Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bob Thiel weighs in on the death of Batman

Adam West has died.  West was the  Batman that most of us grew up with...unless you had some asswipe of a minister that said it was dancing with demons to watch his show.

Almost-arrested Elisha, Elijah, Joshua, Famous Amos, Habakkuk, Second witless witness, future martyr, and the most disappointing "son" Rod Meredith could have ever had, wants to assure every one of us and all of the deceived people of the world that Adam West will have a place in Thiel's kingdom.

Elijah Theil relates a story where he and his wife saw Adam West speak years ago and then goes on to wonder if West was a Christian.
While I rarely post about the death of American celebrities, since it has been a long time since I did so, I thought I would today.
As far as Adam West goes, I do remember him when I was very young playing Batman on television. A couple of years ago, essentially by accident, my wife and I saw him live at an event in San Luis Obispo we were attending. He spent time discussing his life and his career. He also discussed that he played the Batman character the way he did because Batman was simply a comic-strip character and he felt he portrayed that angle in his acting. I do not recall him mentioning anything about religion, but do remember him wanting to have a ‘star’ on the Hollywood walk of fame. At the time he did not have one. As it turned out, he later got one, and by chance my wife and I saw it when we stopped in Hollywood on our way back from a trip to San Diego a few months ago. 
As I mentioned, Adam West did not discuss religion when we saw him. Perhaps he had some type of Christian faith, perhaps not. 
If not, is he and the others like him  doomed? 
He then jumps to one of the most idiotic comments he could make about West.  Thiel speculates that West may or may have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit.  Who in their right mind thinks of that kind of stuff when they hear someone has died. Only a self-righteous Church of God hypocrite, apparently.
Jesus taught:
31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).
It is reasonable to conclude that Adam West (and most others who have already died) did not commit true blasphemy against the Spirit, so can be forgiven.
The only people I have ever seen "blaspheme the spirit" have been self-appointed Church of God leaders who lie and claim that God has personally set them apart to be his right-hand man.  These men claim that through dreams, visions, and nightmares, that their god speaks to them by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I can state for a fact that no "Holy Spirit" has ever spoken to these men or guided them.  When they lie like this, then who really is the one blaspheming the Spirit?  It certainly is not Adam West!

He then ends his Thiel spiel with this:
My prayers go out to his family. 
Initially, I was not going to cover Adam West’s death at this page, but then decided that some might be interested in understanding how we in the Continuing Church of God view the fate of for those that died and are not part of the true Church of God.
The greatest blessing Adam West has to his credit is to have never been a part of the Church of God or to have ever heard of Bob Thiel and his personality cult.

What Does Bob Thiel and Timothy Kitchen Have In Common?

It is always fascinating reading the shear nonsense that various cult leaders and members post on their Facebook pages and websites.  The COG has always had an inner cabal of members who thought they had the inside track to secret knowledge.  That secret knowledge led to some crazy people over the decades saying and doing a lot of weird things. These weirdos also attracted equally weird followers, just as they still do today.

We have Bob Thiel, who after a couple of nightmares brought on by some bad Mexican food, declared that God spoke to him in those nightmares.  God apparently had run out of men to run yet another COG so he had to resort to Bob Thiel to be his end time man. After stabbing his "daddy" Rod Meredith in the back, Thiel declared he was a prophet and Chief Overseer of the best Church of God in this end times.

Then there is the Kitchen clan who have elevated Herbert Armstrong and his writings right up there beside Jesus and the Bible.  No man in human history has ever been used more mightily than Herb Armstrong.  No book in the history of civilization has ever been written that is as powerful as The Mystery of the Ages.  It sits right next to the Bible in its importance.  No human writings are worth preserving more than Herb's.

So what do these guys all have in common?  They both believe that The Nevada County Scooper is a legitimate source of news and truth.  Almost-arrested Bob Thiel got all giddy with excitement last week when he reported how the Bilderberg's were meetings in Sierra City, CA so that they could visit the grave of Adolph Hitler, who was reported to be buried nearby.   Days went by as he was mocked by scores of people for falling for such stupidity.

