You are hereFinal Interactions With A Former Pastor

Final Interactions With A Former Pastor

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By Virgil - Posted on 27 September 2004

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


  • Quote 1, Sam Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 2, Sam Frost:




  • 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.



  • Quote 3, Mr. Frost:




  • [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.



  • Quote 4, Mr. Frost:



  • 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?



  • Quote 5, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 6, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 7, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 8, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 9, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 10, Mr. Frost:



  • 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.



  • Quote 11, Mr. Frost:



  • 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,

    Roderick

    chrisliv's picture

    Gentlemen,
    In John 17 Christ declared that the first century Christians were going to be sanctified in the TRUTH!!
    The purpose of the Holy Spirit was a comforter who would guide them into ALL TRUTH.
    The NT church did not begin until the baptism of the Spirit.

    To be held in ALL TRUTH and be sanctified "by" TRUTH, they needed to be TAUGHT ALL TRUTH.

    It is this simple, that situation DOES NOT EXIST TODAY!!

    The mechanics of the truth, to bring in those who would be the firstfruits of salvation so that at HIS coming those who were sanctified in the TRUTH would be vindicated. They would glorify God by being the proof that CHRIST and the APOSTLES knew and taght the TRUTH. They would be declared the SONS OF ABRAHAM over the Judaizers who CLAIMED to have the TRUTH by being left standing, free. While the temple was destroyed and the entire IDEA of Judaism was utterly crushed.

    This was the purpose of the church. To be left standing, Jew and Gentile believer, to PROVE that the true sons of Abraham were those who held their faith in Christ. They could not do that living a LIE!!

    Since the office does not exist which was there to keep them in all TRUTH (Apostles).
    Since the NEED to prove that God is "All and in all" no longer exists, because it has been proven.

    THEN NO OFFICE OF THE NT CHURCH STRUCTURE EXISTS TODAY!

    Scripture has been presented to prove this. Now I appeal to common sense in what SHOULD be a preterist understanding of the WHOLE gospel.
    Freedom!
    God Bless
    Nate

    Sam's picture

    Nate,

    Thanks for teaching us this truth. Without you, we never would have seen it.....

    Samuel

    :)

    Roderick's picture

    Mr. Frost,

    These kinds of responses might make your cronnies swoon but I believe most of us (even those who might agree with your stance) only see this a immaturity at its worst & it is not very becoming of a pastor let alone a man.

    Please interact with what is written or refain from commenting, because you only do damge to yourself.

    your brother,
    Roderick

    Sam's picture

    Roderick,

    See, this is why I await your phone call. You cannot see the smile on my face and the attitude I wrote these words in. I am making a point, that's all. Your continued levying of judging my heart and integrity is your doing, not mine. "immaturity" "not becoming of a pastor" "let alone a man" and then turn around and say the "be a man" comment I made to you is false? Please, end this and call me and let us make a way for peace instead of trying to appear to "out do" one another and cut each other down in front of others.

    Pastor Samuel Frost

    Roderick's picture

    Well Sam,

    As you know, I just finished speaking with you on the phone for more than 2 hours and it was as pointless as I figured it would be. I mean, you and I have been at this for over a year now. I didn't know what you expected to gain by a phone call. Obviously you thought during that phone call you had "caught me" in a contradiction (as you claim to do in our written discussions) and I'm sure you'll write an article with my name in the title to that effect. But I will continue to lay out the case (not my case, but the case more and more people who are reading the Bible for themselves are seeing).

    Your concept that pastors/elders are merely selected for the practical purpose of organization in the same manner as say a person is selected to run a congregation's food-pantry (if they so choose to even have a food-pantry & if they even choose to be a static congregation) is NOT the same thing. The elders of the first-century were NOT merely carrying out a practical purpose -- they were feeding the sheep who did not yet have the Great Shepherd among them as they would soon (1 Pet 5:2-4). The first-century elders were relating the newly (not yet codfied) inspired, revelatory teaching of the Apostles. They were there to protect the sheep as they endured and overcame, and then at His Appearing, the elders would be given a special reward for their work. They WEREN'T merely paying the bills for the store-front "church" (especially since they met in homes). Nor were these first-century shepherds merely chosen by the congregation (they WERE APPOINTED by the Apostles -- you can keep trying to make your case from Ex 3:16, it doesn't hold) to carry out this function because "people were too busy with their 60 hour a week plumbing jobs", as you keep saying. These first-century elders had a special function of protecting the YET UNWED Bride until the Marriage to the Lamb was complete. Your equation of the first-century office and its specific function has no relationship to what you and others pretend. But after 2 hours of your talking right over me, I simply warned you I would hang up, and I did. The entire call was pointless and I only called so as to give you the benefit of the doubt that a verbal conversation with you would be different than our written exchanges.

    Not only was it no different, it was worse because your full emotions were on display.

    May God bless and keep you brother -- we move forward with the advancing of the situation of the kingdom AFTER Christ's Appearing -- with or without you.

