New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


June 14, 2001 Vol 01 : 010
 

Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Is NTchurch planter too much?

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Re: Biblical pattern

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

 

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 07:15:50 -0700 (PDT)

From: greg

Subject: Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

Just so that I understand you ....

Did you *really* just type that

a) Today's church is a farce, illogical and corrupt?

b) Today's church is what kept you from faith in the

risen Jesus all along.

c) Today's church is not the "real" church?

d) "home" church is the REAL church?

e) This has all been confirmed because you have felt

blessed by god?

I know I am paraphrasing, Vanessa, but is that what

you're saying? If not, could you unpack it for me a

little bit more please?

SIDE NOTE: I agree with the person's comment about the

church's goal being community. Excellent and timely

contribution! Thanks!


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Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 21:13:40 +0700

From: "Link"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

Link in response to Michael Millier

I wrote,

>>I suspect a lot of the preaching we read about in the

>>Bible was not done tent-crusade style. I doubt Paul

>>had a praise band sing before he preached in the

>>Aereopogas.

Mike responded

>The Apostle Paul answers:

>"And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them

>that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are

>under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not

>without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them

>that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the

>weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might BY ALL MEANS save some"

>(1 Cor. 9:20-12-- emphasis mine).

Mike continues.

>I elaborate:

>

>"If it works and it's moral it's okay"

Link responds.

Mike, I didn't mean to imply that tent crusades with praise bands are wrong. I think the passage you quoted actually illustrates the point I was trying to make. Having music in crusades is often a 'non-contextual' thing to do. Imagine a big southern tent crusade. Some singers sing Gospel music before the sermon. Who enjoys Gospel music? Christians. In fact, many of the chairs in the meeting are filled with Christians. The Christians are asked to bring unsaved friends to the meeting.

A truly unchurched unbeliever might find Gospel Quartet music to be just a little bit foreign- a mix of country and barber shop quartet singing that he never hears on the radio. The unbeliever might even experience a little 'culture shock' before hearing the Gospel.

In this country, if you set up a big gospel crusade in some areas, there is a such a stigma attached to people of other religions attending a Christian meeting, that only the Christians might attend. Singing Christian songs might even reinforce this reaction from non-Christian groups. An exception here might be Chinese Buddhist, which might attend such a meeting.

I've heard some people teach that singing softens people's hearts before hearing preaching, or that it defeats demons that blind the hearts of people. But in the NT, it says that God has chosen the 'foolishness of preaching' to save them that believe. If songs contain the word of God, they might work their way into people's hearts. But preaching can do the same thing.

It seems like the crusade revival of the Second Great Awakening has become the liturgy for some evangelical churches. Instead of meetings being for the edification of believers, meetings are treated as primarily evangelistic crusades for unbelievers, with edifying the saints being a secondary concern. But in the Bible, meetings seemed to be primarily for the edification of the church. 'The work' of evangelism went on mostly outside of the church meetings. Someone on the list said that the modern philosophy is to tell the world 'Come' instead of obeying the command 'Go.'

The liturgy of the crusade has become the liturgy of many church meetings, including the altar call at the end. The liturgy of the church meeting influenced the liturgy of the crusade. that is why there is music at the beginning and end of the meeting.

Singing might be an effective tool to draw a crowd, if the music helps those ministering relate to the crowd. Dan Beaty's response on this thread mentioned the idea of singing even secular songs with a good message in a public place. Many people think that you have to follow crusade liturgy with songs at the beginning and end to have a crusade. Many set up crusades this way because that's what they've experienced, rather than because they have truly thought about how to become all things to all men. I'm not saying crusades with music are bad, but it is not the only technique, and probably not a technique the apostles used with Gentile unbelievers.

>there was sometimes the shammash (servant) who took care of the grounds and

>building, and then different rabbis to teach.

I read a little in _Life and times._ Would a country synagogue have had a rabbi, or did the rabbis just travel around to different synagogues, like some of the modern visiting evangelists do in churches today?

>>The Bible doesn't command churches to follow

>>synagogue liturgy, however.

>No, but it assumes ancient churches did ... even in places far away from the

>Jerusalem church-- sometimes meeting in houses. For instance, the Antioch,

>Syria church (house or not?) was following a liturgy (leitourgounton-- "as

>they performed the liturgy," "ministered in an official religious capacity")

>when Paul and Barnabas were separated for ministry to the Gentiles (Act

>13:2).

The Greek Orthodox might think the word 'liturgy' there refers to more or less what we call 'liturgy' today. The more Fundamentalist types seem to think 'liturgy' was a common word that didn't have that specific meaning. Do you have any references to ancient Greek liturgy that refer to synagogue or temple liturgy using that Greek word in a specific sense to mean 'liturgy?' Maybe brother Bearded Bill of Asheville can answer that question off the top of his head. :)

I'm not anti-liturgy. I don't believe that the early church had _only_ synagogue liturgy. They did read through some scriptures in their meetings, apparently, and they may have done this in a liturgical fashion. The Bible doesn't give us an explicit command to read through the scriptures in a manner similar to Jewish liturgy.

There are some specific instructions about the regulation of the gift of prophecy. From what (little) I understand of the synagogue at that time, the commands given to the Corinthians about tongues, interpretations, and prophecies would not fit well into a non-Christian Jewish synagogue setting. There was probably a time for discussion of the sermon at the end of a synagogue meeting, but the Jews didn't practice spontaneous displays of these gifts of the Spirit. Paul's writings emphasize mutual edification and ministering to one another with our gifts. If a church does this and has an organized manner of reading through the scriptures (a type of liturgy) I don't see that as a problem. But I don't believe observing a liturgy only is enough for a healthy Christian diet. I believe there is a need for systematic Scripture reading and study, mutual edification with the gifts, celebrating the Lord's supper together, and spending time in informal fellowship as well. Sounds like really long meetings, and lots of them.

>>In the first century, Jews built houses of worship. Pagans built temples.

>>But the Christians just met in homes.

>This is not entirely true either. Yes there were home meetings, but the

>earliest believers original met in synagogues. We know that James wrote:

>"For if there come unto your assembly [sunagoge] a man ..." (James 2:2).

>That is a "synagogue".

I think I'm guilty of painting with a broad brush. Have you considered this possibility? It might be that James isn't talking about a 'Christian synagogue' but rather of the Jewish synagogue, composed of believing and unbelieving Jews. Christians may have met in homes for church meetings (as they did in Jerusalem) but also take part in Jewish religion (e.g. the Jerusalem church meeting in the temple.) The scattered Jewish believers may have gone to the synagogue, and to meetings of the ekklesia. In Acts, several times Paul went into synagogues and preached. Several weeks into his preaching, a synagogue may have been composed of believers who had accepted the Gospel message he preached, and also of unbelievers. The Christians from the synagogue might have met in their own 'ekklesia' meetings, and also gone to the synagogue on the sabbath, at least until the majority in the synagogue harshly rejected the Gospel message.

In areas where there were no very vocal proponents of Christianity that came to preach in the synagogues, maybe some of the Christians continued on in the synagogue, alongside Jewish unbelievers, while also attending meetings of the ekklesia. If this were the case when James wrote his epistle, this reference may not be a reference to a Christian synagogue, but rather to Christians who also go to the non-ekklesial synagogue.

Btw, someone once told me that Josephus mentioned Christian synagogues. However, I looked through the seemingly thorough index of the complete extant works of Josephus in translation and could find no reference to them to verify this. Would you happen to know if any historical author specifically mentions Christian synagogues int he first century. The upper room example you gave is very interesting.

> With the evidence for liturgy (from

>the synagogue? what else?) above, one might safely assume that the Antioch

>church was also under the authority of a local synagogue.

I don't follow your reasoning here. What do you mean with churches being 'under' the synagogue. From what I understand (from what you told me several years back, plus a little Eidersheim) the Jewish synagogues were affiliated through a network of legal structures with the Israelite government. The Antioch church was formed during a time of intense persecution from the Israelite government. If the church were 'under' the synagogue, wouldn't they suffer from persecution from the Israelite government? Was there some way of officially registering synagogue in the Jewish legal system in the Roman Empire? It's conceivable that the Antioch Christians had a Christian synagogue. It's also conceivable that the Antioch Christians met in homes, but that some heard Moses readin the synagogue on the sabbath. But I don't understand what you mean by the church being 'under' the synagogue.

>My point: let's leave a little room in our hearts for those poor souls who

>want to (and can) meet in buildings. They are not inferior and they are not

>the enemy (Eph. 6:12; Gal. 5:15). In fact, they even have scriptural

>precedent to meet in buildings. As you do for meeting in houses. Can anyone

>say "both/and"

I'm not anti-building. My point was to give a case for meeting in homes from apostolic example and practical reasons. Some people think a church _has_ to meet in a church building to be legitimate. Considering what we see in the NT, I think we should be questioning whether it is wise to build a church building. Some still question whether house churches are a legitimate option. May God bless your work in the Beautiful Land.

 Link Hudson


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Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 07:21:39 -0700 (PDT)

From: Vanessa DiDomenico

Subject: Re: House Church Introduction (was Quit My Job? - WAS: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Fishing?)

