Home > Comment, Gospel, Hermeneutics, Theology > Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3

Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3

In my first installment of this article I discussed leadership within the church. I then went into some of the doctrinal differences I had between myself and the Charismatic congregation headed up by Otis Graves. These doctrinal differences were not something that was a struggle between Otis and myself per se, but were doctrinal differences that represented the struggle between true Biblical Christianity and pseudo-Christianity.

My second article covered the topic of using a proper methodology when it comes to interpreting scripture. I discussed some basic principles of how we are to approach scripture. These principles are essential tools to proper understanding of the scripture. Without these basic principles we will all misinterpret scripture all the time.

In this portion of my post I want to examine the concept of whether the early churches were independent churches and if so were they free to preach whatsoever they desired or were they commanded to preach the word of God as the apostles established, nurtured, or guided them?

As we look at the New Testament we see that the apostles and certain evangelist went into many different areas and founded churches. After founding these churches the apostles particularly Paul, sent men back, such as Timothy and Titus, in order to ordain men to oversee these congregations. These congregations could have been called independent churches because there was no governing body over these congregations.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian. Yet my main point here is to state that no where any command was given that would suggest that all the Gentile congregations were in some kind of denomination or had some kind of governing body over them, except for the local elders ordained within each congregation.

I have labored all of this to state that my opponent ‘The Teacher’ told me that an independent preacher could preach what he so desired. Drawing from this statement it is clear that he was stating that since Otis Graves was not in a denomination, then he does not have to teach what any particular denomination teaches, but is free to teach what he so desires. I admit that Otis does not have to teach what a denomination teaches; nevertheless he is not free from what is commanded in scripture.

It is clear in scripture that Paul gave Timothy the express command that he should preach the word while reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with all long suffering and doctrine because the time was coming when men will not endure sound doctrine but will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears and will turn their ears away from the truth. Paul told Titus that he is to ordain those into the elder-ship who hold fast the faithful word as they have been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

My opponents, the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves will state that they do teach sound doctrines. They will proclaim that they are teaching the word. Yet I will state that they do not teach the word. When they pull a scripture out of context and make it say what they choose to, then they have distorted the word. When they preach moralistic sermons and call upon their congregations to quit sinning so that they will make it into heaven, then they are not preaching the word.

Matters of fact, when they preach any other thing than justification by faith alone, then they are preaching another gospel. There congregations are receiving another Jesus. Their Jesus is one who aides the individual in being justified by becoming sanctified. This is Roman Catholicism in a nut shell.

When someone knows not the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, then it is time that they take a seat until they be taught the word of God. They may argue that God called them and placed them where they are at, but that is debatable. God does not call ignorant and unlearned men into pulpit ministries. God expects ministers to study to show themselves approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.

So again my challenge goes out for the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves to prove me wrong in what I have written. I call on them to refute these charges. I call on them to refute my doctrines. I hold to the 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith as being an expression of what I believe that the scriptures teach. My side bar to my blog contains a link to a Pdf version of this confession.

As I close I want to say that the reason American Evangelicalism is in a dung heap is because we have men in our pulpits that know no theology, no church history, have no stable doctrines, and believe in a creed less Christianity. God’s word states that it is through the foolishness of preaching that saves those which believe. But in an age when everything is being preached under the sun, except for Christ and him crucified, then it is little wonder that we are seeing few saved. It is little wonder that society is degenerating into an immoral heap.

God help us.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Footnote: I did not plan for the quote by Thomas Watson on “Heresy Will Send one to Hell” to go out with this article, but I couldn’t have asked for a better quote for this article.

Read Pt 1 of this article here

Read Pt 2 of this article here

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  1. November 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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