    Roderick

    dblouin's picture

    question
    do either or both you and sam believe that we believers join or comprise the Wife aforementioned in the various articles on this topic?

    I ask because I have been pondering about the wedding feast. The feast occurs after both betrothal and marriage, correct? If so, and if it was the first century church who comprised the Bride, becoming the Wife, then is it possible that would make us the product of that union? In a family, the elder siblings are often trusted with responsibility over younger siblings, not because of preference or appointment, but because of age or experience, and only in situations where the younger sibling is clearly in need of guidance. But this guidance doesn't last forever. It lasts only until a certain measure of maturity is reached. My 15 year old is often, and resignedly, put to watching over her sisters. But as their individual abilities to address their own matters (feeding, toiletting, dressing, beginning conflict resolution, obeying mom without being nagged by sister) improve, her involvement in helping them manage their affairs gets less and less, well, involved.
    At least it should! Funny, how often I have rebuked my elder daughter for being overly involved in her little sisters' affairs, both in my presence and in my absence. My main instruction to her regarding her care of her siblings is that she love them, not allow them to come to harm, to be nice to them, and encourage them to be kind to one another (without railing at them!). When she interprets me to them for me, or rebukes them about anything other than what lies in her sphere (room, belongings, etc), she will find herself burdened with an equally stern treatment.
    I hope its not just I who sees the metaphor in this.
    Now it might be that I am carrying this little metaphor too far-last time I checked my "name" had three letters but they weren't G O D-but I think there might just be some merit in looking at our position in the Kingdom a little differently than adjunct-wife/bride. If the Bridegroom has returned and collected His Bride, and it was "then" and not now, nor future, maybe we as the Church Triumphant, or as the Body of Christ, or whatever we wish to call ourselves are in truth simply the Children of the Kingdom.

    Roderick's picture

    dblouin,
    I like the way your mind is working here. I have had many people suggest to me that perhaps we (post A.D. 70 Christians) are better described as the "children of the Lamb & His Wife" and although it is a beautiful picture I have difficulties finding it from scripture. I have considered the fact of the "first fruits" which implies more to follow. I have considered also the concept that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is an eternal "feast", an ongoing Sabbath meal if you will, and that new Christians are simply coming to the meal at their conversion. They are converting from being the "liars, dogs, whores... outside the gates" to entering in to the New Jerusalem.

    Beyond this, I am hesitant to to say post A.D. 70 christians are the "children of the Lamb & His Wife" but I can accept we are the children of the Kingdom.

    These are excellent observations dblouin. I'm glad you brought them up and hope we all continue to explore these issues.

    Roderick

    dblouin's picture

    Thanks for your openness. My main point of argument stems from the Bride/Bridegroom argument. In all my previous Christian life I had thought of myself as part of the Bride. But how can this be if Christ's return was for the purpose of judging fleshly Israel and for the presentation of the Bride, as depicted in Revelation 21? If these two things are part of the same event, as is my understanding most preterist teaching depicts, then how can those who believe, following this event, become part of this Bride, not only betrothed but now wed to Christ? How long does a wedding feast last? Aren't we perhaps being a bit dispensational if we make the wedding feast an everlasting event? If so, then when does consummation of the marriage take place? And what is its result? Those at the meal who were not the Bride nor the Groom, were guests. Are we simply guests? I don't think so. Isn't the Wedding Feast depicted as much a timely event as the judgment of Israel? I know this is touchy ground because as we travel beyond AD 70 we embark on ground that may be more implicit than explicit. The most important thing to remember is to weigh what we believe and understand in light of Scripture. I am willing to here from any brothers and sisters (hehe) out there about how they view our current position in Christ and why they think so.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Thank you, Nate. That was very well phrased. I particularly appreciate these comments:

    Since the office does not exist which was there to keep them in all TRUTH (Apostles).
    Since the NEED to prove that God is "All and in all" no longer exists, because it has been proven.

    THEN NO OFFICE OF THE NT CHURCH STRUCTURE EXISTS TODAY!

    Scripture has been presented to prove this. Now I appeal to common sense in what SHOULD be a preterist understanding of the WHOLE gospel.

    To that I would like to add that NO "pastor" involved on this site has yet responded to 1Cor. 15:24-28 with a modi***** of contextually consistent, exegetical accuracy. The truth is - those verses very CLEARLY indicate that ALL pre-AD 70 authority in any way associated with the Kingdom of Old Covenant Israel was eliminated, all being made subject to God's authority alone - including the authority Christ Jesus Himself had before the final establishment and inauguration of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. The reality is increasingly evident to one and all involved in these discussions. The "ecclesiastical authorities" of the post-AD 70 period of history have NO Biblical basis or divine ordination justifying their existence.

    saint's picture

    It is that simple, as are so many other things that many like to make complicated. The result of complicating matters is that people are less likely to see their freedom in Christ.Now I appeal to common sense in what SHOULD be a preterist understanding of the WHOLE gospel.The gospel is one of those things that is actually very simple. By adding rules and regulations to it, which were not a part of the gospel in the first place, what was meant to free people ends up enslaving them.The gospel doesn't include offices.It was referred to by Jesus and the apostles as:The gospel of God
    The gospel of Christ
    The gospel of the grace of Christ
    The gospel of the kingdom
    The gospel of peace
    The gospel of your salvationOur churches have added their offices and religious practices to the gospel, making it no longer simple.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Amen, saint. The Truth is plainly evident to all but the stakeholders in the existing "church" who refuse to acknowledge the lack of validity in their positions of authority. This reality is both tragic and typical of human nature. Those who have the most to lose are reluctant to consider the great gain involved in yielding to the Truth. We can only pray that these "pastors", "elders", "bishops" etc. will respond with hearts of humility and obedience to the Word of God and its true, original intent.

