Today I continue my series Exposing the Church is Mystery Babylon Movement. If you haven’t already please see part 1 and part 2 of this series. After the jump I will begin addressing Chapter 8 of Mr. Charles Newbold’s book The Harlot Church System. You can read the entire chapter here.
Mr. Newbold begins Chapter 8 with;
While driving home one drizzling winter day after sharing with some believers in Georgia, I kept hearing the words rumbling around inside of me: “Quit the Ministry.” That word was most troubling because I thought I had already done that. Still, there it was, relentlessly hounding me: “Quit the Ministry.” Then I noticed the emphasis on the article: “Quit THE Ministry.” I knew it was a refining word of God at work within me. THE Ministry, with the emphasis on the article “THE” and a capital “M,” was a stronghold inside of me that had been passed down to me through the generations of religious tradition. This stronghold is what we call being in THE Ministry.
God apparently speaks to Mr. Newbold audibly. I know he didn’t come right out and claim such things but it is what he’s implying in the above paragraph. This is how men like Newbold convince people to follow them and more importantly to do what he tells them to do. It’s his way of separating or distinguishing himself from those whom he’s trying to convince. It’s too bad God didn’t emphasize to Newbold what ecclesia meant here and saved Newbold the embarrassment.
Mrs. Newbold’s response to her husband is typical;
“What does it mean to quit THE Ministry?” I asked my wife, Nancy. As usual, with keen perception, knowing it had to do with me in particular, she thoughtfully answered. “It means not feeling responsible for the people in the little groups we minister to, making a syllabus or a book of everything that comes to you, systematizing everything into a formal teaching with the idea you have to teach it, starting a ministry school, putting out newsletters, nor pastoring anyone. It means to just be.”
The first thing we must understand when we read Newbold’s work is this; he’s taken his mistakes, failures, idolatries and such and portrays ALL buildings, congregations, ministers and ministries claiming to be Christian as guilty of the same crime because after all God told him so……let’s look a bit more closely at Mrs. Newbold’s answer.
“It means not feeling responsible for the people in the little groups we minister to,
That might sound all well and good but it contradicts God’s written word which I hold in far greater esteem than the “god spoke to me” line folks like Newbold expect us to believe. I think the first thing we should do is examine what “minister to” means in biblical terms.
The term minister, as used in biblical days, is defined as;
1) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
1a) to minister to one, render ministering offices to
1a1) to be served, ministered unto
1b) to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests
1b1) of women preparing food
1c) to minister, i.e. supply food and necessities of life
1c1) to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life
1c2) to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
1c3) in Christian churches to serve as deacons
1d) to minister
1d1) to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests
1d2) to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing
I broke a rule here but I wanted to give the reader the complete definition of minister, as found in the bible. As you can see from the definition above ministers are much more akin to waiters at a restaurant then rulers of kingdoms. In each NT instance “ministers” are regarded as and expected to be nothing more than servants who are responsible for their guests. The bible states the following;
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Leaders are responsible to God my friends. Ministers will give an account for what they did and more importantly what they didn’t do. Mrs. Newbold’s next statement is a doozy;
making a syllabus or a book of everything that comes to you, systematizing everything into a formal teaching with the idea you have to teach it, starting a ministry school, putting out newsletters, nor pastoring anyone. It means to just be.”
Well! Please have a look at the following page here and you decide if Charles followed his wife’s advice. From the looks of things I’d say he didn’t follow her keen perceptions did he?
Was God really speaking to Newbold? You decide.
Just as he did in Chapters 2 and 3 Newbold has built his argument around a false premise and then is free to use the entire 8th Chapter of his online book to rip it apart. Today we will only look at one of these conclusions;
The one in THE Ministry feels obligated to think of himself, behave himself, and perform his duties in a certain way in order to live up to the expectations that go with his ministerial position.
If the minister in question thinks he’s better than his flock then he isn’t a very good servant now is he? Those would be people who don’t want to serve but be served. Those are people who don’t want to be responsible for their flocks and are only interested in their own needs. Jesus called them hirelings (John 10:3). Remind you of anyone?
How are to ministers to behave? 1Timothy Chapter 3:1-7 gives us the requirements those who “desire” to lead God’s flock MUST adhere to. As the Scripture clearly states behavior is a MAJOR deal with God, especially the behavior of those claiming to lead God’s flock.
He feels obligated to produce sermons, perform rituals, conduct services, visit parishioners, develop programs, print bulletins, mail out newsletters, increase numerical growth, boost the finances, write books, sell tapes, be on television and radio, dress the code, and in some circles heal the sick and work miracles. These are the kinds of things of that falsely attest to his success.
Produce sermons? Well, we do expect the minister to be able to teach. It is one of the requirements of one who desires the office of elder. Sermons are nothing more than lectures that usually involve teaching. Paul thought very highly of “producing sermons” in his exhortation to Timothy;
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The rest of his complaint might hold water if he actually named some real life examples but why ruin a perfectly good straw man if you don’t have to?
Later this week I’ll address more of his statements from this chapter and if the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise I’ll be producing a couple of podcasts this week demonstrating what a true minister is as well as what a true church looks like.
Yesterday afternoon the Internet was shutdown for a time to correct some problems. This posting wasn’t ready to be published and when I was informed the net was going down I inadvertantly hit publish rather than save. I’ve only added the 2 Timothy passage but there is plenty more I intended and will say. Stay tuned.