New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Oct 16, 2001 Vol 01 : 077
 
NT Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, October 16 2001 Vol 01 : 077


Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
[ntcp] bold evangelizing
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
Re: [ntcp] RESURRECTION
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'


Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 06:55:59 -0700
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

Link wrote:

>I don't to detract from the resurrection thread, but I'd like to suggest an additional topic.
>
>I notice here that some of the 'cousins' are very faithful to pray the number of times a day they are supposed to. In the office, at certain times, the 'cousins' rotate and say their prayers. They spread their rugs, bow to the west, and pray silently over and over. Before doing this, they go wash their hands and feet in the bathroom, which is specially equipped with a place to wash one's feet.
>
>I wish prayer were such a normal regular part of American culture.
>
>I have a question about former 'cousins' that become believers. What do you think about the idea of teaching new believers to set aside certain times to regularly pray during the day?


Dear Link,

Where law is concerned, due to the weakness of the flesh, law is like
anthrax, just one spore up our nose, and we are dead meat. Oh yes, and
once infected, we tend to take others down with us. As for me, I would
rather be found in Christ, anti-religion then be found in religion,
anti-christ.

It's lovers that God is after, not those who are successful at religion.
Look at what Paul was doing when he was successful at it. What's needed,
is more forgiven failures. The greater the failure, the greater the
love, Luke 7.

Bless you today!!

Jay


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Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 21:51:02 +0700
From: "Link"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

Well, I tend to see the other end of things.

I don't think 'religion' is bad. The Bible speaks of 'pure religion and
undefiled.' In fact, I think the teaching about not being 'religious' can
actually be negative, since it discourages us from being diligent.

Just imagine people who don't read their Bible for a week because they think
setting aside the same time every day is 'religious.' Imagine if the have the
same attitude toward prayer. Then, these people get together on Sunday in a
house church meeting. Since they don't want to be religious they never plan a
passage beforehand. Instead of focusing on mutual edification in their
meetings, they focus on not being religious, so they objective is not to be
organized and not to plan anything. So they sit around and kind of act like
people socializing in a Christian coffee house.

Some parents don't want to make their children bitter, so they don't teach them
to pray. They don't want their children to hate the Bible, so they never make
them read it.

You compared law to anthrax. But actually, in both the OT and NT the law is a
good thing. Paul said that the Law is holy, just, and good. A schoolmaster
that led people to Christ is a great thing. Paul was even still under God's law
to Christ, even though he wasn't 'under the law.' The problem is legalism-
people trying to be justified by keeping the law, by some form of their own
righteousness.

I don't believe grace and discipline are opposed to one another. Paul said to
run in such a way as to win the prize. (I find myself preaching to myself. You
can listen in, too.)

I wouldn't want to put praying 3 or 5 times a day at certain times as a type of
legalistic burden on the shoulders of new Christians. But I don't see a problem
practicing such a thing oneself, and encouraging someone to join in.

I've known some people to fast regularly. My wife, at least for periods of
time, will fast till sunset Monday, and thank God for the food the previous week
and other things like that. I noticed when I dated her how regularly she prays
about things. Christians often practice the 'discipline' of praying before they
eat. My wife prays before she leaves the house or takes off in the car. She
prays when she gets home. I've adapted some of her customs. I pray for us
before I kiss her goodbye and go to work.

My wife and I are starting to think of having children. I'm thinking about the
idea of starting family devotions. This is a good 'discipline.'

There is no sin in having good disciplines or good habits, and a lot of positive
things that can be said about these things. I think, in an effort to not be
'legalistic' some American Christians could easily fall into the trap of being
undisciplined or lazy. (And I know this from very personal experience as an
American with experience in being undisciplined.)

Link

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Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 22:09:17 +0700
From: "Link"
Subject: [ntcp] bold evangelizing

I met someone interesting at the international church I go to last Sunday. My
wife introduced me to the man and he immediately started talking to me very
enthusiastically.