Now we can add Timothy Kitchen Jr. to the Nevada Scooper fan club! Tim Kitchen Jr. is reporting that President Trump has finally put an end to the jets flying over the country and leaving those evil chemtrails.

Kitchen writes that Trump is ending the chemtrail spraying and that they will now turn off all the"smart meters so we can bake from the sun."   Kitchen even invokes the Bible to support this belief.

Both of these numbnuts apparently do not have the common sense to understand that the Nevada County Scooper is a satire site.  Satire, boys...satire.

We Didn't Start the Fire

What a difference a couple of decades make.
No, the reason the Church soon will be teetering on the verge of extinction and irrelevance, will be because those entrusted to perpetuate the love of Jesus in the world, lost the plot so horribly, and gave the world no other option but to look elsewhere for goodness and purpose and truth.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Passivity of Church of God Members

Does this not sound like a typical Church of God member?  We all did this at one point in time.
The problem with many Christians in our day is their attitude toward the Bible.  They will read their Bible, not expecting to be taught of God from it, but will get their teaching from their pastors, preachers, and commentaries, and then go to the Bible only expecting to find proof for what they have already been taught!  (The sad part is that many of these religious cult leaders will actually put their stamp of approval on such passivity).  

The problem begins when one comes across a passage of scripture which would seem to contradict what they have been taught.  How many of us at times such as these reach for our commentaries or run back to our “pastors” or “elders” and ask them to explain the verse to us rather than calling out to God for help and wisdom.  What do you think your “pastor” will tell you?  

You already know what answer they will give.  That’s why you run to them! 

This is NOT how it should be.  Each Christian has a command from God to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. 

Every Christian needs to ask themselves if they know for sure why they believe what they profess to believe, and to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15

The fact that so many in our day accept a teaching or practice just because it comes from my church or “my pastor” is very troubling in light of the apostle Paul's words: 

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  
Acts 20:29-31

The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 timothy 4:1

The apostle Peter warns of the same: 

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." 2 Peter 2:1-2 

How many times has the Lord Himself warned over and again of false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They all knew that apostasy would creep into the church very shortly after their departure.  Even a rudimentary study of church history will show that this is exactly what took place.  Christianity absorbed more and more from its surrounding cultures and religions until the pure stream of Truth was thoroughly polluted.  

What is most troubling about this is the average Christian’s reluctance and ambivalence in asking questions about the issues of some of their teachings and practices.  This satanic brainwashing and buffoonery has deceived, and IS deceiving millions of unknowing, often unthinking people into actually believing that:

Obeying your Pastor is the same as obeying God!

- That “going to Church” is the highest form of worship and is commanded by God!

- That all of your spiritual leaders are clothed with divine authority!

- And that when it comes to a marital issue, a wife is to listen to and follow her Pastor’s counsel, rather than her own husband!

Indeed, the wolves have been placed in charge of the hen house, and are doing their best to keep the hens ignorant of the slaughter of Truth that is going on.   

In the Church of God, it is cool to be passive.  Let Bob Thiel, James Malm, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Vic Kubik and Jim Franks think for you.  It is so much easier.  No decisions have to be made. No wallowing in the areas of doubt and questions.  No contemplating the gray areas of life.

Gerald Weston: Rod Meredith was the ONLY man brave enough for God to use

Gerald Weston has a post up on the LCG site where he states that Rod Meredith was the only man in the Church of God who was zealous enough to start a church and lead it.  None of the other men out there with their own personality cults have God's blessing.  Weston claims that Meredith was the ONLY ONE who had the balls when the church was changing doctrine that had the guts to step out and preserve the truth once delivered. No other human leader today qualifies or has ever accomplished as much as Rod Meredith.

