New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Friday, January 4 2002 Vol 02 : 003
Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?
Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?
Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
[NTCP] Re: Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it? [from Link]
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?
Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 06:52:02 -0500
From: Bruce P Gordon
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

Thank you, Michael, for your picking up on an aspect of some of these
discussions that has troubled me from time to time.

This 'aspect' is the troubling {to me} tendency of some contributions to take
up the theme of 'us vs. them', 'institutional church vs. house church' and the
difficulties {past and/or present} the writer experienced/es with the
institutional church where there're clearly some uncomfortable vibes
happening.

I would love to see a List where brothers & sisters of good will who are
earnestly seeking to implement NTCP principles & practices can enter into
dialogue and all learn from each other, regardless of current church 'type',
affiliation or perspective.

Please forgive me if I offend any of you here or am over-sensitive or
over-reacting. I'm really not thinking of anyone in particular, but of the
particular 'vibe' which comes across from time to time.

This List is a blessing to me and I am thankful for you all.

Bruce Gordon
South Windsor, CT

God is up to something in 'The Land Of Steady Habits'


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 16:54:13
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

Bruce wrote:
>Thank you, Michael, for your picking up on an aspect of some of these
>discussions that has troubled me from time to time.
>
>This 'aspect' is the troubling {to me} tendency of some contributions to take
>up the theme of 'us vs. them', 'institutional church vs. house church' and
>the difficulties {past and/or present} the writer experienced/es with the
>institutional church where there're clearly some uncomfortable vibes happening.

I hear you loud and clear Bruce and agree with the need for us to appreciate
each other, I agree. I mentioned once in an email to Link that I havent given
up on Church (institutional church ), I have joined another. I know that not
all institutional churches are like the one I left. the only ones i have a
problem with are those like the one I left that seem to try and enforce a
mosaic type rulership over the flock and manipulate the word of God to bring
the people into obedience to their ideas. Who also equate material wealth with
spiritual maturity.

The new Church I have joined has a really wonderful pastor, a man whose heart
is very shepherdlike. the reason I joined this Church is because I believe in
mentoring, and that gifts can be imparted from one believer to another. There
are gifts that operate in this man that I covet for my own ministry so I have
decided to sit under him. There are many gifts at work in the institutional
church that God has given for the benefit of all. If we cannot relate to each
other in a Godly fashion we will defraud ourselves and the Church.

The reason I raised the issue wasnt to highlight differences but to figure how
we can overcome these differences. You are right in saying that we sometimes
fall into an us and them attitude, I always have to correct myself whenever I
am speaking sometimes because I become guilty of this at times, it is only
natural especially when it comes from a painful experience.

I am learning each day and am still convinced that God is doing something new
in the earth and we all have to be sensitive to move with the spirit of God. We
have the benefit of so much history we can learn from, I hope we do not repeat
the errors of the past.

I find however that although I am in a new Church my ministry is very much
outside the control and management of this Church. it has to be because there
is a point where our views diverge radically. It is not a mere case of simple
doctrine. I see many things going on here that I disagree with but God didnt
send me to "save" the Church, thats His job not mine. Fortunately, there are
areas where my views and that of the pastor converge and this is the point of
my focus. He himself was subject to much persecution when he started this
ministry many years ago.

The point is this, can we find a place of common ground and work from there?

David Jaggernauth


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 12:51:03 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

From: "David Jaggernauth"

>The new Church I have joined has a really wonderful pastor, a man whose heart
>is very shepherdlike. the reason I joined this Church is because I believe in
>mentoring, and that gifts can be imparted from >one believer to another.

