Friday, August 31, 2007


In the light of the changes we see happening in the church world wide, which include a movement toward "house churches", similar to the churches we read about in the book of Acts; we need to prepare ourselves for the change. If our comparison of king Saul's reign to the presently structured church, and David's reign to the church structure we see in the book of acts is accurate, then we need to pay close attention to David's attitude towards Saul's regime!

First notice that David respected the anointing that God had put on Saul, even though he was trying to do away with him. We need to recognize and honor those precious anointed church leaders who are doing what they can, in the best way they know how, to further the Kingdom of God. Those of us who believe God has a better plan for His Church than we have seen, need to show the love and compassion of Christ toward our brothers and sisters who are still in the present church structure. Change comes slowly, and has to be prompted by divine revelation. Just think back to changes that have taken place in your own life, and how patiently the Lord worked with you until you received further revelation of what He was trying to show you!

Here is a quote from Brother Warnock that caught my attention "Herein is revealed the fundamental weakness of the present church system. It operates much the same way as in the world. The leaders are dependent upon people for their support, voted in and out by the people, and answerable to the people for whatever they want to do. And because they are subject to the pressure of the people in so many cases it seems they must compromise in order to keep the people contented." In my 40+ years in the church, this pretty much sums up what I have observed as a church member, deacon, elder and pastor. My heart tells me there must be a better way! And as I have reread the NT, especially the book of Acts, I believe I see that better way. We must get back to the original structure of self supporting elders and deacons ruling the local churches, being overseen by traveling elders and deacons sent out from a local church. Chapter 13 of Acts is a good example of how a local church should operate, in my opinion. It was the first church established by Gentile believers. You can read about how this church was planted in (Acts 11:19-26). The present house church movement may not be the total answer, but it certainly comes much closer to the original plan of Jesus for how His church should be governed than any other form that we have seen operating in my lifetime!

Sincerely in Him.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007


In part 1 we compared the reign of king Saul with that of king David, and I mentioned that I see a similarity between their different reigns and that of two separate structures of church. The first church structure is the one we see in the book of Acts, which is a picture of the church that Jesus said He would build (Matt 16:18). I have chosen to refer to this one as the "True Church", and the other church structure, which only came into being in the fourth century when Constantine merged the church of that day with the Roman Empire, I have chosen to call the "false church", only because I see it as so opposite to the one Jesus is in the process of building.

King Saul started out OK, but soon became corrupted and was finally rejected by God for his disobedience. At the start, the church that resulted from the merger with the Roman Empire escaped the persecution that they had suffered at the hands of certain Emperors, but it soon became corrupted as well. There was a lot of rivalry between the Bishops of the churches in the major cities, and it divided into a western church under the Bishop of Rome, which became the Roman Catholic Church; and an eastern church which developed into the Eastern Orthodox Church. When you read the history of the church from the 4th to the 14th centuries, you see 1000 years years that have been well named as the "dark ages". The degree of corruption of the church leaders during that time is almost unbelievable!

History records that throughout this time there was always a remnant of the true church that were faithful to the teachings of Jesus. They were severely persecuted by the organized church in every nation, and many were drowned or burned at the stake for their stand for Christ. The reformation that started with Martin Luther and other men of his day brought back some vital doctrines that had been lost through the dark ages. However the basic structure of the church that had been established by Emperor Constantine, never changed. There have been various restoration movements in the church since then which have resulted in the formation of many different Protestant Denominations, but most all have retained some form of a "man centered" religion, rather than a "God centered" relationship like the early church enjoyed! True Christianity is not a "religion", which is man trying to work his way up to God by some system of good works, but is a "relationship" with the God who became a man in Jesus Christ. The difference between these two is as great as night and day!

Sincerely submitted.


Monday, August 27, 2007


I recently read an article by George Warnock by this title, and was impressed by the truth he brings out. As you probably know Saul was the first king of the nation of Israel, and David was the man who followed him in this position. It was never God's intention to have His people ruled by a king, but because they wanted to be ruled like the nations around them, God let them have their way. (1 Sam 8:1-9) Saul was the man who met the people's expectations of a king at first, but later he had to be removed by God because of his disobedience. (1 Sam 15:10-23).

