Myth: The Church of the Body has an earthly location that is “holier” or more spiritually powerful than any other place on earth. This location (often with a “temple” type building where teaching and church dogma is presented) becomes the source for all right doctrine and practice to be followed by believers. Denominations have cathedrals, temples, and auditoriums that they venerate as holy.
God’s Word says: there is no earthly place of this kind in the Administration of Grace. Today, the born-again believers are the temple of God (Ephesians 2:21 and 22). Believers in the Grace Administration primarily meet in the home for fellowship around the Word (as seen in Acts and the Church Epistles).
Myth: The top leaders in the church are to be glorified and praised as the source of blessings and benefits to the believers. Obedience and praise are considered to be owed to them as “God’s representatives.”
God’s Word says: the greatest leader is the greatest servant (Mark 10:44). Leaders are to be clothed with humility and lead by their example of living God’s Word (I Peter 5:1-5). Although genuine ministers are to be esteemed highly in love for their work’s sake (I Thessalonians 5:12 and 13), false leaders are to be reproved publically so that their evil does not hurt God’s people (I Timothy 5:19 and 20; Galatians 2:11).
Myth: Believers must be “good enough” to “deserve” the teaching of God’s Word. This is found in setting “levels” of spirituality in church organizations. At times, only those who maintain a minimum personal financial status and regularly contribute to church finances, follow church directives regarding reading and study materials, go to church regularly, and commit themselves to obey the top church leadership are allowed to take part in higher levels of training and service. If a believer is allowed such training, rigid requirements of attendance and performance are demanded.
God’s Word says: We are to teach without any “strings attached.” We are to teach and care for others without hypocrisy (Romans 12:7 and 9). Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8). Don’t withhold that which is good when we have the ability to help others (Proverbs 3:27). God wants all men to come unto the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). Leaders in the Church of the Body are to be “apt to teach” (I Timothy 3:2; II Timothy 2:24). We preach the gospel without charge (I Corinthians 9:18).
Myth: Spiritual unity is based on only saying nice things about others.
God’s Word says: We are to prove all things (with God’s Word and by the gift of holy spirit within us) and hold fast to the good (I Thessalonians 5:21). We are to speak the truth in love, even when the truth reproves and corrects those who are not living God’s Word (Ephesians 4:15; II Timothy 2:25 and 26; 4:2; Titus 1:9).
Myth: Rightly dividing the Scriptures should be left to the “experts.” Church leaders are to provide all the resources necessary for believers to study and grow thereby. Local fellowships should study what the “higher powers” from the church’s headquarters provide, because they know best what God wants.
God’s Word says: Each believer is to study to show themselves approved unto God (II Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11; I Timothy 4:16). Local home fellowships are self-governing and self-supporting. Believers in those fellowships have the spirit of God, and He works in them. The leader of that home fellowship can believe to teach or ask another local believer to teach so that their needs are met spiritually. Energized ministers who visit and write to the believers can also be a great help in their spiritual growth.
Myth: Secular practices and sense-knowledge systems are the way to achieve genuine success. Outreach initiatives and plans are the basis for action, not speaking the Word for the joy and deliverance it brings. We must force believers to reach certain quotas and numbers in “winning” others to the church organization.
God’s Word says: We plant and water, we sow the Word, and God gives the growth and increase (I Corinthians 3:6 and 7; Matthew 13:23; Isaiah 55:11). We preach Christ and not ourselves or any organization (Acts 5:42; 8:5; II Corinthians 4:5).
Myth: In the church, leaders should control believers by exerting political pressure along with the use of rewards and punishments. (Yet in effect, these church rewards give the recipients a false sense of righteousness before God, and church punishments lead to condemnation and cut off those punished from effectively living and serving in the church.) Leaders think that the “average” believer is not capable of walking in fellowship with the heavenly Father without the leaders’ controlling influence.
God’s Word says: We should stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and not be entangled in the yoke of bondage and legalism (Galatians 5:1). We are righteous in Christ by his works, not our own (I Corinthians 1:30 and 31). There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). People change their thinking because of God’s love and kindness, not because of false rewards or punishments from men (Romans 2:4). Each believer has sonship rights and is capable of walking in fellowship with their heavenly Father. We need each other to live the Mystery (Ephesians 3:1-12). The Mystery is to be lived primarily on a local level.
Myth: Fellowships of believers require multiple levels of oversight in order to carry out God’s will. This is seen in international, national, regional, state, and local church hierarchies.
