New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, February 5 2002 Vol 02 : 031
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] house church: Trinidad
[NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
RE: [NTCP] house church: Trinidad
RE: [NTCP] conference announced
[NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)
Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 07:43:48 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Dear Michael,

The following came to me some time back. I think it speaks to some of the
problem that we are addressing where liturgy and structure are concerned:

THE VAIL WAS RENT

Coming down the hill from some time with David and Joyce Cowart, something
ocurred to me concerning the vail. It was rent from the top to the bottom.
Another way of saying this is that external authority was rent from top to
bottom.

In the first instance, and in its narrow sense, this vail represents "the law".
Certainly this is the first instance of my understanding. But understood as
external authority, a number of possibilities present themselves. External
authority can certainly be external commands, and written regulations, but it
can also be authority structures.

As an external authority structure, I am reminded that judgement begins with
the household of God, and in Ezekiel 9, it begins with the elders in front of
the temple. There is an interesting scene in the Mel Gibson film, THE PATRIOT.
The British general is objecting to the patriot and his men shooting the
British officers first.

As an authority structure, rending the vail from the top to bottom, is to begin
with the leadership. At a more personal level, the "futility of Gentile
thinking" or a religious mind set, rending the vail from top to bottom means
being set free from faulty thinking which starts in the head. Jesus not only
rent in his own flesh this vail of pre-existing external regulation, thus
making possible real intimacy with God, but he rent every such vail, past,
present and future. We don't have to tear anything down. He tore it all down on
the cross. Institutional Christianity has already been torn down at the cross,
all we need do is walk through the rent curtain with the life that He put in
its place.

Persuing this in a little greater depth. One way of looking at external
regulation is to see it as a kind of Paradigm. According to Webster, paradigm
means, "a pattern, example or model." Contemporary usage has it more in the
sense of a grid or filter on perception and understanding. A Paradigm is a kind
of filter that we look through. That filter acts as a kind of external pattern
or structure which governs how we act and react toward the world around us
including other people. The word pictures in the Bible are paradigms, designed
to indicate facets of who we are as God's people. Mike Bickle speaks with great
passion of the "bridal paradigm", we are the bride of Christ. This is one way
of looking at or understanding who we are. There are many such paradigms,
Biblical analogies which can help us in our understanding.

I'm sure the following list is not exhaustive:

Ambassadors - Representatives of a foreign government Body
- The functional expression of Christ in the earth Branches
- The place where God's life results in fruit Bread
- One loaf, ground together, and baked. Bride
- A people in intimate relationship with God Building -
A structure according to plan Church - Those gathered by
life, out of the world City - A protected place of great
variety in relationship Family - The life structure of
the children of God Field - A place to raise crops
Fig Tree - God's provision for the healing of the nations
Garden - A place where variety grows House
- A place to live Household - Those under one roof
Israel - Having prevailed in strugle, those fit to rule
Kingdom - One people under one government Living stones
- Divine building material Mount Zion - A place of
joy Nation - A distinct people among peoples New
Creation - Those with a fresh start and eternal future New
Jerusalem - A city with Godly foundations Olive Tree
- God's anointed Priesthood - Those who represent others
before God. Servants - Those who embody Godly authority
Sheep - Those who are totally dependant Soldiers
- Those equipped for war Temple - The
dwelling place of God Vinyard - A place to grow grapes for
crushing into wine Wheat - A crop sewn by God and looking
toward harvest

The summary statements are not finally difinitive, but this gives us, at least,
a taste of the various facets on the truth of who we are in Christ.

There is a paradigm in the heart of God that trancends all of these. It is in
the passion of the heart of God that all the rest come together. The mind of
Christ is a kind of paradigm, a kind of way of looking at things and people, a
perspective on reality. In fact reality is found only in Christ, in the mind of
Christ.

To get to the mind of Christ requires what, in the current vernacular, is
described as a "paradign shift". When the vail was rent, we were given a
divinely initiated paradigm shift. We were given a lot more than that, but the
paradigm shift is what is necessary for us to appropriate what we have been
given in Christ. There are a number of passages which come to mind as I think
about it in these days, even in these last days. We had no access into the
heart of God. That access was opened for us, by what happened to Jesus on The
Cross.