Dr. Meredith’s funeral last Sunday gave a fitting tribute to a man to whom we all owe a great deal. It is so easy to take many events in life for granted, but we should never forget the contribution Dr. Meredith gave for each of us. It is true that if he had not stepped up to the plate at critical times over the last 25 years, that God would have worked through someone else to preserve His Work, but the fact is that Dr. Meredith was the one brave, bold, tenacious, and zealous enough for God to use in a special way. Guests for the funeral came from Australia and Belgium, as well as from all over the United States and Canada. There were visitors from various Church of God groups and some former Ambassador College students. A large high school auditorium was booked for the occasion and it turned out to be the perfect size, with most seats filled. A copy of the funeral is being produced for the Internet and in DVD format for member viewing. Last weekend was also a special singles activity in Charlotte. Over 60 singles from North America came for an annual event known as the BRiC weekend (Building Relationships in Christ). All reports indicate it was a huge success. Please pray that God will bless His Work and His people as we gather to worship Him in the coming Day of Pentecost. We certainly need His blessing and the guidance of His Holy Spirit at this time.
–Gerald Weston
That statement must be causing Bob Thiel butt-hurt!  Imagine that out of all the hundreds of splinter group leaders out there God only used Rod Meredith.  Rod was the ONE and ONLY brave soul out there to follow God. Ouch!


Is UCG Ready For Prophesying Youth and Speaking In Tongues?

Vic Kubik gave a Pentecost sermon this past Sunday where he talked about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church.
On Pentecost, I gave the sermon and I look to a time that is described in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit was powerfully poured out on the Church and that power was the game changer as the Church suddenly grew from 120 to 3000 and then by another 2000 shortly afterward. This great outpouring was promised to the “Last Days” yet to come. What happened at Pentecost in 31 A.D. was only a type of what will yet happen.
Can you really imagine this happening in the United Church of God?  They cannot even remain united as a church or a conglomeration of Churches of God.  If they cannot do that then how do they expect the Holy Spirit to descend upon them and do a work?
1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
5-11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites;
Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia,
    Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
    Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene;
Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes;
Even Cretans and Arabs!
“They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”
12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”
13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.” 
Acts 2 continues on with this:
Peter Speaks Up
14-21 That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
“In the Last Days,” God says,
“I will pour out my Spirit
    on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,
    also your daughters;
Your young men will see visions,
    your old men dream dreams.
When the time comes,
    I’ll pour out my Spirit
On those who serve me, men and women both,
    and they’ll prophesy.
I’ll set wonders in the sky above
    and signs on the earth below,
Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
    the sun turning black and the moon blood-red,
Before the Day of the Lord arrives,
    the Day tremendous and marvelous;
And whoever calls out for help
    to me, God, will be saved.” 
Can you imagine any Church of God where young men and women stand up and say they had a vision and have the church respectfully listen to them?  The upper echelon guard will immediately kick them out for causing division.  How can some lowly young boy or girl receive a vision when God only speaks through the ministry?

Given the horrendous track record of failed prophecies by Church of God leaders over the generations, perhaps we need some new blood prophesying.  They certainly could do better than our current gaggle of lying false prophets. That would certainly take the wind out of the sails of the windbags like Thiel, Pack, and Malm.
41-42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
43-45 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46-47 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
Is any COG ever going to see thousands of new members joining their ranks? Absolutely not!  When not a single one of them follow they man they claim to follow, how can they be baptizing people into his name?

Can you imagine all of the COG's sitting down for a common meal and fellowship and following Jesus?  Absolutely not!  The Churches of God will not even attempt to live in harmony, and this includes UCG and COGWA.

Does the world look at the Church of God and like what they see?  If their own members cannot like what they see in their own churches, then why in the world would the rest of humanity find something delightful in a Church of God?  UCG. COGWA, PCG, LCG, RCG and the improperly named "continuing" Church of God do not have anything delightful to share.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Journal: News of the Churches of God Issue 195 Is Now Online

The latest issue of The Journal: News of the Churches of God is now online.

This issue continues to reminisce about the "glory days" of the church/college when everything was superfantabulous and everyone lived and loved in harmony, though the wall was starting to fall down at this point.  It starts off with an article that talks about the 1997 Graduation of the Ambassador University in Big Sandy, Texas, the last graduation the college would ever see.

There is an article discussing Rod Meredith and his "influence" upon the Church of God.  Of all "evangelists" the church has ever had, Meredith has left a trail of destruction, tears, and death in his wake.  It is disconcerting to many to see this man held up on a lofty pedestal as what a "true Christian" looks like.

