Family of God - church of Christ - Woodmont Hills
Does Family of God deny Christ Who is Full Deity over His Church as a Discipleship Assembly? Jesus said that He would build His church and the family would be the family of Christ the only visualization of the invisible God. There is no way to reach the Spirit God without going through Jesus Christ as the Door. Woodmont Hills and other churches have changed their name as they move under the new wineskin ferment of Jubilee and the Willow Creek resource umbrella.
While any critique of any view being sold far and wide is deemed by some good spirits as "demon possession" we suggest that a name change is a dramatic way of repudiating all who fly under the old banner of church of Christ. Too many of our sermon reviews center on the "family" being fed a diet of sectarian anti-sectarianism the the judgmentalism they have sworn to end. A recent "dried meat" diet of miss-applied Word of Christ defined a Pharisee directly opposite that defined by Jesus.
- The church on earth is never called "The Family of God" but:
- The bride of Christ Eph 5:22-32
- The body of Christ Col 1:18,24; Eph 1:22-23
- The kingdom of God's son Col 1:13
- The church (assembly) of God of those sanctified in ChristI Cor 1:2
- The church of the first-born Heb 12:23
- The church of the Lord Acts 20:28
- The churches of Christ Rom 16:16
- The house of God I Tim 3:15 as individuals
- The temple of God I Cor 3:16
The "Family of God" is registered in Heaven. All who are saved are placed in God's (Christ's) Family.
However, "church" simply means "assembly." People can assembly, like its Greek counterpart, to conduct business, discuss a problem, take the Lord's Supper, study the Word of God and depart. In a real sense, it leaves behind no organizational baggage except for carrying out specific assignments. At the next appointed time it again assembles, becomes synagogue but not a temple-like worship center, and again dismisses without any mandatory organization.
The "assembly" meets in a building or under a tree. Buildings are ok because God gives us credit for getting in out of the rain. However, the building has no organic connection with the assembly
Look at 1 Timothy: Jesus was not an Aaronic priest. Rather, He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek who was a giver and not a taker -- he fed the people. Therefore, Jesus was neither presumptious enough nor legally entitled to enter the literal place now called "the family of God." Furthermore, Jesus said:
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. Luke 19:46
This was the literal "house" which was quite opposite of a family because "God does not live in houses made with human hands:
Oikos (g3624) oy'-kos; of uncert. affin.; a dwelling (more or less extensive, lit. or fig.); by impl. a family (more or less related lit. or fig.): - home, house (-hold), temple.
And he taught daily in the temple (the precincts, not the central sanctuary), But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, Luke 19:47
The court to which Jesus and the disciples could enter was the:
Hieron (g2411) hee-er-on'; neut of 2413; a sacred place, i.e. the entire precincts (whereas 3485 denotes the central sanctuary itself) of the Temple (at Jerus. or elsewhere): - temple.
Naos (g3485) nah-os'; (to dwell); a fane, shrine, temple: - shrine, temple. Comp. 2411
Similarly, the mind where Christ dwells is:
Dianoia (g1271) dee-an'-oy-ah; from 1223 and 3563; deep thought, prop. the faculty (mind or its disposition), by impl. its exercise: - imagination, mind, understanding.
Nous (g3563) nooce; prob. from the base of 1097; the intellect, i.e. mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by impl. meaning: - mind, understanding. Comp. 5590.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts (Kardia, Mind, feelings, thoughts) by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Ep.3:17
Jesus said that the "house" or temple of God, in a spiritual sense, is the human mind or heart: God dwells in our heart by faith. Faith is not the doorway by which the Incarnate God literally enters our literal body. Rather, faith is the actual method by which God lives within. When Christ is in our thoughts or minds He is dwelling in us by our faith. Therefore, His command was:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6
Tameion (g5009) tam-i'-on; a dispensary or magazine, i.e. a chamber on the ground-floor or interior of an Oriental house (gen. used for storage or privacy, a spot for retirement): - secret chamber, closet, storehouse
The "family" or house of God does not, cannot, exist as a band of theatrical performers who have the power to jack us up into God's presence. Nor, can the "family" be a literal building without becoming a den of thieves, a house of merchandise. Rather, the family or house is our own mind which has shut out the world. Modern Jews have a marevelous symbolic way of doing this by covering the head:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father (where?) in spirit and (how?) in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Jn.4:23
Pneuma (g4151) pnyoo'-mah; from 4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by anal. or fig. a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, doemon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit: - ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Comp. 5590.
