New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Friday, January 25 2002 Vol 02 : 020
Re: [NTCP] The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth
Re: [NTCP] Re: A "Just War"
Re: [NTCP] Re: Two Kingdoms
Re: [NTCP] Re: Two Kingdoms
[NTCP] Early church practice (was: cell groups)
Re: [NTCP] Re: Two Kingdoms
RE: [NTCP] Re: A "Just War"

Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 23:15:06 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth

From: Dan Snyder

>
Subject: [NTCP] The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth
>
>it, and neither will I. >>
>
>
>Dear Sam,
>
>I hope you'll have the grace to let me pick on you a bit :)
>
>I think the above statement is a good illustration of the great failure of the
>"what would Jesus do?" philosophy.

That is a matter and conjecture on your part, not mine.

>If you are an anti-war person that's fine. I just wish you wouldn't make it
>into a Christian "requirement".

If it isn't one, then there must be a pro-war requirement?!!! Would you show me
where it is stated in the NT that we as believers living in our world are free
to engage in the wars that our states wage? Romans 13 simply states the role
of government and our role as citizens to not bring shame to the gospel and to
'fear the sword'. Nowhere does it say that we are free to enlist and fight a
war. So if being anti-war is not a requirement, then what of the pro-war
advocates?

>As some on the list have pointed out, the Bible shows that when it is
>necessary to care for His people and His interests "Jehovah is a man of War".
>Revelation 19 shows clearly how the Lord Jesus will deal with His enemies.

This has to do with Christ, and not us living in the here and now! Why are you
bringing into the debate 'what Jesus will do' when the debate is what will YOU
and I do in the here and now. We are not Jesus, but we are to live our lives
as He would in our culture here and now. Would Jesus enlist and go and fight
the war in Afghanistan? Don't think so. It certainly would invalidate and
future ministry opportunities after the war for Him! Just how would he handle
the situation? He would not go to war that's what! Show me anywhere in the
gospels where Jesus would go to war. You won't find it. But you will find
warnings about bearing the sword and that if you do, then you will perish by
it! We are to live the way of peace...period!

>The Bible reveals that the Lord Jesus is both the Lamb... and the Lion. Such a
>Jesus is the one who died for us, and who now lives in us, and who also now
>sits upon the throne in the heavens as the Ruler of the kings of the earth.

That is His character, mission and purpose, and again you are bringing Jesus
into the fray of WWJD by doing so, the very thing that you are telling me that
I am doing. There is no debate here about Jesus, I agree with you. But this
has to do with YOU and ME!

>The danger with "WWJD" is the it's all too easy for us to fabricate an
>imaginary "Jesus" (many times according to our own opinions.... such as an
>"anti-war Jesus" if our political bent is anti-war).

Nothing imaginary about reaping what you sow and about bearing the sword. It is
all there in black ink in the Gospels. This has nothing to do with opinions!
It has to do with my understanding of how Jesus called us to live in this
present world. We are not citizens of this earth, but citizens of heaven. WE
are of another Kingdom. As citizens of that Kingdom, how are we to live?

>We then try to live up to the standard we have created for our "imaginary
>Jesus". (Or we use our "imaginary Jesus" to confirm our own disposition). We
>may also expect (even insist) that others do the same if they are to be
>"christians".

No. The issue is simply this. WE are called to be peace MAKERS not warriors!
We are called to walk an extra mile, give away both coats, house, feed, cloth
and care for our enemies. These are the words of Jesus, not me! Let's see, how
many American Christians could do that for Ossama Bin Laden? Just how many?
Would you? If you couldn't, then 'your Jesus' is too small! We are called to
this kind of love for our enemies. This is not an option! This is part and
parcel of living the Christian life. You cannot proclaim love on one hand and
brandish a grenade in the other!

>Such a self-made standard is a big frustration to living Christ, and to
>cooperating with Him for His move on the earth. The One who is the Ruler of
>the kings of the earth is surely very active in the present world situation.