Since church buildings are non-essential, why not consider church plantering in homes, and never have a goal to build a building. When they meeting gets too large, start another meeting in another home.

VANESSA: I love this! All I can think of when I think of institutional churchis how many starving children I could have fed with the money, how many pants or shirt could have been bought for them (yes, I'm one of those weirdos that keeps only a few changes of clothes so I can give away the rest), and how many meals we could have bought for them. Usually the answer I get from the institutional churchpastors is that it is more important to gain souls than to feed bodies. But, how are people faster converted? By being invited to a building, or by receiving REAL love, then being told it comes from Jesus? I used to teach English at Berlitz here.

Right behind the luxurious building, there was a group of glue-sniffing children who lived right there on the street and begged for food outside a breadstore. I used to have my lunch, bought from a restaurant, in the building... until I saw the children from the window. I began to spend the money rather on buying lots od bread and milk, and then began to go sit where the children begged and eat bread and milk with them. I never dress up, but there I had no choice, for Berlitz is where executives study.

I must have looked very funny dressed up in office garb, sitting on the floor right next to the street with a bunch of dirty kids, who were also quite dangerous and feared by all, to the point that many have been murdered by the police. Well, I never said anything, but the kids asked: WHY ARE YOU HERE? I was like, well, should I not come anymore? they insisted. I said, JESUS sent me, and I also have kids, who could be in the same situation and I hope someone would also care for them. The questions came in a flood always: who's Jesus? Why does he send you? Why do you listen? etc. You can be sure that many, many more of these kids were saved by the crazy lady sitting on the floor in full office dress, than by any evangelist standing on the street yelling to people to get saved. Those kids are dangerous, and once, many months after I quit at Berlitz, I was recognized by one, who told the others in that group to leave me alone. And in this same way, God has saved me from many dangerous situations. I have even been fed by criminals when I was hungry!

Well, my dream is to go as an independent missionary to Colombia's guerrilla land, which is about 2 hours from here. I know I can survive there better than many naive ones who usually come from developed countries (I don't believe that God wants birds to go preach among fish), and I would like to be a guide for a group of these. Of course, this is something for perhaps 10 years from now. Its my vision for the future, for when the charity projects are managing themselves alone.

I am learning the language of the Indians who move freely between here and Colombia, and hope to work with them in this project. God has already sent me 2 soldiers for this in the group I tutor. And all these great things don't get done in the institutional churchto the level they could be, because they are busy spending their money on satisfying their own desire to have a building to attach their faith to. I say, if their faith needs any sort of material thing to attach itself to, its not real faith. Vanessa


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Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 10:47:08 -0400

From: forwarded <homechurch>

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Is NTchurch planter too much?

[Original post contained admin trigger words in line 1. These words

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in Christ

Link Hudson, moderator

-= - ntcp info page: http://homechurch.org/world-missions/planting -= -

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:07:28 -0400

From: David Anderson

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Biblical pattern

>I thoroughly agree with Greg that it is improper to use descriptive passages

>as if they were prescriptive. But there are many more prescriptive passages

>in the Holy Scriptures that many imagine. The main problem with

>understanding that many of these passages are prescriptive is that they are

>so radically different from accepted practices in the IC.

>

>I have written a book tracing the Biblical prescriptives for the church. You

>can read it and learn how to obtain hard copies at www.holy-word.com

>

>Jim Morris

Amen to this message, Jim. We'll check out your book.

Other writers, do step forward.

IMO, it becomes a very slippery descent when apostolic imperatives,

practices, and precedents are cast aside or treated as optional. Yes, I

agree that sometimes it is difficult to discern exactly what these are

and how they should be applied.

But the apostles did make it very clear that they were passing an exact

system of belief and practice which had been given to them by none other

than God himself.

Look at all the details of decorum in 1 Cor. Over it all is written: If

any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge

that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1

Cor. 14:37

I enjoy this list! There are many opinions but much respect and love.

David Anderson

in TN

-= - ntcp info page: http://homechurch.org/world-missions/planting -= -

 

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:18:00 -0700

From: Dan Snyder <Dan*lsm.org>

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Re: Biblical pattern

<< I enjoy this list! There are many opinions but much respect and love. >>

David, I've got an amen to that!

In the principle of following in the footsteps of the flock (i.e.. learning from those who have gone before us)... I wanted to recommend two books by Watchman Nee. Through his ministry and the labor of many saints hundreds of local churches were raised up throughout China.

I think many of you may be familiar with these books, but for the sake of those who aren't...

