New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Nov 7, 2001 Vol 01 : 088


NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, November 7 2001 Vol 01 : 088


Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word
[ntcp] Church Planting discussion
Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word
Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion
[ntcp] HC's in Jakarta
[ntcp] HC's in Jakarta
[ntcp] Re: "Attitude"
[ntcp] Re: Encouragement
Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion
Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word
Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word


Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 12:50:21 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

Jay Ferris wrote:
> My constant experience has been, that when relationships

> form without benefit of recognizable religious structure,

> institution, organization or building, those whose identification

> is wrapped up or rooted in such, find such, let us say,

> "outside the gate" relationships immediately suspect. The

> more mature person in the relationship is seen as leading

> people astray, a "wolf in sheeps clothing", and the "religious"

> make war on the relationship and those involved.

Neither I nor those I've read on this thread thus far would deny
the injustice of such true persecution. I deplore such activities and
denominational entrenchment which cannot see various expressions of
Christ's one body. But this is all really moot to the heart of the
discussion at hand. Jay, help us all to clarify your position please,
by answering the following questions with a simple "yes" or "no":

1) Do you recognize that the words "religion" (Gk. THRESKEIA) and
"religious" (Gk. THRESKOS; SEBOMAI) are used in both positive and
neutral, as well as negative ways, in the NT? YES or NO.

2) Should the use of terms in the Bible characterize how we as modern
Christians use their translated dynamic equivelants? YES or NO.

3) Do you acknowledge that many in our day ONLY employ the English terms
"religion" and "religious" in a negative sense whereas godly men and
women of the past (obviously post-biblical period) used these same
Engish words to refer to a true expression of Christianity? YES or NO.

4) Do you see any value in modern Christians recommissioning an
over-arching term (such as "religion") for those aspects of our faith
which are by their nature characterized by external expressions such as
baptism, the Lord's Supper, the laying on of hands, praying in certain
settings and at certain times, etc.? YES or NO.

5) Does NT faith have a ritual aspect which may fall under the terms
"religion" and "religious"? YES or NO.

6) Does NT faith have a moral aspect which may fall under the terms
"religion" and "religious"? YES or NO.

My suspicion is that we all will find ourselves on pretty much the
same wavelength once/if you answer these questions. Or at least closer
to a consensus.

Michael

Jerusalem


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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 06:24:43 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Michael writes:
>>
then upon arrival you discovered there was already a Church Planting effort going on in
that certain area, would you interpret God's voice to mean that you and your
husband were to come alongside that work which was in process? Or would you
interpret God's voice to mean you should start a different church? Would you
immediately assume *you* were supposed to be the planters? After all, it is
not unthinkable that God would want two or more local congregations on the
same block. Not to mention the same city. Or would your
reception/non-reception by the current laborers in that field determine how
you would interpret God's voice in this situation? How would you know?

>>

LOL! Your post made me chuckle for Michael you are touching upon the very
issues of our life. We discuss them and pray about them all the time. My
answer is:
There is no formula. There are no easy answers. Plus, we are not Church Planting
experts, that is not our role in life, --- we are just people who have been
walking with Him for a long time, and we trust Him. We trust Him to show us.
We trust Him to supply. We trust that the Church is HIS idea, and that He
will make a way. We just trust Him.

So, the Lord doesn't need to give us a word about church building/planting.
It's part of our spiritual DNA, if you will. However, to answer you're
question: if the Lord actually spoke to us and told us to 'go a plant'
something new in an area we would do it, and not turn back from it, but if it
was His voice, there would be certain things that confirmed it. One, His
words in our hearts would not contradict the things we know in scripture
about oneness/division, sound doctrine, etc. Two, He would pave the way
before us.

It is our belief that the Lord is the Planter, and when a new work is being
established, there will be either hungry people, eager for the Word of LIFE,
or there will be other indicators that God is leading us this way. The
church does not happen in a vacumn. Even if there are no other people, there
is always the Spirit of God.