The man is probably in his 50's. He's half Greek and half Italian. He is from
Egypt, Cairo if I'm not mistaken. I mentioned the Coptic Orthodox church, and
he said he was Coptic, but recognized all Christians. (Our church isn't
Coptic.)

Anyway, he started telling me some things about witnessing to Cousins. I asked
him if the word 'Allah' were used by pre-'cousin' Christians, as I had heard,
and he said it was.

He went on talking about doing ev. work with cousins. He had some good points.
He was very enthusiastic. He said the cousins were always out talking with
their loudspeakers here while believers whispered in their church buildings. I
remember thinking this man might be an evangelist. Then he said he wanted to
challenge me. He would go up to where there were a crowd of Cousins and start
talking to them and tell them about the Lord, and 10 or so people would gather
around him. He challenged me to go watch.

Now, right up the street, there were group of anti-US protestors. I thought he
was referring to that group, wanting to go preach to them at that moment. Part
of me wanted to take him up on it. The other part of me was saying I had lunch
plans and people in a car waiting for me, and also it could be dangerous for a
white man to be seen in the midst of a crowd of anti-US protesters here right
now.

Anyway, he meant we could do it some other time. He had lunch plans, too. I
certainly appreciate this fellow's fire. Maybe some of it can rub off on me.

I thought as we both went to our own different appointments that I thought it
would be worthwhile to go into a crowd and get persecuted for being with someone
who was preaching the Gospel. But I don't want to go get beat up in a crowd for
being an American. This other guy was white, but he could speak Arabic and say
he was from Egypt, so he could at least calm them down at first. If he did
preach to them.

Anyway, I think this fellow is right. We do need to be more bold in this
country. We have the message of truth.

I have a prayer request. I missed work last week for the most part because they
sent me home to wait for the situation to calm down here. I think the last day
I was at work, two of my co-workers were talking about blatant corruption in the
judicial system. They said they thought 'cousin' law was the best. So I asked
them if they believed in chopping off the hand of a thief. They said they did.
I told them about the penalties for theft in the OT- paying back 4 times
(generally) with a maximum penalty of being sold into slavery for 7 years (if
the thief was a Jew.)

I suggested 40 stripes might be better than putting someone in jail with a bunch
of criminals to 'rehabilitate' him.

Well, just as we were about to part our ways, I asked one of them if he had ever
stolen anything. He said, 'yes' some batteries when he was a kid. He still
remembers that. About 5 or 10 seconds later, we had gone our separate ways, and
I thought of a good way to use this to share the Gospel.

Please pray for me about this. Maybe one day I'll bring a pocket knife, and go
out for lunch with this guy who stole the batteries when he was a kid. I can
remind him about the batteries, and then ask him to put his hand on the table
and get out my pocket knife and pretend I want to cut his hand off (warm him up
with a little humor.) Then tell him about a saying of the 'cousin leader'- a
woman was brought to him for stealing. She asked for mercy. He said she would
be as innocent as when she was born after her hand was cut off.

So I could ask my friend how he hopes to enter paradise if he still has that
hand, and then tell him what Christians believe about forgiveness. Please pray
for me about this. I have some accountability now that I've shared what I'm
planning on doing. :)

I hear an unusual sound. Not the normal minor key screeching- but rather some
brass instruments practicing gospel hymns. I don't think they have old fashioned
Salvation Army bands around here. I wonder where that is coming from?
Link
jakarta


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Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 20:15:28 +0200
From: castillofuerte@airtel.net
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

I am often accused of being too grace based, I am definitely against
legalism in all it's forms. But western Christianity is just plain lazy
and undisciplined. We often are happy with "Couch potatoe Christianity"
instead disciplining ourselves. legalism is impossing external laws to
achive acceptance, self discipline is imposing internal rules to please
the one I love. This one works with wives too!