Just one question, where in the Bible, especially in the NT do you find
MENTORING? I don't find it anywhere

Sammy


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 12:46:33 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

I would like to respond to Michael:

>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--

Why do you have to "rephrase" anything that I have to say, just because it may
be too much in your face, or anyone else's for that matter? My comments were
not inflmatory, they were observed and experienced reality, my reality. It is a
common reality that amongst most people, when confronted with something they do
not know or understand. Many people whom I have shared my understanding with
do not want to examine anything that may unhinge or rattle what they believe.
They have everything neatly figured out, and anything that comes against it or
contrasts something different, well, let's just say, they do one of two things,
they avoid it and pretend it is not there, or worse, they 'demonize' it and
attack it as being 'unorthodox'! If anyone has polarized this debate within my
own circles with the institutional church "establishment" it is the
institutional church establishment itself. They are not interested in
anything that they perceive undermines their churches and ministries, and their
professional standing. We in the house church are a real threat to them. This
is not an impression, but it is the reality, and most who have power in our
city ministerial use it to ostracize or alienate those who don't toe the party
establishment, and that means everything that I represent as a house church
church planter. These are the reality I live with.

>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.

Why is it that people express concern over division? Division of what and
about what? The only "unity" I have ever known within the institutional church
establishment, which I was very involved in, was unity in the tasks that the
local ministerial agreed upon. It wasn't based on relationship, but based on
getting along to get the "job done." What a load of rubbish!!! This is not
unity and has nothing to do with unity. This is simply putting asside
differences to get a task accomplished.

The unity Jesus spoke of was a relationship unity, the same unity in intimacy
that He enjoys with the Father. It is a relational unity in which we become
intimate with the Father. What Jesus prayed was that we, His Body, would be
like Him, and in the spirit, we too would be one with the Father, just as He
is. It is part of our inheritance as believers to live as one with the Father
in a relational unity. This unity has NOTHING to do with accomplishing tasks.
It has to do with relationship and intimacy. The sooner the church/Body of
Christ realizes this and comes back to ground zero, our relationship with the
Father and with one another, the better off all of us will be. Jesus lived the
exemplary life for us. He desires that we not imitate, but rather partake in
His life, and that we too would partake of the divine intimacy with the Father
that is available to us through Him. All the ministry that Jesus did flowed
out of relationship, and that is why He continually separated Himself to be in
intimate communion with the Father.

>What if Sam had said something like:

What if I, Sam, tried to rephrase what Michael had to say? Don't put words in
my mouth, even suggested ones Michael. I wouldn't dare to it to you, and I
would expect the same from you or anyone else concerning my own words.

>>>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'm not trying to be
>"politically correct" or anything, but "a soft answer *does* turn away wrath".
> If people are being persecuted by >ICers,

A bit strong here the wording, but there are degrees of persecution, and it the
only relationship ICers know is "fellowship" and they deny or manipulate
through their fellowship with house church types, then I guess it could be
stretched to call it persecution, or indirect lack of community at the very
least!

>they may sometimes be drawing unnecessary fire through their manor of speech.

No question! There have been a number of house churchers I know who have
drawn a lot of flack from their manor and their speech. But, again much of the
ones I have taken the time to know, well, they are speaking through their
wounds. To say that some "hate" the institutional church would not be far from
the truth. They, and so do I by the way distinguish the institutional church
from the Body of Christ, for to me and to these house churchers , they are not
the same thing.

There are genuine believers within the institutional church , just as there are
within the house church movement, but the institutional church as a structure
is what house churchers cannot stand and totally distance themselves from.
One reason I think house churchers are not well understood, is that they
distinguish between the institutional framework of a religious system and the
believers within that system. To many that I know, they would say if you are a
genuine believer you should leave the institutional church for it does not
remotely look like or behave like the Body of Christ it purports to be or line
up to what is described as body life and expression in the NT.

>We can get into the habit(s) of AD HOMINEM attacks against people with whom we
>vehemently disagree without even realizing we're doing >it. And it is
>counterproductive. I know from much experience-- on >the giving and receiving
>end.

My comments were not attacks, they were revealing the facts of my own
experience. Not you or anyone else has the right to interpret what is said by
others. Who gives you or me the right to do that? We need to take the words
expressed at face value and ask for their context if we are seeking to better
understand not only what is said but how it is expressed in the first place!

