Copyright © July 31, 2015
Today’s American churches, except for a remnant, have (1) either grown careless or abandoned the truth of God (sound doctrine) and (2) ignored the order of God’s house. See EN 1 below for some Bible notes from 1 Timothy and Titus on church order and sound doctrine.
Old Paths Baptist Church “Separation of Church and State Law” ministry is specifically concerned with helping churches organize according to the principles of the New Testament as spiritual entities only. However, to do this, the ministry is very concerned with making sure that churches who ask for help meet Bible qualifications. Accordingly, the first step in helping a church is to send the pastor a letter and questionnaire (Click here to go to an online copy of the letter and questionnaire). Discussions follow. The pastor and church should begin to educate themselves concerning relevant church doctrine. A fairly concise book which can be read in a few hours (study may take longer) is Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches, Spiritual or Legal Entities which is available free in online and PDF form, in softback-see the Order information for books by Jerald Finney page.). Sometimes those discussions are with the pastor only, sometimes with the pastor and men of the church. If this ministry and the church agree on essentials, the next step is to draft the documents (Resolution, Declaration of Trust and Appendix). Some variations may be made to the documents if requested by the pastor and church and if this ministry agrees that those changes do not violate clear Bible principle(s).
There are many facets to church order as described in the Bible doctrine of the church: For example, headship of the church (Christ is to be the only head of a New Testament church); requirements for membership; requirements for becoming pastors (ordination, qualifications, etc.); guidelines for pastors, deacons, families, widows, husbands, wives, children, masters, and slaves; the operation of the church as a spiritual body as opposed to a religious organization and/or legal entity; the preaching of the word to the assembled church and its purpose; the preaching of the word in the world and its purpose; the purposes of the assembly of the church; spiritual warfare (most Christians are incorrectly taught that their warfare is in the legal and political realm and never taught that God, in his word, tells Christians to fight a spiritual warfare and how that warfare is to be fought); discipline of members, etc. Most are wrongly taught, against Bible guidelines, that preaching is to be done only inside the walls of a building to a congregation of people not to a New Testament body of born again believers and that one is not to preach in the public forum (on the sidewalks and in the parks) to the lost, including to the lost religious crowd because many of them will be offended.
The Bible is clear: the goal of a born again believer is to be the glory of God. Very few pastors, church members, or saved people understand this. They have been falsely led to believe that their goal is happiness, not only in heaven, but also on earth. For Bible teaching on this (which also has links to additional resources covering the motivation and goal of the believer and the church), go to the following article: The motivation and the goal.
“The Macedonian Call; A Vision For The Brethren Scattered Abroad In Apostate America,” on sermonaudio.com (080215)(Click here for Youtube of this sermon.)
Note. I do not agree with all the Scofield Reference Edition teaches. However, there is much to glean from those teachings. One must study the Bible himself to divide truth from heresy, no matter the source.
Headnote to Titus. “THEME Titus has much in common with First Timothy. Both Epistles are concerned with the due order of the churches. The distinction is that in First Timothy sound doctrine is more prominent (1Ti. 1:3-10), in Titus the divine order for the local churches (Tit 1:5). The permanent use of these Epistles lies in this twofold application, on the one hand to churches grown careless as to the truth of God, on the other, to churches careless as to the order of God’s house. The importance of this order is made solemnly emphatic in that the tests by which true elders and deacons may be known are repeated (1Ti. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:6-9). There are two divisions: I. The qualifications and functions of elders, 1.1-16. II. The pastoral work of the true elder, 2.1-3, 15.”
Titus 1: The divine order for local churches.
Titus 1:5 “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:”
N1 to Titus 1.5, p1283: “It is not at all a question of the presence in the assembly of persons having the qualifications of elders, made overseers by the Holy Spirit (Ac. 20:28) that such persons were in the churches of Crete is assumed; the question is altogether one of the appointment of such persons. These assemblies were not destitute of elders; but were “wanting,” in that they were not duly appointed. There is a progress of doctrine in respect of the appointing of elders. Cf. v. 5, note.”
N2 to Titus 1.5, p1283 “Elder (presbuteros) and bishop (episcopos = “overseer”) designate the same office (cf Tit. 1:7; Ac. 20:17, 28) the former referring to the man, the latter to a function of the office. The eldership in the apostolic local churches was always plural. There is no instance of one elder in a local church. The functions of the elders are: to rule (1Ti. 3:4; 5:17) to guard the body of revealed truth from perversion and error (Tit. 1:9) to “oversee” the church as a shepherd his flock (Ac. 20:28; Joh. 21:16; Heb. 13:17. 1 Pe. 5:2). Elders are made or “set” in the churches by the Holy Spirit (Ac 20:28) but great stress is laid upon their due appointment (Ac. 14:23; Tit. 1:5). At first they were ordained (Gr. “cheirotoneo,” “to elect,” “to designate with the hand,”) by an apostle; e.g. (Ac. 14:23) but in Titus and First Timothy the qualifications of an elder become part of the Scriptures for the guidance of the churches in such appointment. (1 Ti. 3:1-7).”
Verses in Titus dealing with sound doctrine in the churches:
Titus 1:7-16 “7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
Titus 2:1-2 “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.”
Titus 2:15 “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
Titus 3:9-11 “9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 10 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
Headnote to 1 Timothy: “THEME As the churches of Christ increased in number, the questions of church order, of soundness in the faith, and of discipline became important. At first the apostles regulated these things directly, but the approaching end of the apostolic period made it necessary that a clear revelation should be made for the guidance of the churches. Such a revelation is in First Timothy, and in Titus. The key-phrase of the Epistle is, “That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God.” Well had it been with the churches if they had neither added to nor taken from the divine order. The divisions are five: I. Legality and unsound doctrine rebuked, 1.1-20 II. Prayer and the divine order of the sexes enjoined, 2.1-15 III. The qualifications of elders and deacons, 3.1-16 IV. The walk of the ‘good minister,’ 4.1-16 V. The work of the ‘”good minister,’ 5.1-6.21.”
Some of the verses in 1 Timothy dealing with sound doctrine in the churches:
Some of the verses in 1 Timothy dealing with sound doctrine and order in the churches:
1 Timothy 1:5-11 “5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
1 Timothy 1:19-20 “19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
1, Timothy 2 deals with prayer and the divine order of the sexes.
1 Timothy 3 covers qualifications of elders and deacons.
1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
1 Timothy 4:1-2 “1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
1 Timothy 4:6-7 “6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”
1 Timothy 4:13 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Read all of 1 Timothy 4-6 which deal with doctrine, order, and discipline in the church; giving directions for treatment and actions of elder women, younger women, widows, elders, church members in general, servants, masters, the rich, etc.
1 Timothy 6:5 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
1 Timothy 6:20-21 “20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.