Keith


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Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 15:17:04 -0400
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

- ----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 2:15 PM
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'
I am often accused of being too grace based, I am definitely against
legalism in all it's forms. But western Christianity is just plain lazy
and undisciplined. We often are happy with "Couch potatoe Christianity"
instead disciplining ourselves.

Snip ...
I think the key here again, is the Holy Spirit.

Discipline on its own is simply a work of the flesh. I am not calling it
evil, but it will not last - wood hay and stubble the scripture calls it.

Discipline that is in submission to the Spirit is lasting and is the conduit
for the fruit of the Spirit to become evident in our lives.

Link, what part do you think the Holy Spirit plays in the daily actions of
the believer? Specifically, I see you trying to address a very real problem
in the area of prayer. How do you think the Holy Spirit plays a part in
this?

(BTW - I am asking out of curiosity and not to put you on the defensive,
brother.)

Mike


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Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 01:06:41 -0700
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

Dear Link,

In the following, I don't know how long I will stay with the format of
your response, because I don't think that responding to specific
portions of religion or law is very productive, especially after all of
them were nailed to the cross of Jesus. Citing a couple of Scriptures, I
would like to address the subject in summary:

"But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing
this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless
and disobedient, for the ungodly and
for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and
murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that
defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured
persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound
doctrine;" I TIMOTHY 1:8-10

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the
letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth
life." II CORINTHIANS 3:6

Link wrote:

>Well, I tend to see the other end of things.
>
>I don't think 'religion' is bad. The Bible speaks of 'pure religion and undefiled.' In fact, I think the teaching about not being 'religious' can actually be negative, since it discourages us from being diligent.

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit
the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world." James 1:27

In root and context the citations concerning religion seem to be
referring to outer manifestation or expression. This is to say that pure
outer expression has to do with love expressed in action, untainted by
the attutudes engendered by this world. In this connection, the problem,
I think, is the ritual expressions of love born out of a desire to be
somebody, doing things in order to be sombody, rather than being
sombody, doing things.

Please let me explain or, at least, have a try at it.

How much law, does it take, before the weakness of the flesh is shown to
be what it is? And, anyway, what is law?

Law is an alien influence; it is an external influence, pressing us to
do or not do something. Where religion is concerned, this is where the
money is.

Christ, on the other hand is an internal influence empowering us to both
be and do things which are in no way grievious to us, because they are
born out of a new nature. They are things done by nature. In this case,
a supernature. When we do things by nature, we are free. When we do
things by our new nature, Christ's nature in us, we are an expression of
the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The whole creation is groaning,
and we ourselves groan, to see this expression in the earth.

For this to happen, the old man, the old nature has to die. This is the
function of the law. It kills the old man. This is why it is like
anthrax. The slightest jot or tiddle is enough to kill the old man. The
New man has no need of it; as Paul said to Timothy, "...the law is not
made for a righteous man,.."

God is not looking for children who need external constraints in order
to live in His house. He is looking for those who are partakers of a new
nature, His nature. You can take a donkey to the race track, but you
will never make a race horse out of him. A race horse is a whole nother
breed, and that's what we are in Christ. The letter is a donkey killer,
but the Spirit empowers us to run the race marked out for us. It is this
new life made ours by the life giving Spirit of the last Adam that is
the New Testament. It is not a letter; it is not an external regulation;
it is a new internal reality, which is only found in Christ. The letter
or law is designed to kill everything that is outside of Him so that we
may belong to Him. Flirting with any other possibility is adultery.

By all means, read the law, even preach it, but don't give anyone the
mistaken impression that by keeping it, they are pleasing God. As
pertaining to law, only to possibilities exist for human beings: seem to
succeed in keeping it and be prideful, or fail to keep it, and be
guilty. The pride part has turned off the world, and the guilt part has
generated the funds for the support of religion. Neither attitude is
nice to live with, and either can easily become a killer. What
Christians who have been preoccupied with law have done to each other,
and those "outside the faith" for that matter, is the spiritual
equivalent of September 11th. To deal with the one, and not to deal with
the other is to miss the point of this latest tragedy.

