New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


Dec 27, 2001 Vol 01 : 123

NT Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, December 27 2001 Vol 01 : 123


Re: [ntcp] What way or how should House Churches relate to or> interact with the IC? response to David
[ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Springboarding
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Springboarding
Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - BRUDERATH


Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 02:04:55 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [ntcp] What way or how should House Churches relate to or> interact with the IC? response to David

Hi David:

> From: "David Jaggernauth"
>
> Michael said:
>
> "Sam, do you realize that you are here employing the terminology of the
> IC creeds, particularly Athanasus'? It might do you good to admit that you
> too-- like those you are calling to task-- ultimately cannot escape the IC.
> It is like the air you use to lambaste it. "
>
>
> I would like to raise an issue here for discussion that I have been dealing
> with for a while. What way or how should House Churches relate to or
> interact with the IC(I am assuming this means institutional Church)??

Good question David, and a difficult one to answer. It depends on the
context of the IC. There are some IC's I have nothing whatsoever to do
with. I know where they are coming from, and I know their agenda, and they
are out to ridicule and denigrate anyone who is a "threat", perceived or
otherwise to the IC.

To that end, I have retained my credentials with an IC denomination that
actually endorses and supports the HC movement and my own involvement within
it. I wrestled the better part of a year as to whether to surrender my
credentials or retain them. I have chosen to retain them. The Lord
convinced me in several ways.

First, Paul was still a Pharisee and was recognized as such, even when
Judaism and its institutions rejected him and his message. While the IC
does not reject the cross, it does in many ways reject the HC understanding
of the church and its leadership structures and the understanding of body
ministry which we all dearly cherish. So, like Paul, I retain my
credentials, so that I "might win some" (within the IC).

Second, the leadership of the IC denomination actively support and pray for
me. They continue to have me speak at regional conferences and let me put
together teaching tools for church planters that may be considering planting
HC. I got the overwhelming endorsement from one of the IC pastors who had
planted HC in Spain for 25 years! So, until there is outright rejection of
my calling in planting HC, I will continue to identify with this
denominational fellowship.

Third, the denominational IC is foundationally a congregational structured
form of government and recognizes the independence of each congregation. We
are connected relationally, which is one of my HC beliefs that I hold dear.
We should be building relational networks through our regions and nations
that can be utilized in doing outreaches and missions without duplicating
resources or people. This I agree with wholeheartedly.

These are the reasons I still hold credentials with my IC denomination.
BTW, I believe they are very much the exception and not the rule. I won't
hold my breath for any other IC denomination to do likewise!

> In my personal experience, my wife and myself were lied about and attempts
> were made to totally discredit us in front of the Church we came from. My
> wife's own sister (who is her twin and was very close to her) beagan to say
> hurtful things about her that were lies, about myself as well. The pastor
> has gone out of his way to turn the hearts of the poeple against us like we
> were devils.

People always demonize what they do not understand and what they perceive to
be a threat to their establishment. This looks to me like a classic case of
it. My own mother in law (wife of a pastor) continued to say, "When are you
going to go to a real church?" We invited her out to our Passover gathering
this past April. She was astounded and in shock and she loved the intimacy,
the meal we shared together, the discussion and the testimonies, and the
prayer and ministry that was taking place. She has not once brought it up
again to us. But, there are others, and they continue to treat us like we
have the plague. My two daughters (13 and 12) are on a Bible Quiz team at
the neighbourhood Missionary Church (the pastor is a close friend of mine)
and they went to a quiz in Detroit recently. They were pestered all the way
down by the adult couple that accompanied the kids on the trip. The adults
wanted to know why they were not going to church. Finally, my 13 year old,
Caitlin said, "Look we ARE the church, and we cannot go to ourselves! We
choose to gather with others who ARE the church, and we have chosen to
gather on Friday nights. What's the big deal? The church is not a building,
it is the Body of Jesus gathered together around Him. And that is what
happens when we gather on Friday nights!" I really admired her for that!
But why should they be harassed by 50 somethings!

>
> We do not feel any hurt or bitterness toward them, we know they just cannot
> see nor understand. I am going to another Church, however I am not involved
> in any of the activities in this Church. The pastor here is a very open guy
> and has a heart for people. He uses the money in the Church to build houses
> for people (even when he didnt have one), help people pay their mortgages
> when they cant, give food and clothes to the poor etc.

To be sure that you harbour no bitterness, start praying prayers of blessing
upon them, and really mean it! Pray blessing without measure upon them and
that the blessings would overflow. If you can do it without any bitterness,
then you certainly are over it. If you can't, then you better take it to
the Lord and start blessing them! Believe me it works! It was my own
experience.

> he is a very good man
> and he told me that i am free to do whatever i want in this Church.

That description of the pastor was almost too good to be true, and I knew it
was when you wrote the line above, "he told me that i am free to do whatever
i want in this Church". How nice of him! Imagine that! He gave you the
freedom to do whatever you want in this church. Did he mean "this church"
or "his church". In either case, it isn't his, and it has nothing to do
with the building or the programs. It has everything to do with the people
and the relationships you have with people. If you have been relating with
and ministering with people, it has nothing remotely to do with him. So,
get over it, and continue to do what the Lord has enabled you to do and
purposed you to do, and that is to BE His body amongst the people. It is
all about relationship and about being who you were meant to be in Christ
and through Christ.

> I havent been able to completely share our HC vision with him yet because i
> dont want rock the boat too much.

If you really want to be a HC, then pray about it, and share it with those
who have a similar vision and understanding, and then start hanging out
together relationally. The hardest part about HC is the relationships.
People have no problem getting together for an intended purpose or goal, and
that is usually what the IC church is about, goals, visions, and everyone
jumping in to get the "job done!" This is not HC!

The HC is about relationships. It is about intimacy with Jesus and other
brothers and sisters who want to be real and want to experience the reality
of Jesus in their lives and want to share their lives, warts and all with
other believers. They want to grow together and discover the abundant life
together. You try sharing that with the pastor or people who are not ready
for HC, and they will torpedo your boat and kick you overboard from theirs!

>I know we are in for a lot of persecution
> from the IC here, though not necesarily from this Church.

Persecution is a relative term. What is the worst they can do to us in our
Western culture? Destroy our reputations and bad mouth us to other
believers? Well, the flesh must die, so let's get on with it!

> many of them will
> be offended by what we teach and practice

If they are offended, well too bad! Let them get over it and move on,
because you are moving on in your destiny in Christ and what He desires to
do in and through your home! Wow! Embrace it! Go for it!

> (because it takes away their power over the people).

That is the biggest threat to the IC and the professional clergy...POWER
OVER PEOPLE is not RELEASING THE BODY IN MINISTRY, and MONEY AND PROGRAMS
are not GIVING AND BODY LIFE! The IC doesn't by its very design and
structure embody body life and ministry!

Don't feel guilty about this. This is the reality. My wife said it best to
me. I thought many of our friends would understand. They didn't. I was
hurt that they didn't. I had known some of these folks for years. We hung
out together and we did things together, but I never really knew them. I
only thought I did. Then my wife said to me, "Sam, unless they get a
revelation from the Lord about the house church, it won't matter what you or
anyone else says. They will reject it. In fact, I bet you if they even had
a divine encounter, some of them would still reject it and maybe say it was
something they ate the night before!" So, I decided to not worry about it.
Unless the Lord gives them the revelation and they believe it, it just
doesn't matter.

> I have set about starting house meetings some with believers from ICs. We
> teach and disciple them so that they can run the HC meeting themselves and
> go into the community to win souls. God has been sending many IC "refugees"
> to us that i know it is God doing something great. We now have two meetings
> established and are in the process of starting four more. I met a couple
> yesterday who have been burnt by the Church and are disillusioned with what
> the full Gospel churches here are portraying as Christianity. They are both
> well trained and experienced and I am going to see them on Friday. We will
> soon have a meeting at their house I hope.

It is good to see what the Lord is doing and is desiring to do. Please
Brother, do not jump into doing meetings. It is about building
relationships and going deeper in intimacy with Jesus and with one another.
The activities that are planned in meetings, are really not all that
different from IC meetings. It is not about meetings. It is about a
gathering of people who desire deep intimacy with Jesus and one another and
who want the abundant life to flow not only when they gather, but all day
long. It is about becoming community. It is about becoming family. All of
it is based on relationships and NOT on meetings and the activities done in
meetings. If you are running meetings like a glorified small group meeting,
then it is not different than the IC meetings. You have simply decided to
relocate the meeting in a house, and give the activities over to other
people. The HC is about letting Jesus lead the gathering, and lead the
interchange and direction by the Holy Spirit, and everyone gathered brings
something and engages in the activity of the Spirit taking place. Please
Brother be careful.

> The institutional Church has many believers who are disillusioned. They are
> a ready resource to tap into. If we are planting HCs we need people to run
> them.

Actually you need to all sit at the feet of Jesus, and let Jesus be the head
of the meeting, and you need to learn to sit in His presence, and you need
to learn to wait there and to listen, for He will speak, if you wait in His
presence, and He will do much more than you can even comprehend. But it is
all relational, and it is all around Jesus being the head. It has nothing
to do with having "people run the meetings". O God help us if this is what
HC is going to become!

> With regards to my old Church, I would like to make peace with the pastor
> there but dont know how. He is a proud man. One of the problems I am having
> is that I am connected to an independent ministry that he is also connected
> to and he doesnt want my wife or myself ministering in this ministry. The
> people who run the ministry want us though.

Just tell him you are moving on in the vision God has given you and that you
would like to remain on good terms. If he refuses to bless you, that's
fine. Just walk away knowing that you gave him an opportunity to bless you
and he didn't. Don't grieve over it. You appear to have a big issue with
the whole professional clergy thing. He is just an ordinary man in a human
religious structure. There is nothing biblical about this that you need to
be concerned about. Just go and be what God called you to be and try to
live at peace with all men (Heb. 12).

> I have submitted myself to the counsel of a elderly Leader here who
> functions very much like a true apostle. My old pastor calls him his own
> pastor but he does not always listen or agree with him. This elder ( call
> him Pastor Baird ) was trying to counsel me concerning my relationship with
> the old Church. At first he said we should go back and continue our work
> without any intereference from the Church but we explained that our
> philosophical differences makes that almost impossible. he said he wanted
> time to think about it. I had a meeting with him last week ( incidentally he
> left his own Church which he started to plant house Churches ). He told me
> that he has been through every move in the Church within the last 40 years
> and he is convinced the the HC move is the direction the Church has to go in
> for the Church to move forward ( he even recommended House to House to me ).
> Regarding our relationship with the IC, he said that sometimes in God's
> economy , the existence of a state of tension between two entities is
> necessary and not necessarily out of sync with God's purposes. Tension is a
> natural force of nature and there are things in Gods creation that must
> exist in a state of tension.
>
> This counsel laid to rest for me my concerns about relational stresses with
> the IC. If God is in the HC move, he is building and he is pulling down, not
> me.

Yes David, this is true. God is indeed building a new thing, a relational
church movement that embodies family life, and that can only truly be found
in the dynamics that exist in a home, and thus, HC is really in the heart of
God, and always has been. It is man that has screwed it up not God!

> I would like to hear some comments from others about this issue of how we
> should relate to the IC.
>
>
> David Jaggernauth

Blessings to you David as you pursue hard after Jesus. He wants dynamic
relational churches that are families of faith. He wants to see such
intimacy with Him and with other members of the body, that He will go to all
kinds of trouble and mischief (toward us) to make it come to pass,
including those tensions you were talking about. He is going to be the head
of the church, and He is going to accomplish His purposes! Get on for the
biggest ride of your life!

Blessings,

Sammy Buick
www.dwellingplacehop.org


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


Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 06:50:46 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Springboarding


Hello Sam, and all interested parties,

aom_canada writes:
>>
Bonhoeffer was dead to the flesh more than you or anyone else could ever know.
It was not the same terminology you and I would use, but in Bonhoeffer we read
of his dying to the self, we read of his desire that Christ would increase in
him and that his own would decrease.
>>

Terminology is an important consideration here. In my discipline we called
this very issue, "semantic noise." It is a very real phenomenon that occurs
when attempting to communicate, and that which makes it challenging to discuss
cross-cultural, intergenerational theology, even IF we are speaking the same
language. Semantic noise is similar to other types of background noise that
gets in the way of genuine impartation of ideas and thoughts, and it happens in
every setting, not just discussions about theology.
>>

>You cannot equate the flesh with your identity as a person. While the flesh
>dies and is crucified in Christ, your personality never diminishes. In fact it
>flourishes in Christ and who you are can truly be expressed in everything that
>Christ destined you to become.

This was cool, Sam. I really appreciated you putting it in these words. So
often there is a confusion in the matter, and we think that it is our
personality which "stinketh." Not so. (Well, perhaps so, but it is a
completely different matter from the flesh. :>)

This is an important consideration when church planting takes place on the traditional
'missionary field,' for we are not called to transform culture, personality,
and mores, but to bring CHRIST to all nations. Our Lord will and does work
through all cultures and personalities. God is not after an American church
throughout the globe. He is not after a democratic church, or a politically,
evangelically correct church.

We are called to introduce others to the Living Word, not introduce a correct
personality, or redeemed personality, or a so-called holier personality. To
my mind, there is no such animal. When Christ gets ahold of a person, it is
getting ahold of the whole man --- He is interested in taking up residence
within that one, and Lordship over the whole person. With that surrender to
Him comes the regeneration -- the inkling of the NEW CREATION. (2 cor.
5:17). --- Then, the often slow, lifelong process of the transformation of
the soul.

Come to think of it, when church planting in our very own culture, it is the same
principle, is it not?

We are called with the same calling wherever we are located on this earth,
and that is not to go about laying waste to the individual personalities of
people, but to point to the Living Lamb, the one who was slain, and lives
again in each of us. When it comes to the flesh, God surely uses body life
to annililate the flesh through a daily dying, but it is HIS job, not ours,
yes?

Thanks for your thoughts Sam.

Merry Christmas, all.
Stephanie

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


Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 09:20:58 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Springboarding

Hi Steph:

Blessed Christmas to you as well! Thanks for your comments. I just wanted
to comment a couple of times.

Sam

From: Steffasong

Hello Sam, and all interested parties,

aom_canada@hotmail.com writes:
>>
Bonhoeffer was dead to the flesh more than you or anyone else could ever know.
It was not the same terminology you and I would use, but in Bonhoeffer we read
of his dying to the self, we read of his desire that Christ would increase in
him and that his own would decrease.
>>

Terminology is an important consideration here. In my discipline we called
this very issue, "semantic noise." It is a very real phenomenon that occurs
when attempting to communicate, and that which makes it challenging to discuss
cross-cultural, intergenerational theology, even IF we are speaking the same
language. Semantic noise is similar to other types of background noise that
gets in the way of genuine impartation of ideas and thoughts, and it happens in
every setting, not just discussions about theology.

Agree 100 %! This is why I think there has been a great deal of frustration
with some members of the list in the first place. We use similar if not exact
words which have completely different context and meaning.
>>

You cannot equate the flesh with your identity as a person. While the flesh
dies and is crucified in Christ, your personality never diminishes. In fact it
flourishes in Christ and who you are can truly be expressed in everything that
Christ destined you to become.

This was cool, Sam. I really appreciated you putting it in these words. So
often there is a confusion in the matter, and we think that it is our
personality which "stinketh." Not so. (Well, perhaps so, but it is a
completely different matter from the flesh. :>)

Thanks Steph. I think this is a critical issue as you have clearly pointed out
below. :-)

This is an important consideration when church planting takes place on the
traditional 'missionary field,' for we are not called to transform culture,
personality, and mores, but to bring CHRIST to all nations. Our Lord will and
does work through all cultures and personalities. God is not after an American
church throughout the globe. He is not after a democratic church, or a
politically, evangelically correct church.

We are called to introduce others to the Living Word, not introduce a correct
personality, or redeemed personality, or a so-called holier personality. To my
mind, there is no such animal. When Christ gets ahold of a person, it is
getting ahold of the whole man --- He is interested in taking up residence
within that one, and Lordship over the whole person. With that surrender to Him
comes the regeneration -- the inkling of the NEW CREATION. (2 cor. 5:17). ---
Then, the often slow, lifelong process of the transformation of the soul.

Theologically I believe in the ORDO SALUTIS in Rom. 8. Regeneration is not the
end result of the salvation process but the beginning. See. Rom. 8 28 ff.

Come to think of it, when church planting in our very own culture, it is the
same principle, is it not?

Very much so!

We are called with the same calling wherever we are located on this earth, and
that is not to go about laying waste to the individual personalities of people,
but to point to the Living Lamb, the one who was slain, and lives again in each
of us. When it comes to the flesh, God surely uses body life to annililate the
flesh through a daily dying, but it is HIS job, not ours, yes?

AB Simpson, father of the C M & A church said that the Holy Spirit was the
great Undertaker, motifying the flesh of the Christian!

Thanks for your thoughts Sam.

Merry Christmas, all.
Stephanie


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

Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 22:18:54 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [ntcp] Dietrich Bonhoeffer - BRUDERATH

Hi there Sam,

Do you have another spelling for this word?

My DB collection does not mention it in their indices. Nor does
google.com.

David Anderson


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V1 #123


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