New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Oct 17, 2001 Vol 01 : 078

 
NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, October 17 2001 Vol 01 : 078


Re: [ntcp] RESURRECTION
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'
Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'


Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:26:56 -0400
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] RESURRECTION

Andrea and Dawn,

I am a former YWAM'er and I ALSO went to the Hammonton, NJ base but in the
80's. I did both the DTS and SOE there. In fact, I still have good friends
from there in YWAM and I took my family to visit them in El Paso, where they
work across the border in Mexico. John & Elaine Allegretto and their
children. Wow! Small world.

Mike


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Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:54:12 -0400
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'

Hi Mike M,

Without starting an argument - or is it too late? .... I do not think
you are addressing my direct comments in context.

1. I am not against discipline, as I mentioned in a post I think
discipline coupled with the Holy Spirit is a key to a successful walk.

2. I do not think that to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit is to be
completely spontaneous or unstructured. I think from what you write that
it may be your observation, but it is not the case. The
Pentecostal/charismatic stuff has given the HS a bad rap and it is too
bad, 'cause a lot of people are missing out on power. Look at the world
we live in - look at the amazingly intricate structures God designed
into living organisms. He is all about order, so I would think that what
is true in the natural will apply in the spiritual.

3. As to the early church - you know - when we go there, we might as
well all become Jewish, worship on the Sabbath in Synagogue and then
meet from house to house during the week at the feet of ordained
apostles. When you take that to its logical conclusion, that is what you
are left with. I do not think we are to replicate the people of the
first 100 years of our faith in order to "get it right". Is anyone ready
to go that route? Drop your whole gentile identity and go the Jewish
Christian route? Because for the most part, that is all we had for the
first 100 years ...

I am talking about the work of God - not trying to replicate anything. I
want what He is doing now, today ... and I will live within the
principles revealed in His scripture.

I am not trying to set-up some hard fast rule on how to pray here. I am
merely saying - and I think I am correct - that those who are not filled
with the Holy Spirit and have not the gift of grace, have no other
alternative but to try to *earn* their good standing with God. I do not
think our "cousins" live under Grace. I therefore would have to argue
that they are not filled with the HS. I would also argue that their
efforts at prayer, although admirable on a human level and even moral,
are not acceptable to God.

I am all for a believer enjoying a regular prayer time, if that is what
they need to make sure they spend time with the Lover of their soul.

Link asked if it was good to encourage the newborn "cousin" to continue
in his daily prayer habits. I say that you are *maybe* hurting him as
you are not setting him free of the old life/man. Look, we have a ton of
*disciplined* Christians here in the US that go to church more than
twice a week for years on end. I would not say that their commitment to
attendance is making any huge impact on our society. But, they are
disciplined.

God asks us to obey - not sacrifice. Is regular prayer a lack of
obedience? Not in my opinion - but I am a lightweight compared to all
you bible scholars here. I think a spirit filled person who loves his
Lord and wants to pray at noon to his God every day is awesome! I also
think, to take a cousin and to keep him doing the same thing as he did
under the old gig is maybe counter productive. You may have a devout
man, but you may also have a man in bondage. Like I said, I am not
qualified like you guys are to make definitive statements on all this. I
just offer my opinions and my experiences.

I have a question or two: Is *anyone* on this list actually planting any
HC's out there? How many on this list that post are even in an HC
setting? It might be nice to talk about some actual experiences,
challenges or obstacles that exist than to wrangle over all this theory.

Mike


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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 01:21:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: Link H
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'

- --- Michael Gastin wrote:

> Without starting an argument - or is it too late?
> .... I do not think you are addressing my direct
> comments in context.

Mike,

I think we are having a misunderstanding here. Most of my previous message was
addressed to Jay. Only the last part was in response to you about prayer. I
didn't mean to imply that you were against discipline. The comments you read
about that were probably directed toward Jay.

I can understand your concerns about cousins. Cousins are very much into
saying their prayers and keeping their fasts- at least they consider it
important. During the long day-hour fasts, there are plenty of people
'cheating,' who would go off with those non-cousins who eat during lunch time.

I'm not planting chch'es here. I do know some people in other cities involved
with Church Planting of HC's among cousin UPG's. (love those abbreviations.)