There is also an article discussing Meredith's "Last Straw's" that caused him to apostatize and leave the WCG and start his own church--two of them in fact.  Meredith is portrayed as being justified, as usual, in forming his own personality cults.

There are several other tributes to Meredith by other people, including a whitewash story by Larry Salyer concerning the start of Global Church of God and how he and Meredith justified their actions.

Then there is this from Geoffery Neilson, God's OFFICIAL South African Prophet:

Remembering Dr. Meredith
Here is a poem in memory of Roderick C. Meredith (21 June 1930–18 May 2017): 
As in the days of David, Israel’s King, 
Who was greatly aided by Mighty Men 
When attacked by arrows and slings 
Springing from enemies the devil sent. 
So in this age men mighty in God’s Word 
Worldwide have used that sharp Sword. 
Taught what they from God’s Apostle heard: 
The end-time descendant of David, sent by the Lord. 
Of those men mighty in Bible truth, 
Roderick C. Meredith was notable, 
Irrevocable in zeal from his youth. 
His length of service unapproachable. 
The Golden Gloves champ stayed in the ring 
Until his fight against God’s adversary was won. 
Surely that’s what the angels in heaven sing. 
May we likewise hold fast, over-come, 
Reach the promised immortal rung 
And live forever with God and His
Eternal Son. 
Geoffrey R. Neilson First full-time employee in the Radio Church of God office 18 April 1963 in Johannesburg, South Africa 
So there you have it!  The official proof that Mr. Golden Gloves fought the good fight and defeated the adversary.  Woo Hoo!

There is the usual nonsense from Alton Billingsley. This time it is the death of America. Apparently, the only cure America has is to read Mystery of the Ages.  I am sure Gerald Flurry will appreciate that.  This will give  him the opportunity to mail out his edited version to gullible people that proves he is an end time prophet (HWA said in the MOA that there were no prophets alive in these "last" days.)  Oops, How could HWA have been SOOOOOOOOO wrong????

There is an ad by Ray Daly on why COG members should not be tithing to support ministers and that the ministers and church leaders should be getting their hands dirty by working in a real job.  Can you imagine delicate Thiel getting his hands dirty?

Of course, today’s ministers would say that they are not of the Pharisee pattern. If they’re right, then from whence do they come up with their having the right to receive a tithe from their assemblies?

They do not get it from Paul. Yet he was the “leading minister” in the pathway established by Jesus Christ. Paul clearly tells those elders who today’s ministers claim were the ministers of the true church that they, like the Pharisees, “ought to work with your own hands.” 
In other words, unless independently wealthy, they were to get their hands dirty. In reality, they were told to not expect the assemblies to support them. 
The Journal would prefer that readers subscribe to the print edition:

To subscribe, simply send a check or money order. Contact THE JOURNAL for subscriptions and renewals at P.O. Box 1020, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A. See more subscriber options including prices on page 2. See also THE JOURNAL’s Web site, Thanks for reading THE JOURNAL! 

Proclamations from Religious Authority Do Not Change the Facts

How Dendrochronolgy Disproves Noah's Flood

How Meteorology  Disproves Noah's Flood


How Zoology Disproves Noah's Flood

How Paleontology Disproves Noah's Flood

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wicked Shepherds: OBEY THEM

"If a church leader, be he a pastor or an elder, is living and walking by the Spirit 
and is continually looking to Christ as his example, 
he will never be desirous or demanding obedience to his so-called office or authority.  
The point to be observed is that mindless obedience 
is not what is pictured in Hebrews 13:17."

The following has been reprinted here by permission from the Wicked Shepherds web site.


Doesn't the Bible say, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them;” “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor;” “Remember them that had the rule over you;” “Salute all them that have the rule over you;”  “Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder?”

These are the all-time favorite verses that church leaders love shoving down church members throats and then stand there and watch their subjects shrivel up and cower in the dust.

If you are familiar with this website, particularly the “Institutional Church Series” section, you are aware that some English words found in our Bibles have been incorrectly translated such as the word “church” or the word “office” for example.  You have also been made aware of the fact that these “mistranslations”, “omissions,” or “additions” have been made deliberately in order to mislead the people and to thereby further a hierarchical, ruling class of so-called church officials.

Into the same class of mistranslated words as “church” and “office,” you can now throw in the words obey,” "rule over,” and submit to them.”

Just as we have clearly shown you how the word “Ecclesia,” meaning an assembly or community of God’s people was deceitfully replaced with the word “church” (meaning a building or institution) by the KJV translators in order to maintain their control over the people; in like manner, by the help and aid of the Spirit, we will now clearly show you how the above verses of Scripture have also been maligned and perverted to further the agendas of power-hungry, sanctimonious control freaks who are bent on corralling unto themselves a pliant people of unquestioned servility.

We will begin with Hebrews 13:17 as our foundation and make our progression from there.  This verse at first glance, seems to be loaded in favor of those who like to rule over God’s people, which is probably why it is perhaps the most favorite of “church leaders.”  It incorporates all of our three words together in one breath.

We will take a look at each word, and as we go along, it will become apparent not only as to what the true meanings are, but also as to the reason behind the translators substitution of an entirely different word to further their hierarchical/institutional agenda.

Here is Hebrews 13:17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

First off, notice this.  The word “over,” is not in any way, shape, or form in the old manuscripts.  This word was inserted in the text of Scripture by the translators.  We will therefore dismiss it altogether and all that it implies.

Next, let’s examine the word “Obey” or “Obey them.”  Anyone can check this out simply by using a Bible software program.  When we go to the Strong's number for the word translated “obey,” we find the Greek word "peitho"-  Strong's number 3982.  It appears about 60 times.  By far the most common translation for this Greek word in the King James Version is “persuade,” “persuaded,” “persuadeth,” etc.

Here is the first place this word appears in the New Testament:

Matthew 27:20  "But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus."

The chief priests and elders had no authority to command the people to ask for Barabbas or to destroy Jesus. But they we able to persuade the multitude to "ask" Pilate to do so.  And so it is in Hebrews 13:17.

From Vine’s Expository Dictionary“Peitho: to persuade, to win over; to be persuaded, to listen to, as in Acts 5:40 (passive voice).  The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion."

From Thayer’s and Smith’s Greek Lexicon: “Peitho: To persuade; to induce one by words to believe; to make friends of, to win one's favor, gain one's good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one. To be persuaded, to suffer one's self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith in a thing; to believe." 

There is a Greek word for “obey.”  It is “hupakouo.” “Hupakouo” appears 21 times in the New Testament and is properly translated either as “obey,” “obedience,” or “obeyed.”  Here is the first time this word appears in the New Testament:

Matthew 8:27  "And the men marveled saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"

Also, Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."

1st Peter 3:6   "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."

The winds and the sea obeyed Christ; children are admonished to obey their parents; and Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord.  But nowhere in Scripture are we ever told that a “pastor” or any “church leader” has the right to rule over the people as Christ rules the wind and sea; as parents rule their children; or as wives ought to obey their husbands.

The Greek word “hupakouo” is never used in that way.  Rather the Greek word “peitho” meaning “persuaded” is used instead.

Let’s look at some more verses with the word “peitho.”

“Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded (peitho) them to continue in the grace of God.” Acts 13:43

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing (dialegomai: discuss, to reason) and persuading (peitho) the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts 19:8

Here the apostle is “reasoning,” he’s having a discussion with the people in the synagogue.  He is not commanding them; he is not beckoning them to look at his credentials and thereby render obedience.  No.  He reasoned with them, and they were persuaded. (peitho)

The apostle was not there to “magnify his office.” He was not there to build his church.  He was not there to make a name for himself.  He was there for one purpose only, and that was to hold up Christ to the people.

Do you want to see a picture of true leadership?  Why was Paul so “persuasive?” Because Paul himself was absolutely and thoroughly persuaded.  He knew altogether of what he spoke. 

