THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH EXTENSIVE ARTICLE

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THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

It's Connection to the Apostles

It's Lineage or Apostolic Succession

It's Qualifications and Authorization

It's Characteristics and Boundaries

It's Purpose and Operation

It's Stability and Security

It's Troubles and Errors

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Article Index

V Chapter 1, Considers the two possible categories of God's people.

Chapter 2, Considers basics of lineage and Apostolic Succession.

Chapter 3, Considers the groweth of the early Apostolic Church, and considers how some early Christians advocated lineage and Apostolic Succession as they endeavored to remain separate from false Christians.

Chapter 4, Considers the important and blessed position the ancient Israelite Nation had in God's plan, and considers the difficult experiences and situations this special nation or people yet encountered.

Chapter 5, Considers how God in the old era related to nations other than the Jewish nation.

Chapter 6, Considers different aspects of lineage as in the Old Testament era.

Chapter 7, Considers the stability and security of God's Old Testament people (Nation).

Chapter 8, Considers the stability and security of God's New Testament people and Church.

M Chapter 9, Considers the authority of God's chosen people as in both the Old and New Testament eras.

V Chapter 10, Considers lineage and Apostolic Succession as in the New Testament era.

Chapter 11, Considers what the Church of God includes and considers the importance of unity in the Church.

Chapter 12, Considers the relation of Christian congregations to one another, involving congregations near by and throughout the world.

V Chapter 13, Considers how faithful Christians and congregations should relate to erring Christians and congregations.

Chapter 14, Considers how true Christian congregations can be identified and includes miscellaneous issues.



V Chapter One

Considers the Two Possible and Basic Categories of the People (Children) of God.


God's people on earth involves two distinct categories or aspects. The one category includes all and only those individuals around the whole world who have heeded God's Spirit's call to repent and be converted, and thus this category includes all and yet only the saved children of God. Individuals within this category are always and without error known to God as being His children, although they might not be known as such by man. This group of people including all and yet only saved individuals from around the whole world, can quite nicely be called the Kingdom of Christ. When the writer uses the term Kingdom of Christ or Christ's Kingdom he most likely will be speaking of this category of God's people. bB-1:1

The other aspect of the people of God involves the visible Christian congregation which is a group or congregation of Christians who recognize each other as a people set apart from the non Christian world. If a Christian congregation would be disagreed and greatly divided on whom they should accept as being true Christians, and would not really know who is worthy to be part of their congregation or who is a part of their congregation, it would be quite impossible for them to operate as a Christian congregation. The true Christian congregation thus is a congregation which is united in whom they acknowledge as being fellow Christians, as also the Apostolic Church was united in whom they acknowledged as being fellow Christians. All true Christian congregations when considered as a whole could nicely be called the visible Church of God. When the writer uses the term visible Church of God he will be speaking of one or many of these congregations of true Christians. The Bible gives many instructions how Christian congregations are to function. When an individual turns to God and is saved he obviously does not necessarily immediately become a part of the visible Church of God, such as immediately and automatically becoming a part of some Christian congregation, yet he clearly is immediately within the Kingdom of Christ. When one from within a Christian congregation turns away from righteousness and Christ, he will immediately be cut off from the Kingdom of Christ, yet he might hid his error from others and thus for some time yet be included as part of a Christian congregation (visible Church of God). Thus their most likely would always be a significant difference between the members of the visible Church of God and the members of the Kingdom of Christ. bB-1:2

Thus it is clear that God's people on earth involves two distinct categories. The one class including all and only those who are within the boundaries of God's salvation and acceptance, while the other class includes all and only those that are within the boundaries of the acceptance of some true Christian congregation. Obviously it is of more importance to be within God's circle which is the Kingdom of Christ, than it is to be within man's circle which is being part of a Christian congregation. Yet God's normal and best plan is that His children should live within some Christian congregation. Numerous New Testament doctrines or laws pertain to the Christian congregation or visible Church of God rather than to the individual Christian. bB-1:2.5

Many Scriptures reveal the Christian congregation or visible Church of God has a distinct door and distinct walls which distinctly separate those that are within the Christian congregation from those that are without. Following are numerous Scriptures which reveal or indicate this door and these walls; bB-1:3

(Acts 2:41) "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." bB-1:4

(Acts 2:47) "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." bB-1:5

(1 Cor 5:12-13) "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? {13} But them that are without God judgeth..." bB-1:6

(Rom 14:1) "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." bB-1:7

(Col 4:9) "With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here." bB-1:8

(1 Cor 16:19) "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." bB-1:9

(Gal 2:4) "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:" bB-1:10

(Gal 6:10) "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." bB-1:11

(2 Cor 6:14&17-18) "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Note how this verse advocates a separation should be maintained between those within the Christian congregation and non Christians. bB-1:12


Following are Scriptures that reveal that those Christians who become unfaithful are to be placed outside of those walls wherein dwells special Christian fellowship. bB-1:13

(Mat 18:17) "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." bB-1:14

(1 Cor 5:2) "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you." bB-1:15

(1 Cor 5:12) "But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." bB-1:16

(Titus 3:10) "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;" bB-1:17

(Rom 16:17) "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." bB-1:18

(2 Th 3:14) "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed." bB-1:19


Following are three more Scriptures which significantly pertain to Kingdom of Christ and visible Church of God, with some comments; bB-1:20

(John 10:7&9) "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. {9} I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Jesus clearly is the door into salvation and the Kingdom of Christ, (which Kingdom includes all and only those who are saved). Yet it appears after one has entered the Kingdom of Christ, then acceptance of other Christians (the people of God) and baptism is the door into the Christian congregation and visible Church of God. bB-1:21

(John 10:16) "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." It appears that Christ here in speaking of a particular fold was speaking of the visible aspect of the people of God, which is the visible Church of God, since Christ wanted to bring those who already were His sheep (children) into this particular fold. bB-1:22

(John 11:51-52) "...Jesus should die for that nation; {52} And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." This gathering in one of God's scattered children, nicely portrays the visible Church of God and the unity thereof. bB-1:23


In our time of 1999 many so called Christian congregations exist. The many so called Christian congregations of our day are very divided. Yet many Christian congregations do have other particular congregations which they are largely united with. Those Christian congregations which have numerous other particular congregations with which they are quite united, consider themselves to be one particular denomination or Church. Thus the many so called Christian congregations of our day make up the many different Churches or denominations as are now present in our world. It is clear that God wants His people to be one and clear that the many divisions among Christendom as seen today are carnal and unjustifiable. Yet even though God's people are to be one in Christ and united in vital issues, it is clear that concerning more insignificant issues, differences can be permitted within the Church of God, such as were permitted and experienced between the Jewish congregations and Gentile congregations of the early Christian Church. Such differences were extensively considered in another article entitled "The early Apostolic Church" and is coded as article bA. bB-1:24

Although the writer most often will use the word congregation when speaking of a single Christian congregation, and most often the word Church when speaking of the combined Christian congregations, yet the word Church can also pertain to each individual congregation. The New Testament (KJV) often uses the word Church in speaking of any single Christian congregation of the Christian Church. Webster dictionary allows the word Church to be used both to denote a denomination or a single congregation. The words Church and denomination as used in our day, are quite similar, as a group of similar congregations is often referred to as being either a particular Church or a particular denomination. bB-1:25



Chapter Two


Considers Different Views That Christians (not necessarily true Christians) Have Concerning how they Must Relate or Connect to the Apostles or the Apostolic Church.

Considers Lineage and Apostolic Succession.


Their are many issues that Christian congregations of our day should and must have in common with the Apostolic Church of the Apostle's time. It is clear that all true Christian congregations of the past and present are connected to each another by their common connection to Christ. But what other connections are needed between the Apostolic Church and the Christian congregations of today? Many Christians and Churches speak of God's true Church having a lineage or succession of some type which connects them to the Apostolic Church. Many writings use the term Apostolic Succession. This writing carefully considers this subject in an endeavor to learn and know the truth concerning it. bB-2:1

The Catholic Church advocates that the Christian Church needs to have one main or supreme earthly leader (which they call the Pope) and advocates this particular leadership position needed to be handed down successively from one leader to the next without interruption, which chain of leaders would thus always connect them with the Apostolic Church. The Catholic Church claims their Church throughout New Testament history has always had these necessary successive supreme leaders and claim Apostle Peter to be the first leader in this lineage. The Catholic Church likely would think any Church or congregation that cannot prove a literal or physical connection as such with the Apostolic Church, could not be a valid or true Church. bB-2:2

Note the information in this paragraph concerning the Anabaptists belief on lineage, is found in the Martyrs Mirror on pages 26 and 27. It is quite obvious that the Anabaptist Christians in general disagreed with the Catholic's belief of a succession of a particular leadership, such as a lineage of one particular leader or throne of authority. Some Anabaptists called the type of succession which the Catholic's advocated, a particular succession which type of succession they felt was unscriptural and rejected. Although the Anabaptists rejected the Catholics particular view of Apostolic Succession, yet some, many, or all Anabaptist Christians advocated a general succession, linking the true Church back to the Apostles, which they explained as being a general succession of true teachers of the Gospel, following and replacing each other throughout the New Testament era. The Anabaptists also advocated that one vital truth that these successive true teachers taught, pertained to proper baptism, likely meaning adult baptism rather than infant baptism. The Anabaptist writer of pages 26-27 in the Martyrs Mirror advocated that the true Church of God should be known both by having a general succession of true teachers and a succession of true doctrine. Although this writer advocated succession of true teachers as he did, yet it is difficult to know if he actually meant to advocate that all new teachers would have needed to be literally ordained by a prior or established true teacher thus linking back to the Apostles, or if he meant all new teachers had to be taught by previous teachers, or if he simply meant that God always provided new faithful teachers for His people in some way when such was needed. Now with regard to succession of doctrine this Martyrs Mirror writer in advocating succession of doctrine, to a large extent likely was advocating that true Christian congregations normally would or should have been instigated by a previous Christian congregation that held to true Apostolic doctrines. Tertullian a Christian writer of around year 200 A.D. wrote about both succession of teachers and succession of doctrine much like this writer. It is quite likely that this Martyrs Mirror writer in writing about lineage as he did largely was influenced by Tertullian's writings, as he even refers to Tertullian's writings about this subject. Tertullian's writing on this subject are given in the next chapter. Although this Martyrs Mirror writer did advocate both succession of teachers and succession of doctrine it should be noted that he did not particularly advocate succession of baptism. Succession of baptism would pertain to an unbroken baptismal chain connecting back to the Apostles baptisms. Another Christian writer of around year 1875 A.D. named John Holdeman, quite strongly advocated lineage of baptism, largely advocating that the need for two to baptize each other would never truly exist and advocated that if necessary God could send one who is rightly authorized to baptize, across the world to baptize another. bB-2:3

V Considering the above it appears that possibly many Christians believe that for a congregation to be a valid part of God's Church, it must be connected to an unbroken chain of particular human operations which began and connect back to the Apostles, and which operations were always performed by faithful and authorized Christians upon the new Christians. Some explain lineage or Apostolic Succession, such as God having given the Apostolic Church a torch or license that the true people of God will and must always possess, which torch or license must always be received in some physical or outward way from those who previously possessed it. It appears some feel this torch or license is passed on through water baptism and others feel it is passed on through officially receiving leadership positions from the established Church. Possibly many or most who advocate lineage of Apostolic Succession feel this torch or license is transmitted through the laying on of hands or through the prayer that often accompanies baptisms and ordinations. Some Christians have also explained lineage and Apostolic Succession to be like a special Holy fire which has continued from Pentecost to the present, and which although possibly going through low times, will not and cannot be rekindled without warm coals from the original fire. bB-2:4

M Although it is quite obvious that God's normal order is that established or ordained leaders should be instrumental in establishing or ordaining new leaders and that those who were previously baptized should baptize new Christians, yet does such mean that it is impossible for a new Christian congregation to arise or exist without this normal order being carried out? Likely all admit that God through His convicting Spirit and written Word can save individuals anywhere and in any place. Hebrew 7:25 speaks of Christ being able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by Him. If then in a nation or place where no or few Christians existed, a first and new Christian congregation would begin, (because of numerous ones having received Bibles and being convicted by His Spirit), would God then demand that this congregation of Christians then absolutely must participate in some physical or tangible connection with the ancient Apostolic Church to be qualified to be a fellow citizens in the visible Church or house of God? Would God refuse to accept this new congregation of saved Christians as fellow citizens in the house of God and part of His visible Church, for the very reason that they lacked receiving particular physical operations from particular Christians? These questions, and numerous Scriptures that pertain to these questions will be considered later. bB-2:5




Chapter Three


Considers the Groweth of the Early Christian Church and the Establishment of New Christian Congregations.

Considers the Christian Congregations Which Began Which Although Claiming Themselves to be Christian Congregations Yet Really Were Not, and Considers how the Church Soon Faced the Difficult Yet Necessary Obligation to Divide these False Congregations From True Christianity.


Christ just before ascending back to heaven commanded His disciples to go "into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15, note Matt 28:19-20 records much the same). The Apostles and the Christians affiliated with them after they were filled with the Spirit and power at Pentecost, in keeping this commandment of Christ in the early years of Christianity soon established many Christian congregations around the whole known world. In the beginning of the Christian Church very likely those who were interested in the Gospel came to the Apostles or those who were affiliated with them and were taught and baptized by them. God wondrously brought together Apostle Peter an essential member of the established Church and seeking God fearing Cornelius, to thereby instruct Cornelius concerning the Gospel and add him to the Christian Church (Acts 10). bB-3:1

Especially in the time when many faithful Christians existed and were available to do the work of the Lord, it appears unlikely to the writer that God would have ordained that some people upon reading or hearing about the wonders of Christ and His powerful doctrine then should baptize each other and began a Christian congregation largely without the involvement of the established Christian Church. Yet one must consider that even while Christ was yet on the earth, there was an individual, who even though being quite unaffiliated with Christ's disciples yet was doing miracles in Christ's name. Christ's disciples forbade him because they didn't feel this individual was properly authorized or connected to them, yet Jesus speaking to His disciples about this situation said, "...Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part." (Mark 9:39-40, Luke 9:49-50 reads much the same). Clearly Christians or Christian congregations should be careful before they reject other Christians or congregations because of not feeling sufficiently connected with them. Yet where the Spirit of Christ does not exist and where false doctrine exists such groups or congregations clearly cannot be accepted as Christians no matter what their name might be. bB-3:2

Jesus while on earth warned His disciples saying "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Mat 24:5, Mark 13:6 and Luke 21:8 read much the same). Apostle Paul spoke of Satan being transformed into an angel of light and therewith advocated that Christians should not think it strange if Satan's ministers or servants also would appear as angels of light (2 Cor 11:14-15). The Apostles spoke of false apostles and false brethren already existing in their day (2 Cor 11:13-15, 2 Cor 11:26, Gal 2:4). It is quite likely that these false teachers and prophets who existed in the early years of the Christian Church established groups or congregations of so called Christians which promoted their falsehood. Tertullian who lived only about 170 years after the beginning of the Christian Church indicates that in his day their already were many false Christian congregations who considered themselves to be Apostolic congregations, which congregations the true Christian congregations rejected. It appears the early Christian Church thus soon found itself in the situation where they could not accept every group or congregation which called themselves Christians as being one with them or as being a true Christian congregation. It is thus quite obvious that the difficulty of dividing the true and false Christian congregations was encountered early in Christianity. bB-3:3

V Tertullian speaking to some congregations of so called Christians in his day, endeavored to show them that both their doctrines were contradictory and false and that they neither had apostolic leaders in their background and that their particular Church never even was affiliated with the Apostolic Church. Although Tertullian who lived quite near to the time of the Apostles and Apostolic Church, in his particular situation likely had significant reason to speak of Apostolic Succession as he did, yet it is possible that Tertullian advocated his congregation's or Church's tangible or outward connection with the Apostles too much. It appears that Tertullian's emphasis concerning Apostolic succession as in his following writing, could well have helped instigate the emphasis on lineage and Apostolic Succession as is now done by the Roman Catholic Church and by numerous others. Tertullian writes; bB-3:4

M "But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] shall be able to show for his ordained and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men, - a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their Episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith." Volume 3 Page 467 bB-3:5

