New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Dec 17, 2001 Vol 01 : 116


NT Church Proliferation Digest Monday, December 17 2001 Vol 01 : 116


Re: [ntcp] "full time" ministry
Re: [ntcp] Discipline and Discipleship
Re: [ntcp] "full time" ministry
[ntcp] John Loeffler and Maurice Smith on the House Church Movement


Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 13:10:41 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [ntcp] "full time" ministry

Dan Beaty wrote:

>Thanks Dan, Michael and Jay,
>
>For contributing to this thread. I would still like to hear more
>perspectives on this.

TEACHERS and COMPENSATION

I Timothy 5:17,18:

"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of
double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For
the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzles the ox while it is treading out the
grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages."

Much needs to be said about elders, but for now, perhaps it is enough to
say that the pastoral ministry is a nurturing or parenting ministry and
the ministry of elders is like that of grandparents. Thast said, once
again, we can and ought to go to the old creation to understand the
content of these respective ministries.

As for compensation, there are several implications to this passage from
I Timothy. First, "directing the affairs of the church" involves more
than preaching and teaching. When it is done well, even without
preaching and teaching it is still worthy of double honor.

Singular honor is that which we owe to parents, "... the first
commandment with promise." The second honor is that of material
compensation. Assuming that the ministry of the elder is performed well,
preaching and teaching is especially worthy of compensation.

Paul instructs us, however, not only be precept, but by his own example.
By precept, here and elsewhere, he makes it clear that "In the same way,
the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive
their living from the gospel."I Corinthians 9:14. By example, he models
the heart of a father.

DISCIPLING LIFE

I Corinthians 4:17:

"For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is
faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ
Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."

On the one hand, there is what Paul is teaching, and on the other, there
is his way of life. By life Paul is a father in the Lord, even to
Timothy, his son whom he loves.

Paul's meaning here in Corinthians is not so much that Timothy is being
sent to teach them about Paul's way of life, but , as his son, will
remind them of Paul's way of life by example. As we say, "The apples do
not fall very far from the trees." In principle, who has seen the son,
has seen the father.

While having a father's heart, Paul is careful to instruct his children
as to the proper thing to do. But, he himself is not willing to exploit
his position as a proper object of their giving.

Jay


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Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 13:15:59 EST
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Discipline and Discipleship

Sam,

Enjoyed your post! Very interesting and thought provoking.

Responding to my posting of a segment of the Apostle's Creed, you wrote:

>I cannot for the life of me recite this thing without yawning. It is a boring
>record of historical data devoid of life and the excitement of who we are in
>Christ Jesus. The people on the street I know would say, "So what? Who
>cares?" Simply put, it is without passion, and filled with truth that has no
>life in it. People are looking for life!

Firstly, this is the Gospel. It is the story of the birth of a baby boy named
Jesus conceived by the Holy Spirit (Making Him God's Son as well as Mary's),
and born of a virgin human mother. It is the narrative of that life, and
tells of His historical trial by the Jews and Romans, of the verdict of that
trial carried out by execution on the cross, of the burial of Jesus' body,
and of the resurrection of that body from a grave three days later. It is
chronicles His resurrection and ascension, ending with the promise to return
to end history and judge each person who has ever lived. So sorry that this
bores you.

Secondly, I did not post this as what we should say verbatim to the
unregenerate people of the world, enemies of God without faith in Him. This
is simply a framework of the narrative that each Christian should have when
telling the story about Jesus -- a standard to use to make sure they are
getting the story right. There are things we must fill in -- that God will
judge all men either by faith or by their own works against the standard of
perfection -- but the basic narrative is there. Many are the ways to tell the
story, yet there is only one story.

Lastly, people aren't looking for God any more than a serial killer would
look for a cop -- they love the darkness, not the light. How can a
spiritually dead person look for life? I've never seen a corpse at a funeral
cry because it was dead. No one is looking for God, everyone has gone their
own way. Yes, people look for life and meaning, but shrink back in fear when
they find the true Life that would judge their death. The only people I've
ever encountered that were looking for God were those God had prepared to
bring to Himself -- the seeds the "Farmer" planted in the parable grew only
in the ground prepared by the Farmer....

