Church Fables which I once embraced include all of the following. I will expand upon each one of these with the related scriptures in upcoming posts. (You can click on the links below to read posts on these fables:)
“Clergy Laity Distinctions”: I firmly believed that there were clear distinctions between two classes of believers…otherwise known as “clergy” and “laity”, those who were “ministers” and those who were “not in the ministry”, those who worked in “spiritual work” and those who worked in “secular work”, those who were in “full-time Christian work” and those who were in “part-time Christian work”, those who were “servants of the Lord” and those who were “servants of men”! Traditions of men assigned to the first class distinctive titles, certificates, papers or letters, distinct responsibilities and privileges, distinct places of ministry, distinct means of support, and in some places even distinct clothing! But I eventually learned that scripture never distinguishes between clergy (God’s inheritance) and the laity (God’s people)! Not one of the above distinctions can be scripturally defended! In both Old and New Testaments the clergy and laity are designations of the very same group of people! It is true that under the Old Covenant God ordained that men of the tribe of Levi were the only ones who could be priests and ministers, but under the New Covenant every believer is a priest, an ordained and gifted minister and no class of believers has ever been called to “part time ministry”! This doctrine creates all sorts of divisions among God’s people! Thus I had to repent of this doctrine and practice and refrain from any further participation in it.
“Local Church Membership”: For many years I was proud to be a member of my church. But that membership distinguished me from other Christians who were not members of my church! But as I searched the scriptures on the subject I learned that membership in scripture is always associated with a body which has a head. No local church is ever described in this way nor does scripture ever speak of “’members” in a church at Jerusalem, Ephesus or Corinth. The only scriptural church which has members is the church which is Christ’s Body of which all believers are members! The whole concept of membership in local churches thus creates many unscriptural divisions among the people of God who are one in Christ! So I had to repent of this doctrine as well and abstain from seeking “membership” in any gathering of Christians which would exclude any who belong to Christ.
To see posts on this subject click on the following links: “Local Church Membership an introductory Poll (Part 1)” , “Local Church Membership an introductory Poll (Part 2)”
“In Fellowship/out of Fellowship”: For many years I distinguished between those of us in my church who were “in fellowship” and others whom we believed were “out of fellowship”. But then I learned that neither of these terms are scriptural ones! Fellowship is not something you can be “in” or “out of” but rather something which you have or do not have. It is not something that others can extend to you, withhold from you or “put you out of”! The doctrine of “in fellowship” and “out of fellowship” has been created to justify and create countless divisions among those whom God has united by His Spirit!
To see posts on this subject click on the following links: “Fellowship (Part 1), Adding (Part 2) and Reception (Part 3) of New Covenant Believers”, “Adding (Part 2)”, “Reception (Part 3)”
“Church collections” and “Church tithing”: For decades I faithfully contributed every Sunday to collections which were made in churches where I was a “member” or “in fellowship”. I felt that this was an obligation which every faithful Christian would accept. But the greatest percentage of those collections was spent on maintenance of church buildings and paying church staff or those in “full-time ministry”. No collection is ever recorded in a church gathering in the new testament! Nor did any first century churches receive collections for the purpose of paying for “church buildings” or paying “salaries of church staff”! The collection of I Cor.16:1,2 was to be laid by in store by each believer to be used for poor saints! The teaching of “church collections” and “church tithing” are really all about human control of the financial resources of God’s people when in reality each believer needs to be listening to Christ their Head regarding how He would have their collections disbursed! So this is another teaching and practice of which I had to repent in order to ne obedient to the scriptures.
“Church Leadership”: For most of my life I looked up to and followed “church leaders”, then I trained to be a “church leader”, I became a “church leader” and began training others to also be “church leaders”! I never questioned the whole concept of “church leadership” until I began to test all of my beliefs and practices by scripture. It has only been recently that I realized (to my surprise) that God never intended that any man other than the Lord Jesus Christ should be a leader of His people! The Lord Jesus did not train leaders, did not assign the task of “leading” to any of His followers nor did He appoint apostles, elders, deacons, pastors etc to “lead “ the church! Rather the Lord Jesus called and trained followers who would also train others to follow the only leader whom God has ever appointed over them and that is Christ. Thus I learned that all of the many practices that I associated with the idea of mortal church leadership only served to divide Christians, cause us to follow a multitude of leaders and distract our attention from the only True Leader which God has given us, His own lovely Son! So I have had to repent of my participation in, the poor example I set and the teaching I gave to others regarding being “church leaders”. Now I simply desire to encourage all believers to be eager followers of Christ rather than following any mortal leaders.