New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Oct 8, 2001 Vol 01 : 072


NT Church Proliferation Digest Monday, October 8 2001 Vol 01 : 072


RE: [ntcp] Bible-storying evangelism
[ntcp] resurrections becoming frequent on the internet


Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 11:39:08 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: RE: [ntcp] Bible-storying evangelism

Link Hudson wrote:
> Here are some objections to the method that we

> can discuss.

> 1. It takes months to get to the part about Jesus.

> What if someone dies in the meantime- someone who

> could have heard the Gospel.

We have at least one scriptural example analogous to the above
scenario:

"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they
were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they
had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did
not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a
vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and
pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Now
after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia,
concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them"
(Act. 16:6-10).

You might ask: what is the connection? Well, think with me. Asia
(essentially modern day Turkey) was about 1000 mi/1600 km across and 500
mi/800 km north to south. Bithynia was not a city but an entire Roman
administrative district in N. Asia Minor, nearly 400 mi/520 km from west
to east and 100 mi/80 km north to south. It is certain that people died
in Bithynia and throughout Asia during the two or so years Paul and
Silas spent on the 2nd missionary journey, but the heralds of the good
news were in Europe. And most of those Asians who died never heard the
gospel. Yet Paul and Silas (and Luke) were specifically directed by the
Holy Spirit to go to Macedonia and other places in Europe. People in
Asia and elsewhere perished and went to Hell during that time, but the
early evangelists took their lead from God, not from feelings of
responsibility for events beyond their control. If "storying" is indeed
a method following our merciful God's lead, then it will result in less
lost people than a scatter-shot approach. We have to trust in His
sovereignty in the process of evangelism without, of course, allowing
such confidence to lull us into complacency.

> 2. Does this pattern conform to apostolic example:

> A. The apostles Paul and Barnabas: didn't take 6

> months to mention the Gospel when they shared with

> pagans. On Mars Hill, Paul told about Jesus in His

> introductory speech in front of unbelieving

> philosophers. A few followed him and heard more

> teaching.

This is a good and pertinent question. However, we must remember
that "Moses ... had throughout many generations those who preach[ed] him
in every city [of the Roman empire], being read in the synagogues every
Sabbath" (Act 15:21). Athens (only about 1650 meters across at its
widest point) had a synagogue (Act. 17:16, 17) and Jews back then were
zealous to make converts (Mat. 23:15). Their message was as least as
well-known throughout the greater part of the Roman world as is the
"gospel" of the Jehovah's Witnesses to most of us today. In other
words, pre-evangelism by Jews was a factor in Paul's preaching to the
Areopagus. In addition, the Cretan prophet/poet Epimenides of Cnossos
(6th cent. B.C.) had visited Athens and erected altars to the "unknown
god" of which one was still standing during Paul's visit. This deity
had averted a famine which threatened to destroy the inhabitants of
Athens and so his monument(s) in the Greek agora kept his memory alive
in the minds of Athenians. This altar was the Apostle's starting point
in his speech (Act. 17:23).

It is significant to note, on the other hand, that Paul never
specifically used Scripture during his entire gospel presentation to the
Areopagus. Rather he utilized quotes from Epimenides (see above),
then-- it's not exactly clear-- quotes from either Aratus or Cleanthes
which paralleled biblical truths. Paul's was an apologetic approach to
evangelism before his Epicurean and Stoic audience, and his "dynamic
equivalence" between Zeus and YHWH would make many Evangelicals shudder.
But he did it.

I guess my point here is to emphasize that Paul's
philosopher-listeners were not neophytes when it came to the basics of
OT belief. Jews had been in their city for centuries and "the Athenians
... spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some
new thing" (Act 17:21). The Apostle was hardly in the city before they
had him present his message before their august body. The Jews had a
jump on him by a couple hundred years. Hence the objection to
"storying" the whole message, from Genesis to Jesus, which employs Acts
17 as an counter-example is effectively neutralized by gaining this
perspective.

