Friday, June 11, 2010


"The absence of a New Testament model for the present role of preachers or leaders has not slowed the prevalence of the current model of one or two elders leading a congregation of followers since the time of Constantine. But Scripture warns us of being defrauded of our prize by following leaders in the church. Not just bad leaders but leaders.

"By eliminating our use of a favorite teacher and turning to New Testament commands in order to grow in the knowledge of our Father, we will have an unobstructed view of Christ. By our progress in understanding and trusting the person and character of Jesus Christ, God will grow us into conformity with His joy, holiness and loving kindness."  Jack Fortenberry, from the Prologue "Corinthian Elders."

"But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ.  He who is greatest among you shall be your servant."  Our Lord, Jesus Christ: Matthew 2:8-11 

Will the church be converted to God's Eternal Purpose? Our Lord desires to express His Headship throughout His many-membered, many-functioned, many-splendored body. Right now, His Headship is over-localized in a single member, be it priest, pastor, or preacher, on any given Sunday. The Church of Jesus Christ as originally conceived, had no human head, no human officiator, no human artifice but Jesus Christ Himself. Shocking! Don't believe it? Uncover the truth in the "Corinthian Elders."

The fact that this conversation is even going on leads me to believe that Jesus Christ is coming back for His Church and that He is intent on restoring its primal glory without all the dead weight of a top-down, hierarchical structure that has impinged His Headship from operating throughout His body, through each member functioning, as and when He chooses.

Jack Fortenberry's little book "Corinthian Elders" is big on substance and goes a long way in challenging most of our current church practices that can't be found in the New Testament. The fact that Jack once served as an "ruling elder" in the Presbyterian Chuirch of America adds some weight and clarity to his message.

Quite frankly, if you have had very little exposure to this type of thinking and have grown up in the institutional church with its teaching on "authority" and "submission" and "covering" and the role of "head pastor," my guess is you may not get it, at first anyway. Much of this book will sound like a foreign language; but really, this is an indication of how far we have fallen from the vitality and genius of the early church in its primal infancy. You see, they knew an indwelling Lord, and when they assembled together, they didn't look to "special teachers and preachers" (the Corinthian Church was an exception, but Paul straightened that out) to edify them because they learned how to edify one another as they spoke Jesus Christ out of the abundance of their hearts, one to another (Colossians 3:16).   They could do this because they were directed by apostolic tradition to center their meetings, and their very lives, on the Lord Jesus Christ, alone.

We have greatly erred in the way we have set up worldly leadership structures above the Headship of Jesus
Christ. It's time for the church to be converted to God's eternal purpose. May this book be another piece in the puzzle that has so long eluded us. Come Lord Jesus and take Your rightful place of supremacy in Your church.

Order here: CORINTHIAN ELDERS by Jack Fortenberry

Sunday, May 23, 2010


SO MUCH OF OUR PRAYER LIVES are filled with requests for this, that, and the other thing. Dallas Willard has made the comment that we have turned God into our "cosmic Bell Hop." But really, everything has already been given to us in Jesus Christ: "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes and Amen, to the glory of God by us." II Cor. 1:20. and "In Him, God has given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness." II Pet. 1:3-4 When God gave us His only begotten Son, know beloved that He gave us everything He had to give, in Him, by Him, and for Him.

With that in mind, here are some "phases of prayer" that I hope you can use from time to time to just "be with Him" because He is altogether wonderfu! Consider "journaling" your prayers to Him. Let Him speak not only to you but through you. If our Lord gives a portion of Himself to you, remember dear believer, that portion is for the body of Christ. Share it with us.


My intimate Savior, I do not want to come to You cluttered with competing thoughts, desires, and emotions. I ask you to harness my untamed thoughts and desires, still the pounding of my emotions, and conform my will to Yours, so that my heart, soul, mind and strength may rest whole and complete in you alone.

Pause to relax and rest in His presence. Ask God to give you stillness so that you may be receptive to His still-small voice.

O Lord, I open myself now to a deep abiding awareness of your indwelling presence. You dwell at the center of my being in hidden splendor, glory, and wonder. My heart is Your dwelling place. Give me eyes to see You and ears to hear You in Your intimate nearness.

