New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


June 17, 2001 Vol 01 : 014
 

[New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

[New Testament Church Proliferation] Robert Fitts' Teaching at Canadian House Church Conference

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

 

Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 07:56:02 +0700 From: "Link"

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Home Church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Samuel Buick wrote, There is so much variety in the home church movement. I realized just this past weekend that I cannot and will not support militant and divisive people from other home churches. They are more destructive to the collective witness of what God is doing within the movement. There is a growing concern about these zealots who think their calling and ministry is to go into traditional services and meetings and cause a public disturbance and challenge the leadership openly, often resulting in them being asked to leave and escorted out of the building. And to make matters worse, they think they are "suffering" for the cause of Christ when they are asked to leave!

I've run across some really militant home church people on the Internet. In some cases,they seem to be people who were wounded in 'the institutional church' who got bitter, and also heard the teaching that the institutional churchis supposed to be Babylon.

It seems like many of the people who are like this tend to not be the type to plant churches, too. Some home church people on the 'net seem afraid of any type of organization. Planning seems carnal to some of them.

Some of the early Quakers used to go into churches and challenge the leadership. They were a house church movement, originally, with open meetings, and various other similarities to some of the home church movements of today. Meeting in a home was not a central focus of their faith, and later they did build meeting houses, but they didn't consider church buildings to be 'churches'- a radical view to their day. They referred to church buildings as 'steeple houses.'

George Fox is seen as a hero to many evangelicals who study about him. His journal tells about him going into 'steeple houses' and debating with the speaker. I've read that during that century in England, there was a forum for discussing the sermon after it was preached, so maybe Fox's practice was not as shocking as it seems to one reading it today where meetings are completely closed in most traditional churches. Fox would often quote verses from the OT about false shepherds. He wasn't popular, and spent some time in prison.

Fox also seemed to be rather exclusive, consider the true Christians to have come together as the Friends, who were derisively called Quakers. He indicated that he did not believe that the Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Ranters, etc. were not true Christians. many strands of Quakerism seem to have grown out of this attitude.

Margaret Fell, a longtime friend of George Fox, whom he married in the latter end of his life, wrote a document which talked about the true Christians having come out of the Babylon and her daughters, speaking of the denominations.

Since much of these things have happened before, maybe we can learn a lot from studying the good and bad points of the early Quaker movement. The Quakers are an example of a home church movement that can grow fast. I've read that there may have been about 50,000 Quakers that were a part of the movement by the end of Fox's life.

Another thing I often read from home church people is the idea that having one preacher, pastor, or bishop in the church who runs things is Nicolaitanism. The argument goes that the word Nicolaitan comes from Greek particles meaning 'one who conquers the people.' Therefore, some argue that since a one-man pastorate involves one man in power over the people, that this is Nicolaitanism.

That's pretty skimpy evidence for coming up with a doctrine, yet it shows up in some Brethren, Local Church Movement, and home church writings. Imagine if we were to invent doctrines based on the etymologies of all words in the Bible. Phineas, an OT priest's name means 'snakes mouth.' Should we conclude that Phineas' mouth looked like a snake? I suppose one could come up with all kinds of 'spiritualized' esoteric ideas about what this name means.

Eusebius' Ecclesiastical history, written around the 300's, records the tradition that the Nicolaitan's were one of those libertine sects that taught that it didn't matter if you fornicated with your body and did other, similar wicked things. There were some Gnostic sects in the early centuries, that thought that since the spirit was what was important, it didn't matter what you did with your body.

Eusebius' writes that they were named after Nicolas the proselyte from Antioch, who, the story goes, when he was accused of being jealous, offered his wife to those present. No one took him up on it, and if I remember correctly, he wasn't the leader of or even a part of the heresy that took his name. It's been years since I read this. If this story is true, then the Nicolaitans were probably named after Nicolas, not because they conquered the people. They could have been named after another Nicolas if this story isn't true.

Besides, if there is some truth to the idea that their name about conquering the people has a prophetic esoteric meaning, then couldn't it mean that their doctrines about licentious libertinism 'conquered the people' rather than their ecclessiology?

Let's take a look at a passage that mentions the Nicolaitans:

Revelation 2:14-15 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Jesus' rebuke flows from those that hold the doctrine of Balaam to those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. There is no mention of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans being the one-man pastorate.

