You are hereFinal Interactions With A Former Pastor
Final Interactions With A Former Pastor
Although, I was under the impression that Mr. Frost had resolved not to write directly to and about me (especially titling articles with my name), but nevertheless I will respond. Please forgive me for having to write directly to and about Mr. Frost but when he writes articles with my name in the title, I have no choice but in interact with him on that level, but this will be the last time I interact with “Pastor” Samuel Frost – from here on out, I’ll only interact with Brother Sam.In his article called A Response to Roderick Edwards’ Ecclesiological Theology, Mr. Frost appears to be trying to build bridges by talking about the similarities in his and our views. But rather, it is an old debate tactic wherein the debater pretends his opponent and he are saying the same thing, then he tries to absorb (sometimes through flattery) his opponent under his own arguments, thus ending the debate.
Mr. Frost tries this tactic all through his article but I’m not buying it. First off Mr. Frost has not been consistent since this discussion began over a year ago. He started off by merely labeling and dismissing. He has called us heretics, inner-light types, rebels against God and God’s people, anarchists and many other things – and despite his so saying, I have yet to see where he has actually asked us to forgive him and accept his retraction of those labels.
About a year ago, Mr. Frost’s church website had his title as “pastor” but soon after this discussion began it was mysteriously changed to “teaching minister” – which is better but only shows how Mr. Frost must someday come full circle.
Mr. Frost pretends that we have been unclear and only as of late provided him with a systematic explanation, but our focus has not changed since the start of this discussion. There is no backpedaling, for even in one of the very first articles called Where is the Church? I wrote:
Lastly, we are left with what to do as fellow believers. Where do we go to meet if none of these institutions are THE Church? Is it not also a shame that we refuse so simple words that Christ said that where two or more are gathered in His name there He will also be? (Mt 18:20) But instead we maintain all the trappings of the Church that was merely the foundational group to usher in the Kingdom. Indeed, the Church is not gone per se but has been built up as the pillars of the Kingdom that has come.
So, yes the original premise still stands. No backpedaling.
Let us now interact with Mr. Frost’s article. We shall simply quote portions of his article then respond. Fuller treatments of our propositions can be found on www.thekingdomcome.com
Many “home” churches and some Preterist churches have been disrupted over these matters.
Good & amen!, that is our intent. One of our greatest contentions is that now that the Church has transitioned out of the “enduring” and “overcoming” stage of the first-century, we ought to be doing things differently. But instead, there are many new “Preterist churches” popping up – often they even maintain the same old denominational names as they had – “Such & Such Church of Christ”
It is of grave concern that we don’t simply retread our futurists mindsets (& denominational views), but slowdown and explore how Christ’s victory impacts not only our eschatology but also our ecclesiology, yet there are many (mainly former futurist pastors) that are all too eager to pick up where they left off in their futurist paradigm.
It is a settled matter between Edwards and myself that the Church is a present day entity. She is the Wife of the Lord, not the Bride. She was married and presented to Christ…
No, it’s NOT a settled matter because up until recently Mr. Frost was acting as if there was nothing different about the Bride becoming the Wife. To Mr. Frost everything continued as it was in the first-century. He has even complained that what we are advocating disrupts the “continuity of the Church”. Well, I am glad to see him modifying his position here, but it is not yet settled because now he must explain how that marriage makes any difference in the life of Christians. So far, Mr. Frost’s brand of Preterism makes most of us want to say “So what”. I mean, he declares Jesus has returned but nothing has changed. The same old bridesmaids occupy their position in his view. The Church is still the “Church militant”, holed up behind the walls of their cloisters.
[Roderick is advocating] If Christ is “sole king,” then no one, absolutely no one, has the right to tell you what the Bible says. You, and you alone, as acting member, with Christ and Christ alone, do not need any other member of the Body to teach, preach, proclaim, tell, speak, or encourage you.
Hmmm – Interesting little points here. They bring out Mr. Frost’s real agenda – “to tell us what the Bible says”. Mr. Frost, you have not only the right to tell us what the Bible says, but the obligation, as we do toward you and all people. We are to reason together from the Scriptures Mr. Frost, but perhaps to you “reason together” means to sit and listen while someone pontificates a monologue. You seem to be resorting back to your original labeling, that we are merely advocating an “inner-light” relationship with Christ. No, that is where the enthusiasts (such as Thomas Munzer) went wrong (coupled with their futurists concept of violently advancing the kingdom). There is only one sure foundation of faith and that must be Scripture. Not experience, not emotions, not men (even those called popes, priests, and pastors), not even “the church” (since we have seen what reliance on “the church” via example of the Roman Catholic Church has done to men & women). But Mr. Frost, you have continuously misrepresented what we have been saying from the beginning. Of course we should be “teaching”, “preaching”, “proclaiming”, “telling”, “speaking”“encouraging” each other – it is YOU who say there is an official role for this, called “pastor”. We continue to advocate that ALL CHRISTIANS should be doing this now that the kingdom is CONSUMMATED, and the Bible is complete and we no longer need to “spoon-fed” the N.T. which was still being revealed in the first-century.
If the Body is present today, and the Body is many members of Christ, then how can the arm of the Body say to the Leg of the Body, “I have no NEED of you?” In other words, one individual member does not constitute the ENTIRE Body of Christ. Rather, the ENTIRE Body of Christ constitutes the Body of Christ!
Mr. Frost, again there is nothing subtracted from the Body of Christ when we say there is no longer need for elders. Is the Body of Christ decreased now that both you and I agree there is no longer Apostles? No. This reference to the Body of Christ having different functions is not speaking merely of “clergy/laity” distinctions as you’d have us to believe but of the ENTIRE Body – that is every Christian. It has never been our goal or intent to exclude you (though you have tried to exclude us through your labeling) Mr. Frost, we simply want you to be Brother Sam. You can still “teach”, “preach”, “proclaim”, “tell”, “speak”, & "encourage”. But you are NOT a shepherd over a flock that was “enduring” and “overcoming”, through the tribulation and waiting for “their salvation that was nearer than before and coming”. Plainly, you ARE NOT a modern equivalent of a first-century elder/pastor. You are simply another Christian like the rest of us. If you have knowledge to share, great!!! Let’s talk. If I have some questions about Greek, I’ll get your input (as I will others, either directly or via commentaries) BUT, you are NOT “watching over souls to give an account at Christ's appearing” – Are you?
The individual Christian believer is only defined as such because he is a member of the larger Body of believers. This fact alone makes fellowship a necessary part to an overall healthy, vital, and dominion oriented way of life.
Over and over again we have said that Christians by the very nature of being kingdom dwellers will seek each other out, for fellowship and cooperative worship and praise of God. So, when Mr. Frost inserts this little misleading sentence, he only muddies the waters. It has always been our position that Christians will and should continue to interact cooperatively. The contention is that Mr. Frost and others say it MUST be done as they prescribe, under a pastor or some other structure. They claim it is otherwise chaos and anarchy. To them it is impossible to simply come before Christ independently. We must be “guided” or “pointed to” Christ as Mr. Frost has said other places. Then why did we ever leave the Roman Catholic system wherein the priests “guide” and “pointed to” Christ? And if Christ has returned and is PRESENT then what difference is it if we still require YOU to “guide” and “point to” Christ whom with (especially as preterists) we now have a direct relationship – so much so that we no longer even require Apostles, except by their codified words. Praise God!!!!
And when we speak of the Body of believers, we don’t simply mean your local church Mr. Frost – I will interact with the entire kingdom of God. I will not wait for you or any other “pastor” to point it out. For, how many years have these “pastors” not even seen the victory of Christ right before their very eyes. I will not be the blind being led by the blind, but rather the Scriptures, and the Christ-given liberty to read them for myself has and will continue to illuminate my life.
So, do not mislead people by pretending we are advocating people shouldn't have fellowship, but rather WE are saying that fellowship should be broader than the local church and what their “pastor” authorizes.
But, then he[Edward’s] makes a curious statement, “There is no longer any need for elders since we have the completed Bible the “guides” no longer guide in a revelatory sense.” He clarifies this further, “Such “gifts” as men may espouse, like having the apparent ability to relate the Scriptures is not the same sense of the first century “elders/shepherds” that were directly appointed by Apostles”. Edwards’ reasoning here is straight out of Presbyterinism, which I endorse. As I have written before, Presbyterians have ALWAYS maintained the distinction between “ordinary calling/teaching” and “supra-ordinary calling/teaching,”
It is here that Mr. Frost tries to employ his absorption tactic. He knows very well I’m not saying the same thing as the Presbyterians. For, your information Mr. Frost, I have attended a Reformed Presbyterian congregation for over four years and just recently my family has been told not to come back because I disagreed when the pastor said: “It is not enough to read your Bible but you must be under preaching”. But just in case you try to claim this is merely the error of this particular pastor let me quote:
This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them. (Westminister Confession of Faith, Chapter XXV:1:IV)
Taught by whom? Ordinances administered by whom? This doesn’t match with your affirmation that there should be no clergy/laity distinction, Mr. Frost.
You know very well that when I speak of the ability to teaching in the “common sense” it is not in this authoritative, almost revelatory manner that the Presbyterians hold. For, where I was attending they even had the concept of the “fenced table” wherein they would not allow anyone to take the Lord’s Supper unless the elders were certain the person was taking it in good faith. So, please Mr. Frost don’t try to pretend and mislead the readers by saying I’m merely espousing Presbyterianism. For these Presbyterians believe the same as you Mr. Frost, that they are “called” to “watch over the souls of a flock”, a portion of the visible and invisible Church militant, rather than seeing the Church Triumphant. That is inconsistent with the liberating victory of Christ and is MORE THAN simply a “common sense” distinction but rather is applying to themselves a uniquely first-century situation that can never, and should never be replicated. That specific situation is no longer the case.
Edwards asserts, without any Scriptural datum, that every single elder we find in the NT was directly appointed by the Apostles. I would like to see on explicit verse that proves this, when, for example, we know of no apostles in Rome, yet, we find a thriving church in Rome (same for Ephesus).
Ok, once again I shall give “scriptural datum” to a “pastor” concerning the appointment of elders –
ELDERS ARE APPOINTED
And when they [Paul & Barnabas] had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)
For this cause left I [Paul] thee [Titus] in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee [as an Apostle by proxy] (Titus 1:5)
Now, Mr. Frost takes exception and tries to lead the reader along to the conclusion that elders need not be appointed. First off, this is a non sequitur because our contention is that elders as used in the N.T. were for the “watching over” the enduring and overcoming flock until Christ appears. Even this verse seems to confirm our contention:
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Pet 5:1-4)
Does Mr. Frost REALLY believe the Chief Shepherd has appeared? Doesn’t this context show us that the first-century “elder” was serving a specific function of which anyone today calling themselves an elder does not? For, we proclaim the Chief Shepherd HAS APPEARED and we praise God and give honor that the first-century elders (under shepherds) did their work well and fed the flock until His Appearing. Does Mr. Frost claim to be an “elder” in this sense?
Lastly, the idea that no apostles went to Rome or Ephesus to appoint elders is debatable. The entire Roman Catholic paradigm is built upon Peter being in Rome, that is not to say we agree but simply to state that just because Mr. Frost can’t find where an Apostle or a proxy (like Titus & Timothy) were in Rome doesn’t mean the elders there were not appointed. Perhaps the elders were appointed elsewhere and traveled there. No matter, we have two solid texts that establish that elders were appointed, and they could desire to be elders all they wanted but could not be so until they met the qualifications and were APPOINTED. We will not toy with Mr. Frost’s appeal to silence anymore than we do with Ed Steven’s rapture theory appeal to silence.
Secondly, as my series on this issue has shown, no one appointed the “elders of the people” in Exodus 3.16, which is where they first appear. The logic of the Bible is that while some elders were appointed, others were simply recognized as such by their peers, without any revelatory functions accompanying their performance as a leader.