Sanctify the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart. As He abides in you, abide now in Him. Pause in listening, internal adoration. Then express your heart-filled gratitude to an indwelling Savior.

Holy Spirit, I surrender all that I am to You. I no longer live, but You live in me. I hand back to You all that I am, all that I possess, all that I do. Take and do with me what You will. Bring my every thought and action captive to Your will. To you, my Indwelling Counselor, I surrender myself, absolutely, entirely, without reservation now and forever.

What do you need to let go of? What are you clinging to other than God? Pause to allow the Spirit to point out anything in your life that may be stifling or grieving His Spirit and hindering your walk with Him. Offer your own expression of surrender and repentence.

Wondrous Jesus, come to me now as the good Samaritan. I am as one laying on the side of the road, beaten, wounded by robbers. Pick me up I pray, anoint me with the oil of Your joy, heal my wounds, enter my loneliness and place me in Your sheltering arms where I can rest in Your comfort.

Express in your own way your hunger and thirst for His healing presence.


MY EVERLASTING FATHER, You are my Mighty God, the Lord my Righteousness, my Maker, the Rock of my Salvation, my Fortress, my Hiding Place, my Glory and the Lifter of My Head, my Restorer, my Sure Foundation, my Strong Tower, my Shadow in a Scorching Land.

Pause for a moment as you linger in the Father’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.

MY HOLY JESUS, You are Chief Among Ten-Thousand To My Soul, my Rose of Sharon, my Way, my Truth, my Life, my Strength and my Song, my Prince of Peace, my Tender Shepherd, my Everlasting Savior, my Hope, my Righteous Branch, my Dayspring From on High, my King Over All The Earth, my Bright and Morning Star, the Crucified and Risen One, even the Holy One of God.

Pause for a moment as you linger in the Son’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.

MY DIVINE SPIRIT, You are my Counselor and Teacher, my Ointment Poured Forth, my Early-Morning Manna, my Fountain of Water in a Dry Place, my Sanctuary, my Crown of Glory, my Diadem of Beauty, my Portion, my Resting Place, my Physician, my Immanuel, my Purifier, my Beloved, my Pouch of Myrrh Within My Heart, the Joy of My Salvation.
Pause for a moment as you linger in the Spirit’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.

THE LORD EARNESTLY WAITS--expectant, looking and longing--to be gracious to you, and therefore He lifts Himself up that He may have mercy on you and show lovingkindness to you; for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed, happy, fortunate, to be envied are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship. Psalms 30:18 Amplified.

BECAUSE CHRIST IS OURS, we have His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and even His matchless, unbroken companionship with the Father.  Praise Him on the wings of eternal gratitude for all that is yours in Christ Jesus. You are rich beyond your wildest dreams with treasure that moth and rust can never disfigure, and that no thief can ever break through and steal. It is an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Mat.6:20/I Pet.1:4

Friday, May 21, 2010



by  Milt Rodriguez 

"Now everything becomes internal. God comes to actually live inside of the believer. Now, the law is "written" on our hearts" because the One who is the Lawgiver and Law fulfiller comes to reside within us. Do you see how tremendous this is? The law is no longer an external set of rules that are written on stone tablets. They have all been fulfilled by a Person who has now come to indwell the believer. Now, it is the life of the Person inside the believer that fulfills every law, not the believer himself. (Gal. 2:20)  Dear reader, please take a moment to think on that. Let this fact sink deep into your spirit so that it becomes a living reality for you. Jesus Christ lives inside of you. All of God's requirements are fulfilled by this indwelling Lord."  Milt Rodriguez, The Temple Within 

I LOVED THIS BOOK! In my opinion, no topic is more important than this one. The Evangelical community knows very little, if nothing at all, regarding an intimate relationship with our indwelling LORD JESUS CHRIST, and that this relationship with HIM is pursued in community with other believers. The Jesus many Christians worship is in the heavenly places. I'm reminded of how an angel chided the disciples as their eyes followed Jesus’ ascension: "Why do you stand here looking up?" The angel is saying their focus of worship "upward" was misdirected. The one we love now lives in us, in temples not made by hands. This is the longing of our God from before the foundation of the world, to live and walk "IN" HIS people. But attend any worship service in a typical church on Sunday mornings, and you will catch a flavor of this worship of Christ "The Most High" but little is known of our indwelling King, “The Most Nigh!”