To interpret confronting an issue as an attack simply because it is not done in
a "politically correct" fashion is ludicrous. We need to be challenged and we
need to develop thick skins in order to understand that we will be challenged.
We need to be ready to make a proper defence of what we believe and why, and if
we decide to be silent when confronted, well, we pay the price for our silence.
We need to choose wisely our battles because each battle will consume time and
resources and energy, and in the long run may even be counter productive. One
of my own peeves with some of house church friends is they have picked the
wrong battles at the wrong time and they have been burned time and time again.
Choose wisely, plan strategically, cover all your bases, and launch out a
systematic and logical discussion, and make sure you make yourself understood,
and show mutual respect for dissenting opinions.

>>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 ...)

Who says division is bad. Jesus came with a sword and to bring division! This
is biblical. Why the fear of division or the concern about it? Paul himself
said in 1 Corinthians about believers who "left" and who "were not of us".
Division is a present reality, and much division is found because of the debate
over doctrine and other issues. If we valued relationship, then we would find a
way to keep relationships alive even though we may have differing views on
things.

Having said this, I have found others in my institutional church contacts who
because of my house church ecclessiology have distanced themselves from me. I
undermine their position and status and their power by being around them. Many
of them I considered good friends, and some have said that I could unleash a
rebellion against the established order and bring about confusion if what I
believe is propagated! Sounds a bit like the Russian Czar in 1905, only few
years before the Revolution! This is how some of my institutional church
friends perceive the house church movement. They think we are out to topple
the church! I respond with, "Whose church is it?" and also with "What if God
takes away what you have built and gives it to the people?" They have no
responses and then distance themselves. They are fearful of the implications.
>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.

What is essential is a recovery of what the church truly is as the Body of
Christ and a recovery of community and body life as expressed in the early
church. Much of this is at odds between the institutional church and the
house church, and quite frankly there is very little common ground other that
the belief in the priesthood of believers as being biblical. Luther recovered
the doctrine of the priesthood of believers, but the institutional church has
done very little with it since! We within the house church are saying to the
institutional church to get consistent with their belief and start releasing
and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry and start encouraging
body life. We are ALL priests, we are a kingdom of priests. Let's start acting
like it! Enough already! Let's get consistent! It is the institutional church
that has compromised over the centuries, to the point that many have left the
institution because the very institution is counter to what is seen in the NT.

>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.

I refer you to my comments on being one in the previous reference to being one
in relationship with the Father.

>>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?

Simple. I don't believe in your evidence as I see the distinctions that Paul
went to the Jews to win them to Christ, and he used the synagogues which were
imported from Babylon no less, to communicate with them until they kicked them
out. He met there because he was reaching out to them. That's it. It was an
outreach to the Jews.

In other places they met in homes. Christianity is about relationship and
family. It is about being restored to our Father. Family. Relationship.
Intimacy. Why don't you see that?

The Temple was never intended as the permanent form or expression of body life.
It was temporal and temporary. We, the saints are the living stones within
the spiritual temple of God. It is about relationship, and everyone
participating equally and be subject to one another. It is about body life and
expression and ministry that WILL NOT and CANNOT take place within the
structure of religious buildings and the institutional church structures. IT
WON'T WORK BECAUSE IT WAS NOT DESIGNED TO WORK IN BUILDINGS!!!

>>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.

The issue is SERVANT leadership, not the act of leading. Most of the
institutional church pastors in my area are committed to the Lord and their
ministries, but the way the apply leadership does not allow participatory
involvement in the discussion and implimentation of vision and ministry. It
they did, they wouldn't have a job, because they are using the contemporary
culture's understanding of leadership and not the biblical view of servant
leadership and mutual subjection one to another.

>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?

Read the above statement please.

>>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.

As I pointed out to you and others already, Paul's mission was to the Jews
first and then the Gentiles. And if we ready Paul, he clearly did not give a
rip about moon festivals or holy days, especially when he went to the Gentiles.
He did not burden the Gentiles with his own Jewish traditions. He used the
traditions and liturgy in his attempts to win Jews to Christ. He showed them
that all of these things, their litergy, their history, and their beliefs were
proto types and forshadows of Jesus. That all that was. To go and say that
they used liturgy witht the Gentiles is a HUGE STRETCH! They wanted the Gentile
converts to express body life according to their own culture, just as he
respected the Jewish culture of those he was attempting to reach. Why else did
they have the Jerusalem Council????

>>... 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.

Are we "one in Christ" Michael? Are any of us "one in Christ"? Are we
recklessly battling toward greater intimacy in our mystical union with Christ?
I doubt it very much. No, our union is not in Christ Michael. Our union is in
what we would all define to be "in Christ"? You would have to define it, and
in that you would not have agreement, and in essence there would not be any who
are "one in Christ"!

The whole debate on unity and who we are in Christ is the issue here. It is
who we are as individual believers, and who we are in a corporate reality,
BEYOND the four walls of whatever forms we choose to worship in, be it a house,
be it a church building. It is about INTIMACY with God and INTIMACY with one
another! It we don't have it, we are NOT one in Christ! We cannot divorce the
Head from the Body! We are ONE in Christ in INTIMACY. The problem I see is
that there way too many people I know in the Body who are NOT in intimate
relationship, and in essence they have severed the Head from the body! They
are more concerned with works than relationship! This is where the problem is!

Sammy


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 16:35:30 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] How should the house church relate to the institutional church ?

Samuel Buick wrote:

>I would like to respond to Michael:

>The Temple was never intended as the permanent form or expression of body
>life. It was temporal and temporary. We, the saints are the living stones
>within the spiritual temple of God. It is about relationship, and everyone
>participating equally and be subject to one another. It is about body life
>and expression and ministry that WILL NOT and CANNOT take place within the
>structure of religious buildings and the institutional church structures. IT
>WON'T WORK BECAUSE IT WAS NOT DESIGNED TO WORK IN BUILDINGS!!!

Well Sam, you have lured me out of my peaceful holidays to once again join the
fray. Only this morning in a private post to another participant on the list I
wrote:

"Something struck me recently: It has to do with immaculate conception, and the
fact that, "Unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given, and the
government shall be upon his shoulder..."

It goes back to the primacy of circumcision, not that done in the flesh by the
hands of men, but that done by Christ in the human heart. Before intimacy there
must be circumcision. Without circumcision, there is only intimacy tainted by
the flesh. Intimacy tainted by the flesh leads to conception defiled by the
flesh, and ultimately, fruit that contains flesh, "... the work of man's
hands."

The promise of God, however, is an immaculate conception, the result of
impregnation with an incorruptible seed, leading to a virgin birth. The body of
Christ was conceived in, and birthed by a virgin. We are the body of Christ,
and our mother is a virgin, a virgin in the sense that she has not known a man.

What we are presently looking at which is calling itself the church, has
clearly known a man, even the first Adam. This has lead to tremendous
confusion. The whole creation is groaning, and we also groan, waiting for the
revelation of the sons of God, the undefiled product of a virgin birth.

My greatest struggle is to keep my hands off the revelation of Christ in me,
and yet it is only the untouched Christ in me that is the hope of Glory, that
has any hope of Glory. What I add to Him is corruptible flesh. This flesh must
put on incorruption.

Where discernment is concerned,it does not take a rocket scientist to sense
when a new believer or even an old believer, for that matter, has been with a
man. It is as easy to sense as the Spirit of someone who has been with Jesus,
even the Jesus we no longer know after the flesh.

Perhaps enough said for now about that part of it.

What occurs to me is that, the true Church is both the product of a virgin
birth, and herself, the virgin who gives birth. It is in this latter capacity
that she is our mother. There is an ongoing virginity as well as an ongoing
birth that is required to bring about the mystery, and the purpose of God in
us.

For me this makes more sense than current efforts to reinvent Jews and Gentiles
in The Name of The Lord. In him there is no longer either, and never will be
again. Once Christ has destroyed all His enemies, the Fatherhood of God in Him
will forever be all, and in all.

Yours in Him, (You wouldn't want the part that isn't.)