Some home church authors read an earlier author's theory about the Nicolaitans, and repeat it as if it were fact. The cycle continues and some one-man pastors (especially if they are controlling) get accused of being Nicolaitan. Those who make the accusations may not realize they might actually be accusing the pastor of libertinism, sexual immorality, idolatry, etc. by calling him a Nicolaitan.

home church authors got this teaching from other home church people. The home church movement probably got this Nicolaitan theory from the Local Church or Little Flock movement. Witness Lee and Watchman Nee repeated this theory about Nicolaitanism.

I tried to trace down the origin of this doctrine. I emailed Jim Morris. This teaching about Nicolaitanism appears in some Plymouth Brethren writings. Several decades into the Brethren movement, there were some exclusive tendencies. Eventually, the Brethren movement split into two branches- the exclusive Brethren and the non-exclusive brethren. The Exclusives only take communion with others within their movement. Open or non-exclusive brethren believe in taking communion with other believers, even if they don't hold to all aspects of brethren doctrine.

Watchman Nee read some of Darby's writings, and the Little Flock movement in China was similar in many ways to the Brethren movement. The Little Flock eventually met some Brethren from Australia. It turns out that these were exclusive brethren. They cut ties with Watchman Nee after he took communion with some Open Brethren on a trip to England. I wonder if Nee picked up the Nicolaitan theory from Open Brethren or closed Brethren. Whatever the case, it shows up in his writings.

Something I notice is that when there is a religious movement that is different, and a minority, even if it is scriptural, it seems like some in the movement start trying to find Biblical arguments to demonize those who do not agree with their own understanding of the scriptures. Some home church people call denominations (or sometimes non-denominational, program-driven) churches 'Babylon and her daughters.' The Plymouth Brethren believed strongly in a plurality of elders. So some come up with this esoteric interpretation which teaches that Nicolaitanism relates to the one-man pastorate. The SDA denomination has teachers who believe that the churches that don't keep the Sabbath are 'Babylon and her daughters.'

I enjoyed Wolfgang Simson's _Houses that Change the World._ It's full of great information. But the draft version of his book repeats the Nicolaitan idea, and cites Nee as one of his sources. See the quote below:

One of the first attempts at inventing the non-scriptural distinction between "clergy and laity" was made by the Nicolaites, a group that emphasized the <difference between the "listening lay people and the ministering brothers". They go back to Nicolas, who was one of the first seven church deacons (Acts 6:5), later influenced by Greek Dualism, who then goes on to develop the doctrine of "the Nicolaites" (Rev 2:6), which the risen Christ says "he hates." Nicolait in Greek is composed of two words. Nikao means conquer, to be above others, and laos means common people. "A Nicolait is someone conquering the common people, climbing above the laity", says Watchman Nee in his book "The Orthodoxy of the Church". "The conduct of climbing over and above the common believers as a mediatorial class is what the Lord detests and hates".<

I'd like to see some historical support for Wolfgang's arguments here. My guess is that this idea about Nicolatianism came to us from some extremists in the Brethren movement back during a time when esoteric interpretations of Hebrew and Greek words were in vogue.

Does anyone know if Wolfgang included this in his last draft of the book? I emailed him about it, but I think the book had already gone to the publisher. And he's not the type to discuss such issues in depth over email. Seems busy. Hmm. Maybe if I get to work, I can convince him to have them omit the paragraph from the Indonesian version.

Can anyone nail down who came up with this Nicolaitan idea? I suspect it is less than 170 years old. I'd be surprised if it showed up in any writing before the 1820's.

Link Hudson


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Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 20:54:34 -0400 From: "Jim Morris"

Subject: RE: [New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Link mentioned that he contacted me on this, but did not give my answer.

As I grew up in an "exclusive" Plymouth Brethren group, I was introduced at an early age to the notion that the Nicolatines were the original clergymen. It was not until many years later that I learned the true history of the Nicolatanes. When I began to study the writings of the first few centuries of the Christian era, I learned that they were, as Link says, a group that justified sex-al imm-rality. I have no idea where the false notion started, but I think it was very likely among Plymouth Brethren.

While mentioning the Plymouth Brethren, I wish to say, let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. I was cast out for refusing to stop showing the brethren (men I had grown up with) the actual writings of the early leaders such as J. N. Darby, William Kelly, and their associates.

