Ambassadors for Christ ?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by pinoybaptist, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. pinoybaptist

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    2 Corinthians 5:20 says:

    In another thread, a poster, Steaver, stated "The fact remains that we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ.........." apparently in reference to 2 Corinthians 5:20.

    Well, we all want to say that we preach only what the Bible says, and nothing more. None of us would admit to stretching or shrinking what the Bible teaches.

    I would like to ask all: where in the above passage does Paul say that all born again believers in Christ who are members of the church are ambassadors for Christ ?

    As a matter of fact, considering the tenor and context in which the above letter were written to the Corinthians, wherever did Paul even as much as intimate that all children of God are ambassadors for Christ ?

    In his zeal for this teaching, which I call erroneous and unscriptural, for the simple fact that Scripture does not teach so, Steaver also quoted one of his references, which unfortunately, is not one of the writers of Scripture:

    I would like to point out that not only did Paul consider himself an ambassador for Christ, he taught it. What he did not say was what Mr. Mitchell teaches, "......and all who are truly born again". This is Mr. Mitchell's supposition, not Scripture's position.

    Unfortunately, Brother Steaver's statement about him being "a strong proponent for keeping Scripture in its proper framework" falls flat on its face if he will quote not Scripture, but fallen, redeemed sinners who must follow the popular doctrine if he is to earn his DD's and ThD's and all those fancy titles, or risk being labeled heretic, rebel, or worse, unsaved.

    Paul, Peter, John, and the rest of the Apostles, as well as those in the ministry, and truly descended and perpetuated from the true New Testament church, then and now, are ambassadors for Christ, and they speak for Christ, and entreat for Christ's sake, the entreating being done not to an unsaved world, but to those who name the Name of Christ, read the verse for yourself and see.

    I said this in the other thread, and say it again here.

    Christians are taught and called to live peaceably with all men, and to submit to civil and ecclessiastical government, but there is nowhere in Scripture that says Christians are ambassadors for Christ. Those in the ministry are ambassadors for Christ to His people, not to this fallen, judged world waiting for its time of collission with its Creator.
     
    #1 pinoybaptist, Dec 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2006
  2. Helen

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    An ambassador is one who goes out from his own people to another people. The definition of ambassador refutes your argument, Pinoy.

    The United States does not have ambassadors to its own country, but to other countries.

    If we belong to Christ, then the Spirit of Christ lives in us. That makes us ambassadors to a hurt and dying world. We are His arms, His feet, His voice, His actions in the world. Even John MacArthur said similar in a sermon of his on John 6 which I had the privilege of helping interpret for deaf in his church some years ago -- his picture is that we are simply gloves and Christ the hand within us. My husband heard the picture of being 'the suit of clothes that Jesus wears.'

    As Jesus left heaven to come to earth, so we also have to leave our own spheres of commonality and comfort and be in the world, just not of it.
     
  3. skypair

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    pinoy,

    You are right. We are not all ambassadors. But if we are not, we need to ask ourselves WHY? Are we "ashamed of the cross of Christ?" Has God not put His imprimature, His "mark," on us? Are we not to live our lives looking like citizens of His kingdom?

    skypair
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    With all due respects, skypair, conduct is not at issue here, function is. Why should not being ambassadors for Christ immediately be identified with being ashamed of the cross of Christ ? Honest Biblical teaching tells us that to teach that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ is just wrong. If Paul did not say that, then we have no right to say he did, if Scripture does not teach that, then we have no right to teach it.

    It is just plain wrong, and unscriptural.

    The Scriptural teaching is that Paul says they (those appointed by Christ Himself) are ambassadors for Christ, therefore it is as if God Himself is beseeching the hearers thru His ambassadors.
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    Helen, thank you for the definitions and for the illustrations but they still do not refute the fact that Paul did not teach that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ.

    Mc'Arthur may teach that, and in his eloquence create picture words such as the ones you describe.

    Almost every teacher, preacher, pastor, and Bible College probably teaches that.

    Steaver teaches that and calls it a fact.

    Daniel R. Mitchell teaches that because (and this is only my own personal opinion about his titles) that is what he must teach because that is what he has been taught all his life. To teach otherwise is not to earn the titles.

    But Paul did not teach that.

    Paul teaches he, and whoever it was that was with him at that point, were ambassadors for Christ to the Corinthian church.

    Peter did not teach that. John did not teach that. The Bible does not teach that.

    Therefore, if we teach that we are teaching something that is unscriptural, and man made.
     