This practice of fellowship with HIM who lives within is nothing new. This was the heritage of the saints, and they knew it well, from the beginning of the church and down through the centuries. But this became hidden from us with the "Age of Enlightenment" where "reason" and "discourse" over scripture, and pulpit sermons, took the place of keeping close to this inner spring of living water that springs up within the hearts of those who follow JESUS.

Milt helps to give fresh impetus to this lost devotion to our indwelling LORD. In most circles, we speak of this more metaphorically than actually. We believe HE lives in us, but that is as far as it goes. "The Temple Within" gives very practical guidelines on how we can enter behind the veil, to a living fellowship with HIM, not only as individual Christians, but as "member’s one of another." Here you will read about "Beholding Him," "Loving Him," "Receiving Him," and the Habitual Fellowship with Him that is the highest privilege of every child of God, individually and corporately.

If you long to know Christ who also longs for your fellowship with HIM in the inner courts, do yourself a favor and read "The Temple Within." And then, as Teresa of Avila says, "get yourself some company as soon as you can" to enjoy this amazing Christ together.

Order Here: The Temple Within: Fellowship with an Indwelling Christ

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Romans 12:6



"Peter, following up that word which is before us--"a spiritual house" (I Peter 2:5) says a little later that the object of the spiritual house is to "show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."  The temple was to show forth the excellencies of the Lord, the embodiment of Divine thoughts, and the Lord's people in any place should be the embodiment and expression of "Divine thoughts.  There should be there a disclosing of God's thoughts in a very blessed way, a coming to know the mind of the Lord for His people, a rich unveiling of what is in the heart of God concerning His own. That is how it ought to be; not just addresses or sermons, but a ministry of revelation under the Holy Spirit through an opened heaven. That is of value to the Lord and to His people.  But it wants a living company for that..." T. A. Sparks, God's Spiritual House

According to scripture, ministry in the church (ekklesia) is not the primary responsibility of one or two people, but is spread out in an effusive fashion. "EACH ONE, as he has received a gift...minister it as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (I Peter 4:10). The Amplified version says it this way:

“As EACH OF YOU has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace—faithful stewards of the extremely diverse [powers and gifts granted to Christians by] unmerited favor.”

And Paul tells us that…

"God has given to EACH ONE the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (I Cor. 12:7) (read all of I Cor. 12)

Thus the church is, by its nature and calling, a society of ministers. This mutual benefiting one another is a central feature of the church gathered in HIS name. As we read in Hebrews 10:25:

“Forsake not the assembly of yourselves together but ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.”

Christians do not assemble together to just "receive" but to minister their respective gifts, their portions of Christ, one to the other. We assemble together not just “to be fed” but “to feed” Christ one to another.

So how is this done? Peter writes:

"If anyone speaks, as speaking oracles of God; if anyone ministers, as ministering out of the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever." (see I Peter 4:1-11)

The speaking in these meetings is not the speaking of "the natural man." Peter says, "If anyone speaks" they should be "speaking the oracles of God." And all such ministry to one another is to flow "out of the strength which God supplies." This is the Lord Jesus Christ, ministering to His church, through one another, “as God supplies.” (I Peter 4:11)

And the reason for such gatherings? "That in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might forever and ever."

And it is the Lord's desire that He be glorified "in" His saints, that His glory be manifested from within the members of His body: 

"When He comes to be glorified IN His saints and to be marveled at IN all those who have believed..." 2 Thessalonians. 1:4-11)

When the Personhood of Christ is ministered to one another, by one another, God is glorified in all things "through Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is the actual Minister in these meetings because the giftings are coming “through HIM.” The Glory and the Power and the Supply all come through Jesus Christ, by one another and to one another, and when that happens, the Father is glorified!

A church that is following the divine order in its functioning and prophetic revelation of Jesus Christ together will also experience an evangelism explosion that is even promised by the Holy Spirit:

"...let's say an outsider walks in on your meeting and all are speaking for God with great power and insight...What then? Well, the outsider would come under the conviction of his own sins and be called to account by all.  The very secrets of His heart would be revealed by all, and right there--mystified--he would fall on his face in worship to God, proclaiming all the while that God most certainly dwells among you" (I Cor. 14:26).