David was the man God had prepared to follow Saul as king, and probably would have replaced Samuel as the "prophet leader" of His people if they hadn't demanded a king. David was a man after God's own heart, and although he committed some terrible sins, he was always quick to repent when he was confronted with the truth. (2 Sam 12:1-13). When we study the life of David, we see why he is called a man after God's own heart. Even though he was anointed by Samuel to be the next king, he always respected Saul's position as king, and refused to touch "God's anointed one". Saul was jealous of David and often tried to kill him, but still David was loyal to him until his tragic death. Saul's son Jonathan became David's covenant friend, even though he knew David had been anointed by God to be the next king after his father; the position he would be in line for!

In (2 Sam 7:8-16) we read about the covenant God made with David, that a descendant of his would establish the throne of his kingdom forever. This prophecy delivered by Nathan is what we call a "near/far" prophecy, in other words it was to apply to the near future (Solomon), and to the far away future (Jesus), who both fulfilled it. We know that Jesus will occupy the throne of David in the yet future when He comes back to planet earth to set up His earthly reign for eternity! (Rev 21:3-7) In the meantime, He has established the Church, which is His body on earth, which He has been in the process of building for over 2000 years. This true Church will one day rule and reign with Him

The change from Saul's regime to David's righteous rule is somewhat similar to the change God wants to bring in the church; from the man centered government that came into the church when it joined the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine in the forth century, and the true church structure we see in the book of Acts. Jesus said He would build His Church (Matt 16:18), and we see this "True Church" in the book of Acts, and from early church history until the time of Constantine. Since then we have always had what I refer to as the true Church, and the "false church". Those of us who have become part of the True Church through a spiritual rebirth (2 Cor 5:17), must be careful that our actions, and reactions toward the false church are like David's were toward Saul.

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, August 24, 2007


Recently, while reading the book of Judges, it came to me very clearly that after the death of Joshua and the spiritual leaders of his generation there was a complete change in the Israelites. (Judges 2:6-12). Another generation grew up who did not follow the ways of the Lord, but instead followed the ways of the evil nations around them. This made the Lord angry with them, and He allowed these nations to rob and plunder them, until things got so bad that they cried out to the Lord for mercy. They had broken the covenant they had made with God, but He was always faithful to His covenant with them!

Over and over we see the same pattern repeat itself. They would abandon God, He would allow their enemies to triumph over them, they would cry out in repentance, and He would raise up a deliverer from among them. Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jepthah were four men who God raised up as deliverers for them, and all are mentioned in the NT book of Hebrews, chapter 11.These men are listed in this "faith chapter" along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others who were commended for their faith. It is important to note that these were very ordinary men, with many faults, yet God was able to use them to deliver His people from their enemies.

This truth should be an encouragement to us living in the 21st century. We often think we are just ordinary men and women that God could never use to accomplish any notable thing for His Kingdom. But I suggest you should read through the book of Judges again, and pay attention to the caliber of men that God used. We read about the Spirit of the Lord "coming upon them" and equipping them for the task He called them to perform. The Spirit only came upon them for the task at hand, and didn't stay with them. We actually have the advantage over them, because according to (Acts 1:8) the Holy Spirit was given to empower believers, as Jesus promised before He went back to heaven. Jesus clearly stated that He, the Holy Spirit, would never leave us nor forsake us! The Holy Spirit makes "extraordinary heroes" out of ordinary individuals! All we have to do, as I understand it, is be "available" and "obedient" to His directions. The problem for most of us is that we are too busy to listen for His "still small voice", which is often little more than a whisper, and can only be heard as we listen with the "ears of our heart". May the Lord bless you in this endeavour, is my prayer for you!

