1. Is it in the Bible?


Ga 2:9 "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars......"

2. What do we believe it means?

A good Christian matures to the point where they become good examples to newer believers and give the example of faithful church attendance and submission to authority.

3. What does it really mean?

Once again we have a Bible encouragement, transposed to wrong church tradition. The concept of being a pillar is mentioned in the Bible only once. In Galatians Paul refers to Peter John and James as those who "seemed pillars". But if we read the context of this reference, listen to what Paul then does......

9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
11 ¶ But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Galatians 2:9-14)

Paul "withstood him to the face,"!

Imagine doing this to the pastor! Ands then before all the believers Paul reprimands Peter for still follwing Jewish traditions! Wow, does the church ever need this (since the Christian church is bound up following a ritual based on the old covenant)!

Now lest' read some more context...

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.
1 ¶ Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. (Galatians 1:17-24, 18:1)

He is saying in these verses how he did his ministry directly as God lead him, independently of the first apostles. he served God 14 years before speaking to the "pillars". This area of the Bible is not speaking of pillars in the church as being something very important, but rather supporting the concept of independent, God-lead ministry which is NOT "under the authority" of the already established leadership of the church.

Beyond this, the "pillars" referred to here were apostles. the foundation of the church is apostleship--not "pastoral authority". when we attempt to become "pillars" in our churches we are in effect becoming those who support and believe (and enforce!) in an incorrect system.

Enforcement? Well, it often happens that a new believer "over-steps their boundaries". How? Often by believing that they can serve God--or preach--or speak out in church. One of the jobs of "pillars" is to "reign in" such loose cannons in the church. Subtly (or perhaps not!) let the person know that they need to "line up" with the prevailing and accepted format and system and authority of that church.

Pillars--- or cops?

when we invite human authority to rule the church we get back all kinds of ridiculous actions carried out by a bunch of well-meaning people. If we functioned in the correct new covenant system, we would be less likely to have such problems, and if we did they would be corrected, not set forth as examples!