|Readers Question / Comment - Is having a Church name wrong? Is the New Covenant just for Israel?|
Wow! I have been studying the book of
Hebrews and decided to check the Internet for more specific
information about the Jewish tabernacle. That's how I came across
your web page.
Thank you so much for responding to my question. I honestly do not want to argue nor labor you and I hope you will not mind my further concerns on this subject. I very much appreciate your stand regarding “Jesus plus nothing” and your endeavour to “keep Him central in all things.”
As I am sure you know, the Lord is building only one church (Eph 4:4) to which only He adds the members (Acts 2:47). We have no authorization to start another church to which we add the members. Thus the Lord Jesus did not start the “Living Waters” church. The Lord clearly expressed His desire 5 times in John 17 that His people be one in a way that the world may see. In this marvelous unity that He created we are charged (Eph 4:1-3) to demonstrate Him to men (Matt 5:16) and to heavenly principalities and powers (Eph 3:10-11).
The only name authorized in the scriptures to identify His people and His work is “Christian” (Acts 11:26; 26:28, 1Pet 4:16, Col 3:17). Is it not true that everything God wants us to do can be done in the name of Jesus plus nothing else?
When the apostle Paul was moved of the Holy Spirit to write to Corinth, he addressed his letter to “the church in Corinth.” Is it not a shame that he could not address a letter in that way to any city today because of the numerous divisions among God’s people?
As you demonstrate God’s truth (that I appreciate), does not some of the glory automatically go to “Living Waters” church and thus violating your desire (and my desire for you) “to keep Christ central in all things.
On another subject, if you have the time, I appreciated your studies on the tabernacle but I noted your last sentence under “Finally, the Holy oh Hollies.” You wrote, ”we too are priests of the new covenant..”. Jeremiah 31 identifies the new covenant applying to the same people who failed under the old covenant, “Israel.”
Again Iain, thank you so much for your time and patience with me.
thanks for the reply. My Mother used to be in the 'Local church' who followed the teachings of Witness Lee (who believed there should only be one church per city). Some of what you were saying started to sound a bit that way though sounds like I was reading too much into it! Which is good. The teachings of the 'Local church' lead them to believe they were the only true church in the city with all other churches being 'in Babylon' spiritually speaking (in their view). So the net effect was more division within the body. Thankfully Mum got out of that a long time ago! So good to see that you meet and fellowship with other believers.
For what it's worth, I don't agree or believe that simply having a name for a church means that someone is starting 'another' church different to the Lord's as you say. That is getting picky and just setting yourself up for perpetual disappointment! All true churches are part of the Lord's one church. The early church often met in houses as do a lot of believers in persecuted countries. So there was the church at Nymphas' house (Col 4:15). There was a church at Archippus house (Philemon 1:2), as well at Priscilla and Aquila's house in both Rome (Rom 16:5) and Ephesus (1 Cor 16:19). So for us, instead of having a name we could tell people that we go to 'the church meeting upstairs in the Pavilion in the Physical education department of the College' but it is a bit of a mouthful : ) 'Living Waters' doesn't take away the Lord's glory (as you say) anymore than Priscilla and Aquila and Archippus and Nymphas were taking glory away from Him JUST because they had a fellowship at their house.
You also said that the only name authorised in scripture to identify His people and work is 'Christian'. That isn't true. Believers weren't called 'Christians' until Acts 11:26. Both before and after that they were known as those of 'the Way' (Acts 9:2, 19:9.23) as well as many other titles and names throughout scripture such as believers, sheep, brethren, beloved, saints etc etc. Be careful not to get so narrow in your view, and just focus on one name, that you can't see the woods for the trees.
Concerning the New Covenant, you said:
"You wrote, ”we too are priests of the new covenant..”. Jeremiah 31 identifies the new covenant applying to the same people who failed under the old covenant, Israel"
Yep, Jeremiah 31 is addressed to Israel. And Israel will, as a nation, come under the New Covenant when they turn to the Lord in faith in the last days when 'all Israel is saved' (Rom 11:25-27). But the New Covenant is not limited to Israel.
Jesus initiated the New Covenant in His blood at the last supper for all believers:
Luk 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
This act of Jesus is the basis of the communion instruction Paul wrote to Gentiles believers:
1Cor 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
Paul, again writing to Gentiles, states that we are ministers of the New Covenant:
2Cor 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit;* for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
And Jesus IS, present tense, the Mediator of the New Covenant right now.
Heb 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Heb 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
To limit the 'New Covenant' to Israel only is not scriptural or desired.
Thanks for writing in. I'm sorry that we have to start with disagreements.
All the best and may God bless,