Now to your other question: Would I allow myself to be a part of creating a
monster? Never. Accept the time that I did. :-) Once I was in a
mega-church IC and was an extremely vocal leader. My stance was that "God
does not work or want division," so I applied myself to the
non-denominational work that was already being established. I did not want
to be a leader or vocal, but got thrust into it and became one of the biggest
advocates of this local expression. I am not proud of that experience, but I
will say this: I learned WHY it is important to not allow ANYTHING else but
Jesus Christ be the ground for a church plant.

>>
Or would your reception/non-reception by the current laborers in that field
determine how you would interpret God's voice in this situation? How would
you know?

>>

Reception or non-reception cannot be the determinant. Doctrine, solid,
fringe or wackiness cannot be the determinant. Full agreement, etc.... not
the determinant. The question we ask ourselves is simple: Is the work being
built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, that is, Jesus Christ, Himself? Not
the tenants of Jesus, not the teachings, ... all this can be interpreted in
different ways. I am talking about the LORD Jesus Christ, --- the Lord in
our midst.

If that can be answered in the affirmative, we would work shoulder to
shoulder in an area with others God has called as workers. (as we are today).
Why would we want to take on the Church Planting role by ourselves anyway? God has not
ordained one man or one woman to be leader. He is the leader, and He uses
the whole body to function and establish. As far as assumptions, ..... I try
not to assume anything.

Thanks for your response.
Stephanie
In a message dated 11/07/2001 5:49:10 AM Eastern Standard Time,
deborah.millier@juccampus.org writes:
>
> Stepanie wrote: > For husband and I it is easier to hear God and just
>
> > step out and go do it (ie. plant a church), rather
>
> > than come shoulder to shoulder with someone else who
>
> > is already toiling in a field. However, ...
>
> Then the practical question is: how do you know how to interpret
> God's voice in these kinds of circumstances? Let's throw your scenario
> back to you, Stephanie: if you heard God telling you to go plant a church
> in X location, and you packed up and left,
> Another related thing for discussion: suppose those in the process of
> planting a church there were-- not exactly heretical-- but a little fringy
> in their doctrinal stance(s). Would you feel compromised if you worked
> along with them-- and particularly if they were pushy with their
> idiosyncrasies-- or would you be inclined to put doctrinal issues on the
> backburner, despite the uncomfortable rub, for the higher work of planting
> a congregation-- even though you suspected that, once established, the
> church would likely go astray? Or that it might not even be desirable for
> it to multiply because of its wackiness? ... That in a sense you suspected
> (but did not know) that you would be creating a monster. In other words,
> would you work together on a project with a group which warmly welcomed
> you, but which you sort of feared would ultimately be a wasted effort, or
> worse yet, a possible (but not a for sure) affront to our Savior?
>
> Anybody else out there got some thoughts or experiences on the
> topic(s)?
>
> --MICHAEL
>
> Jerusalem
>
>
>
Stephanie Bennett


"When I worship, I would rather my
heart be without words than my words
be without heart." -Lamar Boschman


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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 08:12:57 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

Deborah wrote:

> Neither I nor those I've read on this thread thus far would deny the
> injustice of such true persecution. I deplore such activities and
> denominational entrenchment which cannot see various expressions of
> Christ's one body. But this is all really moot to the heart of the
> discussion at hand. Jay, help us all to clarify your position
> please, by answering the following questions with a simple "yes" or "no"
>
Dear Michael,

I think it was Monty Python who said, "Nobody expects the Spanish
Inquisition."

> 1) Do you recognize that the words "religion" (Gk. THRESKEIA) and
> "religious" (Gk. THRESKOS; SEBOMAI) are used in both positive and
> neutral, as well as negative ways, in the NT? YES or NO.

Acts 26:5 - negative - By the time Paul said this, he considered it
all rubbish.

James 1:26 - negative

James 1:26 - negative

James 1:27 - positive - Please note the definition in context.

Acts 13:43 - negative - Rubbish, according to Paul's personal testimony.

> 2) Should the use of terms in the Bible characterize how we as modern
> Christians use their translated dynamic equivelants? YES or NO.

Sorry, too much leeway to the translators to answer, "yes".

> 3) Do you acknowledge that many in our day ONLY employ the English
> terms "religion" and "religious" in a negative sense whereas godly men
> and women of the past (obviously post-biblical period) used these same
> Engish words to refer to a true expression of Christianity? YES or NO.
>
Yes

> 4) Do you see any value in modern Christians recommissioning an
> over-arching term (such as "religion") for those aspects of our faith
> which are by their nature characterized by external expressions such
> as baptism, the Lord's Supper, the laying on of hands, praying in
> certain settings and at certain times, etc.? YES or NO.
>
No

> 5) Does NT faith have a ritual aspect which may fall under the terms
> "religion" and "religious"? YES or NO.
>
No

> 6) Does NT faith have a moral aspect which may fall under the terms
> "religion" and "religious"? YES or NO.
>
No - Morality pertains to philosophy and ethics. Jesus Christ has
delivered us from both. Fasten your seat belt. I wouldn't say this just
anyplace, but in present company, and in light of the nature of this
discussion, I have to be very frank with you. In the sense you are
speaking of, pure Christianity is immoral. It is not compliance to a
system of ethics, it is the expression of a divine life. As Stephanie
put it, it is a matter of "DNA" a participation in the divine nature.

> My suspicion is that we all will find ourselves on pretty much
> the same wavelength once/if you answer these questions. Or at least
> closer to a consensus.
>
Well, so much for consensus.

You would like me to cave in to religion, and I would like you to cave
in to life. Take your pick. As for me, I gave up on religion some years
back now.

Are Baptisms, the Lord's Supper, the fellowship of the Saints, the
preeminence of Christ precious to me? Yes they are!

Yours in Christ, even if not in religion,

Jay

P.S. I think it might be worth " recommissioning" the word "religion"
once we as Christians have lived out the pure kind in such a way make
the word no longer offensive to the world. Meanwhile talk is cheap, and
I strongly believe that we should shelve it until a better day.

P.P.S. You know Michael, It occurred to me only yesterday that the real
problem with me is that I haven't quit yet, and, god's grace sufficient,
don't intend to, even though I have the same perception as the
thousands, perhaps millions, who have been terminally wounded by
"religious" Christianity. I don't need a PhD to discern that my
religious friends would be happier if I did not exist or, at least,
would go some place else. Something about drawing circles that exclude
versus circles that include.


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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 08:13:48 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Steffasong wrote:

> So, the Lord doesn't need to give us a word about church
> building/planting. It's part of our spiritual DNA, if you will.
> However, to answer you're question: if the Lord actually spoke to us
> and told us to 'go a plant' something new in an area we would do it,
> and not turn back from it, but if it was His voice, there would be
> certain things that confirmed it. One, His words in our hearts would
> not contradict the things we know in scripture about oneness/division,
> sound doctrine, etc. Two, He would pave the way before us.

Dear Stephanie,

AMEN! to all that you have said in your response to Michael.

In connection with your observation above, I would like to add
confirmation by elaboration. One way of looking at the Church is that it
is a new creation. The church in any given place is a new creation
superimposed on an old creation. There is only one new creation. To
superimpose two new creations on one old creaion only creates confusion
for those who are yet in and of the world. Jesus prayed that we would be
one that the world would know. Two new creations occupying the same turf
is not an alternate life style, it flies in the face of the heart's cry
of God.

It is the spiritual DNA of the divine nature that God is counting on. He
and therefore, we should put no confidence in the flesh. there's a lot
of it around, and all in the Name of Jesus.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 22:05:51 +0700
From: "Link"
Subject: [ntcp] HC's in Jakarta

Last week I finally got ahold of a man I found out about who was involved with
house churches in Jakarta. My wife, Hana, had gotten two telephone numbers from
a friend. One of the men had been involved in GISI, a denomination both me and
my wife had been involved in the past, my wife more than myself. I found that
out from other people in Jessy's house. I tried calling Jessy many times. He
travels a lot. finally, I got ahold of him, and we agreed to meet at a certain
place.

When we met, he recognized my wife and I. She used to go to his church. We'd
been to his brother's wedding. I'd met him briefly before. He recognized me, I
think, because I am a foreigner. It turns out that he and his brother are both
involved with house churches now.

GISI is a very charismatic, mega-church style denomination. Jessy and his wife
liked church that involved more relationships, spending money on people rather
than events, and things like that.

I plan on going to one of the HC meetings soon. It sounds like a lot of
HC's have been planted, both among existing Christians and new believers. I
might get a chance to get involved with HC's before we move to the US, as I am
scheduled to around February or March. We are planning on coming back. Maybe I
can write an update about what they do in church and their church planting work
after I visit a meeting. Maybe I can go to one this weekend.

I might go to the meeting at Billy's. Hopefully, he is easier to get
ahold of than his younger brother. Billy studied in the US, and if I
recall correctly, his wife sounds like an American.

Link


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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 22:05:51 +0700
From: "Link"
Subject: [ntcp] HC's in Jakarta

Last week I finally got ahold of a man I found out about who was involved with
house churches in Jakarta. My wife, Hana, had gotten two telephone numbers from
a friend. One of the men had been involved in GISI, a denomination both me and
my wife had been involved in the past, my wife more than myself. I found that
out from other people in Jessy's house. I tried calling Jessy many times. He
travels a lot. finally, I got ahold of him, and we agreed to meet at a certain
place.

When we met, he recognized my wife and I. She used to go to his church. We'd
been to his brother's wedding. I'd met him briefly before. He recognized me, I
think, because I am a foreigner. It turns out that he and his brother are both
involved with house churches now.

GISI is a very charismatic, mega-church style denomination. Jessy and his wife
liked church that involved more relationships, spending money on people rather
than events, and things like that.

I plan on going to one of the HC meetings soon. It sounds like a lot of
HC's have been planted, both among existing Christians and new believers. I
might get a chance to get involved with HC's before we move to the US, as I am
scheduled to around February or March. We are planning on coming back. Maybe I
can write an update about what they do in church and their church planting work
after I visit a meeting. Maybe I can go to one this weekend.

I might go to the meeting at Billy's. Hopefully, he is easier to get
ahold of than his younger brother. Billy studied in the US, and if I
recall correctly, his wife sounds like an American.

Link

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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 10:50:37 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: [ntcp] Re: "Attitude"

David wrote:

>Words do change in meaning over time, true. Take how the word "attitude"
>in just the past few years has become synonymous with "bad attitude".
>Example: "Wow, that slob really has an attitude - what is his problem?"
>Similarly, "religion" has become synonymous with "false religion" or
>usually "no trace of religion whatsoever" in the minds of some.

Jay's response:

David then went on to quote an excellent article from the 1800s on the
subject.

As I thought further about it this morning, it struck me that what has
happend to the meaning of "attitude" is a very good parallel to what has
happened to the meaning of "religion", but not only for the reason stated.

When James wrote: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and
bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's
religion is vain." Ch 1:26 What he was really talking about was
"attitude". "seem" here is better translated "thinks of himself as". So
here's the problem with "religion". When we do or say things that we
think of as "religious", we tend to get an "attitude" about ourselves,
and it is not a good attitude.

For us who believe, there is only one good attitude; it is that which
was "... also in Christ Jesus:" Phillipians 2:5. "Religion" tends to
give us an "attitude". Even the world can smell it. It really doesn't
require Jesus to tell us it is "whitewash".

"Reality, however" is found in Christ."

I would like to be able to drop this, but I can't help thinking that it
lies at the heart of the present world crises. There is too much
confusion in the Christian camp. The American Christians have America
confused with Christianity. We have tried to claim to that "America is a
Christian Nation" so often, that we have caused a great deal of
confusion for the rest of the world as well, and in so doing, energized
the carnal "religion" of those who don't like what they see. Trying to
fight a war with "bunker busters" in one hand and "spiritual weapons" in
the other, is just not going to accomplish anything except setting
non-Christian religions on fire.

We who name the Name of Christ had better figure out what we are about,
and soon, Jesus Christ is not the author of confusion, but what we have
done and been in His name has authored a great deal of confusion. The
father of confusion is the Devil. Hiding in the bushes, and sewing
leaves was his idea, not God's. Doing things in order to be somebody,
comes up out of hell, not down from heaven. We are who we are because of
the grace of God, not anything we have done or are attempting to do. To
Quote Gene Edwards, "It's either all grace or it's no grace at all."

Having quoted Gene, perhaps I should clear up something. I still go to
an IC on Sundays, a house meeting on Wednesdays, and meet weekly with
the IC leadership of a major U.S. city. That may qualify me as
"religious" to some, but I certainly do not think of myself as "religious."

In Christ,

Jay


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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 10:28:12 -0600
From: "Dan Hubbell"
Subject: [ntcp] Re: Encouragement

Dear Jay,

Your last paragraph prompted me to encourage you by letting you know about
what our Lord is also doing here in the Church in Winnsboro which includes
all the Body of Christ in our city.

1. There are home gatherings in specified houses and/or from "house to
house" as the Lord "gathers" two or three(or more)where His promise is to be
in the midst. These gatherings can be anywhere and anytime.
2. There are city-wide gatherings of the Church in Winnsboro which includes
all the Body of Christ in the city. We have a monthly prayer gathering and
a quarterly praise gathering both of which meet in the municipal auditorium
here in Winnsboro. There are weekly prayer gatherings of men from various
congregations, one of which represents a five county-wide area and the other
local elders(ministers)in our city. There are weekly gatherings of women
from various congregations and an annual prayer banquet where over 250 women
participate.
3. On Sundays those who "meet from house to house" participate in worship
gatherings of the various assemblies throughout the city rotating as the
Spirit leads with those who gather in different meeting locations, i.e.
Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Assembly, etc. This is to encourage the
spiritual unity of the Body of Christ in our city.
4. On various Sundays several of the city elders(ministers)often exchange
pulpits and minister in various assemblies.
5. Those who meet from "house to house" minister often in plurality with
the leaders of the various assemblies. There is often a joint participation
in preaching, teaching, Lord's Supper observance, invitation counseling.
etc.

Hope this encourages you in what you are doing. May you continue to "hear
what the Lord is saying and see what He is doing" in and through your life.

Love in Jesus,
Dan Hubbell
His servant
>From "a hired house" in Winnsboro, Texas USA
http://www.churchrestoration

> Having quoted Gene, perhaps I should clear up something. I still go to
> an IC on Sundays, a house meeting on Wednesdays, and meet weekly with
> the IC leadership of a major U.S. city. That may qualify me as
> "religious" to some, but I certainly do not think of myself as
"religious."
>
> In Christ,
>
> Jay


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Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 19:34:20 +0100
From: castillofuerte@airtel.net
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Michael wrote: suppose those in the
> process of planting a church there were-- not exactly heretical--
> but a little fringy in their doctrinal stance(s). Would you feel
> compromised if you worked along with them-- and particularly if
> they were pushy with their idiosyncrasies-- or would you be
> inclined to put doctrinal issues on the backburner, despite the
> uncomfortable rub, for the higher work of planting a congregation--
> even though you suspected that, once established, the church
> would likely go astray? Or that it might not even be desirable
> for it to multiply because of its wackiness? ... That in a sense
> you suspected (but did not know) that you would be creating a
> monster. In other words, would you work together on a project
> with a group which warmly welcomed you, but which you sort of
> feared would ultimately be a wasted effort, or worse yet, a
> possible (but not a for sure) affront to our Savior?

yes this is exactly what happened to me. Early in my time in spain I
cam accross another CP work in the same area. I joined alongside, to
help them in the work, especially as I knew an american missionary who
was involved. After a while the penny dropped that the main folk were
unitarian (Jesus only, Monarchical modalism, call it what you want). I
spoke to my friend who assured me that they weren't pushing that
doctrine, and only wanted to see the church grow. I felt uncomfortable
with their doctrinal stance but stayed as it didn't seem to be a big
issue for them. However, two years later my friend returned to the
states, and the main spanish leaders refound their "Jesus only"
doctrinal base. They made it so difficult for me that i had no option
but to leave. I went to the next town and planted a church, eventually
so many joined the church from the origional town we are now in the
possition of planting in that town too. I feel no difficulty in this as
the folk in the town are quite aware of the doctrinal anomaly in the
first church and have chosen themselves to come accross.

I don't know what this contributes, but its part of my story,
Blessings
keith


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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 14:33:55 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

>No - Morality pertains to philosophy and ethics. Jesus Christ has
>delivered us from both. Fasten your seat belt. I wouldn't say this just
>anyplace, but in present company, and in light of the nature of this
>discussion, I have to be very frank with you. In the sense you are
>speaking of, pure Christianity is immoral. It is not compliance to a
>system of ethics, it is the expression of a divine life.

Hey Jay, my brother,

You raise many questions. Wish we could have talked this over in person.
I see that you are still intent upon infusing a negative connotation into
the word "religion" which skews the inferences you then draw ("about
caving in") and puts this thread very close to the point of diminishing
returns.

But I must inquire of you: Who suggested that Christianity, properly
understood, is NOT an expression of a divine life, namely that of our
Lord in us, the hope of glory ?

So, the words of Jesus and the apostles contain no moral nor ethical
instructions... Very interesting. :D According to you and who else?
Please refer us to something definitive that's in print, somewhere. You
have brought strange things to our ears today, brother...

Please demonstrate how "participation in a divine nature" excludes moral
instruction. Take the popular "sermon on the mount" and demonstrate how
that it contains no ethical or behavioral mandates (or imperatives or
morality or whatever your preferred term for right and wrong - might
happen to be).

Why did Paul require that "him that was stealing should steal no more" or
that Timothy was to "flee youthful lusts, for example." There are
HUNDREDS of other apostolic commands. AND I WANT YOU TO EXPLAIN HOW THESE
ARE INCOMPATIBLE TO "PARTAKING OF THE DIVINE NATURE or to LIFE." Why
would the apostles and our Saviour have muddied up the waters with all
this stuff, Jay?

Please do not attempt to bait and switch us with more non sequiturs such
as Paul accounting his former role in Judaism "as rubbish." He was
referring to himself as an unregenerate person at that time. The context
of today's discussion, brother, is the life of regenerated persons,
forever joined to Christ seeking to be obedient to his wishes. We are
talking about the process of sanctification - not the act of
justification.

Unless you are willing to admit that your prayers, Lord's Suppers, songs
are intended to merit your salvation, then do not remotely suggest that
my obedience to other requirements is intended to do so either. Thank
you.

Btw, do you teach your children that there is no such thing as morality,
right and wrong (or whatever word is your equivalent)? How do you handle
this?

What do you mean by the extra-biblical phrase "pure Christianity?" Are
you/we not having enough problems with the biblical terminology, itself?
Since pure Christianity is immoral, is therefore pure religion also
immoral? If "pure Christianity is immoral" does that mean that impure
Christianity is moral? You makka me wunda. What is your definition of
moral, anyway?

If we live in an amoral universe, it would thus be impossible to sin,
because sin is the transgression of the law. Are you without sin? Do tell.

Wish we could have settled this one on the ping pong table. :D Because I
am thy brother!

David Anderson


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #88
 


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