    Sam's picture

    Roderick,

    At this point, and your complete misunderstanding of my article and intentions (even questioning my motives and heart for writing my points), I am seriously praying as to respond in full. Most of the e-mails and phone calls I receive from those reading this are encouraging me to drop it with the "anti-leaders" gang. I am almost at the point in agreeing with them. Jesus and Paul does not encourage "debate" beyond a certain point. It appears that that point may have arrived. In all good honesty and conscience before God, I have made my points clear, concise and without malice (which you accuse me of using "debate tactics"). You know where I stand. I know (I think I know, since you contradict yourself, it's hard to tell sometimes) where you stand. We will not see eye to eye on this. So, maybe it is better to let folks read what they have read, read my past articles, and deal with me on a personal level through e-mails. I am certainly open to discuss this one on one with you Roderick on the phone. My number is 727-204-9480. I will not, under the direction of my own conscience, continue in this line of interaction. Maybe a simple "face to face" phone call will clarify ourselves to each other. You have not persuaded me in the least, nor I you.

    As far as "peers," I face no pressure. I have too much of my dad in me. My convictions are based on Scripture and logic. Preterists stopped worrying about what "peers" would think when they became a preterist! So, there, that's my response and my invitation to talk with you. By the way, Roderick, when you accuse me of "siding with futurists," can I accuse you of siding with the "everything has ceased" and "reincarnation" crowd? John MacPherson is both, and you and he appear to be bedfellows in this matter. Is that where your "doctrine" leads?

    PASTOR (I never changed the title because of you, brother) Samuel Frost (I changed it to reflect on the role I particulaly play as pastor and elder, but, you still refer to this as if somehow you caused it...that's the argument of post hoc ergo propter hoc, and it's a fallacy, too).

    P.S. Be a man, Roderick, and pick up the phone.

    spiderich's picture

    Sam,

    I'm just one of many readers who really would like this issue to be discussed based on the propositions. It certainly appears to me that you are trying to isolate Roderick, and I don't blame him for thinking that you are using "tactics". Also, saying that he should "be a man...and pick up the phone" is less than becoming of you. Perhaps YOU could phone him?

    One more thing, to bring up John McPherson's position on reincarnation is really stretching the guilt-by-association "tactic" (no offense, John). Is it really so hard to keep the discussion on the issue at hand?

    Richard G.

    Sam's picture

    Richard,

    Is it wrong to associate me with "mules" and "mini-popes"? This is why the conversation is hardly worth my effort anymore. When Roderick posts his phone number, I'll call him and handle this privately. So far, I have received no call from him, and, I fear, he will not phone me. I wonder why?

    Sam

    Roderick's picture

    No more grandstanding Sam -- Certainly I'll call you as I have before.

    Sam's picture

    Roderick,

    I called you, remember?

    Samuel

    Roderick's picture

    Thats possible Mr. Frost, though I did have your number before you posted it here, so I must have called you back when you called me -- which I often do to bear the burden of the phone charges of people with whom I speak -- no matter, this little "call me" challenge is juvenile anyhow and now wrangling over who called who first only makes it that much more immature. I will be calling you Mr. Frost, as I intended anyway about some other matters. But when it comes to this issue, I'm not certain what you think you will accomplish on the phone that we have not settled via our interaction on this forum -- but no matter, I'll be calling soon.

    Roderick

    Sam's picture

    Roderick,

    Not everything is an argument. No one is arguing over who called who. See, this is the problem. The Bible says that "face to face" is better than words, because words can be misunderstood, as well as hearts and motivations judged. A conversation is much more preferred. Secondly, my reasoning, as stated, is that we might forge ahead since you and I seem to be the main guys in this so called "debate." I have offered, and thought I was, giving a hand in welcome, but it was accussed of being a "debate tactic." Therefore, it serves no purpose to continue to waste peoples time with written responses that have no end when you and I can clear this up personally, and then move on. You may not like "pastors" who are "pastoral" but my goal in life is fix relationships, not continue to have them bleed for everyone to see. You can question my motivations all you like, but you can only go by what I write here. I have no intention of blasting you on the phone or calling you names. I have every intention of reconciliation. You may even question what I am writing here as trying to posture myself as the "kind one" in this debate in order to make you out to be the "mean one." Whatever. I think it will greatly benefit our views and perhaps even write a mutual position (which I thought was close, but, alas, I am just out for debate points, right?). The benefits of this dialogue (a real actual dialogue and not a cyber dialogue) is for those who (most e-mail I receive anyhow) wish this arguing back and forth (over a year now) would simply end. It is my hope that the conversation, in which I intend to cover this subject as thorough as possible, is brought into harmony. If not in complete agreement (probably not), then at least leaving it as "agreeing to disagree," but no longer castigating the other.