Tertullian clearly advocated to these congregations, both that they did not have Apostolic men in their background and that their doctrine also was false. Although Tertullian wrote as he did, it is yet possible that he did not really intend to advocate that in the far future no new Christian congregation could ever arise and be Spirit filled and accepted of God unless they had some outward and tangible lineage or connections with the Apostolic Church. One should consider that their is much difference in one emphasizing to a false church that their doctrine is not Apostolic and that their Church never was accepted by and connected with the true Apostolic Church, (such as Tertullian did), or in one advocating that God absolutely would not or dare not in any situation, by the power of His convicting Spirit and written Word raise up a valid and new Christian congregation unto Himself without them having some outward and tangible connections with the Apostolic Church. bB-3:6

The Martyrs Mirror writer, referred to in above paragraph 2:3, who advocated both succession of teachers and succession of doctrine wrote about 1400 years after Tertullian wrote. It is quite clear that he in writing about Apostolic Succession as he did was influenced by Tertullian's writings, as he referred to Tertullian's writing and advocated both succession of teachers and succession of doctrine which aspects Tertullian also advocated. bB-3:7

V Irenaeus another early Church writer who lived about 20 years before Tertullian appears to have encountered much the same situation that Tertullian did and much like Tertullian also advocated Apostolic Succession. Irenaeus emphasized to some false Christians that the true group of Christians he was a part of had roots which reached back to the true Apostolic Church and emphasized that the Apostolic Church never taught doctrines such as their false church did. Irenaeus also emphasized that the Christian Church at Rome was a very fundamental, influential, and authoritative congregation of the Christian Church. Irenaeus writes; bB-3:8

M "...and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about." "...that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; ...the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere". Irenaeus then goes on and names twelve main Church leaders (Bishops) that successively followed Apostle Peter in keeping and preserving Apostolic doctrine until Irenaeus' day. Irenaeus also reproved the false churches which he was rebuking writing "Heresies are of recent formation, and cannot trace their origin up to the Apostles". Volume 1 Pages 825-828 bB-3:9

V Irenaeus like Tertullian clearly endeavored to reveal to some false Christians that their doctrine was false and that their false church never was connected to the Apostolic Church such as the true Apostolic Church was. Although both Tertullian and Irenaeus living near to the time of the Apostles likely had some reason to advocate their connection to the Apostles and advocate to the false churches that they never were even connected with the Apostolic Church, yet it is quite possible that they both too strongly advocated the physical or tangible connection that their group or congregation had with the Apostles. It is quite obvious that the Roman Catholic Church significantly founded their erroneous emphasis of having Apostolic Succession of a particular supreme leader on Irenaeus' writings. The Roman Catholic Church, with regards to it's Succession of Popes which it claims served from Rome, actually records as it's first 12 Popes the same individuals that Irenaeus gave as successive Bishops connecting His people with the Apostolic Church! Also note how Irenaeus advocated that the Church at Rome should be the main or predominate Christian congregation to which all should be subject, while the Roman Catholic Church largely also claims Rome as the center of authority for the Roman Catholic Church. bB-3:10

Cyprian was another early Church father who lived a short time after Tertullian and who was martyred in 258 A.D. According to history Cyprian was a student of Tertullian. Cyprian also to some extent writes about lineage writing as follows; bB-3:11

"Wherefore, since the Church alone has the living water, and the power of baptizing and cleansing man, he who says that any one can be baptized and sanctified by Novatian must first show and teach that Novatian is in the Church or presides over the Church. For the Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way." Volume 5 Pages 820-821 bB-3:12

There is much difference in advocating, that when the Church is faithful and motivated by the Spirit of God, that God will not bless others who oppose her, or in advocating that God will never in any situation call one directly and without the authority of the past and established Church. Although Cyprian was an early Church father it yet is possible that he gave too little room for God to call individuals directly or on a personal level. What was Cyprian here advocating? bB-3:13

V Although their are times to advocate the authority of the Church yet one must remember that God holds all authority and will only give authority to that which pleases Him and works together with Him. The authority of the Church is extensively considered in chapter nine below. Although Cyprian wrote as above one must consider that Apostle Paul in the following Scriptures speaking of his calling into the ministry, to some extent advocates that his authority and call to minister came directly from God rather than through the Church or man; Paul speaking of his calling into the ministry or Apostleship writes; bB-3:14

(Gal 1:1) "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)" bB-3:15

(Gal 1:11-12) "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. {12} For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." bB-3:16

V In considering the subject of how God might call individuals to work for Him, one should consider that in the Old Testament era, God often directly called individuals to do a work for Him among His people and without them being particularly called of His people. In the Old Testament times, sometimes those who God personally and directly called were accepted of the Jewish people and other times those whom God had directly called were rejected and persecuted by the Jewish people. Now with regards to New Testament times Paul speaking of future times warned Timothy saying "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; {4} And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim 4:3-4). In the situation where Christian congregations have become lukewarm and carnal and have begun ordaining compliant lukewarm and carnal leaders, would God then be confined to use as His messengers only those ordained by the lukewarm Church, and if so how would God provide fervent and sin reproving messengers or ministers for His Church? Although Cyprian's above statement that "he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" often times could be true, yet in the situation where Christians have turned their ears from the truth to fables and with itching ears have started heaping to themselves teachers, would not God then be able to call individuals directly to be messengers for Him, and would not those individuals who God has called directly, have a vital place in God's church although possibly rejected by many? This question or aspect and numerous Scriptures that pertain to it will be considered later. bB-3:17


The Apostles and elders largely resided at Jerusalem for many years (likely at least 25 years) after the beginning of the early Christian began (Acts 8:1, Acts 15:2, Acts 21:17-18). Thus Apostle Paul could well have spoken of the Church at Jerusalem as the great Church at Jerusalem to which all should be subject. Yet Apostle Paul together with advocating how his call into the ministry was directly from Christ rather than from man, rather than greatly honoring and advocating the Church authority at Jerusalem wrote as in the following Scripture; bB-3:18

(Gal 1:17-20) "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. {18} Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. {19} But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. {20} Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." (note Paul here is speaking of his doings right after his conversion) bB-3:19

(Gal 2:1&6) "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. {6} But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: ". bB-3:20

When Apostle Peter came from Jerusalem to Antioch, where Apostle Paul resided, Paul seen it necessary to reprove Peter to the face for he was to be blamed (Gal 2:11). bB-3:21


M John Holdeman a significant leader of Anabaptist doctrine, advocated lineage of baptism, yet he largely did not advocate lineage of teachers or leadership. John Holdeman believed God could call one directly without the instrumentality of the Church. Holdeman advocated how that Apostle Paul was called to be an Apostle directly by Christ and not by man or the Church (Gal 1:1&12). Likely one reason John Holdeman believed and advocated that God could call leaders for His people without the instrumentality of the Church was because he believed that God had called him on a personal level without the call of the established Church. bB-3:22

V Although John Holdeman did not advocate lineage or succession of teachers as such, yet the Martyrs Mirror writer referred to above in paragraph 2:3 did advocate a succession of teachers of some sort, and although John Holdeman did emphasize succession of baptism, the Martyrs Mirror writer referred to above in paragraph 2:3, did not particularly advocate succession of baptism. Thus which writer, if either was right on these matters? It is very possible the Martyrs Mirror writer did not advocate lineage of baptism, because of what the Anabaptists had experienced with baptizing shortly before this writers (Martyrs Mirror writer) time. Not too many years before this writer's time, Conrad Grebel and George Blaurock and about 12 others who were gathered with them, in endeavoring to turn from false Christianity to true Christianity, rejected their past infant baptism and performed adult baptism upon themselves, inwhich experience history says that Conrad Grebel first baptized George Blaurock (upon Blaurock's request), after which George Blaurock now being baptized then baptized Conrad Grebel who had baptized him, and baptized the rest of the group. In this gathering wherein none was previously rightly baptized, it is clear one who never was rightly baptized would have baptized another, and clear that the one who first baptized another than would have been baptized by the same baptismal lineage which he started (unless he would have baptized himself). Both George Blaurock and Conrad Grebel after this baptizing experience quite soon died as martyrs, because they had rejected the popular yet false Christian practices of their day and had promoted the baptizing of adults. History says that these men had not planned to baptize at that meeting as they did, but states that they felt a special unction from God to start baptizing within their own group as they then did. The early Anabaptists accepted these who had baptized each other as such, as brethren and the Martyrs Mirror speaks of them as heroes of the truth who greatly helped promote the Anabaptist cause and the Christian Church (pages 415&430-431). It also is quite questionable whether Menno Simons' ordination and baptism could be considered to be within a unbroken succession of baptisms or ordinations handed down from the Apostles by true Christians. Menno Simons was a very vital founder and leader of the Anabaptists. Menno's ordination and baptism is considered in chapter ten. bB-3:23

In considering the subject of lineage or Apostolic Succession, and considering the above beliefs and situations of different ones, it is obvious their is confusion on the subject and obvious that one should look to the Bible and the spirit of the law to know what the real truth is with regards to how Christian congregations must relate or connect to the Apostolic Church. bB-3:24

Although it is quite obvious that God's normal order is that the established or ordained leaders should be instrumental in establishing or ordaining new leaders and that those who were previously baptized should baptize new Christians, yet does such mean that it is impossible for a Christian congregation to arise or exist without this normal order being carried out? Likely all admit that God through His convicting Spirit and written Word can save individuals anywhere and in any place. Hebrew 7:25 speaks of Christ being able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by Him. If then in a nation or place where no or few Christians existed, a first and new Christian congregation would begin, (because of numerous ones having received Bibles and being convicted by His Spirit), would God then demand that this congregation of Christians then absolutely must participate in some tangible and outward connection with the ancient Apostolic Church to be qualified to be a fellow citizens in the visible Church or house of God? Would God refuse to accept this new congregation of saved Christians as fellow citizens in the house of God and part of His Church, for the very reason that they lacked receiving particular physical operations from particular Christians? These questions, and numerous Scriptures that pertain to these questions will be considered later. bB-3:25




Chapter Four


Considers the Vital and Particular Position Which the Descendants of Abraham (Jewish Nation) had in God's Plan, Especially with Regard to the Old Testament Era.

Considers How God Dealt With This Particularly Chosen People or Nation in the Old Testament Era.


Following are numerous Scriptures that reveal that God had ordained the descendants of Abraham or Jews to a special position or blessing, above other peoples and nations of the earth; bB-4:1

(Gen 22:17-18) "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; {18} And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." Note God here was speaking to Abraham. bB-4:2

(Gen 26:4) "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;" Note God here was speaking to Isaac. bB-4:3

(Gen 28:14) "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Note God here was speaking to Jacob. bB-4:4

(Exo 19:5-6) Herein God spoke to the Jews through Moses saying, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: {6} And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." bB-4:5

(Exo 4:22) "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:" bB-4:6

(Deu 15:5-6) "Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day. {6} For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee." bB-4:7

(Deu 28:1) "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:" bB-4:8

(Deu 7:6) "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." bB-4:9

(Deu 14:2) "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." bB-4:10

(Deu 32:9) "For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." bB-4:11

(1 Ki 8:53) "For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD." bB-4:12

(Psa 135:4) "For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure." bB-4:13

(Isa 41:8-9) "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. {9} Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away." bB-4:14

(Amos 3:1-2) "Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, {2} You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." bB-4:15

(Rom 9:3-5) "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: {4} Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; {5} Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." bB-4:16

(Rom 2:9-10) "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; {10} But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:" bB-4:17


The above Scriptures clearly reveal that the descendants of Abraham (Jewish Nation) had a most vital position or place in God's plan, and reveal that as the Israelites were faithful to God they would be a nation above other nations. Although the Jewish nation was a ordained to be a very special nation, yet after the reign of King Solomon, because of the Jewish nation having been unfaithful, God seen fit to allow this special people or nation to be divided into two nations, the one faction then becoming the northern Jewish Kingdom generally known as Israel (and lessor times as Ephraim), and the other faction becoming the southern Jewish Kingdom generally known as Judah. bB-4:18

Although it appears that God in so far was especially interested in both nations of the Jews, yet Israel the northern Kingdom during the reign of King Ahab was so wicked, that God reproved King Johosaphat, King of the southern Kingdom (Judah) for helping and being affiliated with the wicked northern Kingdom (Israel) (2 Chr 19:2). Thus the obvious principle or doctrine that God's people are not to have fellowship with the unrighteous or be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, at this particular time was to be upheld or exercised even between the two Jewish nations. Although at this particular time the northern Kingdom of Israel being ruled by Ahab was very wicked and was largely rejected of God, God was yet interested in this people and Kingdom and told Elijah to anoint Jehu to be King of this people who was a better King (1 King 19:16). bB-4:19

Although the southern Kingdom (Judah) generally was more righteous then the northern Kingdom (Israel), yet at times it appears the northern Kingdom (Israel) was more righteous than the southern Kingdom (Judah). The southern Jewish Kingdom (which generally was more righteous) under King Ahaz became very wicked and God then used King Pekah of the northern Jewish Kingdom to punish them (2 Chr 28:5-9). These two Jewish Kingdoms often fought against each other, and God often would help the most righteous nation overcome the more wicked nation. Although both of theses nations often fell into error and idolatry and although the northern Kingdom was generally in greatest error, God yet sent prophets to reprove and help both of these Kingdoms. Thus it appears God had a particular interest in both of these Jewish Kingdoms. Yet did God fully count both of these Jewish Kingdoms as being His chosen people? bB-4:20

Although the Jewish nation was divided as such yet such does not necessarily mean God's new era people can be divided as such. Ezekiel chapter 37 speaking of the two Kingdoms or nations of the divided Jewish people speaks of them being like two sticks and speaks of God making one stick out of these two sticks. Ezek 37:16-17&22 concerning this reads, "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah... then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim...[Note the northern Kingdom of Israel is also known as Ephraim. The books of Isaiah and Hosea often reveal such)] {17} And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. {22} And I will make them one nation ...and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:" Jesus also in His most famous intercessory pray of John 17 earnestly prayed that His people would be one as Him and the Father were one (John 17:11&21-23). bB-4:21

When these two Jewish nations became unrighteous God even used heathen nations to punish them. Many times non Jewish nations punished these two Jewish nations for their sins. God because of Israel's wickedness (the northern Kingdom) gave them over to the King of Assyria to be taken into captivity, and later because of Juda's wickedness (the southern Kingdom) God gave them over to seventy years of captivity and destruction by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon (2 King 17, 2 Chr 36:11-20). Considering all the above it clear that God's special and chosen people of the old era because of unfaithfulness often went through difficult times when they as a people did not appear to be very special. bB-4:22




Chapter Five


Considers How God in the Old Testament Era was Interested In and Cared For Numerous Other Nations of The World Which Were Not His Special and Particularly Chosen Nations of Juda and Israel.