He may be very active, and I would agree with you that He is, but how active
are we to His promptings? Where is the repentance? Where is the intercession?
If there was such a huge outcry in the Body of Christ, the news would pick it
up. But there isn't, and that is because we do not see our world through His
eyes, and we do not love our enemies as He does. We have failed. We have
failed Him and we have failed our enemies.

>May we pray ourselves into Him, touch His heart, and cooperate... not with
>what He "would" do - but with what He IS doing - for His people and for His
>interests on the earth right now.

AMEN! and AMEN and AMEN!

Sammy


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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 08:43:53 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: A "Just War"

Just a quick personal note, then some historical evidence which may bring some
perspective to the debate here. I too am an ex-military man. I joined the
Marine Corps two years after the U.S. pulled its last troops out of Viet Nam.
After a four year hitch I left (now a Christian) to attend Bible College. A
year into my studies I needed some added cash to help me stay the course. I
joined the local Army National Guard unit and remained on (active) reserve
status for five more years-- a total of nine years military service. Why did I
get out? I could no longer reconcile "... running through the jungle with my
M-16" with "blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God".

I have studied martial arts off and on since I was 12 years old. I'm 42 now.
I have used karate/grappling classes as a way to teach Israeli youths NOT to
fight. I would only teach young men IF they had their assigned sections of the
Bible fully memorized by class time; that was their payment to me. Most often
I would have them memorize Mat. chps. 5-7, the "Sermon on the Mount"-- what I
have been teaching my Shabbat (Sabbath) school childrens' class (without the
karate lessons) for the last three years. Through the course of our martial
arts practices, I would talk with them about their God. And their Messiah.
And how neither wanted them to beat up their brothers. Or classmates. Or
Arabs ... save in the event of a war, or if they became police officers and
needed to apply physical pressure to subdue someone.

My current conviction on this topic is that in most cases violence is NOT the
proper response. By far the most. We are not in the time of Armaggedon.
Jesus has not yet returned to slay his enemies. Neither are we re-taking
Canaan from the seven occupying nations God ordered utterly destroyed. Or
defending against the invading Philistines ... although some of the Israeli
lads I trained in karate are getting close to draft age and they would (IMO) be
just in fighting as soldiers against HAMAS, HIZBULLAH, AL AQSA MARTYR'S
BRIGADE, and the countless other enemies of Israel seeking to drive/scare out
her Jewish inhabitants.

We as believers are told to follow Christ's example of accepting unjust
punishment without so much as a peep against our oppressers ... much less a
swing at their noses. I would not seek to defend myself if physically
attacked, though I know how. And in case you're wondering, yes I have had to
put this ethic into practice on a couple of occasions. I would however defend
others who were being beaten, raped, threatened-- including my family. If
ordered back into military service (unlikely now that I'm over 40), I would
request (demand) a non-combat role. But I would serve the country to which I
hold temporary citizenship-- the U.S. They have treated me fine and I owe them
that. Nevertheless I have been blessed with the sweet knowledge that I have
never killed another human being. Never. And by God's grace, I don't intend
to.

Now some back-and-forth to Sam's strong yet respectable position:

>1. Should Christians, be involved the military at all, if the governments of
>nations cannot reflect Kingdom principles?

Should Christians be involved in government at all? Civics? No governments on
earth wholly reflect "Kingdom principles". So where does that leave us?

>2. If there are so many Christians in government, ... what is their role in
>all this? How do you commit yourself to the King and His Kingdom, and stand
>for righteousness in the nation, and on the other hand condone war? Does not
>one invalidate the other?

I think TC made a compelling case that we must recognize both the specific
functions of the Church in this world *and* God-ordained government. Paul held
Roman citizenship and exercised its rights and privileges; we may hold earthly
citizenship as well, but should never let our temporary allegience hinder our
greater responsibility to the eternal kingdom.

>3. I think it would do all of us some good to study Anabaptist history and
>theology. They were murdered by the Reformed, Lutheran and Roman Catholics
>for what they lived and practiced concerning government and the sword!

You're right! We should all read as much Church history/theology (including
Anabaptists') that we have time or tolerance for. We must never allow our
ranks to repeat the same horrendous acts visited upon our brothers and sisters
in the faith, in the name of God. But the Anabaptists did/do make a major
theological error in interpreting *all* of the Bible through the lenses of "the
Sermon on the Mount". This funneling of divine revelation results in a
distortion of the plain meaning of many texts related to government and war.
In the OT. In the later writings of the Apostles.

I think we have better historical examples in the early Jewish church. Listen
to what the Church historian Eusebius (4th century-- he was the librarian in
Caesarea, Palestine, where Paul was imprisoned a few centuries prior) wrote
about the Jewish believers facing Titus' invasion of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.:

"The whole body, however, of the church of Jerusalem, having been commanded by
a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war,
removed from the city and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan [river],
called Pella. Here, those that believed in Christ, removed from Jerusalem, as
if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of
Judea" (THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF EUSEBIUS PAMPHILUS. Grand Rapids:
Guardian Press, 1955, p. 86).

One might get the impression that the followers of Jesus in Judea during this
early period were pure pacifists. That they did not believe in war at all,
like the Anabaptists. But their flight to Pella was in fact a response to a
*specific* word of prophecy. After they left, Jerusalem with all her remaining
inhabitants was seiged until they were eating their own children and drinking
their own urine. Then the city was destroyed so thoroughly that "... there was
left nothing to make those that came thither to believe it [Jerusalem] had ever
been inhabited" (Josephus, WARS OF THE JEWS VII.1, 1).

Many try to link the "revelation" mentioned above with Jesus' prophecy recorded
in Luke 21:20-23, but the wording of Eusebius' account makes it clear he was
referring to an oracle given to more than one man which was specific to the 70
A.D. event, although Jesus' prophesy did address the same situation.

Moreover, the next generation of Jewish followers of Jesus in the land saw no
conflict with taking up arms and participating in the initial stages of the Bar
Kokhba rebellion (132-135 A.D) ... until an influential rabbi named Akiva
declared the Jewish general to be the Messiah. When Bar Kokhba accepted the
title, the followers of the true Messiah dropped out of the war altogether
(Schiffman, Michael. RETURN OF THE REMNANT. Baltimore: Lederer, 1996, p. 15;
see also Jockz, Jacob. THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND JESUS CHRIST. 3rd ed., Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977, p. 199). So the evidence from Church history--
earlier than the Roman Christian pacifist movement; much earlier than the
Anabaptists-- might help us to see how the still fledgling Jewish church
understood Jesus' words against violence within the context of the OT and those
sections of the NT that were widely circulated. To them there was such a thing
as a just war.

>4. Christians need to thoroughly examine what citizenship they hold and what
>their role is in the culture in which they live.

Make that "citizenship*s* and we'll be talking the same language.

>5. As far as I am concerned the war in afghanistan was not justified, and the
>proposed war in Iraq, and wherever else 'Battlin' Bush' wants to go will be
>just as unjustified. The weapons of his warfare are carnal and not spiritual.

... "Carnal" as president Bush, or as brother Bush? God will judge him ... for
reward or punishment. In that we can rest.

>6. Do we have a 'right' to defend ourselves? Do we have a right to 'avenge'
>ourselves? Have we asked God's perspective on these things?

I know what the answer for me is personally. I won't defend myself. I will
never avenge. That's what God has ordained governments to do. I would call
the police ... to defend me. To arrest and punish someone who had assaulted
me. When human justice is too short and/or too distorted, I will wait for my
GOEL to bring about vengeance. That is God's perspective on things. From
Genesis to Revelation-- not just funneled through three chapters of one gospel.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 07:04:07 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Two Kingdoms

Interesting thread.

Did any of you see Braveheart? Do you think William Wallace and countrymen
were wrong to fight for their freedom to live peacefully? Their wives were
being taken and raped. I know it's just a story, but I'm glad they fought
against the horrors inflicted on their families. That was love in action, ...
in though it involved war.

If we are called to freedom, that we must stand in that freedom, right? We have
the freedom to worship on this plot of Earth called the USA because people
before us believed that freedom was worth fighting for.

Who among us does not hate war? But, ..if we believe that there is never
anything to fight for, we might as well stand silent in the wake of another
Hitler. Does not the scripture remind us that if we 'know what is right to do,
and do not do it, we sin?' Seems to me that standing silent in the face of
terrorism falls into that category.

We decry the state of the media in 2001, but if we hadn't collectively stopped
fighting for decency in film back in the 1940s, we might not have to put up
with the carnal exploitation of violence and sex that we see on every front in
pop culture.

I don't think that the Lord says not to ever go to battle. The battle IS the
Lord's, but often times he calls us to stand and fight. (at least in the
spiritual realm I have seen and experienced this).

As believers in a contemporary society it is important to 'choose our battles'
wisely, and only step on that ground that the LORD has prepared before us.

Surely there is no easy or pat formula, and --- war stinks. I think TC's right
though, ... He said:
>>
I am also disturbed when people put this new war in terms of a religious war
between Christianity and Islam. And I pray that it will not last long, although
I fear it will. But even so, come Lord Jesus, come!
>>
Amen!

Stephanie

"They may take our lives, but they can't take our freedom." William Wallace,
Braveheart


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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 07:57:50 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Two
Kingdoms

Dear Staphanie,

Your posting on the "just war" thread was so well said.

Fact is, in human terms, there are ultimate issues at the heart of the matter,
ultimate issues, and ultimate choices. Perhaps enough so that Paul's advice
applies: "Judge nothing ahead of time". From the comfort of peace, and safety,
it is difficult to judge what anyone of us might do when faced with the harsh
reality of lethal aggression against ourselves or our loved ones. Certainly
this is an area where we need to be very careful not to judge another man's
servant. If The Lord could create some vessels for destruction, and others for
honor, then he might be able to do something very similar even among those of
us who believe, some whose lives are given for the preservation of others,
husbands for wives, for instance. It is not unthinkable that Ephesians 5 could
be read so as to include this possibility.

There does seem to be a certain handwriting on the wall where the present
battle lines are being drawn. It is not such a big stretch to see those of us
who take Jesus Christ seriously, moving into the cross hairs of a war against
those who are perceived to be "too religious" by the standards of the present
culture, the beast.

These are surely very interesting and challenging times. Pray that we be found
faithful.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 08:40:56 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [NTCP] Early church practice (was: cell groups)

From: Link Hudson

I have been busy recently, and haven't joined in much in the great discussions
going on here.

I'd like to summarize some of the points that Mike (and perhaps others) have
made in favor of the idea that the early church had elements of liturgy and
meetings in buildings--ideas that many house church folks find uncomfortable.

* In Acts 2:42, the early Christians continued in the apostle's doctrine,
fellowship, the breaking of bread and THE prayers. 'The prayers,' it has been
argued, refer to regular memorized prayers.

* Early Jerusalem Christians met in the temple and in homes.

* In Acts 13:1, some interpret the word for 'minister' to mean that the early
believers were performing a liturgy.

* In James 2:2, James gives the scenario of a rich and poor man coming into
'your synagogue.' 'Synagogue' originally meant 'assembly,' but in NT times,
had come to refer to the building. The other 50+ uses of the word seem to
refer to buildings in the NT. Some might see this as a case for Christian
synagogues in the first century. It's also possible that there were believers
intermixed in the regular Jewish synagogues, and that James is not thinking of
a specifically 'Christian synagogue.'

* On the traditional site of the Upper Room, on the first century level, there
is a synagogue built from the same kind of stone as the temple wall, with
Christian grafitto in it. Instead of facing the temple mount, the Torah nitch
faces the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre, a more likely place for Jesus'
resurrection than the Garden Tomb site. I seem to recall Mike writing me in
email that there was a tradition of James being an elder in a synagogue.

These are some of the 'non-house church' type pieces of evidence that have been
raised.

On the other hand, Mike has not argued that home meetings was not the norm.
Since early Christians under the influence of the apostles may met in the
temple, and perhaps (possibly Christian?) synagogues as well, we don't have a
right to condemn people for meeting in places other than homes.

Now I'd like to comment on something Michael Millier wrote,

>Within that biblical presentation we find "religion" as a good
>thing, liturgy and the moving of the H.S. going hand-in-hand, early
>Christians, and even Apostles, meeting in religious buildings, and mention of
>"*THE* overseer" (Gk. TON EPISKOPON-- assuming a singlular church leader) not
>once but twice in the writings of Paul (1 Tim 3:2; Tit. 1:7).

I didn't want to let this pass without commenting on it. I don't know Greek,
but based on the context of the Titus passage, and evidence from Acts about the
church in Ephesus, I find it hard to believe that 'ton episkopon' rules out the
possibility of there being more than one bishop.

Titus 1:6 talks about appointing 'elders' plural, and the context of the
passage seems to indicate to me that 'the bishop' here is talking about an
individual who qualified to be a bishop, and relates to the idea of Titus
appointing plural _elders_ to be bishops.

The I Timothy passage is written to Timothy who is laboring in Ephesus.

>From Acts 20, we see that there were a plurality of bishops in Ephesus.
Paul charges the elders of the church to pastor the flock of God, over whom the
Holy Ghost had made them BISHOPS (plural, or 'overseers', plural.) This passage
calls the plural elders bishops.

Paul also saluted bishops, plural, at the beginning of his letter to the
Philippians.

Does Paul use 'the deacon' in Greek to refer to potential deacon candidates?

Like I said, I don't know Greek. But I really doubt the definite article proves
the case. Maybe if Bill Thurmond is on the list, he could give a more
scholarly treatment of the matter. (Brother bearded Bill could give an
answer.)

While I'm on the subject, I'd also like to make some comments on my
recollections of the book, _The Open Church_, directed to brother Jim.

Your book was a blessing to me in a lot of ways. It got me interested in house
churches, and realizing that we all were supposed to minister answered a lot of
questions for me about my own gifts and ministry, and encouraged me to use the
gifts the lord had given me. I experienced a paradigm shift a few pages into
your book. I always imagined that I Corinthians 14 was happening between the
hymns and the sermon.

But there were some things in your book which motivated me to study and
research a little. After researching, I disagree with some of the historical
aspects of your book.

In your book, written years ago, and which I read about three or four years
ago, you stated that you weren't a historian, and some other comments like
that.

Your book blamed liturgy on pagan practices. It painted a picture of a church
that was open for ministry until Constantine, and 'blamed' the practice of
building church buildings on him as well.

While some pagan practices may have trickled into the church as Christianity
suddenly became popular (worshiping idols shaped like saints perhaps?) I don't
believe liturgy came primarily from paganism. Michael Millier has posted
evidence that Jews and Christians had a close relationship for the first few
hundred years of Christianity. The synagogue was very liturgical, and seems to
have had it's influence on the church.

I consider a lot of liturgy to be 'kosher.' It has it's roots in the temple.
In the temple, they sang certain songs, used incense, etc. Synagogue liturgy
was based, to some extent, on temple worship. Even in heaven, if we look in
Revelation, we see that incense is used in worship. "Smells and bells' may seem
strange to western Protestants, but that doesn't mean it's wrong to have them
in a meeting.

The earliest Christians were Jews. Later, Paul went around preaching in
synagogues in the Greek world. Many Gentiles used to come hear outside the
synagogue, not ready to get 'cut' into the Jewish religion. They had heard the
Torah read. They were used to synagogue prayer.

Then Paul came preaching the Gospel. Many of the Gentiles in the synagogues
repented. So did some of the Jews and proselytes. So the core 'membership' of
the early churches were used to singing liturgical Psalms, reading the Old
Testament according to a liturgical pattern, and many other practices.

In a Hebrew synagogue, any Jewish man in good standing might get the chance to
preach. There were certain elders, a synagogue leader, and various other
positions. A Hebrew or Aramaic speaking synagogue would allow for reading
scripture passages, preaching, translating, and explaining sermons to be
divided up among 7 people or so.

A Greek synagogue would have had fewer speakers. I forget how many. Maybe just
a few.

In addition to all this, there was some kind of forum, perhaps after the
teaching was given, for discussing or debating the sermon or scripture passage
together. The Jewish men could participate, anyway. Paul often found himself
debating in the synagogue.

