TPM is one of those special churches that claims to have received extra-biblical revelations. Because of this, they don’t let scripture speak for itself. Instead, they read into the text of scripture. They eisegete scripture instead of exegeting scripture. Since they’ve already made up their minds, they see in scripture things that aren’t even there. In this article, I wish to bring to your attention one such gross mishandling of scripture from a TPM publication titled “God’s Eternal Purpose for Man” in a section titled “The Ministry of God and Marriage”.
In page 183 and 184 of the aforementioned book, TPM tries (and tries very hard) to fit in their false doctrines. One red flag we frequently see when TPM preaches unbiblical doctrines is that when it comes down to those doctrines, they hardly give any direct scriptural support and instead twist scripture to suit their preconceived notions.
TPM has invented a multi-tier system in the world of Christian church leaders. They have placed themselves in the top tier and with arrogance look down on the ones they themselves have placed beneath them. As a student of scripture, it is quite hard for me to read through such drivel without getting frustrated. I pray God gives me and you grace as we read through this.
God’s Eternal Purpose for Man – The Ministry of God and Marriage
The below is an excerpt from the TPM book.
“The ministry of God is of many kinds. By the ministry of some, people may be led to salvation, the forgiveness of sins and to water baptism. By the ministry of some others, people receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Some receive healing from sicknesses. Though all those who execute such ministries are called ministers of God, the Lord said that only those who live having hated everything and forsaken their relations after the flesh, and hating even their own life, can be His disciples. Perfect discipleship is manifested here.
Those who do not have this experience cannot prepare the Church for the Secret Coming of the Lord even if they do any other ministry. Therefore, only those who have offered themselves as mentioned above, are the ministers ordained of God to lead the Church to perfection. They are the apostles. And they are the ones who have overcome the flesh.”
Notice there isn’t a single scriptural support the claims made in this passage? Can TPM please show us such tiered system in existence in the 1st century? The smugness and pride that comes off of this passage are unbearable. It’s not easy to miss the not-so-subtle indication that Luke 14:26 applies to TPM ministers alone and they alone are obedient enough to follow it. Yet, when we look at the actual passage, it paints a different story.
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
Jesus here is speaking to everyone. Anyone wanting to be His disciple must love God more than everything, even his own life. Instead of faithfully teaching the obvious meaning of the text to the believers, TPM twists scripture and says this passage is speaking about TPM ministers alone, when it isn’t. They go on to say those who do not act and live like TPM ministers cannot prepare the church for Christ’s return. It is common knowledge that the only 2 churches that teach mandatory celibacy of the clergy are the RCC and TPM, so the obvious meaning here is that TPM alone can make a church ready for Christ’s return.
They end this passage with the claim that they alone have overcome the flesh. In the minds of TPM ministers being a celibate means “overcoming the flesh”. There is not an iota of scriptural truth in what TPM claims here. If it did, they would have substantiated their claims with scripture. Do not be fooled by those who claim that they alone have overcome the flesh. Every Christian must put on Christ and walk in the Spirit. Being a celibate or being married is irrelevant here. In the following verses, Paul is speaking to the entire Church.
- “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
- “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”(Romans 6:11)
- “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”(Galatians 5:16)
- “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)
- “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”(Romans 13:14)
Another Section from the mentioned book is as follows.
“Some of the apostles who followed the Lord led a married life before they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But after receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit though it is mentioned that some of them went about with their wives, it cannot be said that they led a married life. They would not have had the time to even think of it. And we do not know whether they had any Children. Apostle Peter, a married man, has written, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (I Pet.3:7), manifesting the place of the Wife in a married life, and what the husband ought to do for that”
I think we can see a pattern now and we should stop expecting TPM to prove their claims with scripture. They are just making things up as they go along. According to TPM, the apostles lived a married life until the day of Pentecost and on the day of Pentecost, they abruptly abandoned their wives, even though 1 Corinthians 9:5 says the apostles and Peter traveled with their wives during their ministry.
TPM doesn’t know what to do with scripture like 1 Corinthians 9:5 and John 19:27. They cannot reconcile their man made doctrines with scripture, so when it comes down to it, they blatantly say what scripture plainly says isn’t what scripture is actually saying. According to TPM, when the apostles were traveling with their wives, they weren’t living a married life. It’s like a murderer standing before a judge claiming “I did not kill that person, I only pulled the trigger!” These are the lengths TPM will go to by twisting scripture to prove their unbiblical doctrines.
TPM sees sex within marriage as something filthy and something that defiles a person. They think by being unmarried, they are somehow purer than those who marry and have kids. This claim is reminiscent of RCC claiming Mary the mother of Jesus, did not have any kids after Jesus was born. They too view normal married life as defilement and claim Mary lived as a virgin her whole life even though Joseph and Mary were married. In the same way, TPM says the apostles, though they were married and lived with their wives, did not live as husband and wife but as strangers. What a travesty of scripture! They add things and twist scripture to make scripture say what they want it to say.