When the Israelites left Egypt and took the land of Canaan they were not commanded to destroy all other nations but were only commanded to destroy particular wicked nations. Concerning those nations which they were not to utterly destroy, God told Moses they in coming against or to these nations should proclaim peace to them and if they were peaceful with them, these nations should become tributaries to the Jews (Deu 20:10-11). Yet God said that if such nations would not be peaceful to them, they should overthrow them and largely destroy them (Deu 20:12-18). bB-5:1

Although Israel had many wars with enemies close around them, yet the Jewish nation also had good relations with numerous other good nations around them, and worked in cooperation with such good nations. King David sent comforters to comfort Hanun King of the Ammonites after that his father had died, since Hanun's father had showed David kindness while he lived, yet Hanun did not receive them graciously (2 Sam 10:1-4). Hiram King of Tyre greatly appreciated King David and sent materials and laborers to build King David a house (2 Sam 5:11, 1 Kings 5:1). Although King David was a man of war, yet during Solomon's reign there largely was peace on every side as David had largely removed their enemies. After King David's death and in Solomon's reign Hiram King of Tyre helped Solomon build the new Temple. The Scriptures say that in Solomon's time Kings from all over the world came to hear his wisdom such as the Queen of Sheba did (1 King 10:24, 2 Chr 9:23). Individuals from good non Jewish nations even were permitted to come and worship at the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:41-42, 2 Chr 6:32). Thus it is clear that although Israel was called to be a particular people they yet had friendly relations with other nations, and that other nations even could worship the Jew's God in their Temple. bB-5:2


Many Scriptures reveal that God not only gave His people Israel the land of Canaan, but reveal that God also gave other nations their particular lands. Moses spoke of the time when God divided the lands to the different nations saying "Remember the days of old.... When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel." (Deu 32:7-8). bB-5:3

The nation or people of Edom were descendants of Esau the twin brother of Jacob. God clearly was interested in these people. God told Moses that the Israelites should not try to take the Edomite's land or meddle with them for God had given the Edomites mount Seir for a possession. Deu 2:5 concerning such reads "Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession." bB-5:4

The Ammonites and Moabites were descendants of Lot (Abraham's nephew). God also was clearly interested in these nations or people. God clearly told Moses that the Israelites could not take the land occupied by Lot's descendant's because God have given them their particular land. Deu 2:9&19 concerning such read, "And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession." "And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession." bB-5:5

It appears many nations had good beginnings or good periods in their history and God was interested in them and protective of them. Yet most times or always it appears these nations became wicked for which cause they lost favour with God, and God then sees fit to have them destroyed. God even seen fit to have the Jewish Nation largely destroyed because of their wickedness. It does not appear that God ever seen fit to destroy a righteous nation even if they were not God's chosen people of Israel. Although God promised Abraham's descendants the land of Canaan, God yet did not allow the Israelites to take over Canaan and possess their land until the inhabitants thereof had become wicked. Genesis 15:15 concerning such reads, "But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." bB-5:6


It appears the Midianites and Moabites were quite united in the time of Moses (Nu 22-25). It is quite possible that these people also had a much better or more righteous beginning than they maintained later and before they were destroyed. Moses married the daughter of Jethro who was the Priest of Midian (Ex 3:1, 18:1). One should notice that the Midianites thus had Priests which Priests likely performed a good work. Jethro the Priest of Midian who was Moses' father in law, later came and visited Moses and gave him advice on how to organize government in Israel (Ex 18:14-26). After Moses told his father in law, the Midianite Priest, what great things God had done to the Egyptians this Priest said, "Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them." (Exo 18:11). It is quite clear that Jethro the non Jewish Priest offered up sacrifices after which Aaron and the elders of Israel together with Jethro ate before God. Ex 18:12 concerning such reads, "And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God." It appears that this Jethro was quite accepted of God and the Jews. Note it is possible that the Midianites were quite spread abroad and possible that the Midianites with which Moses father in law was involved were quite far from and disconnected with the Midianites with which Balaam was involved. The Midianite and Moabite leaders later but yet while Moses was still alive, through Balaam endeavored to curse the Israelites. It is quite likely that the Midianites like the Jews offered up animal sacrifices in their religious life. Many sacrifices were offered up as Balak and Balaam vainly tried to find God's permission to curse the Israelites, which sacrificing strongly indicates that these Moabites and Midianites were well accustomed to making sacrifices (Num 23:1-3&14&29-30). Although Balak the King of Moab asked Balaam their prophet to curse Israel, Balaam yet told Balak King of Moab that only what God put in his mouth would he speak (Nu 22:28). God refused to give Balaam permission to curse Israel and Balaam rather was required to bless Israel. It is true that Balaam erroneously coveted riches and honor from Balak and that he after blessing Israel later unwisely gave council to Balak on how to defile and weaken Israel (Num 31:16, Rev 2:14), for which cause Baalam clearly does have a bad Biblical reputation and met a undesirable death (Num 31:8, 2 Pet 2:15-16). Yet it must be considered that Balaam possibly was quite righteous and quite blest earlier in his life. Balaam did have the reputation that whosoever he cursed was cursed and whosoever he blessed was blessed (Nu 22:6). Yet there is some possibility that Baalam never was upright and never was rightly used of God, but only practiced sorcery or a power that was not of God. Yet it is true that Midian did have Priests and quite obvious they were accustomed to offering up sacrifices, and true that Moses married the Priest of Midian's daughter. bB-5:7

Concerning the Chaldean or Babylonian nation the Scriptures speak of God giving Nebuchadnezzar authority over all the earth. Jeremiah 27:6 reads, "And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.". Jeremiah 28:14 reads much the same. Note how God in this verse calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant. In Jeremiah 25:9, and Jer 43:10 God also speaking of Nebuchadnezzar, calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant. Famous prophet Daniel became one of Nebuchadnezzar's chief counselors. Daniel chapter four speaking of Nebuchadnezzar, tells how God humbled Nebuchadnezzar and made him to realize that the most high rules over the kingdoms of men. After God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar then blessed God saying, "I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan 4:34-35). Clearly God was interested in and dealt with the nation or people of Babylon even though they were not of the lineage of Abraham. bB-5:8

Concerning the nation of Egypt, God greatly blessed Egypt and revealed to Pharaoh King of Egypt that a seven year famine was soon to come. Pharaoh then called for Joseph and was blessed by Joseph's wisdom. Joseph being separated from his family and dwelling in Egypt married the daughter of the Priest of On. As Joseph married the Priest's daughter it would appear that this Priesthood was a Priesthood blessed of God rather than a Priesthood which God rejected. One should remember that Moses also married a Priest's daughter in the land of Midian. Following is a quite unusual Scripture given many years after the time of Joseph which concerns Egypt, Assyria, and Israel; bB-5:9

(Isa 19:24-25) "In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: {25} Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance." bB-5:10

Note how the above Scripture speaks of Egypt being God's people and Assyria being the work of God's hands. To know exactly what this Scripture means in speaking of Egypt being the people of God is likely impossible. It is quite possible that God used Egypt at different times and in different ways. It is possible that God used Necho King of Egypt to do His service in the days of Josiah King of Judah, although Jewish King Josiah did not understand such. When Necho made war against Charchemish, Josiah King of Juda for some reason was opposed to such and went out (it appears unwisely) against Necho the King of Egypt. Then Necho told Josiah that he was not making war with him or the Jews but against Charchemish, because God had told him to make war against Charchemish. Necho in speaking to Josiah about this said "What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not." Yet Josiah did not believe or understand Necho, thus he (it appears unwisely) warred against Necho anyway and things did not go well for Josiah as in the following Scripture. "Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded."(2 Chr 35:22-23). Josiah who had been a very good King then died from the wounds. Note how this Scripture speaks of Necho King of Egypt speaking words from the mouth of the Lord. bB-5:11

M In considering how God dealt with non Jewish nations it should be considered that God even sent famous Prophet Elijah to anoint Hazael to be King over Syria (2 Kings 19:15), which foreign King was used of God to punish the Jews for their wickedness and often fought against the Jews (especially the northern Kingdom). In considering the status of both Syria and the Israel it also should be considered that Jesus while on earth told some proud or haughty Jews that many lepers were in Israel in the days of Elijah the prophet, but none of them was cleansed, while only Naaman the Syrian was cleansed. This statement of Christ's infuriated the Jews insomuch that they wanted to kill Him (Luke 4:27-29). bB-5:12

Considering the above Scriptures and situations it becomes clear that even in the Old Testament era God was interested in and cared for nations other than the Jewish nation or nations and clear that God in the old era blest and to some extent accepted all individuals or nations who endeavored to do that which was right. Apostle Peter in the beginning of the New Testament era seeing the hand of God accept non Jewish Cornelius said, "...Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: {35} But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34-35). Considering all the above it is quite clear that even in the Old Testament era God accepted any person or people that feared Him and wrought righteousness. bB-5:13

V Considering all the above it appears that although their was a certain blessing in being in the lineage and succession of Abraham, that God yet to a significant extent accepted and cared for any nations or people who feared Him, even if they were not of this lineage or succession. Considering how God dealt with the different nations in old times it becomes clear that God in our day also is interested in all peoples of the world and clear that He is interested in and cares for any Christian group who truly calls on His name even if they lack lineage or Apostolic Succession. Jesus did not without reason say "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mat 18:20)! bB-5:14

V Considering how God was no respecter of nations as such during the old era, Christians today as they encounter unfamiliar Christian professing groups from near or from afar, should be quite careful lest they reject or discredit Christian congregations that God truly is utilizing and has accepted as His people. Yet it is clear that some Christian professing congregations are false, and clear that such false Christian congregations must be separated from true Christianity as false Christianity like a leaven will tend to destroy true Christianity. Yet Christians in looking at other Christians need to heed Christ's instructions and take out the beam (log) out of their own eye, so that they can see clearly to take out the moat (splinter) out of the other Christian's eyes (Matt 7:3-5)! bB-5:15

The non Christian Jews listened quite intently to Paul tell his conversion experience and some other related issues (Acts 22). Yet when Paul told the Jews that God had told him to depart from the unbelieving Jews at Jerusalem and go preach to the Gentiles, his listeners started to throw dust in air and cry out that it was not fit for Paul to live (Acts 22:21-23). It appears some Jews found it very difficult to accept the thought that God had accepted another people besides them. May Christians today be careful lest they in the same attitude reject other Christians or Christian congregations. bB-5:16

Jesus speaking to some particular Jews told them that God because of their unfaithfulness would reject many of them, and told them that God would accept many from other nations saying, "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. {12} But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mat 8:11-12). bB-5:17

When one considers how God was interested in and dealt graciously with individuals and nations of this world outside of the Jewish nation, and considering the difficulty the seed of Abraham or Jewish Nation often went through, it to some extent makes being in the lineage of Abraham seem of some less importance although it yet was important. bB-5:18




Chapter Six


Considers the Special Place that Lineage and Succession had in the Old Testament Era.

Considers the Particular Lineage and Succession that was Promised to King David, and to Aaron the Priest.


Following are several Scriptures pertaining to a particular lineage or succession promised to the family of King David; bB-6:1

(2 Sam 7:13-16) "He [David's son] shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. {14} I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: {15} But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. {16} And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." bB-6:2

(1 Chr 17:12-14) "He [David's son] shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. {13} I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: {14} But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore." bB-6:3

(Psa 89:28-37) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him [David]. {29} His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. {30} If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; {31} If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; {32} Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. {33} Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. {34} My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. {35} Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. {36} His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. {37} It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah." bB-6:4

M God had previously took the throne away from the family line or house of Saul and gave it to the family of David. God in the above Scriptures was telling David that He would never remove the Kingdom from David's family line, like he took it from Saul, and appears was telling David that the throne of a everlasting Kingdom would succeed in the family lineage of David. Considering the above promises, David and all his offspring (sons) that later inherited or received the throne could easily have believed that God had promised them that their Kingdom would always exist and therefore thought they should never or would need never surrender their special Kingdom to a Gentile nation. Although David had promises as above, Prophet Jeremiah told King Zedekiah the offspring of David to surrender the Kingdom of David to Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. It would appear that King Zedekiah, being within David's special lineage, would have had significant reason to tell Prophet Jeremiah who was telling him to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, that his advice was wrong since God had clearly promised David and his sons an eternal Kingdom. Yet even though Zedekiah had roots in a particular lineage or succession which it likely seemed to him that he could trust, he because of not taking Jeremiah's advice and thus not yielding his throne to Nebuchadnezzar, was put to death and Jerusalem was destroyed. Christians who believe there are promises of lineage and Apostolic Succession which guarantee their Church a particular security should consider these Old Testament issues with regards to lineage bB-6:5

It would appear that the Jews after Jerusalem was destroyed and they were taken into captivity could have been quite discouraged and quite perplexed about God's promises to family of David and Aaron concerning and everlasting Kingdom and Priesthood. Jeremiah 33:23-26 reveals that the Jews were perplexed about these things as could be expected with verse 24 reading "Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them." In the following Scripture God through Jeremiah was again clearly promising the Jews that even though they went into captivity that at their return, David's lineage and Kingdom as God really meant would continue; bB-6:6

(Jer 33:17&20-21) "For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; {20} Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; {21} Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers." Note this promise was made among many other promises which pertained to the time when the Jews would return from their Babylonian captivity. bB-6:7

Yet when Israel returned from their captivity in Babylon it does not appear Kings of the seed of David reigned as before the captivity. Yet in God's sight, who sees a thousand years as one day, Christ within one half day (500 years) took on the seed of David and became the eternal King which in finality fulfilled the promise of lineage as was promised to David. Yet we must consider that the Jews likely did not understand this lineage properly, and therewith must consider that we in our day had better be careful lest we misunderstand God's promises and trust in a particular promise of succession and continuation that God never has promised or guaranteed. bB-6:8


Following are several Scriptures concerning a particular lineage or succession promised to the family of Aaron; bB-6:9

(Exo 27:21) "In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel." bB-6:10

(Exo 40:15) "And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." bB-6:11

(Exo 29:9) "And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." bB-6:12

(1 Chr 23:13) "The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever." bB-6:13


In the Old Testament it was a very necessary to be in the lineage of Aaron to be a Priest. Numerous Scriptures state that if any one who was not in the lineage of Aaron would try to participate in the Priest's office he would be put to death. Following are several such Scriptures; bB-6:14

(Num 3:10) "And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." bB-6:15

(Num 16:40) "To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company...". Note Korah and His company were dreadfully killed by God as they endeavored to take upon themselves the Priests office. (Num 16:9-10&31-35). bB-6:16

(Num 18:7) "Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." Note Numbers 3:38 read much the same. bB-6:17


Following is a further promise God made to Aaron's grandson Phinehas who was in this lineage of the Priesthood; bB-6:18

(Num 25:10-13) "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {11} Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. {12} Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: {13} And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel." bB-6:19


The above Scriptures contain a very strong requirement and promise of lineage or succession with regard to the Priesthood succeeding or continuing in the family of Aaron. Yet because of unfaithfulness in the family of Aaron God seen fit to disturb Aaron's Priesthood lineage as is shown in the following Scripture.

bB-6:20

(1 Sam 2:27-30) "And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? {28} And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? {29} Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? {30} Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." bB-6:21

Because of the unfaithfulness of the descendants of Aaron, God then for many years gave the Jewish Priesthood over to Samuel who does not appear to have been of the family or Aaron. May those who strongly advocate lineage or Apostolic Succession, be careful lest they erroneously limit or hold God to things which God really is not held to. One must be careful lest he confines God to a people or group which he never confined Himself to, or confines God to doing things which He never confined Himself to doing. Although God keeps His promises He will keep them according how He meant them and not according to how man might interpret them. bB-6:22


Even though God had exceptions to the rules of lineage and succession in the Old Testament era, yet it is clear that lineage was a vital issue in that era. The son's of Levi like the sons of Aaron had an important office that no other family lines were to participate in. Long genealogical lists were kept showing and proving the lineage and succession of the Priests and Levites and showing the family line of David through which Christ was born. In Ezra's time some Priest's who could not prove their lineage or succession were rejected from the Priesthood. Following are several Scriptures which show the importance of lineage in the old era; bB-6:23

(Ezra 2:62) "These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood." bB-6:24

(Ezra 8:15&17-18) "And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi. {17} And I sent them ...that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. {18} And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;" bB-6:25

(2 Chr 31:17-19) "Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses; {18} And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness: {19} ...and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites." bB-6:26

V If in the New Testament era Christian congregations to be valid and genuine, absolutely need to be participates in a lineage of particular outward human operations, handed down from and connecting them to the Apostles, human operations such as officially receiving the ministerial office or baptism from a previous authorized staff or clergy, or in some human or outward way such as by laying on of hands having received a Spiritual torch or Spiritual license from the previous authorized staff or clergy, should not all Christian congregations have very clear records that show and prove they possess this necessary physical authorization and connection? If a tangible, human, and outward lineage as such is absolutely a necessity, should not true Christian congregations have clear records to prove they possess this important succession to the Apostles, to all people who are seeking for the true Church of God, clear records such as had the Priests and Levites in the Old Testament era, and as the Roman Catholic Church claims to have? bB-6:27


Although physical genealogies where important in Old Testament era, yet no New Testament Scriptures advocate the keeping of either physical or Spiritual genealogies. It rather appears with regard to genealogies in general as in the New Testament era, that Apostle Paul speaks quite negatively about such issues. Paul writes as follows; bB-6:28

(1 Tim 1:4) "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." bB-6:29

(Titus 3:9) "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." bB-6:30





Chapter Seven

Considers the Stability and Security of God's Chosen People Or Nation, Especially Pertaining to the Old Testament Era.


Following are several Scriptures especially pertaining to the Old Testament era.

