We were studying Ephesians 1.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Jason told us to look at verse 1 and then explained to us quite exquisitely that Paul as an apostle was just like other servant of God, not above or at a higher level. I felt a bit puzzled at his explanation because from what I was taught, apostle is a special title, one being they are the only ones who were called by Jesus/God personally as His follower. I raised up the point that apostles are different, they have special authority, people of the church, Christians looked up to them when they have problem.
The funny thing was it just went quiet when I raised that point. Joe then started to defend Jason’s explanation. I felt tension, I felt everything just went tense. Joe said in other books Paul call himself a servant of God and Judas was one of the twelve but he isn’t an apostle. I think he was attacking the point that apostles have to be commissioned/called on by Jesus.
But it is pretty clear that apostles have special standing in the early churches and if not, why are we studying Paul’s letter?
At the end of the Bible study on the chapter we touched upon verse 22.
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Everything was well until Jason while explaining the body (church), said that God, the head, needs us and we need God. I had to say something again, God doesn’t need us. He wants us to join him but He never need us, He was there before us and He needs nothing from us.
Joe said I shouldn’t be on picky on just a word, but that word has meaning, it’s bad theology. God can make, create, have anything with or without us.
I looked at Pastor F for clarification, she told us to read verse 3-5.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
I was confused. God doesn’t need us to praise Him.
This is a very different Pastor F as I know her. She would usually clarify things very nicely for us. I felt there was a bit of a tension and she didn’t want to pick side, but I wasn’t asking her to pick side, I just want clarification.
I felt the whole ordeal or discussion was just really really weird. I still get a bit surprised at Jason at times because he grew up a baptist, he went to Baptist church and went to Sunday school and stuff. I have a Baptist background as well, many of us went to Sunday school and should have that basic understanding of what an apostle is.
I can’t say that for Joe, however, he did not grow up in church (nothing wrong with that) and went to church when he was in university. He’s very smart but what I realize is, and it’s not just an issue with him but with many others as well is that they never really were trained or taught about how to read the Bible. They don’t have a sound foundation of biblical knowledge and at times, they interpret the Bible from their own worldly logic. I have seen it many times.
I don’t blame them because when they grew up, their pastor, who I know, never taught them. We have another fellowship in the same age group and they were very strictly trained by another pair of pastors and their Biblical foundation is so much better. However, the problem is, as they get older, these untrained young Christians become leaders and senior members of fellowship and now church, what you have is a bunch of leaders who don’t read the Bible right. They would use their worldly knowledge and understanding to interpret and apply them to the Bible, and act upon them. And these guys are smart, they are professionals good at what they do. They are well-educated, have high-standing in society but infant in the Words of God.
The worst thing is, they are leader now, well-established, have an ego, don’t listen to others. They are proud and think they are right because they are effective and successful in the world. How dare you to tell me I am wrong, reading the Bible wrong, I have a PhD, I work in the management level.
Honestly speaking, it’s just too late. You have to teach people well when they are young. Once they hit 30 they have their own set of thinking. Actually, the worst thing is having people like these leading the church for the next 30-40 years and nurturing others like themselves.
Back to the Bible study, I was a bit surprised and disappointed in Pastor F’s inability to explain and clarify both of these questions. I wasn’t asking her to pick side but to clarify and clear things up for us since she is the authority at our small group since she is the only one with formal theological/Bible training.
As I found out after small group that Joe had meal and many meeting with Pastor F and this is something I have seen over and over again from Joe. He would meet with people individually, keeping others out in the blue, isolate people and get his way. They were at first talking near the office and then they moved to a room and kept on talking. That is very Joe style, of talking to people individually privately. I don’t know what was said but there seems to be some effect afterward.
He’s smart, he’s a PhD, an Administrative Officer (AO) in the government. I know that he is prideful and intimidates people at times. I don’t know why people fear him. People say it is his high social standing but man, come on, we are talking about the Bible, trying to seek the truth.
I asked about what application can we get from this passage and unlike any other time, Pastor F, said there wasn’t time and we ended up being the earliest group. Usually she would provide some application from the passage for us. The funny thing though was at the end, she quickly did an overview of us, telling us to read and pay attention to the words in the passage, what was repeated often in the passage, “in Christ,” “in Him.” She was telling us what the message of the passage was in a very subtle way, not saying it, but showing it to me. Nothing wrong with that but it’s very different from how she would tell us usually. Usually she would just say it.
I think she has been intimidated, she doesn’t dare to say something differ to Jason and Joe.
I was very disappointed in her and I wonder how does Joe do that? It’s not the first time, he has been doing it for years. He make people yield to him. We are studying the Word of God here, it’s no power play, who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s about getting to the truth.