New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, February 6 2002 Vol 02 : 032
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
RE: [NTCP] house church: Trinidad
[NTCP] NTCP: RE church planter Trinidad
[NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] RE: church planter Trinidad
[NTCP] RE: house church: Trinidad
[NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] Re: house church: Trinidad
Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
RE: [NTCP] RE: church planter Trinidad
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 10:17:06 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Dear David and List:

The simple answer is, an absolute and total and complete and emphatic and
resolute "NO"!!!! Not then, not now, not ever!

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you wer called to one hope when you
were called, and one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4-6). Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 15:53:56
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] house church: Trinidad

I have friends at the YWAM base in Merida. Some our team has been to Merida
previously on ministry through the base there. We will going to Guyana later
this year, to the warahoons in the bush. I dont know if it could happen
sometime then, the exact date i'm not too sure of.

We all have a desire to go back to the Merida base to do some more work there
but we havent made any plans to do it, our local ministry is very time
consuming.

I will let you know, the other thing is whether you are available to visit
Trinidad, if for more than one day, you could stay with my wife and I, we have
lots of room. We would love to have you over.

It would be nice. We have lots of work to do here, but we are also expecting
much opposition.

David Jaggernauth Trinidad

>
From: "vanessadd" Reply-To: ntcp(--AT--)homechurch.org To:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] >house church: Trinidad Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:41:37 -0400
>
>david,
>
>I'm in Maracaibo, Venezuela, not too far from you. Any chance we could meet
>someday?
>
>vanessa


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Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 17:15:45
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: [NTCP] NTCP: RE church planter Trinidad

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to add something to some of the things I have been posting here.

I know that many of you on this list are seasoned CPers, and have much
experience on the mission field as well but I also know that some arent. And
many of you are interested in starting your own house church and getting
involved in the labour. To those who are newbies like myself, many of my posts
may sound great and phenomenal and you may think that maybe we are "so
spiritual" and maybe thats why God is beginning to move like that with us.

I just want to point out a few things to encourage you. Myself and all the
members of our group were all nobodies in our Churches, we just really love
Jesus with a passion and are all quite very ordinary people.

The kind of things that have been happening here is unusual for us as well. I
previously spent four years working an outreach in a very remote village where
practically nothing happened for almost three years, but we never gave up. It
was only in the last year that God began to bring breakthroughs and things
began to happen. We were immediately taken off that ministry the moment that
began to happen. We stuck with that work because we knew that God was in it, we
knew because we sensed the grace that was always available for us. We had many
small miracles happen for us that gave us the sense that God was close to us
and keeping us.

We went through a long period of testing and trial and the fruit we are seeing
now is a benefit of that. I believe in prayer prayer prayer, and when youre
fedup, more prayer. Patience is a very important quality, I have learned not
only from ministry but life. Because of our persistence and patience we were
able to see the village Hindu temple closed down in the village above, they
thought they could draw the people away from us but we waited and prayed. They
eventually broke up and we remained.

If I have only two people to minister to I am happy. One of my spiritual
counsellors said once that when he is ministering, he would minister to a small
group of people as though they were hundreds. Do not despise small beginnings.

Please be encouraged and be willing to pay the price. I always let people know
that I am available 24 hrs. If you have a problem, any time night or day, call
me, I will come. You can never tell when you may have the opportunity to snatch
a soul from Hell.

When I had just gotten saved several years ago, the Lord challenged me, he
asked me, "how far are you willing to go to save a soul".

How much value do we place on the souls we see around us, how much are we
willing to sacrifice to see them receive eternal life? One of the problems i
had with the institutional church is that too much emphasis was placed on the
organization and the structures and not enough on the souls of men.

I also would like to add something else here.

We had our prayer meeting last night ( our core group ). I hadnt previously
explained fully the exact nature of what we were doing so the prayer meeting
soon turned into a discussion and i began to explain the nature of the House
Church.

A couple of them thought that we were going to put believers into an existing
Church and leave them there. So I asked him, how could we bring someone into
the kingdom and then send them somewhere to be taught things we disagree with
and eventually die spiritually. If we know the system is in error, how can we
with clear conscience put new converts in to that system. Wouldnt we be
accountable to God?? The only way we can put them there is if we first teach
them the truth so they themselves can discern.

One of the guys expressed extreme concern over the fact that we will be
dismantling and disarming the pastors and Churches that currently exist and he
wanted to know if I was willing to face the backlash that will come. It is a
fact that the house church structure will indeed dismantle current power
structures and in fact put power in the hands of the common people. My goal was
never to set out to this, it was simply to bring truth to the people. And see
the Church do the job she is called to do.

He had spoken to a woman about us coming to her house to do a meeting with her,
she was excited about it because no one had ever done that with her before. She
goes to one of the largest Churches here in our country. When he began to
explain the nature of the House Church, she immediately asked him about me and
whether I was a pastor and the walls came up. No one here knows what a house
church is, except for a very few.

There was concern among the group that even the way we left our old Church will
be used against us, every one of us have been branded rebels by our previous
Churches. Some even raised the prospect of people being warned about us and
being told to keep away from us, much like the Catholic Church does.

The bible says we must rejoice when we are persecuted for righteousness sake.
Early christians were driven from the synagogues and persecuted by the jews and
they just grew and multiplied.

I am not afraid of the opposition to come, when it comes we will grow and
multiply and perhaps this is how it must be. Perhaps we really arent supposed
to try and make peace with our institutional church bretheren. We are not to
attack them but we are to stand for the truth and if persecuted for it, so be
it. Rejoice. Brother must never fight against brother but we are to esteem each
other more highly than ourselves.

Let our fruit speak, not our mouths. Yours in Christ,

David Jaggernauth


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Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 13:04:29 -0800
From: Dan Snyder
Subject: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Dear David,

I appreciated the point Jay made, how the presence of a brother like Paul could
have a very positive influence on the churches. Paul was surely one of the
gifted members who's job it is to perfect the saints. He also had a very unique
portion from the Lord - to unveil God's economy.

On the other hand... (even with such a unique commission) we can see Paul's
function was altogether organic. Not organizational or a "position".

For the churches that were raised up through his ministry he (like a father)
bore much responsibility. And yet 1 and 2 Cor. are a good example of how he
didn't control the churches.

Even with such a situation as fornication in a local church, Paul could write a
letter... but he had to wait and see how the brothers there in Corinth would
receive his fellowship. I appreciate 2 Cor. 2:13. That verse really shows
Paul's heart. "I had no rest in my spirit, for I did not find Titus my
brother". It was Titus who was to bring news of how the church in Corinth
responded (7:6).

This is the heart of a father, not an "administrator".

Also the heart of a brother who knew the Body and trusted the Body.

Dan Ps. I like the way he began writing 1 Cor. - "Paul... and Sosthenes the
brother". Then 2 Cor. - "Paul... and Timothy". Then Gal. - "Paul... and all the
brothers".

Seems like (especially when dealing with difficult situations) Paul stood as a
member of the Body... not as a single "bishop". Quite a pattern.


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Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 23:59:40 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [NTCP] RE: church
planter Trinidad

from Link Hudson

David J.

I've been really encouraged to read your posts and to hear how God is using
you. The story about the Hindu temple shutting down might make a great
testimony if you wrote it up. Maybe you could submit something to House2House
to encourage the readers.

I can relate a little bit to your frustration with some of your past
experiences with the Charismatic church you used to go to. It would be hard for
a thinking, Bible-studying Christian to sit through messages about the
'end-time wealth transfer' and other WOF extremes. It seems to me that people
who really study the Bible, think, and question such teachings end up getting
out of churches that teach a lot on these topics. Btw, not all Charismatic
churches in other parts of the world teach the end-time wealth transfer and
some of the other doctrines you've mentioned. Here in Indonesia, I went to a
church for a while that had just a little bit of that kind of teaching. It was
program-oriented, and if you didn't fit in an exact program, it was hard to use
your gifts. Little attention was paid to fellowship. The 'core group' of the
church--the 'workers'-- even stayed behind to pray in a circle after church was
over, while visitors fellowshipped with each other in the lobb! y.

I started going to a church with plural 'lay' elders, 'lay' ministry, and cell
groups. The fellowship has been great, and I've had freedom to use my gifts. It
sounds like you went through a lot of suffering to get into the ministry you
are in today.

I know you are expecting persecution from the religious establishment, and some
of it may come. But one house church writer says that a lot of house church
people don't really experience persecution. They just get ignored. Some people
pull out of big churches after years of attending, and no one calls them to see
what happened.

If your work is mostly evangelistic, it might be largely ignored by a lot of
the bigger churches. Think about this. If you are working with the poorer
segment of society, how jealous will the bigger churches get? You might get
some flack if some of the active members who do the work and pay their tithes
in these churches join with you. Some of the workers in these churches might
want to join you in planting house churches. Others might just want an
experience of real mutual ministry and community. Then you might get accused of
'sheep-stealing.'

