New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

Dec 19, 2001 Vol 01 : 118

NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, December 19 2001 Vol 01 : 118

Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together
RE: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together
[ntcp] Really teaching the Bible
Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Re: [ntcp] One aspect the need for Love in church planting
Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - helpful web sites

Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 13:15:46 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together

Hi Stephanie and List:

I like this topic and find it very relevant to planting the ekklesia in a given

>For a long time I've noticed that one of the things that destroys our
>fellowship with one another is our preoccupation with the fellowship rather
>than our occupation with Christ, our Lord. Bonhoeffer backs this premise up
>in his little book, Life Together. Have many of you read it? If so, how do
>you think it lines up with the idea of planting a church?

It was one of the first books I ever read by Bonhoeffer. In fact I find the
whole German church story during the Nazi era a very relevant study for how the
body of Christ functions in a hostile environment even the the environment
itself defends itself as essentially being "Christian". The writings of
Bonhoeffer and K. Barth, as well as a study of Christians (ie. Martin
Neimoeler, Von Moltke, etc.,)of that era really serve us well in trying to
understand are we are to be "little Christs" within the context of our
contemporary culture.

>Here's a little quote from ol' DB:
>"Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spirtual pulse, so
>too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be
>constantly taking it's temperature." (From: Life Together)

I think one of our problems as the Body of Christ is this very pre-occupation,
but I believe it is even worse in N. America. We are so pre-occupied with
being accepted as "orthodox" that we attempt to retain the ideas of the IC,
even the ones that have no biblical basis, just so that we will feel accepted
and normal by the standards of other Christians. This is a sign of
intimidation and manipulation at the hands of people who have no right
whatsover to be in that position to manipulate and influence as they do. We
need to conform to the biblical norm and to the standards that can be embraced
derived from the Scripture and not from the agenda's of control and
manipulation from the hands of men.

>I like that. We are so prone to be self-occupied. Instead of just letting the
>Lord live His life through us as a community, we want to protect, guard and
>micromanage it. This simply translates into micro-managing each other.

John 10 speaks of Jesus as the Shepherd. We only have one shepherd and that is
Jesus. The problem is that we give that shepherd role to the professionals who
use it to run the lives of the all the sheep, when they themselves are sheep
and should be amongst the sheep. Only sheep beget sheep. These professionals
are sheep thinking themselves to be shepherds, and they cannot reproduce
themselves as shepherds. They can only reproduce as sheep. As professional
shepherds, they are simply hirelings. Nothing more, nothing less.

Their only difference is in one of function, and not a difference in essence.
Jesus is God and there is only one of Him, and He is difference in essence,
being fully human and fully God, and as such He is unique. We on the other
hand at the very best are redeemed men and women, and not God. We have the
divine imprint upon us, but we are human. We function differently from the
essence of life, because we still function in the human condition. We have
Christ (divine essence) living His life through us, within the human condition
that has to battle with sin in us and in the world. This is our struggle in
life. It is the struggle to let the Shepherd live His live in and through us,
while we are still His sheep.

Jesus is that great Shepherd, and we are the sheep of His pasture, and that
includes the 'professional pastors'. John 10 speaks of the 'hireling' leaving
the sheep at the first sign of trouble. No truer picture could be given of the
professional ministry. They are a bunch of hirelings, who really will not lay
down their lives for the sheep. They see themselves as a different clash from
the sheep. But they are not. For just like sheep, as soon as trouble comes,
they run! This is why they are not like Jesus, our shepherd.

This is why we need Jesus to be the head of the body as the body gathers
together. He corrals all the sheep and He cares for the weakest one, and He
leads as He wills moving amongst the sheep. He cares for the sheep and will
lay down His life for the sheep. The professional hireling will run at the
first sign of trouble!

>is big enough to do that in a group of people. How 'bout you? Is the Lord
>big enough to be Lord over the Body of Believers you help plant in a given
>locale? If you say, "of course," then when do 'we' leave and let the saints
>be the saints and live and dwell with each other as they look to the Lord for
>answers instead of the worker?