God’s Word says: There is only one “head” of the Church, and that is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:15; 5:23). In the Book of Acts and the Church Epistles, we see local fellowships with a leader and also ministers who visited and wrote to support them. There were believers in cities throughout Greece, Asia Minor, and Palestine. The church did begin its growth in Jerusalem following the day of Pentecost. But it was not the “center” of the church. For example, the church at Antioch (as seen in Acts 11:22-30; 13:1-3) had communication with the church at Jerusalem, yet they had many gift ministers in Antioch itself and sent forth leaders (Paul and Barnabas) to reach out with God’s Word.
Myth: The top church leadership alone receives revelation from God on how all believers in the church should live their lives and how the church as a group should function.
God’s Word says: The Book of Acts shows how leaders worked with other believers to live the Mystery. The leaders were not “above” any other believer. The apostles had the humility to seek counsel from the other believers in Acts 6:3. Paul pointed out in Galatians 2:6 that God doesn’t accept any man’s person, or “face.” God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). He will work in each believer who is in fellowship with Him to bring His will to pass.
Myth: The lives of the believers are to be strictly monitored and directed to ensure that they conform to church policies and regulations. This could include “attendance sheets” for church events and checking the believers’ financial giving to the church.
God’s Word says: Although at times the believers in the first century were few in number, they believed to have a great spiritual impact, despite their numbers (Acts 19:7 and 10).The believers in the early Church freely availed themselves of fellowship together (Acts 2:46; 4:32 and 33). They gave as they were able and did not keep track of a person’s freewill offering to God (Acts 4:34 and 35).
Myth: In the church, believers are not to discuss “confidential” matters with one another. Believers are to be separated and isolated from a common understanding of current situations in the spiritual competition.
God’s Word says: Believers are to give a good and honest report (Acts 6:3; I Timothy 3:7). Peter and John gave the believers a clear report of what was going on in Jerusalem at that time (Acts 4:23). Paul and Barnabas gathered the church together to update them on what God was doing in the church (Acts 14:27). At times we are to confide in each other about areas where we need help. James 5:16 says we are to honestly let each other know where we need help so that we can pray for each other and see God’s deliverance.
Myth: Believers are to selflessly serve and give their lives for the collective good of the church organization. This service should in no way bring recognition to the believer who is serving, lest it decrease from the church leadership’s glory and praise.
God’s Word says: We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). We must first love ourselves. God designed us to love our bodies and the life He has given us (Ephesians 5:29; I Peter 3:10). We should honor and rejoice with those believers who are worthy of honor (I Peter 2:17; Romans 12:10 and 15; I Corinthians 12:23 and 24; I Timothy 5:17; 6:1).
Myth: There is no need to continue researching God’s Word. The church has enough doctrine to last into future generations.
God’s Word says: Each generation must make the Word their own (Psalms 145:4). We are all to study to show ourselves approved unto God by rightly dividing His Word (II Timothy 2:15). David served his own generation by the will of God (Acts 13:36). We can do the same and continue to learn and grow in our service. God’s Word is limitless and its treasures must be mined to live and share with others (Psalms 19:10; 119:72 and 127).
Myth: The church requires advertising campaigns and self-promotion in order to successfully compete with worldly sources for people’s attention.
God’s Word says: Signs, miracles, and wonders follow those who believe (Mark 16:20). We are not to be self-promoting (Proverbs 27:2). Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6). It is God Who opens a person’s heart (Acts 16:14). We are not to compete according to the flesh, the five senses (Romans 8:4,5,12,13; II Corinthians 10:3).
Myth: Teaching in the church must be authorized by committees, not authored by energized ministers of Jesus Christ. Any teaching for the church must be flawless in presentation and conform strictly to church doctrine.
God’s Word says: God has made us able ministers (II Corinthians 3:5 and 6). God will work in us to teach His Word (Philippians 2:13 and 16; Luke 12:11 and 12). We speak not with enticing words, but with energized truth that reaches peoples’ hearts (I Corinthians 2:4 and 5). We may not be the most “learned,” but we do rightly divide God’s Word and speak the truth in love (Acts 4:13; II Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 4:15).
Myth: Top leadership in the church gives direction through a hierarchy of leaders. Believers do not need to see the example of the top leaders, only follow their directives.
God’s Word says: Paul, Silas, and Timothy lived among the Thessalonian believers and showed them by their personal examples how to walk the Word of God (I Thessalonians 2:1-12). Paul encouraged the believers to imitate him because he lived among them (I Corinthians 4:16;11:1; Philippians 3:17; 4:9).