(Psa 125:1) "A Song of degrees. They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." bB-7:1

(Isa 33:20) "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." bB-7:2

(Psa 46:4-5) "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. {5} God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early." bB-7:3

(Jer 31:35-37) "Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: {36} If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. {37} Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD." bB-7:4

The numerous Scriptures which were given in above paragraphs 6:2-4&7 which speak of King David and his descendants having an everlasting Kingdom, also indicate that Jerusalem or the Jewish Kingdom was very secure and largely infallible. Such Scriptures although very vital, will not be given here since they were given shortly above. bB-7:5

Note how the above Scriptures very significantly guarantee a secure Kingdom. Considering all the Scriptures that largely speak of Jerusalem being unmoveable and the throne of David having a never ending lineage, the Jews clearly would have had significant reason to believe that their literal Jerusalem and their literal Kingdom (government) would always be preserved and never be destroyed. Yet it is clear that the Jewish nation often was unfaithful to God, and true that their literal Jerusalem and their literal Kingdom (government) was destroyed and for many years. The Jews as well as us had better consider all aspects before we conclude that we or our particular Church because of God having promised us some type of lineage or succession is somewhat preordained or predestinated to be faithful. bB-7:6

It is clear that God did not promise David a never ending lineage, and Jerusalem a unmovable position as in the above Scriptures, simply because God had predestinated David, Jerusalem and the Jews to be faithful and blest. It rather is quite possible that the reason God promised David and Jerusalem never ending blessings as He did was because God in His divine foreknowledge foreknew how Christ in due time would be born of the seed of David and in due time would reign eternally over a new and heavenly Jerusalem. Note the writer has quite extensively written on predestination and free choice in another article coded article aY. bB-7:7


M Although the family of David and literal Jerusalem was not wholly predestinated to be faithful and blest, it yet is true that God placed a special blessing and love upon Jerusalem and the Jews. When they as a nation went astray God often through chastisement and the prophets called them back to himself. Following are several Scriptures that reveal God's special care upon His chosen people of the old era; bB-7:8

(Psa 103:17) "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;" bB-7:9

(Jer 2:9) "Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead." bB-7:10

(Mat 10:5-6) "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: {6} But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Note how Christ's emphasis here was to preach the Gospel firstly to the Jews and give them a special invitation to salvation! bB-7:11

(Mat 15:24-26) "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. {25} Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. {26} But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs." It is quite clear that Christ's first emphasis was to save the Jewish people, yet Christ even then did help this non Jewish women as she was of such a humble and earnest heart. bB-7:12

(Mat 12:20) "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." bB-7:13

Considering the above Scriptures it is clear that even though the Jewish nation was not wholly guaranteed or predestinated to success (infallible), that they yet had a particular protection and blessing upon them. bB-7:14


V The above Scriptures, and especially those Scriptural promises as in paragraphs 7:1-4 clearly promised the Jews great things. Note such Scriptural promises spoke of Zion being unmovable and abiding forever, spoke of Jerusalem never being taken down and none of her cords being broken, and spoke of the nation of Israel being as unmovable as the sun, moon, and the stars. Considering these great promises and considering how the Jewish people yet obviously departed from the truth and even persecuted the prophets, should one think that God's new era Church because of particular promises is wholly guaranteed to be faithful insomuch that a significant Christian Church will always be faithful, to which true Church Christians can always look with total trust and confidence for direction and security. Should Christians also conclude that if most of this Church would go astray that yet a significant group will always immediately spring therefrom to which group Christians then can continue to look to for direction and security, and which group then would and must tangibly and outwardly pass onward the Apostolic lineage (the Spiritual torch or license) which supposedly must always connect the true Church to the Apostolic Church? The next chapters further considers this question and numerous Scriptures that pertain to this question. bB-7:15




Chapter Eight

Considers the Stability and Security of God's New Testament Church and People.


Concerning God's New Testament Church or people, God also has given them a special promise or blessing, such as He also gave to the Jewish nation. Following are several Scriptures that contain promises of security for God's New Testament people with numerous comments;

(Mat 24:24) "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Note how this verse says "if it were possible", indicating that it is not possible to deceive the very elect. bB-8:1

(Mat 24:34-35) "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. {35} Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." It is very possible that this verse in speaking of a particular generation, might use the word generation to denote the people of God, who would continue and not pass away till Christ returns. bB-8:2

(Mat 28:20) "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Note it appears this Scripture and the above two Scriptures could either be promises to individual Christians scattered around the world or to the Christian Church as an outward or visible organization. bB-8:3

(1 Pet 4:17) "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" Note as numerous above Scriptures revealed that God's emphasis was first to correct and help His people so here again God's emphasis is to correct and help those who were previously His people. It is quite clear that just like God in the old era gave His people a special opportunity to repent and amend their ways before He rejected them so God also in the New Testament also will gives His people or children a special opportunity to repent and amend their ways before He rejects them.

bB-8:4

(John 20:22-23) "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: {23} Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." In considering this verse one must consider that the key to their power to remit or retain sins was based on them having received the Holy Ghost and thus truly working together with God. bB-8:5

(1 Tim 3:15) "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." This is what God intends His people to be upon the earth. bB-8:6

(Mat 16:15-18) "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? {16} And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. {17} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. {18} And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." This Scripture will be extensively considered later. bB-8:7

(Mark 10:29-30) "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, {30} But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Note how this Scripture significantly promises the security of entering a Christian family, to all those who for Christ's sake have forsaken their physical family. Since this Scripture significantly guarantees that God will grant those who forsake their physical family for His sake, a Christian family, and since Jesus spoke of the gates of hell not prevailing against His Church, is the Christian now guaranteed that God will always provide all His children with true Christian congregations with whom they can fellowship, and which true congregations they can always confidently look to for security, truth, and direction? One should consider that even during the times of the early Apostolic Church, Apostle Peter, and Barnabas together with many others because of ignorance and peer pressure turned away from the truth, while Paul largely alone stood for the right and reproved Peter to the face (Gal 2:11-14). One should also consider that Paul spoke of all those of Asia having turned against him (2 Tim 1:15), and consider that Apostle John spoke of Diotrephes wrongly casting out of the Church those who were faithful (1 John 1:9-10). The possible difficulties and troubles of the New Testament Christian Church will be considered further later. In fully considering Christ's above promise concerning receiving family a hundred fold, one should consider this promise firstly might mean that those who forsake their physical families for Christ's sake often times can immediately enter a large Christian family and secondly might mean that those who are willing to forsake their physical families for Christ's sake and who continue to be faithful to God in due time will normally become involved with a Christian family which even if small is a hundred times more valuable than merely a physical family. bB-8:8

Although the various above Scriptures contain very significant promises one must be careful lest he takes from them a further promise such as these Scriptures were not intended to make. One should again remember the outstanding promises given to the Jews in the Old Testament era and consider how the Jews yet were very fallible and consider how God because of their sins allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed and allowed their Kingdom (natural government) to cease for many years. bB-8:10

In considering the great promise given in above Matt 16:15-18, it is important that one understands what the rock spoken of in this Scripture is, and understands that Peter met a vital requirement before Jesus gave this great promise to Peter and the Church. Christ before blessing Peter saying "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" had firstly asked Peter who He was and Peter had confessed to Jesus that He was the Son of God, because of a vital revelation from the Father (God), rather than because of flesh and blood (man) revealing Christ's Sonship to him. One should also notice that just before Jesus blessed Peter as above, Jesus had particularly recognized and emphatically confirmed that Peter possessed a revelation that was from God and not from flesh and blood (man or man's influence) which had caused Peter's proper confession of Christ's Sonship. The rock upon which the Christ's Church stands is firstly Christ, and secondly a recognition of Christ being the Son of God caused by a revelation from God. When an individual or group knows Christ as the Son of God because of a revelation from the Father and not merely because of man's teachings (flesh and blood), such a person or people are building upon the foundational rock whereupon Christ said He would build His Church and together with Peter are legible for a great blessing. It is clear that the gates of hell will not prevail against the rock Christ, and clear the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church or any Christian congregation when it continues to know Jesus as the Son of God through a direct revelation from God (the Father). It considering this Scripture it also likely is worthy to mention that the word hell in the above promise, according to the Greek word that underlies it, pertains to hades or the grave. The gates of hades or the grave will not overcome the Church. bB-8:11

V Before one concludes that the above promise concerning the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church guarantees that a distinct and significant Christian Church will always exist having faithful and understanding leaders, to which Church Christians can always look in total trust for security and proper direction, and before one holds God to having made that promise and trusts their particular Church as such and trusts their soul on such promise, one should soberly and fully consider the above promise and notice it could have several meanings. One should here consider the Jews in the Old Testament also could easily have misunderstood God's promises to them and claimed a security which God never really gave. In fully considering Christ's promise concerning the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church, one should firstly consider such promise could well mean that in the final end the Church will come out victorious and the gates of hell (hades or grave) will not prevail against her, rather than mean the Church will never for any period of time experience serious defeats like God's old era Kingdom did. One should secondly consider that this promise might be speaking of various individual Christians from the east and west and north and south always being faithful, which faithful Christians might even be rejected because of their lives, concerns, and witness, rather than actually promising that a significant Christian organization would always be faithful to which Christian organization all Christians always can and should look to for truth and direction. One should thirdly consider that there is some possibility that Jesus in saying "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" was emphasizing that the stability of the rock rather than solely the stability of the Church. One should lastly consider that there is some possibility that Jesus in the above promise might largely have been advocating that as long as the Church remains built upon the true and solid rock, the gates of hell will not prevail against it, rather than actually promising or guaranteeing that the Church would always remain upon the rock and always be faithful and in one respect be infallible. bB-8:12

V Did God really promise that He would always have a true Church, involving a significant number of Spiritual Christians having true doctrine and true leaders, which Church God's children could always confidently look to for direction and security? Did God really promise His children that if some of many of this special Church would go astray, that at least a significant group of faithful one's from among the original group would immediately emerge, which group His children could then continue to confidently look to for direction and security? Did Apostle Paul when he left the Ephesian elders telling them he likely would never see their faces again, advocate that they after his departing should always confidently look to Christ's Church for direction, for at least a significant portion of the original body or Church would carry on the lineage and truth? NO, Paul rather in giving them his final instructions warned them of grave errors coming into the Church and told them to look to God and the word of His grace for direction and security rather than to the Church saying; "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. {31} Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. {32} And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." (Acts 20:29-32). Could Paul confidently look to the Church in his day for his direction and security? NO, he rather had to reprove Apostle Peter to the face (Gal 2:11), and rather at one time found all Asia to have turned against him (2 Tim 1:15). Did Jesus in speaking of he gates of hell or hades not prevailing against His Church really mean to advocate that His Church such as he established while on earth would always be faithful, and men thus could and should always confidently look to it for truth and direction? One should here soberly consider that Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13 spoke of the bride all slumbering and sleeping before the end. One should consider how Daniel 12:4-7 speaks of the power of the Holy people being scattered before the end and consider how Revelations 11:1-11 speaks of the witnesses of God being slain before the end and laying dead on the streets while the world was rejoicing over them. Considering all Scriptures and aspects it is quite obvious that God has not promised His children that they can always confidently look to a significant sized group or congregation of Christians for direction and security. Rather it appears God at times might call His children or child to stand alone in the gap while most others are being swept away by peer pressure or the fear of man and might turn against Him. Jesus in John 15:18-21 told His disciples that they should expect to experience rejection from the world around them such as He did while on earth, after which He then said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. {2} They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:1-2). Jesus clearly warned His children of false Christs and to beware lest they be deceived by man (Matt 24:4-5&24, Mark 13:5-6&22). bB-8:13

M Even if God would have fully promised that some significant part of His visible Church would always be faithful and would carry on the lineage and truth, what security would that promise really bring to Christians, as it would still be possible for a local congregation or local congregations to all go astray, and possible that the only Christians to hold to the truth and carry on the lineage would be Christians in distant lands such as the local Christians might not even know? One should also consider that even when a well known portion of the Church remains faithful, while another portion of the Church goes astray, that often the portion that went astray still cannot see their need and recognize that they have fallen away from the truth. The fallen Jews could not see their need even though many signs and wonders were done among them and even though they lived among many faithful Jews who were witnesses to them of the truth. bB-8:14


V Although it does not appear the child of God is guaranteed that a organized Christian Church will always be faithful to which he can always look to for truth and proper direction, yet God clearly did not wholly leave His children without comfort and security. Following are given several groups of Scriptures that reveal God's special care for His children largely on a personal level. The following two Scriptures reveal that although God because of unfaithfulness might reject a group of those who were His people, that He yet will care for all sincere individuals scattered around the world; bB-8:15

(Luke 13:28-29) "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. {29} And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God." bB-8:16

(Mat 8:11-12) "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. {12} But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." bB-8:17

Note how these verses reveal God's care and acceptance of sincere individuals around the world rather than indicating that God largely only accepts and only cares for groups or congregations of particular people. bB-8:18

The following four Scriptures pertain to God's special care to the fatherless, stranger, widow, and the oppressed; bB-8:19

(Deu 27:19) "Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen." bB-8:20

(Deu 10:18) "He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment." bB-8:21

Fourteen other Scriptures particularly speak of the stranger, fatherless, and widow with special concern that they be cared for, which clearly reveals that God greatly cares for each individual and does not only care for groups or congregations as a whole. Note the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless, all three, are spoken of in each of these other fourteen verses. bB-8:22

(Psa 10:18) "To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress." bB-8:23

(Psa 103:6) "The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." Note Psalms 9:9, 74:21, 146:7, Isa 1:17, Isa 58:6 all further reveal God's care for the oppressed. bB-8:24


Following are several more miscellaneous Scriptures largely pertaining to God's acceptance and care for all people as individuals; bB-8:25

(Luke 15:7) "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." bB-8:26

(Mat 18:13) "And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray." bB-8:27

Note how the above two verses clearly reveal that God greatly cares for each individual! bB-8:28


(Isa 66:2) "...but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." bB-8:29

(John 6:37) "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." bB-8:30

(Mat 10:30&32) "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. {32} Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." bB-8:31

(Mat 18:19-20) "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. {20} For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." bB-8:32

(John 10:27-28) "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: {28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." bB-8:33

(Heb 8:10-11) "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: {11} And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." bB-8:34


In considering all the above Scriptures, may all be assured that God cares for each individual and assured that He will never leave or forsake the one who truly seeks Him. bB-8:35




Chapter 9


Considers the Authority of God's People or Nation of the Old Testament era.

Considers the Authority of God's New Testament Church.


