The Church of Christ with The Elijah Message

By W.A. Draves, Elder in the Church of Christ

Behold, I am the law, and the light; look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live, for unto him that
endureth to the end will I give eternal life. (Jesus).
"And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."--Hebrews 5:4.
The right to act for someone else constitutes authority; and authority can never rise above its source.

                                            The Old Way and the New

God is a God of order. Bible history from the days of the patriarchs to the end of the Old Testament proves this.
When God needed men to act for him, he spoke to them by his own voice, by visions and dreams, by
angels--the living prophets were chosen of him. They spoke the words of the Lord, as also did the priests in
his service.

When the authority of the ministry was under discussion in New Testament times, they knew of no better
example than that of Aaron to illustrate their own experience. "For every high priest taken from among men is
ordained for men in things pertaining to God." (Hebrews 5:1.) And according to Isaiah 61:6 priest and minister
mean the same.
As an example, Jesus himself, our Divine Pattern, was submissive to the same unchangeable law of divine
call and ordination. (Heb. 5:5, 6, 10).

                                                                    Called of God

Aaron was called through the prophet Moses (Exodus 28:1). He did not "take the honor unto himself." God
wanted him for a special work and told Moses to set him apart for it. He was not selected by the congregation
of elders; nor because he was educated for the ministry; nor because he felt a personal call to act as a priest.
He was called and selected by God himself through Moses.
In the New Testament, John the Baptist was the man sent of God. (St. Luke 1:13-17. St. John 1:6). When Jesus
was baptized by him the Heavens spoke, "This is my Beloved Son ..." John announced him, "Behold the Lamb
of God ..." (St. John 1:29). The prophets had foretold their coming and ministry. There can be no authorized
ministry without Divine declaration and appointment.

                                                            Apostolic Authority

When Jesus began to build his church he did not invent some new way. He made the "Old" the "New". He
followed the ancient established order.
In case his disciples should ever forget their calling he warned them, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have
chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain": also,
"As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you." (John 15:16; 20:21). They were given authority through divine
call and equally divine ordination and sent forth by their Master, Christ.

Jesus commanded them to "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his
harvest." (Luke 10:2). It was a definite hint to his disciples that the selection of men for the ministry was not left
to them. It was reserved for himself. The same Lord who said, "I will build my church," reserved to himself the
right to set it in order and fill vacant offices. Man is only an instrument whom God uses to labor among men.
Paul when writing of the organization of the church, said: "God hath set some in the church, first apostles,
secondarily prophets." (I Corinthians 12:28). God set them there and renewed them as it became necessary,
just as he sustained the spiritual gifts. (Verse 11.) Man could no more call men, set them in the church and
give them authority to administer in sacred things, than he could give them power to work miracles, cast out
devils, talk in tongues, etc, That work belonged to the Lord during the days the church remained faithful. So
does it today. One part cannot be done away any more than another, so long as God is in the work. If gifts and
blessings are done away, then faith and salvation must be done away, and woe to this generation if such a
thing befall them.

                                                            The Apostolic Method

Jesus said of these he had called to the ministry, when commending them to his Father, "I pray for them ...
which thou hast given me; for... they are thine, and all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in
them." (John 17:6-12). It was after "all night in prayer to God" that "He called unto him his disciples: and of them
he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." No doubt those whom he selected had been already made
known to him by the Father. (Luke 6:12-I3).
Until the day he ascended Jesus personally did all the work of setting men apart for the ministry. With the
removal of his earthly visible presence Jesus promised to send them another "Comforter ... even the Spirit of
Truth," to dwell with them and be in them. The Holy Spirit was to take the place of Jesus and carry on his work.
He said "He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." (John 15:26; 16:13-15).
Remembering the arrangement her departing Lord had made, the New Testament church was loyal to him.
When missionaries were wanted for a special work in the days of Paul she did not select them by popular vote
nor because of education, but went to God in prayer and he heard her plea "to set forth laborers into the

"There were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers ... as they ministered to the Lord,
and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent
forth by the Holy Ghost, departed ..." (Acts 13:1-4).
Barnabas and Saul had to wait until they had been called by the Holy Spirit through the living prophets in the
church, and had been ordained by God's recognized servants.
Paul said to the Elders whom he called together at Miletus: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
fleck, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath
purchased with his own blood."--Acts 20:28.