    Pastor Samuel Frost

    saint's picture

    This isn't to anyone in particular, so don't suppose I'm judging. Sam brought forth some points I would just like to reason about.

    Face to face is great, but fails to include others who are interested. In my experience, it's typical for pastors to want the debate to go face to face and take it away from the larger congregation. I won't pretend to know the reason for this, but have noticed it. Also, face to face in no way makes honesty or humility certain. Many are deceitful not only in words, but also in body language. A phone call isn't face to face either, and many people actually make a decent living deceiving people on the phone. It's easy (that's not what I do).

    About hearts and motivations being judged - well firstly we shouldn't be doing that and all need to repent of it and ask a brother's forgiveness if guilty. Some people think it is their job to judge hearts and motivations. If a pastor thinks that is his job, and many do, he is as wrong as can be. Besides, it is not necessary to judge hearts and motivations in order to further search out the truth in the matter. One may prefer a one on one conversation, but what is wrong with broader counsel, and the opportunity to edify and sharpen others? I for one gain a lot from the debates of others, even if just lurking. A written mutual position isn't nearly as helpful as following the process that gets there.

    Speaking for myself, you aren't wasting my time. I choose to spend the time reading here. If it is wasted (it isn't), then I am responsible for that. I'm sure Sam and Roderick both get emails. It would be wrong to make general assumptions on the content of those emails. My time isn't important. I've spent many years in error and don't expect every issue to be resolved in short order. It takes whatever time it takes regardless of the fact that we tend to want answers now.

    Sam has stated his pastoral goal in life is to fix relationships. Roderick has stated he would like to get past the relationship issue and debate the points. I suggest sticking to the issue and the relationship thing will resolve itself. Just my opinion here and I don't expect or care if anybody agrees: this issue of putting relationships over the truth is a big, big problem in churches. The "can't we all just get along?" issue wreaks havoc on honest bible study.

    I don't have answers, but perhaps dropping the ego thing would be a good start if that's a problem for you. I don't see where this has really fallen apart yet. I get a let out of this discussion just by ignoring the "woe is me, I've been wounded" junk and culling the reasoned reponses from everyone involved.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Excellent observations and counsel, saint. It's refreshing to hear from "lurkers" such as yourself who gain insights and understanding from our interaction here on PP. Conflicting viewpoints expressed in a (sometimes) confrontational manner tend to crystallize the essential points of disagreement, and their source. I agree with you completely. If the "personal issues" and attempts to sidetrack the discussions onto "relationship" can be set aside, the whole issue will be clarified and its resolution expedited.

    Thanks for these comments, saint. They are timely and appreciated.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Most of the e-mails and phone calls I receive from those reading this are encouraging me to drop it with the "anti-leaders" gang.

    I didn't realize we were a "gang". Could you go so far as to refer to us as "anti-establishment revolutionaries", Sam? That's a little more colorful than "anarchists" or an "anti-leaders gang" at least.

    As far as "peers," I face no pressure. I have too much of my dad in me. My convictions are based on Scripture and logic. Preterists stopped worrying about what "peers" would think when they became a preterist!

    It's good to hear you are immune to "peer pressure" and the subtle manipulations of "church" politics, Sam. You'd be the first "chuch"-man I've met who is truly and completely unsusceptible to peer influence. As for your convictions being based on Scripture and logic - that has not been borne out in the material you have presented here. Furthermore, the Scriptural case presented in opposition to your position has been shrugged off and brushed aside in a less than scholarly and honest manner.

    By the way, Roderick, when you accuse me of "siding with futurists," can I accuse you of siding with the "everything has ceased" and "reincarnation" crowd? John MacPherson is both, and you and he appear to be bedfellows in this matter. Is that where your "doctrine" leads?

    Wherever OUR doctrine may "lead", Sam - YOUR ecclesiology leads directly back to an aberrant form of inconsistent futurism (aka "partial Preterism"). The soteriological implications of reincarnation are insignificant (and actually have a certain amount of Scriptural support), compared with the ramifications of YOUR ideas involving perpetuating a First Century authority structure beyond its expiration date. I realize you're trying to take the heat off of your position, Sam - possibly because you don't have the time to devote to defending your views properly. I understand what a "time crunch" is all about, and can make allowance for that. In fact, I would consider engaging you in an email discussion privately, if you are more comfortable with that.

    One cautionary word or two for you, Sam. I really hope this most recent response is not a case of the old adage being proven true - "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." I have a feeling the same goes DOUBLE for a mule. The Scriptures have something to say on that subject too. "8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you." (Psalm 32:8,9) God wants to guide us through our sensitivity to His approval bestowed by His viewing our behaviour with favor. He doesn't want to be forced to get "rough" and "forceful" in order to get our attention and prompt us to co-operate with Him and His Truth. In other words, Sam - it's in your best interests to avoid being "mulish" where the Truth is concerned.

