The Original Way:Part 4

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   You know, I was thinking the other day that the title to this series of blog posts was really not appropriate. It was titled “The Better Way.” However, nothing has really changed with the way that the Apostles met, so I felt that the title should reflect the early beginnings of the how the believers met in  the homes.

     With that said, let’s head on down the road. 

    Thinking about this deep hole that the body of believers have gotten themselves into, where do we begin to look for answers? I believe that when we look at the situation during and towards the end of the apostolic period we will begin to shed light on where things went haywire. I feel, and after much research over the years, that the crux of the problem comes from the misdirection of the leadership as well as believers abdicating their responsibility to be like the Bereans in examining the scriptures.

An early example of how leadership could have gone awry is what “Diotrophes”did to the apostles, other believers, and believers that he was fellow shipping with. The scripture points to what could possibly be the early beginnings of the development of the clergy/laity division.

Question:

  Many times in our day, it is not politically correct to judge other Christians. However, we must remember that judgment begins with the household of God. So, Is there some unwritten rule somewhere that Christians are not to question other Christian’s beliefs about the Institutional Churches traditional practices?  No way! We are to “test” the spirits in the search for truth, but with gentleness and respect”.  From my research, it is absolutely imperative to speak the truth in love.

3John 1:9-10.

John writes, “I wrote to the church, but “Diotrophes” who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So, when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so (that is believers welcoming other believers) and puts them out of the church. WHAT!

False Teachings ofThe Early Church Fathers and Others Influence:The Major Fatal Flaw:

So, “who caused the deception?” False teachers and false teachings were abundant during the time of the Apostles. The Post-Apostolic, false teachings of the Early Church Fathers heavily influenced the beliefs of the Christian’s around them. If they would have stuck to what Jesus taught the apostles, and the apostles passed on to other believers they would have been on the right path. However, the Early Church Fathers went astray when they themselves developed (I think it was partially out of ignorance and partially intentional) their own organizational system. From this point, the Early Church Fathers started straying from what Jesus taught, and believed that what should be taught was Jesus teachings plus their teachings. In fact, they went beyond and believed that their teachings super-ceded those of Jesus.

          With this belief came the development of a division caused by the Early Church Fathers.  From the quotes below, it is not hard to see that this foundational error of the Early Church Fathers developed into a system. Their “organizational system” was completely spread throughout the body of believers by the end of the fourth century. From this “biblical error,” all other areas of the body of believer’s practice were and continue to be affected and in error. These are the areas that were affected: The pastor, sermon, order of worship, church buildings, Lord’s Supper, baptism, tithes, clergy salaries, music ministers, choirs, Sunday morning dress, etc., etc., etc.

Examining The Early Church Father’s Quotes:

Clement of Rome, in his epistle to the Corinthian Church in AD 95, wrote:

“The high priest has been given his own special services, the priests have been assigned their own place, and the Levites have their special ministrations enjoined on them. The layman is bound by the ordinances of the laity.”WHAT?!!!!

Where did the Apostles write about ordinances for the laity and being bound by them? They didn’t!

Where did the Apostles ever speak of their Christian brothers and sisters as layman in their writings? You won’t find it!

Ignatius – Bishop of Antioch AD 110

To the Ephesians:

“Your REVEREND presbytery is tuned to the Bishop as strings to a lyre…Let us be careful not to resist the Bishop, that through our submission to the Bishop we may belong to God…We should regard the Bishop as the Lord Himself…”WHAT?!!! 

Where is the humility of a servant?  There is None!

Where did the Apostles ever demonstrate this type of thinking in their actions? They didn’t. 

Paul was not high-minded like this. In fact, He said, “I am the worst of sinners.”

To the Smyrneans:

*”Let no-one do anything that pertains to the church apart from the Bishop…it is not permitted to baptize or hold a love-feast independently of the Bishop. But whatever he approves, that is also well pleasing to God.” WHAT?!!!

“He that does anything without the knowledge of the Bishop serves the Devil.” WHAT?!!!!

Where did the Apostles ever write this type of requirement in the New Testament scriptures and said these things?