In the Old Testament God gave His special nation of Israel the authority to punish the wicked among themselves, and the authority to destroy wicked nations. God not only authorized His people to do such but commanded that they do such. Clearly God gave His old era nation or people a special and vital authority which all needed to fear and obey. Yet it also is clear that God's Old Testament people or nation only possessed this God given authority when they were faithful to God. When the Jewish nation became unfaithful to God, God not only removed their authority but authorized other nations which did not have their special lineage to destroy and punish those who were God's people. Because of Israel's unfaithfulness God speaking to them said "And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath." (Jer 21:5). Because of their unfaithfulness God authorized Nebuchadnezzar a non Jewish King to rule over them, and repeatedly told the Jews that they should submit themselves to him (Jer 21:8-10, 24:5-10, 27:12-13, 38:2-3, 38:17-23). Considering how God dealt with His old era people it is obvious that the authority which God gave to them was not dependent on their physical lineage with Abraham but rather is clear that their authority was dependent on faithfulness to God. God often authorized individuals from among the Jewish people who were called seers or prophets to reprove the nation or government of Israel. bB-9:1


In the New Testament era God also has given His Church or people a particular authority. Following are several Scriptures pertaining to this authority; bB-9:2

(Mat 16:18-19) "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. {19} And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." bB-9:3

(Mat 18:17-18) "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. {18} Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." bB-9:4

(John 20:22-23) "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: {23} Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." bB-9:5


M In considering the vital authority that was given to God's people, one must consider that quite obviously there are obligations or conditions which must be met before God grants this vital authority to the Church or a congregation. Apostle Peter met a vital requirement or condition before Christ blessed him and promised him that whatever he would bind on earth would also be bound in heaven. Just before Jesus blessed Peter saying "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven", Jesus had recognized and emphatically confirmed that Peter possessed an inspiration that was from God and not from flesh and blood (man or man's influence). It appears the key or basis to the authority which God gave to Peter was that Peter was motivated by a revelation from God rather than motivated by flesh and blood (man). If a congregations source of inspiration and motivation, like Peter's, is from God and not from flesh and blood (man), it appears they then and only then have the keys of the Kingdom of heaven and authority insomuch that whatever they bind or loose on earth likewise is bound or loosed in heaven. bB-9:6

Concerning Jesus promise to His disciples that whosoever sins they remitted or retained their sins in reality would be remitted or retained, one must consider Jesus before promising them such had first breathed on them and said receive ye the Holy Ghost. It is quite clear that what those do who are truly filled with the Holy Ghost is done with a valid authority, and sins will be retained or remitted accordingly. It is quite obvious that God removes the authority of His Church or any Christian congregation when they become unfaithful and loose their connection with Him, just like He removed the Jews authority in the Old Testament era when they were unfaithful. bB-9:7


V Now what part does lineage or Apostolic Succession have with this vital authority that God gave to the Peter and Christ gave to the Apostles? Does being partakers of the Apostles' authority require having a tangible or outward succession to the Apostles in any way? Does a Christian congregation to be qualified and licensed with Apostolic authority need any thing more or greater than being anointed of God, baptized of the Holy Ghost, and having a God inspired faith in Christ as had the Apostles? bB-9:8

Numerous Scriptures which are given below speak of a baptism of the Holy Ghost and an anointing of God. John the Baptist emphatically spoke of Jesus baptizing His followers with the Holy Ghost saying "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:" (Mat 3:11). Note all four Gospels record that John spoke of Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost as this Scripture does, the other three Scriptures being Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33. Following are several Scriptures which reveal that the main baptism of the Holy Ghost was not accomplished until after Christ had departed from the earth; bB-9:9

(John 7:39) "(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" bB-9:10

(John 16:7&13) "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. {13} Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." bB-9:11

(Acts 1:5) Note Jesus spoke this to His disciples shortly before His ascension, "...ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." bB-9:12

(Acts 11:16) "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, ...ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." bB-9:13

The above Scriptures quite clearly reveal that the main aspect of Christ's baptism of the Holy Ghost was not a baptism which Jesus performed upon His followers while on earth, but rather consisted of a Spiritual baptism which was given to Christ's followers directly from heaven after Christ's ascension. This baptism of the Holy Ghost God can and will directly apply to all those who truly seek Him even today. Note although it was after Christ's ascension when the real and main baptism of the Holy Ghost was given, several Scriptures yet speak of particular individuals to some extent being filled with the Holy Ghost before Christ's ascension (Luke 1:15&41&67). bB-9:14

After Christ's ascension the gift of the Holy Ghost often was given to individuals by the laying on of hands of the Apostles. Yet the most significant baptism of the Holy Ghost was accomplished at Pentecost upon many souls without the laying on of hands (Acts 2:1-4). Cornelious and those that were with him also were baptized with the Holy Ghost without the laying on of hands (Acts 10:44-45, 11:15). Acts 4:31 also speaks of individuals especially being filled with the Holy Ghost without the laying on of hands. Although the laying on of hands is not necessarily required to receive the Holy Ghost yet obedience to the Holy Spirit absolutely is required to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32 John 14:15-17&21-23). The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a most vital baptism which does not derive from man but comes directly from heaven, which baptism man largely cannot claim any lineage or succession to. bB-9:15


Following are several Scriptures speak of being anointed of God;

(2 Cor 1:21) "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;" bB-9:16

(1 John 2:27) "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." bB-9:17

(1 John 2:20) "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." Note the Greek word underlying unction in this verse is translated in other verses as anointing. Other translations of this verse use the word anointing rather than the word unction. bB-9:18

This anointing from God like the baptizing of the Holy Ghost comes directly from God and man cannot claim any lineage or succession to it. It is clear that it is more important to be baptized and anointed of God than it is to through a physical baptism enter a particular physical and outward lineage connecting to the Apostles. Likely all admit that God through His written Word and convicting Spirit can teach, convert, and save individuals anywhere and in any place. Thus a first and new Christian congregation could begin in a nation or place where no or few Christians previously existed, which new congregation would have received the gift and anointing of the Holy Ghost and would know Christ as the Son of God because of a revelation from the God as did Apostle Peter. Now such a new congregation would be standing upon the same rock that Peter was and sharing in the same situation of which Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against. Now would this new congregation although knowing and confessing Christ as did Peter, yet because of lacking some tangible and outward lineage with the ancient Apostolic Church, be withheld the authority that was given to Peter and be disqualified to be a valid part of the Church of God? bB-9:19

V Revelations 12:17 quite obviously speaking of the Christian Church reads, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." This seed of the woman quite obviously is the continuation or succession of the Christian Church throughout the New Testament era. Concerning the testimony of Jesus Christ spoken of in the above verse, it is quite clear that such pertains to having a God inspired faith in Christ as had Apostle Peter (Matt 16:16-18). It is quite clear that all Christians who have been baptized and anointed of God and who know Christ as being the Son of God because of a revelation from God as did Apostle Peter truly have the testimony of Jesus Christ. All Christians who both have this testimony of Jesus and who keep Christ's commandments clearly are the Spiritual seed of the woman (the Church). bB-9:20

V Another Scripture in Revelations says that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophesy (Rev 19:10) which Scripture in no way means that the testimony of Jesus does not pertain to a God inspired faith in Christ. Rather the testimony of Jesus includes both a God inspired faith in Christ and the spirit of prophecy. When one has the testimony of Jesus he by an inspiration from God will have living faith in Christ and by the same inspiration will also have the spirit of prophecy which can perceive eternal values. This spirit of prophesy because it has an eternal insight will cause heavenly affections while removing earthly affections. Jesus speaking of properly believing on Him said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38). When individuals believe on Christ because of a God inspired faith as did Peter, they are believing in Christ as the Scripture hath said and truly are possessors of the testimony of Jesus Christ. When one truly has the testimony of Jesus the living waters will flow which waters include the Spirit of prophecy. Does your Christian group or Church have the testimony of Jesus Christ and the spirit of prophesy that issues therefrom, and are the rivers of living water really flowing in your Church? bB-9:21

V It appears in seeking the true Church of God and those who have Apostolic authority, one must seek for those who are baptized and anointed of God and who have the testimony of Jesus and keep His commandments rather than concern themselves in any way about finding those who might have a tangible or outward lineage that connects them to the Apostles. The next chapter indicates such much further. bB-9:22



V Chapter 10

Considers Lineage or Apostolic Succession as In the New Testament Era.


2 Timothy 1:5-6 reveals that being taught by Christian parents or elders, and being involved with true Christians is a great blessing and can be carried onto the next generation and reads, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. {6} Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." Although often times truth and God's blessings are passed from generation to generation and from people to people, yet it is clear that righteous parents can have unrighteous children and unrighteous parents can have righteous children. One should remember how in the Old Testament era, righteous Jewish Kings often had wicked sons and often unrighteous Jewish Kings had righteous sons. One should also remember that at times God seen fit to give the Holy Ghost without the laying on of hands. bB-10:1


Matthew 3:13-15 might be understood by some to teach that a unbroken lineage of baptism is absolutely a necessity reading, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. {14} But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? {15} And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him." Although this Scripture could be understood to mean that Jesus needed to enter a particular baptismal lineage to fulfill all righteousness, it does not necessarily need to mean such. This Scripture could very properly just mean that God ordained that Jesus who kindly took upon Himself our mortality and humanity and was willing to call us brethren, to fulfill all righteousness needed to be baptized to be a perfect example to us humans who also need to be baptized. Note the vital subject of the Christ's humanity, such as Christ encountered in coming in the flesh is considered extensively in another article coded aT. In considering Christ's baptism one should also consider that God has a normal order of doing things which order God will normally require to be followed, yet it also must be considered that God also reserves unto Himself the power and right to do things differently if man is unfaithful and does not do his part. bB-10:2

In studying the subject of baptism, it is interesting to notice Jesus and His disciples likely did more baptizing than John the Baptist did and also interesting to notice that Jesus did not baptize, while rather His disciples did the baptizing (John 4:1-2). It appears that some might have been baptized by John the Baptist, then baptized by Christ and His disciples, and then been baptized again after Pentecost when the 3000 were baptized in one day, thus being baptized three times. The subject of baptism is considered much further in another article coded bC. bB-10:3

Concerning the lineage of Christ, Apostle Paul in Hebrews 7:12-14 clearly speaks of Christ not being of Priestly lineage saying "For the priesthood being changed... . {13} For he [Jesus] of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. {14} For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." The Priestly lineage was of the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron, while Jesus was born of the tribe of Juda and family of David which family clearly was not in the Priestly lineage (Rev 5:5). Yet Jesus was the world's ultimate High Priest who reconciled the world to God by the offering up of Himself. Hebrews numerous times speaks of Jesus being a great High Priest (Heb 3:1, 4:14, 5:5, 6:20, 9:11). Although Christ, who became man's ultimate High Priest, took upon him the seed of Abraham and was born into one of the tribes of Israel, yet it should be considered that God did not even require that Christ must be born in the Priestly tribe and lineage to be such a High Priest. In considering the subject of lineage and Apostolic succession, Christ's vital Priesthood without being of Priestly lineage should not go unnoticed. bB-10:4


V Following are several issues to consider when considering lineage or Apostolic Succession;

V One should consider how some Christians who advocated Apostolic Succession or lineage have significantly differed on what lineage must consist of, such as some advocating lineage of baptism and not lineage of leadership and others advocating lineage of leadership and not lineage of baptism. bB-10:5

V One should consider how history by no means proves that the Anabaptists or Mennonites possess Apostolic Succession, such as they or their forefathers always having received their baptisms and leaders in an authorized manner from previous faithful and authorized Christians which Christians, in the very beginning would have originated with Christ and His disciples. bB-10:6

V One should consider it likely was the writings of Ireneaus, Tertullian, and Cyprian which initiated the doctrine of Apostolic Succession, and consider that these writings were written quite close to the time of the apostles and might not really have meant to advocate that in the far future God absolutely could not or would not in any situation raise up a people unto Himself without them having received particular human operations from particular authorized persons, and consider that it also is quite possible that these writers too strongly advocated their outward or human connection to the Apostles. bB-10:7

V One should consider how the Roman Catholic Church has wrongly advocated Apostolic Succession and consider that the writings of Ireneaus, Tertullian, and Cyprian very likely instigated the Roman Catholic Church's wrong emphasis on Apostolic Succession. bB-10:8

V One should consider how God gave King David a very significant promise of lineage or succession when He promised David to always have a son sitting on the throne and consider how different God's plan of lineage was then David and the Jews likely expected. bB-10:9

V One should consider in the Old Testament, when lineage was important, how genealogies were carefully kept to show and prove this lineage, and consider how Paul speaking about genealogies in the new era speaks about them being endless and vain and gives no indication that they now have an important place anywhere. bB-10:10

V One should consider how John the Baptist strongly reproved those Jews who were trusting in their lineage or succession to Abraham saying that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham (Matt 3:9, Luke 3:8). bB-10:11


V It appears the faith of Abraham and the Apostles is what Christian congregations need, rather than needing some material, visible, tangible, physical, or outward connection to the Apostles. Numerous Scriptures strongly advocate the faith of Abraham, and advocate that those individuals who have the faith of Abraham are the real children or seed of Abraham, rather than only those who are Abraham's physical or outward descendants. Following are several such Scriptures; bB-10:12

V (Rom 4:&11-12&16) "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. {11} ...that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised [Jews];... {12} And the father... not of the circumcision [Jew] only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham... {16} ...the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all", bB-10:13

V (Gal 3:6-7&9) "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. {7} Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. {9} So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." bB-10:14

V The above Scriptures reveal that the real seed or children of Abraham are all those who were of the faith of Abraham, rather than only those that are physically the children of Abraham. In the time of the early Apostolic Church it is clear that God was accepting all those who had the faith of Abraham and not only those who were physically connected to Abraham. Now as the valid seed of Abraham are all those who have the faith of Abraham rather than only those who have physical or outward connections to Abraham so likewise it appears that the valid seed of the apostles are all those that have the faith of the apostles rather than only those who have tangible or outward connections to the apostles. This aspect should be carefully considered. bB-10:15


V The Scriptures also speak of those individuals whose hearts are circumcised (symbolical of converted or changed), and who are Christ's, as being Jews or the seed of Abraham. Following are such Scriptures; bB-10:16

V (Gal 3:29) "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." bB-10:17

V (Rom 2:28-29) "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." bB-10:18

V As those who were Christ's and whose heart are circumcised are counted as the seed of Abraham even if they have no physical or outward connection to Abraham, so also it appears that they who are Christ's and whose heart is circumcised can be counted as the Apostles' seed even if they have no tangible or outward connection to them. It is clear that the Christian must focus on that which is inward and spiritual, rather than that which is outward, tangible, or material. bB-10:19

V An inward birth of being born of the Spirit and changed in the heart is of utmost importance, while it appears an outward birth such as being born into some unbroken lineage or succession of particular outward human operations that connects one to the Apostles is quite vain. The non Christian Jews who were wrongly trusting in their physical or fleshly lineage to Abraham, rejected and persecuted those Christians who although being born of the Spirit were not born of Abraham's flesh. Paul speaking of this said, "But as then he [Ishmael] that was born after the flesh persecuted him [Isaac] that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Gal 4:29). May Christians be careful lest they wrongly advocate being born of the flesh or outward things and wrongly reject those Christians that although being born and anointed of the Spirit yet cannot prove they have any tangible or outward succession to the Apostolic Church. Apostle John also advocates the importance of being born of God (the Spiritual birth) rather than being born according to fleshly things saying "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13). As the New Testament Church of God clearly is not to be born of the will of the flesh but rather is born of God, it appears the Church of God neither is to be born or based upon fleshly things such as an unbroken chain of particular outward human operations handed down from the Apostles. bB-10:20


V Apostle Paul in the following verse speaks of himself being in the lineage and family of Abraham and speaks of it's insignificance saying, bB-10:21

V (Phil 3:4-5&7-8) "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: {5} ...of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews... {7} But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. {8} ...and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," bB-10:22

V John the Baptist told those Jews who were erroneously trusting in their lineage or connection to Abraham, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Such statement clearly does not indicate that the children or people of God to be acceptable absolutely must be within some particular tangible or outward lineage that connects them to the apostles. If God can raise up a people unto Himself from these stones as John the Baptist said, why would God then establish an order that no true Christian congregation could ever arise in any situation or in any place in the world without it having particular tangible, material, or visible roots that connect back to the Apostolic Church? Considering all the above Scriptures and issues it appears their is little or no basis to advocate a lineage or Apostolic Succession. bB-10:23

V Are you willing to put no confidence in the flesh and to count your outward or physical or human connections with the Apostles as dung that you may win Christ? Are you really willing to believe that God is able of stones to raise up children to Abraham? May Christians let go of all improper or fleshly securities and hold to Christ as their all in all! bB-10:24


Menno Simons was a very significant founder and leader of the Anabaptists. According to numerous histories it is quite clear that Menno was placed in the ministry by a source which lacked Apostolic Succession and Authority, and also is quite possible that he was also baptized by a source which lacked such. Although the following very grievous history strongly indicates that Menno's ordination lacked Apostolic Succession, yet it is quite obvious that God could have called and authorized Menno without such succession. bB-10:25

According to most all if not all histories, Obbe Philips ordained Menno Simons, while Obbe Philips' ordination initially derived from erroneous John Matthijs. John Matthijs was a very fanatical and very erroneous leader. According to Obbe Philips, John Matthijs had deserted his wife and enticed a younger girl away from her parents to himself by his fair speech and boastings of how God had shown him such great things. This John Matthijs then after having convinced numerous ones of his special calling sent out 12 delegates in pairs to preach and baptize. After this John Matthijs quite soon ended up taking up arms and died in battle fighting at the city of Munster. Two of these twelve particular delegates which John Matthijs' sent out named Bartholomew Boekbinder and Dietrich (or William) Kuyper, then taught and baptized Obbe Philips and several others. These two delegates because of a false confidence preached that their would be no more blood shed on the earth and that God would soon rid the earth of all tyrants and godless. Obbe Philips says he had some doubts and questions at the time of his baptism but yet feared to question these delegates as they were very forceful and overpowering. These two delegates soon after baptizing Obbe Philips went boldly through the city preaching such things and soon were caught by the authorities and put to death with numerous other Anabaptists. Poor Obbe then went to see the dead bodies of those who baptized him and who told him no more blood would be shed on the earth, but could not recognize the bodies one from another because they were so burnt and mutilated. bB-10:26

Obbe rejected many of the false beliefs and errors of John Matthijs and his 12 delegates as well as errors of the state Church and gathered together with numerous other rebaptized and more sincere Christians like himself. According to history Obbe then ordained his brother Dietrich Philips and Menno Simons. Obbe in his writings called Confessions clearly speaks of all these things as also do other histories. Obbe in his Confessions writing, very clearly reveals that he did not believe that his ordination in the beginning by Bartholomew Boekbinder and Dietrich (or William) Kuyper was authentic or valid. bB-10:27