Agree 100%! But a lot of people are not willing to go there! And a lot of
people still coming into the reality of relational house church are having to
unlearn and the stuff that was foundational in their 'institutionalization'
process when they became sheep within the fold of Christ! Some find it most
difficult to unlearn! I see it weekly!

>In Maslow's hierarchy of human needs safety is one of the most basic things we
>seek. It is only natural for us to want to seek safety and security for the
>fellowship of believers, after all, Jesus said "Feed my Lambs." However, can
>we truly keep the flock safe? Is it our job?

This is one of the problems, the word "hierarchy". I like the book by Frank
Viola, Who is Your Covering?, and I like how he explains from the the biblical
language that hierarchy is not normative within body life of the church. And
our needs should not be looked upon in the same manner either. Yes, we look for
safety, and yes we look for security, but it is all found in the Great Shepherd
and not in ourselves.

In Acts 20, Paul warns the Ephesian elders, and he even tells them that some of
them would essentially fleece the flock. They were to function in a caring and
nurturing way the flock of God and not take advantage of them. Here are the
very words of Paul:

28. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy
Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He
purchased with His own blood.
29. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not
sparing the flock;
30. and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things,
to draw away the disciples after them.
31. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period
of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

>What say you?

Bless you Stephanie for raising up this issue. Only Jesus, the Great
Shepherd can care for the sheep. If He doesn't we are in real trouble. See


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Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 15:17:24 -0500
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together

Sam wrote:

> I cannot speak for the majority of N. American Christians. But in our
circles I have seen a preoccupation with being "unorthodox" more often. Many
people cannot set aside their pet "revelations" long enough to see God in
the greater Body of Christ. You would be amazed at the number of believers
that draw most of their spiritual instruction from the Oprah Winfry show, or
a movie like "The Matrix."

(I happen to enjoy The Matrix myself as entertainment that challenges the
imagination, BTW) But the number of our Christian friends divorcing one
another in total ignorance of God's will for the Christian family is
alarming. And the desire to be more compatible with the world, or
politically correct is in strong evidence when large numbers of believers
are rejecting or claiming ignorance of the historical facts of the faith.

Maybe the desire for acceptance is still at work. It is just a different set
of standards that some are looking at today.

For myself, I did not give much attention to orthodoxy until a few years ago
when 20 some cult members attended a large retreat style gathering some of
the saints in our area hosted. That was a hard lesson. If I had ascertained
more in advance Who the object of their faith was, the brothers and sisters
at that gathering would have been spared much hurt and pain.

It turned out that their faith was in their cult for which they came
recruiting to our area. Now I know that some will compare this to the
perspectives of many denominations. But I tell you that their scheme was far
more diabolical than I have ever seen.

The "other" D.B.

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Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 21:58:52 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: RE: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together

I'm interested in this Bonhoeffer guy... sounds like very interesting


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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 11:15:47 +0700
Subject: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible

You can tell a lot about a culture values by what they teach their children.
The ancient Greeks usd to send their boys to school to learn Homer, math, and
how to do certain dances and play the flute or lyre. Music and dancing were
important aspects of Greek culture that the Greeks thought children had to

Puritans or Separatists started schools in the Massachusettes colonies because
they believed that every child should learn to read so that they could all read
the Bible. Biblical literacy was very important.

In Jesus' day, boys would go to school for 5 years to study the Torah- the
first five books of the Bible. Some continued in school to study other books
of the Bible. The Jewish educational system at this time was very much focused
on learning the scriptures.

I have a friend from Nigeria. He said that in Nigeria, the Bible is a part of
the national curriculum. Nigerians, including Muslims, learn the Bible My
friend says that many ofthe Muslims in Nigeria are actually becoming
Christians. Many move out of the muslim areas to avoid persecution and to get
into a Christian environment, though.

