Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Deacon's Ordination

1 Timothy 3:8-13, "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must there wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife. ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as shown here, he is referring to the Main Stream, Business Entity, Institutional 'Church' commonly known as "Traditional Church." When he renders the word church in all lowercase lettering, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Organic, House church of Jesus' design, which He created and continues to build.

'Deacon' = superintendent; servant; teacher; waiter. These are the definitions found regarding the deacon. His job is to serve in different capacities within the church. In verse 13 we read in part, "...well purchase to themselves a good degree,..." The word, 'purchase' is somewhat the focal point of this message, for I wonder if the office if a deacon can be bought? I'll weigh-in on this a little later, but for now I'd like to share the reason for this post.

A couple of years ago I witnessed a deacon's ordination ceremony at the Institutional Independent Baptist 'Church' I was a member of. The man selected for this office is a godly and good man. His wife is a model for a deacon's wife. They are one of the few who have remained kind and courteous to me and my wife after I left 'the Institute.' They are well suited for the posts they hold. With that said, I want the reader to know that I have no issues with deacons; especially this man.

My issue is with the administration of the very ceremony in which he was appointed a deacon. He was an innocent party to the infraction I am about to expose. The senior pastor performed the actual ceremony at the time, and he said something that made me wonder. During the ceremony he asked the would be deacon two very telling questions. He asked, "Do you believe in tithing?" Then he asked, "Do you tithe faithfully?" Knowing that I have never read that tithing was a qualification needed to be met to become a deacon, it alerted me to the obvious trespass of the pastor. Why, all of a sudden, did he add to Scripture by implying that tithing was a requirement to hold this office? Must this man purchase this office with his continued tithe for it to become valid? The only other time the word 'deacons' shows up in the Bible is in Philippians 1:1 where Paul and Timotheus greet the saints, bishops and deacons. No where else could I find another reference to this office or it's qualifications. Tithing simply doesn't show up in 1 Timothy 3! Where did this idea come from?

Is it necessary to pay tithes to hold any office in the N.T. church Jesus is the Head of? The answer is, "NO!" This was imposed by the senior pastor of this Corporate-run, Business entity, facsimile of a church. Asking a deacon Prospect if he believes in and does tithe is a violation of his privacy and liberty in Christ! The pastor just might as well asked if he was circumscribed! That question has about as much bearing on his qualifications to be a deacon as the tithing question does! The Bible teaches that we are not to impose O.T. ordinances in the N.T. church, whether it be tithing, circumcision or the washing of hands. Why? Because that was for back in the days of the law. Imposing the things of the law was to end when Jesus came and fulfilled the time of reformation. That occurred when He died upon the cross and the veil in the temple was rent in two.  

Hebrews 9:8-12, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

This pastor had no authority to impose and present this question upon the candidate for this office. He really overstepped his bounds just by asking the question! What if the man answered to the contrary? Would he then be disqualified even though he meets Christ's standards for holding that position? Would he be counseled until he recanted his Biblical belief that tithing is not a law to be imposed upon Christ's N.T. assembly? Would he be excluded from even holding a trustee post? Would he be blacklisted altogether? And, what about his sweet wife who meets all the qualifications just as admirably as he does? Will she be excluded from serving as her heart desires? I wonder?

These two questions have opened up a nasty can of worms. Where did this line of questioning begin? It seems more like an inquisition to me! Well, most people regard the inquisition as going hand-in-hand with the Mother Whore 'Church.' Hundreds of years ago 'examinations' were given. If the 'examined' didn't pass to the satisfaction of the 'examiner.' there would be a penalty administered. I don't see much of a difference here. The clergy were the ones who imposed these rituals and enforced them as well. If we put enough pressure on a zit it's going to pop sooner or later, right? Well, the 'clergy' made good use of this pressure and eventually people within the Institution fell in line.

They became very powerful, not just within their 'Church' system by taxing the people, but made it acceptable to most as a way of life. These practices became accepted as 'normal' just as taxes are today. They didn't like it to begin with, but because of peer, government and social pressures, people eventually fell in line. Their power and influence even extended into the local government. Few had the guts to stand up to the clergy, which wanted to keep an iron grip on their paying congregations. The positions within the clergy were even sought after as seats of power where these positions could be bought for a monetary price! During the crusades, many a cardinal was granted a seat in the college of cardinals for a substantial sum to support the war efforts of Pope Julius. Could this have been a precursor to the idea that deacons in a Prominent 'Church' of today can be bought? The precedent is there; why not?

The verse, "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." in 1 Timothy 3:13 isn't speaking of buying a position of Prominence and power within the Institution. It is talking about receiving a good degree of respect within the community of their assembly, and esteem from God. The position of deacon (or any other position for that matter) is not for sale in Jesus' true model for His N.T. church. 

Tithing has become a 'price tag' in the Institutional 'Church' system to purchase a position. Apparently, tithing applies if one is in a fake 'Church,' with a fake clergy, imposing ordinances and traditions to support their entrepreneurial efforts and if one is to obtain the office of a deacon. Christ's home church model has no such requirements or imposed traditions. We adhere to the Bible's conditions which DO NOT INCLUDE the practice or belief of tithing. We are free from such extortionist practices. Glory to God!

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