Neither God nor devils recognized those whom God had not called and sent forth. When certain men took it
upon themselves to exercise authority over demons in "the name of the Lord Jesus," the Devil replied, "Jesus I
know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" (Acts 19:13-153). They had no divine authority to do such work. It was
only intruding, crowding out God's Spirit, trying to do the work in man's way. Sheer presumption and usurpation!

In spite of the fate of unauthorized ministers in both Old and New Testament times, many use the name of
Christ unauthorized today. They officiate in sacred things without any divine call or authoritative ordination. They
"take the honor unto themselves" like the "sons of Sceva," without being "called of God as was Aaron." John,
the first apostles, Paul and Barnabas, and the Ephesian elders were called of God "as was Aaron."
The days of which Paul warned us, have come--men have "a form of godliness but deny the power thereof." (II
Timothy 3:5). They have the form with out the authority and without the power. (Acts 1:8). No man has a right to
go out unauthorized into the world as a minister for Christ and officiate in the sacred ceremonies and
ordinances of the gospel of Christ.
(Romans 10:14-15) "How shall they preach except they be sent?"
The plan of God cannot be frustrated.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is
no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17).
"... Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." (Hebrews 10:9).

We find unauthorized men today, professing to be ministers of Christ, who have brought the world to a mess of
confusion. We find people today who have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost--like the
disciples whom Paul found at Ephesus. (Acts 19). Paul at once knew they had not been properly baptized, for
no servant of God would baptize a man without teaching him to expect the birth of the Spirit to follow the birth of
the water. John told all whom he baptized, "I indeed have baptized you with water: but he (Christ) shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost." (Mark 1:8). Therefore Paul knew John did not baptize these men. Someone, probably,
who had seen John baptizing, thought he could do the same and went out to baptize in the same manner as
John, but not being sent of God to do that work, the blessing of the Lord did not follow.
Paul taught the men the gospel and baptized them over again, and when he laid his hands on them they
received the Holy Ghost. This is the difference between those whom God sends and ones not sent of God. The
blessing only follows the ones the Lord sends to do the work.

Today God has not left us to wander in the wilderness of the people without divinely authorized ministers to
lead the honest in heart out of confusion and darkness into light. God sent an angel, John the Baptist, a
resurrected being, from his presence to earth, who visited Otto Fetting, of Port Huron, Michigan, a number of
times. During a visit on July 18, 1929, he laid his hands on Otto Fetting's head, confirming the authority on
earth to represent Christ and his church. (Mal. 3:1-4, 4:5,6; Matt. 17:11-15; Acts 3:21; Luke 1:16, 17, 1:76-79}.
This revived condition of the church made way for the ordinances of the gospel to be taught, administered, and
obeyed in their purity."... he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer
unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." (Mal. 3:3). The sons of Levi were the ministry.

The Holy Ghost is now given in abundance to those who repent and are baptized into the Church of Christ
established in 1929 anew. (Message 30:7) Men can now be born of the wafer and of the Spirit, because God
has given the authority and the commission to preach the gospel and spread abroad the glad tidings. Many
times the angel has come bearing revelations from the throne of God for the people of our day. His work is to
set the church in order.

"The instruction is sent, to the wise, a warning; to the sleeper, an awakening; to the wicked, destruction; but to
the people of the Lord, a message that Christ's coming is near at hand." (Message 3:2).
The church established anew in 1929 is of the same origin and authority as the apostolic church in New
Testament times; twelve apostles, its leading ministers; Christ the head; signs and wonders following them
that believe, because God indeed established it.