To know the love of Christ is to know a love that does not break
fellowship, even when it is hurt. It is the wounds that we receive in
the house of our friends that perfect us. What will it take for us to be
friends, and when will we learn to stand still for one another, to the
glory of God?

If the Quran is any indication: 2.253 "Of those messengers, some of whom
We have caused to excel others, and of whom there are some unto whom
Allah spoke, while some of them He exalted (above others) in degree; and
We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty) and We
supported him with the holy Spirit. And if Allah had so willed it, those
who followed after them would not have fought one with another after the
clear proofs had come unto them. But they differed, some of them
believing and some disbelieving. And if Allah had so willed it, they
would not have fought one with another; but Allah does what He will.",
it was our inability to get along that inspired our "first cousin's"
offendedness in the first place. Apparently what we need is the Love of
Christ, not disconnected religious experts, planting and leading
disconnected religious groups.

I truly believe that this is a matter of first importance where the
Church, and those who take her seriously are concerned. What is it going
to take to make lovers out of us? Only Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,
and us crucified with Him. What does that look like in practice in
relationship to one another and the lost?

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 01:50:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Cattsmeeow (Andrea Hartley)
Subject: Re: [ntcp] RESURRECTION

Dear Jane,

What a wonderful testemony! Are you still with YWAM? I used to go to
the YWAM school in Hammonton N.J. in the 70"s. Do you know Leland
Paris? I guess you have heard Loren Cunningham and Joy Dawson speak
too. I recently got Joy Dawson's book on healing and really liked it.
Please pray for healing for my son who is 10 with a mass in his neck,
also for me I have multiple chemical sensitivites and heart palpitations
which seem to be due to extremem indegestion. Thansk so much
God Bless you
Andrea

Heb.Word Yeshuwah (Jesus) means Health,Deliverance,And Salvation.


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Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 09:57:14 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'

Michael Gastin wrote:

> If you look at our cousins and realize why they have set

> times of prayer it is because they have not indwelling.

> Thus, they *need* those set times and rules to ensure they

> are continually in God's favor. We, on the other hand,

> are in his favor no matter what, so form there it is simply

> (I say simply, but it is life's biggest challenge) a matter

> of knowing the voice of the master and being obedient to

> that voice.

I'm afraid this common claim against set times of prayer does not
find support in the example of the early Church. Directly _after_
Pentecost, a unified, Spirit-filled, and "indwel[t]" Church was
continuing "steadfast in ... _THE_ PRAYERS" (Act. 2:42-- Gk. TAIS
PROSEUKHAIS-- with the definite article and in the plural) which refers
to particular prayers, not the general practice of "prayer" as it is so
often mistranslated. In which particular prayers were the "indwel[t]"
post-Pentecost disciples so "steadfast"? The answer lies in the
beginning of th next chapter ...

"Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of
prayer, the ninth hour" (Act. 3:1).

..., one of the three set times of prayer for the Jewish people. Now,
this didn't preclude continuous prayer (1 Thes. 5:17), or special
seasons devoted to specific prayer (Act. 4:23), but the set times gave
some "skeleton" to the early Church's devotional life. A similar
discipline can do the same for us, firming up what can become a
"mollusk-like" lack of consistency if we avoid schedules out of fear of
"the Law". Neither, I might add, can a Scriptural case be made against
using the same words in prayer ...

"So He left them, went away again, and prayed _the third time_, saying
the _same words_" (Mat. 26:44, emphasis mine).

"Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the _same words_" (Mar.
14:39).

... although we should, of course, also allow for more spontaneous kinds
of prayer. Praying the Psalms or non-canonical prayers written by
saints of old can be immensely personal. And effective. In any case,
using the same words in a prayer should NOT automatically generate an
accusation of "vain repetitions" (Mat. 6:7). We have the Lord's own
example on it.