The Plymouth brethren movement as it existed in the early nineteenth century no longer exists. But the writings these men have left us are of unusual value. James Ryrie, who edited the "Ryrie Study Bible" commented that they taught us almost everything we know about the Holy Spirit. Hal Lindsey, The author of "The Late Great Planet Earth," says that they taught us almost everything we know about end time prophecy. And fully a third of the Hebrew and Greek language references we still use today came out of this movement.

If you can obtain any of the writings of these men, particularly of William Kelly, by all means do so, and study them at length. You will find them of great value.

Jim Morris


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Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 22:07:39 EDT From: Steffasong

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] introduction

Sam Buick writes:

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

Hello Sam,

Thank you for sharing a portion of your seven days with Robert Fitts. If you have the time, please tell us more.

There is much wisdom in simply calling the church, 'church', no matter the structure or type of expression. We denominate ourselves when we say we are 'in the house church movement.' Is God interested in movements, or is He interested in His Church? His church, of course.... just as He has always been.

As far as I am concerned, saying 'house church' is no different than saying 'baptist church' or 'Lutheran church' or 'First church of Little Rock". There is one Name for whom every knee shall bow, and HIS church is not divided.

The church of Jesus Christ may be swayed and influenced by all kinds of movements, corruptions, machinations of man, and/or authentic revival from God, but unless we humble ourselves and let the Lord be the Head of HIS body in practical, everyday life, we are no different from brothers and sisters from any other stage in history.

God planted His church in the Earth when the seed fell to the ground and died. Through the Lord Jesus He continues to water, shed light, and grow us. Robert Fitts is right. There is only one body. If we believe the Bible than this should not shake us. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and One God and Father of us all. We are body, with many members.

Please share more! Thanks, Stephanie

Stephanie Bennett Creative Services & Consulting <A HREF="http://members.aol.com/steffasong/index.html">Marketing Solutions for the 21st Century</A> http://members.aol.com/steffasong/index.html

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

TSEliot


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 19:38:52 +0700 From: "Link"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Link in response to Jim Morris

Link mentioned that he contacted me on this, but did not give my answer.

Hi Jim,

I hope I didn't misrepresent your views in any way. I think I was going to comment on your answer, and lost my train of thought in that last post. I looked up what you wrote me. You mentioned Darby fighting against sectarianism that rose up in the movement, and mentioned that the term was use among the Exclusives. I wasn't aware that you grew up among Exclusive Brethren.

I hope my previous post didn't seem negative about the Brethren Movement. There are many positive things about the movement. There are also many things that were very positive about the Little Flock Movement in China.

I was discussing the issue of open meetings as they related to having evangelistic churches with a miss'nary friend of mine once. He asked me if the Brethren churches every experienced a lot of growth. Most say the Brethren movement is small.

The book _The Open Church suggests that believers who learn to talk in church may learn to share their faith. Their 'input' switch gets used hearing a sermon. But not their 'output' switch.

New Tribes Mission, I've heard, had a Brethren founder, and plants what might be classified as Brethren churches among hard-to-reach tribes.

The 'Little Flock' Movement followed some of the same Biblical principles as the Brethren Movement, including mutual edification in meetings. They were in fellowship with the Exclusive Brethren for some period of time. Some estimate that a quarter of the Christians in China were in that movement before the Communists took over China.

The 'Little Flock' Movement used homes for a lot of their meetings. They believed in one church per city. A house church movement also split off from the Little Flock Movement in Watchman Nee's day.

I wonder how what percent of the house churches in China now could be traced back to the 'Little Flock' movement, and to what extent the Little Flock movement and Home Church's that split off from it provided a model for other Christians in China who went on to meet in homes.

Btw, some of the 'Little Flock' Movement leaders didn't like being designated by the term 'Little Flock.' They believed in one city church. Some of them also considered their church to be that one church, since they weren't device or sectarian and accepted other Christians. That appears to have been Nee's line of thought (though it doesn't make complete sense to me.) Some Plymouth Brethren didn't like to be designated with a denominational label, but others called them the Plymouth Brethren

Hal Lindsey, The author of "The Late Great Planet Earth," says that they taught us almost everything we know about end time prophecy.

I'm still trying to figure out where one can get the idea of being raptured before the tribulation from the Bible. I certainly don't see it. From what I've read, I get the idea that the Brethren movement helped much of the church get re-interested in millennialism instead of amil, though.