“…This Paul hath persuaded (peitho) and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands.” Acts 19:26

When standing before King Agrippa, the King said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest (peitho) me to be a Christian.”  Acts 26:28

“…To whom he (Paul) expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading (peitho) them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets…” Acts 28:23

Here are some more Scriptures with the Greek word “peitho” meaning persuade or persuaded.  Remember, we are still discussing Hebrews 13:17 where the word “obey” was substituted for the Greek word “peitho.”

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade (peitho) men…"  2 Corinthians 5:11

“For do I now persuade (peitho) men, or God; or do I seek to please men?” Galatians 1:10

“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 (peitho) that in thee also.” 2 Timothy 1:5

“…For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded (peitho) that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  2 Timothy 1:12

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded (peitho) of them, and embraced them.”  Hebrews 11:13

If a church leader, be he a pastor or an elder, is living and walking by the Spirit and is continually looking to Christ as his example, he will never be desirous or demanding obedience to his so-called office or authority.  The point to be observed is that mindless obedience is not what is pictured in Hebrews 13:17.

Look at the Apostle Peter.  In Acts 10, God caused Peter to fall into a trance and receive a vision through which he was later sent to Cornelius’ house to bring the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles.  In Acts 11, we read, “Now the apostles and the brethren that were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, You went in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.”  11:1-3

What was Peter’s response?  Did he show them his badge, reminding them that he was an Apostle?  Did he quote to them the verse of Scripture, “Touch not thou the Lord’s Anointed?”  Did he suggest that he ought not be questioned?  Did he remind them of his ministerial dignity and awesome duties?  Did he lash back at them in “holy anger?” No.  There was absolutely nothing of this kind of grandstanding spectacle whatsoever.

Peter calmly rehearsed for them the entire incident from the beginning, right up until… “as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit….. And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life.”

He persuaded them, so much so that they were silent and glorified God.  Peter did not demand obedience or uniformity.  Peter’s handling of the situation with wisdom and grace caused God to be glorified.  It showed how Peter carried himself and what his attitude was toward his brethren.  He did not view himself as above questioning and criticism.  Those who heard him were persuaded by his Godly character and walk.  Remember back at the house, when Cornelius first met him and bowed down to him?  What was Peter’s response? “But Peter raised him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” 

Do you see the example of Peter demanding submission, obedience, and respect to his sacred appointment?  Do you detect an aura of pastoral dignity?  Do you see a man standing in an "office appointed by Christ and enclothed with the authority of Christ?”   Neither do I! 

Now, we will look at the word “rule” or "rule over.”  “Obey them that have the rule over you…” Hebrews 13:17

As with the word “o-b-e-y,” it is clear that the translator’s choice of the English word “rule” or “rule over them” was deliberately designed to not only benefit, but also to bolster the already embedded practice of institutional church control. (And yet again, the word “over” is no where present in the original text, and should be dismissed.)

When we check what the Greek word translated “rule” is in this verse and verses like it, we find that this is not a translation but a redefinition of one Greek word. The Greek word translated "rule over you" in Hebrews 13:7 and 17 and 24 is “hegeomai,” Strong's #2233 and it is normally translated “count,” “esteem,” “to lead” or “to go before.”  “…Them that have the rule over…” is a substitution by the translators.  There is no connotation whatsoever of “ruling over.”  True leadership is nothing more than going on ahead. 

Here are some verses where this word is properly translated.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  Philippians 2:3

“Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ.”  Philippians 3:8

“And to esteem them very highly in love…”  1 Thessalonians 5:13

Hebrews 13:17 should read “Be persuaded of those you highly esteem," NOT "Obey them that have the rule over you."  No church leader has "dominion over your faith."

2 Corinthians 1:24  “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.”

Look again at Matthew Chapter 20.  “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Not so shall it be among you: but whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

"It is NOT so among" church elders!  True leaders in God’s ecclesia use His word to "persuade" those in the assembly to humble themselves and be servants one of another.  They never "exercise dominion" over anyone in their care. They are rather "helpers of their joy."

The dictionary’s use of the word “rule” or “rule over” fits very nicely in today’s local institutional church: 

Control, dominion: 'under the rule of a dictator,' dominating power, authority, superior, preeminent, predominate, 'rule the roost,' command, regnancy, ascendancy, mastery.

