Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
In the previous post, Which Bible, I emphasized a command from God and key doctrine about God's word: Never add to it. Never take away from it. If you haven't already, please check out the Free Bible Studies about the Word of God for more about this.
What prompted this post today is some email that I received recently. Within the encouraging lines were hints at some doctrines I'd been taught years ago. Not only was I taught them, I taught them to others. Then one day I realized that what I'd been taught - from a man I highly respected and loved – wasn't in the Bible. Many of us have experienced this haven't we? Believing something that isn't scriptural? I'll share highlights of this doctrine because it's important to the purpose of this website.
Most American Christians view pastors as the church leader. That is not what the Bible says, however. In fact “pastors” is mentioned only once in the New Testament and not as a “leader” but listed along with teachers, evangelists, prophets, etc. I believe the overemphasis of this role has led to church becoming more of a CEO led corporation than a family led by elders.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
There are five gifts listed in this verse. Some people have taken this one verse and created the doctrine of the Five Fold Ministry. When I first heard this new doctrine, it was refreshing! God's church is his body with many members. Each member is gifted to edify the others. Just as we want all of our members to function, so God wants to use all of the members of that body not just one or a few.
After some years of experience with this doctrine, I noticed something one day. “Five Fold Ministry” is not in the Bible. And if I'm not supposed to add to or take away from the Word...
If the Bible doesn't say, “Five Fold Ministry,” then what does it say? I discovered we're talking about “gifts of the spirit” or “spiritual gifts.” And if that's that case, then there are a lot more than five when you cross reference that verse with these other chapters: 1 Cor. 12-14 and Romans 12. This is what "rightly dividing the word of truth" in 2 Tim. 2:15 is all about.
The Five Fold Ministry doctrine was a step in the right direction, but it was only a step. We saw that there was more to ministry than the role of a pastor. But there is also more than five ministries. Many man-made doctrines usually start with a good verse but stop short or go too far. We should be comfortable enough with our faith and the scriptures to ask ourselves why we say, do and believe some of the things we do.
I was challenged recently by a friend who asked me about a common phrase we Christians, myself included, use a lot. The more I thought about it the more I realized that phrase isn't in the Bible either. So what will I do about it? I'm going back into the Word to find out what it does say about that, and I'll adjust accordingly. I may share my findings down the road.
I've heard from pilots that, though the plane will usually make it's intended destination, it's off course 90% of the time while in the air. Constant corrections must be made to keep headed in the right direction. That's a good way to look at our walk with God.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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