Acts The Church and Ministerial Training

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator: Kaitiaki

There are two aspects to this thread: the training of the local congregation (for the work of ministry - as in Ephesians) and the theological training of ministers (or pastors).

Acts shows us local congregations that trained young men (and women) for every appropriate aspect of Church work. That included the work of ministry and missions. Discuss this statement. Do you think it is valid? What implications (if any) are there for the present system in almost every denomination of sending young men to a seminary to be trained? How does your Church seek to apply those implications in the way they train ministers and missionaries?

CLARK E. WADE's picture

Greetings Justin, Here is a

Greetings Justin,

Here is a partial answer to some of your input regarding these passages. I have a lot going on right now, so will need to get to these as I'm able.

II Tim. 3:16-17 writes that "every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for instruction...for correction of error and discipline in obedience..."

Justin: 1) "every scripture" refers to the OLD TESTAMENT. Check the previous verse, and you will see that Paul is referring to the scriptures which Timothy has known since his childhood. It is a big jump to use this verse to support Pauline inerrancy, since as you pointed out (we'll get to this) the early church had no New Testament to rely on.

Clark: 2 Peter 3:16 refers to Paul's letters as "some things dificult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist and misconstrue to their own utter destruction, just as they distort and misinterpret the rest of the Scriptures."

So while some, particularly the Judaizers, questioned and challenged Paul's apostleship, it seems that Peter was one who placed Paul's writings as "Scripture."

I have a high-view of Paul's letters as "profitable for our instruction, for reproof and correction of our errors" regarding church functioning, governance, etc.

It is fascinating that Paul on some occasions mentions when he speaks from personal opinion. But overall, I believe he wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The passage in I Corinthians 14 that we have been discussing is a case in point that Paul makes clear that this is not his personal opinion, but he speaks as the commandment of our Lord. (I Cor. 14:37-38).

My take on this is that a "commandment of the Lord" doesn't change once given or because a man-made tradition nullifies such a command.

Justin: It is important to recognize the particular situations scripture was intended to address. This passage is not written to defend the sacred nature of scripture, but rather to explain the proper role of scripture in the hands of a pastor. Timothy doesn't need to be persuaded that the Old Testament scriptures he learned as a child are holy and sacred--he needs to understand how to apply the scriptures as a pastor.

Clark: Timothy, or Titus were not "pastors" in our modern understanding of that word. The designation of these epistles as "pastoral" is a misnomer. A better term would be "itinerate workers." Timothy and Titus were apostolic co-workers, co-laborers with Paul. Check it out. Read the book of Acts as well as the epistles and notice whenever Paul mentions these brother's names, they are being "sent" somewhere to minister to the churches in his stead. They are never sent as "pastors" to take over church affairs or to preach sermons every Sunday. This is a huge misunderstanding in the Protestant/evangelical community.

"Don't neglect to assemble together but ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER." Heb. 10:25

Justin: Paraphrase: Let us continue in confident development, because we have been forgiven for our baser instincts, and baptized into the faith. We need to continue declaring our faith with consistency, because God will do He promised. Also, think of one another, and push each other to be better and better people. Be faithful in gathering together, unlike some, so that you can improve one another, especially since you know the big day is right around the corner."

Clark: I love your paraphrase Justin. Have you considered doing the entire New Testament? You might have something there.

Justin: This passage teaches that groups of Christians need to gather together again and again to sustain the Christian community in a hostile environment; it does not suffice for extrapolating concrete doctrine about how people gather together, with what regularity and in what intervals, with what kind of order or non-order. As long as there is exhortation and encouragement occurring in the Christian community, as long as all people in the community have interaction with other Christians...

Clark: I say "amen" to this.

Justin: there is no violation of scriptural precedent in an "Order of Service" in a large church, nor in a small group service meeting without leadership, nor in informal gatherings of Christians outside of a definite church format--by this verse, a "Men's Meeting" consisting of a BBQ and genuine conversation falls under the moniker of "church."

Clark: I agree Justin that a BBQ "Men's Meeting" can fall under the monker of "church" for mutual encouragement. I am holding to the position that a procedure which hampers the "one another encouragements" as described in Hebrews is really not a "church meeting" but is, or should be, an equipping meeting for the saints, to encourage their gathering together without the benefit of clergy directing the meetings.

And brother, that's all the time I have for this now. Will come back to the other passages later.

Just for the record, I'm enjoying this enterchange between you and I. :)

Blessings to you brother,