Because we are not superhuman nor angels nor actually God, the "house" or Naos or temple of God is our spirit made holy by Christ. Our mind is the most holy place where God has set His Name which is Jesus, Joshua or Jehovah-Saves. As far as we can determined that place is made holy at the time and place of putting on Christ in Baptism.
While "assembly" (never church in the Bible) is the place for education as was the Synagogue, there was no celebrative "praise service" to try to do some superstitious (pagan) ritual of God calling or God appeasement or Spirit-revival. Synagogue and church was school but not ritual center (literal temple).
We respectfully submit that we should probably not run from nor minimize the name of Christ. After all, it is His church and if He doesn't build it it may not be His family.
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son (visible manifestation) of the living God (invisible Spirit). Mt 16:16
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Mt.16:18
The seven gates of hell speak directly to the ancient-and-still alive worship of Ishtar and Tammuz by the first century Jews. To try to find Tammuz, Ishtar had to strip all the way down to flesh to get to the netherworld where her "sistern" was dominant ruler and had her killed. Ea, prepared a musical priest and sent him to overpower the woman of hell and to resurrect her. The women at Jerusalem in Ezekiel held a dominant role and "lamented for Tammuz" to resurrect him for his second incarnation. The goal was that Tammuz awaken, play the magical flute and smell the incense with the women worshippers. The masculine principle was to worship the sun to the East.
Remember in Psalm 41 that it was prophesied that Judas would not triumph over Messiah. The clergy Jews tried by "piping" to force Him into the choral dance of Dionysos. Triumph over was to blow the trumpets or jubals or have a "praise the Lord" ritual when the congregation came together for instruction. See More.
The family of god concept opens the door to full male-female equality in priestly-performer roles such as musical worship teams. It would be hard to think of a family hiring a surrogate father, mother and musical worship team to teach the children the ABC's. Amos speaks of this: when the Hebrew women hungered and starved for the Word of God they quite literally starved for bread. They made their little cakes for the "Queen of Heaven" because, as the fertility mother, she worked better than Yahweh. The musical worship team was a necessary clergy function Feminists lament -- where they haven't yet gained control that:
The original bread of life. Hebrew and Canaanite women molded loaves of this figure which were blessed and ritually eaten, the precursor of the communion wafer. Her idols were found under every green tree, were carved from living trees, or erected as poles or pillars beside roadside altars. Crude clay images of her as tree of life later evolved into the more refined Syrian Artemis. Ancient sexual rites (dismissed to this day by male scholars as cult prostitution) associated with worship of Asherah insured that matrilineal descent patterns, with their partnership rather than dominator values, would continue. Hebrew priestly iconoclasts finally uprooted Asherah, supplanting matrifocal culture with patriarchy. Our Judeo-Christian inheritance of this law of the Levites, passed on by the Roman Empire, is one source of present-day sex inequality.
This worship was based upon a "family of gods" and the females were often dominant because they could, without blushing, sing, chant, clap and do those things to induce a charismatic spirit to make people feel "spiritual."
While the entire Hebrew and Christian religion is based upon clear Biblical evidence that God designated only male priestly roles, this quotation does show that the urge to errect pillars and establish female clergy roles is a feminine or effeminate urge to triumph over Jesus Christ as the full "name" of God whose masculine "ritual" was teaching and never singing as a ritual.
Woodmont Hills has erected their own poles or pillars or columns beside their altar and it is a sight to behold. Click Here and doubt that they understand the meaning along with all of those steeple erecters.