Sincerely submitted.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We have been considering spiritual warfare, and the keys to victory in our constant battles with our enemy Satan. His strategy is to “wear down the saints”, and we must find an effective way to prevent this. As a follow up to our article on the keys to victory, let’s look again to the story of King Jehoshaphat from (2 Chr 20:22-30).

First let’s compare the word “victory” with the word “dominion” to see the difference in the two. Victory means to fight a battle and win,---which is good! Dominion, on the other hand, is a position of supreme authority, where our enemies are afraid to attack us,---which is better! Paul tells us that the OT can serve as our example for instruction purposes (1 Cor 10:1-11), so let us look more closely at verses 27-30 to find out what we can about the position of dominion over their enemies, that they came into according to verse 30.

First we notice that they returned “with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies”. Another OT scripture tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength, but we must realize that joy in the Lord is not the same thing as a “happy, happy” feeling, that we see portrayed in some Charismatic circles! Real joy in centered in Jesus, while the other is centered in what makes us “feel good”!

Next we see that they went into the house of the Lord with their musical instruments, to rejoice together, and give thanks to the Lord for His great victory that day that He had won for them over their enemies. This is very important to see that He gets the credit for the battles that He wins for us! It is very hard not to take some of the credit for ourselves, after a victory has been won. Pride is a very subtle thing, and can show up even in the telling of our victory to our friends

The end result was that their enemies feared them and they had peace, and “the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” This is surely the result that we should all be striving to attain, and is there for us in the perfect will of God. He has made full provision through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus so that we can be “more than conquerors through Him”. Why settle for anything less? But we definitely have a part to play, because He didn’t create us as robots. We have a free will which must come into alignment with His perfect will before we can expect to see these results!

Sincerely submitted


Monday, August 20, 2007


One of the most amazing battles recorded in scripture is the one in (2 Chr 20:1-30). Here we see King Jehoshaphat surrounded by three of Israel’s bitterest enemies, the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir. They had only one intention, and that was to eliminate the people of God. How many times have we seen the near extinction of God’s people, only to see God come through for them in some miraculous way? There seems to be three keys that led to their victory, 1/ fasting, 2/ prayer, and 3/ praise. We will consider these three things separately and see what we can learn

1/ In verse 3 we read “and Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a “fast” throughout all Judah. This was a “proclaimed fast” which included the whole nation. Fasting is not a tool to manipulate God to accomplish something. Fasting is simply an outward indication of an inward sincerity. These people were serious, because they felt their life depended on it.

2/ The second key was the prayer offered by the king for all the people, as recorded in verses 4-12. This prayer was much like other prayers offered by Daniel and Nehemiah in the OT, and acknowledged God as the great protector and deliverer of His people in the past. The essence of his prayer from verse 12 is “for we have no power---nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” This is a good model prayer for us to follow whenever we are surrounded by enemy forces!

3/ The third key given to them was the vital place of praise in their battle against their foes. Real direction and encouragement came to them from a prophetic word given by a young Levite worship leader. “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. There were other instructions given as to how they were to go out to battle with the worship leaders before the army. The next day when they carried out the instructions completely, we read in verse 22, “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were defeated”. In verses 17 and 20 they were told to position themselves, stand still and see God’s salvation, believe in the Lord, and be established. See (1 Peter 5:10) for a good word on being established and strengthened in the Lord from the NT.

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, August 17, 2007


There are 3 separate and distinct stages in the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. They can be defined by the use of three little words. He comes “to us”, then He comes “in us”, and finally He comes “upon us”.

First in (John 16:7-15) Jesus told His disciples that when He went back to the Father He would send the Spirit to the world to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. No one could ever come to God unless the Holy Spirit draws them by His convicting power! He reveals Jesus to the sinner as the only Savior from sin.

Next when the sinner is fully convinced they need to accept and receive Jesus as their own personal Savior, the Spirit comes into their life, and they are “born again”. In (John 14:16-18) we hear Jesus telling His disciples “I will pray the Father and He will give you another helper, that He may abide with you forever-----for He dwells with you, and will be in you”. Here we see the promise of eternal life “He will abide with you forever”. The Spirit comes to stay with the true believer “forever”! That gives us the assurance of eternal security! He comes to stay, and His “presence” remains with us always.

