions of “worship leader” with “followers” that continues to create division in the One Body-of-Christ?  Aren’t our “special positions, offices, and titles” simply separating us from the other “commoners or laity?”  Or do we see ourselves as “fellow workers” with ALL of God’s saints in God’s One “field or building?”  Shouldn’t we ALL being following Christ’s Voice yet still recognizing this part within EVERY Christian and only ever following that part?

 

 

 

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Coaches & Facilitators – BT1

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How did this mess get turned around?  Who started it?

 

 

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The idea of “clergy and laity” was “borrowed” from the Old Testament (OT), which is the faulty foundation of The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church.   The term “clergy” means “a group ordained to perform pastoral or sacerdotal functions in a Christian church” was first used in the 13th c. by the Catholic Church, but they “borrowed” the idea from the Greek word klerikos which means “an inheritance, in reference to the fact that the OT Levitical priests had no inheritance except the Lord.”  The Catholic Church had to come up with a term for the “non-clergy, or common people” so they invented the Latin word “laity” in the 15th c., which again is “borrowed” from the Greek laikos, which simply means “of the people, the people at large.”  So you can see the impetus from “clergy and laity” all comes from the OT, but they “borrowed” stones from the world to further build The Great Wall quenching the Spirit.  However, the fact simple is that Catholic priests are not Levitical priests that “have their portion or inheritance in the Lord.”

 

Ordination of clergy is entirely an OT practice – you won’t find the word used once in the New Testament (NT)!  However, the NT does speak 25 times about “sanctification, consecration, or dedication to make separate for God’s sacred purposes” (g), and the result is that these ceremonially “uncommon and clean vessels of honor” are now holy (g).  This is the term “saint” used 213 times in the NT of ALL Christians, not just the practice of sainthood that the Catholic Church started in 993 AD for a select few “special Christians.”  The New Covenant says that ALL Christians are part of a royal priesthood (a), priests belonging to the King of kings, “making us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (b).  EVERY one of us is been made “special, uncommon, or a vessel of honor” (c).  There is now only One High Priest, the Lord Jesus, and we are ALL priests, “ALL brethren” (d).  There are no “chief priests” in His kingdom.  Jesus warned often about “having authority over others like the Gentiles – it shall absolutely not in fact be so among you” (e).  If the OT was only a “shadow of things to come” (f), why are churches “borrowing” from it to build The Great WallThe Protest Church is absolutely no better!  They may not use the same terms, but they are using the same ideas that there is a special class of Christians, the “ordained professionals” or “ministry staff” and the rest of the congregation is simply the “corporate meeting” or “congregational members” – other terms “borrowed” from the world!  This divisiveness is still straight from the pit of hell!  <Notes> a) 1 Peter 2:9, b) Revelation 1:6 5:10, 20:6, c) Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:21-21, d) Matthew 23:8 – see Teach One Another – BT10, e) Matthew 20:26; Mark 10:43, f) Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5, 10:1, g) hagiazo: made hagios holy – see Holy Spaces.

 

I know today’s churches love to also use the terms “leader” and “teacher,” but you will see that there isn’t as much solid NT support for this as the propaganda-mills churn out, at least the way most people use these terms as defined today.  The dictionary says a leader is “a person who commands a group, organization, or country; the principal player or conductor in a music group.”  A teacher is “a person who teaches, especially in a school; the person who has an occupation, profession, or work of instructing – giving knowledge to, providing with authoritative information or advice, or giving an order or command to.”  We will see that only a small fraction of this is in mind in the NT Greek.  The rest of this is “borrowed” from the world to build The Great Wall quenching the Spirit in the Church.

 

As Christian musicians, do we want to continue repeating the mistakes that the Catholic Church made so long ago by “borrowing” from the old covenant the idea of “ministry staff” or “clergy” versus “the common people, laity, or congregational members?”  Are we also going to think of some people as “holy saints” but not ALL Christians?  Are we going to also “borrow” definitions from the world as to what Church leadership and teaching is instead of looking carefully at the NT definitions and examples?  If we continue to pass on these mistakes, we are helping to build The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church.

 

 

 

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