 They didn’t!

To the Magnesians:

*”I advise you to always act in godly concord with the Bishop, presiding as the counterpart of God, and the presbyters as the counterpart of the council of the Apostles…As the Lord did nothing without the Father, either by Himself or by means of the Apostles, so you must do nothing without the Bishop and the presbyters.”  WHAT?!!!

Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t!

To the Trallians:

“…respect the Bishop as the counterpart of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and the college of the Apostles: without those no church is recognized.”  WHAT?!!!!

“It is therefore necessary that, as you indeed do, so without the Bishop you should do nothing, but should also be subject to the Presbytery (Elders), as to the Apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, if we live, we shall be found.” WHAT?!!!

Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t!

Tertullian – AD 200

  • This is a very interesting quote “Custom or (Tradition, my word) without truth is error grown old.” Tertullian.  (Pay close attention here.)

This comes from the man who helped develop the priesthood/clergy leadership structure.

“The supreme priest (that is the Bishop) has the right of conferring baptism: after him the presbyters and deacons, but only with the Bishop’s authority.

What? !!!!!

Otherwise the laity also have the right…how much more is the discipline of reverence and humility incumbent upon laymen (since it also befits their superiors) “It would be idle for us to suppose that what is forbidden to PRIESTS is allowed to the laity. WHAT?!!!The distinction between the order of clergy and the people has been established by the authority of the Church.

WHAT? !!!

Where did any of the Apostles write anything like this? They didn’t! There was no separate authority or class.

Cyprian – Bishop of Carthage AD 250.

“If Christ Jesus our Lord and God is Himself the High Priest of God the Father, and first offered Himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and commanded this to be done in remembrance of Himself, then assuredly the priest acts truly in Christ’s place when he reproduces what Christ did, and he then offers a true and complete sacrifice to God the Father, if he begins to offer as he sees Christ Himself has offered.”

Where did the Apostles speak of  priests as the mediators of and for the people? They didn’t! The only thing Peter stated was that we are  “a priesthood of all believers”.

Scriptures Concerning Believers as Responsible Users of the Word

Romans 15:14

 I myself am convinced my brothers that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”  Interesting! Where do you find the need for a priestly/pastor mediator for man before God? You Don’t!

2nd Timothy 3:6

All Scripture is God – breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that “the man of God” may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Where is the need for one man to guide the flock? There isn’t!

Acts 4:13

When they say the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were “unschooled, ordinary” men (take special note and mark this in your Bible), they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Interesting, Peter and John were “unschooled and ordinary”. Hmmmmmmm.

2nd Peter 1:5-8

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; (accurate) and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being “ineffective and unproductive” in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1st John 2:27

27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

To Be Continued….

 

 

 

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A Better Way: Part 3

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First of all, as you read my blog, you will find out that I enjoy pictures and color. My pictures and my font colors will change from time to time. So, with that said, your probably wondering where are we headed on this blog.
I’m pretty sure, if you have progressed to this point in reading my blog, that to many of you who believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible and attend an Institutional, organized assembly, the thoughts on meeting in homes will be a radical concept. I attended a variety of institutional churches over thirty-five years. If you would have presented these ideas to me years ago, I would have dismissed them as crazy even though in the back of my mind I wished that this was the way it should have been.
However, many of us have come to depend on the “traditions of men” that have developed over the centuries. We have become prisoners of a system that has been promoted over the centuries from the first century to the present day. I have some more quotes that you can think on as the days go on and I add more posts. 

