The church pays little attention to much of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the Bible, while saying the Bible is their guide.
Poor Apostle Paul. So disrespected, while everyone says they revere him. But how can you say that the Bible is inerrant, and then throw out so much of what an Apostle of God has to say? The list of things that the church has reversed itself on, or just ignores is very long. We won’t try to list everything here.
Love of God and Community
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.
Paul’s words echo those of Jesus, His Lord and Savior. In fact, while the glue in the Old Testament that held the covenant together was the fear of God, the glue in the New Testament that holds the New Covenant together is the Love of God and Community. God’s intent was that people would not obey Him because they feared Him, so much as revered and loved Him. And that love, appropriated to us, would flow out to our families, extended families, and the larger community. However, the church has ceded a lot of ground to the Devil in this area. In attempting to bow to larger cultural pressures, like slavery, capitalism, market forces, and consumerism, this foundation of love got completely lost.
When the church left the foundation of love. It was replaced brick by brick by something else. Compulsion, through the Old Testament law. It is so bad that you could attend some churches for an entire year, and probably not hear a New Testament scripture mentioned outside of Christmas and Easter!
So, Paul’s most foundational admonition has been lost to most churches. Without it, the rest of the foundation was destined to crumble.
Giving Not Under Compulsion
Paul directed that giving in the gentile church was not to be done by compulsion. Instead, it was to be done out of love. God loves a cheerful giver, and wants all giving to be voluntary, out of love, and joyful in nature. At no point did Paul direct the gentile church to tithe, as under the law. Paul thought that people would give MORE THAN 10%, out of their sense of love for the local church family. And this often happens, when the local church gives love, and receives love.
Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3.
“Knowledge”, whether scriptural or not, has been the focus of most American churches the last few years. Sales of Christian books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and the like exploding over the last two decades. However, most everyone would agree, there was no simultaneous explosion of love during that period. Rather, the Evangelical church has been explicit about precisely what groups we should hate, and why we should hate them. Once again, Paul’s direction bites the dust.
Covet the Greater Gifts. Covet to Prophecy
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.
Today, much of the church is embroiled in a debate about whether the gifts still exist all all, so coveting a gift is a near impossibility. Regarding prophecy, it has largely been disappearing even from Pentacostal and Charismatic churches. Where it hasn’t disappeared, men and women have sought to control or severely restrict the gift.
A Modest Lifestyle
Paul said that leaders should not be greedy or covetous. He himself worked as a tentmaker while ministering as an Evangelist when he wasn’t working making tents. He did consent to ministers collecting money for their sustenance, but it was clear that Paul expected ministers to live a modest lifestyle. The over the top lifestyle of today’s ministers, with luxury cars (sometimes fleets of them), mansions, and luxury jets is totally foreign to Paul’s teaching.
No Divisions Among You
Paul was pained to the heart that the church of his day was already beginning to divide into factions. He explicitly mentions that some were following him, some Apollos, some Cephas, and others said they followed Christ. Paul would be absolutely shocked to find today the hundreds of different denominations and sects that make up Christianity today. Virtually all of them following a different leader, or leaders, and all convinced that they are the right ones.
Paul’s Views on Divorce
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 1 Timothy 3:2-4.
Paul established that most every leadership in the position should be a man, the husband of one wife. However, our pulpits are filling up with people who are divorced, and many on their second and third wives (or husbands). And the process seems to be acellerating.
This is not to condemn everyone in the church who is divorced and remarried. However, Bishops, Pastors, and Deacons are to be held to a higher standard. At least according to Paul. But then again. What does Paul know, since he was only an Apostle of God!
A Husband’s Authority in the Church
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:34.
Paul stated that women should be silent in the church. What he meant was, women should respect their husbands in the church, and not disrupt the service. However, considering the fact that in most black churches women make up the majority of ministry leaders, and the majority of men are now under authority to them. The church today obviously doesn’t think much of Paul’s direction. But then again, Paul was a man. And what would you expect a man to do anyway, but be biased against women.