Yes, I’ve read each of Mr. Frost’s series of which he titles Preterist Ecclesiology, and which might better be titled Futurist Ecclesiology Retread as Preterist since it fails to take into account that the first-century situation was unique and specific. The glaring point is made even by Mr. Frost’s above contention. The “elders” in Exodus 3:16 were seen in the N.T. not as the elders of the “called out ones” but rather these “elders” descendants were the “elders” Jesus was constantly rebuking with the priests, scribes and elders. These elders in Exodus 3:16, that Mr. Frost is falsely trying to link to the elders of the Church became the very elders that were constantly persecuting the Church. So, again the logic that the Church elders WERE INDEED APPOINTED does NOT rely on Mr. Frost's erroneous linkage to Exodus 3:16 but rather on the clear texts of Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:5.
Edwards, in seeking not to destroy Preterist congregations with “elders” (what he calls, in his opinion, a “first century model”), is stating quite plainly that I, as an “elder,” am not sinning by using this title.
You may not be sinning (I don’t pretend to know your motivations), but you and all modern-day “pastors” ARE confused and confusing Christians by applying to yourselves a uniquely first-century title. You at one point said titles didn’t matter. I ask, is it a sin to call one’s self “priest” in the sense of being an intermediary between man and God? Would it be a sin to say you were the High Priest between man and God? Would it be a sin to call one’s self a THE Vicar of Christ on earth? So, you see titles DO MATTER and your use of the specifically first-century titles of “pastor” (denoting a shepherd pastoring a flock) and “elder” may not yet constitute a sin but it certainly constitutes a very confusing and misleading circumstance for those sitting under your “teaching” and “preaching”. If you want to teach, fine, so be it, no one is saying you shouldn’t. But why not simply rent out a hall (charge a fee if you want, not a tithe) and start the Sam Frost school of biblical teaching, but by starting up and maintaining these “churches” with all the trappings of the uniquely first-century structures (minus the Apostles and Prophets unless you are Charismatic) is doing nothing but stunting the realization of the liberty Christ has brought at His Appearing.
While I label Edwards’ view as socialism in a nutshell, I have not sought to break fellowship with him. Secondly, when I first read Edwards’ materials, I did, in fact, call him several names, like “heretic.” I have since apologized (though he still brings it up), and have come to see his view as just another theory of Ecclesiology, take it or leave it. I merely assert on the basis of the Second Appearance of Christ that the “everything ceased” view is absurd, logically confusing, and leads to spiritual anarchy. I still assert this. But, it is plain that Edwards does not endorse the “everything has ceased” view.
Really? How do you continue to have fellowship with someone you keep calling a rebel against God and God’s people? If you have apologized, please make it at least as public and visible as your constant articles that name my name in the title, and please do so with more than the word apologize which simply means to make a defense for (hence, apologetics). I would rather see a Christian-like appeal for forgiveness and a clear retraction of those labels. So, yes I still bring it up until that time.
Next, even those who you claim are espousing an everything has ceased view are not really espousing that and you know it. You continue to misrepresent people. If they were truly advocating everything has ceased they would close up shop and stop discussing the Bible all together. So, be honest.
As it has been seen, Edwards is actually more closer to my position than first imagined. He plainly dismisses anyone claiming revelatory gifts, as do I. But, he plainly does not state that, “in a common sense” way, believers can have distinctions among themselves without dissolving the equality we all have in Christ.
Rather, Mr. Frost perhaps it is YOU that are actually coming closer to a truly consistent Christ is PRESENT view. And even those who you say are advocating that everything has ceased do not deny that different people have different abilities but this is NOT that same thing as pretending to be a first-century under shepherd over a fortified group of sheep that need to be spoon-fed the newly uttered inspired revelatory teachings of the Apostles as the Church “endured” and “overcame” the approaching tribulation and consummation as the first fruits.
We welcome your continued shift to embracing the full victory of Christ and hope that many more “former pastors” move in this direction with us so that we can get out from behind the cloister walls and proclaim the Kingdom that is not merely at hand but has ARRIVED with Christ’s glorious APPEARING! – Amen?
In Christ victorious,