The third stage is when He comes “upon us” at the time of our baptism in the Spirit, to give us the power to live a life pleasing to God, (Acts 1:8). This results in what we call “the anointing” of the Spirit, as opposed to “the presence” of the Spirit. His presence never leaves us, but his anointing can, and does when we as a believer are disobedient, or fall into sin. This has caused much confusion in the church, because people fail to make this distinction. The “filling” of the Spirit is not the same as the “baptism” of the Spirit. We receive the filling at the moment of salvation when He comes in to our spirit, or heart, to bring the assurance of salvation. He comes in to abide forever, and he comes in His fullness and not only partly!

This confusion is caused by “man’s doctrine” that is not based on the word of God, but only on some man's theory. If you just take your Bible and check out the scriptures I have mentioned, and perhaps any cross reference scriptures you may find, I’m sure you will be able to receive revelation from The Spirit as to the truth on this subject. A clear understanding of these three stages of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life as a believer will greatly enhance your effectiveness as a citizen of the Kingdom!

Sincerely submitted.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Read (Micah 6:1-8)---Picture an outdoor courtroom---hills, mountains, earth .

Act 1/ God presents His case---Verse 2. The Lord has a complaint against His people, and will contend (bring charges) against them.

Act 2/ His people plead ignorance---Verse 6-7. They posed questions about what they could do to be acceptable to Him. The implied answer is nothing unless it comes from a pure heart and motives.

Act 3/ God gives His clear concise 3 point answer---Verse 8. “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”

These three requirements are the condensation of the complete OT teaching.

The rabbis analyzed the law and found 613 precepts.

These are reduced to 11 principles in (Ps 15.)

They are further reduced to 6 commands in (Is 33:15.)

But here Micah condenses them into only 3

1/ Remain honest in all you do.

2/ Cherish compassionate faithfulness.

3/ Commit yourself to live in complete submission to your God.

Does God have a complaint against His people today in this age of grace?

Does He contend with His people today? Let’s look a little closer at these three requirements!

1/ “To do justly”---This word can imply, or be replaced by the following list of words that cover actions that we may be called into question for.


2/ “To love mercy”---This can mean compassionate faithfulness, or unselfishness in all our dealings with other people, always considering them before we make decisions that might concern them.

3/ “To walk humbly with your God”---This covers, but is not limited to, submission, sensitivity, the fear of God, the opposite of pride and arrogance.

How do we measure up as individuals? As churches? As denominations?

This is a fair question we as followers of Jesus should consider!!

Sincerely submitted.


Monday, August 13, 2007


We are often referred to as "human beings", and never, as far as I know, as "human doings"! Then why are we so consumed with doing, and not just being? This often crosses my mind when I hear constantly about how busy everyone seems to be these days. I often use that expression myself, usually as an excuse for not doing something I should have done some time ago. Since a very early age, we are programed toward "performance" orientation, usually with some form of reward offered for doing a certain task quickly and well! This stays with us into adulthood, and definitely affects our behavior. This same attitude towards performance follows us into our life as a Christian. We know from reading scriptures like (Eph 2:8-10) that we are saved by "grace", which is a gift from God, and not by any good works that we might do. Then of course after we are saved, God expects us to do the good works He has planned for us to do, long before we knew Him. This is all part of the "foreknowledge" of God, that He has a perfect plan for each of our lives.

The big question in my mind is, why do we believe that we cannot earn the right to become a child of God by our performance before salvation, but seem to believe that our performance after will please Him? I believe we need to take a hard look at this whole area of performance. Yes, we certainly are expected to be involved in good works after we receive Jesus as our personal savior, (2 Cor 5:17), and (Eph 2:10) make this very clear. But they are good works that God directs us to do, and not what we ourselves, or others direct us to do. I believe our Creator God has created each of us as unique individuals, and He knows what we are capable of doing, and would not expect more from us than He knows we should take on. He has given each of us His Holy Spirit as our teacher, comforter, and guide, to help us live the Christian life. It would seem the problem of being too busy doing things we think are important, is probably because we are not checking things out with Him before getting involved. I'm sure our life could be more stress free if we learned to listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit before we become involved in many activities we think are necessary.