Is this what we see in the Scriptures concerning leaders in the assembly, or is this what we see in today’s religious institutions?  The English definition of the word “rule” or “rule over”is totally devoid of any meaning or even suggestion of service, of ministering, of servanthood, of being an example.  Shouldn't this by itself open your eyes?  This alone should arouse our suspicions, considering that Christ-like leadership is servanthood.

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 18:3-4

“…Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you.

…If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.” John 13:14-17

The same is true in regards to1 Timothy 5:17“Let the elders that rule (proistemi) well be counted worthy of double honor.”   The Greek word proistemi, rendered “rule,” bears no association at all with authority, power, or control.   It merely meant that elders (older men) are to stand with zeal; maintain themselves; should be foremost in knowledge and quality of life; a quality which rightfully should be embodied in all saints.  “Proistemi” is not therefore for the few, but the duty of all.

“Go ye, and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this Life." Acts 5:20

“…when I stood before the council, except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question before you this day.” Acts 24:20-21

“…to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works.” Titus 3:8

“And let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”  Titus 3:14

How did the word rule or rule over, which in the mind of the English reader conveys control and mastery over the people, find its way into the text when Paul himself wrote:  “Not that we are trying to dictate to you what you must believe; but are fellow workers and helpers of your joy, for by your faith you stand."  2 Corinthians 1:24
Even Paul counted himself as a fellow worker, not as one who “ruled over” Christ’s Ecclesia, knowing that one stands by faith in God, not by men throwing their weight around demanding submission and obedience to their sacred office!

Hebrews 13:17, and verses similar to it, should be translated thus:  “Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you." CLV

In Hebrews 13:7, we have another instance of “ruling over.”

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Please notice that this verse should be in the past tense, but in the KJV it was translated to read as though it were in the present tense.  It is referring to those who have died in the faith; not to current “church leaders.”  As with Hebrews 13:17, the phrase, "them which have the rule over" is a substitution of one Greek word – “hegeomai” (2233)  meaning to esteem, to lead, to go before as a guide.  Hegeomai pictures the act of guiding, going on ahead, leading the way, being an example to the assembly, not sitting and ruling over the assembly.  (And as usual, the phrase “over you” is NOT in the original text.)

The previous two chapters leading up to Hebrews 13 speaks of those who have gone before as examples.  We are to remember such; imitate their faith; and recall the “end of their conversation.” The “hegeomai” of the early New Testament truly followed Christ and His disciples in their example of hardship and suffering.  Should we not remember and follow them?

The Lord Jesus is our only King; our Sovereign; our Lord.  Our English words, rule, rule over, ruler, should only refer to Him!  I suspect that even the most lethal, authoritarian leader in today’s local institutional church knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prevailing practice of ruling over God’s people is totally contrary to the example and teachings of Christ and His Word.  I suspect that many know that “r-u-l-e-r” ought not to be worn across the forehead of a Christian.  Some of these so-called “church leaders” are so arrogant; so pompous; so big-headed when they refer to themselves as rulers.  Some who are assigning to themselves ministerial dignity, honors, titles, headships, not to mention huge salaries and perks, should be ashamed.  But don’t hold your breath.

Along with the phrases “obey them” and “rule over them” is the phrase “submit to them.”

Hebrews 13:17: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them.”

Rightly so, the word “submit” is a horrible pill to swallow for many Christians because of the spiritual abuse and unbiblical authoritarianism that is rampant in the local institutional church.

The Greek word that was translated submit in Hebrews 13:17 is “hupeiko.” It simply means to yield or to surrender.  It is closely related to “hupotasso” in 1 Peter 5:5 which says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”

Hupeiko in no way infers any kind of outward force being placed on the person yielding.  It is voluntarily yielding to someone else in Godly love.  In Christ’s ecclesia, you do not demand that someone submit to your authority.  If you do, it proves that you really do not have any authority.  You are not fit to lead if you are not capable of guiding.