The author of Hebrews puts it this way: "Therefore, brothers, since we have
confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and
living way opened for us through the curtain, (veil) that is his body,..."
Hebrews 10:19,20

Mark puts it this way, "With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain
(veil) of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." Mark 15:37, 38

Paul puts it this way in Ephesians and Colossians 2, "For he himself is our
peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing
wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and
regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two,
thus making peace." "...having canceled the written code, with its regulations,
that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it
to the cross." Ephesians 2:14,15, Colossians 2:14

In the Most Holy Place is the heart of God. We get a little glimpse of the
heart of God in Song of Songs: "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a
seal over your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as
the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot
quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of
his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Song of Songs, 8:6,7.

Exodus puts it this way: "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord whose name
is Jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14,

Song of Songs speaks of the seal of God's love. This brings to mind Ezekiel 9:
4, 6 where the judgement of God followed the seal "...Go throughout the city of
Jerusalem and put a mark (seal) on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament
over all the detestable things that are done in it..... So they began with the
elders who were in front of the temple."

Judgement began from the top down.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the
kingdom of Heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let
those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees,
you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when
he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Matthew
23:13-15

There is a passion in the heart of God. He wants us to enter into, and share
that passion. What does that passion look like? For us who believe, or claim
to, it looks like Jesus on the cross. "This is how we know what love is, Jesus
Christ layed down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for each
other." God redefined "agape" on the cross. Until then, it was only good for
friends, after that it was good for enemies, Romans 5:10

The heart of God, the love of God, the passion of God is the nuclear reactor
that empowers the doing of God, Isaiah 9:7 It must be the reactor of our doing
as well. In inviting us to embrace the "bridal paradigm", Mike Bikle is careful
to warn against a carnal minded preoccupation with the paradigm of human
sexuality, and with that disclaimer, is quite correct when he says that,
"workers will go only just so far, but lovers will go all the way."

The relationships of Jesus, had their source in His Father, and now for us,
Jesus is Lord of Relationship. Faith works by love. A "church" without
relationships that come from God is no church at all. Relationships that are
not energized by the passion of God, even the passion of God in our own hearts,
are no relationships at all. God's kind of passion lays its life down for
enemies.

What is the content of our hearts even for each other??

In general our inability to get along as Christians has something to do with
the violation of our expectations. Expectations certainly come in great
profusion and variety. Expectations are largely determined by the paradigm
through which we are seeing and responding to the world around us. There is a
set of expectations in every one of the paradigms mentioned above. Somehow
there is a paradigm in the mind of Christ which sets us free to love.

The day Jesus said, "I love you", His expectations were nailed to the tree.
Even our expectations are an external authority structure determining how we
act and react. Jesus should be Lord of both action and reaction. If this is
going to happen the veil must be rent, and it must be rent from the top down.
Judgement begins with the household of God, and it begins with the elders in
front of the temple. Let us not be numbered among the satanic gate keepers,
those who maintain the barriers to intimacy with God and each other, but rather
let us plunge into the passion of God's heart through the veil of rent
expectations even our own. They are only images anyway. The reality is found in
Christ.

Oh yes, and again, we don't need to tear anything down, we are too late for
that, Jesus tore every barrier down almost 2,000 years ago, all we need do is
plunge boldly through it all.

Jay


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Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 15:50:27
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: [NTCP] house church: Trinidad

Dear friends,

Just a little note on whats going on here in Trinidad.

I am very excited about the way things are progressing here, I couldnt sleep
last night and was up until about 3 o Clock this morning praying.

Many homes in the community have been opening up to us recently. Last Thursday
we were invited to have our meeting at someone else's home, we had the
opportunity to minister to 8 new people. Afterwards we were asked to have our
next meeting at another new house by one of the new people.

A young hindu woman that I worked with several years ago (and ministered to)
called one our group for help. She has been under severe demonic attack and is
living in extreme fear. She reports being assaulted in her sleep and upon
waking finds blue black bruises about her legs. We are going to see her on
Wednesday, she will be delivered.

Suddenly many doors seem to opening up to us and we are being presented with so
many opportunities for ministry ( to many lost souls). A member from one of our
meetings commented that doors that were seemingly shut before are suddenly
opening up to us and people are coming to us. We plan to spend our time in our
next meeting in prayer only.

I have been praying to God that He will increase our numbers and I believe that
God is going to start adding to us quickly.

One of the tasks I have is convincing people that what we are doing is real
Church, and the Sunday service thing, while nothing's wrong with it, isnt
really God's best for us.

I started off with the intention of working with Pastors in the community but I
still have to figure in my mind what is going to happen when converts face
contradictory teaching, from us, and the Church. I guess i will have to do what
I always do, give them the truth and allow God to work. Most Churches arent
interested in making disciples, just members.