This is only a theory of mine at this stage, and I don't want to come across as if I have proved it out yet in my own life. Like many other scriptural principles, I usually can see them long before I start to put them into practice in my life! How about you?

Sincerely submitted.


Saturday, August 11, 2007


Apparently in the movie "Gladiator", (which I have never seen), the hero makes this profound statement "What we do in life echoes in eternity". These words, although coming from a fictional character in a movie, express a scriptural truth. We are not here on this planet at this particular time in history just to take up space. We are here by God's plan to make a difference in our world. Our lives can have an eternal influence on the lives of those around us. Having the perspective of living for eternity can make all the difference in our world. In (Col 3:1) we read "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand". God values people above all else, and we should too. It's easy to get caught up in the "rat race" of making a living, and trying to "get ahead" in life, which is not wrong in itself, but often we get things out of focus. He shows us in His Word that He values people above possessions, and our character above our performance!

This is often difficult for us grasp, because performance has been programed into us from childhood, in one way or another. In our materialistic 21st century, much emphasis has been placed on the accumulation of "things". And even in Christian circles because of the influence of the "prosperity" teaching, we are made to believe that material possessions are a sign of God's blessings. The teaching of Jesus is quite the opposite of this, where He tells not to store up things on this earth, but to have a heavenly perspective, much like Paul's advice to the Colossians. Our perspective governs our actions, and consequently our relationship with others in the body of Christ. Christianity is, after all, not a "religion", but a "relationship" with Jesus. Because most of us have been brought up in various churches that tend to be traditional, and "religious", our perspective on the "Church" that Jesus is in the process of building has been faulty. We need to lay aside what we have been taught about church doctrine, as best we can, and read the scriptures again as if it were our first time. Especially the words of Jesus, which are printed in red in some translations, so you can't miss them. Theologians and church leaders tend to make the scripture complicated, but really the Bible is not difficult to understand, if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, which is one of the reasons He was given to us followers of Jesus according to His words , as recorded in (John 14-16).

Sincerely submitted.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


The law of inheritance is greater than the law of possession! Abraham's blessings are ours by reason of a covenant promise God made to Abraham (Gen 12:3), (Gal 3:16-18). This promise found it's fulfillment in Christ, and those who are united to Him by the "new birth" into God's family. (Gal 3:29) Since God never breaks a covenant He makes with anyone, this one is still in force!

There were three parts to this covenant between God and Abraham, 1/ the tithe, 2/ walking blameless before God, 3/ offerings. We should take a closer look at each one.

The tithe---In (Gen 14:17-20) we read about Abraham giving a tithe (10%) of the spoils from his victory over his enemies, to Melchizedek, who is a type of Christ. (Heb 7:1-7,15-17). This was over 400 years before the law was put in place by Moses. The main scripture on tithing is found in (Mal 3:6-12), where God states His displeasure with His people for not giving their tithes and offerings, and thus bringing a curse upon themselves. As a contrast to a curse, He promises to pour out a blessing on them if they will honor God by bringing the tithe into the storehouse. Our God is Holy, His Word is Holy, and His tithe is Holy. The tithe is God's own personal property, and is not ours to do with as we please. We don't give, or "pay" the tithe, we "return" it to the Lord because it is His. We then have the 90% to live on, and dispose of as we see fit. Our offerings are to be given from this 90%, and can be directed wherever we wish them to go, but the tithe is to go to the "storehouse". In our day this refers to the local church we attend, where we are fed spiritually.