Who would not want this type of church meeting? But this can never happen unless all the saints take seriously their need to bring something prophetic to the meetings that they themselves have heard and learned from the Lord. So, after Paul describes the kind of meetings that brings the lost to their knees while confessing that "God is among you," he tells them in the most practical terms what they need to do:

What should you do then, brothers and sisters?  When you come together, each one of you has a vital role to play because each one of you has gifts.  One person might bring a song. Another a teaching. Still another a revelation from God. One person might speak in an unknown language while another interprets.  But all should be done to strengthen the life and faith of the meeting of the assembly"  (I Cor. 14:26).
How do we minister Christ to one another?"

The purpose of the church assembly is the exaltation of the Son of God one to another so that the church becomes an expression of its Head, who is Christ. "As we have received our gift, so minister Him one to another" is a paraphrase of I Peter 4:10, for all spiritual gifting, all wisdom, all perfection is in, through, by and for Jesus Christ in whom are hidden all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

Paul says that we should desire spiritual endowments, but most of all, we should desire “prophecy” because it is the gift that excels to the building up of the body of Christ (see I Cor. 14).

“Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love—make it your aim, your great quest; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments, especially that you may prophesy…” (I Cor. 14:1).

Notice Paul says that we are not only to earnestly desire such spiritual endowments, but to “cultivate” them.

The reason Paul considered prophecy so vital was because it…

“speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation.” (I Cor. 14:3)

In reading Ephesians chapter four, you will discover that this “building up the body of Christ” was the central feature of the Spirit's ecclesiology. So here in I Corinthians, Paul is speaking of the practical side to what this “building up the body of Christ” actually looks like as each person shares ministry functions.

Now in a word, if you speak to men for “their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation” you are prophesying. Perhaps you didn’t even know it at the time, but that is the case. It is not ecstatic speech, or other-worldly speech, or even speech with a Pentecostal-Charismatic flavor to it. It is simply the testimony of Jesus which builds up the body of Christ.

Do you see the interconnectedness of scripture regarding these things? Hebrews 10, Ephesians 4, Romans 12, I Peter 4, I Corinthians 12 & 14 etc. speak in unison regarding the building up of the body of Christ through MUTUAL MINISTRY. All saints from all persuasions are invited to be ministers of Christ one to another. It is open to all irrespective of race, culture, clergy training, etc.

Now there may be some reading this who think this is fine for Pentecostals, or think of such “prophecy” as what they have heard in Pentecostal gatherings. As a believer who spent many years in a Charismatic church, I can tell you that whenever I read this passage in I Corinthians, I viewed this passage through that grid and couldn’t’ see anything beyond it.  So we often think someone needs to stand up and speak a "Thus Saith The Lord!" and speak in a somewhat bombastic and really 'spiritual' voice.

May God be merciful to us in allowing us to see that this is not the case at all, that “prophecy” is something that all of us are required to earnestly pursue and cultivate in order to build up the body of Christ and by speaking in such a way that feels quite normal. 

Now we know that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Would “all scripture” include this passage that admonishes us to pursue this gift? Is it diminished if we belong to another denomination which rejects the notions of charismatic gifts? I think if we do this, we nullify the purposes of God and even set ourselves in opposition to HIM regarding implicit instructions to the contrary.

Because I Corinthians 14 is considered “scripture,” I believe it carries as much weight as anything in Romans, and is profitable for our “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” just as is the book of Romans. So what is at stake here really is our obedience to the whole counsel of God. We just don’t have the luxury to cherry-pick what suits us or not.

What our denominational schisms have produced is a focused emphasis on some scripture while excluding others. But if “all scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” shouldn’t we begin to embrace and proclaim and practice all that God has written for our learning? Shouldn’t’ our approach to scripture be “holistic” rather than discriminatory? Who are we to exclude certain portions of scripture because they don’t fit our ecclesiastical paradigms? With this in mind, let’s take another look at “prophecy” as the excelling gift for building up the body of Christ. If it was the “excelling gift for building up the body of Christ” then, shouldn’t it be for our edification, practice and learning today?