God bless you,

Link


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 12:19:12 -0400 From: The Dwelling Place

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Robert Fitts' Teaching at Canadian House Church Conference

As I had mentioned to you earlier, last week Robert Fitts spoke 10 times in 6 days. It was a tremendous blessing. The teaching on CHURCH IN THE HOUSE, which is his book available online, and now available as a published book by the same title can be summarized by the following. I give it to you to add to the discussion on house church.

Blessings,

Sam Buick Waterloo, Ontario Canada

FORTY TRENDS TOWARD TRANSFORMING THE CHURCH Rethinking the Nature and Function of Ekklesia

1. From meeting centered life to Jesus centered life. (Jesus' example was to minister in spontaneous, daily, unplanned situations everywhere, all the time.)

2. From Christianity to Christ. (Not a philosophy, a system, a movement, or a religion, but a person . . . CHRIST IN YOU!)

3. From church houses to house churches. (Simplify to multiply)

4. From upward growth to upward and outward growth. (Both addition and multiplication)

5. From pastor only to five-fold ministries (We need all five of the ministry gifts.)

6. From special priesthood to priesthood of all believers (Bringing God to the people through your witness and bringing the people to God through your intercession)

7. From organization to organism (Beware! The opposite of hierarchy is anarchy)

8. From weekly worship to constant worship. (Worship is more than singing) 9. From bringing people to church to bringing church to people. (The prayer that ignites. "Father, cause my path to cross the path today of someone who is hungry for you or in need . . . ")

10. From symbolism to substance in the Lord's Supper (Take it often.)

11. From denominations to Spirit-led networks (Identify with the citywide church)

12. From social respectability to SALT & LIGHT (Turn the world upside down)

13. From performance by professionals to I Cor. 14:26. (Everyone of you has a teaching. . .˛)

14. From program based to home based church (Liturgical, Evangelical, Informal)

15. From the seminary system to the apprentice system (Simple Bible college)

16. From tenth to total in New Testament giving (generosity with a promise of reward.)

17. From selective submission to total submission (submit to all God-ordained authority)

18. From titles to function ("Call no man teacher, father, rabbi, etc. . . . ")

19. From independence to interdependence (connect with the citywide church for help, strength and wisdom)

20. From paper membership to Body membership (we are members one of another)

21. From the wheel to the vine (releasing teams to plant simple churches in homes)

22. From organizational unity to spiritual unity (there is only one step to unity. . . RECEIVE)

23. From Safeway or Circle K to Safeway and Circle K (embrace all that God embraces)

24. From "Us and them" to "Us" (Refuse to allow a divisive spirit in your fellowship)

25. From planned church only to spontaneous church also. (recognize ekklesia everywhere)

26. From bondage to freedom for women (Acts 2:17-18 , Gal. 3:26-28)

27. From presbytery without the people to presbytery with the people (Acts 15:22)

28. From arbitrary to biblical guidelines for appointing elders (I Tim. 3, Titus 1)

29. From "my pastor" to "my pastors." (teachers, evangelists, apostles, prophets)

30. From raising up leaders to appointing servants. (The ground is flat in the kingdom of God) 31. From local vision to world vision (the three pronged thrust of the church)

32. From building my kingdom to building THE kingdom (Let us help you fulfill your vision.)

33. From wall-wide church to citywide church. (They filled Jerusalem with their teachings)

34. From fear of stealing sheep to fear of possessing sheep (Acts 20:28-31)

35. From building-centered pastors to people-centered pastors. (Acts 20:28-31)

36. From using the word "church" to using the phrase łthe Body of Christ.˛ (Acts 19:32-41)

37. From restricted to unhindered fellowship. ( I am a member of every church in town.)

38. From overwhelming oversight to restful oversight. (tomato plant, fire, starter motor)

39. From lecture type to interactive type Bible study. (The Body ministering to itself in love.)

40. From pyramid to pancake in our understanding of submission to authority. (I am submitted to the King of the Kingdom and to every spiritual authority God sends into my life.)


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 12:27:13 -0400 From: The Dwelling Place

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

Link said:

Hal Lindsey, The author of "The Late Great Planet Earth," says that they taught us almost everything we know about end time prophecy.