I have come to the conclusion, based on my own experience, and that of others,
that some of the teachings in the institutional church cause some damage to
the spiritual life of new believers. I suppose this is why we have to pray
continually for them.

I know as well that sheep will go where there is good food, their natural
instinct is to eat. I just read Robert Fitts' booklet, Simple Church, it was a
real blessing to me. I have a much better understanding now of what we are
about and where we are heading.

Thanks again for your prayers.
David Jaggernauth
Trinidad


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Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 12:54:13 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Hey all,

Keep up the drum beat for the spontaneous multiplication of churches as
unbelievers fall before the crown and scepter of our might King.

As we began our examination of the evidence for or against the single bishop
(monoepiscopacy), I would like to inquire as to the real need for such a
position in the first place, whether in a congregation or a region.
Historically, they have dominated the teaching, finances, and have assumed the
role of THE administrator of the "sacraments."

Do we really need a guy like this?

David Anderson


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Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:41:37 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] house church: Trinidad

david,

I'm in Maracaibo, Venezuela, not too far from you. Any chance we could meet
someday?

vanessa


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Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 00:17:59 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] conference announced

I'd LOVE to come to this! i might come up with the ticket and such if someone
could put me up in SC? Coming from South america, please remember.

Vanessa


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Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:19:05 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [NTCP]
Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

From: Link Hudson via and alternate address.

Dear brother Jay,

You have exchanged several messages with Michael Miller about the topic of
liturgy, planning, authority, and various other topics. One thing Michael has
repeatedly expressed concern over is your allegorical method of interpretation.

Frankly, when I have discussed issues with you, I've experienced the same
thing. Your arguments aren't based on anything that can be nailed down, but on
a sort of allegorical interpretation that can't be proven right or wrong. This
makes discussing an issue difficult. Now, Michael and I both seem to be linear
type thinkers. I realize everyone has different styles of thinking and
different gifts. But on the other hand, there is such a thing as bad
hermeneutics.

Let me give you some examples of allegorical interpretations you have used. You
disagreed with the idea of having memorized, scheduled prayers. Your arguments
about this were based on the idea that this type of thing was of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil. There was no real substantial way to prove that
such things were categorically allegorically related to that tree.

Michael recently asked you some more questions asking you to refrain from smoke
and mirrors and allegorical interpretation. This message you send below is very
much based on allegory.

>Coming down the hill from some time with David and Joyce Cowart, something
>ocurred to me concerning the vail. It was rent from the top to the bottom.
>Another way of saying this is that external authority was rent from top to
>bottom. In the first instance, and in its narrow sense, this vail represents
>"the law". Certainly this is the first instance of my understanding. But
>understood as external authority, a number of possibilities present
>themselves. External authority can certainly be external commands, and written
>regulations, but it can also be authority structures.

Let me ask you, what is it in scripture that allows you to tie in the veil that
was rent to any type of authority structure? If I read the scriptures, and see
some type of 'authority structure' in the servant-leadership of the early
church, then how can I conclude that the tearing of the veil refers to
authority structure? Paul wrote of his own authority. Was that rent in two?

Paul used allegory. I am thinking of the allegory about Hagar and Ishmael. If I
were one of his original readers, in order to be persuaded by Paul's arguments,
I'd either have to see something in the text of OT scripture to persuade me
that Paul was right, or I would have to believe that the Lord was speaking
through Paul. I would believe that the Lord were speaking through Paul if I
believed God had sent him as an apostle, or if I could spiritually sense the
Lord speaking. Since I do recognize these words as being inspired by God, I
accept them.

As I understand it an allegorical interpretation can be accepted by someone for
one of two reasons:

1. The allegory is based on scripture. (For example, if an apostle tells us in
holy scripture that 'that Rock was Christ' we can use this principle in
interpreting in the OT.)

2. We consider the allegory to be revealed by revelation. Basically, we
consider the allegory to be a prophetic message to us.

An example of the second category would be someone who gets a verse from God
about their own situation. I remember Michael Miller telling me that Lord spoke
to him through a verse of scripture about ministry to Jews/Israel from
Revelation where the Lord said, Behold I have opened a door that no man can
shut. This is not a pure example of allegory interpretation, but it is an
example of scripture being used out of a strict literal context.

Even though, in context, Jesus is dealing with other issues in the church not
directly related to MM's Israeli ministry, because MM _sensed the Spirit
talking to him_ about Israel when he read this verse, he took it as a message
for him. If someone were to make a doctrine that this verse in Revelation
applied strictly to ministry to Israel, they would be wrong. If someone took
MM's experience, made a doctrine about it, and started using this verse to
preach to people NOT called to go to Israel, to tell them to go to Israel, then
that would be a misuse of scripture. God can use scripture allegorically like
this to speak to our own personal situations.

But the only reason we can really accept allegorical interpretations that
aren't rooted in the context scripture is if we _believe that the person
teaching the interpretation has some sort of prophetic or revelatory
inspiration to do so!_ If someone just starts making allegorical
interpretations of the Bible by guesswork, and teaching them authoritatively,
that's downright dangerous.

Do you claim to be prophetically inspired in your allegorical interpretations?

Sometimes allegorical interpretations are rooted in a religious philosophy,
rather than the teaching of scripture. For example, if one has a theological
predisposition toward the idea that all organizing, planning, and strategizing
is evil, he might use an allegorical interpretation about the tree of knowledge
and good and evil as a argument against planning. What is really bad is when
people start using allegorical or esoteric teachings that are not from God to
condemn fellow brethren.

Certain circles of Charismatics talk a lot about 'the Jezebel spirit.' If we
take that phrase literally, then they are talking about the dead human ghost of
a Canaanite woman who was queen of Israel. But what they mean is some sort of
demonic principality that was behind Jezebel. The Bible says nothing about one
giant Jezebel 'spirit.' It does call a so-called prophetess leading the people
astray 'that woman Jezebel,' but there is not talk of 'that woman Jezebel.'

So now, if there is a woman who is a bit controlling or who does not allow
herself to be controlled, it is possible to get others to stay away from her by
saying, "Stay away from that woman. She has the Jezebel spirit." Now there is
no scriptural reason to think that there is a 'Jezebel spirit' and maybe even
less reason to think that the woman has a demon. But with this unprovable,
esoteric warning about 'the Jezebel spirit' it is possible to tempt others to
ostracize a fellow believer. If the person hearing the 'Jezebel spirit' warning
is not hearing God (but is just diagnosing 'symptoms' he learned from a
so-called spiritual warfare book) this is a terrible thing to do.

I once was went to meetings of a church that met in a home (which seemed to
want to become an 'institutional church ') where there was a woman who
continually taught in allegories. Her husband was considered to be 'the
pastor,' and after a while, it was clear that she saw herself as the co-pastor.
It was hard to know what she was talking about sometimes. Whenever she taught,
just about everything she taught was based on an allegorical interpretation.
When thinking about her messages, I realized the only way I could believe her
message was if I believed that she had some sort of prophetic message that she
had got, using the Bible was a springboard, because the Bible passages she used
didn't support what she was teaching. If she were just coming up with
allegorical interpretations based on her own reasoning,then that was very
dangerous.

This woman did seem to get some words from the Lord in 'ministry time' prayer
time sometimes. She got a word for me one time which was encouraging. On some
other occasions, I asked her when she was praying if she got anything for me.
Maybe that was immature, but I don't think it was a sin.

Later, she called me up and tried to blame me for some problems my sister was
going through. She considered my sister to be 'in her sheep pen.' She referred
me to some verse in Isaiah which was about Israelites offering sacrifices to
pagan gods on high places and tried to use that in some allegorical way to
condemn me because I had asked if she had gotten a prophetic word for me. She
said I shouldn't receive any prophetic word. She also said an extreme version
of a false Charismatic teaching on prophecy, "If it's not confirmation, it's
junk." I disagreed with her, being somewhat annoyed with her dumping
condemnation all over me using allegorical and esoteric means and no
substantial evidence. If she'd showed me where I'd sinned in some way, I would
have been willing to hear it.

I had only visited that church from time to time. My brother was attending just
about all the time. Eventually, he and several other people who sensed that
something was just 'no right' left in a mass exodus (well, there were only a
couple dozen there.)

Jesus did use parables. But his parables were logical. When He used the OT, I
can't think of a single time he got really 'out there' in allegory.

Where did the heavy use of allegory come from? Origin seemed to think that
there were different levels of interpreting scripture, and the most noble one
was allegorical.

Augustine seemed to think that allegorical interpretation was a higher means of
interpreting. I read something in Augustine's confessions (which I've only
glanced at actually) which I consider to be a major misinterpretation of
scripture common to this day.

Augustine said that before a certain point he'd only heard the scriptures
taught in a literal manner (I'm very loosely paraphrasing/explaining here.) But
he came to be interested in the scriptures when a certain bishop (Ambrose
maybe?) taught them allegory, teaching the spirit of the scriptures, and not
the letter.