When the church came into being, and churches started to meet in Greek cities,
this was the background of the members of the church. But in addition to the
liturgical background of the synagogues, these saints had something else- gifts
of the Spirit.

I suspect these early churches may have kept some element of temple/synagogue
worship. They may have read scriptures according to some regular pattern. That
may have been culturally normal for them. There may have been some unwritten
rules of order about how to conduct this activity.

Prophecy is a different story. The rules of order, which Paul indicates were
followed in other churches, and which were commands of God, ordered a prophet
to fall silent when another sitting by received a revelation. In this way, all
could prophesy one by one.

So I don't think liturgy came into the church from the pagans after 300 years
of completely 'open worship.'

I've read bits and pieces of an interesting scholarly work, _Evangelism in the
Early Church_ by Michael Green. Green's translations mention references to
_discussions_ in some of the early meetings. Green was well aware of the fact
that saints actually ate meals together.

But it was also interesting to see quotes from around the late 1st and early
2nd century in regard to church liturgy. One quote gave some liturgical
sounding instructions, followed by instructions that during the meeting, the
prophets could pray out prayers as they felt led.

We went from prophets speaking two or three, and yielding the floor when
another received a revelation 'for ye may all prophesy' to prophets being
allowed to pray prayers. I think there might have been elements of liturgy in
early church meetings- e.g. common prayers and an organized way of reading
through the scriptures. But there were also times spent together eating and
fellowship, and using gifts of the Spirit in a somewhat 'spontaneous' manner.

Over time, the spontaneous 'body ministry' came to be ignored, and more
attention was paid to following a rigid liturgy.

Michael Millier has presented evidence in this forum that Christians and Jews
in Rome were buried in the same area. Early Jewish Christians observed the
Law, as we see in Acts. Many of them continued to meet with their fellow Jews
in the synagogue. Interaction with the Jewish community, through Nazarenes who
were Torah-observant Christian Jews, may have continued for hundreds of years.
Jewish liturgical influence may have been felt as well.

About church buildings, I think it's pretty clear that Constantine didn't
invent them. Decades before Constantine, the Armenians, influenced by their
missionary 'Gregory the Illuminator' converted pagan temples to meeting places
and went to work on a cathedral. Gregory drew from existing liturgies to make
Armenian liturgy (liturgies existent before Constantine legalized Christianity
in his realm.)

Michael Millier has argued that there was a progression from meeting in homes,
to some homes being devoted solely to church use and used as church grounds, to
building special-purpose church facilities. I think he mentioned a 3rd or 4th
century reference to a man who traveler in the early 2nd century a 'church' on
the temple mount in Jerusalem. (If we get permission from the Muslims and
Israeli government to go digging around under the Dome of the Rock, maybe we
can prove this one. :)

I'm a pro-house church type of guy. I believe home meetings are great, and
think building church buildings CAN be a big waste of money and can redirect
people's attention off the kingdom of God. It does seem like a lot of people
out there are building their own kingdom, trying to keep the money flowing in
and the monuments going up. But I do hate to see the 'us versus them' attitude
in the house church movement. A lot of the things people use to distinguish
who is 'us' and who is 'them' are things like the kind of building 'them' meet
in, and various things relating to church structure.

Link


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Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 10:04:06 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Two Kingdoms

Hi!

From: Steffasong

>Interesting thread.

Yes, most interesting indeed.

>Did any of you see Braveheart? Do you think William Wallace and countrymen
>were wrong to fight for their freedom to live peacefully? Their wives were
>being taken and raped. I know it's just a story, but I'm glad they fought
>against the horrors inflicted on their families. That was love in action, ...
>in though it involved war.

Self defense can be used to justify almost anything and that is part of the
problem. What astounds me is that the undercurrent here in the thread has been
a convoluted understanding of the Kingdom of God. We are citizens of that
Kingdom, and we are free within that Kingdom, even if we are bound and chained
and murdered within the natural kingdoms of this earth, including the USA,
Canada and anywhere else we are from.