Obbe some years later, because of knowing he was baptized and placed in the ministry by quite erroneous Christians, concluded he did not have valid authority to minister and regretted that he was instrumental in ordaining Menno Simons and Dietrich Philips and several others and appears resigned from his own ministry. It is likely that Obbe rather than withdrawing from the ministry as he did, should have recognized that even though his ordination by men was quite erroneous that God yet could have directly called and authorized him to care for the congregation. Possibly Obbe was not fully willing to take his responsibilities and thought he found an excuse. Yet God is the judge. Obbe clearly did experience much great difficulty, because of the errors of both the state Church and false Anabaptists. bB-10:28

Concerning lineage of baptism, according to history the very erroneous John Matthijs spoken of above was baptized by Melchior Hofmann. According to Obbe and other histories Melchior had some very fanatical interpretations of prophesies and Scriptures and had many very false expectations, yet his errors quite obviously were not as great as John Matthijs' errors. Melchior Hofmann was baptized by some Anabaptists or adult baptizers who possibly were quite sound in faith. Concerning Menno's baptism numerous histories teach that Obbe baptized Menno while some histories are uncertain of who baptized Menno. Another quite influential Anabaptist was Deitrich Philips who was partner of Menno Simons. Dietrich was a literal brother of Obbe Philips. Concerning Deitrich Philips' baptism, some histories say that he was baptized by his brother Obbe and other histories say he was baptized by one of the 12 delegates sent out by John Matthijs. bB-10:29

Menno Simons was a significant founder of the faithful Dutch Anabaptists of northern Europe. Conrad Grebel and George Blaurock (spoken of in paragraph 3:23) who baptized each other and then baptized others in their group, were significant founders and leaders of the faithful Swiss Anabaptists from more southern Europe. Considering all the above issues it is quite clear that neither the Dutch Anabaptists nor the Swiss Anabaptists nor any of their later Christian descendants can assuredly boast of being participates in an unbroken chain of baptisms or ordinations beginning with the Apostles and handed down to them by faithful Christians. bB-10:30


V God's normal plan is that the established Christian would perform outward or physical operations such as baptism or the laying on of hands on the new Christian. Yet in times or places where no true established Christian congregations exist, or in situations where the older Christians have departed from the truth and might even reject those younger or newer Christians that are truly endeavoring to serve God, it appears God will allow and bless and an arrangement or method that He normally would not bless. Under normal circumstances it was very unlawful for King David to eat the Shewbread, yet God permitted David to do such in the time of a particular need. Thus it is quite clear that God in particular situations will design and bless a plan for His children which He normally would not bless or design. One should here again remember that in the old era when the Priests were strictly required to be within a particular lineage, and when genealogical records thus were carefully kept, that God yet allowed and seen fit that Samuel who was not of Priestly descent should enter and take over the Priesthood because of the grave errors of Aaron's family (1 Sam 2:27-36). Now in the New Testament era when it is obvious that a lineage of that which is tangible, material, physical, and outward has no place like it did in the old era, it is quite obvious that there is insufficient reason for one to firmly conclude that God has ordained that true Christian congregations will always and must always have some material, tangible, or outward lineage with the Apostles. bB-10:31

Often those who advocate Apostolic Succession might advocate such to give themselves a particular security and authority. Yet most agree that even if such lineage and succession were necessary it could be carried on by a small and possibly despised part of the Church. Thus even if God's Church was confined to only those who possess Apostolic Succession, the authority or security Apostolic Succession would give to the majority or most influential part of the Church would be very limited. bB-10:32

The belief in Apostolic Succession has several unfavorable affects such as firstly it tends to make those who believe they are in this lineage to think they have a particular advantage and authority with God, and secondly this belief will exclude any from the Church of God on the sole basis of them having no tangible or outward connections to the Apostolic Church. bB-10:33



Chapter 11


Considers What the Visible Church of God Includes and Consists of.

Considers the Importance of Unity Within the Church.


V Many Scriptures reveal the Christian congregation or visible Church of God has a distinct door and distinct walls which distinctly separate those that are within the Christian congregation from those that are without. Numerous Scriptures that reveal the door and walls of the Christian Church were given above in paragraphs 1:3-19. Such Scriptures should possibly be reviewed. The visible Church of God involves Christians or Christian congregations who recognize and acknowledge each other as a particular people set apart from the non Christian world. One should consider that if Christian congregations could be or were disagreed on whom they should accept as being true Christians and on whom is eligible to be a part of the Christian Church, their would be no distinct boundaries between true and false Christians, and no visible boundaries identifying those of the Church, and there largely simply would be no Church. The true Christian Church must be united in whom they acknowledge as being fellow Christians, as also the Apostolic Church was united in whom they acknowledged as being fellow Christians. The Scriptures often advocate that the Church is to be united and of one mind. Following are several such Scriptures; bB-11:1

(1 Cor 1:10) "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." bB-11:2

(2 Cor 13:11) "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

(Phil 1:27) "...that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" bB-11:3

(Phil 2:2) "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

(1 Pet 3:8) "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:" bB-11:4


Christ in His famous intercessory prayer earnestly prayed that His people would be one as in the following verses; bB-11:5

(John 17:11) "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." bB-11:6

(John 17:21-23) "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. {22} And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: {23} I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." bB-11:7


Following are several Scriptures which further reveal the oneness of the Christian Church;

(Rom 12:5) "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." bB-11:8

(1 Cor 10:17) "For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." bB-11:9

(Gal 3:28) "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." bB-11:10


V Following are several questions to consider with regards to the functioning of the Church; If Christian congregations who accept and acknowledge each other as fellow congregations of the Church of God, would not be united in their judgment and proving and discipline of their members, how could their labors in keeping the Church and members free from error be effectual, since one who is judged as false and erring by one congregation could possibly go and find a fellow Christian congregation which would accept him as he is and without him making the change his prior congregation required? If the Church had no power or authority to judge, make known, set apart, and break company with those who were false teachers, how would the Church have power or ability to defend her sheep from the wolves? Note the subject of the Church dealing with and shunning erring members is extensively considered in chapter 13. If Christian congregations who count each other as fellow Christian congregations were divided on vital doctrinal issues, how could such congregations teach their people the importance of a vital doctrine when their people could freely leave their congregation and become a part of a fellow Christian congregation where that doctrine was not advocated? Clearly to function properly the Church needs unity and needs distinct and proper boundaries dividing those within and without the Church. bB-11:11


M Although the Church must be one and be united yet it is clear some non essential differences are permitted within the Church of God. Such permitted differences are extensively considered in another article coded bA. As the Scriptures often clearly advocate the oneness of the true Church of God, likely most Christians believe God's true Church is one general Church in Christ, although possibly including many congregations with some insignificant differences. Yet even though most Christians likely agree that God only has one true Church as such, it still must be considered that many Christians likely yet are disagreed on what differences are insignificant and can be permitted within this one Church, and are disagreed on what Christians or congregations are included in the one and true Church of God. bB-11:12

M Although God's Church is to be united, it yet must be considered that unity is not more important than truth and righteousness. God is not pleased with a unity without truth and righteousness. Jesus speaks of Himself being a divider saying, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: {52} For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three." (Luke 12:51-52). Some Christians or congregations might advocate unity so strongly that they might fall prey to error in their effort to attain and maintain unity. A time of dispute, disagreement, and searching the Scriptures followed by unity in the truth is far better than having little dispute, quick agreement, and being united in error. The Church of God is to have both truth and unity. bB-11:13

Division among Christian congregations, or divisions within a single congregation is always caused by some encounter with ignorance or untruth or carnality. A renewing of truth and being filled with the Spirit will never divide those who experience such but will unit them in Christ. Yet a renewing of truth and being filled with the Spirit will tend to divide those who experience it from those who are lukewarm and especially if the lukewarm do not want to make any changes. May Christians and congregations be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves as they endeavor to properly deal with other Christians and congregations who might be lukewarm and yet unwilling to make any change. Although their is a time to separate from such Christians and congregations yet Christians must be longsuffering and bear with them as God also does. How Christian congregations should cooperate and deal with erring Christians and congregations is considered in later chapters. bB-11:14

Although God has provided a good plan for His Church yet it is sad that because of man's pride and sinfulness, the Church yet often experiences much difficulty. Because of Christians' ignorances and imperfections the Church might often struggle with and experience particular divisions and might often lack being perfectly joined in one as God would desire. Yet God might not immediately reject Christians or congregations because of such divisions but appears in some situations will bear with them for a long time as He endeavors to uproot their carnality and untruth. bB-11:15

The purpose of the Christian Church (the Christian congregation) is to create and provide a righteous and Godly society (community) apart from the evil that is in the world, in which society God's children can dwell and be spared from the corruption that is in the world through lust. The Church is to provide a place for Christians and Christian families to exist among others of like precious faith and who desire to live uprightly as they do. Truly even if the Church is not perfect it yet can be a blessed haven for Christians to dwell in. Psalms 84:1-4 could nicely pertain to the Church which reads; "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! {2} My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. {3} Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. {4} Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah." The Church is to be an example to the world of a loving, caring, and forgiving society wherein each one does good to all men, and wherein each one has proper respect for God and those in authority. The Church is to call the world to salvation and eternal life. The Church is to be a lighthouse to save sinners from the darkness of sin and error that is overshadowing the earth. Apostle Paul speaking of the Church said, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim 3:15). bB-11:16




Chapter 12


Considers the Individuality and Possible Independence of Christian Congregations.

Considers the Association and Cooperation of Christian Congregations Near to One Another and Throughout the World.


The Christian Church at first was largely confined to faithful Jews. In the beginning of the Christian Church when it was yet small and confined to the Jews likely Christians could easily know or learn which individuals or congregations they could consider as fellow Christians by the Church's natural knowledge or records of those that had turned to Christ. Yet before long, the Gentiles also became a part of the Christian Church, and before long the Church became scattered over much of the known world. Also in due time numerous false Christian groups arose which false groups although claiming to be Christians had to be distinguished from true Christian congregations. Thus as the true Church grew and spread abroad, while also false Christian Churches arose, it obviously became more difficult for Christians to know or learn all those individuals and congregations who also were truly a part of the Church of God. In considering the Church's knowledge of other Christians or congregations, one should consider that in times of persecution, Christians and congregations might have very little knowledge concerning other Christians or Christian congregations. bB-12:1

Although it is true that God can miraculously protect and preserve His people, persecution against the Church yet can greatly hinder communications between Christian congregations and can greatly hinder Church organization. Persecution against the Church might cause vital Church leaders to be put to death and might forcibly halt large and organized conference type Church meetings. Yet one should consider that the basic Church of God can still continue, which basic Church might consist of small congregations of Christians who are filled with a God inspired faith in Christ and Godly love for each other. bB-12:2

M Although Christian congregations can readily know all those Christians who are part of their own congregation, yet did God actually ordain or promise that His world wide Church would or should be so organized and so knowledgeable and so united that Christians therein could readily learn by Church records or by Church name if another or others throughout the world also are a part of this true and united Church? In times past when communication and travel was slow, or in times when God's people were persecuted and could not freely hold organized meetings, it is obvious that the world wide Church of God could not be so organized and knowledgeable. Language barriers also would make such knowledge, unity, and organization of God's world wide Church quite difficult if not impossible. Considering these things it is quite clear that Church name or records cannot always effectively reveal to Christians which Christians or congregations are within God's world wide Church, while rather a proving of doctrine and of possessing the true Spirit of Christ should make known to Christians, those Christians or congregations that are part of God's world wide Church. Although the Christian might not so readily know who or which groups of worshippers God counts as a part of His world wide Church, yet it is clear that God knows those individuals or groups that are part of His Church. bB-12:3

In Revelations 1:20, seven particular Christian Churches (congregations) of Asia are represented by seven candlesticks. God then in speaking to the Church of Ephesus (one of these seven Churches), asked them to repent and stated that if they did not repent He would remove their candlestick of it's place (Rev 2:5). When a Christian congregation becomes unfaithful and God removes their representative candlestick from it place, such congregation is no longer a part of God's visible Church. Yet it should not be expected that all Christian congregations will be aware that God removed this congregation from His Church, as possibly some Christian congregations had no association or communications with this congregation. Yet true Christians in encountering this fallen congregation should be able to recognize that this congregation lacks truth and the true Spirit of Christ. bB-12:4

In considering how Christian congregations should associate and cooperate with one another, Christians should study and consider how the many congregations of the early Apostolic Church existed and associated with one another. Concerning the seven Churches of Asia spoken of in Revelations chapters 1-3, God had special messages for each one of them. Four of these seven congregations, although being commented because of a particular areas of faithfulness, yet were quite strongly rebuked because of allowing errors to creep in among them. One congregation was strongly rebuked without any comments of faithfulness. Two of these seven congregations received no rebukes but rather only comments about their areas of faithfulness together with encouragements to be faithful. bB-12:5

M These seven congregations according to Bible maps all were located quite close together. Yet according to God messages to them it is clear that they were quite different in regards to their Spiritual condition before God. The two congregations which were farthest apart were about 150 miles apart, while most of these congregations were within about 30 miles of a neighboring congregation. It might be worthy to consider that the Church that was most faithful was about 50 miles from the Church that was most unfaithful. Although these congregations appear to have been close as such, it is possible that persecution and slow travel significantly hindered their communications and involvements with each other. bB-12:6

M In considering these seven congregations it is important that one considers and remembers how they were greatly different with respect to their Spiritual fervency and love for God. Were these seven Churches closely involved with each other having quite regular large general meetings where all congregations were involved and decisions were made, which decisions all congregations needed to follow? If one congregation experienced a real revival and renewing of the power of the Gospel how did they then relate to the other six congregations? Could Christians from these congregations freely live at one congregation or the other? Did those congregations that were more fervent freely allow their members to leave them and chose to live in a more lukewarm congregation? Although many such questions likely cannot be answered, yet they should be considered when considering how the Church of God might exist and function as in our day. bB-12:7

Although the seven Churches of Asia found a important place in the Bible, yet the entire Christian Church obviously included many more congregations than only these seven congregations, and which congregations were much more spread abroad. True Christian congregations were spread abroad at least as far as from Rome to Jerusalem being 1500 miles by direct route, which distance would have taken many days or weeks to travel back in those days. Language barriers likely also were encountered as Acts 2 reveals many languages were involved in the early Church. Barriers of distance and language together with encountering persecution would have greatly separated these true Christian congregations with respect to having physical and tangible connections. In considering the barriers of great distance, language, and persecution that the early Church encountered, and considering how different the seven Churches of Asia were, even though being closely located, it is quite obvious that not all Christian congregations (which God counted as valid congregations) were closely associated with each other and controlled by one central government or general Church conference. Yet all true congregations were one in Christ and in Spirit, although being greatly separated by physical barriers. bB-12:8

M Concerning the early Church, how did those congregations that were fervent in Spirit relate to those congregations who were lukewarm? If one congregation or area experienced a vivid revival how did they relate to other congregations near by and far away? Which congregation if any had the greatest responsibility and most authority? In considering such questions and considering the barriers of great distance, language, and persecution that might have separated congregations of the early Christian Church, it becomes clear that God did not establish an order that at all times some particular Bishop or congregation or congregations should have the control over, or responsibility for all of God's world wide Church. It rather appears that years ago as well as now Christians are called to be faithful in the particular places which God has called them to fill, and often must leave the care of God's Church as in other places and over the whole world in God's care. Yet this does not mean God will never at times use a particular individual or congregation, as He used Apostle Paul and the congregation at Jerusalem, to guide and be a father to many or all known congregations throughout the world. bB-12:9

In considering the organization, cooperation, and association as should be had between Christian congregations from near and far, it appears their is no particular way inwhich congregations must always associate with one another, but rather it appears Christians and congregations must with wisdom cooperate and associate with one another in the way that best fits their present need and the variable situations which the Church might encounter. It is quite clear that the Church or congregation at Jerusalem, where the Apostles abode for numerous years after Pentecost, was a most significant congregation of the Apostolic Church which congregation or group provided help and direction for many Christian congregations at that time (Acts 15). God and His Word has ordained that His Church should work together in spreading the Gospel and reproving sin. Congregations need to support each others labors and doings inasmuch as is possible, and if a congregation cannot support another congregation in what it has done they need to share their difference and endeavor to together find the truth in the matter. Paul speaking of Christians working together in unity said, "...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" (Phil 1:27). It is clear that Christians are to be their brothers keeper and to help each other and admonish each other when errors arise (1 Thes 5:14, 1 Tim 5:20, 2 Tim 4:2, Rev 3:19). It also is quite clear that God would desire that Christian congregations would work together and admonish each other when errors arise. Apostle Paul felt a responsibility for many Christian congregations (2 Cor 11:28). bB-12:10