Having moved away from churches of Christ, with its new affiliation, the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ has changed its name to:
Family of God in Community Churches
That would be fine but the material flowing out seems heavily loaded with an anti spirit repudiating the people who probably paid for the property. And "antism" is ok too unless of course we repudiate "antism."
While the "many" of churches of Christ make us want to run from what has been made of the name of Christ as the Head and Mind or Spirit of His own Body, it is Biblical and Historical that to be associated with Christ always brings reproach. Like all reproach, it is usually produced by young lions and lambs tied up in the same wineskin trying to see who comes out alive.
However, when the masses flocked to hear Jesus He understood their motives and spoke in parables as a judgmental sign against those with closed their eyes and ears. It was prophesied that He would not "cry out" or call assemblies to get everyone thinking straight. Therefore, to those who cared, He spoke in His quiet way on the slopes of hills or inner rooms. It seems, according to this new name, that one can be a Christian without accepting the only name for the only bride of the church which is not a family but an assembly of people into a local body of brethren and utter strangers.
Therefore, we wonder about those who run from the name of Christ while trying to run from some who blacken the name. Don't they always run to "green pastures" just over the fence. Can't we read and understand that those on the other side of the broken down walls have their own problems? Don't they all come from trying to make the church into a denomination.
The word family is used only once of those people Whom God has added to His universal family. It is not a term used of a local congregation made up of a few who are true family members of God:
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father (of our Lord Jesus Christ), Eph 3:14 NIV, NAS, NKJV, RSV and LIV omit "our Lord Jesus Christ."
The family of God does not include unbelievers while the church includes both wheat and tares: tomatoes and johnson grass. Each individual is under obligation to associate with a "church" or assembly of Christ which he or she believes best conforms to and projects the name and authority of Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet, not all church attenders are family members and we should not, therefore, imply that all of our "family" belongs to God:
Thomas Campbell asked of baptism: Why is it translated "in the name," &c, contrary to the literal and almost universal translation of the particle eis? In the name of any dignified character, universally imports, by the authority of such a person. Whereas this is not the proper and obvious meaning of the baptismal institution. For although it is done by virtue of the divine authority enjoining it, that is, by the authority of Christ; yet its proper and primary import is not a mere exhibition of authority on the part of the institutor, and of submission on the part of the baptized, though this is certainly implied in every act of worship; but it is of a much more consolatory and blissful import, being an expression of faith and obedience on the part of the baptized; nay, the very first instituted act of the obedience of faith,
in and by which the believing worshipper is openly declared to be of the household of faith and of the
family of God, being baptized into "the name of the Father,"
of whom the whole redeemed family in heaven and earth is named;
and into the name of the Redeemer, the Son, and heir of all things, who makes his people free; and into the name of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier, the comforter, and perfecter of the saints; that by virtue of his indwelling and sanctifying presence,
he, the baptized believer, may be separated to God, with all the redeemed, for a habitation of God, through the Spirit.
"The Family of God" usually seeks to be expansive enough to include all who claim to be believers, whatever they believe. That is, it is an ecumenical term seeking to identify the church of God as an earthly institution.
However, in the image of God's Family, Jeremiah wrote:
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: Jeremiah 3:14
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15
The name of the Father is Jesus or Joshua which means Jehovah-Saves. The word "god" is not a name.
All of the saved belong to the Family of God or rather The Family of Jesus Christ because that is God's "personal" name. However, in the local sense we are individually the "Temple" of God. Collectively, every member of the church universal are members of the Family of God. However, in the local congregational sense we are not all family but may be "sheep" working in a family of billy goats.
Campbell sees to suggest that the "broader fellowship" is not an ecumenical movement in which widely divergent groups are collectively The Family of God.
Rather, it is that invisible institution which exists in the mind of God.
"Sheep" and "goats" are not of the same family but are always part of the same fellowship.
Should we imply that every one of us are members of the family, or a collection of spiritual hitchhikers just travelling on the same road from time to time? The family is a universe-wide group:
"Thus a new and blissful relation to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, is publicly recognized towards the believer, by an ordinance divinely and graciously instituted for this purpose.
