Meditation for Monday

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6

Dr. Scofield suggests that these Nicolaitanes were not an actual group, organization, or ethnic segment, but were, based on the meaning of the root words, those who placed a difference between the laity and the clergy. If so, these would be the first in the history of Christianity who would raise up leaders who were above the people, not among the people. We are talking here about what we often term in our circles of Christianity as one-man ministry.

Certainly the concept of one person running a local Assembly is not to be found in our Bibles. In fact its perils are pointed out in 3 John 9 and 10, in the case of Diotrephes. Assembly oversight is also always plural, and those who take the responsible place in the Assembly are not overlords, they are shepherds, teachers, counsellors, helpers, and many other terms that refer to those who are part of, and work among, God’s people.

One man who runs the affairs of an Assembly is usurping the position of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder that our text today says this is something that God hates? God never intended for Assemblies to become like the religion of the Jews, in which a single tribe – the Levites – exercised religious authority over the others. What the Nicolaitanes were doing was recreating the Jewish structure in the Assemblies. We can see what it eventually led to, the emergence of the Roman Catholic church and all her horrendous errors and evil.

To the young folks who are reading this, please consider and see how the way our Assemblies are governed is scriptural, and the way the denominations are governed is not. It is not just a matter of ‘that’s just the way we do it’. No, if God hates to see the authority of His son usurped and the control of His spirit overruled by one man, then we should hate that too. There is no room among us for tolerance for the unscriptural position of a ‘paid pastor’.

If God hates clericy, He loves His own order being followed in the Assemblies. Let us appreciate and share His views on this critical matter. – Jim MacIntosh

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