I know there are some other people- NAV people even! who are in favor of trying
to apply a Messianic Judaism model to 'cousins.' That is, the people continue
to follow their cousin customs, including meeting in the cousin worship house,
wearing cousin clothes, calling themselves 'cousins' but yet study the Bible in
their meetings and believe in Jesus.

Others are opposed to this kind of synchretism. People on both sides of the
issue will start of showing an interested person things about Jesus from the Al
Koran. I suspect some of the C5 people into the more synchretic model
(Chrislam, I'll call it, or is 'Chrisis' better?) think that the cousins can
keep on using their own book along with the Bible. They go to the cousin house
to pray, pretending to be 'cousin,' though they believe in Christ, and saying
they are 'cousins' according to the literal meaning of the word when asked.

Anyway, a friend doing HC work has received some people who moved his city to
learn from him after working with the Chrislam people. They were confused.
Neither of them had been baptized. The wife didn't know what he religions was,
and she didn't know what she believed. A few months later, both had been
baptized and knew that they were believers.

Anyway, the Chrislam people do have some valid points. Cousin bowing in worship
is similar to what Jews and Christians were doing in their meetings at that
time. E. Orthodox still bow down like that to 'worship.' (Proskuneo- to
'worship' or 'prostrate.') various other cousin practices have Christian or
Jewish roots.

I'm wondering about people bringing the Gospel to new groups of cousins. Would
it be wise for them to introduce a church to regular prayer habits? I wouldn't
want former cousins to follow the cousin rituals and pretend to be cousin.

Now think that you are a 'cousin' who has left your old religion, gotten
baptized, and are adjusting to the Christian way of life. Suppose the people
working with you are really laid back, anti-religion, HC people who aren't
really into regular 'disciplines.' These are the ultimate 'seeker-sensitive'
laid back HC people.

I talked to one HC guy briefly here in Jakarta on the phone (briefly, he seemed
in a hurry to get off the phone after I finally got ahold of him. But those
cell phone cards do run out quick.) He said there were some HC communities
that met. They didn't have to meet on Sunday or according to any regular
schedule. I'm not legalistic about meeting on the first day of the week, but
his comment seemed awfully laid back. He wasn't working with cousins in
particular as far as I know.

Anyway, think of this cousin coming from a background where he was taught to
pray quite literally 'religiously' 5 times a day, and did so all his life. He's
been taught to fast for a month, and might even fast twice a week.

When he repents, of course, he has to realize that his works won't save him,
and that they didn't score him any brownie points with God. He will probably
experience the relief of his sin being forgiven and paid for by the cross.

But what about the new way of life he adopts as a Christian? His fellow
believers rarely fast. In 'cousin' religion he had people ask him to go pray
with them. Now, no one asks him to pray. Maybe, if the Spirit is really
moving in his church community, they will spontaneously praying all the time.
But what if he isnt' in this type of situation?

Think about the former cousin coming into a laid back church, seeing people who
aren't too serious about being 'disciplined' in studying the Bible. He used to
recite his former religion's book deligently, though he didn'tunderstand the
meeting, and so did others. People seem laid back about praying. He used to
pray 5 times a day. His new brethren, who have eternal life, are a lot less
disciplined that those of other religions who don't have eternal life. Don't
those who have received God's grace have more reason to be disciplined? (Maybe
I'm starting to preach to myself again.)

I noticed around the office during fasting month how people fast and how some
feel guilty when they don't. I've shared some aspects of the Gospel with one
girl who just said she couldn't fast.

One day I fasted, the day before the WTC. I feel uncofmortable fasting around
here, because if I don't eat lunch, people ask me why, and ask me if I'm
fasting. If I say,'yes' they want to know why, and because of the sermon on
the mount, I like to keep these things secret. Getting food is more of a group
activity around here. I noticed, one Mslims here seemed real impressed that I
was fasting. I wonder if Mslims think that Christians are less disciplined
than they are. We shoudlnt'fast and pray to get glory from men, or to prove
how great our faith is. But it did make me think about this.

When the early believers were saved by faith in Christ, the early Jews still
kept the law, of course. Not only that, but they held to certain disciplines,
praying according to certain schedules. (See mights posts.) The Didache
mentions praying three times a day. it also recommednds fasting twice a day,
but on different days from the hypocrites fasts days (Pharisees' I suppose.)