    "A whip for the horse, A bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the fool's back." (Prov. 26:3)

    I'm not saying you're any of these, necessarily - but I would avoid being mistaken for any of them by an attitude of stubbornness.

    JM

    Roderick's picture

    Mr. Frost,

    Quite frankly, I tried several times in the past to move this “debate” to a less personal issue and let the propositions stand or fall on their own in light of Scripture. But it is you who keep writing personal articles with my name in the title. Then when I interact with your very personal attacks, you withdraw & pretend I'm attacking you.

    There are many things you say right here in this little reply that anyone who has been reading your interactions could easily take issue with, such as this quote:

    “In all good honesty and conscience before God, I have made my points clear, concise and without malice.”

    Mr. Frost, you have done nothing but ridicule from the start of this discussion. First, labeling and dismissing us. When that didn’t work you tried several other “tactics” – yes tactics. Now, am I saying we have always been nice? No, but to claim you have made your point without malice is easily refuted.

    Your “malice” is even clear in your comment here. I quote again:

    “You know where I stand. I know (I think I know, since you contradict yourself, it's hard to tell sometimes) where you stand.”

    You have been consistent about one thing – misrepresenting me as contradictory, though I’ve said the same thing since the beginning of this discussion. But your contradictions are stark in contrast. Even within your latest article you contradict yourself. I quote:

    “Rugged American Individualism, rooted in anti-biblical thinking and philosophy, destroys any corporeal dimension of the Church.”

    COMPARED TO

    “I label Edwards’ view as socialism in a nutshell, I have not sought to break fellowship with him.”

    Now, folks “individualism” & “socialism” are diametrically opposed. I didn't bring this out when responding to your article because I was trying to be nice. How can Mr. Frost say we are espousing individualism & socialism at the same time? Rather, he is confused on how to deal with what we are proposing because he can’t come to terms with it.

    Another quote:

    “My convictions are based on Scripture and logic.”

    As are mine Mr. Frost. Are you trying to imply otherwise?

    This last issue must be dealt with clearly because it shows the contradictory nature you have taken during this entire discussion for over a year now. I quote you:

    “PASTOR (I never changed the title because of you, brother) Samuel Frost (I changed it to reflect on the role I particulaly play as pastor and elder, but, you still refer to this as if somehow you caused it...that's the argument of post hoc ergo propter hoc, and it's a fallacy, too).”

    Yet on Paltalk (and it may be documented on PP somewhere, I’ll look) when I brought this up, you clearly said you changed it to “teaching minister” because it better reflects what you consider yourself AND you said you did so because “you can change when you see you are wrong” – you admitted you changed this due to our discussion. I call on those who heard you say this on Paltalk to witness it here.

    And lastly Mr. Frost, I’ve spoken with you on the phone before and I can do so again if you desire. So, stop your little "double-dare you" schoolboy challenges. But I prefer to interact with you openly here where everyone can judge (and hopefully benefit from) the propositions – not the personalities. So, your last slam about "being a man" was just more evidence of your tactic of destruction. It's not really called for, Mr. Frost.

    In Christ, trying to reason together with you from Scripture --
    Roderick

    Sam's picture

    Roderick,

    Then call me.

    Pastor Samuel Frost

    Roderick's picture

    I am hopeful that Mr. Frost will broach a reconciling spirit in any response. I am further hopeful that we are almost at a point where Mr. Frost & the rest of us can finally agree about the nature and specific function of the first-century office of elder. He seems to be almost there. It would not be a "victory" for "our side" but rather a victory for everyone to have someone like Mr. Frost helping to advance the Kingdom message.

    There has never been doubt that Mr. Frost is a devoted and dedicated man, so his passion for truth would be a welcomed addition to this effort. I just wonder if he could stand up against the peer influence that would certainly come against him?

    In Christ victorious,
    Roderick

    DavidF's picture

    Roderick: You stated “I am further hopeful that we are almost at a point where Mr. Frost & the rest of us can finally agree about the nature and specific function of the first-century office of elder.”

    Would you please give a paragraph outline of what your assessment is of the nature and specific function of the first-century office of elder? Do you think that the nature and function of the OT elder was changed in the NT? If so, please cite the verse(s) which evidence a change in the nature of that office.

    Thank you,
    DavidF

    Roderick's picture

    Hmmm -- Thanks for asking DavidF -- I thought I did so in the article but here it is again.

    To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. -- 1 Pet 5:1-4

    I provide that text without further comment at this time ( although I *did* comment on it in the article)

    I hope this helps clarify,
    Roderick

    DavidF's picture

    Hi Roderick: So are you using 1 Pet. 5:1-4 to show that the nature and specific function of the OT elder was changed in the NT?

    Roderick's picture

    Well, as preterists we say Christ's Appearing has happended right?