M Proverbs several times speaks of safety being found in a multitude of counselors (Pro 11:14, 15:22, 24:6). Some might thus feel large conference type Church meetings which involve many congregations or ministers should thus be the source of direction and safety for the Church of God, and feel the direction and decisions of such large meetings is largely infallible. In considering the safety for the Church as can be found in a multitude of counselors, one must consider that such safety is only found in counselors who love the truth and who truly know the Word and Spirit of God, and who are not moved by peer pressure or the fear of men. Although safety can be found in a multitude of counselors, yet it must be considered that the Scriptures speak of situations were Kings or leaders consulted with a group of counselors which gave wrong council. King Rehoboam was advised by his younger group of counselors to rule harshly which ended up in him losing most of the Kingdom to Jeroboam (1 Ki 12:8-11, 2 Chron 10:8-11). King Jeroboam after receiving much of the Jewish Kingdom sought council inwhich council it was decided they should make golden calves for Jeroboam's new Kingdom to worship (1 Ki 12:28). The religious leaders in Christ's time took council before they crucified Jesus (John 11:47&53, Matt 12:14, Matt 26:3-4, Matt 27:1), and took council before they spread the dreadful lie that the disciples had stolen Christ's body (Matt 28:11-14). Thus it is obvious that a multitude of counselors is not necessarily safe. bB-12:11

Even during the Apostles time, it appears Apostle Paul was not very moved or impressed by the council of some Christians at Jerusalem who seemed to be quite influential Christians. Paul speaking of such said, "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:" (Gal 2:6). In considering proper counselors one should consider that Jesus said that God's truths were hidden from the wise and prudent and were revealed to babes (Matt 11:25, Luke 10:21), and consider that Jesus spoke of perfect praise coming from the mouths of babes and sucklings (Matt 21:16). In considering proper counselors one should consider how God told Paul that His strength was made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). bB-12:12

M Apostle Paul speaking to the Corinthian Church said "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers..." (1 Cor 4:15), and in one situation he even told them that they should let those Christians who were least esteemed in the Church judge their matters (1 Cor 6:4-5). The early Apostolic Church by no means was promised that the decisions of the majority or popular of the Church was infallible and always to be trusted. Paul in one situation reproved Apostle Peter to the face (Gal 2:11), and in another situation told Timothy that all Asia had turned against him (2 Tim 1:15). bB-12:13

Considering all the above Scriptures and issues it becomes clear that the judgment and direction, of the popular and majority of the Church is not necessarily the truth and cannot always be trusted. Firstly considering the above and secondly considering how persecution might for a significant time largely disallow large Church conference type meetings it is clear that God has not ordained that His children in finding truth and direction can always depend on and trust in large or central meetings where the voice and views of many congregations and Christians is heard. Rather Christians must look to God and to the word of His grace for permanent security and direction as Paul said in Acts 20:29-32. Hebrews 8:10-11 reveals that God is able to directly reveal His will to all who truly are His children reading "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: {11} And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.". bB-12:14

In considering the promises the Scriptures contain for the Christian Church and considering the problems the early Church still encountered, one should therewith remember that although numerous special promises of security were made to God's people of the old era that yet God's old era people also often encountered great difficulties. bB-12:15

Although safety can be found in a multitude of counselors, one must yet consider that if a group of counselors to some extent form their conclusions by making a compromise, such as endeavoring to allow all the different opinions to have some significant affect on the final decision, that the decision arrived at by compromise might be in greater error or more foolish than any one of the particular opinions involved. The statement has been made that "too many cooks spoiled the soup". This statement could be quite true in the situation where a multitude of cooks would all take turns tasting the soup and then each add the ingredients which they felt would improve the soup. Any one of the cooks could have possibly made a better soup than all of them collectively made by each having an affect on the soup. Although this in some ways seems foolish, yet too often large organizations find themselves bound to quite foolish decisions and awkward laws because of trying to allow every one to have some affect in the final decision. Obviously the Church of God dare not associate and cooperate by compromising as such. bB-12:16

In our day one particular Christian Church who traces their origin from Menno Simons and who has many congregations, requires those who are chosen to be their ministers to vow or promise as follows before they are accepted as their ministers; "Do you promise to give heed to all the doctrines of the word of God; to teach and preach them, in accordance with the interpretation of the Conference and the councils of the Church of [their very distinct Church name], and to abide in them with unchanging fidelity unto the end". Are ministers who agree to the above demand, simply promising to both embrace and preach the interpretations of this Church as up till this time (and thus as this Church thus far has taught them), or are they promising to both embrace and preach all future interpretations which this Church's future councils and conferences might adopt? bB-12:17

Apostle Paul speaking of what elders or Bishops of the Church of God should do said, "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (Titus 1:9). Although Paul seen fit to advocate that elders and Bishops should hold to the faithful word as they have been taught, it should be considered that Paul did not advocate that elders or Bishops (ministers) should be made to promise to teach according to the past and future interpretations of some particular named Church or organization. bB-12:18

God and His Word, advocate that Christ, the Word, and the Spirit must be the Christian's permanent security, and no where do the Scriptures teach that Christians can or should always look to a particular, significant, and organized group of humans for truth and direction. Thus a organization of many congregations (or any Christian congregation) must be careful to not demand Christians to accept their light and direction simply because of whom they are. Churches must point their members to Christ and connect them to Him rather than point members to themselves and demand their first allegiance. Although the Church or any Christian congregation must be careful not to wrongly advocate themselves and their authority as such, yet it appears not too many years after the time of the Apostles, a great majority of the early Christian Church began to wrongly advocate the Church and it's authority, which people and emphasis in due time evolved into the Roman Catholic Church, which Church yet wrongly claims and advocates a false authority to her poor followers. May Christians today not fall into the same error. bB-12:19

V It is quite clear that the Bible speaks of false churches as being whores or harlots, and likely because they point their members to themselves and demand their allegiance, rather than truly pointing their members to Christ and connecting them to Him. Revelation 17:5 quite obviously speaking of a particular Christian Church which in early years had turned from the truth reads, "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Revelations 17:9 speaking of this woman teaches that this woman sits on seven mountains (note the undergirding Greek word at times is translated mounts and hills) while it is sobering to therewith realize that the city of Rome, the head quarters of the Roman Catholic Church, is known as the city of seven hills. Three encyclopedias which the writer consulted all connected Rome with seven hills while one encyclopedia article speaking of Rome begins with the exact following wording "(Ital. Roma; known as the City of THE SEVEN HILLS, and the ETERNAL CITY). A city in Georgia U.S.A. also is called Rome because it like Rome is built on seven hills. bB-12:20

V How many Christian Churches are pointing their members to themselves and demanding their members first allegiance, rather than truly pointing their members to Christ and connecting them to Him? It is clear that all Churches that are following the steps of the mother of harlots, likewise are harlots. Is your Church becoming a harlot? Quite obviously all Christian Church's would say they are not a harlot Church, yet congregations or Churches at times like the Laodacean Church become blind, and sad it is that among them the blind are leading the blind. Christ wants a personal relation with His children and demands their personal allegiance, and clearly does not want them to be giving their first allegiance and loyalty to any particular organization of humans. Revelations 14:1&3-4 reveals the importance of Christians being virgins and not being defiled with harlots or women reading "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. {3} And they sung as it were a new song before the throne... {4} These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." It appears that those who lack a personal relation with Christ and who rather are giving their first allegiance to some particular Church or organization are not virgins but rather are defiled with woman. Are you a virgin having a personal and living relation with Christ? bB-12:21




V Chapter 13


Considers How Christians and Christian Congregations Should Relate to Non Christians Around Them Who Never Were A Part of the Church of God.

Considers How Christian Congregations Should Relate to fellow Christians or Other Christian Congregations that Have Become Lukewarm Or Fallen From the Truth.


V Numerous Scriptures are given below which reveal that the Church is to particularly shun those who were a part of the Church and who turned from the truth. Numerous Scriptures which are given below also clearly reveal that the Church is also to maintain a particular separation between themselves and non Christians of the world who never were a part of them. Several Scriptures also reveal that those individuals who are advocating untruth or who might have a particular bad influence upon the Church, should be shunned or avoided quite strictly. Following are many Scriptures which speak of these various aspects of separation between Christians and non Christians; bB-13:1

(1 Tim 6:5) "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." bB-13:2

(2 Tim 3:5) "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." bB-13:3

(2 Cor 6:14&17) "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," bB-13:4

(Eph 5:11) "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." bB-13:5 (2 John 1:9-10) "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. {10} If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:" Note how this Scripture very well could pertain to quite strictly shunning anyone who advocates falsehood, even if such an one had never been a brother in a true Christian congregation. bB-13:6

(Rom 16:17) "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." bB-13:7

Note how all of the nigh above Scriptures could pertain to a withdrawing from and particularly shunning any false and sinful individuals even if they never were a part of the Church of God. Following are several Old Testament Scriptures that also advocate a separation between good and evil, and light and darkness; bB-13:8

(Prov 9:6) "Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." bB-13:9

(Prov 14:7) "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge." bB-13:10

(Psa 26:5) "I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked." bB-13:11

(Psa 1:1-2) "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." bB-13:12


The above Scriptures largely could pertain both to withdrawing from erring ones of the Church or from non Christians of the world in general, while the following Scriptures particularly pertain to withdrawing from those among God's people who have become unfaithful; bB-13:13

(Mat 18:17) "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." Note it appears the Jews had no dealings with either the heathen or Samaritans which people were non Jews. John 4:9 concerning the Jews relation to the Samaritans reads, "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." bB-13:14

(1 Cor 5:2&5) "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. {5} To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." bB-13:14.5

(1 Cor 5:9-11) "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: {10} Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. {11} But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." Note how this Scripture reveals such severe shunning needs not to be exercised upon all non Christians. bB-13:15

(1 Cor 5:13) "But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." bB-13:16

(2 Th 3:6&14) "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. {14} And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed." bB-13:17

(Titus 3:10) "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;" bB-13:18


1 Corinthians 5:9-11 which was given above states that if one who is called a brother is involved in grave sins, Christians should not company with him or eat with him. Paul in speaking of the severe shunning which Christians should exercise upon such an unfaithful one, stated that such shunning does not need to be exercised upon all non Christians, and said if Christians shunned all non Christians as such they would need to go out of this world. If Christians would need to go out of this world if they would shun the world like they should shun this brother, it is clear that Paul was speaking of a significant shunning. Possibly the shunning Paul here was advocating largely would have disallowed associations even as in having business involvements, since if Christians would cut off all business involvements with the world they in one sense would need to go out of this world. Following 1 Cor 5:9-11 is again given yet as in the New International Version Bible; bB-13:19

(1 Cor 5:9-11 NIV) "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- {10} not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. {11} But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." Note how this last verse uses the wording "calls himself a brother". bB-13:20

One should notice how this translation advocates that they should severely shun as such, one who calls himself a brother while yet living in grave sins. Clearly if one while living in grave sins would continue to call and consider himself a brother and gain acceptance as such among a Christian congregation, he would destroy the congregation. Apostle Paul clearly did not want such to happen and thus advocated that the Corinthians should not even eat with such an one and advocated they should shun such an one more than the common sinners of this world. William Tyndale (whose Bible translation largely under girds the King James Version Bible), in the margins of his English Bible commenting about this Scripture writes, "If any that professeth Christ be such: no other Christian may bear his company". bB-13:21

Apostle John in speaking of those who would advocate false hood, advocated such ones should be severely shunned saying, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. {10} If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:" (2 John 1:9-10). Note how John here said "if there come any unto you", which indicates John here was speaking of shunning anyone as such, who was advocating grave falsehood, even if he never had been a brother in the Church. It is quite clear that John did not mean to say that they should only shun false teachers as such if they previously had been brethren in the Church, while they yet could receive such false teachers into their houses if they never had been a brother in the Church. One should also consider that the severe shunning John here taught should be applied to anyone even if they never were a part of the Church, is just as severe as refusing to eat with one, as it is quite obvious if one should not receive one into his house he neither should freely eat with him. bB-13:22

V God desires a special separation from those who would have a wrong and evil influence upon His Church, no matter if they were a part of His Church or if they never were a part of His Church. Considering the above Scriptures it also is quite obvious that those individuals who would be the greatest danger or threat to the Church should be shunned the most. The most vital purpose of putting apart, avoiding, shunning, withdrawing, or separation of any kind, is to protect the Christian Church or congregation from wrong influence. God wants to protect His Church from false influence firstly so it can be a safe place for His children, and secondly so it can be a preserved as a proper witness and example of truth to sinners of the world. The Christian Church is to be a light which God can use as a lighthouse to save sinners from the darkness of sin that is overshadowing this earth. The Church is to be a city set on a hill which cannot be hid (Matt 5:14). bB-13:23

V Another vital reason for a particular separation being established between the Christian congregation and Christians who have become unfaithful is to help and save such unfaithful ones. One should consider that if Christians could fully and freely associate with erring and unresponsive Christians, such erring Christians very easily could feel no need to change but might continue to feel as one with the brethren. A particular shunning of such fallen brethren can vividly remind them that they no longer are one with the people of God, which could lead them to repentance. bB-13:24

Concerning the Christian's relation to non Christians which were never a part of the Church, a slight shunning of them can also bring such to repentance and to salvation. If Christians could fully and freely associate with non Christians of the world in general, people of the world might feel they are one with the people of God insomuch that they would feel no need to make any change. A particular separation between Christians and non Christians of the world can make such non Christians aware that they are not one with the people of God, which awareness might lead them to repentance and salvation and to find a place among the people of God. bB-13:25

Considering all Scriptures it is clear that a particular separation needs to be maintained between the Christian Church and the sinners of the world in general. It also appears a slightly different and likely greater shunning needs to be exercised towards those who have been a part of the people of God and who have become unfaithful. And it appears the greatest shunning needs to be exercised upon those particular individuals whose association would be most harmful to the Church. In considering this subject, it also must be considered and remembered that a most vital and necessary separation between the Christian and non Christian should be a natural separation created because of true Christians having different goals and aims than those who are not new creatures in Christ. Yet it is clear the Apostles advocated a particular physical, outward, and literal shunning which clearly is an added protection to the Church of God. bB-13:26

M Although God has a good plan for the protection and preservation of His people it is sad that at times things get turned around and the unfaithful start to shun the faithful. Jesus speaking of this said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." (Luke 6:22). "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:2). bB-13:27

M God hates when Christians become exalted and proud and despise and wrongly shun true Christians. Isaiah 65:5 reveals such reading, "Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." Isaiah 66:5 also emphatically speaks of the unfaithful rejecting and shunning the faithful reading "Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." Even in the early Apostolic Church such backwards discipline was encountered. 3 John 1:9-10 speaking of such reads "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. {10} ...neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." bB-13:28

V In considering the above Scriptures it becomes clear that shunning can be done in a very wrong way. In avoiding and shunning sinners, Christians and the Church must be careful to follow the intent and purpose of the law rather than the letter of the law. Yet the intent of the law should always and carefully be carried out. If some truly do not understand the Christian doctrine of shunning one should consider such and should endeavor to avoid all unnecessary offenses and possibly not shun as they might otherwise. Parents at times must change forms of discipline, where one form does not seem to be bringing good fruit. Christians should consider change in their shunning when their way of shunning seems to be harming rather than saving. One must remember that the purpose of shunning is to avoid free fellowship and to cause a particular shame, but is not to stir up anger or cause offenses. In some situations likely a natural social fellowship will tend to creep in between Christians and the fallen Christian, which fellowship Christians to some extent should endeavor to quench. Yet in other situations were a fallen Christian might be very offended and upset at the Church this natural social fellowship will not even tend to creep in, and in that situation Christians possibly should even endeavor to encourage a particular social fellowship with the offended one, to thereby break down the wall of offense. bB-13:28.5