If regular prayer is already a part of a former cousins culture and way of
doing things, would it be wrong to introduce some early church practice of
regular prayer to him? Would it be wrong to introduce it to a former cousin?
I don't see that as a problem, especially if there is no compromising of the
faith, and no one sees following these practices as a matter of earning
salvation.

Another practice that I think are okay to hang on to are women wearing head
coverings. I know someone who went to the north of the Black Sea where people
were cousins. Decent women generally covered their heads, and she followed the
custom. Iheard a story from a m'nary here about a cousin who repented. He was
used to women not being in meetings, and wasn't used to sitting next to strange
women. Anyway, he went to a chch meeting for the first time after he prayed to
receive Christ. He sat down in the back and a woman sat next to him- wearing a
short skirt. She sat down and her skirt went up to an uncomfortable length for
him, so if I remember the story correctly, he walked out. Women in his former
faith wore dresses down to their ankles.

One of the m'naries groups here that works with a cousin UPG has to bascially
help them reinvent their cultural system. They have 5 stages of life in their
culture, all mixed up with the cousin religion. There are certain rituals that
they do when they marry, etc. Believe it or not, we Americans even have
rituals- women getting married in church buildings with white dresses, how we
conduct funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, holidays, etc.

The HC m'nary showed a powerpoint presentation with pics in our church and
showed someone getting water poured over him. He started talking about
baptism. Since our church immerses, I found that interesting. It turns out the
pouring wasn't baptism. It was just a custom for the Christians in their
culture. They generally washed before doing certain culturally important
things. This man was being washed by pouring before his water baptism by
immersion.

I guess i can see why someone would want to be careful not to try to just
Christianize a former cousins religion, by converting his pre-Christian
practices into Christian ones, especially if the new believer used ot try to
earn salvation through following a prayer schedule. But if a new believer
understands grace, I don't see a problem with giving him some optional
disciplines to follow, including prayer.

I see here that prayer is a normal thing. Someone just called my office today
and asked for the manager. The person who answered the phone said that she was
saying her prayers. It's just so normal to pray. Now, prayer means silently
thinking through some words in a foreign language that one doesn't understand
here, and going through some ritual movements. I'm not envious one bit of
their rituals. It's no substitute for relating in a real way with the living
God through the Spirit. But it would be great if prayer were such a regular
part of western life.

Link

Anyway, I hope I haven't gone too far off topic touching on all these things.


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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 10:07:00 -0700
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'

Link H wrote:

>--- Michael Gastin wrote:
>
>>Without starting an argument - or is it too late?
>>.... I do not think you are addressing my direct
>>comments in context.
>>
>
>Mike,
>
>I think we are having a misunderstanding here. Most
>of my previous message was addressed to Jay. Only the
>last part was in response to you about prayer. I
>didn't mean to imply that you were against discipline.
> The comments you read about that were probably
>directed toward Jay.

Dear Link,

I think I said what I needed to say the best I could say it for the
present. My point is, just in case you missed it, that even if we get
rid of Bin Laden, if we don't stop making war on each other in the Name
of the Lord, we will have missed the point. Putting ourselves under law
is the the wrong sacrifice. It has to do with wrong attitude, and that
attitude, whether success or failure, like that of Cain, ends up being a
killer.

What is needed is a "New Creation", not an old creation in bondage to
the law. Life just cannot be imparted that way. In the end, everything
that is still old creation will end up making war against the saints,
and why not, as Paul said to the Galatians: "Now you, brothers, like
Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the
ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is
the same now." Galatians 4:28,29

Please let me repeat for emphasis, even if not a second witness: "It is
the same now!"

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 15:19:31 -0400
From: "Gordon G. Gentry"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipling 'Cousins'

I have to say Mike what you have shared is right on target. The Holy
Spirit is the answer to ALL of the questions. We must know His presence
and working, we can know the order according to the letter but with out
the Spirit there will be not reality in Life. There is so much waste of
time talking about areas that have no value. Only what the Spirit is
doing is lasting. I appricate all that you have shared. Knowing
Him---

Gordon Gentry


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #78


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