    Then what do we make of this part of the passage?

    "...those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

    Those first-century elders were serving a specific function and would be rewarded at Christ's Appearing. Is this passage not also contextually time-texted?

    Roderick

    DavidF's picture

    Roderick:

    Are you saying that the 1st Century elders were performing only one specific function? If so, what is that "specific function"?

    1st Pet. 5 is a vague description of elder functions, not specific, for example v. 2 says to be shepherds, serve as overseers and eagerly serve; v.3 says be examples - this is not a good passage to show specific functions for the office of elder.

    When you say “specific function” can you please be more specific as to what you perceive the function(s) of the elders were?

    Roderick's picture

    DavidF,

    I appreciate these questions. They are good questions.

    My use the of word "function" is not singular in the sense that elders of the first-century only did one thing, but rather singular in the sense that that function served one purpose, one goal: to "watch over the flock". For instance, when Christ says "love your neighbor", to love is a singular function but how to love is multifaceted. So, HOW did first-century elders watch over the flock?

    We could go through and outline what the first-century elders actually did.

  • considered matters of the church
  • (Acts 15:6)

  • sent men to carry out the Great Commission to the Gentiles
  • (Acts 15:22-36)

  • prayed over the sick
  • (James 5:14)

  • for the guiding & perfecting of the saints
  • (in concert with the other 3-4 offices of the ministry, which most agree is no longer active today) (Ephesians 4:11-12)

  • protecting the flock from wrong doctrine
  • (since there was no codified Bible, the NT was still being uttered) (Ephesians 4:14 & Titus 1:10-11)

    But ultimately, the clearest statement about the nature and function of the first-century elder is found in 1 Peter 5:2-4.

    Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

    What is it that shepherds do? They watch over a flock, protect it, feed it, water it. But there are many, many places where the Bible seems to show that there would be a completion of this task the first-century elder was honorably carrying out. Right there in 1 Peter 5:2-4 we see that at Christ's Appearing they would be awarded. Was Christ's Appearing spoken of here a perpetual appearing or was it a specific event?
    Also in Ephesians 4 we see a culmination of the first-century elders' work, when finally there is unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

    I am still perplexed that this is resisted. Why wouldn't fellow Christians want to see THIS situation exist? I can only come to a few conclusions:

  • such resistance comes from not really thinking we are in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ -- Thus they are more partial preterists, than preterists.
  • there is some sort of egotism at work that thinks the rest of us are just too dumb, or not "called" to apprehend the Bible on our own.
  • This continues to preplex me DavidF. Please help me to understand where this resistance is coming from if not one or a combination of these two conclusions.
    In Christ victorious,
    Roderick

    DavidF's picture

    Thanks Roderick: Sorry about the delay. I am usually unable to respond on Fri.- Sun.

    The partial list of activities for 1st Century elders outlined in your response helps to give a better image of why Jesus Christ established the office and I agree with you that “watching over the flock” is a good description of the generalized “one goal” for the office.

    However, do you think the 1st Century office of elder was not the same as the OT office of elder? Some of the most important duties of OT elders are judicial; they judge, punish and set fines (Deut. 22:13ff) and politically govern the local community (Jos. 20:4; 1Sam. 16:4; Jdg. 11:5ff; Ruth 4:11). When this aspect of elder is taken into account then politically governing (watching) the local town/city is quite literally what is meant for watching over the flock, the flock being the citizens of heaven (Christians) who dwell in that town.

    I am still curious if you believe the 1st Century elder also performed the specific functions of the OT elder? If you say “no”, then can you show verses which prove that the 1st Century elder could dismiss and ignore functions which belonged to the OT elder?

    Roderick's picture

    No worries about the delay DavidF. I completely understand. I’ve been spread thin lately as well, trying to keep up with the various forums. Also, I too am not online much on the weekends as I tend to use this time more for family. I appreciate your time and your questions and the manner in which you interact with me on these issues. We truly become iron sharpening iron rather than merely two clanging pieces of clattering metal. :)

    You are correct, that I only provided a partial list, mainly because as I’ve said in another article (Kingdom Living: prescriptive or descriptive), I do not believe the N.T. speaks of a prescriptive nature as much as it does a descriptive (“To love is like…”, not, you must do AB&C or its not love).

    As for the connection between the OT office of elder and the NT office of elder, I do not think there is the link that some have tried to imply. They have said that Ex 3:16 shows “elders” simply being chosen by the people and thus elders in the NT were also chosen by the people. It is striking that the people who make such a claim cannot point to one scripture in the NT that shows this, yet I have provided 2 solid NT scriptures that say the elders of the NT were apostolically APPOINTED (Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:5). Talk about following patterns. We cannot say "well, there were elders in Rome and we don’t know who appointed them so they must not have been appointed" as some have tried to do. That is an argument from silence, no better than Ed Steven’s first-century Rapture theories. The bottom line is, that the direct link to the OT “elders/captains” was to the Jewish “elder & scribe” that Jesus was constantly rebuking. Further, the OT elder in Ex 3:16 were those “sitting in Moses’ Seat” (Mt 23:1-3) – I have asked before – WHO SITS IN MOSES SEAT TODAY? Do protestant pastors claim to be sitting in Moses’ Seat? What an odd connection they try to make back to Ex 3:16, considering even the Apostles themselves were NOT sitting in Moses’ Seat. Mt 23:1-3 proves this because Jesus tells even the pre-Pentecost disciples to obey those who were sitting in Moses’ Seat.

