Updated: Apr 8
ONE BODY LIFE receives scores of comments, inquiries, questions, along with general fellowship in writing on our social media, response to our emails we send out, and from our web site. We try to answer most, but certainly we are not 100% able to answer all—but we try. Occasionally, we find some which provide a “teaching moment” – i.e., we try, for example, to make lemonade out of lemons. We are not perfect but we try to use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” effectively and in pursuit of the “Scripture of Truth” – in fact, Henry Hon has written an entire text entitled ONE TRUTH, which sets forth on this very prospect.
Now, below is an initial comment made in reference to “ministers” and “ministries” – this is, or can be, a most contentious subject – in point of fact, much division has resulted over “ministry” to/in the Body of Christ . . . so here goes; first the person making the “comment/charge” and then Doug Krieger responding from One Body Life (several additional responses follow derived from the original response):
COMMENT/CHARGE BY RESPONDENT:
You will never achieve oneness among divided believers by borrowing terms and pieces of the one ministry of brother [Watchman] Nee and brother [Witness] Lee and trying to bring various current different “ministries” together. In the Bible, there was only one ministry to build up all the believers into the one Body of Christ. When you say “your” ministry, you are referring to all the different ministries, which are different from each other, and teach and emphasize different things. Paul clearly instructed Timothy to charge certain ones not to teach different things but to teach God’s economy, which is in faith (1 Tim. 1:3-4). Which of these “different” ministries is teaching God’s economy, or even knows what it is? There should be no different ministries. The one ministry is needed to build up the one Body. Different ministries divide the one Body. To keep different ministries and try to unite the “likeminded” different ministries is to preserve division in the Body. The Body will only be one when all the “your ministries” are set aside and the believers receive the one ministry for the building up of the one Body. Can you change your goal from bringing different ministries together to bringing all believers under one ministry to build up the one Body?
DOUG KRIEGER'S RESPONSES:
First of all--thank you for your input. The "administration" or "dispensation" (economy) and/or dispensing of God as manifested in the “unsearchable riches of Christ" through gifted members of His One Body ("He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, etc.” Eph. 4:11-14 or 1 Cor. 12:18-29 - "God has appointed these in the Ekklesia: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, etc." ) . . . is divinely designed for the building up of His One Body "to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). AS:
". . . there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all" (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
Paul is clear:
"Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" (1 Cor. 12:29).
Of course, the answer is unequivocally: No.
Those "called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2) in Corinth still had schisms among them; therefore, Paul enjoined them to be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). The aforementioned schisms were manifested in brethren dividing over the ministries of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, even of Christ (1 Cor. 12-13). Even so:
"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase . . . and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor . . . for we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building . . . I (Paul) have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it" (1 Cor. 3:5-6, 8-10).
HAVING GIFTS DIFFERING
It seems abundantly clear that the Head of the Body has gifted certain brethren whose gifts enable them to equip God's people for the work of the ministry in order for them by this equipping to build up the Body of Christ, ultimately manifested in the unity of that very Body of Christ unto full maturity in the measurement of Christ’s stature.
Yes, all ministry should "speak the same thing" without schisms; tragically, these gifted ones become either by dent of their own doing, or the doing of others, uplifted--i.e., the minister's teachings or style become a point of division in the Body rather than building up the general Body of Christ thereby drawing brethren to the head of the Body juxtaposed to drawing God's people under any given minister. The minister can be appreciated, respected, and loved but "comparing ourselves with themselves we are not wise" - there should be no competition, no comparing, no categorizing among ministers or ministries within the general Body of Christ (2 Cor. 10:12).
MINISTERIAL ISSUES DIVIDING WORKERS IN PHILIPPI
Yes, different ministries can divide the Body of Christ as seen in Corinth or in Philippi. To the Philippians Paul encouraged them (specifically, several sisters "who labored with me in the gospel" [viz. Euodia and Syntyche] who were enjoined to be of the "same mind in the Lord" [Phil. 4:2-3]) to "strive together" (lit. "team up" as in a wrestling match - tag team) "for the faith of the gospel" thereby putting to flight in defeating "your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition [the adversary's destruction] but to you [who strive together] of salvation, and that from God" (Phil. 1:27-28).
It is clear that Paul most definitely had a ministry to the Nations and Peter to Judah, the Jews (of course, there was crossover). The ultimate aim of all ministry should be to the building up of His One Body. We do not believe that this can be achieved by a "one-man ministry" or Apostle or Prophet or Teacher. Even when it comes to functioning together in an “ekklesia environment” there is wide diversity (or should be). In His ekklesia: "each of you has" (e.g., "Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation"--1 Cor. 14:26) and "one by one" (e.g., "For you can all prophesy one by one" - 1 Cor. 14:31).
The determination of what does and does not constitute the economy of God (how God dispenses of His grace and goodness) is judged by the result of the person's ministry (viz., the "proof is in the pudding"). If that ministry results in "whose God is their belly" wherein that minister/ministry "talks a good game" but only draws the "sheep" to himself/herself without venturing in and/or "teaming up" with other ministers/ministries or refuses to permit those within their sphere of ministry to "meet and greet" God's people (Romans 16:1-16) - then they can only be those mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:17-18:
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly [Phil. 3:19--viz., "enemies of the cross of Christ"], and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple."
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DOGMA AND OTHER "SUPERIOR MINISTRIES"