> B. Paul and Barnabas preached about the Gospel to

> pagans and did miracles. It seems they got into the

> presentation of Jesus quickly and did miracles to

> verify their message. I am thinking of the miracle

> among the Lyaconians, who tried to worship them as

> Jupiter and Mercury.

Although the people of the city of Lystra spoke the Gallic
language of the Lycaonian tribe (Act 14:11), they were still
sufficiently Hellenized to worship the Greek gods (Act 14:12). They
also responded to the promptings of the Jews from the neighboring cities
of Pisidian Antioch and Iconium (Act 14:19) to turn on God's messengers.
Violently. Which makes me wonder if these Lystrans hadn't had dealings
with Jewish people before in order for them to believe that Paul and
Barnabas, who had just performed a notable miracle before them (Act.
14:8-10), were somehow not conforming to "orthodox" Jewish teachings.
It at least is one explanation for the fickleness of the Lystrans, a
people who had earlier been ready to worship the Apostles as gods (Act.
14: 11-13). In any case, the above arguments about Acts 17 also apply.
The Jews were influential in at least two nearby cities. And the
chances are great that the Lystrans were not at all ignorant of the
basics of the biblical revelation.

Going into an isolated animistic tribal culture, or even among
those with a syncretistic "cargo cult" is not exactly the same as going
into such areas, recorded in Acts, where Jews had lived in Diaspora
(dispersion) for centuries. It is necessary, I think, to take these
target people, who have no clear concept of the simplest OT doctrines,
through God's story a step at a time, laying a proper foundation of
monotheism, moral sin, blood sacrifice/substitutionary atonement,
holiness, judgment, etc. before the good news will make proper sense. I
stand behind the "storying" movement wholeheartedly.

Michael

Jerusalem


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


Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 14:45:26 -0400
From: David Anderson
Subject: [ntcp] resurrections becoming frequent on the internet

Howdy,

Ever wonder why ufo's consistently land in places such as remote Kansas
chicken farms? Why don't those green guys ever set one down in Times
Square or on the Washington Mall? :D

I, of course, believe in miracles, but I seem to see a pattern where
verification is lacking, at least by the standards of modern news
delivery. Oh, I realize the modern news delivery channels are not always
on our side, but....

In Paul's discourse with Agrippa, he spoke of miraculous things that
"were not done in a corner." Specifically: Acts 26:26 For the king
knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am
persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing
was not done in a corner.

Jesus occasionally forbad that reports of the miraculous be circulated.
(Not always heeded, right?) Nevertheless, I still cannot understand why
none of the news services report these things of which I now hear of each
week.

Who among us has witnessed such an event? Again, I do believe that they
occur so let's don't debate that.

David Anderson

---------------------------------

TOGO: Dead child revived through prayer

"I was at Tom's house last Friday. Their electricity had been cut off
because they were unable to pay the bills, and a prayer meeting was
planned at their house that evening," reports Cosmos Touleassi from Togo,
western Africa. "After we had praised God for a while, a couple arrived
whose 2-year-old son had just died. They were crying and weeping in
desperation. The dead boy's mother heard us singing, and told her
husband, 'We have no money for the hospital's morgue, so let's go in and
see whether God will do something.' A Christian took the dead child in
her arms, and Tom said 'If these people bring the dead child to us, it
means that they believe that God will do something.' So we prayed for
about 20 minutes, until Tom started to cry and finally said 'The child is
alive!' The confusion was indescribable, as everyone excitedly thanked
God for reviving the child. The parents decided to follow Jesus." Swiss
Vineyard's Markus Moser adds: "Cosmos was a refugee in Switzerland a
number of years ago, and became a missionary, returning to Togo six years
ago to plant new churches with the Vineyard. There are now over 30 house
churches in Lome and central Togo." Source: Markus Moser and Cosmos
Touleassi, e-mail mark.moser@vineyard-bern.ch and cosmospeace@hotmail.com

This account is from the latest FridayFax, a house-church advocating
weekly e-letter.


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #72
 


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