Being thus openly and explicitly declared to be of the family of God, through Jesus Christ, by the Spirit, he is declared free--justified from the guilt, and washed from the pollution of sin, by this washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which is the privilege of all those that believe and thus obey the gospel, by a worshipful and obediential compliance with this divine appointment.
His faith corresponding with every item of the divine testimony, thus exhibited, he joyfully recognizes his new, justified, sanctified, and filial relation to God [not the institution]; and realizing this, is filled with peace and joy in believing; and so goes on his way rejoicing, as well he may. See Acts viii. 39. So much for the first divinely instituted act of the worshipful obedience of faith."
Campbell would not recognized those who have deliberately rejected baptism as a member of the "family." Therefore, the family is that invisible ideal and does not every exist in a given location. Woodmont, on the other hand, seems determined that about any claim of "family blood" should be recognized as part of the family. Shouldn't we allow God to do that? He will whether we like it or not.
At the same time there seems to be a rejection of water baptism as part of the Divine plan of Lord Jesus Christ to add individuals to the invisible family. Se submit that the family status is gained in heaven when Christ adds us.
That God has a Name
According to Zechariah, the whole family of God would be named after Joshua or Jesus Who is both King and Priest upon the one throne and "there is harmony between them both." Joshua means Jehovah-Savior or "Saves." The family does not consist of a local congregation but of those saved members added to the fellowship of dead members of the family and the heavenly host of God's family:
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Eph 3:15
The What: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; Ac 3:16
The How: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Ac 3:17
This whole family consists of all baptized believers whose baptism followed their actual death to self, their burial into Christ (as well as water) and a resurrection to walk where our "citizenship is in heaven." However, only Christ can determine who is and who is not a member of His family. It is not likely that denying the full Deity confessed only in the name Christ will make you a very close relative.
No human assembly can claim to be that.
Patria (g3965) pat-ree-ah'; as if fem. of a der. of 3962; paternal descent, i.e. (concr.) a group of families or a whole race (nation): - family, kindred, lineage.
It is much too presumptuous for us to assume that we have established the family of God in a given location. This implies that we are all members of God's family and have His "blood" flowing in our veins
However, an assembly does not demand this inclusive-exclusive judgmental term. We can be the Elijah in a church of 950 prophets of Baal and Asherah. We can be good, bad and ugly because we are struggling to present Christ as the image rather than self as the dominant model.
Aren't we all "grafted" into the pure stock and aren't we adopted by Christ to Himself?
Children of Christ
Jesus said that "My Father and I are One." God as the invisible Father lived in God the visible the Son. This does not make "two" gods.
As the Son, God gave Himself to purchase children to Himself under the human image of Jesus Christ our Lord. Because God the Father is invisible and incomprehensible, He ordained that we become His Children in His Visible Image as a human:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will Eph 1:5
While it is generically true that one can join "the church of God," we should not be ashamed of the "family name" which is Jesus Christ.
Might it not be better to use the term: "Family of Christ" and not disavow our visible Father?
Jesus, the Messiah, would be everything we can every comprehend of God's invisible nature. Jesus would be God in the flesh and there is no other:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Is.9:6
His name is not God. His name is Jehovah-Saves or Jesus Christ. Try introducing your wife as "wife" rather than Sally!
God The Spirit is manifested as Son and Father. However, they are not two persons.
Scripture never doubts that Christ is Full Deity. The Child is the Father becausel:
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, Col.2:9
It is a denial of the entire Biblical record to to break down the walls and deny the full Deity of Lord Jesus Christ as the only God with Whom we can relate. Paul and the entire Bible make it clear that the many are infidels and the tiny remnant are not ashamed to be called by His Name:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 6:15
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Cor 6:16
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 2 Cor 6:17
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor 6:18
We are not called upon to be judgmental and decide that all others are infidels. Our task is to make sure that we do not endorse, by our attendance, events with an unclear agenda. Therefore, To build certain walls and be separate is a fundamental tenent and possibility for the Christian faith:
Aphorizo (h873) af-or-id'-zo; from 575 and 3724; to set off by boundary, i.e. (fig.) limit, exclude, appoint, etc.: - divide, separate, sever.
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. Ac.19:9
The "divers" always refused to listen to Christ who sealed up their blind eyes and deaf ears with the symbolism of parables. Jesus would not call assemblies because the divers never have any interest in His Words but are "rice christians"-
He shall not strive, nor cry (call assemblies); neither shall any (divers) man hear his voice in the streets. Mt 12:19
Further, Jesus said that when they call you to "go out" to find Him do not go because the kingdom is already within you!
There is only One Lord, God Almighty or pantokrator, Lord Jesus Christ (one name):
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Rev 1:7
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Rev 1:8
Lord Jesus Christ is the Only One in Whom we can gather without walls
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Ep.1:10
God is the generic name but that is relly Jehovah. God who is invisible and immaterial works in the visible world through His "Arm" or Son. In the material world His name is Jesus Christ:
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: Eph 3:9
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Eph 3:10
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Kurios): Eph 3:11
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Eph 3:12
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne (seat of power) of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb.4:16
We can come boldly before the throne of Grace in the mind but that throne is not located in Nashville, Rome or Seattle:
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, Heb 12:18
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: Heb 12:19
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, Heb 12:22
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, Heb 12:23
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Heb 12:24
Because Jesus Christ is the only "firstborn" and is the visible image of the invisible God, His is the only Name God has give to us:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Col 1:13
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Col. 1:14
Who is the image (visible) of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: Col.1:15
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: Col. 1:16
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col. 1:17
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 1:18
Therefore, Paul doesn't honor some generic "god" but God Whose name is Jesus. You CANNOT be part of the family of God if you remove the name of CHRIST who is the knowledge and wisdom of God made flesh:
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Eph 3:14
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Eph 3:15
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner (eso from eis) man; Eph 3:16
That Christ may dwell in your hearts (thoughts or feelings) by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Eph 3:17
Earlier, Paul wrote:
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Eph 2:12
But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Eph 2:13
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:26
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:27
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Eph 2:14
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity (feminine of Satan), even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; Eph 2:15
And that he might reconcile both (Jew and Gentile) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Eph 2:16
Whatever we call it, what is the motive for removing the specific name "Jesus Christ" and adding the generic name "god." Whether one accepts the man Jesus Christ as the image God wants displayed in the world is the test of whether one honers the body of Christ, the human assembly while allowing the "family of God" to consist of those whom He has added without our permission or knowledge.
One might gather in the name of the family of god and gather in the name of Zeus or Jupiter. However, to distinguish the family of the True God from the family of the pagan Gods He demanded that we gather in His name and by His authority:
For where two or three are gathered together in my (Christ's) name, there am I in the midst of them. Mt.18:20
Jesus then decides whether the local assembly is going to experience His "presence" by whether we assembly in His name or some generic name of God. The gathering.
Sunago (g4863) soon-ag'-o; from 4862 and 71; to lead together, i.e. collect or convene; spec. to entertain (hospitably): - / accompany, assemble (selves, together), bestow, come together, gather (selves together, up, together), lead into, resort, take in.
The general "congregation" was specificially excluded as "strangers" from the temple to which loud, noise-making instruments and "praise" or rejoicing had been added but only after Israel had repudiated God at Mount Sinai:
But when the congregation (assembly) is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. Numbers 10:7
Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah'; a prim. root; to mar (espec. by breaking); fig. to split the ears (with sound), i. e. shout (for alarm or joy): - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.
This is the same word of which Psalm 41 had God promising:
By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Psa 41:11
Judas was the enemy and the Judas bag was for "carrying the mouthpieces of wind instruments." The word is made up of "speaking in tongues" and "of the world" or Kosmos. The Komos or "comedy" was the usually-naked musical worship team of effeminate men trying to seduce others. Click here to see how they tried to triumph over Jesus with music when they should have known that throughout the Old Testament musical "worship" was telling God "we won't hear any more from you."
The "congregation" of the Jews along with Gentiles were strangers and could not participate in the "musical praise service" which did not exist in the Synagogue nor the church:
Everyone not of the tribe of Levi (priests or Levites and others) was a stranger and no longer members of God's Covenant family:
To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses. Numbers 16:40
The gospel preached is the one Spirit or Mind of Christ which is the "door" or "access" to the Father and Son as full Deity in the image of a household or "temple." (Body and Spirit always go together and are not two "persons.")
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Eph 2:18
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; Eph 2:19
And are built upon the foundation of (laid by) the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Eph 2:20
This, again, is not the local congregation but the entire family of God in heaven and in earth.
The church of the invisible God is the church of the visible Christ
The following passages show that the church of God is the church of Christ Who is now our only Lord and Savior:
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and
deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:4 NIV, NAS, RSV, LIV
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Ph.3:20
You cannot be Family of God if you remove the name CHRIST from your sign!
Church includes those faithful to Christ who are called out from the other families:
Ekklesia (g1577) ek-klay-see'-ah; from a comp. of 1537 and a der. of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concr.) a popular meeting, espec. a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Chr. community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church.
As an assembly or church we are called out sinners and called into an environment which aids our acceptance into the family of God. If we believe and obey through baptism then Christ adds us to His family. It is far too judgmental to proclaim that we accept all others as fellow family members. We have no such authority but strong delusions can make us feel God-like enough to include when our local task does not call for such judgment of those outside of our operating sphere.
God in the flesh purchased the Church as His New Body
In defining the church of God Paul identifies God as the He who hath purchased the church with His own blood. This was Jesus the Christ Fully Anointed with Spirit:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Ac.20:28KJV
The name of this God is not "God." The name of this God Who purchased our redemption is Jesus Christ.
The NIV makes it clear that God is "the Lord." There is only one God, Lord and Spirit and Jesus Christ presented Himself as Lord Jesus Christ. Peter and the early church demanded that we baptize in the Post-Pentecost-inclusive name Jesus Who is fully Jehovah-Savior who has collected "all authority" of Father, Son and Holy Spirit into the One God of the universe who was "manifest in the flesh and justified in the Spirit." To baptize in the name of Jesus is to baptize in the name of Father, Son and Spirit.
The NIV reads:
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, [b] which he bought with his own blood. Ac 20:28NIV
b28 Many manuscripts 'of the Lord'
This means that God in this passage is not a generic god but the God Who lives as Jesus christ. Therefore, the name of the church is "the church of Jesus Christ" or "the church of Jehovah-Saves."
Jesus Christ is the Lord:
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 1Co 1:2
The church was bought with the blood of Christ:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 1Co.10:16
The church which He bought with His blood is the church or body of Christ:
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh
for his bodys sake, which is the church: Col.1:24
Therefore, the church is the church of Christ or "the church which belongs to Christ." It is not: The family of God because this refuses to give honor to Christ as the purchaser.
God is glorified only in the visible Son:
Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified,
and God is glorified in him. Jn 13:31
Jesus said that He had the Father with Him and Peter 1:11 called the Spirit "the Spirit of Christ." Therefore, the only way to honor God is to honor Jesus Christ.
To reject the name "Jesus Christ" is to reject the only way to glorify the invisible God.
To receive from the invisible God we must ask in His visible Name:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Jn 14:13
Therefore, shouldn't the family of God be called the church of Christ?
Lord Jesus Christ is God imaged to us. He is Man and Spirit-anointed. He is the Father and Son in another or Spirit form. On earth, He had the Father with Him and they were One. Father and Son live in those who keep His commandments. Therefore the family of God is universal but the church of Christ is the earthly center of discipleship.
