Through my studies of Sacred Truth found in the Scriptures, Creeds, and Traditions of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ I have come to a very strong conviction (and I have great peace in this) that we can no longer be ministering in this way , as it is out-of-order and out of God’s established authority. At this point I don’t know if it should be the Lords will for me to minister in a Church of proper succession and orders, we will have to wait and see.
Let me explain. I have found that there are two major issues that should characterize the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and are not in todays churches. (I know there are more, but, these two really stand out in our day) Sacred Scripture teaches us that all things that pertain to the life, practice, and worship of the Church must be done decently and in order (1) and with unity of the brethren in heart and mind (2). When we look around the church today we can see clearly that this is not the case. I believe I have found in my studies and meditations the reason for disorder is disunity, or, if you prefer, the reason for disunity is disorder. Either way they are reasons that can not be separated from each other or from the reality of why things are the way they are.
Well, what do I mean? How do we define these (disorder & disunity) in terms of application to todays church? To put it simply, we can not have order without proper order and unity designed the way God intended it to be. Since the beginning of the Church, that is, in the first century the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ appointed bishops as overseers and shepherds, they appointed presbyters or elders, and deacons the servants over the flock of God. There should never be anything done in connection with the Church without the bishop. The early Church fathers wrote much on the subject. Ignatius who was a disciple of the Apostle John wrote “See ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the Apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop.” (I will have to in another post go in to the detail of what a proper bishop is).
Most of the Protestant clergy today hold that the greek words for bishop and elder have the same meaning. I wont go into all the details of why they think this, but I think it should be sufficient to look at the history of the Church alone and see that being under the authority of a bishop was not disputed really until the Protestant reformation in the sixteenth century. Unfortunately that rebellion caused not a little bit of confusion in the Church, in fact, we are still fragmenting. This really was the beginning of the majority of the disorder and disunity we see today.
The disorder and disunity began when we stepped outside of God’s established authority, namely, the bishops. The results of not being under authority is that we have no authority. We have disorder because we can only have proper order under the bishops. We have disunity because we are not in unity with the bishops. Until we submit to God’s established authority we will continue to fracture and split over and over again until there is nothing left.
Remembering now Jesus’ prayer in John 17 ” that they may be one, even as we are one.” Jesus would not pray a prayer that was not according to the will of the Father, so we know that this prayer will be answered. This is where we come in, we must do our part to bring about this unity and oneness that the Lord wills for us. We must be part of the solution, though, and not part of the problem. How? By being in order and having unity in and through God’s established authority.
I see the results of being outside of the proper order and liken to a scenario of my own children not liking something I’ve said or done and deciding to attempt to start a new family without me running it. The results would be disastrous. It would be one wrong turn after another, one mistake after another. It would not work and furthermore, God would not put His stamp of approval on it. Why? Because it is not His way, His order, and so the result is a great schism and disunity.
The point I am making and the decision I have made is one of the need and desire to glorify Christ, to strive for true Christian unity, and to do this in and through proper order. We can not have this if we are all going in different directions (which we are). So my encouragement to you all is that you would look to history, to see how God has written it and look to how things have been done and practiced since the beginning. Though I warn you when you embark upon this journey you will find that many things you believe are not right and there is a beauty yet to be seen and heard. You will not come away from this journey unchallenged and unchanged…..The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit….