New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

June 12, 2001 Vol 01 : 004

NT Church Proliferation Digest Friday, November 9 2001 Vol 01 : 090

Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word
Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion
[ntcp] tradition and weirdness
Re: [ntcp] tradition and weirdness

Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 10:01:17 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] 'Religion' is not a dirty word

Philip Williams wrote:

>Jay wrote:
>>>>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 [amoral]. It is not compliance to a
>>>>system of ethics, it is the expression of a divine life.
>>>Why would the apostles and our Savior have muddied up the waters with all
>>>this stuff, Jay?
>>In order to prove to us what they and Jesus already knew, that "there is
>>none righteous, no not one".
>That might be looking at this legalistically. Jesus summarized all the law
>and commandments as trying to effect {"hangs on"} the love of God and man.
>Certainly he would not want us to look at his commandments as external rules
>-- as the Pharisees and others were doing with Moses commandments. He was
>explaining that it was the intent of the heart. His teachings would be
>better regarded as explanations, rather than as laws. Actually, more than
>explanations. He was also talking about sin. And I think he does convict
>us. Convicts me anyway. We are all sinners. At least I am. We need
>someone to save us from sin [and death]. By trusting in him and dying to
>ourselves, we receive his nature. But this brings us to your point. But
>your point must not be taken as about following rules -- or not following
>rules -- except the rule of love. We still have the royal law, don't we?
>So, we still have a morality, an ethic -- but a spiritual one.
>David Anderson wrote:
>>>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"
>Isn't it the Bible that is rather negative on religion? To prove this: do a
>concordance search.
>I think faith is a better word for what the Bible wants us to have. It is
>at best, neutral on religion -- but usually negative. That word includes
>idolatry, false gods, external performance, etc. Religio -- means precisely
>following the rules, and was generally associated with ceremony.

Dear Philip,

Thanks for the note, and the very helpful observations. As to these
last, I agree completely. As for the the "royal law", have you tried to
obey it lately as an external command? I have, and everytime I do, I get
hit hard enough to prove to me, that it is just not in me to love as
Jesus did. So as with everything else, I just have to look to Him to
love through me. My old man is such a lousy lover, he just has to die.
And Praise The Lord, Jesus has already taken care of that at the cross.

Having said that, I should quickly add that I have experienced the love
of God, not only coming to me, but coming through me to others. That
alone has made it impossible for me to turn back. To be clothed with
God's love for others is to be at the wedding feast, even in this
present age.

God Bless you!


P.S. Thanks again for allowing me to crash a little bit of your time
with Wade, and for steering me in the right direction for a delightful
evening with your mom, Barbara, and Linda.

I trust your evening also went well.

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

Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 03:40:41 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Church Planting discussion

Deborah wrote:

> Perhaps I did a poor job of communicating the uncertainty one
> can sometimes feel about certain groups who may just be a bit weird.
> But then again, they may be moving in obedience to the Spirit-- and
> just seem weird because God isn't always a conformist. But on the
> other hand, they appear to be kinda-sorta off when it comes to
> perfectly sound doctrine. But then again, who is batting a hundred in
> that arena anyway. On the other hand, there still are certain
> standards, ... and these guys are balancing precariously just on the
> inside of a fence, running the risk of a breeze blowing which could
> cause them to fall out of the fence into heresy altogether. But one
> never knows and they may grow up. But then again, ...
> You see what I mean, Stephanie (or anybody)? Is the above
> scenario a time to stress the unity scriptures, and build together?
> Or the heresy ones, and start a new nearby work? Or neither? Or
> both? Or ...?
> Not looking for a pat formula, but wanting some discussion that
> will be grounded in biblical thinking with a goal to exalt Christ in
> our Church Planting efforts.

Dear Michael,

At the beginning of this list, I suggested that "church planting"
itself, as traditionally understood, was questionable. Sowing and seed
planting is certainly descriptive of what the apostolic ministry did,
But I believe that it was the Lord and still is the Lord Who must make a
church out of such efforts. Jesus said, "...I will build my Church..."
So, the role of a wise master builder needs to be understood in that light.

I don't claim to fully understand all that role contains, but I am quite
sure of this much, Jesus is Lord of all, and therefore He is Lord of
relationships. In order for Him to be Lord of relationships, our
expectations must be dealt with. Expectations cannot be Lord of
relationships. The superiority of God's love as demonstrated and
energized in Christ is the superiority of a love for enemies over love
for friends. God demonstrated his love in this, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us....If while we were God's enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of His son, how much more will we be
saved by His life." Romans 5:5-10

Until Christ died, the greatest love known to man was a love which might
lay it's life down for a friend. Getting fulfilled expectations out of
the way as a determinant of relationship is vital to the building of the
Church. The Church must be built up in God's kind of love. Jesus only
had those that The Father had givenHim, John 17, and we are not at
liberty to choose who we belong to. Jesus is Lord of relationship.

With that much as background then, in any given place, The Church is the
sum total of everyone in that place who has the Son, and who know who
are theirs from Him. Living in that expectation has placed me in The
Body where ever I have lived, and has kept me from planting or building
my own Church. I know the joy of leading others to Christ, some of whom
He has given to me, and some of whom He has given to others, But I try
to leave that to Him, lest I only end up participating in another
"manhandled church".

Yours in Christ,


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

Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 08:12:56 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: [ntcp] tradition and weirdness

>Perhaps I did a poor job of communicating the uncertainty one
>can sometimes feel about certain groups who may just be a bit weird. But then
>again, they may be moving in obedience to the Spirit-- and just seem weird
>because God isn't always a conformist.

Weird?? Does this word even have a meaning?? can you imagine how weird the
12 apostles and even Jesus might seem to you nowadays? They would probably
all be committed to an institution if they showed up today!! EVERY custom
they had would seem weird to anyone today! And most of today's 'Christian'
customs have nothing to do with what Christ said, but come from something He
criticised A LOT: tradition.

I am sometimes thankful that I was raised as a full atheist, and that I was
able to learn from the Bible directly, studying history (I even read
Herodotus' Histories to understand Daniel), greek, and other important
things mostly by myself and with the aid of the Holy Spirit (who could have
guided me better?). In a sense, I was a 'virgin' like the 144,000 for I had
not been tainted by the dirty traditions of most 'churches.'

Of course, I also learned a lot from seeing the works of Christians. I was
NOT lead to God by them, but seeing them was what led me to ask God to show
Himself to me, and to ask Him to let me have the Holy Spirit as a guide. I
have NEVER trusted another human being for anything unless I know the HS
sent him: such as the people I am working with now, who arrived right after
i asked God to let me meet SOMEONE who was a brother and who wanted to do
good works (I don't believe in being saved by the works, but I don't believe
anyone with real faith isn't eager to do them!).

TRADITION, which is what we usually consider 'not weird' is what has this
world in the state it is.


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

Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 11:07:36 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] tradition and weirdness

Dear Vanessa,

AMEN, and AMEN !! to all that you have written below.

The conception of Christ in a person really does require an emaculate
conception. It calls for, and calls out a woman who has not known a man
or manhandling. The manhandlers do not enter, and do everything in their
power to hinder others.

Yours in Christ,


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #90

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