What I saw in Braveheart is a parable of righteousness versus evil. We need to
be careful when we embrace humanistic statements such as "The sure way for evil
triumph is for good men to do nothing!" That is a base humanistic value
statement. Sounds good and noble, but it is humanistic and does not come from
a Kingdom mindset.

Americans loved the movie. Why wouldn't they, they identified with the Scots
and against England. It rung their bell and their idealism and their perceived
understanding of 'freedom'. Don't get me wrong I loved the movie too, in fact
last night I was pondering watching it again. But we cannot even use Braveheart
to justify our responses as Christians in this culture and this world in which
we live. We must abide by Kingdom principles and not natural fleshly
principles that govern governments and oppressive enemies. The question still
is, "How do I respond as a disciple of Christ without denying the very essence
of the gospel and the Kingdom?

>If we are called to freedom, that we must stand in that freedom, right? We
>have the freedom to worship on this plot of Earth called the USA because
>people before us believed that freedom was worth fighting for.

Actually the argument can be and has been made by some Americans that America
was born in rebellion, and now generations removed from the revolution the
social ills and evils that prevail in America are rooted in that 'rebellion
against authority'. Democracy and 'freedom' have NOTHING to do with the
Kingdom of God. As E. Stanley Jones has said (in The Unshakable Kingdom and
the Unshakable Person) the Kingdom of God is a totalitarian Kingdom. Anything
less is a distortion of that kingdom. Ideologies like democracy and any other
'ism' stand against what the Kingdom of God is. We need to stand in who we are
in Christ Jesus, the personification of the Kingdom. We are free in Him. That
is the only freedom we have. Do we fight for it with the arm of flesh? The
early church did not. Why should we? We wage war on our knees and Jesus is our
advocate and He will have vengeance upon those who will accuse and attack His
Church. It is His fight, not ours.

"freedom worth fighting for" What do you mean by that? Again, I think that
here you are mixing your nationalistic mindsets about being an American and
freedom, and that in no way reflects the Kingdom of God. That is your personal
view as an American, but that view in no way reflects the reality of freedom in
Christ. Can you imagine fighting and killing others so that their culture can
be free to worship as they please? Jesus would not do that. No we are to love
those who abuse us and take our freedoms. We may be bound and chained and
killed, but we are free, free in Christ.

>Who among us does not hate war? But, ..if we believe that there is never
>anything to fight for, we might as well stand silent in the wake of another
>Hitler. Does not the scripture remind us that if we 'know what is right to
>do, and do not do it, we sin?' Seems to me that standing silent in the face of
>terrorism falls into that category.

How can you equate going to war "doing what is right". Show me that in
Scripture. You can't and you won't because it is not there. If the church had
truly been the church in the first place, and had waged spiritual warfare, the
whole debacle with Hitler may have been very different. We are not called to
fight in wars as believers. We are citizens of another Kingdom.

>We decry the state of the media in 2001, but if we hadn't collectively stopped
>fighting for decency in film back in the 1940s, we might not have to put up
>with the carnal exploitation of violence and sex that we see on every front in
>pop culture.

This battle was lost on its knees, or better put, the lack of prayer and
intercession. The battle is always won or lost in the spirit realm first, and
only manifests in the nations of the earth later.

>I don't think that the Lord says not to ever go to battle. The battle IS the
>Lord's, but often times he calls us to stand and fight. (at least in the
>spiritual realm I have seen and experienced this).

That is precisely the point, IN THE SPIRITUAL, not the physical!

>As believers in a contemporary society it is important to 'choose our
>battles' wisely, and only step on that ground that the LORD has prepared
>before us.

Amen. But understand that it must be SPIRITUAL.

Blessings,

Sam


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



Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 11:20:44 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Re: A "Just War"

Another use for knowing how to fight: working in dangerous barrios to help the
people there. If my husband had not been a street fighter as a child, and I
practically a street kid myself, we would not be able to enter the places that
not even the police will fo to, in order to do our charity work.

Now, I am trying to decide if I should ask the group giving scholarships to my
students to finance some martial arts classes for kids who want to be security
guards, an area uin which there is always work here. opinions?

Vanessa


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