I'm still trying to figure out where one can get the idea of being raptured before the tribulation from the Bible. I certainly don't see it. From what I've read, I get the idea that the Brethren movement helped much of the church get re-interested in millennialism instead of amil, though.

I think one of the greatest harms to the body of Christ and the extension of the Kingdom of God in the earth has been the false doctrine of pre-millenial dispensationalism and pre-millenialism as a whole. It has sown and reaped defeat and retreat in the North American and western church as no other false doctrine in the history of the church. It has created generations of escapist Christians who look at the future through the events in newspapers and other media, rather than on the fact that God has declared that He shall have dominion from sea to sea. Darby, Scofield and others borrowed ideas about the end times from heretics and false teachers from the past and much of the defeatism and the lack of Christians engaging the culture of our day is the direct result of their false teaching about the Kingdom of God, Israel, the church and how God is taking the kingdoms of this world and bringing into submission under His feet.

Sam Buick Waterloo, ON Canada


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 10:31:36 -0700 (PDT) From: Vanessa DiDomenico

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

<<Eusebius' Ecclesiastical history, written around the 300's, records the tradition that the Nicolaitan's were one of those libertine sects that taught that it didn't matter if you fornicated with your body and did other, similar wicked things. There were some Gnostic sects in the early centuries, that thought that since the spirit was what was important, it didn't matter what you did with

your body.>>

How interesting! I have always thought that what one does with one's body matters little, but that what one WANTS to do is what really matters. In other words, its better to do what you want because in that way others can know what your weaknesses are and help you overcome them. I'd like some more information on this, since I want to make sure I never teach anything that goes against the Word. Below, I'm stating some of my experiences, but please note that I am not saying this is THE way; I'm just stating how I reached the Truth.

For a long time as a new Christian, I did fornicate and do other things considered sinful, and only slowly abandoned these actions as I prayed to God to remove the desire for them, and He sure did! I did NOT abandon sin: God removed it from me because I prayed for Him to do so.

After all, doesn't Jesus say its just as bad to want as it is to do? If we try to control other's actions (telling them that these are sinful), we simply make the actions go underground, so that the church in the middle ages was full of perversion and disgusting things. WHY? because people were being judged on their actions, leaving little room for truly overcoming the desire to do them. ONLY when we admit our desire can we begin to change our actions. This is why I believe that homosexuality and abortions should be LEGAL, because man's law can never remove sin: it can only make it go underground. If these things are underground, then I can't stay away from them, because I can't see them! If gays are illegal, then gays will pretend to be straight, and then my daughter might marry one! YUCK! As for abortion, being right now in a country where it is illegal, I know what happens: rich women get them safely anyway, and poor women die from clothes hanger abortions! All other sins are like this. In fact, knowing from the inside, I believe that men's prisons are absolutely useless in preventing crime. The only time they DO prevent it, is when mentally ill people are locked up, and these should be in hospitals

Today, I commit carnal sin MUCH less than many who pretend to be saints, and who say they stopped sinning as soon as they were baptized (yeah, right). I know this because I keep in contact with many sinners who inform me on what pastors here are up to. I have absolutely no desire for ANY material gain. Within me, I care absolutely nothing for clothes, houses, stuff... and since I overcame this, God has sent my family so much money, which I don't touch, but it benefits my children, such as paying for their US overseas private prep school (from which students have gone to MIT, Yale, Princeton, Purdue, and many others), and keeping them in such great comfort, as to be actually worrisome. I have also overcome all physical needs for pleasure, including that for food. I don't even feel physical pain anymore: I had my kids without anesthesia, since God said we are to feel it, I figured that anesthesia would hurt my children (it has been scientifically proven to do so). As a reward, God has given me absolute mental control over pain, to the point of my being able to remove my own children's pains just by rubbing them with my hands. I could never have reached this level if someone had pressured me from the beginning to 'be good', when I couldn't be so yet. Only after sanctification had worked in me, could I say I overcame DOING sin, although from the moment of justification it was never imputed to me anymore. Now, I can use my experiences in sin to help those who are doubtful, trapped in sin, not sure what to do, etc.

I care little for myself, for I feel so safe in heaven already, that I see my body as only a momentary bother. And I have a hard time understanding those who think they can know what others are by seeing their actions. I have met pimps, drug dealers, AND murderers who had much, much more honour than many who call themselves 'pastors.'