Walking blameless---(Gen 17:1-2) God said to Abraham "serve Me faithfully and live a blameless life" in order to qualify for His blessings. This same qualification applies to us today. To live a blameless life before God means to keep His commandments as outlined in the NT, realizing that this can only be done in the strength of the Holy Spirit who indwells us. We will never be "faultless", or without sin in this life, but we can be "blameless"! God has made provision for our failures, see (1 John 1:9)

The offering---(Gen 22:1-2) Remember the word "offering" means "to present for acceptance or consideration". In this case Abraham offered his son freely in obedience to God's command, in faith believing that somehow he would be restored to him by God.

Here we see the requirements for receiving the blessings of Abraham that we are promised as God's children. Remember the requirements must be fulfilled before we can expect to receive the blessings!

Sincerely submitted.


Monday, August 6, 2007


In part 3 I listed a couple quotes from Dr Halley describing two entirely different organizations that both carry the title of church. Because they are so opposite in constitution and character, I have chosen to call one of them the "True Church", and the other the "false church". Of course the true church is the Church that Jesus said He would build (Matt 16:18), and has been in the process of building in the world for some 2000 years. What I have chosen to call the false church is the one we see in (Rev 17:1-18) that will be a worldwide religious and political power at that time. This false church had it's beginning in Rome shortly after Constantine united the church to the then powerful Roman Empire. This merging of the church of the day with the political system of Rome, might have brought to an end the persecution of the church at large, but began a time of persecution of the True Church by this church of Rome that lasted for many years.

There is some uncertainty as to who was the first Pope. Some claim Peter was, but there is no evidence that Peter was ever involved in the church at Rome. It would seem most people believe that Bishop Gregory I (590-604) was really the first Pope. He was a godly man and did a good job of leading the church, but there were many wicked ungodly men that held this position during the 1000 years know as the "dark ages". Some of these men chose to call themselves by titles such as "Vicar of Christ", "Vicar of God", and one even referred to himself as "Supreme Ruler over the Church and the World".

We know there have been ongoing discussions between various denominations in the past few years, known as the "Ecumenical Movement", which they believe will fulfill the scripture that we should all be one. Even some non-Christian religions have been included in these discussions. The "Charismatic Movement" of the 60's and 70's awakened believers in all denominations to the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This experience changed the lives of many people, but had little or no effect on the denomination they were part of. Denominations have served to highlight certain doctrines, but on the whole have been used to divide the body of Christ into separate groups. True Ecumenicism must be birthed by the Spirit of God in His True Church, and this attempt to form one large powerful world wide Ecumenical Church can only lead to the end time "false church" of Rev 17 in my opinion!

There have been several moves of God over the years that have not resulted in forming a new denomination. One such move that I'm aware of happened in North Battleford Sask in 1948. Although several false teachings,came out of this move, the remnant core of people who were involved in the original move have remained true to what God revealed to them at the time. I have been able to make contact with this group, and had the opportunity of meeting some of their leaders last year. The teaching the Lord revealed to them about church structure, and gifts of the Spirit, seem to line up very closely with what we read in the book of Acts.

Another bright light on the present church scene is the forming of networks of "house churches", similar to the original churches we see in the book of Acts. Some of these networks use terms like "Simple Church", or "Organic Church" etc. to describe the way they "do church" differently from the regular structured churches. This House Church Movement has been operating for years in countries like China, where believers are forced to meet secretly because of persecution from their government, but is becoming a big thing in Western countries in the past few years. Just the cost of maintaining large old church buildings these days for a place to meet once or twice a week, is one factor which favors regular weekly gatherings be held in homes. Then periodically they rent some suitable public building for a larger celebration meeting of several home groups. This type of church structure seems to come closer to the original one we see in the book of Acts, and has proven to be effective in places like China to cause the church to grow in an amazing way. Nobody likes change, we all enjoy what we have been familiar with, but our God is a Creator and is always revealing new things to us. He does not change as far as His basic character goes but He is not static as to His methods of dealing with His children. In our case it could be simply leading us back to the original plan of how He desires us to worship Him. True Church was never meant to become a man made "Religion", but has always been meant to be a "Relationship" with our "Creator God", as I see it!