May Christians have wisdom to relate to non Christians of this world and fallen Church members in the way that brings the best results. Can the sinner or unfaithful brother feel a love and care and good intention in your way of shunning, or do they feel a particular better than thou or holier than thou attitude? God particularly speaking of those who have a holier than thou attitude said, "Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." (Isaiah 66:5). bB-13:29

Jesus clearly taught His disciples that whosoever's sins they would forgive, their sins would be forgiven and that whatsoever they would bind on earth would be bound in heaven (Matt 16:19, Matt 18:18). (Note such authority yet was subject to them being motivated by God and laborers together with God). Such clearly was a very significant authority. It appears when a true Christian congregation places a particular demand or judgment upon an unfaithful one, the same is also done in heaven. When a true congregation removes one from their fellowship, it appears heaven also places a particular judgment upon them and removes a particular protection and blessing from the unfaithful one. Yet this experience of being rejected both by God and the Christian congregation in a new way can cause the unfaithful one to come to his senses and cause him to cry out to God in a new way. Apostle Paul twice spoke about Christians delivering unfaithful Christians to Satan to thereby bring about a repentance and restoration. 1 Timothy 1:20 concerning such reads "Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 also concerning such reads, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, {5} To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." This particular delivering to Satan is not intended to place the erring Christian in a place of dangerous temptation or to drive him far from the Christian congregation, but rather is to bring them into a particular state of shame and rejection wherein they might turn to God in a new way. Jesus said that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents than over the ninety and nine within the fold (Matt 18:12-13, Luke 15:7), which fact clearly reveals that God greatly desires that the lost sheep or erring Christian should be dealt with in the way as to restore them to salvation and the fold. bB-13:30


Marital Shunning

If one's marriage partner would fall into error and would need to be shunned and separated from the Church fellowship, how should the faithful mate properly relate to their erring mate? It is clear that the faithful mate should no longer freely participate together with their mate in religious activities such as in breaking bread and drinking wine in commemorating the Lord's death and redemption (Holy communion). As their are many ways and degrees of shunning, it is possible that the faithful mate could shun their mate very little as only shunning them with regards to no longer partaking of Holy communion with them, or could shun their erring mate insomuch that they would not receive them into their house. It is clear that the faithful mate and the Church should relate to unfaithful one in the way that will help bring them back into the fold which restoration would make great rejoicing in heaven. It also is clear the faithful mate should in some way endeavor to kindly reveal to their erring mate that a sad and serious separation has occurred between them, and that they no longer are one in faith and Spirit. bB-13:31

Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verses 3-4&5 spoke of marriage helping avoid temptation and fornication, and then in verses 12-14&16 spoke of how Christian mates should relate to non Christian mates. Paul in these Scriptures said "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. {3} Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. {5} Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. {12} But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. {13} And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. {14} For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. {16} For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?". bB-13:32

V One should consider how Paul here advocated that marriage partners to avoid temptation should not defraud each other, and consider how he then also encouraged that Christian partners in a effort to bring about good results should not leave their non Christian partners. Although it is possible that Paul might have mostly wrote this in regards to mates that never were Christians, rather than in regards to mates that were disciplined by the Church (excommunicated), yet it is clear that the this Scripture could also nicely pertain to how a Christian partner should relate to an excommunicated partner to shield them from temptation and to bring about good results. It would not appear that Paul would teach as above concerning Christian and non Christian mates dwelling together, and then quite contradictorily advocate that marriage partners in endeavoring to help and restore their mate which was overtaken in a fault, should rigidly refuse to dwell with them (even if against their mates wishes) and rigidly refuse to fulfill their place and responsibilities as is expected in marriage. It is clear that the faithful partner should not deal with their erring mate in a way which might lead them into temptation and to ruin. One should consider that the purpose of shunning is not to oppress, persecute, anger, or offend, but is to create a vivid separation between truth and untruth and to bring about a particular shame upon the one that is erring, and which purpose obviously can be attained without marriage partners being forced to separate. Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 clearly reveals that Church discipline is not to be cruel or persecutive or oppressive, but rather is to be a practical and working discipline. Paul therein writes "Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. {7} So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. {8} Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him." (2 Cor 2:6-8). If the Church would ask marriage partners to shun their erring partners insomuch that they would have to defraud one another of natural marriage relations and associations and possibly not be able to dwell together, it appears such would be quite cruel and oppressive to both the couple and the children involved, and could create many needless temptations, difficulties, and offenses instead of bringing about the proper shame, Godly sorrow, repentance, and restoration which God has intended to be brought about through proper shunning. bB-13:33

Although the above Scriptures and aspects strongly indicate marriage partners should not be forced to separate or to defraud each other of intimate marriage relations because of Church discipline yet Leonard Bouwens (one who was ordained by Menno Simons), according to history advocated shunning insofar that at times marriage partners were rigidly forced to separate. Following is a quote concerning such from a source called The Ratical Reformation "There are instances where the elders, or those commissioned by them, made bold to enter by night the house of an adulterous or otherwise unfaithful and therefore banned husband, to seize his wife from him and her screaming children in brute enforcement of the ban." Note how this quote reveals such cruel shunning was done even for faults other than adultery or moral issues. According to history it appears that Menno Simons, and most that were involved with him did not approve of such unreasonable and persecutive shunning and promoted a more practical and workable shunning. Yet the issue of Church discipline and shunning caused many debates and divisions among the early Mennonites. bB-13:34

V Although the separation between the Christian and non Christian should always include a natural separation because of Christians having different interests, goals, and concerns than the non Christian, yet it is clear that outward and literal shunning has a proper place. Outward shunning can involve many aspects. One can shun solely with regards to refusing to partake of Holy communion with the unfaithful. One can shun with regards to refusing to eat with the unfaithful in a normal way at anytime. One can shun by avoiding business dealings or involvments. One can shun with regards to not freely speaking with the unfaithful. And one can shun in the way of not even receiving the unfaithful into their house. bB-13:35

V In rightly and properly shunning, many issues should affect how shunning should be done. Some such issues could be conscience, and what people are accustomed to and might expect in shunning. Other issues might pertain to how guilty the erring one is and how dangerous his influence is upon the Church. As parents need wisdom and discretion to properly discipline and help their children so also the Church or Christian congregations need wisdom and discretion to properly discipline and help their people. Proverbs 13:24 teaches that a father who loves his child will discipline his child reading, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Such love is not a short sighted love but a wise love which cares about the future. As love in a father will discipline an unruly child, so love in the Church will also discipline unfaithful brethren. As a loving father is pained in disciplining his child, so also a loving Church is pained in disciplining her members. bB-13:36

How should faithful Christians relate to or shun erring Christians and congregations, when possibly only a minority of Christians is faithful while the majority has fallen into error? Numerous times in history God's people slowly succumbed to lukewarmness and error, and when God called for a revival only find a small remnant would fully return to Him. Thus although God does not desire that divisions should occur among His people, yet because of such errors and needs, a particular division or separation at times needs to takes place between those Christians who God has revived and those Christians who refuse to be revived. In considering how faithful Christians should relate to possibly a majority of erring Christians when a particular division among Christians congregations has occurred, it should be considered that often times Christians within erring congregations are quite ignorant and end up becoming divided from true Christians and true congregations by heeding the counsel of their brethren and congregation with which they have always fellowshipped. There is much difference in the particular individual who refuses to hear his brethren's admonition, and the admonition of all those that he has been closely affiliated with and who turns away from the Church of God in a quite contrary way, than the particular individual who because of a division in the Church and with the support of his brethren and congregation has become divided from true Christians. Should the one who became divided from true Christians because of a division in the Church and significant ignorance and while following his brethren's council, be shunned as strictly and fully as the one who in a quite contrary manner refused to hear the careful, sincere, and united admonitions of his brethren and congregation? bB-13:37

Apostle Paul and John advocated the most severe shunning should be exercised firstly upon those who were advocating particular dangerous falsehoods, secondly upon those who would not hear admonition, and thirdly upon those who were called brethren who yet were living in grave sins. Such shunning according to Apostle Paul disallowed eating with or association with (1 Cor 5:9-11, 2 Thes 3:14), and according to John disallowed receiving such individuals into one's house (2 John 1:9-10). Paul speaking of the severe shunning which should be applied to particular individuals said if such shunning would need to be applied to sinners of the world, Christians would need to go out of this world, which reveals such shunning was quite severe. Although such severe shunning has it's time and place, yet it is quite clear that Apostles would not have advocated that this severe shunning should be applied to everyone that has become divided from true congregations because of a division in the Church. Yet it is also quite clear that a particular separation should be held between true congregations and fallen or lukewarm congregations, possibly much like the separation that should be held between the non Christian world and the Church. Again considering the seven Churches of Asia, if the Church of Laodicea did not repent of it's lukewarmness and thus became divided from the true Christian congregations of Smyrna and Philadelphia, it does not appear the congregations of Smyrna and Philadelphia would have necessarily required everyone within the Church of Laodecea to be shunned as strictly as Paul and John advocated that particular individuals who were false and disobedient and who were especially dangerous to the Church should be shunned. bB-13:38

M In disciplining children, if a father has the support of his wife, and the child has no place to turn to for sympathy and support, the father's discipline can be quite effectual. Yet if the child can turn to it's mother and others near by and find sympathy the discipline applied by it's father likely will be quite ineffective and rather might cause the child to become offended at it's father. So also it appears if Christians try to strictly and rigidly shun unfaithful ones who have many that support them in their error, such ridged and outward shunning might not be very effective but might rather end up in causing those erring ones who have much sympathy and support and who might not understand their error, to be offended at those who are shunning them. Thus careful discretion must be used in dealing with erring Christians so as to bring about the best results and hopefully in due time a full restoration. bB-13:39

V It is clear that the Jews normally avoided and had no dealings with the Samaritians, heathen, publicans and sinners (John 4:9, Acts 10:28, 11:3), being the reason why Jesus said the unfaithful and unresponsive brother should be treated like a heathen man and a publican (Matt 18:7). Although Jesus openly recognized the publicans and heathen as a people who should be shunned, yet Jesus Himself numerous times still seen fit to associate and eat with publicans and sinners, those very people who normally were so strictly shunned that Jesus used their shunned situation as an example of how unfaithful brethren should be shunned (Matt 18:17, Matt 9:10-13, Mark 2:15-17, Luke 15:1-4). This truth should not go unnoticed and reveals that intent of the law needs to be followed rather than the letter of the law. Although Jesus freely ate with publicans and sinners who were seeking for the truth, Jesus quite obviously would not have freely and intentionally associated and eaten with presumptuous and obstinate sinners. As Jesus ate with publicans and sinners who were seeking the truth so it also appears when a fallen brother is sincerely seeking the truth and endeavoring to turn from his errors, Christians need not shun him as strictly and can much more freely speak and associate with him than if he was obstinate and continuing on in his errors. bB-13:40

Since the intent of the law needs to be followed rather than the letter of the law and since Jesus often ate with publicans and sinners, a people who He openly recognized as needing to be shunned, some Christians might conclude that individual Christians often can shun according to their personal choosing or judgment. In considering such, one should consider that if individual Christians largely could shun according to their personal judgment, some members of a congregation might discontinue shunning a brother who the Church has excommunicated and is shunning very readily and quickly, while many others would still feel this brother should be shunned, which discord could create significant difficulties within a congregation. It thus appears when a congregation asks a member to repent and places a particular shunning upon him, a particular shunning should continue to be applied by all the members, until the congregation again unitedly acknowledges the repentance of the brother. Although congregations should be united in their shunning as such, it yet is clear a congregation should accept the brother and remove the burden of shunning as soon as possible. Although there often is a normal way or rule of doing things, yet one should remember that at times there are exceptions to the rules. Yet it is very important that Christians know when such exceptions are edifying to apply. May God grant His Church and people wisdom to properly relate to fallen Christians, to false teachers, and to general non Christians around them. bB-13:41

M How many sheep have been driven far from the fold by ignorant and cold sheep and shepherds? How often has heaven who greatly rejoices at the return of the lost sheep, rather had to lament because of ignorant and cold sheep and shepherds abusing the lost sheep rather than properly providing so it can be brought back into the fold? Jesus prophesying of the future days said that because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold (Matt 24:12). How many sheep have died in the cold because the warmth in the sheepfold was lacking? Only heaven knows. Ezek 34:6-7&16 speaking of these things reads, "My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. {7}Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; {16} I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment." May God bring about this healing! bB-13:42




Chapter 14


Considers Vital Characteristics of True Christian Congregations by Which True Congregations Can Be Recognized.

Considers Miscellaneous Issues.



Apostle Paul spoke of some Christians sowing sparingly and reaping sparingly and of other Christians sowing bountifully and reaping bountifully saying "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (2 Cor 9:6). Likely some Christian congregations because of sowing more abundantly will also reap more abundantly, while other congregations because of sowing sparingly will also reap sparingly. Within the Israelite nation a particular family chose to take upon themselves a certain fasting and pilgrim type of life which God did not demand of His people. This family was the family of Rechabites and were commanded of their father Jonadab (Johonadab) to never drink wine and to always live in tents (Jer 35:2-10). God through prophet Jeremiah pronounced a special blessing upon the family of the Rechabites because they kept their father's peculiar and extra conservative commandments to never drink wine and to live in tents (Jer 35:18-19). The family of the Rechabites likely included quite a number of peculiar Jews by Jeremiah's time as Jeremiah lived about 250 years after Jonadab first established this particular life style for his family. In considering the special and voluntary commitment of the Rechabites which God blest and considering how Paul also indicated that Christians can sow especially bountifully, one should consider that God might bless a particular congregation or group of Christians who in endeavoring to sow and reap abundantly would bind themselves to a particular fasting, or pilgrim and stranger life style which was more than God really demanded of His people. Yet such Christians should not demand such of other Christians and should remember they also are very fallible. Although it appears their is some liberty for Christians to sow more bountifully than others and reap more bountifully than others, it yet must be remembered that all Christians must forsake all and sell out for Jesus sake, and dare not hold to any thing that Christ forbids (Matt 13:44-46, Luke 14:33). Yet it is clear that for the reasons of conscience and preference some particular differences are permissible between Christian congregations. Another article coded bA clearly reveals a significant difference was had between the Jewish and Gentile congregations of the early Apostolic Church. Such article is entitled "The Early Apostolic Church" and is very relative to this article. bB-14:1

Although some differences are permitted between Christian congregations, yet their are several vital evidences which reveal and identify true Christian congregations. Jesus speaking of one such evidence said "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35). 1 John 4:7 also advocates the importance of this love reading, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Note how this verse connects loving our brother and being born of God. Loving or brother and being born of God, both clearly are most vital necessities of true Christians. Jesus speaking of being born again said "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3). One who is born of God is born of the Spirit and possesses the Spirit of Christ. Apostle Paul speaking of possessing the Spirit of Christ said "...if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". (Rom 8:9). Apostle John also reveals how true Christians can be distinguished reading, "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." (1 John 3:10). Note how this verse advocates both doing righteousness and loving one's brother. Many Scriptures advocate and reveal that God's most basic law for Christians is that they love God with all their heart and love their neighbor as themselves (Matt 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-31, Gal 5:14, Rom 13:8-10, James 2:8). All other Christian laws spring forth from this law. Jesus even clearly taught that Christians should do good to and love their enemies (Matt 5:43-44, Luke 6:26-35). Note many Scriptures which reveal that Christians should do good to all men and even to their enemies, are given in another article coded aM in chapters 9-10. Jesus speaking of recognizing His followers said "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. {21} Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Mat 7:20-21). True Christian congregations thus can be known by the their faithfulness in doing the will of God and keeping God's laws. Acts 15:20 gives three basic laws that the early Apostolic Church established reading, "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." These three laws are very basic and significant and are considered in another article coded bA in chapter 10. bB-14:2

God's people are a people who keep the commandments of God and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17). Although it is clear that the testimony of Jesus pertains to having a living faith in Christ, the Scriptures also say the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy (Rev 19:10). This spirit of prophecy perceives and believes those eternal things which Christ advocated. True Christians because of having a living faith in Christ and the eternal values which He advocated will be drawn away from earthly interests and affections to heavenly affections, and will experience a significant disconnection with the present world. Jesus speaking of said "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19). Apostle Paul reveals the difference in the Christian and non Christian's emphasis saying, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) {20} For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:" (Phil 3:19-20). James speaking of true Christians said, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5). The true Christian's faith is out of this world. In seeking true Christian congregations one should seek for those who have love one another, who keep Christ's commandments, and who have such a faith