Vanessa


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 11:00:32 -0700 (PDT) From: Vanessa DiDomenico

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] are some verses just descriptive?

"we can see how Paul could use the situation for an opportunity to preach Christ. But we cannot go back to Mars Hill and that image, anymore than we can recreate the world of the NT."

I must disagree here. Are you saying that if you are working as a missionary in the Amazon and living among the yanomami, and they are adoring their unknown God, then this is not the same thing? Yes, some of them also adore unknown gods, even if this is not the exact label used by them.

The problem is that people are trying to see something of their life in every passage, forgetting that the Bible was not written ONLY for themselves. When they don't understand something because it doesn't apply to them, then they try to adapt it so it will, in this way changing Christianity from what it really is.

But, everything in the Bible is timeless, only that it does not always apply to everyone. I noticed in the US that people have a hard time understanding how different the rest of the world is. Just think about the 'brethren' who in the name of God justified the murder of millions of native Americans or the capture and sale of Africans as slaves, seeing the slavery in the Bible as their justification.

All passages in the Bible are situations which are repeated almost exactly somewhere in the world just about every day. If we keep our eyes open, then when we find ourselves in a situation that appears in the Bible, then we can do what the Bible says for that specific situation. And we must remember that, no matter how 'civilized' or technologically advanced our individual lives, there are parts in this world that really have not changed much since the 1st century.

Vanessa


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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 14:58:06 -0400 From: jferris

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] home church militants, Babylon, Nicolaitans

I think one of the greatest harms to the body of Christ and the extension of the Kingdom of God in the earth has been the false doctrine of pre-millenial dispensationalism and pre-millenialism as a whole. It has sown and reaped defeat and retreat in the North American and western church as no other false doctrine in the history of the church. It has created generations of escapist Christians who look at the future through the events in newspapers and other media, rather than on the fact that God has declared that He shall have dominion from sea to sea. Darby, Scofield and others borrowed ideas about the end times from heretics and false teachers from the past and much of the defeatism and the lack of Christians engaging the culture of our day is the direct result of their false teaching about the Kingdom of God, Israel, the church and how God is taking the kingdoms of this world and bringing into submission under His feet.

Sam Buick Waterloo, ON Canada

Thanks Sam,

The first resurrection takes place every time believers arrive on the other side of suffering, as demonstrated by the fact that they are walking in newness of life.MAT 3:8, ACT 26:20, JAM 1:18, 1PE 1:22, 2:3, 4:6, 1JO 2:28-5:21, 2JO 4-11, 3JO 11 The first resurrection is in the Spirit,MAT 3:11 and that same Spirit is also the source of the authority with which we reign.MAT 8:9-13, 9:6-8, 10:1, 12:28, 28:18-20, MAR 13:32-35, ACT 8:18-23, 19:6, ROM 7:6, 1CO 6:1-6, 2CO 1:21,22, 3:16-18, 5:20, 13:10, REV 2:26,27, 20:4 Because of the special nature of the authority with which elders reign in the church, the laying on of hands provides the horizontal confirmation required for the effective exercise of such authority.ACT 6:6, 13:3, 1TI 5:22 "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."ROM 8:1 The millennium people are people who are no longer living in darkness, although they are surrounded by people who are. They are a people for whom the lamb is the light.REV 21:23 They in turn are the light of the nations.REV 21:24 Whomsoever will may join them. Both the "The Spirit and the bride say 'come'...Whoever is thirsty ,let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."REV 22:17 The millennium people are living on the resurrection side. "Outside are all those dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."REV 22:15

The millennium people do not suffer from identity crises. They know who they are. The millennium people do not reign as the gentiles do.LUK 22:25,26 They are not overlords, they are under servants. The millennium people do not reign as those who take control, and force their will on others, rather they serve the lost, as the expression of God's love in the world. They do not condemn the world, they embrace and identify with its brokeness. They impact the world with the redemptive power of God's love. The millennium people are real. They are not wearing leaves or playing hide and seek.GEN 3:7,8,21 They are transparent like a sea of glass surrounding the throne of God.REV 4:6 As Jesus was and is, so are they in the world.1JO 4:17

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."EPH 2:6,7 "...far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."EPH 1:21-23 "Since then, you have been raised with Christ, ("They came to life and reigned with Christ...")REV 20:4, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."COL 3:1 "Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! (Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.COL 3:2,3) But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."REV 12:12

