New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

July 6, 2001 Vol 01 : 028
[New Testament Church Proliferation] Josephine left to be with the Lord

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The Goal of Evangelism in Church Planting

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Evangelism of individuals vs. families or networks

[New Testament Church Proliferation] First-century meeting places

[New Testament Church Proliferation] From Jim Rutz

Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] From Jim Rutz


Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 21:33:06

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Josephine left to be with the Lord

Dear Bro Link

My sweet Josephine left us to heaven and we will miss her very much,

Its a great loss for me. She was my wife, friend, partner and a fellowship minister in the Lord's work.

However its a great gain for Josephine to be with the Lord in Heaven, We accept the Lord's decision.

Please pray for us as we overcome this grief and carry on in the Lord's in the Lord's purpose and plans.



------- <><><> -------

Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 21:25:42 -0400 From: "Dan Beaty"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The Goal of Evangelism in Church Planting


If all had ever read were the books you mentioned, I might be able to agree with you more fully. But that is not the case. While things might seem out of balance in some circles regarding evangelism, some of these statements have also gone too far:

<<"For those of you who are obsessed with the evangelizing of the world in our generation, please note that Paul raised up four churches in Galatia and considered the entire province of Galatia evangelized! It was the planting of an ekklesia, NOT numbers of people saved, that was the measuring stick of evangelizing. >>

Paul's missionary work may have been finished there, but it was only the beginning of God's work in that area.

<<Evangelism was never an end. Evangelism served the ekklesia. (May we one day get that very spirited horse back in his corral where he belongs.) Evangelism is a tool for church planting and church growth. It has no reason to exist in and of itself. Outside its use to plant a specific ekklesia in a specific town and to grow that specific church, evangelism should NOT exist!*>>

But what did Paul himself say?

1 Cor 9:22 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 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 1 Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Sounds like a man obsessed with evangelism to me!

2 Cor 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

He evangelized to build the church and he built up the church so that the world could be evangelized!

Acts 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, Acts 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Let us not forget the Lord Himself, who said:

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

What a passion for the lost! which passion He passed on to His disciples!

Maybe we need to get a greater vision of the eternal purpose of God. For ALL THINGS find their consummation in Him -- including the church! (Ephesians 1:10).

Psa 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. Psa 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Psa 22:28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations.

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

------- <><><> -------

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 11:45:10 -0700 From: "George Patterson"

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] Evangelism of individuals vs. families or networks

Hi Dan, For church planters the question goes far beyond the issue of reaching individuals vs their 'circle.' It requires a whole different concept of how God views men. Does He see us as isolated individuals, or as parts of a larger body, even before conversion?

Only paranoid hermits deep in psychosis live truly isolated from other human beings; everyone has a 'circle.' Jesus and the apostles saw the individual as part of their circles. Jesus deals with Zaccheus, then his circle of friends. The same with Levi. Peter dealt with Cornelius' circle. Paul dealt with Lydia, then her family, Ditto for the jailer, and Crispus the synagogue ruler. This is a pattern. In the Old Testament, Adam stood for the whole race, Abraham for the chosen faithful, Israel as a nation was punished for king David's sin of counting the people. Jesus stands in the place of the redeemed, just as in Adam all die (Rom. 5:12-21).

Few Western missionaries can truly apply Acts 16:31 and promise a converted head of a family that his folks will also be saved. People movements are built on this dynamic, however. This is why so many Western evangelists actually stifle people movements by introducing the individualistic mentality into them.

When I train church planters, I need to spend much time helping them to see that the Holy Spirit normally flows according to the faith not only of a convert but also of those who witness to him. We need to believe that the flow of God's grace will continue through the circle. Abraham's saving faith in Genesis was focused on God's blessings reaching all nations through his seed. He believed that these recipients of God's blessings would be as numerous as the stars, and that was the belief that God counted for righteousness, and upon which promise the New Testament rests. Most Western evangelism, however, sees God's grace flowing into one individual, then stopping there.

George Patterson

- -----Original Message----- From: Dan Beaty To: ntchurch planter Date: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 8:09 AM Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] The definition of Church Planting

Hello boys and girls,

Since the name of this list is New Testament Church Planting, I wonder if those of you who do church planting could describe what it is you do, and how you go about doing it?

My understanding is that the distinction is from modern evangelism methods which focus on only individuals becoming saved.

Is that correct?

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

------- <><><> -------

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 11:50:58 -0700 From: "George Patterson"

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] First-century meeting places

Dear debating friends, I am enjoying the debate on meeting in homes immensely. It is long overdue. I hope it continues until both house churches and those who meet in buildings have a hearty, non-legalistic respect for the other and appreciate their reasons. This is the healthiest thing that has happened among Evangelicals for a long time. George Patterson

------- <><><> -------

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 15:47:04 EDT From: JAMES RUTZ

Subject: [New Testament Church Proliferation] From Jim Rutz

Dear Inner Circle,

George's note this morning finally prompts me to chime in on this high-powered multilogue...

As Wolfgang Simson said in Denver in March, the idea is not to get to the house church pattern, but to get to the house church dynamic.

That basically means the floor is open to each believer and also open to the Holy Spirit. If He is allowed to direct the interplay of hearts and minds, then His glory can flow to us. That's 99% of the magic of house churches. Yes, I can understand that the friendliness of a home is heartwarming. Yes, it's nice to be able to pop up and walk to the bathroom in mid-whatever. Yes, it's nice to have a rug where kidlets can flop around. But having the Lord Jesus as master of ceremonies is the quintessence of the house church dynamic. And that can take place in a tree, in the neighborhood pub, in a hot tub, or on a mountain top. Take your pick.

That's why I called my book The Open Church instead of something about the house church.

China now has about one million full-time evangelists out planting churches and church networks. Their focus and their thoughts are on the Lord Jesus, not on the virtues of using houses to meet in. Once again, the main thing is to keep the main thing as the main thing!

Cordially in Christ,

Jim Rutz

------- <><><> -------

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 16:32:23 EDT From: Steffasong

Subject: Re: [New Testament Church Proliferation] From Jim Rutz

In a message dated 07/06/2001 3:48:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, JAMESRUTZ* writes:

But having the Lord Jesus as master of ceremonies is the quintessence of the house church dynamic. And that can take place in a tree, in the neighborhood pub, in a hot tub, or on a mountain top. Take your pick.

Hello Jim,

I love it! What a fine statement! You have managed to say in one mouthful what it seems to take countless paragraphs for me to utter. Thank you!

My husband (Earl) and I read the Open Church in the early 1990's, and found (in our experience) that it was impossible to effect positive change in the large church we were in. Although we were house group/small group leaders and our group operated almost completely like a house church, the pastor never caught the vision for nonhierarchical functioning. He was so terribly threatened, there was no way to appease him or comfort him that we were all after the same thing. After about five or six years of operation, seventeen small groups were functioning beautifully with everyone sharing, needs being met, believers learning to commune with the Lord, and real koinonia happening, .... and then the senior pastor decided he didn't have enough control and dismantled the entire aspect of body life.

I wonder if you could share a bit with us about what kind of 'buy-in' you are seeing to the open church concept in the groups with whom you share.

Thank you for coming in and participating on this forum. Perhaps you have participated in the past, but I am new on the NTchurch planter list. It means a lot to have an interchange with someone who's had as much experience with this as yourself, and I believe it will do much to keep a healthy and needful sense of co-labouring alive.

A big AMEN coming at you from the sunny coast of South Florida.

Sincerely, your sister,

Stephanie Bennett

End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #28

house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions