New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Nov 2, 2001 Vol 01 : 085
 
NT Church Proliferation Digest Friday, November 2 2001 Vol 01 : 085


[ntcp] Church Planting discussion
Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion
Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word
[ntcp] Denver House Church Conference
Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word


Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 11:32:36 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Stephanie asked:
> What does one do when there is already a work in an area,

> yet God has called that one to plant and establish?

... I assume you mean if God has called another person (perhaps
oneself) to plant a congregation in the same general locale as an
established church. Or a new, already in process Church Planting effort. Is that
correct? If so, then I have the following comments:

1) The Scripture says, "... *endeavoring* to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3-- Gk. SPOUDAZONTES, "doing your
[pl.] best"), which suggests that there are times when, despite all
efforts on our part, it will just not be possible to maintain that ideal
unity. This is further substantiated by God's commandment to "if it is
possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom.
12:18). There are instances when, realistically speaking, people will
not desire our partnership and help no matter what. This goes for
believers and unbelievers. Unfortunately.

2) On the other hand, I have seen enough attempts at reinventing the
wheel in ministry to know that not every "calling" to establish a new
work is really a calling from God. When I was ministering on campus at
the University of Georgia, I saw *so* many start-up Christian
organizations there that could have come under an already established
ministry since they were doing the exact same thing as the other
group(s). I even talked to a few of the leaders about this. But to no
avail. Everyone was "called," but the unity of the Holy Spirit and the
Spirit of submission were certainly lacking. The "newbies" ended up
sowing seeds of division and defensive competition.

It is the same here in Israel. Every week I meet another person
coming into Jerusalem from ... any place in the world, who is "called"
to come and minister here. Some try to plant churches. Most fail.
Others just float around in a nebulous ministry they call "prophecy,"
which means they feel free to walk into established congregations and
tell them all the things they are doing wrong. With no personal
accountability. Few people will take the route of submitting to an
established work and learning the ropes of ministry from experienced
people in a forbidding setting. But this, I think, is usually the best
path-- in any place in the world where a congregation has already been
planted, or is being planted, nearby.

Now there are occasions when others won't have a person because of
minute doctrinal differences (I once was expelled from a Church Planting effort
because it suddenly came to the supervisor's attention after six months
that I was not a certain denomination, though I was doing nothing to
highlight my particular convictions), but I'm of the opinion that we
should *come under* those who will have us. As in ju-jitsu, being on
the bottom often has its advantages. If no amount of coaxing will bring
about a working relationship, then perhaps it is a sign that one should
begin a new(er) work in the area.

> If we do not believe in division but uphold the oneness of the

> body, shouldn't we work shoulder to shoulder with those in

> our midst already sowing the seeds of the Gospel of the Kingdom?

> OR, .... because of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the passion

> to see His purposes revealed more and more in the Earth, does

> one simply move on to another area (town or city) where there is

> an apparent need?

These are good questions. And I don't know if there is any one
right answer, though I'm convinced we should sincerely pursue the unity
track *first* before deciding to start a new work in a city, town, or
village which already has a congregation or Church Planting work of whatever credible
denomination or non-denomination.

Michael
Jerusalem


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


Date: Thu, 01 Nov 2001 07:18:11 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Deborah wrote:

> Stephanie asked:
>
> > What does one do when there is already a work in an area,
>
> SHAMELESS DIVISIONS
>
> I have a continuing problem with our failure to obey the cardinal
> truth of the Scripture, "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God."
> With all of the certainty of my salvation, I believe that Ephesians
> 4:4-6 is an elaboration of this truth, and that God has provided the
> Church with leadership, "... apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors
> and teachers..." to work it out in this present age.
>
> If the present organization, or lack thereof, even division of the
> Body of Christ is acceptable to God and man, then there is really no
> compelling reason for the leadership of the various divisions to come
> together. Certainly, the present priorities of leadership make it very
> difficult for them to do so.
>
> If, on the other hand, the present division of the church is
> unacceptable to God and man, and especially God, and unity among the
> leaders is foundational to the healing of the broken Body of Christ,
> then unity among the leaders must be their highest priority.
>
> A broken and divided Body does not witness the truth about God. And
> it is past time that we repent of our attempts to present the world
> with a lie, in the Name of the Lord.
>
> It is apparent that there is real concern among existing leaders,
> about the further division of the Body of Christ, and especially as
> their own congregations are effected.
>
> At the very least, we would like to see an end to the fractious
> practice of coming into an area and setting up a new "church", "work",
> call it what you will, and doing so without contacting existing
> leadership in the area. As for me, I am convinced that anyone who
> thinks that his translocal associations and credentials are license to
> establish a new division in a local body, "thinks more highly of
> himself than he ought."
>
> For too long the approach to ministry has been to seek a position out
> of which to serve. At some point or other, institutional training has
> supplied the mark of authenticity where the attainment of position is
> concerned. Not only is this not Bible, it is contrary to the Bible,
> and Gentile in attitude, approach and style,*. New Testament ministry
> is service out of which comes position, not position, out of which
> comes service.
>
Why not try thinking of it as just loving people, rather than trying to
turn them into something. This approach also gets persecuted, but, at
least, it does not reproduce the persecutors.