It seems you have two arguments about the creeds -- that they are not
existential enough and are not relevant to Modern mindsets seeped in
therapeutical terms like "intimacy" and "vunerablility," and that they
misrepresent Scripture:

>I have one major problem with any discussion of theology, especially in
light of the >ancient creeds. These creeds are laced with Greco-Roman
philosophy and as >such are imperfect in many ways in not only capsulating
the sum and total of the >Gospel, but it correct understanding. Greek
philosophy has done much harm to >doctrinal development and understanding,
and has essentially reduced Christianity >to philosophical ideas and points
of discussion. The essence of the Gospel is >summed up in those 4 Squares,
and not in the ancient creeds not matter how much >we want to hold them up as
wonderful documents and statements of belief. To >some they are theological
milestones, for me they are milstones!

>The problem and it can be traced back to the embracing of Greek philosophy and
>the resultant influence it has had on the development of theology, is that
>objective truths about God have become more important than the object of those
>truths which >is deep intimate relationship with God Himself through the Holy
>Spirit. We can dialogue all we want about truth, but it is not truth that
>saves a man, it is Jesus Christ, a person! So we need to get back to the
>beginning, the person of Jesus and the reality of intimacy with Him. This is
>crucial in evangelism, in discipleship, and >in body life. We gather together
>not to debate theology or hear sermons. We gather around the person of Jesus
>Christ and to sit at His feet and to be in deep intimate relationship with
>Him. It is through this dynamic encounter that we are forever transformed and
>changed into His image. What else is there to live for?!

This is interesting, and I'd like to hear more along these lines. You are
saying that the Creeds and the theology of the Fathers were Neo-Patonist?
Although I would agree with you to some extent about a few of the Fathers,
where in the Apostle's, Nicene, or Chalcedonic creeds do you see Neo-Platonic
thought? Why can't these written statements reflect a lively faith inside
those who wrote them? We in the Modern world may compartmentalize our
intellect and emotion, the "heart" and the mind, but the ancient world saw no
such foolish divisions.

>I agree with Jim Rutz. Let's develop a new current one. One that reflects
>the reality of our own day. As one who is involved in the HC movement, and
>with passionate relationships with the Lord, the body and the lost, I need a
>statement which is passionate and real, as real as I can make it possible in
>describing life in Christ Jesus and in His body, the church. The Creed does
>not do that for me. It is too ancient and too out of touch with the need of
>something expressive, and full of not only meaning, but life. That is the
>challenge, can a statement be made that is full of life, full of the life we
>have in Christ?

Your to late, Sam. Greg Boyd and Clark Pinnock beat you to the punch. It's
called the Open View of God, and is based on your very concerns, i.e., that
classic theism is irrelevant to the Modern mind and is also corrupted by
Greek philosophy. But beware, the god of that creed sometimes is caught by
suprise by future events!

As to thoughts of Reformation:

>Reformation comes through the dynamic of personal encounters with the person
>>of whom the text of Scripture speaks. In one sense Karl Barth was completely
>correct when he asserted that the Scripture do not become the authoritative
>word of God until God speaks them by His Spirit in the now, in the present, to
>us personally. Until then they are mere words on a page! We need encounters
>with Jesus... All else flows from these encounters. Just speak with people
>who have been in HC's for a while, and have made Jesus the head of the
>gathering of believers. Just spend the quiet time at His feet as the
>gathering just waits in His presence and the Spirit leads and directs the
>gathering. The encounter and its power changes our lives forever. It is this
>that will usher in reformation.

I agree! However, I still think reformation of life and doctrine begins and
ends with the Gospel story. You had asked me if I were Assembly of God
because of my allusion to the 16 Fundamental Truths. Yes, I am in the
Assemblies as a licensed minister. I'm third generation assemblies, and I now
have Nephews and Nieces that are fourth generation AG Pentecostals.

I envy you in that you have found a place that I've been looking for 15 years
now -- a group of Pentecostal Protestants! I very sincerely pray that you
will continue to be blessed!

Looking forward to your response, Sam.

TheologusCrucis


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Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 14:52:51 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] "full time" ministry

Great thread here folks. Excellent.

Would like to comment as a Church Planting myself.

1. I have always believed that serving as a Church Planting means identifying with your
geographical region and with the people of God in that locale. We had a Church Planting
here in our city, but he lived in another city down the hiway. He never
tied himself to or became knit to the cluster of believers he was a part of,
and it always affected the body and its expression. The church never has
really taken root and I believe that this is part of the reason.

Paul is a good model to follow.
a. He went to a region
b. He looked for work there
c. He looked for the synagogue and spoke to the Jews and God fearers until
he was cast out of the synagogue
d. He built relationships and sought to win the lost who upon conversion
became the local ekklesia
e. He was part of the ekklesia and worked side by side
f. Sometimes he received support from other believers with whom he was
ALREADY in relationship with who supported him
g. It was a blessing for ekklesias that were planted by him to support him
financially, but he never required them to do so. It was a privilege to
share in the Church Planting enterprize
h. He sought to not be a burden to believers or other ekklesias that he had
established, but he encouraged them to participate financial and prayerfully
as well as providing Church Planting candidates to go out as well. This is how he
established the school at Ephesus (Acts. 18).

What does this mean?
1. I have knit myself to the community where I live. I am so committed here
that I am willing to die here for these people. I have a vision for this
place and that includes me being a part of the wider community and to
identify myself with them. Until a few years ago I still called myself a
Brit. But in recent years I have called myself a Canadian. I love these
people dearly.

2. I will work and labour to support my family and the work that I have been
called to. This allows me to model to those with whom I labour that I do not
want to be a burden to the ekklesia and that the ministry is all the saints
together, and not the "paid professional".

3. I have received financial gifts from saints that said that the Lord
impressed upon them to give to us and to support us. I appreciate these
gifts for they have been very timely gifts. These saints feel they are
blessing the work of God and sowing seed in His labour.

4. The good of the ekklesia must come first. If it releases the ekklesia to
greater faithfulness and maturity and mission, then it is good as a Church Planting to
not place the burden of support on them. If the ekklesia is desiring to
bless the work and bless its increase, and they can afford to raise money to
support the Church Planting, then it is good to do so.

BOTTOM LINE:

We must remember that Paul went out to establish the ekklesia, and once it
was rooted, and the life of Christ blooming in the lives of people, he moved
on. Sometimes he was there a few weeks, or a few months, and the longest
was between two or three years. But in each place he sought to not be a
financial burden to the saints, and that is the bottom line.

This is why I choose to work for a living.

2. I also realize that I will be going on outreaches and apostolic missions.
I realize that once the ekklesia is well established in our region and the
HC networks are multiplying, they have the same vision of reaching the
province and nation. They will at that proper time, financially support me
for these outreaches.

3. I believe there NT examples of well to do believers who support the
ministry of Church Planting/Apostolic ministry. The ministry of Jesus had rich women,
and Paul had financially secure supporters of his ministry.

There are few businessmen in our area who in their entrepreneurial vision
have begun a company that will be providing services, and they will be
providing finances to people in ministry, so that they will not be hindered
or restricted from fulfilling their callings and destinies. It is based on
investments and services, and the profits go into an account that will be
directed to a variety of charities and ministries. I believe that such
enterprizes would be very good for the furtherance of the gospel and in
establishing the Kingdom as well as meeting the needs of church planters and their families.

Blessings,

Sammy


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Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 02:22:58 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [ntcp] John Loeffler and Maurice Smith on the House Church Movement

Hi Folks,

You can link to the audio of the show at the site below.

http://www.steelonsteel.com/audio/default.html

Some interesting statistics and information in there if you have the time
to download this 8 meg file. You can listen as you download, too.

As usual, this is just an announcement - not an endorsement of the
content.

Let's learn from everyone that we can. All believers possess the Spirit
of truth.

David Anderson


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #116
 


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