Nowhere in the Scriptures is the Ecclesia referred to as an army.  The picture of a drill sergeant barking out orders to a marching platoon is nowhere to be found in Scripture, but IS found in the church organizations of men. Many “church leaders” of various institutions have thought that this is the kind of authority that they are to possess in order for them to “rule” over God’s people.  Their teachers, their seminaries, along with their carnal hearts told them to rule this way.  The need to "keep people in line" by force or by ranking as in a military system, is not a Scriptural principle.

Again, look at 1 Peter 5:5: “Likewise, ye younger, submit (hupotasso) yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.”

Concerning hupotasso, Strong says, “A Greek military term meaning, to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden."

The Greek word hupotasso has a military and a non-military usage. They are as different as night and day. The one speaks of submission to a commander, while the other speaks of the willing deference of a loving family.  Mindless slave-like obedience is not the relationship presented in the New Testament between elders (older men) and their brethren.

The word proud (huperephanos) in 1 Peter 5:5 is the translation of a Greek word which means literally to show above, that is, a  proud person who shows himself above others. The word humble (tapeinos) is the same word that is translated lowly in Matthew11:29, where it describes the Lord's character.

In the early secular documents, the word is found referring to the Nile River in its low stage in the words, “it runs low.”  The word means “not rising far from the ground,” describing the Christian who follows in the humble and lowly steps of his Lord.

In one translation, 1 Peter 5:5 is as follows: “Likewise, younger men may be subject to the elder; Moreover, all of you, bind about yourselves as a girdle, humility toward one another, because God opposes himself to those who set themselves above others, but gives grace to those who are lowly.”

Contrary to popular “church doctrine,” Peter is not telling the believers to submit to a chain-of-command type ranking in the assembly.  Neither is he accusing those who refuse to submit to their “church leaders” of being rebellious or proud!  Pride is NOT the act of being un-submissive to so-called church rulers.

It is the act of ignoring Christ's lowly example and exalting one’s self above others!

Pride is not the refusal to “place yourself under” some church official.  It is the desired result to rise above others!

Even though Jesus was God, He did not seek to rise above men. “But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7

Pride is the act of setting oneself above others, not the refusal to submit to those who have wrongfully done so. Humility then is embracing the lowliness of Christ, who although He was God, humbled himself and made Himself of no reputation.  If humility is to make oneself of no reputation, what then is pride?

This is the unholy place into which the doctrines and commandments of men has led people.  This is what institutional religion will do and necessitates. This is the result that "the local Church" as an organization, brings upon the Lord's people.  It follows Rome, not the Lord Jesus.

It is apparent that many church leaders, while viewing Christ in his glorified ruling position, seated next to the Father, have forgotten his earthly example as a servant.  Church leaders are not czars.  They are not the Head of the Ecclesia.  All authority is His, not theirs.  Any “authority” that is given is not an authority to rule and command, but to serve others, just as He did.

“Be not deceived my beloved brethren.”   James 1:16

“Obey them; Rule over them; Submit to them” are terms that have been twisted and distorted for a long, long time by men who love to command and control their fellow humans.  Christ's sheep have been corralled, mistreated and imprisoned by thieves and robbers for many, many centuries. Many have been deeply scarred through these false teachings and misapplications of men. 

It is almost frightening to see how few "church leaders" truly believe and understand God’s Scriptures, and how fewer yet, obey them!

If an older man (an Elder in the true meaning of the word) is above suspicion, spiritually matured, a good teacher, and truly interested in the genuine welfare of people, HE DOESN'T HAVE TO HAVE ONE OUNCE OF AUTHORITY to be of service to others and to advance the cause of Christ.  He will never have to demand that people respect and listen to him, for they will do that gladly.  If he is Christ-like in every area of his life, showing the same quality of love for others as did Jesus, people will be persuaded by his teaching and example and will yield to his wisdom.

The example of Jesus is the most powerful argument against the idea of a ruling clergy.  Did He model one thing, only to build another?  Did He come serving, only to elevate His people’s status later down the road?  We think not! 

If it is not His doing, reflecting His image, portraying His character, it is then NOT of His workmanship, neither is it His Ecclesia!

Ken Cascio
Webmaster: Wicked Shepherds