But other than that, if you are focused on evangelism, you can't really be
accused of 'sheep-stealing' since the people you reach probably don't go to a
church in the first place. Eventually, the people that get saved and that you
disciple may mature enough to be workers in the harvest. If this starts
happening, and people don't go over from existing institutional churches to
join you, then you may just be largely ignored. If preachers don't see you as a
threat, they might not have a problem with you.

Eventually, as the church matures, there may be elders in these churches. If
people ask if you are the pastor, you can say you are more of an evangelist, or
church planter, or whatever you are called to be, and that the churches have a
plurality of elder/overseers who handle a lot of the pastoral ministry. If they
ask if you have a church building, you can explain that 'church' means
congregation. The church is the people, and that you meet in homes like the
churches in the Bible.

I know when I found out certain things about the church from the Bible, I
wanted all the so-called "institutional churches" to change. I don't think that
is likely any time soon. Maybe what you can do is go out and win so many people
to Christ that a large percentage of the Christians on the island meet in house
churches, and then their example can influence the churches on the island.

I know it hurts to be rejected by those you used to fellowship with. But I
suspect that as you labor for the Gospel, eventually, you will have a strong
sense of community with the churches that grow and develop. Eventually, what
those people in those other churches think of you won't matter so much, because
you'll be fellowshipping with so many people anyway. After some of those church
leaders see the fruit in what you are doing in the coming years, they may just
acknowledge your ministry anyway.

>One of the guys expressed extreme concern over the fact that we will be
>dismantling and disarming the pastors and Churches that currently exist and he
>wanted to know if I was willing to face the backlash that will come.

If your work is mostly evangelistic in nature, I don't see how this would be
much of a threat to existing pastors--except for certain hungry people that
want to join you in this type of ministry and church life.


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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 00:00:58 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] RE: house church: Trinidad

From: Link Hudson

My brother and sister-in-law may be going to Venezuela soon. I don't know what
part. If they go near you, would you like to meet them?


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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 08:10:11 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

David Anderson wrote:

>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?

For me David, the issue is not whether we feel we *need* such a "guy," but
whether the Scripture *allows* for such a "guy". It takes the discussion out
of the realm of the subjective (what I want, think, feel) and gives it more of
an objective basis. Furthermore, for every historical account you can present
of abuse at the hands of a single bishop, I can produce three (at least)
historical accounts of when single bishops gave their lives for their flocks.
What does it all prove? Nothing, except that in the context of our discussion,
fronting the fluke does not present a compelling case against MONOEPISCOPACY.
Neither would my counter-examples. Again, let me make my position clear: I see
scriptural *room* for single bishop congregations. It is not what is
exemplified in the book of Acts, I agree, but it seems to be allowable from the
language of Tim. and Tit. That's it. I just oppose absolute positions when the
Bible does not seem to limit our behavior in the same way. I'm a big advocate
of freedom, ... contrary to the impression you might get of me from my stand on
the present relevance of the Torah (Law), liturgy, etc. When the Scriptures
are-- for all essential purposes-- silent on the topic, and when those
contemporary with the Apostles did not take an absolute position against
MONOEPISCOPACY, in fact *none* of the pre and post Nicene writers opposed the
practice, it kind of makes me wonder why we should. Link wrote in a personal
email:

>Btw, I dont' think Ignatious used the phrase 'the bishop' just to quote Paul.
>Some house church people think he was the one who promoted the one-man
>bishoprick in the early days. But, based on Acts 20, and the context of I
>Timothy and Titus, I see Paul as talking about a plurality of bishops, with
>'the bishop' being some kind of turn of phrase. Acts 20 calls a group
>overseers in Ephesus, the city under question in I Timothy.

This is a better line of reasoning since it uses the NT-- not just what we
think we might need-- to interpret what Paul meant in his writings. Certainly
we can all read that Ephesus had more than one Christian elder ...

"... Paul sent to Ephesus for the ELDERS of the church. When THEY arrived ..."
(Act. 20:17, 18, emphasis mine).

... *before* 1 Tim. 3:2 was even penned. In the same epistle Timothy was urged
by Paul to stay in Ephesus to help that congregation(s) stand against false
teachers (1 Tim. 1:3) and to help them conduct their church affairs according
to the Apostolic teaching (1 Tim. 3:14, 15). It is important to realize that 1
Tim. was almost certainly written *after* Paul's first imprisonment, thus
*after* Paul's meeting with the Ephesian elders. Furthermore, Titus clearly
equated elders with overseers (Tit. 1:6, 7), so I can't escape Link's logic by
suggesting that elders and overseers had different functions. Therefore this
new data is certainly something for me to consider! It doesn't explain the
non-canonical historical evidence, but it does give a better scriptural context
from which to interpret it. Thanks Link! What I think you have to decide is
whether or not you see in the examples of Acts an *absolute* standard. And
why. Would there be no exceptions? Couldn't there be freedom in some cases
for a church to have only one bishop if there were no other practical options
available? If only one man in a newly planted church were qualified, would the
church have to wait until at least one other man were deemed "up-to-snuff"
before he could assume servant-leadership in the congregation? Or, as Jay
suggested, is it more an issue of *quality* vs quantity? David, under the
conditions described above, could you then see "the real need for such a
position"-- at least a temporary MONOEPISCOPACY? What do you (or anybody)
think?

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 08:11:15 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Re: house church: Trinidad

Bro Dave J.,

I have been praying for Christ's resurrection power to break through the
demonic strongholds in your sphere of influence in Trinidad. I meant to
mention it when you wrote about the household which hosts a gathering there,
but was under such oppression. However, you did mention a breakthrough, thank
God! Likewise, I will pray for this Hindu woman experiencing demonic attacks
to be delivered in Jesus' name.

I went through a season of demonic attacks (mostly of a sexual nature),
starting shortly after I had become a Christian and lasting for about seven
years. I went to one of my Bible college profs after my *throat* began to form
the words "Christ be cursed" while I was just washing some dishes. I
suppressed it with my lips, but the words continued to be formed in my throat.
Weird feeling. After that experience I knew I could no longer do this battle
on my own. The prof, along with a group of godly praying Christians prepared
themselves, then confronted the host of spirits I had unwhittingly welcomed
into me during my years practicing Wicca, and later Bhakti Yoga (translate that
to mean "idol worship") with I.S.K.CON. (International Society for Krishna
Consciousness). The blood of Christ brought yet another deliverance and I have
been on the offensive against demonic spirits ever since. Praise God! Needless
to say, I join my faith to your faith and am confident that this woman will
likewise experience complete deliverence in Jesus' name. Also I am praying
that she will be open to the claims of Christ, and his blood, as her means to
ward off evil and find true peace. Blessings bro Dave, as you share God's word
with her.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 18:22:55 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

Jay's Manuscript is called: "IN OTHER WORDS, SEX IS A PARABLE".

Does this mean that Freud was right?

Blessings,
Keith the shrink


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Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 07:43:35 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Deborah wrote:

>David, under the conditions described above, could you then see "the real need
>for such a position"-- at least a temporary MONOEPISCOPACY? What do you (or
>anybody) think?
>
>--MICHAEL
Jerusalem

Dear Michael,

In some sense, there is a flaw in the discussion, in that the subject is being
discussed from an impositional perspective. Perhaps this is due to the
Scriptural context which included a recognizable, and recognized authentic
apostleship. Under such circumstances, apostles can take care of the appointing
of elders without a great deal of conflict. Today's situation forces a slightly
different perspective, however, leaning more toward the Biblical admonition to
"know them, that are over us in the faith". 1700 years of bogus church,
apostles, and bishops has done a lot to confuse things. No wonder Paul wanted
to go where no one else had gone. The demolition work, and clearing of the
debris are enough to make even an authentic apostle's knees buckle.

The elders of Ephesus were staying ones. Timothy was a sent one, an apostle,
not an elder to that church. This makes a very big difference where the
perception and exercise of authority is concerned. For elders there are many
localized vested, and/or conflicted interests, that tend to compromise the
credibility of one man oversight. There is a big difference in the way we are
received that is determined by whether we are residents of a place or visiting
a place. "A prophet is never without honor except in his own country..."
"Familiarity breeds contempt." This is a real problem.

If the Bible had instructed to appoint the "eldest" in every church/city, that
would have been a different thing than what it does instruct, "elder". The "er"
ending is relative, not absolute. This being the case, it is possible to have
more than one elder, and for them not to be the same age, so to speak. In any
case, without clearly recognizable apostleship, the onus is on them that are
younger, knowing them that are over.

That said the real problem is the need for a paradigm shift away from
center-stage super-stars to the ability to recognize the real servants in our
midst. The fact is, Jesus words are finally definitive, "The one/s who is/are
servant/s of all is/are the greatest of all."