Jay

P.S. Perhaps if we can get this thrashed out, it could go to the ntcp list. It
might help Michael, aka Deborah. It might help him to consider the very real
possibility that the institutional church will one day have to "repent of the
work of its own hands. The work of our own hands is not an adequate hiding
place. Only The Body of Christ is."

Thanks Sam, for getting my motor started once again!

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 16:42:26 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Samuel Buick wrote:

From: "David Jaggernauth"
>>
>>>
>>The new Church I have joined has a really wonderful pastor, a man whose heart
>>is very shepherdlike. the reason I joined this Church is because I believe in
>>mentoring, and that gifts can be imparted from
>>>one believer to another.
>
>
>Just one question, where in the Bible, especially in the NT do you find
>MENTORING? I don't find it anywhere
>
>Sammy

Dear Sam,

I've looked hard for it also, but I haven't been able to find it either. The
trouble is, Spiritual fathering is much more costly than spiritual mentoring.
"... death in us that life might be in them..." Something about unlimited
liability, I think.

Jay


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 23:29:22 +0100
From: Keith
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how
biblical is it?


I'm with you Sammy. I have a friend here who's mentoring mad, and it's driving
me mad! If we mean discipling, why not use that word? I believe that is the
relationship that Paul had with Timothy. Timothy didn't "catch" "apostolic
ministry" from Paul because Paul was his mentor. No the Holy Spirt gifted
Timothy and Paul discipled him. Lets call a spade a spade and not get up to our
neck in new fangled concepts that aren't nesecarily helpful.

Blessings

Keith


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 22:41:14
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Jay wrote:
>Dear Sam,
>
>I've looked hard for it also, but I haven't been able to find it either. The
>trouble is, Spiritual fathering is much more costly than spiritual mentoring.
>"... death in us that life might be in them..." Something about unlimited
>liability, I think.
>
>Jay

After reading the above statement by Sam and Jay, I have to reconsider my
statement, what I meant to describe is really fathering, however, when I
carefully consider my past and present situation I realise i still am not
fathered (spiritually).

Forgive me guys but its going take a little while for me to be delivered of
much of the institutional church jargon and ideas that I have been
indoctrinated with for so long. In my past experience with institutional church
I had been very dissatisfied and disturbed with what was being described and
practiced as fathering, it was more akin to teaching, not even mentoring, which
whilst not biblical, may have some merit if properly done. Fathering is
definitely an intimate form of relationship that calls for a high degree ot
transparency between persons.

I know a pastor who fathers men by taking them home to his house to live with
him in order to introduce a high degree of intimacy and transparency in their
relationship. This may be more akin to the biblical type of fathering. It may
not produce quantity but it will certainly produce quality.

I remember getting in trouble with my old pastor after he did a teaching called
the fathers heart and the sons inheritance. The point of the teaching was to
establish him as the Church's father. I pointed out that Jesus said "And call
no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."

It was at this point It was decided that I have a rebellion problem.

It seems to me that if a man has to declare and point himself out as your
spiritual father in order to define his position over you then something is
wrong. A true spiritual father would be easily identified by his own son. it
would be a relationship of mutual acceptance not one forced or coerced. it
would flow out of relationship not commanded. David Jaggernauth.


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Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 18:33:05 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] Re: Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Hi all,

To the list of mentoring, fathering, and discipling please also add "eldering."
Whether these exact words exist in our translations is not the real issue. The
principles are there.

I do appreciate anyone for wanting to be biblical, though. This is a
fascinating and now a trendy word:

>From the American Heritage Dictionary forwarded to you by David Anderson
while on the road.


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Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 19:54:30 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>It seems to me that if a man has to declare and point himself out as your
>spiritual father in order to define his position over you then something is
>wrong. A true spiritual father would be easily identified by his own son. it
>would be a relationship of mutual acceptance not one forced or coerced. it
>would flow out of relationship not commanded.

Dear David,

All that you said was well said, and this paragraph really gets to the heart of
it. "Save The Lord put us together, we are put together in vein."

There is not a lot of explicit teaching in Scripture about spiritual fathering,
but it is certainly well modeled, especially by Jesus with those who were His
from the Father, and Paul with Timothy. Strictly speaking, this is not a
pastoral relationship which is more that of a guardian, but it is an intimate
transfer of life from one to another, and is certainly not limited to pastors.
It happens between Apostles, and those who are theirs in this way, and
Prophets, and those who are theirs in this way, right on through the five fold
ministry, and summed up in the spiritual grandfathering of elders.

It is the Fatherhood of God expressed and imparted on the horizontal. That
said, it is very important that the "old man" keep his hands out of the divine
cookie jar. One thing is for sure, IT IS NOT A PROGRAM.

With Appreciation,

Jay


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Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 00:57:34 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it? [from Link]


From: Link Hudson

Link to Keith
>I'm with you Sammy. I have a friend here who's mentoring mad, and it's driving
>me mad! If we mean discipling, why not use that word? I believe that is the
>relationship that Paul had with Timothy. Timothy didn't "catch" "apostolic
>ministry" from Paul because Paul was his mentor. No the Holy Spirt gifted
>Timothy and Paul discipled him. Lets call a spade a spade and not get up to
>our neck in new fangled concepts that aren't nesecarily helpful.

I don't see a problem with 'mentoring' others. I went to a meeting for people
involved in ministry in my church a few months back. An elder from a church in
the Philippines was sharing about the importance of intentionally discipling
people. He had a very narrow understanding of discipleship, saying that one
person could only realistically do discipleship if he were with one, or maybe
two people.

Some people say that Jesus only discipled 12 men. They think of discipling as
strictly a one-on-one thing.

I disagree with this idea. Jesus told the apostles to go into all the world and
make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observer all thins He had
commanded them.

The apostles discipled nations. How did they 'disciple' in Jerusalem. One thing
we know that they did was talk to huge masses of people in the temple.

I think 'discipleship' should be a very broad term. Teaching huge crowds,
spending time one on one with people, encouraging others in group meetings, and
anything else that includes teaching others to obey Christ would go under
'discipleship' according to my own personal understanding of the concept in
scripture.

The one-on-one type of discipleship where one person carefully works with
another can definitely fall into the 'discipleship' category, imo. But I think
it helps to have another name for this. If we call this 'mentoring' it keeps
people from thinking that discipleship 1 on 1 ministry.

I think one on one teaching is great, and we need it. But I don't think it is
good when we get into a rigid mindset that if we don't have everyone involved
in a 1-on-1 program, we are in sin. If we call one-on-one stuff mentoring, then
we can use 'discipleship' in it's broader sense.

I don't know that 'mentoring' is a the best term. I don't see the term in the
Bible, but I see the concept.

Some have suggested the term fathering. Paul said that Timothy had served with
him as a son with a father. He also called Timothy 'my son.'

But 'fathering' has other implications. Paul was a father to the Corinthian
church, not just because of his fatherly attitude toward them, but also because
they had been birthed through his ministry. If Timothy didn't repent through
Paul's teaching, he probably heard the Gospel as a result of the work that God
started through Paul.

When Paul told the Corinthians that they had many teachers, but not many
fathers, considering the context, I don't think he was rebuking them for having
teachers that weren't fatherly enough. The next verse tells us that he had
fathered them through the Gospel. The passage goes on to explain that he had
laid the foundation of Christ in their church.

In the fullest sense, imo, a 'spiritual father' is one who brings the Gospel to
his spiritual son, and then can continue in a 'mentoring' type relationship.
But if the person being mentored in the scenario is already a believer when he
meets the mentor, should the mentor be said to have 'fathered' him?

So one of the reasons I don't mind the term 'mentoring' even though it isn't
from the Bible, per se, is because it serves as a substitute for a too-narrow
definition of 'discipleship,' imo. Using 'discipleship' to refer to only
one-on-one work, imo, reinforces an unbiblical concept. Maybe the use of
'mentoring' will allow for a broader, more Biblical, use of the term
'discipleship.'

Secondly, I don't know that 'father' should be used so widely, especially in
cases where a man is not truly a spiritual father.

No matter what we think of the term 'mentor,' the concept of a more mature
person teaching and nurturing a younger person in the faith is a very Biblical
concept. Can we all agree on this?

Link


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Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 02:16:21 EST
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Link and All,

Yes, we can agree that fathering and one-to-one mentoring is always desirable
to some extent. We can't have just mass-production systems with no individual
attention. Even Joanna Wesley saw this--and somehow managed to spend an hour
alone each week with John, Charles, and all 17 of her other children!

[short pause for applause for Mrs. Wesley, without whom we'd all be still
sitting around debating Lutheranism vs. Calvinism]

But as a GENERAL trend, one-to-one mentoring is out of date now because it's
simply out of phase with the new reality of a greatly speeded up Kingdom
expansion. God is shifting most of us to discipling mostly group by group.

My friend Dr. Cornell Haan has the stupendous responsibility of coordinating
all 60 of the networks in Mission America, the most massive coalition in
Protestant history. His heart is also deeply attached to the house church
model and process even though he's into the institutional church ten feet over
his head. Altogether, he's probably got his fingers into more varied outreach
networks, church, paras, etc., than any three of us put together. And last
year, in discussing mentoring with me, he simply shook his head and said
quietly, "It's passe." He explained that everywhere he went, Christian leaders
have been forced to admit that it's way too slow now--as a DOMINANT
methodology.

While I deeply treasure the many moments of personal attention I got from
leaders as a spiritual pup, the Spirit is rapidly gearing us up for the
swelling revival with its larger numbers.

And that's good news, not bad!

Jim Rutz Colorado Springs


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Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 02:28:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Link H
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Mentoring - how biblical is it?

Link to James Rutz

James Rutz wrote, quoting a brother Haan.
>"It's passe." He explained that everywhere he went, Christian leaders have
>been forced to admit that it's way too slow now--as a DOMINANT methodology.

The church I go to has a number of people who have been influenced by the
Navagators. Their concept of discipleship is one-on-one mentoring of less
mature Christians by more mature Christians. One scenario I've heard is the
idea of a more mature Christian spending a couple of years with a less mature
Christian.

One single Christian woman I know, in her 50's, felt the Lord wanted her to
come here to minister. Her ministry involves meeting less mature Christian
women, often new believers, studying the Bible with them, praying with them,
and encouraging them to develop good devotional habits in their lives.

The idea of this type of discipleship is usually not just to read through a
book of the Bible together, but to also really open up and share.

I agree that if a church planter has hundreds of people to minister to, he
isn't going to do one-on-one 'mentoring' with them all. But he may have time
to mentor a few people. I believe that Paul mentored Timothy and Titus, and
eventually had the grace within himself to mentor several of the other young
men that gathered around him later in his life, as seen in the epistles. This
was a way of reduplicating his ministry.

Heads of big ministry organizations also probably don't have time to really
'mentor' a lot of people.

If you have a church full of Christians, and third of them are children, a
third are young men, and a third are 'fathers,' there is a lot of methoring
that could go on in that setting. The fathers can mentor the babes and young
men. The young men can mentor the babes.

College students, at least in the US, often have alot of time on their hands.
A lot of mentoring can go on in that setting. Marines on a boat have a lot of
free time. Prisoners have a lot of free time. In situations like this, there
is a lot of time for mentoring. (Let's just hope the prisoner doing mentoring
has repented and grown up first.)

I don't think one-on-one is the only way to do discipleship. I don't think
discipleship necessarily has to be programmed, though I don't think it is wrong
to do discipleship deliberately and thoroughly.

In a house church situation, if the more mature believers are aware of the need
to disciple the younger believers, and the meetings leave a lot of time for
sharing and fellowship, a lot of this kind of stuff can happen in the meetings,
over a plate of meatloaf. And people can get in touch with each other to meet
with each other outside of meetings as well.

New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #3

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