In the United States, kids spend mayb 13,000 plus hours in school in their
lifetimes. They learn math, science, social studies, English literature,
civics, and all kinds of otehr topics.

But how muchtime does the average child spend learning the Bible? If he's not
a Chrstian, probably none. In spite of the fact that scholars think one should
have already read the Bible before going to college, many college students have
never read it.

The sad thing is that so many Christian children and children of Christians
have read so little of the Bible. Many Sunday school books contain a lot of
activities, drawings, and short stories about real-life people, but how many
kids, even high school kids, ever study through a whole book of the Bible in

In a highly liturgical church, a child may grow up hearing responsive readings
of scripture. The preachign might be a verse-by-verse explication of

But in less formalized evangelical churches, which pride themselves in their
fiath in the Bible, there may be no responsive readings. Often, the preacher
practices 'scripture hopping'--preaching on whatever topic he feels is best on
that Sunday. As edifying as such sermons can be, aren't we neglecting to teach
our children the word of God?

If children spend 13,000 hours in schools that don't teach ethics, think how
may hours they spend watching TV? Some may spend as many hours watching TV as
they do in school. Some may spend more. TV teaches children that divorce is
okay if you aren't in love, that it's okay to be gay, and that premarital sex
is okay. TV shows a man who has been wronged, taking up a hand gun and taking
the law into his own hands. The ethics of rich, immoral people who build their
lives upon sand are broadcast all throughout the US, and all around the world.

When children who don't know the word of God get their education from immoral
telivision and amoral schools, what can we expect of them.

So my question is, how do church leaders and church planters set in motion a
model for teaching the Bible to children and new converts (and old converts who
don't know it.) One method I've read about from Bob Fitts is to take turns
reading a couple of verses at a time, and make comments or ask questions after
every couple of verses. There should be someone qualified (spiritually) t
teach so taht he can keep the conversation on focus. some people go through
the whole New Testament in a year doing this.

Does anyone have any experience helping parents get started with Bible-reading
devotions on a regular basis? How would you go about training parents to do
this? What if the parents aren't very qualified to explain the scriptures
themselves? Are there any resources.

There are a lot of areas in the world where there are unbelievers. I've read
about a church planting movement in India which grew to 5,00 churches in around
10 years, and other movement slike that. I imagine a ministry that could come
in behind church planters. Travelling teachers could come in and teach and
help train parents to do Bible devotions in their churches, and train chruch
leaders to actually study the Bible in meetings.

Planting thousands churches sounds like an impossible task when you think you
have to have one man for each church who can preach eloquent sermons. But Paul
and Barnabas were able to leave new chruch plants alone. These churches could
learn and grow by the saitns ministering their gifts one to antoher in
meetings, and also by reading the scriptures in the meetings. Eventually, God
raised up elders to care for these flocks.

In that early stage of a church plant, started by a traveling church planter-
particuarly the church without someone who is a strong teacher, I think there
is a lot of room for a minstry of teaching the people to regularly read through
the Bible together. Eventually, some might grow in knowledge and maturity and
become teachers.

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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 06:26:59 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible

Link, I loved your post on the Bible, and I do believe there is an answer!
It comes as simply one word:


If the churches planted and the ministry poured out spends quality time
laying a strong foundation, then solid knowledge of the what the Word says
will follow.

Truth will propagate truth!

This is part of the normal Christian life.

The problem is that we (the church universal) by and large have not been
living the normal Christian life, or producing the normal Christian church
life for many many years.

When a believer is introduced to the living God and begins reading the living
Word, good stuff happens! :-) I love the 'method' you referenced. That's
exactly how I started reading the Bible when I was first converted to Christ.
No one taught me that though, it just came because ...well it was natural.
Perhaps supernaturally, natural. God was in it. We sought God, "Show us,
Lord, we are your children," and the Lord showed us. The only time that does
not happen is when young Christians are taught that learning and growth comes
from sermons or from following form and ritual.