Refusing to Wear the Name of Christ May Deny His Father-Husband Nature
It seems that disconnecting the church from the name "Christ" means that we look for a direct connection to the Spirit God through rituals, music and a lot of noise and the "new wine in new wineskins" image. However, the real test is whether we can approach God the Spirit through God the man Whom the common people heard gladly but the "doctors of the law" just listened to long enough to "get the goods" to make sure that they killed out the Christ influence in their fun and games (for profit) worship. However, the secret is out:
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Ac 4:10
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner (capstone or capital replacing ancient Asherah poles ). Ac 4:11
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Ac 4:12
God is a generic term for Deity and it is not a name: Jesus is a specific name. Christ defines His Deity. We wear the name of the husband and not "John Doe."
Being a believer means that we confess that Christ was in the form of God, that He laid aside His majesty or privileges, that He inhabited a human body, that the body suffered and died but the Spirit remained alive and that Christ ascended back to assume full Deity. Finally, as promised in John 14:18, He came again as another Comforter in Spirit form. When the Spirit spoke to Paul it was the Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit or invisible form speaking the Mind of His full Deity.
As much as we would like to ascend up to heaven to bring Christ down there is no way. He has descended and ascended to give us a human model of quiet humility to imitate.
The test is whether we can accept God as the man Jesus Christ. The model God wants us to display is not a family of God made up of wildly divergent views of Scripture. Rather, the model is One Body whose only "diversity" is God-ordained to make the "unity of the body" function as God's "person" on Earth. No! Corinth was a model of "Disunity in Diversity" and Paul said "your assemblies do more harm than good."
If exclusiveness is judgmental then inclusiveness is the obverse side of the same coin: it is saying that "you are ok in spite of your crazy ideas." This is no less judgmental. By disassociating from the name of Christ the churches of Christ are judged not spiritual enough to be included within the family.
Paul made it clear that we are not an inclusive family but an exclusive body which we may or not be a part of--but we try, dear judges:
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ep.5:23
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ep.5:24
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ep.5:25
Your wife is a woman and her name is Jackie. Now, try calling, "Hey, woman!"
The children of God in His invisible form belong to the visible God Who was "manifest in the flesh and justified in the flesh"-
And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Heb.2:13
As inspiration is denied, the virgin birth is questioned, the power of Jesus to "fully ferment" the gospel and kingdom, and the return to Jubilee as symptomatic of a return back before Christ to allow Him to "get a better shot," it is no surprise that the name of Christ is removed from the door post and the name of the pre-Incarnate God is displayed to the watching world.
Because Scripture makes it clear that the "masses" or "multitudes" or "crowds" listen for the fun, food and games, they cannot hear the parables Jesus speaks to them. Only a tiny remnant can be the bride of Christ and He does not practice polygamy. When Israel practiced this "unity in diversity movement with the Canaanites" God called it adultery and so it still is. The mark of these "unity meetings" was wine and music to tell God to just shut up.
It is not possible to move beyond the Bible without first claiming a direct, personal, physical indwelling of the Holy Spirit "person." After this, all things are possible and the restoration of apostles is necessary to make the changes and sell it, for a price too high, to the virtually Biblically illiterate "brethren."
While we have not been "sharpened" by J. E. Choate's real-life experience with the "uniters" who want to break down the walls to get at your "pure grapes" while you drink and play music (Isaiah 5) or to steal your sheep (as at Cane Ridge), we remember the trauma of trying to get "brethren" to read Don Finto's very clear, printed "manifesto" of apostleship and listening to the "don't rock the boat" of "Oh, he does not mean it." Surprise, surprise, surprise!
Because Rubel Shelly and Randy Harris have decreed that churches of Christ have a destructive view of Scripture, the name of church of Christ has been blackened and rejected for The Family of God. Because Woodmont Hill's need for a worship facilitator pastor person to "help bring the worshiper into the presence of God" they may deny full Deity by minimizing God's only door in the human form of Jesus Christ. Christ will not be found in rituals but clothed in the dirty garb of the hungry soul finding nothing to fill the hunger and thirst in a theater.
Check ZOE GROUP support.
You might also want to see how Dr. Rubel Shelly uses the Exodus as the pattern for a community or church.
Counter added 12.08.04 10:33 p 4502