In Revelations we are told that...

“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev.19:10)

The Amplified says it this way:

“For the substance (essence) of the truth revealed by Jesus is the spirit of all prophecy—the vital breath, the inspiration of all inspired preaching and interpretation of the divine will and purpose [including both mine and yours]."

Authentic prophecy, authored by the Holy Spirit, is that which testifies of Jesus Christ. No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3). Remember, what Paul is trying to say here is that our LORD has the power of speech and HE speaks through HIS people by “the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy.”

This is not just testifying “of” Jesus, but it is Jesus testifying of HIMSELF, because it is “the testimony of Jesus.” It is Jesus testifying through HIS body, through its individual members.

While prophecy may contain foretelling, its primary purpose is forthtelling something of the glory, the praise, the exaltation, the excellencies of Jesus Christ. And when this happens, the body of Christ is truly “building itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

Thus Peter writes of the gathering of  God's people, and while he doesn't use the term "prophecy," I believe the declarations, the proclamations of the acts and virtues of Jesus Christ in the assembly, by God's holy priesthood, is the same thing because it is "the testimony of Jesus" :

"Come to Him--the living stone--rejected by people, but accepted by God as chosen and precious (Is His Headship precious to you?) Like living stones, let yourselves be assembled into a spiritual house, a holy order of priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices that will be acceptable to God  through Jesus, the Liberating King (Nothing is acceptable to God that is not through, to, and for His Son)...[for] you are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests, a holy nation, God's own, so that you may proclaim the wondrous acts and virtues of the One who called you out of inky darkness into His shimmering light (I Peter 2:4-5, 9).

And Paul also writes this to the Philippian ekklesia:

"If you find any comfort from being in Jesus Christ, the Liberator. If His love brings you some encouragement.  If you experience true companionship with His Spirit.  If His tenderness and mercy fill your heart, then, brothers and sisters, there is one thing that would complete my joy--come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love."

In my mind, I see this as speaking "prophetically" out of the abundance of the heart, the over-flow of Christ's presence in us.  Does the love of Christ bring you encouragement? If it does, you have something to share. Do you experience the companionship of His Spirit? Speak of His companionship to the brothers and sisters. Does Christ's tenderness and mercy fill your heart? Share out of your experience of His tenderness and mercy and why it so fills you with such "joy unspeakable and full of glory." .

Now if we can set aside some of our prejudices regarding this gifting of prophecy as something for Pentecostals, and to be spoken in a "Pentecostal" way, I think we can make great progress. If we can see that this is just as important for our time and fellowship as it was for the early church, we could see a vast expanse of possibilities before us that have been previously shutout of our experience and enjoyment of Christ.


Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, LET US USE THEM: if prophecy, LET US PROPHECY in proportion to our faith...Romans 12:6

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"We do not know as well as we should like to know what the meetings of the first Christians were like in detail, but we have in the New Testament some extremely helpful indications. In any case we know enough to realize that these meetings were not at all what we think of as characteristic Christian gatherings in our own day. The probability is that there was no human audience at all and not the slightest thought of a pattern in which one man is expected to be inspired to speak fifty-two times a year, while the rest are never so inspired. A clear indication of procedure is proved by Colossians 3:16 where we read "as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom." The most reasonable picture which these words suggest is that of a group of modest Christians sitting in a circle in some simple room, sharing with one another their hopes, their failures, and their prayers. The key words are "one another." There are no mere observers or auditors; all are involved. Each is in the ministry; each needs the advice of the others; and each has something to say to the others. The picture of mutual admonition seems strange to modern man, but the strangeness is only a measure of our essential decline from something of amazing power.” Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed

"Personally I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness, amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another also" (Romans 15:14).

IT CAME AS A REAL EPIPHANY TO ME in noticing all of the "one-another’s" of the New Testament. Most of us think of the Christian church as a "performance" that is attended on Sunday mornings while sitting in a pew looking at the back of another person's head. The "one-another’s" tell me that the early Christian enterprise was more of a face-to-face encounter with the brothers in real community rather than what we are most used to. I Corinthians 12 & 14 lays down the ground rules and the reason Christian are to meet, and here we find no mention of watching a performance of professional Christians directing the meeting while the rest of the Christian church sit as passive audience. The New Testament pattern states emphatically that the Holy Spirit has been given to each member for the profit of all (I Cor. 12:7). And Paul gives further instruction on Christian meetings in I Cor. 14:27 wherein he states:

"What is the right course brethren, when you assemble together, each one of you has a song, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, and interpretation of tongues."