  6. rbell

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    I disagree.
    • 2 Cor. 5 uses the 1st person plural liberally throughout the chapter. I would find it difficult to say that Paul's use of "we" in verse 20 is exclusive, when it is obviously not so earlier in the passage. I don't see a disctinction between groups of Christians here.
    • Ambassador: “a representative of another country; one who is sent to establish and/or maintain relations with another people.”
      [*]
      Since this is not our home (1 Peter 2:9-12), we should actively share with those we meet the glories of our God and the promise of eternal and abundant life promised. In function, that sounds a bunch like an ambassador to me.​
      [*]
      I've read this thread several times and cannot understand your objection to Christians being "ambassadors." Maybe I'm missing something.​
      [*]
      I would delineate between our charge to be ambassadors and the degree to which we carry that out. There are certainly times that I haven't been an effective ambassador, encouraging all to be reconciled to God...but I don't see how that lessens the fact that I should.

     
  7. Bluefalcon

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    Never noticed this before. Thanks for pointing it out. I think it refers to Paul. Nevertheless, I think that we are a royal priesthood, and that we saints are to do the work of the ministry, and what is the ministry but the ministry of reconciliation! Amen! But for the sake of the Royal Ambassadors, I wouldn't go sharing your viewpoint on this verse with a lot of kids, for all of us really are Royal Ambassadors, even if that wasn't the original intent of this individual verse.
     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    thank you, rbell, for your input.
    My objection is to the teaching that the Bible says all Christians are ambassadors for Christ.
    Primarily because the Bible does not say that.

    For example, you refer to such a thing as "our charge". Who is "our" ? All Christians ? All church goers who call themselves Christians, regardless of their affiliations ? If so, where is the Scripture that charges Christians with "ambassadorship" ? Where is the Scripture that says we are to represent Christ to this world ? Where is the Scripture where Paul even writes of himself as ambassadors of Christ to this world ?

    The simple fact is that there is no Scripture that says all Christians are ambassadors for Christ to anyone or to anywhere.

    Scriptures abound concerning the conduct of Christians in this world, towards one another, towards those outside of Christendom, but these Scriptures do not constitute functions of ambassadorship more than conducts becoming citizens of heaven.

    If you are in the ministry and are ministering to a flock, then perhaps you are an ambassador for Christ to the flock you are ministering, but you are not his ambassador to the world. While the earthly ambassador may represent his country in "functions" and "dinner parties" his chief duty is to the citizens of his country living in that foreign land where he is ambassador, and where he heads the embassy.

    Think of the visible, local church then as an "embassy" of heaven in a foreign land where the citizens of heaven seek refuge and go to hear news of home and speak the language of their country, and hear the word of their God delivered by His ambassador to them. Not all citizens there are ambassadors to that land, but all the citizens are enjoined to submit to and obey the laws of the land they are expatriates to.



    And well may Paul be speaking according to the above definition, him being a Jew, of "another country", and the Corinthians being Gentiles, of yet "another country". Notice the language of the verse, if you will:

    "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. "

    Who is we ? Paul, and those with him. Who is "you" ? Obviously, the Corinthians. Why should they listen ? Because in Paul speaking to them, whether in praise, prayer, or admonition, it would be as though God Himself was the One doing the beseeching. But was Paul sent an ambassador to the world at large ? No. He was not.



    I agree, but a witness and an ambassador are essentially not the same person. The ambassador is a personal designate of the sending Authority, in Paul's case, and he discusses this to the Corinthians as well, Jesus Christ Himself.





     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    Coupla things: One, again, the "ministry of reconciliation". This has been expanded into a teaching which was not the original intent of the verse. Just as not everybody naming the Name of Christ is an ambassador to God's people living in a foreign land, even so, not all who name the Name of Christ are in the ministry of reconciliation. But that is worthy of another thread.

    Second, and therein lies the rub: even if the verse doesn't really teach that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ, we'll just let it go at that because we think, or have been taught, like the kids whose boats we shouldn't rock, that we really are all of us Royal Ambassadors.

    Fine.

    But let's not go strutting around with our thumbs in our vest pockets saying "we Baptists like to keep the Bible in context, always", because the fact of the matter is we don't. We'll hem and haw and argue and point to this or that commentator, or this or that "original language", or this or that rule of usage, to make sure our viewpoint on what certain Scriptures teach stands victorious over what the Bible clearly wrote down.
     
    #9 pinoybaptist, Dec 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2006
  10. J.D.

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    Pinoy, I think you've nailed us on this one. But I'm gonna keep on witnessing anyway! :)
     
  11. Helen

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    "This world is not my home; I'm just a'passin' through..."