Paul wrote in II Corinthians that the letter of the law killeth, but the Spirit
giveth life.

This is what I think one of the major misinterpretations of history is: the
idea that Paul was talking about the 'spirit of the law.' I think Paul was
contrasting the letter of the law with the Spirit of life, not the letter of
the law with the spirit of the law.

I've heard that in California law, judges are supposed to interpret the 'spirit
of the law' and not just the letter. That is, they are to determine the
underlying intent of a law, and not just what it actually says.

But I believe that this use of 'spirit of the law' doesn't work when it comes
to the scriptures.

Let us think about some of Paul's understanding of the Law versus the spirit.
Take a look at Romans 7. In Romans 7, Paul says that when the commandment came,
sin came to life and he died. Though the law was holy, just, and good, sin took
advantage of the commandment and by it, killed him. Here we see that because of
sin, when the commandment came Paul died. So this is a connection between death
and the Law. Paul also wrote of the law of sin and death in his members in this
chapter.

In the next chapter, Paul writes that the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has
set him free from the law of sin and death. The passage continues on to talk
about the Spirit of adoption, and the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from
the dead dwelling in us.

We should understand, 'the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life' in light
of Paul's other writings. Under the law, Paul was dead. But by faith in Christ,
he was alive through the Spirit!

The story of the giving of the Law shows that soon after the Law was given,
3,000 Israelites died. Did you know that the day of Pentecost was the
anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai? On the day of Pentecost,
the Spirit came, and 3,000 people found new life.

The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life.

It is not the 'Spirit of the Law' that gives life, but rather the Spirit of Him
that raised up Christ from the dead. I strongly believe that Paul is not
talking about the 'spirit of the law' in the sense of an allegorical way of
interpretation the Law, but rather of the Spirit of Christ.

Men under the law were under sin. The Law commanded them not to sin, but they
felt compelled to do so. These people were under the law. But believers are not
under the Law. We are empowered by the Spirit to please God.

So if one takes this verse from II Corinthians and uses it as an excuse for
disagreeing with a more straightforward reading of the Old Testament, imo, they
are misusing scripture.

I'm not discounting all allegory. There are plenty of allegories in the
scriptures. But there are also plenty of examples of godly prophets and
apostles using the scriptures in a very plain sense- maybe not the same way as
many modern Protestant literalists, but in a rather straightforward manner
none-the-less.

God man speak through allegories. But a lot of allegorical interpretations
require us to believe that the teacher received a revelation about what
represents what. I can't know that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil
represents whose who pray ritual prayers based solely on the scriptures alone.
I have to believe that the one teaching received a revelation from God in order
to believe that interpretation.

Using guesswork to arrive at allegorical interpretations of the scriptures, and
teaching those things allegorically can lead to flakiness, and can be downright
dangerous--especially if these interpretations are used as an excuse to look
down on other segments of the body of Christ.

Link Hudson


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Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 04:59:45 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

>
From: Link Hudson
>
>Dear brother Jay,
>
>You have exchanged several messages with Michael Miller about the topic of
>liturgy, planning, authority, and various other topics. One thing Michael has
>repeatedly expressed concern over is your allegorical method of
>interpretation.
>
>Frankly, when I have discussed issues with you, I've experienced the same
>thing. Your arguments aren't based on anything that can be nailed down, but on
>a sort of allegorical interpretation that can't be proven right or wrong. This
>makes discussing an issue difficult. Now, Michael and I both seem to be linear
>type thinkers. I realize everyone has different styles of thinking and
>different gifts. But on the other hand, there is such a thing as bad
>hermeneutics.

....

Dear Link,

Thank you for your rather substantial observations concerning allegorical
methods of interpretation. I don't think I will have near enough time to
respond in a way that does it justice this morning, but I will certainly
respond in some detail at my first opportunity. In the meantime, I wanted you
to know that I do appreciate the considerable thought that you have put into
what you sent, and the spirit in which it seems to have been written. I believe
that the issues you raise are very very important ones.

In the last few days, I have been listening to some teaching tapes by Howard
Morgan, now home based in Atlanta. He is a Messianic Jew, and very remarkable
in his grasp of, and ability to articulate the difference between Greek
thinking, and Hebraic understanding. I highly commend him to anyone who is
struggling with the kind of issues you have raised.

He recently spoke at Ridgecrest at the annual CBU conference. He took the
position that the Gentile church is the Gadarene demoniac, and then proceeded
to prove it, to the satisfaction of just about everyone present, a thousand or
so. I mention him only as one who could probably respond much better to the
issues you raise than I could, but for all of that, I will be back to you soon,
Lord willing, on the subject.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 05:12:32 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

David Anderson wrote:

>Hey all,
>
>Keep up the drum beat for the spontaneous multiplication of churches as
>unbelievers fall before the crown and scepter of our might King.
>
>As we began our examination of the evidence for or against the single bishop
>(monoepiscopacy), I would like to inquire as to the real need for such a
>position in the first place, whether in a congregation or a region.
>Historically, they have dominated the teaching, finances, and have assumed the
>role of THE administrator of the "sacraments."
>
>Do we really need a guy like this?
>
>David Anderson

Dear David,

I think the answer can be found in Paul's concern for the Church at Ephesus as
revealed in his farewell address to the Ephesian Elders, Acts 20: 29,30. Even
though Paul was speaking as an apostle, the principle remains the same; after
he left, the church would be torn apart by savage wolves. Paul was only one
man, and his presence or absence could make that kind of a difference.

Over the years my experience has been that, young ambitious males with a desire
to serve The Lord, come into an area and tear the church apart faster than the
elders who are already there can come to an understanding of theit own identity
in Christ, and their role as elders. Most elders don't know who they are. There
are many reasons, but the primary one is that they don't know what a church is.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 08:24:56 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

>Link Hudson wrote:
>
>Dear brother Jay,
>
>You have exchanged several messages with Michael Miller about the topic of
>liturgy, planning, authority, and various other topics. One thing Michael has
>repeatedly expressed concern over is your allegorical method of
>interpretation.
>
>Frankly, when I have discussed issues with you, I've experienced the same
>thing. Your arguments aren't based on anything that can be nailed down, but on
>a sort of allegorical interpretation that can't be proven right or wrong. This
>makes discussing an issue difficult. Now, Michael and I both seem to be linear
>type thinkers.

That's interesting, my son who claims hat every thing goes in circles recently
accused me of being too linear. Actually, I don't think it is a matter of
linear versus circular, but rather rather Greek versus Hebrew or intellect
versus revelation. One of the observations of Howard Morgan who I mentioned in
my last post to you was that. Jesus was crucified in the place of the skull,
and He is always crucified in the place of the skull. In saying that He noted
that the Bible is a parable of life, and life is a parable of God. That struck
me because I have been working on a manuscript on relationships that come from
God. While I have been working on it for about 15 years no, the title only came
to me in the past year; "IN OTHER WORDS, SEX IS A PARABLE".

>I realize everyone has different styles of thinking and different gifts. But
>on >the other hand, there is such a thing as bad hermeneutics.

I think the present condition of the church is proof enough of that. Actually I
don't think I ever met Hermen. (Just a little weak humor.)

>Let me give you some examples of allegorical interpretations you have used.
>You disagreed with the idea of having memorized, scheduled prayers.

I don't recall talking about "memorized" prayers, but if you say so, I'll take
your word for it, because I am not into memorization. My impression has been
that what can be stored in the flesh, can be recalled in the flesh. I prefer
data entry by revelation, and recall by the Spirit.

>Your arguments about this were based on the idea that this type of thing was
>of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

I'm still a little weak on recalling the post, so I'm having trouble making the
case in those terms at the moment.

>There was no real substantial way to prove that such things were categorically
>allegorically related to that tree.

"categorically allegorically" Somehow a red flag goes up at the expression.
There is something wrong with it which I think will become clearer as we pursue
the discussion. I think it was Nee who pointed out that eating from the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil led to an over developed soul, and a shrunken
spirit. This is to say that man became lopsided in favor of soulishness. The
result was a broken relationship with God. The relationship was broken before
he was thrown out of the garden as evidenced by his hiding in the bushes, to
say nothing of his fig leaves.

>Michael recently asked you some more questions asking you to refrain from
>smoke and mirrors and allegorical interpretation. This message you sent below
>is very much based on allegory.

>>Coming down the hill from some time with David and Joyce Cowart, something
>>occurred to me concerning the vail. It was rent from the top to the bottom.
>>Another way of saying this is that external authority was rent from top to
>>bottom.

Now we're talking. It may be allegorical, but I believe that I can demonstrate
it from the Scripture. I have to make this disclaimer, however, there were even
for Jesus, those who had eyes and saw not, and ears, and heard not..." Any
communication requires both sending and receiving, and this is certainly try of
divine communication.

Jesus was the embodiment of all the fullness of God. ( May I pour the Scripture
like water, or do I need to quote chapter and verse?) I believe that this was
part of the difference that Paul was speaking to the Corinthians, when he said
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature..." 1 Corinthians
2:6.

In Ephesians 2 we are told, "by abolishing in His flesh the law... there
described as the "dividing wall of hostility". In Colossians we are told, the
"written code" was "canceled", was against us", was "opposed to us" was "taken
out of the way", "nailed to the cross" In Hebrews we are told: the "curtain was
His body".

Now, the question is, what is governing how we think, speak and act. The
Kingdom of God is a government which governs people from the inside out, for to
us a child is born, and to us a son is given, and the government is upon His
shoulder". That is to say, those who are spiritual are under an internal
government. They only so what they see the Father doing, and they only say what
they hear the Father saying. This is internal government. it is revelational,
not intellectual. To the degree that the Hebrew culture was developed as a
result of their relationship with God, it is Hebraic, not Greek. We are al the
victims of Greek culture, and a Greek rooted educational system, including our
Bible schools and seminaries. At least, that is the way I see it.

>>In the first instance, and in its narrow sense, this vail represents "the
>>law". Certainly this is the first instance of my understanding. But
>>understood as external authority, a number of possibilities present
>>themselves. External authority can certainly be external commands, and
>>written regulations, but it can also be authority structures.
>>
>Let me ask you, what is it in scripture that allows you to tie in the veil
>that was rent to any type of authority structure? If I read the scriptures,
>and see some type of 'authority structure' in the servant-leadership of the
>early church, then how can I conclude that the tearing of the veil refers to
>authority structure? Paul wrote of his own authority. Was that rent in two?

Paul's authority was his by revelation, not only to revelation to him, but also
by revelation to those he served. That revelation was confirmed by two or three
witnesses when Paul and Barnabas were first commissioned to take the gospel to
the Gentiles. Let me quickly add that The confirmed witness has to be
consistent with the heart of God as revealed by His Spirit as well as His
written Word. Paul and Barnabas were sent out by an authentic church, not a
bogus one.

>Paul used allegory. I am thinking of the allegory about Hagar and Ishmael. If
>I were one of his original readers, in order to be persuaded by Paul's
>arguments, I'd either have to see something in the text of OT scripture to
>persuade me that Paul was right, or I would have to believe that the Lord was
>speaking through Paul. I would believe that the Lord were speaking through
>Paul if I believed God had sent him as an apostle, or if I could spiritually
>sense the Lord speaking. Since I do recognize these words as being inspired by
>God, I accept them.

Agreed, except perhaps for one thing. Peter was also an apostle, sent by God,
but we do have instances where his words and actions were not God. This tells
me that credentials are not enough. There must be that witness of the Spirit in
our own hearts. "Test everything", I think the Word calls it.

>As I understand it an allegorical interpretation can be accepted by someone
>for one of two reasons:
>
>1. The allegory is based on scripture. (For example, if an apostle tells us in
>holy scripture that 'that Rock was Christ' we can use this principle in
>interpreting in the OT.)

Yes, and more than that, we can learn from his revelation of the Scripture that
it is legitimate to understand the Scripture in this way, not just in the case
of the "Rock" but in other things as well.

>2. We consider the allegory to be revealed by revelation. Basically, we
>consider the allegory to be a prophetic message to us.

>An example of the second category would be someone who gets a verse from God
>about their own situation. I remember Michael Miller telling me that Lord
>spoke to him through a verse of scripture about ministry to Jews/Israel from
>Revelation where the Lord said, Behold I have opened a door that no man can
>shut. This is not a pure example of allegory interpretation, but it is an
>example of scripture being used out of a strict literal context.

Even here, and perhaps especially here, we need to test everything. There is a
lot of misbegotten, and misguided ministry out there, and just about all of it
claims to be the call of God. If the fruit of it is any indication, I would
have to say that most of it is a run from, rather than a call to. If past
experience is any indication, I'm guessing that every "savage wolf" has a verse
he could cite as support for what he is doing. I am not referring to Michael,
only to the principle you used him to exemplify.

>Even though, in context, Jesus is dealing with other issues in the church not
>directly related to MM's Israeli ministry, because MM _sensed the Spirit
>talking to him_ about Israel when he read this verse, he took it as a message
>for him. If someone were to make a doctrine that this verse in Revelation
>applied strictly to ministry to Israel, they would be wrong.

Agreed

>If someone took MM's experience, made a doctrine about it, and started using
>this verse to preach to people NOT called to go to Israel, to tell them to go
>to Israel, then that would be a misuse of scripture.

That's a big one. "burden for the people" rather than "the call of God".