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, August 3, 2007


We have used the term "True Church" to refer to the Church that Jesus has been in the process of building for 2000 years. If there is such a thing as the true church, then there must be a "false church" because things always have an opposite. For example black and white, high and low, hot and cold etc. When I use the term false church, I don't mean to imply that certain churches that exist at present are necessarily false. But the scripture does refer to a church that will be existing in the last days, and this false church will be used to help bring the Antichrist into power. (Rev 17:1-18). Apparently this end time church will be a merging of several denominations now existing, who are more interested in being a powerful influence in the world, than a humble witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, plus possibly other religions!

A careful reading of "Halley's Bible Handbook" in a chapter called "church history", pages 757-804 gives a fairly brief account of the church from it's humble beginning as recorded in the book of Acts, through the period known as the "dark ages", up to the year 1965. This book was first published in 1924 and the copy I have is from the 24th revised edition printed in 1965. It is an excellent aid to Bible study, giving loads of interesting facts about the Bible, as well as a brief overview of every book in the Bible. I would highly recommend you add it to your library!

It seems fairly clear from reading how the church became part of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, that they gradually became a political entity, rather than the "True Church" it was meant to be. On page 767 in Dr Halley's book he writes "The church was founded, not as an institution of Authority to force the Name and the Teaching of Christ upon the world, but only as a witness bearing institution to Christ, to hold Him before the people. Christ Himself, not the church, is the transforming power in human life. But the church was in the Roman Empire and gradually developed a form of government like the Political World in which it existed, becoming a vast Autocratic organization ruled from the top." As a contrast to this, on the same page he writes "At the close of the Apostolic age churches were independent one of another, each being shepherded by a board of Pastors. The main leader came to be called Bishop. The others, later, were called Presbyters. Gradually the jurisdiction of Bishop came to include other towns." It would seem that this term of Bishop spread to larger cities like Rome, and since Rome was the capital of the Empire it was only natural that the Bishop of Rome soon assumed the role of spiritual leader of the entire Roman Empire. This led to him taking on the title of father or "papa" which became Pope, and remains to this day as the title for the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sincerely submitted.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Most denominational churches are governed by some form of either an "Episcopal" or a "Congregational" system, neither of which are scriptural. The Catholic and Anglican would be the most common example of the first type, and the Baptist would probably be the most common of the congregational type of structure, but the Pentecostal, Wesleyan and others use the same basic format. Their terminology may differ as to the use of terms like elders, deacons, board members etc. but the basic structure of the congregational form of government consists of a board of some sort that are voted into office by the members. In most of these churches the pastor is also voted in or out of office by the members. The Bishop usually appoints the priest or pastor in an Episcopal type of church, with or without the approval of the members.

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, the Church that Jesus said He would build in (Matt 16:18), and which we see functioning in the book of Acts, is not like any of these church structures. There has always been a remnant of the "True Church" in the world down through history. They always suffered persecution, often at the hands of the so-called "State Churches", which were usually patterned after the church of Rome. Often these believers had to meet in homes, or out in the woods somewhere to avoid persecution, not unlike members of the "persecuted church" in parts of the world today! These believers were known by different names, such as the "Anabaptists", who stood for water baptism following a born again experience by its members. Many of these people came out of the state churches who practiced infant baptism, and once they were converted to Christ the first thing they wanted to do was to be baptised as believers. This of course caused them to be hated by the church leaders, and many were martyred for their beliefs.

Then we see that many denominations were started by men to whom God revealed some truth that had been lost during the dark ages. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley would be examples of men who received certain revelations that they then declared and gained a following, that eventually developed into a new denomination. Of course each new denomination developed their own particular doctrines, based on their understanding of scripture. History proves that each new group were condemned and opposed by the former groups, who in turn opposed the next group to appear. This has been a big factor in the forming of so many different denominations.

Sincerely submitted.