This taking turns method is simple and ... awesome. It works! Whenever I am
'in charge' of a Bible Study or a teaching, that's how I minister. Believers
WILL respond to the living God if the living God is made known to them.
Unfortunately much of the Bible teaching is as you referenced, either
strictly liturgical, smattered and strung along without continuity and
context, or simply non-existant. This is not the right foundation.

There are HUNDREDS of Christians that I know on a personal level who believe
that it is totally appropriate to create a doctrine based on one
out-of-context verse or another. Perhaps the worse application I have seen
promoted is John's simple greeting which says, "Beloved I pray that you
prosper and are in good health." There are endless sermons preached on that
ONE GREETING which twists God's truth into unrecognizable pop psychology.
Lord have mercy!

Good word Link.
WHo is Bob Fitts. Is he alive?


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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 06:31:11 -0500
From: Bruce P Gordon
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Good comments about Church Planting & DB.

I would recommend Life Together to anyone serious about Christian community in
any form. While DB was from the Lutheran/Reformed persuasion, his thoughts
have much to say to us today. He is always uncompromisingly Biblical,
spiritual & practical. Truly one of the great thinkers and writers of the last

The Lord would show you which of his many perceptive {and often convicting}
thoughts & insights pertain to your situation.

Bruce Gordon
South Windsor, CT

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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 14:15:44 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] One aspect the need for Love in church planting

Jim Rutz wrote:

> Thank you for your highly insightful explanation
> of agape vs. philos. But you've totally lost me.

You made me laugh! Insightful post. Lost audience. I must *not*
have done a very good job communicating. But honest, I tried.

> All I picked up from you was that they're the
> same thing.

Well, ... no. That's not exactly what I was saying. In some cases
they're synonymous. Yes. In other cases they're not. The context is what
provides the clues. Not rigid popular definitions such as 1) AGAPE =
"unconditional love" 2) PHILEO = "brotherly love". Etc. There are such
quantifiable concentrations in certain contexts (for instance, PHILEO is
never used to describe Christ's sacrifice on the cross; it is always AGAPE),
that we can note some semantic parameters. But these are not absolutes. As
I said earlier, AGAPE can appear in the context of sexual lust and rape. Or
desiring food. Or wanting prestige. But these are the rarer usages.

The last post (Dec. 17) on love was the third in a series started on
Dec. 11. I had also tried to emphasize that we are not wise to isolate NT
words from their OT usages, as if the NT writers invented a new post-cross
vocabulary. In other words, self-sacrificing AGAPE was not hatched some
time just before or after the resurrection. It's been around since the
beginning (1 Joh. 2:7, 8-- and pay attention to how John uses the word
"beginning" in his writings: designed to draw our thoughts back to Genesis 1
as well as the infant stages of Christ's ministry). The kind of AGAPE John
highlighted in his first letter has only taken on a clearer expression in
its newer context. The Word manifest in the flesh. But real love was
around even before then. That is, I guess, what I was trying to say.


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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 16:49:13
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible

Link said:

>You can tell a lot about a culture values by what they teach their children.

You are absoloutely correct Link. In our house Church meetings, we focus on
teaching but no so much book by book with theological analysis etc. etc. We
focus on discipling and this involves teaching from the word. Our teaching
however is to equip the believer to become independent of us. To enable them to
walk with God and fulfill his or her specific calling, whatever that may be.

We do not have a manual except the bible and our experience and the Holy Ghost
as our instructor. Very seldom do we preach. All the people with me in this
ministry have been to bible school and school of ministry but we dont go into
the theological aspects too deeply. We touch on the important areas though. And
teach the basic doctrines of our faith. We teach things like, prayer, baptism,
how to be led by the spirit, how to cultivate a deep personal relationship with
God, faith, Evangelism, prophecy, giving, even practical love etc. As you can
see everything here is practical, not theological. Most of what we do is very
practical. We teach evangelism by taking the believers out into the community
with experienced workers, they learn by seeing and doing. There is also a need
for the more structured, book by book type of teaching but we really do not
have sufficient time to do this depth of work. But it is necessary for proper
equipping. We the leaders have had training already and we know the importance
of it.

I think the concept of having teachers follow the planters is excellent. I
could see this as being possible if the House Church "Movement" ( for want of a
better word ) had a network with people resources that could lend support for
this kind of work. At the same time we dont want to begin falling into the trap
of becoming an organised religious denomination. I have had my fill of commitee
meetings and religious exclusivism to last a lifetime.

What I do in the interim is to direct people to bible schools nearby where they
can be taught at this level. The problem I have with this though is that
sometimes I may have differences in opinion concerning some of the doctrines
that are taught in some bible schools. We would have to bring balance where

Perhaps we should be praying that God would begin to raise up people in the
House churches that would have a vision to fulfill this role.

David Jaggernauth.

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Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 17:28:11 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - helpful web sites

Hi List:

Some helpful Bonhoeffer sites.

Sammy Buick

1. Words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Words from Dietrich Bonh&Mac246;ffer Bonh&Mac246;ffer was born in 1906, son of a professor
of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Berlin. He was an
outstanding student, and at the age of 25 becam

2. Bonhoeffer Thoughts and Writings
Learn more about Bonhoeffer's life, and examine his thought and writings.

3. Essay on Bonhoeffer
essay about Bonhoeffer spanning the years from the rise of Nazism until his
death in the Flossenburg concentration camp in 1945.

4. Bonhoeffer - Agent of Grace - Excellent film about Bonhoeffer
companion site to the PBS film about the German clergyman who actively
opposed Hitler and the Nazis, and whose convictions eventually cost him his
life at the hands of the Gestapo.

5. Remembering Bonhoeffer -- by Michael Moeller
Church Day '95 Remembering Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "THE CHILD, THE FOOL, THE
SUFFERER" Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Reflection On His Life and Ministry
Christmas Eve, 1943. Gestapo prison, Berlin, Prinz Albert S

6. Niemoller, Martin: The Resistance (1892-1984)
Article describing the anti-nazi work of the Lutheran Pastor and his
incarceration in concentration camps during World War II.

7. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Widerstand und Ergebung
Entire Elberfelder Bible with Bible reading plan and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

8. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Ecumenical Vision
Article from the Christian Century magazine regarding inter-church
relationships, especially in reaction to the Holocaust.

9. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Home Page
Brief Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906-April 9, 1945)
[also see the Portrait on the Augsburg Fortress Publishers web site] " . . .
The one German theologian who will lead us into the

10. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Books at Amazon is the place to find the spiritual book you want online. We have
Earth's biggest selection, including millions of books, CDs, videos, DVDs,
toys, electronics and more!

11. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
An examination of his work against Nazism. Commissioned by the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum.

12. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Eclectic collection of resources which includes a major translation project
of Bonhoeffer's works, and a link to the Bonhoeffer society.

13. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Todd Kappelman provides an introduction to the life and thinking of Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, an important twentieth century martyr who emphasized radical
commitment to Jesus Christ.

14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Descriptive and analytic article from the Dictionary of Modern Western

15. Deathly Evangelism - interesting interpretation of the Cost of
Addresses church growth, cultural accommodation, popular music and other
concerns as being counter to the message of Lutheran Christian outreach.

16. Click here to buy Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works : Act and Being (Dietrich
Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 2) at
Shop at where you will find a huge selection of books at great
prices. Shop here for Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works : Act and Being (Dietrich
Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 2) and find more books by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

17. Buy Theology Books
Buy the book Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Alexander's hosting services, an Amazon

18. Bonhoeffer's Cell - Bonhoeffer's Life
Bonhoeffer the Prisoner Bonhoeffer the Resister Bonhoeffer the Pastor
Bonhoeffer the Student Bonhoeffer the Child Bonhoeffer's Cell BONHOEFFER'S
LIFE (1906-1923) Born in Breslau in 1906

End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #118

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