>God can use scripture allegorically like this to speak to our own personal
>situations.

Agreed.

>But the only reason we can really accept allegorical interpretations that
>aren't rooted in the context scripture is if we _believe that the person
>teaching the interpretation has some sort of prophetic or revelatory
>inspiration to do so!_ If someone just starts making allegorical
>interpretations of the Bible by guesswork, and teaching them authoritatively,
>that's downright dangerous.

It's all "downright dangerous". What would you call the present division of the
body of Christ, and those who preside over it without shame?

That said, let me respond: prophets by their very nature tend to look a lot
like loose cannons. The onus is on the one who would receive or reject them.
They just don't come with structural iron clad credentials. What they say needs
to be tested. The inner witness of the Spirit is essential. There is no other
way. If what they say seems to be with odds with the Scripture, then it is time
to dig in, and find out, perhaps learn the way of God, and the Word of God more
excellently. This is what I do, when I am truck that something which has been
said has real importance to me or the Body of Christ as a whole.

Let's face it Link, there is a need, even a crying need to go back and take
another look at our understanding of the Scriptures where The Church is
Concerned. I believe that almost universal and massive, and deep repentance is
required at every level. We are all looking through a glass darkly. Let us pray
that we are well positioned to receive the light of revelation for the day in
which we are living.

>Do you claim to be prophetically inspired in your allegorical interpretations?

I believe that Jesus, even The Jesus of Nazerath, revealed in the written Word
is our example. He was very sparing with making claims about who He was, even
noting that those who make such claims on their own behalf are not true
witnesses. I have been asked many time who I was. It was always asked after I
had said something which was particularly disturbing. My answer now is the same
as on those occasions. I can not communicate anything of value to you based on
who I say that I am. That is not my business, it is between you and The Lord. I
can meaningfully communicate with you based only on what The Lord tells you
either about me or about the content of what I have said. Where I'm concerned,
don't forget that The Lord can even speak through a dumb ass, K.J.V.

>Sometimes allegorical interpretations are rooted in a religious philosophy,
>rather than the teaching of scripture. For example, if one has a theological
>predisposition toward the idea that all organizing, planning, and strategizing
>is evil, he might use an allegorical interpretation about the tree of
>knowledge and good and evil as a argument against planning.

Yes they might or.... most of my church attending life has been in the Anglican
Church, (talk about planning) and I'm attending one now. Actually I think it's
liturgy has more going for it than the Baptist liturgy or the liturgy in most
house groups. But better than liturgy, better than doing what we did last week,
is being in touch with the one who is "I Am", rather than "I was", or "I will
be". the issue of allegorical interpretation may involve strong holds in the
human intellect, that only the cross can tear down. The question is how to get
positioned so that the cross has the best shot at us. Alienation and division
could be understood as simply an attempt to avoid the cross.

>What is really bad is when people start using allegorical or esoteric
>teachings >that are not from God to condemn fellow brethren.

Seems to me even literal interpretation isn't so good when we use it in this
way. "You must cover your head.."

>Certain circles of Charismatics talk a lot about 'the Jezebel spirit.'

Yes they do. Actually the "more liberated ones" use it gender neutral.

>If we take that phrase literally, then they are talking about the dead human
>ghost of a Canaanite woman who was queen of Israel. But what they mean is some
>sort of demonic principality that was behind Jezebel. The Bible says nothing
>about one giant Jezebel 'spirit.' It does call a so-called prophetess leading
>the people astray 'that woman Jezebel,' but there is not talk of 'that woman
>Jezebel.'
>
>So now, if there is a woman who is a bit controlling or who does not allow
>herself to be controlled, it is possible to get others to stay away from her
>by saying, "Stay away from that woman. She has the Jezebel spirit." Now there
>is no scriptural reason to think that there is a 'Jezebel spirit' and maybe
>even less reason to think that the woman has a demon. But with this
>unprovable, esoteric warning about 'the Jezebel spirit' it is possible to
>tempt others to ostracize a fellow be liever. If the person hearing the
>'Jezebel spirit' warning is not hearing God (but is just diagnosing 'symptoms'
>he learned from a so-called spiritual warfare book) this is a terrible thing
>to do.

Yes it is. Leaders have been doing this to "wolves in sheep's clothing" "false
prophets", and "false teachers", and done so thinking, and saying they were
"doing God a service" for a long time. As for me, I think that allowing Jesus
to be Lord of relationship would be a much more effective way of separating the
real from the presumptuous

To be continued:

Yours in christ,

Jay

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