Quotes to Ponder and Reflect On: Read Again

  • Santayana – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
  • Tertullian – “Custom (or Tradition) without truth is error grown old.”
  • Morpheus – “You take the blue pill, the story ends and you wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
There is another quote by Morpheus to Neo. I’m going to take a little poetic license and paraphrase this one. I’m inserting some words that I feel are appropriate for our understanding of the truth about the deception that has infiltrated the body of believers up to the present day.
  • Morpheus says to Neo:

“The traditional Bible-Based churches/Denominations are a system, Neo. “The system is our problem”, not the believers. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Pastors, Businessmen, Teachers, Lawyers, Carpenters, etc. They are the minds that you are trying to set free from the deception of the traditions of men and the early church fathers who set them in motion over the first four centuries of the Christian church, But until we do, these people are still part of that system, and that continues to make the traditional system our problem. You have to understand, most of these people have been fed “the error of human tradition” over their lifetimes and are not ready to leave. In fact,they are “hopelessly dependent” on the “current system.” They are “ignorant” of the facts” from the Bible and church history, so they will go to the “extreme” to “fight to protect” the “very system” that deceives them.” (Think closely about this last sentence in relation to your traditional church experience)

Take the time when you are alone to think about these quotes. Then, reflect on your Christian experience in the traditional body of believers in relationship to leadership structure, believer’s meetings, and church buildings. MY FRIENDS, DO SOME RESEARCH, PLEASE!

To Be Continued….

A Better Way:Part 2

Today, let me say that if I use an unusually strong tone ( or what some might perceive to be a strong tone), I want you to understand that I don’t have extreme anger for what is going on in the body of believers. I would have to say that it is more frustration than anything else.
We, as believers, are to be like the Bereans and thoroughly examine biblical teachings in search for the truth. I cannot stress enough the “importance of spiritual discernment.” Without it, we will only be able to see a partial picture of the truth that we should see.
Much of what I will be sharing with you in this post and future posts about leadership and believer’s meetings most likely will be unpopular, and, dare I say, considered to be spiritually incorrect by believers who attend Institutional Christian assemblies around the United States. I’m sure that it’s not this way to all these assemblies, but, from my experience ( I’ve had quite a bit of experience), it is in a majority of them. In fact, if you believe something other than their sacred cow of tradition” then most likely will be negative responses that might range from being argued with, attacked personally, might be considered divisive, might be shunned, asked to leave the church, etc.
(So Be Prepared !)
My friends, my firmest desire is to set a door of truth and freedom open before all of you that has been closed for many centuries. I want to help you discover the Father’s best so you can enter in and be blessed. It is my hope that you will be like the Bereans, and,I thoroughly expect that you will examine what I bring to you from the scriptures and other church history resource material.
I truly hold on to the hope that you as well as other believers will come to see that the leadership pattern and meeting in the home was the original intent of the Apostles and others throughout history. I believe that if Paul were alive today, he would agree and encourage every believer to be like a Berean, identifying”, examining”, and exposing” the current false basis of leadership as it is structured today as well as believer’s meetings in church buildings even though God’s work is being done through them. As the title of this post states, “A Better Way.”
(Pay close attention to these words)  DO YOUR HOMEWORK! DO NOT TAKE MY WORDS AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH! MY FRIENDS, INVESTIGATE FOR YOURSELF!
To be Continued….

 

 

 

 

A Better Way:part 1

So, now that I have introduced myself and a little bit of my background, I’m going to dsc_0009move on. The flower on your left means that it’s time for a fresh start for the family of believers. A time to move away from the institutionalism of the past and present for,  as I have researched over the past years, this has been the stumbling block  that has kept the body of believers from true growth in Christ. Now, I’m not saying that the Institutional church has been totally ineffective for that would be a lie. However,we have lost site of the “Priesthood of All Believers” from what has developed over the centuries from the early beginnings of the New Testament Christian Body of Believers.

I want you to understand that I don’t have an ax to grind with the leaders of today’s Institutional body of believers. It is my sole desire to seek after truth as the Berean’s did during Paul’s time. I want to bring to you information that will shed light on what I believe was the original intent of the Apostles and the body of believers during the first century.

I want to add some quotes for you to think on as you read my posts over the following days to come.

“What is called Christianity today, and what has come to be called “the church”- has become a tradition, institution, and a system quite fixed, rooted, and established as ever Judaism was, and it will be no less costly to change it fundamentally than was the case with Judaism…a “very heavy price” is attached to the change which is necessary to really solve the great problem.”      T. Austin Sparks

For the most part, the churches that are in the world at present know not how they came so to be, continuing only in that state which they have received by tradition from their fathers (The True Nature of a Gospel Church, edited and abridged by John Huxtable [London, 1947], p.35).