Jay Ferris wrote:

> Where law is concerned, due to the weakness of

> the flesh, law is like anthrax, just one spore

> up our nose, and we are dead meat .... Look at

> what Paul was doing when he was successful at it.

The trouble with this statement is that Paul, and the early Jewish
Christians, continued to observe the Law as a way of life. Without
failing to love.

"And they [James and all the Jerusalem elders] said to him [Paul], 'You
see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and
they are ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW; but they have been informed about you
that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses,
saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk
according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet,
for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We
have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them,
and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all
may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you
are nothing, but that you yourself ALSO WALK ORDERLY AND KEEP THE
LAW'.... Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified
with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of
purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of
them" (Act. 21:20-26, emphasis mine).

The Law helped them to "walk orderly". I don't advocate gentiles
keeping the Law, so let's not get into that debate. What I am seeking
to counter is an apparent denigration of God's Law (though Jay, I did
note that you wisely added the correct qualifier: "due to the weakness
of the flesh") and the fear that applying some structure to one's life
will jeopardize one's salvation or spiritual vitality ("anthrax"). On
the contrary, self control is one of those fruit of the Spirit against
which there is no law (Gal. 5:23). Set prayer times aided by the Spirit
of self-control will help people grow in grace.

Link wrote:

> There is no sin in having good disciplines or good

> habits, and a lot of positive things that can be said

> about these things. I think, in an effort to not be

> 'legalistic' some American Christians could easily

> fall into the trap of being undisciplined or lazy.

> (And I know this from very personal experience as an

> American with experience in being undisciplined.)

I tend to agree with Link here. His position is more realistic,
less reactionary, and what's most important, more scriptural than some
of the others I've just read. We can practice set times of prayer with
complete freedom of conscience and teach 'cousins' and others to do so
as well.

Michael

Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 22:33:43 +0700
From: "Link"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins.'

Jay wrote,

>>Law is an alien influence; it is an external influence, pressing us to
do or not do something. Where religion is concerned, this is where the
money is.
<<

I don't see _voluntary_ set prayer times as 'law,' but rather as a discipline.
also don't see in scripture where 'law' is any 'external influence.' It seems
to me that there has to be a commandment before something can be considered
'law.'

I can agree with you that our Christian experience must have an internal
element. The new covenant involves God writing the law in our hearts. NT
circumcision is of the heart. Christ told the apostles that the Spirit was with
them and would be in them. But there are things that are good and spiritually
healthy for me that are _external_ to me. The Bible says for us to goad one
another on. A brother exhorting me is something external to me. Yet that
brother does not become 'the law' because he is outside of me. Not all external
influences are 'law.'

Someone once said that most heresies resulted from taking a truth to it's so
called logical conclusion. If we take the principle of Christianity being
internal too far, we end up with false teaching- Jesus and me Christianity.
Some people think like that- no need for church life, for fellowship, for anyone
else to tell me what to do.

I see that Michael M. has posted a thought provoking message talking about 'the
prayers' that believers were faithful in, and set hours of prayer of the early
church.

To Mike Gastin-

What role does the Spirit have in prayer? A big one. The Spirit empowers us
when we pray. I know there have been times when I've prayed about things I
didn't know about, sensing that the Spirit wanted me to pray about certain
things. I found out this was going on when I prayed with some people and prayed
for things about their situation I didn't know about. The Holy Spirit can
interact with us like that when we pray. The Holy Spirit is also involved when
we pray in tongues. I believe it is also possible to pray memorized prayers,
like prayers of scripture, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Just in my own personal life, it seems like at the times when I've been really
disciplined about prayer, or have done it regularly, are the periods in my life
where it is easy for prayer to flow 'spontaneously.' The times when I am not
disciplined about prayer, it has been difficult to really get into the flow of
prayer.

Link


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #77

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