    Although I think this makes the next part of your question moot, because the NT elder was NOT a continuation of the OT (Moses’ Seat) elder, I would like to answer anyhow, because it is a good question to ask.

    You point out that the OT elder “was judicial; they judge, punish and set fines and politically govern the local community”, and there is no doubt about it. But was that the same function of the NT elder? When it came to any kind of “judicial” issue in the first-century Church, were they to bring it before the elders and let them rule upon it? No, we see a clear difference.

    1 Cor 6:4
    If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. (KJV)

    Now, does this verse speak about bringing judicial matters before the elders? Are elders typically the “least esteemed” in a congregation?

    So my answer to “do I believe the 1st Century elder also performed the specific functions of the OT elder” – I answer no and state again that the specific function of the first-century elder in the Church was to protect & feed, the enduring and overcoming flock of the first-century until the Chief Shepherd’s Appearing and then the elders would be rewarded as 1 Pet 5:2-4 says so clearly.

    I hope this has helped clarify some more. These are good questions. Thanks again DavidF.

    In Christ, the PRESENT, eternal Chief Shepherd –
    Roderick

    DavidF's picture

    Roderick:

    Concerning OT and NT links: There is an obvious bond between OT and NT elders and it is found in the practical fact that OT Israel and NT Israel (Christendom) are both God’s kingdom. He has replicated many of the OT offices such as King, priest, prophet and elder in the NT (1 Pet. 2:5, Ro. 12:6), as well as establishing new ones such as deacon, evangelist and pastor (Ro. 13:4-in Greek, Eph. 4:11). The ceremonial aspects of these offices were clearly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the chosen NT King, but there is a social/civil character for many of these offices that is still ongoing.

    The Apostles clearly did appoint elders as you say, and the Apostolic era is complete, but the specific civil nature of the offices of elder, overseer and deacon is one that requires a civil/social continuation post A.D. 70.

    Concerning appointments: Is it necessary to have an Apostle present for elder ordination? Titus was not an Apostle yet he ordained elders in the absence of Paul, Titus 1:5. Paul also gave specific elder and deacon instructions to Timothy so that if he himself was not present, the ecclesia would know how to choose men wisely for the office; “I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household…“ 1 Tim. 3:14-15.

    And the METHOD of appointing these officers still remains for the saints today. The method of ordination which the Apostles used, and which was used throughout the OT was the lot. “So they [Apostles] proposed two men…then they cast lots…” Acts 1:22-26. In the NT there is no other method for choosing NT officers; the Presbyterian idea of the popular vote is not found in the NT and therefore in all likelihood the NT officers were elected or appointed with the lot method; God did the choosing, not “we the people“!

    Concerning Moses seat: Jesus Christ clearly said that the Kingdom of God would be taken away (A.D. 70) from the OT Israelite political leaders and be given to a nation (ethnos) that will produce fruit, MT 21:43.

    Rationally, kingdoms will not function without a government to manage them and God chose the Greek civil ecclesia as the of government for His kingdom. So then, the kingdom and Moses’ government seat were taken from OT Israel and given to NT Israel (Christendom) in A.D. 70. When God reassigned His kingdom at that time, He did not do away with His government seat on earth, rather, He transferred it from the irresponsible Judaists to the Christians. This is why the continuation of civil elder offices in Christendom (NT Israel) is necessary post A.D. 70!

    Why would God give His kingdom to another nation (ethnos) in A.D. 70 and at the same time dismantle the government seat (ecclesia) of that kingdom? I say that mere men have established this confusion because of they view Christendom as ethereal, as a religion, not a kingdom of both heaven and the earth!

    The fantasy that Christendom is a religion is a deceptive veil which most present day Christians find irresistible, nonetheless, the Bible nowhere calls God’s kingdom a religion. He calls it a kingdom. If He meant it was a religion He would have recognized it by calling it “God’s religion” - but He didn’t - not even once. Moses’ seat was a government seat of authority over God’s kingdom/nation and because Christians today refuse to break away from their “religions” they evade their responsibility to build up their own civil government (Christian ecclesia) as an example, a light on a hill for the world to imitate.

    Moreover, Paul did not write 1 Cor. 6:4 to exclude elders from judicial activity in the ecclesia, as you say, rather the context shows that he was upset with them because they were going to the world’s government for judicial decisions when they were fully qualified to be their own judicial authority over civil issues. “Are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life?…I say this to shame you…” vv. 1-8. Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for sidestepping their call to autonomous civil ecclesia government!