“God’s house” must not be identified with any building, for this clouds the fact that Christ’s people are a “spiritual house.” The old covenant emphasis on places has passed away because the fulfillment of these types has come in a spiritual people (John 4:20-24).

“Change is nearly always difficult especially when it involves (Focus on these words) “Long-standing, deeply-seated traditions” that we have become accustomed to.”

“Just because people have believed something and handed it down through the years does not make it true.”

I’ll leave you with the following thoughts and questions until my next post.

Food for Thought Questions:

  • Do you feel guilty when you don’t attend “Church” or miss a couple of Sundays in a row? Ask yourself, “Why?”Tradition!
  • Do you feel uncomfortable when the “Church Service Format” is changed? “Why?” Tradition!
  • Do you feel that the Church building is the “sacred space of God or house of the Lord” “Why?” Tradition!

Two Key Questions:

  • Why would believer’s meetings that were held in the home during the first three centuries of the New Testament where everyone participated be good for the New Testament believers, but somehow unworkable for those throughout the centuries as well as us today?
  • Ask yourself, “How can close relationships develop with other Christians if you only meet for two hours on a Sunday and those two hours are taken up with singing, sermon, announcements, etc.” Relationships that develop in the Institutional body of believers are the exception, not the rule.

My Purpose Is Threefold:

  • To study about Christian Church history and the influence of some of the early believers during Paul’s time, and theEarly Church Fathers in discerning the truth about leadership, believer’s meetings, and church buildings.
  • To truly see how The Traditions of Men have been accepted by many believers as concrete truth.
  • To encourage you to return to The Simplicity of First-Century Christianity and meeting in the home.

First, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but for me, when I discovered and examined the truths based on research from the scriptures, church history, and Greek Language Word Meanings, I felt as if a door of freedom had been opened to me.

An Introduction To The Simple Truth Blog

 Hey, my name is Pete Horvatin and the first thing I’d like to do is tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve been married to my sweet wife  “Bernie” for forty-three years and I have two grown, adult children and seven grandchildren. My wife and I have been believers in Jesus Christ as our Savior for all of our married life. In fact, my wife was instrumental in bringing me to faith. We have been members of a variety of denominations throughout our married years, i.e., Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, and a few other non-denominational Bible-based churches.

     Let me help you with the “why” of this blog. 

     A friend, of my wife and I, was talking with our former pastor and asked him, “how do you address the needs of seniors in your congregation?” He told her, “we really don’t, they kind of fall through the cracks. When the friend told us that, it really started me thinking that in the body of believers something is drastically wrong. It’s about relationships right? It’s about a close-knit group of believers sharing their lives together and making disciples right?

This little story started me on a course of research and discovery of and for the truth about the traditional body of believers and the system that that we had become a part of. My desire was to meet in the home as the First-Century Christians did. I truly saw a simpler way and couldn’t understand how it got to this point. However, the truth is, “I wasn’t looking for it.” I was following the leadership because I trusted that they knew what they were teaching us. It has taken a number of years now to understand how the believers have come to this point and I never really have established a home fellowship. However, I’ve only switched gears, and I haven’t given up on my faith in Jesus as my Savior. What I am striving for as I run the race is to convey the original, simple truth of the Gospel and the priesthood of all believers.

As I write today, you may be curious or for whatever reason you have come to read my blog posts, I can just about guarantee that if you come from a traditional believers background and mindset, as you read, you will experience a variety of emotions. You may not believe me at all, feel shocked, offended, angry, feel attacked, feel defensive, feel I’m being divisive, you may even close out my website.

However, I seriously believe some of you will be pleasantly surprised and feel that “someone finally understands how I’ve felt all these years about the reality of “going” to church and meeting with other believers”.It is my prayer that I will not cause division among brothers and sisters in Christ (even though some of you may see it that way), but as the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:25 we are to “put off falsehood” and “speak truthfully” to his neighbor for “we are all one body”.