[Heb 5:11-14 ESV] 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
When we read this in our contemporary minds, we may think the author is speaking to people in the pew. There were no pews in the first century church. The documents written at this time where first given to leadership among those could read. Then, the leadership would read publicly the document to those who would hear (thus… “you have become dull of hearing”). So, those who first read this are leaders, and those who first heard this were also likely at least leaders in the making. My point is that the leadership in the church… even before 70AD… were falling away from the “basic principles of the oracles of God” according to this passage.
Unfortunately, the church as we know it has had this growing problem throughout its history, and thus why reformation is constantly needed. The quote attribute to the German theologian Rupertus Maldenius, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity” is often quoted for the church to move forward to work together. As much as this quote is helpful, the sad reality is that we do NOT have unity in the essentials among the church as we know it. The denominations let alone all the independent and non-denominational types all exist based upon different essentials. So, what the writer to The Hebrews is saying here is true for leadership today… we need MILK! Thus, we are unskilled in the word of righteousness. We are children. And so, the greatest problem in the world today is a divided church that has little to no power to effect Kingdom culture because the leadership is not sufficiently mature to maintain the unity of the Spirit. We have no consensus on the essentials… the closest we may have ever been is possibly agreeing with the issues that are necessary for unity… but that may be as far as we get… thus far in history. This is why many have given up on the idea that the church can be one and think that are sole responsibility is to try to get as many people “saved” to get to heaven… and thus our compromise with the gospel is maintained and we are accursed being a divided church (see Galatians 1:8-9 within context).
We must recognize our condition before we can re-form. That is why Apostles Theological Seminary is committed to re-discover and recover the authentic revelation of the Gospel of the Kingdom given to those first Apostles of the Lamb, and to the ascension apostles like Paul and Timothy who followed them. This is not impossible to attain IF we submit ourselves to one another, to recognized spiritual authority placed by the Lord and ultimately to the Holy Spirit who leads us into all Truth. Jesus is the Chief Apostle, and he will reveal through His Spirit the Truth as found in the canon of Scripture. The Word and Spirit agree!
There is no lack in God’s resources to help us get a hold of His Truth. Rather, we must submit ourselves to the prayers of Jesus given to us, namely The Lord’s prayer given to his disciples (Mt 6) and the Lord’s high priestly prayer given for all his disciples to be one (Jn 17). You will find nothing in these prayers that give up on the authentic revelation of Gospel of the Kingdom and purposes of God to be retreated on the earth, let alone the church be divided and each one do its own thing as we see fit. We are not free to believe anything, let alone preach anything we want as followers of Christ our Lord. We must repent of our foolishness, and do the hard work of digging in the scriptures, relating with other serious disciples, and get at what the Lord is saying and doing in our day. I believe the Lord Jesus is reforming His Church, and to miss out on this is indeed what it means to be left behind!