    This same rebuke is appropriate for the Christian body in A.D. 2004 because they would rather ratify the government seat of the heathen and ignore the seat of government God confirmed among them in A.D. 70, that is, the civil seat of Moses. If the righteous are politically idle and will not take the civil authority given to them then the unbeliever will take it, “Diligent hands will rule” Pr. 12:24.

    The world sits in the civil seat today because - they have been socially diligent - and the saints have been inactive in keeping their own God-given civil ecclesia government. While the Christian is captivated with mere “religion”, the heathen are their rulers! Even so, the civil ecclesia authority is still there, in the Christian, if he wants to act upon it, and he will in time, for God will continue to shake all things, like He has for the last 2000 years, so that eventually His kingdom alone will remain Heb. 12:27-28.

    KingNeb's picture

    'peer influence'?!? that's funny.

    You know what i would suggest Roderick? that you come down here to Saint Petersburg for a week or two and actually hang around us.

    You obviously don't know what goes on down here - so how about a visit?

    thereignofchrist.com

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    I have a quick question for you, KingNeb. Since you are well-acquainted with Sam and the "church" down there, perhaps you can help us out from an "insider's" point of view.

    Why do you suppose Sam is so attached to that title of "pastor", when clearly, it is Scripturally inappropriate and illegitimate for anyone to assume that office and assign to themselves that title? Could you clarify for us how Sam promotes "peer relationships" through usage of this title? Many thanks in advance.

    JM

    Roderick's picture

    Kingneb,
    Respectfully, I don't think you are necessarily Mr. Frost's peer at this time, being that unless I am mistaken, you are not a pastor. Our whole point is to make us ALL truly peers, with no clergy/laity distinctions.
    Obviously, Mr. Frost would say you are his peer (as I would suspect he would say I am as well) but, I was using the term in a more specific sense.

    As for coming to Florida, I truly intend to visit as many places as I can as time and funds permit. I may not announce myself when I do visit, so as to observe the typical services.

    I'm not certain why you in particular have become so hostile against what we are proposing. But I hope someday that we can unite in an effort to glorify God through Christ by way of His consummated Word. Amen?

    your brother in the victory,
    Roderick

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Does your "church" have a website, KingNeb? I'd be willing to check it out, if so.

    I believe what Roderick is referring to is not the "peer influence" of the membership of your "church", but the "peer pressure" of his fellow "pastors" within the denomination, AND outside of it. Any "church" formally affiliated with a denomination can expect to be "taken to task" by the governing body of said denomination if the "church" strays too far from the Creedal position espoused by that denomination. I'm reasonably confident this is the case with your "church" also, KingNeb.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    It's unfortunate that Sam has remained silent in response to this article so far, Roderick. I would think that there should be some sort of comment and defense presented from his quarter - if he still feels his perspective is worthy of defense.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Batman's picture

    well, it's only been one day :o)

    --Batman

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    It would be nice to see a response of some kind, though, before this article slips off of the home page here at PP, though :). Once it's gone from the Home Page, it becomes more difficult to keep the ensuing discussion and comments in the forefront of public thinking and involvement here.

    Batman's picture

    Sam is waist deep right now preparing for the debate between Don Preston and James Jordan. This event is being held at Christ Covenant Church in St. Petersburg this week.

    --Batman

    --Batman

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Thanks, Batman. I have no doubt whatsoever that he's a busy, busy man. We can wait patiently.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Amen, Roderick! I really appreciate this article, wherein you clarify the specific points of disagreement between you and Sam, and the basis for them. Yes, I had a feeling Sam was attempting to gloss over the differences in your views, and make it appear that you were moving closer to his psotion. This article makes it clear that, in actual fact, Sam is likely moving closer to OUR position. It's not difficult to understand why. The Truth, where the Kingdom of Heaven is concerned, clearly supports our ecclesiological perspective.

    I particularly appreciated these comments you made, above:

    Sam: 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.

    Roderick: 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.

    The "authorizations" of "pastors" have created the schismatic, denominational mess we see around us, today. The medieval "fiefdoms" created by the rule of "pastors and elders" over Kingdom citizenry today must be brought to an end, in order for those who have truly been spiritually reborn through faith in Christ Jesus to enjoy the UNITY He desired among His People. Gone is the need for one believer to act as "guardian" over another, particularly in any kind of "official", "divinely sanctioned" capacity. The sooner Sam, and the other Preterist "pastors" recognize this, the better for all Preterists - not to mention all Christians, on a broader scale.

    This was also interesting:

    Sam: 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,”

    Roderick: 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.

    Your point is well-made, Roderick. I think Sam needs to "come clean", and be honest with himself, God and His Word, and his fellow believers (both those in his "congregation" and those of us involved on this site). The Westminster Confession, to which Presbyterians adhere, is very clear in its requirements, where ecclesiastical authority and structure is concerned. There IS a very clear "clergy/laity" distinction drawn.

    Thanks again for these clarifications, Roderick, in identifying the clear points of disagreement between you and Sam. I trust that humility and wisdom will be increasingly evident in his interactions with both of us, and the rest of those involved in these discussions.

    John McPherson

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