And then we come to Hebrews 10:24-25. This is the one place where we are commanded to meet together, but it is not for the purpose of being an audience to listen to sermons, but the reason the early church gathered was to "encourage one another." It couldn't be more explicit:

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Why are these apostolic instructions ignored in so many churches today? The same churches which claim to be "biblical?"

The picture I see of a New Testament meeting can be so easily visualized in our Lord's Last Supper. The early Christians often gathered to break-bread together. You can be sure that this was not an affair where everyone was sitting behind one another to listen to preaching, but to fellowship together around the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the focus of their meeting together. His actual presence. Not so much discussion or preaching "about" Him, but His actual presence. The cry of the early church's heart was this:


Ephesians 2:22 says this:

"It is in Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit."
No mention here of listening to "sermons." Perhaps they have their place, but one is hard-pressed to find the central place sermons had in the early church to the place of prominence we have given them in our modern gatherings. The overwhelming emphasis is on the fellowship of the saints around the Lord Jesus Christ. This is seen in this early church meeting in Antioch, Acts 13:1-3:
"Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

No mention here of these brothers listening to sermons but of "ministering to the Lord." He was the focus of their meeting together. He was the one they gathered together to "listen" to. No clergy was present at this meeting to expound on the scriptures, but Jesus Christ was encountered in this meeting because He was the reason they assembled.

If one looks at the "one-another’s" of the New Testament, one can easily come to the settled conclusion the early church didn't focus their time and attention to a special clergy class teaching them the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ. What I see is a fellowship that was "face-to-face" and their teaching was of "one another:" (Romans 15:4; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; 1 Peter 4:10; Hebrews 10:25).

Here are the commands of the Spirit regarding the face-to-face nature of what our Lord is after. The work of a clergy class was done through the ministry of the "one another’s," through the common priest-hood of all the saints. Would to God that the central place of "sermonizings" would become secondary to a quality of fellowship that shook the Roman world, face-to-face with Christ as the Head of His church, the MC, the central figure.

1. “…Be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:50)

2. “…Wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14)

3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34-35; John 15:12, 17, Romans 13:8)

4. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)

5. “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10)

6. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)

7. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)

8. “…instruct one another” (Romans 15:4)

9. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other” (I Corinthians 11:33)

10. “…Have equal concern for each other” (I Corinthians 12:25)

11. “…Serve one another in love” (II Corinthians 13:12)

12. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

13. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2)

14. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)

15. “…forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

16. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19)

17. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21)

18. “…in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3)

19. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)

20. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” (Colossians 3:13)

21. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)

22. “…admonish one another” (Colossians 3:16)

23. “Encourage one another” (I Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11; Hebrews 10:25)

24. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)

25. “Encourage one another daily…” (Hebrews 3:13)

26. “Spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24)

27. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

28. “…Pray for each other” (James 5:16)

29. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart” (I Peter 1:22, 4:8)

30. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)

31. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)

32. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” (I Peter 5:15)

The early Christians were awash in the person and presence of Jesus Christ. Each church was built on the foundation of Christ, conceived by apostolic ministry that preached a full Christ and then equipped each church to "build itself up up in love" through the fellowship of the common saints without a division of labor we commonly know as the clergy and the laity. Each member was called into the ministry to build up the body of Christ. May we be a people who strive to walk in God's Eternal Purpose for His church, yearning for His High Calling in Christ Jesus, and seek no rest for our eyes until His House is built on the earth without human headship but only one Teacher, Preacher, Pastor, Priest for His people, through His people, by His people.

"For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, WHEN EACH PART [with power adapted to its need] IS WORKING PROPERLY [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, BUILDING ITSELF UP IN LOVE." Eph. 4:16-17

"BUT YOU ARE NOT TO BE CALLED RABBI (TEACHER), FOR YOU HAVE ONE TEACHER AND YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant." Mathew 23:8-11