New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

Dec 21, 2001 Vol 01 : 120

NT Church Proliferation Digest Friday, December 21 2001 Vol 01 : 120

[ntcp] God Inc. Cont.
Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible
[ntcp] E v e r y
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together
Re: [ntcp] E v e r y
[ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together
[ntcp] What to do with kids during worship?
Re: [ntcp] E v e r y
[ntcp] H2H taking big step... why not support them! [from Sam]

Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 13:44:09 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: [ntcp] God Inc. Cont.

GOD INC. Continued

This truth is foundational to the remainder of our case contrasting man's ways
with God's ways. God puts us together by His Spirit, through The Blood of His
Son, not by the wisdom of men and their paper work.

Where group identification is concerned, The group is the kingdom of God. The
kingdom of God is a mystery, not apprehended or seen except by those who are
born again.1 It is one thing to identify worldly groups and purposes by
incorporation, but to attempt to identify the church by such means, is
misleading to new converts, and a fraud on the general public, on the lost. To
suggest to the world that it can identify the Kingdom of God by incorporation,
is to deny the clear teaching of Scripture.

When the children of God "go down to Egypt", when they depend on "the arm of
the flesh", The Holy Spirit is grieved. The Gospels tell us that Jesus,
"wouldn't" or "couldn't" do any miracles in His home town. As Jesus Himself
explained it, the problem was a lack of honor. Honor is the operative link to
the power of God by the Holy Spirit, whether in Jesus or us as believers.
Reliance on the "work of man's hands", always dishonors the Spirit, and has
historically been the deathnell for every out pouring of the Holy Spirit, every

In the parallels cited above, we have tried to bring this truth to the surface
as a foundational principle having relevance to all of these points. Even where
God initiated a work, when man takes over, God vacates. God does not, and will
not occupy the "work of man's hands", He "will not give His glory to another."

"Church membership", as it is presently understood and practiced, amounts to
nothing less than institutional circumcision, and is entangled with all of the
considerations and motivations described in Galatians.2

2. Exclusive right to title:

This is precisely the motivation that was working in those who were building
the tower of Babel.3 But, there was, and is another name, one that those
builders rejected, and one which continues to be rejected by latter day tower
builders.4 It is to that name only that we must cling.5 To name ourselves, to
organize under any lesser name than Jesus, or worse, to label a part as if it
is the whole, is to establish and concretize division. To do so is to
demonstrate that we haven't heard the true gospel. It calls into question
whether we have been united to Christ.6 It shows that we are childish.7 By it
we destroy The Body of Christ.8 Not only are we admonished not to cause
division, but to avoid those who do.9 Ours is a different way.10 Even at the
close of the New Testament, this principle of oneness was still firmly in place
as we see the Lord writing to the churches in Asia, and addressing them by the
name of the towns where they were.11 The Lord again encouraged their oneness.12
and rebuked their falling away.13

3. Right to own property:

1 JOH 3:3,5, EPH 3:7-13 2 GAL 6:12-15, 3 GEN 11:6 4ACT 4:16 5 ACT 4:12 6 PHI
2:1-4 7 1CO 1:11-13, 3:1-4, 11-15 8 GAL 5:13-15 9 ROM 16:17,18, TIT 3:10,11 10
JAM 3:13-18, 4:11,12, 5:9, 1PE 1:22, 2:1,17, 3:8, 1JO 3:10-12, 4:7-21, 2JO 5:6
11 REV 1:11 12 REV 2:4,5 13 REV 3:1-3 There is no evidence in the Scripture,
and considerable indication to the contrary, where the ownership of property,
as the church is concerned. Private people sold property from time to time to
give to the church, the proceeds of which were used to meet the needs of the
saints, not purchase property or erect buildings. As the church, we are
admonished to avoid friendship with the world. While Jesus was and is the
friend of sinners, he was never the friend of the world system, and neither
should we.

4. Limited liability:

Once again, there is no evidence in the Scripture, that the people of God, as
the church should have limited liability at the hands of the state. If our
liability is limited, it is limited under the sovereignty of God. Our call is
to lay our lives down for one another. Through incorporation, however, the
people of God have insulated themselves, not only from the world, but from each
other. By limited service to institutions rather than unlimited service to each
other, we have cut the credibility out from under the Gospel, and manifested a
level of commitment inferior to that of most fraternal organizations.

5. Tax exemption on property:

If the church was not encumbered with property, it would have no need for tax
exemption. As it is, however, the tax supported services of the state are
provided to the church free of charge, and at the expense of the unsaved tax
payers. This was not the way of John. 1 Jesus said to those who represented a
shadow of the Kingdom to Come. "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that
are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

6. Tax exemption on income:

This is a bit more problematic. The kingdom of God is in us, or in our midst,
or among us.2 The borders of the kingdom are between soul and spirit in the
lives of the believers.3 The Kingdom of God is in the Spirit.4 The government
of the Kingdom is on Jesus' shoulder.5

When we, as believers, earn money in our secular work, in us that money enters
the kingdom. At the border (between soul and spirit) taxes must be paid to
Caesar, for God does not owe any man anything. Once the taxes are paid at the
border, the "transactions" which go on in the church are none of Caesar's
business. The truth in God is that the believers are one, as Jesus and the
Father are one. Therefore, the flow of assets in the body, are not transactions
between seperate individuals, but only the provision of the body which is
building itself up in love.

This is why the church must not be tax exempt. In Malachi, 6 the people of God
are spoken of as being His jewels, His treasure. Tax exemption invites the
ambassador of Babylon into the treasure house of The Lord.7 Indeed, tax
exemption gives the tax authorities of this world a right to enter into the
treasure house of the Lord. When Hezekiah, an otherwise righteous king, did
this, the consequence was that the people of God were carried off into

1 3JO 7, 2 LUK 17:21, 3 HEB 4:12, 4 ROM 14:17, 5 ISA 9:6, 6 MAL 3:16-18, 7 2KI

7. Tax deductability:

Tax deductability requires that contributions to the church be made known to
the authorities, in order to be credited as deductable. Jesus said "Be careful
not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you
do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."1

While it is likely that the people of God would be in trouble if intra-body
transactions were not reported for tax purposes, but that is another matter,
and not unanticipated by the Scriptures. Certainly the doing of alms before men
for credit, a requirement of tax exemption, is not the will of God according to
the clear teaching of Scripture.

As the people of God, we must face up to the clear teaching of Scripture.
Matthew tells us that we, "... will be hated by all nations..."2 Tax
deductability, in light of our high calling, unshakable positon, and destiny at
the hands of the nations is ridiculous on its face.

8. Mechanism for accountability:

The Lord knows about accountability. Paul also knew about accountability.3 But,
there is no indication that a corporation is required. In fact, in the hostile
envirnoment, which Scripture suggests is normal to the church, a corporation is
an obvious liability

9. An appearance of substance and continuity in time:

"The just shall live by faith." "Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
and the evidence of things unseen."3 The arguement that a corporation is needed
for this purpose, is so foreign to the Scripture, that it hardly needs to be
argued. Whether substance, continuity, power, faithfulness or fruitfulness, It
is "not by might, nor by power, (incorporation), but by my Spirit', says the
Lord Almighty." Corporations and institutions generally, give the people of God
an improper, and unfortunately preferable, object of faithfulness. The reason
stems from limited liability. To open your life up to the Lord, and to people,
you have to die, but involvement with an institution can be limited. It leaves
us in control.

Jesus is Lord of relationship! With this in mind, and looking back through the
perspective of the New Testament at I Samuel, we see an example, written down
for our instruction, where the people of God rejected God as king. They went to
Samuel demanding that he appoint a king over them like the rest of the nations.
They did not want to come under the kings of the gentiles, they wanted their
own king.

A present day equivalent would be for us to desire to have a "christian" king
over us. In the context of today's church, more often than not, this "king"
takes the form of one man pastoral oversight as distinct from the plurality of
eldership seen in the New Testament. Keeping in mind that this king was desired
as a result of the rejection of God as king, we can then learn by example the
kind of things that happen when we come under men, even Christian leaders,
rather than the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Men will run you ragged with their
programs, "chasing chariots. Men will put you in bondage, "slavery". Men will
take a tenth, just for openers. Etc, etc, and on it goes..

1 MAT 6:1-4 2 MAT 24:9, 3 2CO 8:16-21 3 HEB 11:1

No man made anything can be instrumental in communicating Christ in His
fullness without a willingness to self-destruct. This is to say, Institutions
and programs, any man made structures have a vested interest in
self-preservation. They will come short in communicating at the point where the
liberty of Christ's salvation conflicts with the bondage of human doing. Quite
simply, institutions cannot afford to tell us the truth because, where Jesus is
concerned, it is bad for business.

We as christians may have use for corporations, where certain kinds of ministry
are concerned, especailly as relates to material things, but even in those
cases, we must be very careful in using the things of this world. There is no
place for incorporation as the church or a church. The Church is, and will
remain a "great mystery" until the coming of The Lord.

Sorry about the length of this, but I'll be away until the 31st. I wish you all
very blessed holidays.


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

Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 19:52:26 +0100
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Really teaching the Bible

David Jaggernauth said:
>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.

This is exactly where the concept of an organic group of local housechurches
functioning together under a local eldership comes into it's own. For more
information you can download "The Organic Church" together with latest updates


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

Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 15:19:58 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [ntcp] E v e r y

CHINA AND INDIA: Three reasons for church growth The continued growth of
Christian churches in China - mostly underground house churches - has
something to do with three convictions widespread among Chinese
Christians. The Chinese love the progression ìgood, better, best,î so the
three mottoes are "It is good for a Christian to lead someone to Christ.
It is better to plant a church. It is best to plant a church-planting
movement," according to Steve Steele, CEO of Dawn Ministries. "Indian
Christians have three similar convictions. Every Christian can plant a
church; every house can become a church; every church can become a Bible

Source: Steve Steele, Dawn Ministries,

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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 13:41:13 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together

Jay Ferris wrote:

> Dear Michael:
> Early on, as I thought about the roots
> of IC, at least, in our own period of
> history, the following considerations
> ocurred to me:

Hi Jay. I really liked your post entitled "God Inc.". I see your point. I
think I might have mentioned that I went home to the U.S. two summers ago and I
was shocked at how "corporate" my sending church seemed to me. There is truth
to yours and Sam's indictments. But what I was trying to say to Sam was that
in some instances HC people seem to take their case too far. And this damages
their crediblity. They sometimes (often?) make over-wide sweeping statements
which don't stand up under scrutiny. I'm all for exposing abuse and hypocrisy.
Go for it! But make sure the rhetoric matches the reality. That's all I'm
trying to say. Now, let's get back to Bonhoeffer! And community.


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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 08:20:32 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] E v e r y

Hi David:

This is very good. While I was on my on journey of discovery about the NT
church and what the current church could be, the Lord gave me a vision of
what the church could become and this is what I pray for each day:

I have a vision, a wonderful vision, and I pray and work toward its

Every person a worshipper.
Every person discipled, equipped and released in their calling and gifting.
Every person a minister.
Every home a house church.
Every house church pregnant and expectant to birth another church in God's
Every house church expanding through multiplication of house churches
throughout our cities pushing back the kingdom of darkness and expanding the
Kingdom of God.


Sammy Buick

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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 09:06:43 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together

Sammy, Thank you so much for talking to me. Sometimes we sisters get the
feeling that we are the 'black sheep' in the family, and it is so
unaffirming. Bless you brother, for your response.

You mentioned so very much in your post that caught my attention and spurred
my heart to leap, the most primary being that Jesus is our Shepherd.

To me, this is the crux of the trouble with the modern-day church. It is not
whether or not people are paid to do itinerant ministry, or the varying
levels of maturity in the body, the different expressions of worship, or the
place we meet, etc., it is the lack of reality in relating to our Lord as
Lord and Shepherd.

I have an article I wrote called "Who is the Man in Your Life" on file on my
server. If you are interested in reading further application of this
Shepherd issue I will be happy to send it to you.

Someone mentioned (Michael, perhaps) in a recent post that the rhetoric must
match the reality. Yeah amen! It must, it must! However, it must begin
with the foundation. If Jesus is Lord, then He is Lord. If He is Head, then
we must allow Him to be Head. Instead, we have a bunch of well-meaning
mini-heads running around usurping His role. However, as prevalent as this
is, it is simply not true across the board, so I cannot agree with your
sweeping statement about the hirelings. I too, know paid pastors whose
hearts have been seared and whose lives have been laid down for the building
up of the Body. They are a rare breed, but they are there.

aom_canada writes:

> 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.
> 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.

Yes, yes, and yes again. All is found in the Great Shepherd, and not in
ourselves. Threre's not a speck of that statement that I disagree with. I
brought up hierarchy because some human needs ARE more essential than others.
We need air more than we need a roof over our heads. Do we need the roof?
Yes, of course, but we can live without it on the street. We need food more
than we need to be self-actualized. Do we need to walk with a sense of
purpose and meaning? Yes, of course, but we could live without it, but not
without food. See what I mean? Sometimes I think we create an imaginary bin
in our brains and label it 'dirty words.' To many hc'ers, the word heirarchy
gets tossed in there. Hierarchy is simply a word, just like rhetoric is a
word. Rhetoric is an art, and a something that every single one of us on
this list enjoy and make use of. How do I know? Well, we wouldn't have
subscribed if we didn't want to communicate. Rhetoric can be used to persuade
and influence each other's thoughts, or it can be used to control and
manipulate. Should we stop being persuasive or logical in our discussions
because some people use rhetoric to a coercive, evil end?

Same with hierarchy. Should we ditch the fact that the Lord calls us to care
for one another with a shepherd's heart and slam those that walk in that
calling because of the manipulating fleecers of the flock? These are
important questions.

Let us continue to discuss them with grace and dependence upon our Lord to
shed the Light.

Thanks again!

Stephanie Bennett
Horizon Creative Services & Consulting
Marketing Solutions for the 21st Century

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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 09:15:33 -0800
From: "George Patterson"
Subject: [ntcp] What to do with kids during worship?

I received this from Ometepec, Mexico (Anne Thiessen); it may help those who still find it hard to know what to do with the children during worship:
We want the children to participate, so we meet together before the worship with the kids and practice acting out either the Old Testament or New Testament reading (whichever is more story-like). We learn a song together and a verse for them to share, too, which we practice over time so that the kids really get them. During the service the kids act out the reading, which, before, had often been poorly read and even more poorly understood by the illiterate tribal people. The adults have a visual aid; the kids enjoy participation that doesn't require much planning. The group gets used to allowing things that are "fun." Drama and music are introduced in a non-threatening way.

If adults watch the rehearsal, so much the better. It means more prompters and better understanding. It's kind of fun.

I let the older kids take more and more responsibility for this. I help them to pick out from the Bible passages the dialogue for the younger children to speak or act out, and to summarize the story in kid-sized words. Adults, young people and children who've never helped lead in a church before now jump in and put their whole heart into it, learning as they grow. It's amazingly freeing.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 12:51:04 -0600
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [ntcp] E v e r y

> "It is good for a Christian to lead someone to Christ. It is better to
> plant a church. It is best to plant a church-planting movement,"
> according to Steve Steele, CEO of Dawn Ministries. "Indian
> Christians have three similar convictions. Every Christian can plant a
> church; every house can become a church; every church can become a
> Bible school."

The Chinese and Indian believers have a lot to teach us
Westerners! Can you imagine what would happen worldwide if the
above reasonings became the way all Christians came to
understand their role in the Great Commission?

This paradigm shift in thinking about our role as Christians in the
world is one of the biggest challenges we face as missionaries. The
mindset is so instilled that only a certain few are called to go out
and plant NT churches. Until this mindset is overcome the job of
world evangelization will likely never be completed!

Guy Muse

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
J. Guy & Linda Muse
IMB-SBC Missionaries
Casilla 09-01-3236
Guayaquil, ECUADOR

tlf: (direct dial from USA) 011-593-4-238-2386
fax: (efax number in USA) 1-509-275-0721

"God's plan in these last days is revival
in His worldwide church and through the
revived church the reaping of a final great
harvest of souls." --N. Grubb

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 20:02:46 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [ntcp] H2H taking big step... why not support them! [from Sam]

Forwarded from: "Samuel Buick" [Fwd to: New Testament Church Proliferation, hctalk,

Hi list members of New Testament Church Proliferation,

This is a very important email. Please read it and consider s*bscribing to
House2House Magazine, for a suggested donation. Read the email carefully.

I s*bscribe to the magazine. That means I pay for it. With this new development
at House2House, and it is a big step for them and a huge risk, I want to
encourage you to do 4 things.

1. Try the magazine out online first at . All the articles
are there from all four issues to date. You can get a taste of it right online,
and you are free to download any articles you may want to read off line. Then
if you like it, email them to subscribe to the magazine. They will take ANY
amount donation. If you can afford a coffee once a day at Starbucks, you can
afford a subscription.

2. Pass this on to friends who are asking about house church and about the need
for more interactive and participatory church experience, and those interested
in missions. House church movements are the easiest way to reproduce NT
ekklesia in the world in which the culture of the indigenous peoples are
respected without the infringement of our western cultural trappings of
contemporary Christianity. Invite people to try out the magazine for themelves
and encourage them to support this ministry as an equipping and mission
ministry. This ministry reaches all the continents and a host of diverse people
and nations.

3. Pray for this ministry to increase. The more this type of material gets out
there, the more the HC movement will impact and influence the contemporary
Christian mindsets and worldview. Pray, that through prayer and our financial
support, the Kingdom will advance in the earth, and many many more will begin
to experience the ekklesia body ministry we so cherish amongst ourselves.

4. You can use your own creative side by writing and submitting articles,
testimonies and letters to the magazine. I have embraced this particular form
of support and I have several articles being published in upcoming issues. You
too, you can contribute in this fashion. All the articles are written by people
who live out and experience church in the house for themselves and who want to
share what the Lord is doing in various house church movements.

Please consider supporting House2House. Please read the email below from H2H
editors that I received this morning.


Sam Buick

- -----

Dear H2H Authors,

We can hardly believe that our first year is almost behind us. Without each of
you, this magazine would not even exist. It has been your support, especially
those of you who have chosen to subscribe, to pray, and write for us, that has
given us the courage to keep going. Thank you.

Over the past few months we have been wrestling with an interesting dilemma.
The message of House2House magazine is obviously proving to be a blessing to
many. Mission groups from traditional churches have been putting the magazine
into the hands of all of their church planters, cell churches giving copies to
all of their cell group leaders. There are missionaries who are using articles
to help them in the establishing of church planting movements in other parts of
the world. We have had requests from two countries for permission to publish
the magazine in those countries. We have had reports and letters from many
other parts of the world of people who are enjoying the magazine online.
However, we have been running this magazine on a subscription basis and some
people have not had access to the magazine.

With this in mind, we have felt that it would be more appropriate for a
ministry-based magazine such as House2House to switch from charging a
subscription to suggesting a reasonable donation, while making it quite clear
that we will willingly send the magazine to anyone who requests it. We want
this ministry to be financially viable. At the same time we believe that the
Lord will provide through any sources that He chooses. We don't want anyone to
feel that they can't regularly receive this magazine just because they are
short of money.

The purpose of the magazine is best summed up in our mission statement that we
want to help saturate and transform communities with radical, home-based church
planting movements. Clearly our goal is mission. Our method is to get out a
message. In addition to this magazine, we are also producing an online house
church community, to help facilitate the communication between those involved
in house churches around the world. We are producing various resources and
materials, including, a video series, audio tapes, and literature to help
people start and multiply home churches.

So from this point onwards we are going to provide the magazine on a donation
basis to all who request it. We will ask that we hear from you occasionally so
that we know that you actually want the magazine! If you have already paid a
subscription, and want to request your subscription money back we will gladly
refund it. It isn't that we don't need the money, but we feel that integrity
demands that everyone, especially those who have helped by subscribing, should
be able to receive the magazine on the same basis.

Please pass this information on to friends who might be interested. There will
be an envelope in each issue so that those who are led by the Lord to support
the ministry can do so. People can also make donations by credit card on our
website at . When you support House2House, you
are partnering with us to saturate and transform communities with radical,
home-based church planting movements.

Keep praying for us, that we may be able to see this ministry move forward in
the Lord's way, and through His means.

The Editorial Team

P.S. Please take the time to forward this link to everyone you know along with
a personal note recommending that people subscribe to this free magazine.

End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #120

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