New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, January 3 2002 Vol 02 : 002
Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts
Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts
[NTCP] What to do with kids during worship?
Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts
Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts

Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 01:34:10 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts

>Howdy, everyone! Happy New Year.
>
>Thought I'd weigh in with my very inconsequential opinion about this thread
>that David brought up ....

Certainly not, bro. Your opinion is NOT inconsequential. There is a wide range
of beliefs on prophecy among good men and women, as we all know.

I am on the road and cannot respond now, just wanted to say hi,
TheologusCrucis. Praise God that we can discuss prophetic things in such a
peaceful manner. Link will be proud. :D

Me, I care not for any label or "ism". I just want to be led by the Word/word. My own prophetic views, I realize, color most everything I see and say. And I
cannot help but be much optimistic and excited. Just as the Hallelujah Chorus
declares: the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and
of his Christ and he shall reign forever. I'll leave the details to Him.

just one of that vast multitude that no man can number,

David Anderson

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions.org/planting ~ ~ ~

Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 06:05:46 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] new
findings may upset some apple carts

Dear David:

I agree wholeheartedly that when it comes to prophecy and the word of God on
the subject, the understanding in the Body of Christ is so determined in one or
another form of understanding, that the result is a loss of love for brethren
who do not perceive as we do. I have been excluded from fellowship and called
a heretic by some, and I have been welcomed with open arms from others who I
did not expect such warmth and love from.

All in all, I am an optimist for the future and for the extension of the
Kingdom one person at a time. Thanks for sharing. Really appreciate it.

Sam


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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 13:32:47 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] What to do with kids during worship?

I (MICHAEL) had asked:

>>What do they do with sections of the Bible which do not lend themselves to
>>pure drama? Like, for instance, the book of Romans.

George Patterson responded:

>Good Bible teaching will seek the historical bases for the abstract doctrinal
>passages, not only to illustrate the doctrine, but to lay the legal or
>historical foundation for it. For example, for the 'trial by fire' of a
>Christians works before Christ's judgment seat, to make sure we don't carry
>any evil 'contraband' into heaven. The Mosaic law in Num. 31 sets the legal
>precedent, where Moses made the victorious soldiers pass the booty through the
>fire, so that only precious stones, etc. which had withstood the fire, could
>enter into the holy camp.

Wow!!! I had never made that connection before, George! And I think you're
right. What a wise and practical system for linking NT ideas to the OT, as
well as just making sometimes abstract doctrinal principles more concrete. For
kids and adults.

>Therefore, we can always find a historical passage in Scripture that children
>can act out for any doctrine. But not only children. Such visual "sermons" are
>more powerful when adults also participate. Also, it works far better when you
>get the older children to do most of the preparation, and discipling, of the
>younger.

"Them's some 'good groceries' "!!! It seems to be a great way to get all ages
involved in one aspect of disciple-making. Which in turn helps each strata in
the church know the word a little deeper. That's a great idea, George. I
think I'll try it this Sabbath in my Sermon on the Mount class.

Then Link wrote:

>Seriously though, Romans would be hard to act out. I don't think anyone would
>suggest that drama works for every passage of scripture. There are some good
>narratives where it might work.

No, you're right; not every passage. But (following George's suggestion) it is
likely that one could find the root sources for the various doctrines of, say,
the book of Romans in passages which *could* be put to drama-- passages either
from the OT or the Gospels. Then the tie-in could be emphasized as you, the
teacher, continue to lead your group in your study together of (in this
instance) Paul's epistle. This makes the *whole* Bible take on relevance for
the children/adults performing, as well as for those who might only be watching
the skit. It also protects against error by broadening out the base from which
you (and by proxy, your students, congregation, whoever) derives doctrine-- one
counter to our current-day Marcionism.

>I didn't know that the Jews used to start five year olds off with Leviticus.
>that is one of those books a lot of adults just skip these days. I can't
>imagine how hard it would be to teach this to five-year-olds.

Back then, probably not as hard as you're imagining. The affairs of the
priests were of *current relevance* to the lives of even five-year-old Jewish
lads. And also what went on behind the walls of the Temple sanctuary was not
seen by the average Israelite. So studying those things in Leviticus-- given
such importance by those children's belief that they were members of a unique
people, and given the air of mystery those sacrifices must have had to those
same kids-- would more likely than not be kind of interesting. Not to mention
they got to talk about blood and guts and ... sex. In class! The reasoning,
from a teachers standpoint, for starting young boys in Leviticus was its
multiple repetition of vocabulary (one of the reasons many western Christians
unwisely avoid the book) and because of the Jewish belief at the time that
children were much purer than adults, and thus it was fitting for them to study
about things related to ritual purity (see Sh'muel Safrai and Menachem Stern.
THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE FIRST CENTURY, vol. 2, Philadelphia: Fortress Press,
1976, pp. 945-970; also Wylen, Stephen M. THE JEWS IN THE TIME OF JESUS, New
York: Paulist Press, 1996, pp. 66-69).

I think our failure is often to find the current relevance of each book in the
canon to our lives as Christians (without merely resorting to allegory), and
then to translate that to our children. I think your (Link's) suggestion about
dramas, in which the children pretend to be cutting, ripping, and burning
sacrifices-- even *being* the internal organs of a goat-- would be a great way
for keeping kids' attention throughout a study of this book. Perhaps I'm a
little strange, but those activities properly reflect the doctrines and
practices in the book of Leviticus-- and relate to Christ's ultimate
sacrifice-- so I don't find your joking comments too far off the mark. :-)

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 09:03:36 -0500
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] new
findings may upset some apple carts

Sammy,

You wrote:

< This has been our experience as well. Churches that lay very little emphasis
on the "end-times" are not so concerned about how we understand the book of
Revelation. But others actually judge your salvation based on traditions that
have only been established in the past 200 years or so.

TheologusCrucis, I realize the point you were making, but you do raise some
questions in my mind.>

It is obvious that the main focus is always Christ and His works, but is there
not a place for our response? Paul exhorted the saints to work out their
salvation with fear and trembling BECAUSE it was God Who was at work in them.
Did he not?

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com


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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 08:14:00 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ? I
(MICHAEL) had written about the thread Dave J. had started:

"Good issue! One small suggestion is to refrain from the us/them definitions.
We are the one body of Christ in its various expressions."

To which Sam Buick responded:

>Aaah! Yes, we are the Body of Christ, but I only wish the people in the
>institutional church saw it beyond their "four walls" and beyond their
>denominational noses.

Let's take a moment to rephrase Sam's response so that an ICer (like myself)
who reads it may not immediately be offended and the conversation polarized--
the body of Christ once more divided. Let's see how we can work to maintain
Christian unity in our speech while passionately holding divergent positions.
What if Sam had said something like:

>>Aaah! Yes, we are the Body of Christ, but I only
wish th[at some of my brothers and sisters] in the institutional church saw it
beyond their [misguided overemphasis on the *need* to build buildings and their
mistrust of those of us who do not], and beyond their [stress on denominational
loyalty over Scriptural paradigms]. I tend to see a divide coming, and it is a
very large divide.

>It is one which is based on propagating and expanding the institutional church
> religious system through the multiplication of their own brand of
>institutional church church plants, or the one that will and is breaking
>completely away for the institutional church in its mindsets, attitudes,
>beliefs, and frugal attitude about wealth and stewardship.

This may indeed be true. Probably is. But we can minimize the "divide" (...
unless we don't want to ...) by stressing common ground and what is *essential*
over what is a particularly emphasized (to the point of division) by our
"group". That is not a call to compromise. I do not advocate that because the
Church should be reforming back toward biblical revelation all the time.
Rather it is a call toward moderation and ... love. Not letting "meat and
wine" issues eclipse the greater picture: we are one in Christ. One. Not "us
one" and "they one". One.

>Everyone who advocates the house church as the closest model to the NT
>"pattern" does so in a very limited fashion.

I again refer the readers of this list to a full range of scriptural and
historical *evidence* (not just assertions) on the thread begun on June 25 2001
called "First Century Meeting Places. The evidence suggests that house
churches were the predominant-- but not the only-- places the church of the
first century met. There were times when they met in religious buildings. Why
can't we also allow for both?

>One is the reality that Jesus is the head of the Body. The institutional
>church sees other "shepherds" in submission to Jesus, but still leading the
>Body. I reject this institutional church model as being completely at odds
>with Jesus actually being the head every time the saints gather as in what the
>typical house church would hope to gather under.

If this is not a direct teaching of Scripture, a commandment for all churches
for all time, void of any inferences, then this should not be a test of
fellowship. Period. I agree that Jesus is the Head of the body. Who couldn't?
But there seems to me to be ample evidence for under-shepherds (I refer the
readers again to the "Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together" thread-- my post
dated Dec. 20) who *lead* Christ's flock. And this poses no problem for me
about Who is the real Head of a saints-gathered-meeting. It is not a logical
contradiction. Wherein lies the problem, Sammy? Why the need to be exclusive
here?

>The bottom line is the pattern of NT gatherings is the guidance of the Spirit
>in the gathering and Jesus being the head of the Body life in the gathering.

Sam, does your conception of the Spirit guiding a "gathering" necessarily void
any structure or liturgy? If so, why? Again, I refer the readers of this
thread to the "First-Century Meeting Places" thread, my July 3 post where I
again provide *evidence* (not mere assertions) that Paul and Barnabas were
participating in a liturgical service when they were separated by the Spirit
for mission service.

>... they usually get around disagreements with others by belittling the others
>and demonizing them! Happens all the time!

Happens all the time with the house church advocates too. The readers have a
case in point quoted at the beginning of this very post. A little less on both
sides would be beneficial. We are one in Christ. Bottom line. So we all need
to start acting like it.

Michael
Jerusalem

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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 13:28:33 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] new findings may upset some apple carts

David Anderson wrote:

>Regardless of how things turn out in the end, The Lord of the Harvest is
>making some great gains. And, if these predictions be sound, then it is time
>for many of us to pray and labor as never before, KNOWING THAT WE ARE GOING TO
>BE A PART OF AN ENORMOUS VICTORY!

I concur with David that we should labor in optimism that the gospel is indeed
the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. I agree with
TheologusCrucis that our gospel should be biblical and not simply a "feel good"
type of message. I recognize with Sammy that some brands of Dispensationalism
have been "wet blankets" in the arena of world evangelization. I'm with Dan
when he reminds us that received-grace leads to a lifestyle of good works ...
despite apparent set-backs. And I remain optimistic that we who are in Christ,
laboring in the fields of the Master, will see the fruit of our efforts
(initiated and completed by God Himself) in due time (Gal. 6:9).

Having said that, I must admit that I have seen LOTS of projected statistics.
And I therefore have to emphasize Jim Rutz's caveat:

>>But as I point out clearly in the book, straight-line projections never go
in a straight line. It could go better, could go worse. I'm a writer, not a
prophet--much less a theologian.<<

There are other factors which convince me that the Church will continue to lose
the "Great Commission race" *UNTIL* we start doing what David (maintain
optimism in the power of the gospel), TheologusCrucis (preach a truly biblical
gospel), Sammy (ignore the "wet blankets"), and Dan (actually *do* the works of
the kingdom) all advocate.

As you might guess from my address, I remain personally convinced that the
Jewish people should be given top priority in the Church's evangelism efforts.
Don't hear *exclusive* priority (that's not what I mean), but rather *top*
priority. As I understand it, this is the message of the Bible from Gen. to
Rev. Yet how many of us are actually doing it like the Bible says we should?
The blessing of the gentile nations has always been linked in some way to the
destiny of the Jewish people-- since before there even was a Jewish people
(Deu. 32:8, 9). Their future repentence will bring about the consummation of
God's kingdom, in conjunction with the coming of their Messiah (Rom. 11:12,
15). So, until we, the Church, shed our theologically sustained anti-semitism
and take the gospel, as Paul says, "to the Jew *first*, and also to the
Gentile" (Rom. 1:16), we, the Church, will continue to see an evangelistic
lethargy among our ranks-- reaping the curse of cursing Abraham's seed (Gen
12:3). Of this I am convinced ... despite this latest batch of "positive"
statistics: world missions which stays unbiblically focused on "the nations"
without taking aim at God's presently chosen people (Rom. 11:28, 29) *in order
to bless the nations* is necessarily going to fail.

Do I believe in the power of the gospel? Without a doubt-- it is the power of
God unto salvation ... to the Jew first! Should we check that our message is
truly biblical? We'd better, or the Jews we *should* take it to will rip it
(and us) apart. Should we ignore the "wet blankets"? Yes, even those who say
that the Jews had their chance; that the Jews are no longer chosen and
therefore should no longer be given top priority in our evangelistic
strategies. Then should we actually *do* those works as they are described in
the Bible; should we really, in this instance, strategize world missions the
way the first century Church did it? Prioritizing the Jewish people? You be
the judge of that. But as for me and my house ...

Michael
Jerusalem

New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #2

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