First is "The Normal Christian Church Life" (First published in 1939)

Second is "Further Talks on the Church Life" (Messages given 1948-51)

I believe these are really worthwhile reading for anyone who is burdened to plant a church.

In Brother Nee's view the practice of the church life wasn't the introduction. It was something built upon the foundation of the saints having been helped to experience and enjoy our Lord Jesus in a very rich and real way. To him it wasn't a matter of the method, but of the person. So he shared much on the experience of Christ in the years before he began to touch the Body and the church.

In other words his ministry first helps us enjoy the wine... and then there's a reason to talk about wineskins.

I appreciate something he wrote in the preface to the English edition of

"The Normal Christian Church Life".

He says:

"One of the prayers I have offered in connection with this book is that the Lord should keep it from those who oppose and would use it as a chart for attack, and also from those who agree and would use it as a manual for service. I dread the latter far more than the former."

Much wine and much grace to you all!!!

Dan (S.)

Anaheim, CA

-= - ntcp info page: http://homechurch.org/world-missions/planting -= -

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 16:55:34 -0400

From: The Dwelling Place

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

Greetings in Jesus' Name!

This is the first opportunity to get to write and respond. We just finished a house church conference in our city!

My name is Sam Buick and I reside in Waterloo, Ontario Canada. My parents came to Canada from the UK. I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland and spent the first 9 years of my life on the mission field in France. My family came to Canada in 1967.

We have been involved in house church for several years now, and originally it was house church without calling it what it was.

I am an ordained minister of the gospel with a Pentecostal denomination which is Calvinist in doctrine. The leadership of the denomination have endorsed and encouraged me in planting churches that meet in houses! I have a vision to plant 250 churches, one for each of the streets of our city! We just had Robert Fitts, author of the CHURCH IN THE HOUSE for 7 days. Awesome time with him. He taught a one day seminar on house churches, and I believe he got unto something big when he said we should just call it CHURCH and drop the "house church" name as it causes offense and does not build bridges with people. I agree with him! We are the CHURCH that meets in the home of Tom and Carol Padfield!

Robert Fitts also shares a similar vision of viewing the CITY CHURCH as ONE BODY and that all believers in a certain city belong to all the church expressions therein. I am a bridge builder with a Kingdom mindset.

- - I love all that Jesus loves - - I embrace all that Jesus embraces - - I bless all that Jesus blesses, which includes the traditional church!

The traditional church system is not the enemy, Satan and his minions are the enemy! We need an apostolic mindset that sees the Kingdom coming to the city church, regardless of the city church structures!

I have maintained and will enhance my relationships with existing traditional churches, and to show them that I am not a threat, we worship and celebrate on Friday nights, which allows me to go to other traditional churches on Sundays to share the vision for reaching the city and to support the body of Christ in all church expressions.

The traditional church is not Jezebel, and is not Babylon. Wherever the spirit of Christ is, there is church, for the church is not a building made of wood and stone but the body of Christ (believers). We need to understand that the believers worship in the expression that the Lord has drawn them into and we who are in churches that meet in houses are simply being obedient to the same Spirit that has strategically place believers within traditional churches.

Robert Fitts has a system, and that is what it is, a system, that I believe has been given to him by the Lord. It is called ABC, Alpha Omega Bible College, which is a home based bible college, in which people study the whole Bible in one year, and are equipped and released in body ministry. There will be personal ministry, mercy ministry, deliverance, evangelism, city church, and world mission, all with the goal that by the end of one year, people within this group will decide to either begin another ABC, or decide to plant a CHURCH IN THE HOUSE.

This is also transferable to the traditional church. Instead of starting another CHURCH IN THE HOUSE, the people within the small groups ministry of the traditional church, they can decide to either begin another ABC, or to develop a new ministry or join an existing ministry in the church. This gets people not only equipped but actually released in ministry. And this builds and extends the Kingdom of God.

I look forward to interaction on this list.

Blessings,

Sam Buick

- --

The Dwelling Place <http://thedwellingplace.faithweb.com/>

"If you build it He will come"

If we revolutionize the church and follow the New Testament pattern, then we

will see:

Every person a worshipper.

Every person discipled, equipped and released in their calling and gifting.

Every person a minister.

Every home a house church.

Every house church pregnant and expectant to birth another church in God's

timing.

Every house church expanding through multiplication of house churches

throughout our cities pushing back the kingdom of darkness and expanding the

Kingdom of God.

Like in the Book of Acts, the church met from house to house. Do it again

Lord! Restore apostolic vision! Restore apostolic passion! Restore

apostolic power! Restore the New Testament church! 


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #10




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