Jay


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


Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 13:44:53 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

>Dear David,
>
>One thing that is fairly clear, even to the "misinformed" is that unless we
>begin to major in love, rather than words and ritual, we are going to continue
>to lose ground to the cousins.
>
>The problem with ritual is that we can deceive ourselves that we are doing all
>right with it, but there is no kidding around with love. When we set out to
>love, we very quickly discover how desperately we need Christ.
>
>Yours in Him,
>
>Jay

Hello dear Jay, Link, et al,

The apostles of Jesus employed the terms "religion" and "love" in perfectly
harmonious, mutually inclusive ways. Jesus certainly did NOT condemn the
practice of rituals or traditions - only the rituals, traditions, and
commandments OF MEN, particularly those without the appropriate inward
response.

Baptism, for example, is a rite practiced by most all churches. It is a rite,
ritual, or ordinance, whatever. There is N O T H I N G about it that should
diminish our love for one another or for God.

Jesus gave us the ritual of eating and drinking in his remembrance. The
apostles followed a tradition of reading & expounding the scriptures in the
synagogues. Daniel's daily habit was to pray 3 times. The Bereans searched the
scriptures each day. Again, as long as Jesus Christ is the center of these
activities - then they are but another way and a means of drawing near to Him.
Of course He can work without means when he so chooses.

All of the torturous tension between these elements - your "problem with
ritual" (above) - exists only in your mind, brother. I wonder if you approach
all of life with this 'either/or' mindset? Try a little 'both/and' now and then
when it is warranted. Your "just love" post from earlier today manifests this
same fragmentary perspective. Jay, if "just love" was it, nothing else would
have been added, written, or spoken. The New Testament would be about a dozen
pages long. Obviously it is not.

Love, indeed, is the grand summary of all duty and law but a summary does not
invalidate any of the particulars. Absolutely none of the NT particulars are
nonconducive to the LOVE of God and mankind.

Granted, every good thing gets abused and misplaced in this sinful world - -
those who will trust in rituals rather than the Saviour will only have
themselves to blame. The possibility of abuse by some should not affect the
appropriate use by the rest of us. Scripture upholds and connects all of the
above. Love, the virtue which m u s t accompany every other virtue, will do
the same. What you maintain (above) about practicing it is also true of every
other act of obedience to God - to teach us dependency upon Him and to benefit
others.

The same guy who wrote Galatians, 1 Cor 13 (the love chapter), and championed
grace plus nothing practiced rituals himself and mandated them to others. 1 Cor
14:37: If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him
acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the
Lord! 1 Cor 14, you see, is a detailed account of several early church rituals
and protocols.

Link's post was brilliant and relevant, imo. He made the assertion that
religion was not a dirty word and gave us, I believe, supporting evidence for
that assertion. There was nothing "dead horse" about it, imo.

Only in the last few decades - decades with cable TV preachers and cheap
paperback books did things like religion, ritual, doctrine, (now) evangelism,
obligation, and responsibility become the big bad booger men looming in every
dark alley this side of glory.

Let us calmly continue this thread, then get it archived asap. By God's
blessing. Truly what/Who we have in common is greater than our differences.

your brother,
David Anderson


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


Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 15:28:42 EST
From: DenverWH
Subject: [ntcp] Denver House Church Conference


I wanted to let you all know that we will be sponsoring the Denver House
Church Conference with Wolfgang Simson (Houses that Change the World) on
November 27 and 28. If you would like more information, please email me at
DenverWH

John White
House Church Coach
Denver, CO.


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


Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2001 05:25:12 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

David Anderson wrote:

>>Jesus gave us the ritual of eating and drinking in his remembrance. The
>>apostles followed a tradition of reading & expounding the scriptures in
>>the synagogues. Daniel's daily habit was to pray 3 times. The Bereans
>>searched the scriptures each day. Again, as long as Jesus Christ is the
>>center of these activities - then they are but another way and a means of
>>drawing near to Him. Of course He can work without means when he so
>>chooses.

What you have said in the paragraph above is the point of what I have
said on this subject. Jesus, not only has to be the center, but the
source of our life and activities, otherwise we are going through
religious motions which are designed to bring the first Adam to the last
Adam, and that by the death of both.

>>All of the torturous tension between these elements - your "problem with
>>ritual" (above) - exists only in your mind, brother. I wonder if you
>>approach all of life with this 'either/or' mindset? Try a little
>>'both/and' now and then when it is warranted. Your "just love" post from
>>earlier today manifests this same fragmentary perspective. Jay, if "just
>>love" was it, nothing else would have been added, written, or spoken. The
>>New Testament would be about a dozen pages long. Obviously it is not.
>>
>>Love, indeed, is the grand summary of all duty and law but a summary does
>>not invalidate any of the particulars. Absolutely none of the NT
>>particulars are nonconducive to the LOVE of God and mankind.
>>
>>Granted, every good thing gets abused and misplaced in this sinful world
>>- those who will trust in rituals rather than the Saviour will only have
>>themselves to blame.
>>
Perhaps, but Jesus also laid it at the feet of the teachers of the law:
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the
kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither
suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence
make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe
unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land
to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the
child of hell than yourselves. Matthew 23:13-15

>>The possibility of abuse by some should not affect
>>the appropriate use by the rest of us. Scripture upholds and connects all
>>of the above. Love, the virtue which m u s t accompany every other
>>virtue, will do the same. What you maintain (above) about practicing it
>>is also true of every other act of obedience to God - to teach us
>>dependency upon Him and to benefit others.
>>
>>The same guy who wrote Galatians, 1 Cor 13 (the love chapter), and
>>championed grace plus nothing practiced rituals himself and mandated them
>>to others. 1 Cor 14:37: If any man think himself to be a prophet, or
>>spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are
>>the commandments of the Lord! 1 Cor 14, you see, is a detailed account of
>>several early church rituals and protocols.
>>
>>Link's post was brilliant and relevant, imo. He made the assertion that
>>religion was not a dirty word and gave us, I believe, supporting
>>evidence for that assertion. There was nothing "dead horse" about it,
>>imo.
>>
>>Only in the last few decades - decades with cable TV preachers and cheap
>>paperback books did things like religion, ritual, doctrine, (now)
>>evangelism, obligation, and responsibility become the big bad booger men
>>looming in every dark alley this side of glory.
>>
>>Let us calmly continue this thread, then get it archived asap. By God's
>>blessing. Truly what/Who we have in common is greater than our
>>differences.

Link asked a question:

"What do you think about the idea of teaching new believers to set aside certain times to regularly pray during the day? I read in the 'Didache' where the author instructed readers to pray the Lord's prayer 3 times a day. I know we don't want to put people 'under the Law,' but isn't it a good thing to introduce into a culture, new to the Gospel, certain habits of prayer?"

What I have said in response needed to be said, and I said it, and stand on it. religion has been making war against love much longer than "only in the last few decades". To presume that I do not believe in baptism, prayer, the Lord's Supper, and decency and order, is not to understand the point I was, and continue to try to make. Living a life which includes these things because they have their source in Christ, is very different than teaching them as good things for us to do. That tends to get the cart before the horse, if you will pardon the expression.

Religious old men tend to maintain the division of the body of Christ. Religious young men tend to further divide the Body. We need to begin to major in love, this is the command that we have from the beginning..." Of all the commands, this is the spotlight on our greatest failure, and the world still does not know, John 17.

On that final day, I believe we will see that more was done out of insecurity, than the security of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. More was done as a run from, rather than a call to. More was done for the sake of male ego gratification, the desire, even the craving to be stage center, than from the attitude which was in Christ who did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. More was done out of guilt than redemption. More was the work of man's hands than the doing of Christ. It would be best to repent now, while it is still today, than wait for the night when no man can work.

There is no money to be made in love. The last Adam demonstrated that. The money and the control come with religion.

I have tried to speak about principles rather than getting personal, and I am not getting personal now. I hope we can keep the discussion on that plain rather than attacking one another.

Yours in Christ,
Jay


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #85


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