Consider the below portion from their book
“Apostle Paul too writes saying, “Except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency” (I Corinthians.7:5). It is right for those who are not under such a vow to live together. The mind of St. Paul concerning how those under this consecration in their spiritual life should live, is revealed in I Corinthians 7:29.”
TPM again uses scripture with no regard to its context. The epistle to the Corinthians is addressed to the whole church. Please keep in mind that Paul is writing this epistle to the church at Corinth, a city in Greece.
Greek philosophy in those times believed in dualism. In short, dualism is a belief that everything physical is evil and spirit is good. So the religious people in ancient Greece used to treat their physical bodies harshly with no respect. In their minds “it doesn’t matter what happens to my physical body so I don’t need to care what I do with my body”. So those who were religious used to abstain from food and abstain from of sexual relations within marriage so as to “punish” this evil physical body. It is those that Paul is addressing here in the beginning of 1 Cor 7. As always TPM pulls out a verse that advice married couples to not deprive each other of sex and assumes it is speaking about them. They go on to use this verse to justify TPM workers (men and women) living together under the same roof.
Dear reader, please read 1 Corinthians 7 in its context without a TPM filter. TPM quotes 1 Corinthians 7:29 and says it is the mind of Paul for those who are under “TPM minister’s consecration”. But just a few verse above, Paul makes it crystal clear as to the reason for such an advice
“25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:25-31)
The present distress could have been persecution or famine. Whatever the present distress was, the advice of Paul must be taken in light of that. Let me reiterate, the epistle to the Corinthians is addressed to the whole church. So the advice applied to everyone in the church at Corinth, not a special class of people TPM calls “Zion”. The advice was not to prove that the unmarried are holier than the married or that the unmarried would inherit a superior place in eternity. In fact, Paul calls both celibacy and married life a “gift from God” (1 Cor 7:7), neither one is above the other.
To better understand, let’s take an example from the present. Look at the persecution in Syria. In light of that distress, if Paul were alive today, his advice would have been to not seek a husband/wife if you didn’t have one and that one could better serve God if they were unmarried so as to avoid the distraction if your spouse was captured and persecuted. So, when reading 1 Cor 7, don’t forget the “present distress” clause mentioned there.
Another excerpt from TPM Book follows
“It cannot be said whether the apostles who received the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, got married or led a married life after that. For this cause, St Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Clement and many others did not get married. However, there were also married ministers during the apostolic period (I Timothy.3:2). But they were not apostles. If we read 1 Timothy Ch.3 carefully, we see that there were ministers of many kinds and that they were led by Paul and Timothy who were called as eunuchs for the kingdom of God. This has already been explained. Though this is the case, there are still many who speak and write against this life of consecration. This is due to their ignorance.”
Lo and behold, finally, an admission of a lack of knowledge from TPM, but my joy is short-lived. Yes, we do not know the personal lives of everyone who lived in the 1st century, only that the apostles lived a married life (1 Cor 9:5).
But then TPM makes up their own “facts” and tells us Timothy, Titus, and Clement did not marry. Where is the evidence? There appears to be none, only hollow claims by TPM. Tradition has it (which is at least better than illusions pulled out of thin air), that Timothy was a bishop at Ephesus, Titus a bishop at Crete and Clement a bishop at Rome. When we read the qualification needed for a bishop (1 Tim 3), it says they must be married to one wife and that they must lead by example and take care of their families. So it is more than likely that they were married.
It is possible to make up a million different doctrines by cherry-picking verses. Any practicing Roman Catholic will quickly give you verses for Purgatory, the sinlessness of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the assumption of Mary, Praying to dead saints etc when asked. But does that make those doctrines biblical? Not in the slightest. In the same way, just because TPM cherry-picking verses for their doctrines, doesn’t make them biblical.
A Plea To TPM Church And Its Believers
Dear TPM church, we speak against misrepresentation of scripture. We speak against taking scripture out of context. Nowhere in scripture do we see that those who do not get married are better than those who do. Neither do we see a “revelation of zion” in scripture. It is your ignorance of scripture that has made you persist in these unbiblical doctrines. I pray God gives you the grace to throw away these false doctrines that divide the body of Christ.
Dear reader, when we hear scripture being twisted and mishandled, it must make us uneasy and uncomfortable. Nobody has authority above scripture. This article presents some examples out of many such mishandling of scripture by TPM. TPM does it because they claim to have received extra-biblical revelations and have already made up their minds. So when they read scripture, they will not allow scripture speak for itself but must instead make scripture say things they want it to say. Any church that does this cannot stay true to God’s word. It is only by reading scripture keeping our biases to a minimum and asking the Spirit of God to help us we can get the intended meaning of the scripture that we read. God bless.