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 07:45:07 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Allegorical interpretation (was: Confronting the evidence)

castillofuerte(--AT--)airtel.net wrote:

Jay's Manuscript is called: "IN OTHER WORDS, SEX IS A PARABLE".

Does this mean that Freud was right? Blessings, Keith the shrink

Dear Keith,

The point is, "Christ and the Church", Ephesians 5:32.

I'm not a great student of Freud, so I may have missed that part.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 07:48:16 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Dan Snyder wrote:

>This is the heart of a father, not an "administrator".
>
>Also the heart of a brother who knew the Body and trusted the Body.
>
>Dan
>
>
>Ps. I like the way he began writing 1 Cor. - "Paul... and Sosthenes the
>brother". Then 2 Cor. - "Paul... and Timothy". Then Gal. - "Paul... and all
>the brothers".
>
>Seems like (especially when dealing with difficult situations) Paul stood as a
>member of the Body... not as a single "bishop". Quite a pattern.
>

Dear Dan,

I've only included your concluding remarks, but I appreciated all that you
wrote.

Jay


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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 07:34:42 -0600
From: "Tony Dale"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] RE: church planter Trinidad

Yes please. We would love to publish something that you write David. Have a
look on the web for our article submission guidelines.

Thanks,

Tony
house2house.tv


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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 10:21:43 -0500
From: "Michael Gastin"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Deborah" To: Sent: Wednesday, February
06, 2002 1:10 AM
Subject: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
>David Anderson wrote:
>
>>As we began our examination of the evidence for or against the single bishop
>>(monoepiscopacy), I would like to inquire

(snip)

>>Do we really need a guy like this?
>
>For me David, the issue is not whether we feel we *need* such a
"guy,"
>but whether the Scripture *allows* for such a "guy". It takes the discussion
>out of the realm of the subjective (what I want, think, feel)
and
>gives it more of an objective basis.

(snip)

>--MICHAEL
Jerusalem

I have a question. Kinda a baby Christian question, but need to get a better
understanding on how my brothers and sisters here approach this.

Let's say we agree that the scripture at the very least allows for a
monoepiscopacy. (Even if one does not, just humor me for a minute, please.)
Let's also assume that there are supports in the scripture for more than one
bishop/elder.

So, we agree that a single bishop is not unscriptural, but in our
understanding/wisdom, experiences, prayer, and study of group dynamics or any
other related field, we come to believe that although allowable, it is not
optimal. What then?

How tied to a scriptural basis do we need to be in order to stay within the
realm of what is right? Does something that is not "either or" in the scripture
necessarily have to leave us unable to make a firm statement?

Am I able to say, "I believe that the plurality of elders is the optimal choice
for any body of believers, based on my study of scripture and other sources and
my experiences. I would not condemn anyone for not having more than one elder,
but I would strongly urge them to identify and establish more than one."

Can we rightly say that in cases where the scripture does not make a clear cut
case we can still find a good, better, best solution? To what degree does
history, understanding and experiences play into this sort of thing?

Let me also say, I do not assume that we could apply this same attitude to
specific teachings of the scripture. I.E. the divinity of Jesus. He plainly
identified Himself as the Son of God. No gray areas - no optimal or allowable
stances on that when one reads the scripture with an honest intent.

Input anyone?

My reason for asking this question is two fold.

First, (NTCP specific) I am wondering if we are stuck going back and forth on
this due to the fact that we are not comparing apples to apples. I think
Michael Miller is making an argument not about the perfectness of a
Monoepiscopacy, but rather the permissiveness of it based on some scriptural
references. (Correct me if I am wrong, Michael!) I do not read him pushing a
single elder as the scriptural norm or even as a best option - I read him as
simply arguing that a single bishop is permissible.

Second, (general life related) I am wondering how we can take a stance on most
anything on a practical level that is not hard and fast in the scriptures? My
personal belief is that scripture supports in many cases a plurality of elders
and my experiences show me why that choice for leadership is a better choice.
Am I being intellectually and spiritually honest to teach and disciple others
in plurality of elders when it is impossible for me to have an iron clad
scriptural support for it?

I am not in any way challenging anyone's desire to be true to scripture - in
fact, I am doing just the opposite. I am inquiring how we can be firm in what
we know to be practical and good when the scripture does not give us a clear
picture one way or the other.

Mike Gastin
New York  

New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #32

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