Sabbath Message by Wade Cox

Sabbath 23/11/29/120

Dear Friends,

A translation of the KJV (1Cor. 12:5) has made it appear by its use of the word administration instead of service that Paul is speaking here of the permissible divisions of the Church into people who are able to pick and choose their churches based on the likes and dislikes of individuals and that people can form divisions based on whim and fancy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let us examine the English in the RSV to better understand the requirements of the Faith.
1: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2: You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. 3: Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. 4: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5: and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6: and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. 7: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8: To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9: to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10: to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11: All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14: For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15: If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16: And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17: If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18: But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
19: If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20: As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21: The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22: On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23: and those parts of the body which we think less honourable we invest with the greater honor, and our presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24: which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25: that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27: Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28: And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. 29: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30: Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31: But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1Cor. 12: 1-31)

Note here that the word is services, and the word administrations does not appear. Bullinger notes that fact in his footnotes to 1Corinthians 12:5 in the KJV. The word used is Diakonia (SGD 1249) which has the meaning of attend or teach and comes from SGD 1249 Diakonos meaning to act as a Christian teacher, attendant or pastor. It is thus assumed that Paul is hereby authorising the setting up of different administrations based on disagreements about administration. But the whole chapter has to be read in context. Indeed the words administration in 2Corinthians 8:19,20 (SGD 1247) and 9:12 (1248) are all translated administered or administration.

Thus the Church has different teachers and elements that teach the Faith in different areas. They are all part of the one Body and all performing different functions to the enhancement of the Body and the functions of the Faith. These texts have to be read in conjunction with what Paul and John have to say in other areas of the NT.

Paul says clearly that we are to mark those who cause division in the Church.

Romans 16:16-20
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. 17: I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. 18: For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19: For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; 20: then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (RSV).

The words take note of derive from the word skopeo (SGD 4646) to take aim at or regard and the KJV renders the text mark those who cause division. The term division refers to the creation of factions in the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

In the text in Romans, Paul is writing to the Church at Rome as the Church of the Gentiles explaining that he was made apostle to the Gentiles. The nation of the Jews was not all called so that the Gentiles might be grafted on to the tree through their faith. Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 that we ought not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect Will of God. Romans 12 must be read in conjunction with Romans 13 because the injunctions that are made to the Body of Christ and for the conduct of the elect are also qualified with the responsibilities to the civil authorities under the Law; and the higher powers do not bear the sword in vain.

Romans 12:3 tells us all not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We should think deeply and thoughtfully as God has given us faith in the Holy Spirit. We have many members of the one Body and not all members have the same office. Each of us has a spiritual gift that we may comfort one another through the Faith (cf. Rom. 1:11-12).

So Paul is speaking of the one Body with diverse gifts in the Faith. The teachings are of different services in the one Body.

In this regard John says that we are to remain together and we are not to depart from the Body. For if they go out of us they are not of us as, if they were of us they would not go out of us but continue with us (1Jn. 2:19). In this way we have an anointing (chrio) of the Holy Spirit that works according to the truth and the Commandments of God. This anointing is of the truth and teaches us all things in the truth (1Jn. 2:27). Through this anointing in the truth we are able to abide in the Body of Christ. Indeed we will all give account at his coming and many of us will be beaten with many stripes and some of us with few stripes. But we will all be judged on how we treat the Body of Christ and on how diligent we are in support of the Body and our faithfulness to each other in the defence of the truth.

In the beginning Christ determined the Church by the fact that God sent him a number of people. Sometimes we are given understanding as to who would be faithful and who would not. The apostles and the seventy were given control over the demons. The spirit of Antichrist is in the world. He that tries to separate the divinity from the humanity of Christ is of Antichrist (see the Statement of Beliefs (A1) re the original text).

Thus the elect are bound together by the Holy Spirit and the recognition of the truth of God. Those who cause division in this Body are to be noted or marked and no contact is to be had with them. That is done so that they might return to the Faith in all understanding and humility.

When those of the Faith return to the Faith the angels in heaven rejoice. No person should make a railing accusation against another. The love of God is made manifest in us by the love we show for one another.

The Church of God is a living organism. We are placed in the Body and we regulate the Body and are judged by how we do things in that Body. We in CCG are governed by a Constitution and by committees in each nation in which we are formed. We are required to work together and to govern ourselves by careful consideration.

The decisions of the Church are binding on the brethren and it is expected they are obeyed. Each decision is taken by consultation and voted on unless given by delegation of the Constitution. It takes a fair amount of discipline to regulate oneself within a voting body, as when such decisions are made the body acts as if it were a decision of the body. If you did not agree on a specific rule but the majority did then you are nevertheless bound by such decisions. The government of the majority of nations acts in the same way. Only under the rule of kings is the process different.

CCG is one of the very few Churches of God that is governed by Constitution and by the votes of its members in National Conferences under the governing umbrella of a World Conference run by a Council of Elders. All its ministers are credentialed every seven years. Occasionally some are not credentialed or re-credentialed, which is a determination of the national body in which they operate. All CCG officers face re-election every Sabbatical. If officers are not performing they can be removed between Sabbatical Conferences by the vote of a Conference convened for that purpose. Every person in CCG holds office by the consent of the membership. All serve in humility and dedication. No minister of CCG is paid a wage, and despite governing committee members being eligible for a director’s allowance, no minister properly appointed and acting as a director has ever taken a director’s fee or payment for anything other than legitimate reimbursement of expenses or part assistance with those expenses. Ministers can be paid as translators or for other duties but may not then lawfully sit on a committee of the Church. That is to prevent a conflict of interest.

The appointed treasurers of the Church are required under the Constitution to have the books of account audited each year and report to the General Secretary, and where that is not complied with the officers are disciplined and the audits undertaken. All expenditure is covered by resolution or standing delegation.

There have been a number of new members join us from various parts of the world over recent weeks. They will need to familiarise themselves with the Constitution and the process of our decision-making. Whilst each person has a three-year trial period before being eligible for voting membership, they must abide by the rules and determinations of the Body over that period, and abide by its doctrines.

We have been struck by the determination of some, and by the length of time some people have been studying the Word of God. It often takes a period of years before people work their way through the materials on the web and before they join us. Usually it is between two and three years but in some cases it is much longer.

They are added to the Body and become part of the Body of Christ on baptism and are not baptised into any sect or denomination, but into the Body of Christ.

They are nevertheless required to abide by the doctrines and the Constitution of the Church. God gives them understanding. Human qualifications are no guarantee of understanding. God calls whom He will and gives understanding through the Holy Spirit as He determines. These different gifts are the ones spoken of by the apostles. The Church also gives tasks as it needs and determines. The process has been the much same over the centuries since Christ and the apostles. The Church sends and you cannot go with authority unless you are sent.

Our administrative procedure is different according to nations and various national legislation requirements.

However, the Body is one body exercising the responsibilities given to the Church by Christ and the apostles.

Voting membership in CCG is highly valued and the members work together as one body in the Faith.

Christ had a lot to say about the Faith and burying one’s talent. Each of us is judged by how we work for the Faith and how faithful we are in the carriage of our duties and the exercise of our gifts in the Church. Each person has a job to do and is an essential part of the Body of Christ no matter what they are given to do. How you treat that responsibility is as much a part of your judgment as how you treat the brethren in the Church.

We are all commanded to love one another and thereby show that we love God. No person can say they love God and hate or revile others.

Wade Cox

Coordinator General


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