    Therefore, inasmuch as I am just as much an American ambassador when in Taiwan or Australia or anywhere else, I am at least that much of an ambassador of Christ here in this creation. Paul may not say that specifically, but that is what I am anyway.
     
  12. Bluefalcon

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    2 Co 5:
    18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
    21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    So you mean the two "us" pronouns of v. 18 and the "us" of v. 19 mean Paul, but the "us" of v. 21 means Paul and his readers. Or does the first "us" of v. 18 mean Paul and his readers, the second "us" of v. 18 mean Paul, the "us" in v. 21 mean Paul and not his readers, or Paul and his readers? Make up your mind please.
     
  13. donnA

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    When I think of an ambassador I think of one who goes and represents the one who sent them.
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    Well, Helen, there is a difference between your feeling and thinking that because you are an American living in Taiwan or Australia, you came to the right decision to represent your country in a positive manner, and teaching as doctrine that the Bible teaches every Christian is an ambassador for Christ.

    The Bible does not teach that, at all.

    My issue is not against someone wanting to represent Christ positively and coming to that decision either by conviction or by following somebody else's example.

    My issue is against making a doctrine out of something which is not taught in the Bible.
     
  15. psalms109:31

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    Jesus has answered

    We are to be light to the world.

    If you are a believer you cannot hide your light, but show it. It is in the new nature.

    Matthew 5:
    13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
    14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

    You cannot say it was only for the disciple's because He told this to the multitude.
     
  16. HankD

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    I don't know if it's a function of "ambassadorship" but the children of God have a "ministry" to the world...

    2 Corinthians 2
    15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
    16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.
    And who is sufficient for these things?​

    HankD​
     
  17. HankD

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    Here is another but not so harsh...

    2 Corinthians 3
    2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
    3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.​

    HankD​
     
  18. Pistos

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    So you mean, mr.pinoy, that you could be a child of God but you are not doing the work of an ambassador for Christ.

    but for the statement of Paul 'we', I believe it is an encouragement for all believers in Corinth to do, not 'can do' but TO DO the work of an ambassador for Christ. It is more of a reminder to all believers not only in his time but as well as in our time to do the work of ambassador for Christ.

    for instance, like you, you are living in the US, though you are not from there but still you represent your home country as well as your faith in Christ as an ambassador. So are you doing it?
     
  19. av1611jim

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    I agree with pinoy;
    This verse and passage does not teach what we Baptists like to think it teaches. It makes for good preaching but lousy doctrine ( as my pastor says frequently.)
     
  20. pinoybaptist

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    The deed is not what I am questioning, sir. It is the TEACHING. Teach exactly what the Bible says. If the Bible does not say that ALL Christians are ambassadors for Christ, then don't teach so. If Paul did not say that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ, then don't say he did.

    Like I said, show me in plain, black and white, unmistakable English that that is exactly what Paul is saying, and I will bow down to all of you.
    I do not represent my home country in the US. I do not have authority to do so. My government, and the president of my country, has not authorized me, appointed me, or elected me to be an ambassador here. I can call myself an ambassador for all I care, but I will never have the recognition of my country as one.

    On the other hand, I am an expatriate here. A foreigner, if you will, living in a foreign land, which is basically what Christians are. The ambassador of the Philippines is here to serve his compatriots, his countrymen, not just sit down and drink and dine with others of his rank. His primary reason for being here is to look after the welfare of his countrymen, and to represent them positively before officials of this country and of other countries.

    And therein lies the basic difference between Paul and his companions and the Corinthians. Paul, because he was chosen by Christ Himself to represent Him and therefore is an Apostle with all the rights, duties, responsibilities, and privileges appertaining thereto, can rightfully tell the Corinthians to listen to him and his fellow ministers as if Christ Himself were speaking to the Corinthians. They are His apostles. You are not an apostle, neither am I, nor Steaver, nor any of those "theologians" who like to teach that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ.

    As for me, it is incumbent upon meto be a good citizen of the country I came from, and a good guest in my home country by submitting to and obeying its laws, respecting its people, and living peaceably. That is not being an ambassador, and I am not playing semantics here, I am saying: we teach exactly what the Bible teaches. no plus, no minus, no I think this is what it means.

    And in case you do not know, sir, much as I would like to represent my faith in Christ faithfully in this country, I am constrained by the laws of this country not to do so, we have to contend with such monstrosities as political correctness, atheists' associations, liberal judges and politicians, the ACLU and the likes, and many organizations that do not like the Christian faith at all, and those who live here know what I am talking about.
     
    #20 pinoybaptist, Dec 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2006

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