Millennium people dwell where Satan has been cast out, where there is no more curse. Millennium people are those who live by faith in the son of God, and not by the works of the law, the knowledge of good and evil. Millennium people are citizens of the Jerusalem which is above, the Jerusalem that is free.GAL 4:26 And, "...if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed."JOH 8:36 Millennium people are reigning on earth, over the nations, as servants, in love, but their citizenship is in heaven.PHI 3:20

Millennium people are not fooled by knowledge which is not rooted in the Love of God. Millennium people are those "...who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."HEB 5:14 Millennium people are those for whom knowledge is no longer deadly or divisive. But Woe to those who dwell on earth, those who are still worldly,1CO 3:1 "...having a form of godliness, but denying its power...1TI 3:5 they have "...already turned away to follow Satan."1TI 5:15

Millennium people are in, but not of the world, They have been raised, and reign in the Spirit, They are Spiritual, not worldly.1TH 4:15 That they are still at work in the earth does not change the fact of the physical resurrection to come, In Christ, "...We who are alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep."ACT 18:8, 15-20, 28:23,30, 2CO 10:3-6 Whether living or dead, those who suffer with Jesus get to sit on His throne with Him. The millennial reign is the Kingdom reign,MAT 10:20, ACT 16:7, 20:22, 25,28,21:4,11, 1CO 4:20, 5:3-5, REV 1:9,10 and The Kingdom reign is in The Spirit.ROM 14:8-12 Whether we are asleep in Jesus or alive and remain,ROM 8:6, 12:21, 1CO 6:9-11, 12:13, 2CO 5:5, GAL 5:16,18,25, 6:8 our call is to be overcomers, and alive in the Spirit.ROM 6, especially 6:13 applies, as well as many others, among them: ROM 8:9-11, 1CO 2:7-16, 9:11, 15:45, 2CO 5:14,15, 13:2-6, EPH 2:4-6, PHI 2:1, COL 2:12, 3:1, and REV 2:5, 3:1-3

The second resurrection is a bodily one. The first resurrection is a spiritual one.2CO 1:3-10, 4:7-12, 1PE 4:1, 5:8-10 Not only does suffering get us on the other side of sin, but our ability to reign is in direct proportion to our experience of suffering. "Those who suffer with Him will also reign with Him."MAT 10:40, ACT 14:22, 2TI 2:12, ROM 3:21, REV 1:5,6 In the Kingdom of God we are given power to reign commensurate with our faithfulness in small things. To reign in the broad sense of the word means that we are already reigning over our bodily appetites, in the first instance. From the very beginning, Satan makes war against humanity in the arena of human appetite. This is the thrust of Revelation Chapter 20:1-6.

This is made very clear in Romans, Chapters 5-8. In these Chapters, Paul uses every tense, past, present, and future, concerning the resurrection. In Chapter 6:11-14, we see the connection between death, and the ability to live a victorious life, but we are admonished, not only to count ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God. There is no other way to get from the one place to the other, except resurrection. We are to count this resurrection as ours already, and being ours already, it must therefore be the first resurrection. In Chapter 7:6, we see again that death has freed us to live a new kind of life. In Ephesians 2:6, again, we see that we have been raised already. In Colossians 2:12, we find that it is our faith in the power of God that plugs us into the reality of this first resurrection. And finally, in Colossians 3:1, we see the difference that this first resurrection makes in our ability to live a new life.

The Word of God does not invite us to believe lies. If we are invited, more, commanded, to believe that we are already raised from the dead, then the first resurrection cannot be in the future. Or, to put it another way, if the first resurrection is yet future, then to believe that we are already raised is to believe a lie. To the degree that we put the first resurrection in the future, we rob the gospel of the power to change our lives in the present.

Just a personal note: It is not as though I am no longer defeated, it is that I am no longer defeated the way I used to be or in the same areas that I used to operate in chronic defeat. It is suffering,2CO 7:10, 2TI 3:12 that has made the difference.1PE 1:3-12, 4:12-19 Whereas I used to think that if I messed up now, I could make up for it during a future millennium, now I see that God has called me to reign now. This new perspective has brought a new strength to my daily walk. I am not as easy a target for the tempter as I used to be, when my thoughts were in the future.

Jesus is alive now, and so am I. Alleluia!1CO 8:6, 1JO 5:13

Jay


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #14




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